By Ivan Cunningham
Why do I love UK diving, after all, what's the point, it's cold, murky, dark and you can't see anything?
Well that's what I thought when I first came up with the idea, so on the advice of someone who knew nothing about diving and had never done it, I dispensed with the idea and thought no more of it for a number of years.
Then one day I was somewhere by the sea, can't remember where, but I saw a load of divers getting in a dive boat and motoring off into the distance, then come back a couple of hours later. This got me rethinking the idea of not being able to SEA anything when down there. So soon after that I skived out of work and went into a dive shop near me, it was called Dive69 in Ewell, Surrey, and asked a few questions. From that point on, that was it, there was no holding me back.
It's true to say you can't see as much as if you were in the gin clear waters of the Galapagos, however it's the darker green water that gives it it's atmosphere that you don't get anywhere else. I kind of liken the atmosphere to what I discovered as child when I found what looked like a cave opening in the face of a disused chalk quarry wall, curiosity got the better of my friends and I so we armed ourselves with torches and in we went, where we went down a ladder into a large tunnel where we walked along and found other tunnels shooting off, some were dead ends, some came out in other places in the cliff face, we never did find out why they were dug out.
Anyway, my point is, if someone had switched on a load of strip lights when we were in there it would have completely lost its atmosphere, it was walking along in the dark with torches not knowing what we were going to find that made it so intense and exciting.
When under water this atmosphere is 10 fold what it was those days in the chalk cave, the exhilaration of being underwater in another world, looking around an old wreck that sunk 100 years ago, seeing things you would never see in your life otherwise.
Also it don't have to be the sea remember, I also have childhood memories of looking at a lake and wondering, what's down there, how deep is it, what lives there? Well, I'm now a diver and I got to find out.
It's also worth knowing there is more to see around the UK coast line than anywhere else in the world, we are an island so whenever anyone over the ages has ever wanted to invade us it was usually by boat, certainly before the age of flight anyway, and invariably we sunk them as well as our own losses. So to my mind, all things considered, the UK has something to offer that no other place can.