Tag Archive for: Diving

Over the past few weeks I have been really shocked with the amount of rubbish that I have seen in the ocean when I have been diving.

I have decided to do something about it.

I searched the internet for schemes, projects or prgrammes which I might be able to obtain advice or guidlines for rubbish removal as a diver.  

Obviously I read about the PADI PROJECT AWARE Foundation where there is lots of encouragement to organise 'one off' events, which is great news when dealing with marine debris. 

You can find further information about Project Aware's support for volunteers who want to organise a clean up HERE

I also found lots of charity's doing their bit in different parts of the community, but it seems clear that there is not a systematic approach to get divers and the global diving community to simply remove little bits of rubbish whenever each and every diver goes underwater.

Maybe this is just another bee in my bonnet!  Who the devil knows?

I just think that picking up the odd cola can, drinks can ring pull, cigerette butt or plastic store bag to throw away after the dive is really simple for most PADI Open Water equivelent or more qualified divers to participate in. 

Although some individual divers do have a go routinly and some individuals or groups organise brillient events where tonnes of rubbish is removed from under the water in a bay or shoreline; I believe individual divers should be more pro-active in their chosen sport to clean up the environment and look upon it as an every day responsibility.

I will keep you informed of my progress as and when I do something.

I started today. 

I am going to be working 6 days a week.  On average I will be having Sunday off making an average of 2 dives per day.  Pretty hard core I reckon, and brilliant.

The morning was spent, completing paperwork and disclaimers in duplicate (Elf and Safety!!).  Then putting kit together in a box and being shown around the centre by Mr D., the Dive Centre Manager.  

Mr D. is a really nice guy who is married to a German woman.  They both have a little baby.  I met another instructor Babs, known as the 'Diving Diva'.  She is a typical instructor, jumping around, engaging, and motivating the white and blue collar workers to enjoy the diving and giving them a real experience.  She presents as really fun, but works really hard moving tanks around, making everything safe and sorting gear.  
Today was an orientation dive.   If you don't know this means getting into the water in the way the instructor advises… achieving a neutral buoyancy and then doing some basic exercises. We rolled over, went upside down as a handstand and stayed there floating after pushing off from the sea bed. Swimming backwards and doing a roly-poly

It all sounds pretty easy, but it isn't.  Underwater is like being on an alien planet.  Concepts we take for granted, even basic functions are profoundly altered, obviously including the idea of breathing and that is just the start.

Whilst under the water I saw:

  • Several wrasse (multi coloured)
  • Three large grey/brown parrot fish (different from in the pet shop)
  • A cuttle fish (hiding in the sand which swam off backwards as I approached it)
  • Some goatfish (using their moustaches to dig in the sand and sea bed)

and a whole host of others I do not know the names of.

When we finished the dive and everyone was feeling a bit tired, Babs played a practical joke by placing a dried 'sticky' date, into a colleagues shoe to see if he would notice.  

The whole group was aware, the guy walked back toward the minibus and got dressed.  As he put his shoe on, the tension and excitement within the group was palpable.  The put his foot on the floor and took his foot half out a few times before replacing it, as if there was just something about the shoe he could not get comfortable.  In the end the shoe was rammed on.  

He did it up and proceeded to get everything and everyone into the minibus. No one said a word. It was one of those school boy pranks which are so simple, yet so funny, and quite mean. How will he get her back I wonder?

My best bit of the dive:  I hung suspended upside down and got all confused as a mirrored heaving shimmering film shone with rays of light from below my feet, whilst above my head fish swum past inverted below a sandy ceiling.

Got up early following dreamless heavy sleep. I took the time to make a few cheese and salad sandwiches for packed lunch before I heard my 7:30am 'wake-up' alarm go off.

I was dressed and outside the gate for 8:30 and Laurence, the dive centre manager, pulled up just before twenty to providing me a lift to work.

I was briefed in the morning and it was explained to me that from now on I am to assist in greeting customers as they arrive and help them to relax.  (My first tranche of responsibility).

It was made clear that I would be diving with Babs in the morning on a wreck dive. Customers included in the mornings dive were two guys, Colin and Andrew; Colin works in the armed services, married 25 years and has a 21 year old daughter, whilst Andrew is a white Zimbabwean living in the UK, working in London.

All the kit (BCU, fins, mask, wetsuit, boots, regulator and weight belt) was taken from the individual hangers and placed into white stacking boxes, the boxes were in turn stacked into the mini-bus and we set off from Costa Teguise (base) South West toward Puerto del Carmen where some time ago three Spanish fishing boats were sunk explicitly to provide wreck sites for divers.

However intentional, wrecks are haunting places.  

With large surge-swaying seaweed-festooned ropes trailing upwards toward the light; and abstract lines of sun cutting down from the surface, one can only reflect on the serene battle between industry and nature.  A battle we can rest assured, in the long run, nature will always win.

During the dive we saw:

•    Three barracuda
•    Cuttlefish
•    Damselfish
•    Ornate wrasse
•    Starfish (with a missing and re-growing leg)
•    Urchins
•    and a skeleton of a dolphin.  

Best bit of the dive:  I went into a small cave, the walls covered in yellow lichen-like coral.  As I turned and looked up, my eyes followed the ascending bubbles exhaled on every breath.  The bubbles, some small and some large, floated towards the roof of the little cave.  When they could go up no further, the bubbles travelled sideways, moving like quick-silver to find the highest point; before becoming trapped as miniature mercury lagoons where they could travel no more – all silver and wonderfully reflective. Inside the cave I floated for a moment watching the nature of bubbles under rock and there for a moment, I think I found peace.

Then I swam out again toward the group to look at more rusting wrecks, like an old elephant’s graveyard.