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
Tips for… Refreshing Skills
A hugely important subject, and one that should be considered by any diver regardless of your training level. Just like anything, sometimes life gets in the way, we get sidetracked and before you know it, it’s been 2 months out of the water. It may not seem like a lot, but we naturally start to forget things when they are not used. We slow down our actions as we are out of practise and have to think a little more in order to retrieve the information to help make decisions.
There’s nothing wrong with this of course, we cannot always be diving! But it is important that we refresh before getting straight back into it. We obviously conduct a lot of refresher courses here at the dive centre, but we are also realistic, knowing that not everyone will want to pay to refresh their skills with an instructor. That’s also fine too, just be sensible.
Our tips for this would be the following; some will likely seem a little common sense… but it’s always good to have a reminder right?!
First off, when getting back to diving, choose a buddy that you usually dive with or someone that has a higher level of competency in diving. This will give you the reassurance in the water and not have to be worrying about the others person whilst getting back into it yourself.
Secondly, choose a site that you know. Don’t be jumping straight in having seen an amazing new site that you want to try out… that can wait for another time. You have already had a break in your actual diving, without having to then also consider navigating and a new dive plan.
Next, try to leave out the brand new equipment. It’s great that getting back into diving you have decided to buy yourself a new drysuit, fins and BCD, but it all might be a little bit much. Let’s concentrate on just getting back into the water and then move onto those new additions. This kind of change can make even the best of divers anxious.
Last but not least, there’s nothing wrong with staying shallow. Our first dive to get back into it, does not need to break our dive depth record. Stay shallow, enjoy the marine life at this depth, and keep the dive nice and easy. Practise those skills if you would like to, make sure you know where all your equipment is positioned and get comfortable. The ocean isn’t going anywhere… there’s always tomorrow to get in for another!
Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com
Jump into… Scuba Escape
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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