Learning to dive with Lee valley Dive Club.

A big thank you to Lee Valley Dive Club (BSAC1105), I’ve just qualified as an Ocean Diver! The whole experience has been fantastic since the first Thursday evening that I walked through the door and introduced myself!

I had no intention of diving at the UK coast. I was also dreading the open water qualifying dives that I was told would take place in a lake in Peterborough! Surely diving was all about crystal clear waters in the Red Sea and Mexico? Falling backwards off the Rib into 20 meters of water is something you only see on TV and certainly not something that I was looking forward to!

Having been lent all the necessary equipment by the club, the course started with some interesting theory lessons along with dives in the swimming pool at Laura Trott Sports Centre. Everything was taken at a relaxed pace, and Andy’s instructions in the pool were clear and very supportive. Progress was rapid and each week I was getting closer to swimming with Barracudas in Mexico. I couldn’t wait!

Before long our first open water qualifying dives were planned at Gildenburgh, near Peterborough. I could not have been more surprised. The water was warm and clear. I saw plenty of fish as well as the sunken double decker bus and pool table. The required underwater tasks were completed and passed. I was nearly a qualified diver. Just one more test to do, and two more open water dives and a twelve year ambition would be complete.

And so we went to West bay on the Dorset Coast. Ten experienced divers, and two of us trainees. The weekend trip was planned meticulously, with the whole club supporting us to ensure that we qualified. The first of two dives on the Saturday was a drift dive, and the second was a dive on a sunken barge. Both Sarah and I were now qualified BSAC Ocean Divers. We celebrated on Sunday by doing two more dives, both of us partnered with experienced ‘buddy’ divers. The first on the wreck of the Baygitano, and the second a reef dive.

Having said I never wanted to dive in the UK I have to confess how wrong I was. Having seen shoals of Pollack, some Wrasse, Dogfish, Plaice, Lobsters, Conger Eels and even a Pipe Fish, I am now completely bitten by the bug and am already counting my 2015 holiday days to see how many UK Dive trips I can go on with the club.

As for falling backwards off the Rib? Yes please, bring it on!

A massive thank you to everyone at Lee Valley Dive Club. So many members not only gave up their time each Thursday evening, but also gave up their opportunity to take part in advanced dives at West Bay to ensure that Sarah and I were supported during our qualifying dives!

Roll on 2015 and more diving opportunities with the club.

Colin Nobes