This was one of the very first non-IT posts I drafted, but it’s been over 18 months since my last dive and I wasn’t sure I was going to continue diving in the UK. My main diving buddy had to hang up his fins in 2015, for medical reasons and my only diving since then has been a couple of holiday dives when visiting the Canary Islands. So it was either time to find some new buddies or sell all the dive gear wasting away in my garage…
The spark to get back in the water was a present my daughter had bought me the Christmas before last – a Shark Dive at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry! I’ve actually been in the shark tank at Deep Sea World before when I did a PADI Shark Awareness course and, whilst I enjoyed it, I wasn’t really in any rush to go back. It’s not really a ‘dive’ as you are completely overweighted and without fins, so it’s actually more like what I imagine a moonwalk to be light, just bouncing along the bottom of the tank finding it difficult to move around!
It did remind me how much I enjoyed the peace and quiet of being underwater so I started to look for a local dive club. The one I found was about 15 minutes away in Bathgate. The West Lothian Scottish Sub-Aqua Club meets every week at Bathgate Leisure Centre so I arranged to go along and meet one of the members. It turns out they have a small room at the side of the pool with a compressor, and most people just go down on a Tuesday to get cylinders filled. They also have access to the pool for any training and can use the pool facilities free of charge.
Gordon explained that I’d first need to be a member of ScotSAC (which in the first year cost £75 but includes all the training material) and then could join West Lothian SAC (which cost another £85), but they appeared to dive regularly and seemed a friendly bunch. It would have been nice to go along for a dive or two first, but this seemed like more trouble than it was worth so I bit the bullet and signed up.
I also got my cylinders (4 x 12l tanks, twined up, and a 15l single) in for a test at a reasonably local but friendly dive shop – K-Dive – and hope to get back in the UK waters at the beginning of June once I get them back.
They wanted me to do a quick dive in the pool last week, just to demonstrate that I could actually dive and wasn’t just making it up. The handful of PADI qualification I had didn’t really mean anything, although apparently, the Rescue Diver certification will mean I can cross over to a ScotSAC level without going through all the training.
As well as my PADI certifications, which are up to the highest recreational level without starting down either a technical or professional route, I also have a GUE Fundamentals certification. All though this is one of GUE’s lowest certifications, it’s probably of a higher standard than any of the PADI ones so whilst I don’t profess to be a diving god in the water, my buoyancy and trim is pretty good and I think they thought I’d be a safe bet to go diving with!
Anyway, that’s a little backstory for some of the upcoming dive related blogs that are sure to follow once I’ve been back in the water. Oh, and a little map to show where else in the world I’ve been fortunate enough to dive 😀