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Dive Training Blogs

Diving Diaries (Part 3)

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In this new series Scubaverse blogger, Isobel Fairbairn, keeps a diary as she learns to dive with her university BSAC club (Salford University Diving Society or SUDS for short). Follow her progress as she heads underwater for the very first time.


My third week of my dive training and so far, I’d argue my hardest.

Our theory this week consisted of all the “what happens if?” questions and answers, all the terrifying dangers that come with diving if proper safety is not ensured.

Of course, some of it feels like common sense, paying attention to your surroundings, always making sure to check on your buddy, but some of it really isn’t common sense, and I came away with a head full of new information (and anxieties) that I wish I’d left in the classroom.  But of course wishes don’t often come true and I am well aware of the fact all of this information is to make sure we are all practicing proper procedure and therefore at our safest, so all of this information won’t be leaving my brain anytime in the future.

This week we learnt about DCI; the symptoms, preventions and treatment. We were informed on the importance of anticipating problems, being prepared and how prevention is better than a cure! We were presented with the “incident pit”, the pit of horrors type diagram and how its significance holds great importance as one thing can lead to another and suddenly you can be out of your depth, both literally and metaphorically.

We were also shown the importance of having proper gas canister checks and the issues that can come with contaminated breathing gas, oxygen toxicity and Nitrogen narcosis.

Onto the practical session of the evening:

Backwards rolling into the pool to begin with ended up being quite enjoyable, it was our first time trying it out and as nervous as I was when I stood with my back to the water with my feet on the edge of the pool, it went a lot smoother than I expected. I’ll be brutally honest I think I almost fell in backwards anyway, so I just went with it without giving myself too much time to overthink it. Following a backwards descent into the water me and my buddy then did a swim around the pool, monitored by our instructor where we used the hand signals we had learnt so far in practice on our own i.e. “I’m the leader”, “you’re the leader”, “are you okay?” “gas check?” this was fun, it was exciting to be able to freely swim around and use the information I’d learned (and realised it had stuck and I was getting better each week!)

Next up came the bit I’d like to now tell readers I’m STILL working on, if anyone has any miracles for how to do this easily, someone, please, enlighten me, my mermaid dreams felt like they were slipping from my grasp during this task.

We had to perform a mask removal underwater and reapply the mask after we had removed it. Now I’m sat, on my knees, underwater watching my buddy do this procedure, she completes it, very well might I add, and during every single one of those painstaking minutes watching her, my sense of dread is just slowly increasing, next thing I know my instructor is Infront of me asking me to now perform the mask removal so what do I do? Obviously I take my mask off! And then I panic, I bottle it. I come up to the surface, gasping for air a little bit, even though I’ve had my reg in the whole time, I’m still panicking at this point and I’m very aware that I just don’t think I’ll be getting this done this session.

My instructor, who is a very lovely man tells me to just take time off and we can get it done next time and not to worry, but, of course I spend the next two hours worrying, listening to my already qualified friend Jamie tell me to “just practice in the bath, it’ll be fine” much to my amusement, but I actually may take this as serious advice. So, to my mother, if you’re reading this now, please don’t be surprised if you catch me snorkelling in the bath when I’m home for easter.

Isobel Fairbairn is a 22 year old first year Marine Biology student at the University of Salford with a passion for both writing and marine life. She says: “I love to share things that I learn along my journey and that’s when I decided I wanted to take my career towards writing, I’ve always wanted to write but when my two passions collided I knew I had to go in this direction.” She lives in Manchester. Her favourite fish is the Chimera Shark and she is currently undergoing her diving training with BSAC with the University’s Diving Society. “I am equal parts terrified and excited.” Follow her on Instagram: @ihf.media

Dive Training Blogs

Tips for… Quarry Diving

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Quarry diving…. The UK has some of the best inland diving sites (including Vivian Quarry – the only one listed as a UNESCO site!). There are many, many quarries to dive in the UK and whilst quarry diving may not seem appealing to some of you reading this, have you given it a go?

Granted the appeal of jumping into a dark hole doesn’t sound great, but we can assure you that it is not like that, and there are many reasons to explore quarries.

Firstly, the history. The quarries weren’t just dug out for the diving community to head to during the winter months when the sea is off the table. They were once working areas and in most cases still have a lot of history flooded and encapsulated in time. Take Vivian for example: an old slate mine with the houses still standing under the water, the mine carts still in position as they were when the era stopped, and these treasures can only be visited by us divers… pretty cool, no? Being on the surface means not being able to see down into the lost history, but once under the water you can even touch it and be right there in the moment with it.

Training – quarries are a perfect place to train. The lack of external conditions such as currents and unpredictability can make training in quarries perfect for some courses… probably will have to give boat diving and drift a miss at these sites!  But there is a time and a place for their use, in some cases even making the training schedule a little easier, not having to travel all the way to the coastline to find that the shore site is blown out when that student wants to finish their course ready for their holiday.

To practise your own skills and have fun, quarries can be great to meet up with dive buddies, and there are many quarries to visit within the UK alone. All with their own underwater features, some even with airplanes and tanks dropped in for your entertainment… with another plus side of usually having a cafe on site to jump straight out for a hot chocolate and cake on exit!

So, if you are yet to take to the UK quarry waters, why not add it on your list to give it a go. A completely new experience for you warm water divers reading this… but that’s what diving is about, right? Trying and exploring new places!


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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Dive Training Blogs

Jump into… Scuba Escape

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Scuba Escape… where to start. How amazing has this been! From sitting with Leanne in lockdown playing a game of Monopoly, to creating the world’s first underwater escape room, ending up on HEART radio, The Metro newspaper and various others… even media in Germany, America and Poland, the BBC’s The ONE Show…. All of the main games being accepted as PADI Speciality courses. Being nominated as Go North Wales Activity of the Year, getting a second location on Liverpool Docks within 6 months. It has been mad.

The reason for the post though isn’t to brag, but to show you that a small idea can turn into something amazing and that UK diving is, and can be, amazing. People that had never even looked at diving have come to Scuba Escape, now helped by the fact that ‘non-divers’ can also take part in the Scuba Escape experience, bringing even more people into the UK diving market.

Scuba Escape has not been without its challenges though, I mean the biggest one trying to explain to people that you will not be locked in a box under the water… having to find a material that does not float to become ‘space coal’, chasing around skeleton arms under the water for Treasure of Syreni… it has definitely brought some bizarre moments into my scuba diving… and even more bizarre items into my Amazon shopping basket.

It has. however, been absolutely amazing. I could not have imagined that Scuba Escape would become as big as it has, and it still doesn’t seem real. I am immensely proud to not only be doing this with Leanne, but for us to be changing the UK diving market, bringing something new and exclusive and changing the way that it is viewed in other countries. We always look for ways to get new divers into the sport… sometimes we just need to think outside the box, or inside it as the case may be!

So, if you have not tried it yet… or don’t watch TV, read magazines, newspapers or listen to the radio… make sure you go to the website and check it out and come along for a game with your dive buddies. Whether you want to rob an underwater bank, chase mermaids, become the new Sonic the Hedgehog or Tom Cruise, there is something for everyone!


Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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