My Blog

Mon 27/09/2021 5:55pm

When I was staying with dive friends of mine on the Isle of Wight, the water was so clear and so bright I felt like I could dive just in the sunshine on the surface! The blue light waves felt like I could step into them. Imagine a great big swimming pool filled with sunbeams!

I have one memory of long before I learned to dive, when I was about 20 (so about 30 years ago) when I was down at my family's cottage in Mobile Bay. I made the mistake (I was not new to caves, just new to salt water caves, where light penetration cat be weak) of going down to the back caverns of the Middle Cave where the kayaks normally go into the cave. I realized I was in trouble when my flashlight beam was cast away, where I was looking, out into the complete dark. I tried to surface but I hit the roof and gashed my head open. I panicked, turned on my side and stuck the knife in the rock ceiling, using an elbow to push the knife blade into the rock. I then used the knife to saw my way up to the surface. No one had any idea this was going on and I used a fire Viking belt to stop up the bleeding until I could get to the merc in Bay Minette. The man who took care of me at the merc took one look at where I had gashed my head and sent someone to the hospital, who suspected I might have fractured a skull. Ultimately all that turned out ok, but I remember the disorientation and panic of knowing I could have left the single beam of brightness of my flashlight, as well as knowing that there was a very good chance I could wound myself badly with my own knife. I have pretty good sea cave vision and I could swear that I could actually see when there was a cavern this deep into the cave and one where I would be stuck with nothing but a knife to get me out. Good times!

Sat 14/08/2021 10:49am

One of my favourite dives staying with dive friend Elisabeth on the Isle of Wight was St Catherine's Point, where the water was again incredibly clear. I was even able to see a large grey seal in the water. One of the best things about St Catherine's Point is that it offers divers a view over large cliffs. It's fairly rare to get an overview of a place with breath-holding, let alone underwater, and I think it makes the underwater experience more exciting and refreshing.

11/07/2020 3:46pm

Blog update:

The current situation with COVID-19 has been very disheartening for anyone with a strong passion for travelling and the outdoors. I used to feel the same way. The past year has taken me on a personal journey of reappraisal, from someone with a desire to travel to someone with a stronger desire to live with intention. The focus has shifted from fulfilling a desire to travel to fulfilling a desire to make a difference.

So as my life has changed I've decided to turn this blog around a bit, to reflect my new outlook more accurately.

In recent years I was determined to get everything I wanted out of life, to fulfil the growing list of lustful travel itineraries I'd created in my head. From touring New Zealand in a campervan, to summiting Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park; from scuba-diving in Thailand, to talking to strangers in the street in Osaka; from scrambling up a waterfall in Banff National Park, to having a picnic on Loup Blanc in the Massif des Écrins. I wanted to see it all and do it all and then write about it here.

But as I'd tick off one bucket list item after another I'd find myself becoming more and more discontent, grasping harder at the next thing, always looking to fulfil some external desire rather than finding happiness within myself. I'd find myself in amazing places and not really enjoying them, just because I was too focused on taking photos and documenting the experience rather than being present in the moment and just enjoying being there. I'd find myself rushing from place to place, always on to the next thing, and not really taking the time to appreciate anything. And worse still, I'd find myself lost in a cycle of consumptive tourism, where the act of travelling itself became just another way to consume, another way to acquire more stuff.

It was only when I started to travel with a social and environmental conscience that I began to break out of that cycle, and I gradually started to realise that the way I was travelling was not only detrimental to the environment but also to my own well-being. I started to see that my desire to consume was preventing me from seeing the world, and my desire to see the world was fuelling my consumption. I started to see that if I wanted to make a difference in the world I needed to change the way I was living.

And so I've decided to use this blog to share my new way of living with intention, my new way of travelling with a social and environmental conscience. I'm going to be posting about the things that are important to me, like sustainability, zero waste, zero carbon, and ethical travel. I'm going to be sharing my experiences of living a more sustainable lifestyle, and I hope that my posts will inspire others to do the same.

Thanks for reading,

24/06/2020 12:01pm

Thought I'd write a quick entry to show support for a local Reckange-sur-Mess business, Divewinns! I ripped the leg of my wetsuit on a dive a few months ago, and although the suit is still useable I've been searching high and low for a place to repair it as we head into the Winter months. Someone on the Free Divers Facebook group recommended Divewinns and they were brilliant. The owner is called "Rick" and he's a retired technical diver himself, so I knew that my beloved Cressi Gara Modular would be in good hands.

The repair was carried out very quickly, and it seems to be holding up well so far, so I am very happy. I'm hoping to get a few more dives in before the weather turns, but with my busy work schedule it may not be possible.

I'd definitely recommend Divewinns if you're in need of a good local dive store, tell Rick I sent you if you do decide to stop by!

Dive safely,

11/06/2020 10:58am

I've been doing some DIR (Diver Involvement in Rescue) training as of late, and since testing is scheduled for the first weekend in July I thought I'd share a few tips: First off, always remember the pneumonic S.T.A.B.L.E. - unsupported airway, uncontrolled bleeding, abnormal breathing, decreased blood pressure, low oxygen levels, everything not ok. This is the order you should always work in. Secondly, air is still the number one priority, followed by bleeding and then, if necessary, treating for shock. Third - and this is less about critical care and more about triage and practical decision making in a rescue situation - always remember: two is one and one is none. One diver is never going to be able to rescue another, especially if that other diver is larger or more incapacitated. Two divers, however, can usually (though not always) manage to rescue one. So, when in doubt, always err on the side of bringing another diver into the rescue mix. And finally, always remember that time is of the essence in a rescue situation. Time spent debating whether or not to go in and time spent waiting for help to arrive are time that the victim may not have. So, if you're trained and you're able, always go in. I hope these tips are helpful and that they help you to be ready in the event that you ever find yourself in a rescue situation.

