FINS, FINS - WHY FINS
hspace=5 One of my all-time pet hates is that instructors demand that fins should be used as the correct terminology for the plastic paddles we stick on our feet. Why
I dont care what people call them, fins or flippers, it makes no odds to me. I just dont understand why dive professionals insist on the fins terminology. Is it some ego trip on the part of the instructors, or some remnant from the old dive clubs In my experience the majority of people understand flippers better than fins.
How far should we take this insistence on approved terminology Should we be calling air tanks air cells, or wetsuits hydro-thermal exposure suits I urge all diving professionals to relax over this unnecessary dictatorship of terminology.
Mark Hext


KLEPTOMANIACS
The one thing that gets me mad is seeing some muppet moving or taking away something from the bottom of a dive site thats been put there for all to enjoy. The two best examples I can give are the helicopter and the galleon at Stoney Cove.
I used the galleon as part of my Nautical Archaeology Society coursework, and managed to get in touch with the originator of the idea. When you see the pictures of what it looked like when it was put in, and whats left of it now, it makes my blood boil! Especially when you consider that it was placed in fairly shallow water so that it would be good for novices to dive.
It took two days to put the galleon in place, but I was told that people were already bringing up bits of the ballast used to hold it down by the Sunday of that weekend! The helicopter has just been cut to bits by divers who have to try their knives/shears etc to see if they work!
Bill Elmore


RUSH HOUR
My pet hate is when some divers dont give others room and time, either when kitting up or while on a dive. Under water theyll barge you out of the way so that they can see something themselves, then turn and kick you in the face when theyre done.
Weve probably all done it now and then, but we should be more considerate of our fellow-divers - after all, we may need their help if something goes wrong.
Brian Ligat


NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE
hspace=5 There always seem to be people on my trips who smoke and dive. Its mind-boggling to think that anyone would smoke prior to diving, when you consider that even at Open Water level they had to learn something of diving physiology and physics in order to get the card.
Combine the assault on the lungs with obesity and dehydration due to a hangover, coupled with a difficult return to the ladder in rough conditions, and there is a real possibility that I will be using my life-saving skills sooner rather than later.
Diving is an aerobic sport to one degree or another and should be promoted as such. A divers health should be a real consideration on and off the boat.
Stephen Patten




CRASHING BORE
In Thailand recently my partner and I witnessed some diver rage. A gentleman from Norway in our dive party asked us how many dives we had done. When we said 23, he scoffed.
On the first dive he was descending below my partner (even though he was behind us at the start of the dive) and crashed into me, at one point almost dumping me on top of some urchins. My partner had words with him at 25m-plus. After that he quietened down, and even apologised after the dive (my partner isnt small).
At the next dive site, the Norwegian came from behind but a bit below us; finning the other way at his depth was a female diver. They swam into each other, clashing heads. The lady diver pulled his mask off; he pulled her reg out of her mouth.
She then went for his low-pressure inflator, filled his BC with air, and he shot up and crashed into us from below while trying to dump it. My partner and I are new to diving, and would never consider such behaviour acceptable, but it hasnt put us off!
Suzi Cooper


REBRO-MAN CHUCKS HIS TOYS
During a liveaboard holiday in the Red Sea over Christmas I had the opportunity to dive at Marsa Abu Dabab. In groups of six we jumped in on a mission to find sea turtles and dugongs in the sea grass, five of us using the usual single-cylinder set-up and one guy using a rebreather.
The water started to become shallower but the reef was really pretty and full of fish life. As we swam along, it became even shallower, with a depth of only 2-3m to a sandy bottom.
Checking around to make sure we were all safe we found Rebro-man, his knees firmly dug into the sand, arms crossed defiantly across his chest and eyes of steel just glaring at us.
We couldnt work out what the problem was, and he wasnt going anywhere, so his partner swam over and, after a few choice hand signals, pulled him up to the surface.
A few minutes later they descended and swam back the other way. We finished what was a lovely dive, and back on the boat asked what had gone wrong.
The rebreather divers partner replied: He had an underwater tantrum - seems it wasnt deep enough for his liking, so I had to take him back. Seems Rebro-man was a little too shallow!
Rebecca Wilkinson-Preece


TAKE YOUR 4X4S AND...
hspace=5I see red every time I see 4x4 vehicles parked on the ramp at Dorothea Quarry. Fair play to those who need to get their kit down to the waters edge, but please drop your kit off and then return your 4x4 to the top car park.
The number of times I hear people threatening to damage these selfish peoples vehicles is unbelievable, but most of us are considerate divers and wouldnt dream of doing such a thing. Please show some consideration to others. Apart from this I never see red, and always love my days out diving.
Jay Wynn


SHOT IN THE DARK
I was on a trip to Stoney Cove and diving on the 6m shelf with a bunch of Open Water students, kneeling on the bottom.
With eight or so people in a very small area, we must have been giving off quite a few bubbles. Suddenly, a shot weighing probably 10kg landed between me and my students. It had missed my head by inches.
As I looked up, I could see people starting to come down the line!
I took out my knife and cut it.
A few minutes later, this diver appeared. He found his shot with the line obviously cut and looked at me accusingly. He gestured as if to say: How dare you
I signalled back... YOU, ME, UP and then punched the palm of my hand. He looked at my students, looked at me, realised what hed done and collected his shot.
Martin Read


