“It’s not a normal catch up this week I’m afraid”. It was obvious that something was going on – for the first time in twenty years service there was an HR representative attending my regular review with my line manager.
Fizzing 1st stages & leaky 2nd stages – we see them on dives up and down the UK with casual regularity. Normally pointed out by our buddy on the 6m safety stop or mentioned in the pub afterwards and generally discounted or dismissed by the average recreational club diver. So when should we start taking more interest in checking our regulators?
Heard the one about the Blue Hole? Or maybe it was the Blue Lagoon? I’m sure most of us have heard stories of ‘secret’ dive sites before; they normally surface after a few beers following a hard days diving. Those telling the story will often reminisce about a time when diving involved a degree of exploration and adventure! With that in mind I decided to seek out some of these lost treasures for myself and set out on a series of UK Diving Adventures!
A 65m Shipwreck and a technical diving ‘career’ hanging by a thread. The not-so secret sinking of a British Batttleship and a chance encounter with an apex predator. 100 years on since the sinking of HMS Audacious, I recount my dive on the most famous of the Malin Head shipwrecks.
On the morning of the 5th September 1914, HMS Pathfinder, along with other vessels of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla were taking part in a routine patrol of the outer firth. The other ships turned back at around lunchtime leaving the Pathfinder to complete its patrol alone. Unfortunately HMS Pathfinder was far from being alone – she was being hunted by the German submarine U21. What happened at around 15:45pm that day went down in history…
“There is no cure for life and death save to enjoy the interval” – George Santayana
There are probably two dives at Dorothea that one could say were ‘famous’. Famous in that almost everyone interested in the more ‘technical’ side of diving knows about them.
The first is the ‘57 metre tunnel’. At the absolute limits of diving with air as a breathing gas due to the narcotic effects of the nitrogen, it’s not a dive to be undertaken lightly or without the right equipment and training. The second is even more challenging; it is known as “Henry’s Ridge”.
As the icy cold waters of the Irish Sea began to fill the tiny submarine, the Reverend Garrett likely cursed his decision to name the craft ‘Resurgam’. Latin for ‘I will rise again’, the ship quietly slipped under the water off the coast of North Wales where she laid lost for over a century…
Deep, dark & dangerous. Just some of the words used to describe the abandoned slate quarry known as Dorothea in North Wales. Despite the warnings and an unofficial ‘ban’ by diver training agencies, why do divers continue to flock here?
In 2013 I took a bit of a break from diving. Issues at work & at home were taking too much of my time and effort, and I’d achieved all that I initially set out to do. I’d become an Open Water Instructor, was qualified to dive with mixed gases & rebreathers, and had swam with a 3 metre Porbeagle shark over the wreck of HMS Audacious in Malin Head.
It was time for a break.