11/03/2020 12:26pm

So, I take care of the maintenance of my dive equipment, I change my o-rings and I check that my back-ups are always ready for use. Is this enough? I recently found out that it is not. After a particularly gruelling session of DIR rescue training (more on this to come in a later blog entry) one of my students, who is a Dr., came up to me and pointed out a worrying health hazard. It turns out that once I had my wet suit on in readiness for an exercise, I failed to remove it properly when the exercise was finished. I must have just unzipped my suit, stood up and dashed off in the direction of the shore. After a few attempts the student eventually managed to get my attention and I", at last, removed my suit properly.

Of course, this kind of thing happens to everyone in resuce training and I know that the other students would have had a good giggle at my expense, although nobody said anything. However, we are human and what is true for us as divers, is also true for everyone.

The problem with wet suits is that when you remove them or put them on, your skin is in contact with your own sweat and holiday tan cream, (if you have one). Consequently, the wet suit is a fertile ground for bacteria, to grow and when you put your wet suit over the top of another wet suit, so the skin is in contact with this material which may be from a subject in an emergency situation, you are asking for trouble. The consequences of this can range from minor skin irritation to serious skin infections and Staphylococcus infections, to a life threatening condition called MRSA.

11/03/2020 2:21am

With the cat having a new best friend (and the bird being suitably unimpressed!) we've been looking for a second birdcage for a while - but the prices were always a bit prohibitive. So this week we found another cat tree on sale, and took out one of the levels to make a suitable bird cage. It's identical in size to our old cage, but was significantly cheaper and will save us a bit of space too. The cat's not too sure about it, but hopefully she'll get used to it!

11/04/2019 9:12pm

Hey everyone!

I'm back from my dive in Upper-Sûre lake and I had an amazing time! The water was a lot warmer than last time I was there and the visibility was great. I even saw a few fish!

I'm already planning my next dive, hopefully I can go next weekend.

Until then,

31/03/2019 8:16am

Good morning! Up bright an early today to go to Lultzhausen for a dive in Upper-Sûre lake. I haven't been for a few months now and am itching to get back in the water. Last time I was down I spent a bit getting my camera working underwater to take some photos of small fish underwater. We (me and Jacqui) currently don't have a fancy rig to go deep(ish) however I managed with a single strobe using a small beam light on our headtorches. We got a few good shots. I think they look quite good.

I have recently proposed to Jacqui (who accepted after a very good iced-cream slice in St. Vith, "Guerlain") so had started looking at venues in Luxembourg to have the Wedding before I went away. Jacqui is in the process of choosing a dress and I am getting my suit gussied up for WUS. I stay in Kuurfrankriek tonight then I am going to the "Carré d'as" in Longvilly (a local club), then back to the centre tomorrow night where I have a pre-WUS do with Katherine. I am getting excited! Tonight is actually Tony's birthday I have suspected so I might get a little surprise tonight. It will be interesting to meet some of my spouse's "Residence" colleagues.

31/10/2018 4:14pm

Day 3 Our targets today were some interesting areas of uncleared sand, which we returned to today. Clumps of trash in these sand patches are likely to be at greater risk of being blown out and floating up to the surface, so clearing these areas helps us to keep polluting materials off the lake bottom. During the first dive, a group of us measured the depth of the bottom and then walked across to quickly clear trash. The second dive was mostly for fun - we searched for cool finds in the sand in differences spots. And THEN we were done here. Bags were picked up, tanks were filled and I'll soon be diving in a different area. Stay tuned!

30/10/2018 12:14pm

Day 2 The weather is still Excellent today, with brilliant warm sunshine, blue sky and just a gentle breeze. Diving continues and we're doing some mapping of the lake bottom inside Bellerive. This involves diving in pairs and one person swimming along a line of markers placed in a line across the bay, while their partner swims parallel, counting and mapping things like plants, animals and trash found on the bottom. Sometimes we all jump in for a dive together without working, just for fun and to see what we can see. We are all getting good at identifying the animals, plants and trash on the bottom, and the mappers are getting good at mapping it. The map of the bottom of the lake is forming rapidly, but there’s lots more it yet to cover. Watch this space!

29/10/2018 8:46am

Day 1 The weather is perfect today and we got up early to dive. Montreal Gazette professional photographer, John Kenney, took several pictures and videos of the divers in action, which have been posted on-line . In the depths of the lake, we were stunned to find mussels still clinging to a sunken ship from the 1920s. Tasks, like identifying and measuring aquatic plants, looking for invasive species or measuring the water temperature, required the divers to go deep, where visibility is often only a few meters, rather than being able to plan and use familiar landmarks. This has involved much communication over the surface or underwater with radios or whistles. Something the divers obviously don’t need to do is chase their fish, because there are lots of them. We don’t have the Ocean Act and there is no need for a Fishing License. The only problem is we can’t figure out how to catch these guys without a fishing rod, line or bodyboard. Tomorrow, we will be searching for beaver dams and looking for invasive plants to control and remove.