FISHING FURORE
I saw red about five years ago when my husband and I went from Dubai to Dibba in the United Arab Emirates. We took the boat north from Dibba to dive in Musandam, and when we got back I saw the most awful sight; there were numerous dead sharks on the dock, including two hammerheads and a leopard shark.
I shouted at the Indian fishermen, saying: How stupid can you be, these are endangered! I was living in Bahrain at the time and know the attitude of people in these countries. It wasnt the fault of the fishermen - thats what they were paid to do. But I was puzzled that this should be happening beside Musandam. Its part of Oman, which prides itself on being an eco-conservation country.
Sylvia Hamilton


hspace=5 LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE
The worst case of diver rage I ever had the unfortunate experience of witnessing was at Stoney Cove last year. My buddy Steve was about to bite into his between-dive hotdog when the sausage fell out of the bread roll and hit the deck to become covered in grit. I have never seen anybody curse as much.
Paul Harris



A FEW LESSONS
Ive been diving for eight years, and Ive witnessed some attitude problems towards less-experienced divers, myself included.
Here are a few things Ive learnt: there will always be the PADI/ BSAC tit for tat; the divers who think they know all the answers quite often know the fewest; you learn from others; and we all learn by our mistakes. My motto is: The silliest question is the one thats not asked.
Dave Fyfe


FOR THE HIGH JUMP
The instance of diver rage I witnessed was when I was learning to dive in my local swimming pool. The other trainees and I were with our instructor and divemaster, learning mask- and regulator-clearing, when we were almost hit by an experienced diver who had decided that the learners were all in his way.
He wasnt going to wait until we had left the pool. He jumped straight in, almost hitting me and my learning buddies with his cylinders in the process, because he hadnt checked whether the area was clear as he hit the water with his twin-12s.
I saw the glance of sheer disgust on the face of our instructor, who clearly couldnt believe his eyes.
The divemaster saw red and quickly followed the diver to point out his disregard for safety; the gestures were quite obvious to us all!
As new learners we were all taught about safety, and when this occurred it provided the useful lesson that some more experienced divers soon forget the basics, or fail to follow them.
Gary Brown


CONSERVATION EFFORTS
The nearest I got to diver rage was when working as a dive guide in Hurghada, where I witnessed coral being damaged, broken and collected on many occasions. Two things could happen: either getting numb, or getting even. I chose the latter.
While diving Shaab Eshta, which is already heavily damaged by dynamite, I was leading a group of divers and following another group from a different boat.
Judging by their behaviour, I soon ascertained that they were from the east. The diver directly in front of me kept stopping and picking up objects, shells, coral - anything he could.
I wagged a finger at him, and carried on. This didnt dissuade him, and I looked to the groups dive guide, who gave me a shrug that said yes, but what can I do.
By this time I was livid, so I approached the diver again and knocked a shell out of his hand. At the end of the dive we surfaced first, and they came up next to us five minutes later.
As this chap came up the ladder, our eyes locked. At this point I went into meltdown, and cannot repeat what I said.
He took it all very calmly, smiled, and said: Ah, Greenpeace!
I gave up at that point. I dont care what divers do to themselves, but any damage to the environment angers me. However I would always stop short of taking a mask off/reg out, or inflating my opponents BC, tempting as it may be.
Stuart Munnery


TALE OF TWO DIVING SCHOOLS
I work as an assistant instructor for a dive school in Kent that shall remain nameless. I was taking some newly qualified divers out for an orientation dive in Leybourne Lake when an argument started between rival schools across the lake.
Two instructors had started to argue about which school was going to use a particular platform. They were getting a bit hot under their drysuits to say the least, and started to kick off. They both stood shouting abuse and idle threats at each other, though to no useful end.
While this was going on, I took advantage of the situation and slipped into the water and onto the platform in question to check out my divers.
Bernie


JACKSON FIGHT
hspace=5 I want to tell you about a really terrible scene that happened last year just off Jackson Reef in Tiran, Egypt. A group of us was diving with two guides. We had been diving together all week, and it had been a great experience.
We had just doubled back along the reef when we saw a diver holding onto the coral to take photographs. He had been doing this for a while and, finally, one of our guides went up to him and pointed to his hand and signalled no. The diver started gesticulating madly and carried on; so did the guide.
The diver turned round, grabbed the guide and tried to pull his reg from his mouth. They tussled, and then the guide was thrown down onto the coral.
We couldnt believe what we were seeing - it was grotesque. The diver turned round and swam off. We found out later that our other group with the other guide had had the same experience - except that the guide had injured his head in the confrontation, and it was bleeding quite badly.
It was shocking to see a trained diver holding on to and damaging coral, but even more shocking to think that a trained diver might attack another person under water and try to remove his regulator. Once we were on the boat, the guides sent the word out to the other moored boats to try to find the guy, but to no avail.
How can these people be curbed Clearly no one had ever stood up to the guy before, but why not
Maria Forte