IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME.” This saying is probably Kevin Costner’s greatest contribution to the spheres of diving / expeditions / general derring-do.
But surely, I hear you say, what about Waterworld Then, after a moment’s pause to reflect, you will abruptly realise that Waterworld was a terrible, terrible pile of poo of a film, and that’ll be the end of that…
Anyway, the “If you build it, they will come” analogy has stood me in good stead again and again. It works when you are facing an impossibly tight time-scale with an impossibly ambitious project and a myriad of reasons why it won’t happen.
It’s a kind of “Oh, go on, let’s give it a bash anyway” sort of approach.
The real moment of truth with so many projects is not the time when suddenly the first sponsorship comes in, or when you have the first team meeting, or even the first dive.
It’s actually the moment when you take the first step of organising the thing, the moment when you commit yourself to making it happen.
It’s been the same with every expedition I’ve ever conceived – that moment when you commit your first funds and announce to the world that it’s going to happen.
But even with that somewhat Corinthian approach, this was daunting. A massive event, at a huge venue, four weeks from the date of having the idea in the first place.
It was prompted by the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and inspired by memories of the gentle, kind, hospitable local people who had so little but gave so much when we filmed an episode of Great Ocean Adventures out there so many years before.
“Go Wild for the Philippines” was the name of the event, which was a cracker of a title, but at the start of the process it was really all we had.
But with certain things, that’s really all you need. Well, that and a tremendous group of friends, colleagues, contacts, a firecracker of a missus, and a wondrous Operations Manager (thanks Suze, you are, genuinely, a legend).
We also had the dive community, in all its multi-faceted, multi-disciplined, kaleidoscopic glory. It would prove a potent combination.

GRADUALLY THE BEAST that was Go Wild grew in stature. Steve Backshall was one of the first on board, swiftly followed by Doug Allan. Ben Fogle got in touch, demanding to help out (“We’re going to need a bigger boat” was Suze’s one-line email to me when she heard the news).
Right on cue, Bristol University donated a huge theatre. Fourth Element and Suunto (those great stalwarts of any charitable diving event) donated T-shirts and small, heavy boxes filled with wondrous bits of electronics to offer as raffle prizes.
Then Miranda Krestovnikoff and Ellie Harrison joined us, then Dr Alice Roberts, then suddenly we were only two weeks away.
By now we had the wildlife equivalent of Live Aid on our hands, so we gingerly launched ticket sales on the website. They sold out in 36 hours.
“Well, do another show that evening, old boy” bellowed Mr Backshall down the phone, as if it was the most obvious thing in the whole world (which it probably was).
So we did. And, miraculously, amazingly, I suddenly found myself standing nervously behind a curtain in said theatre, with the house lights dimmed, and a mighty, booming, celestial voice saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please welcome your host for the evening, Monty Halls!”

BY THIS STAGE, even your esteemed Editor had chucked boxes of books reviewed by DIVER into the boot of his car and was noisily in the process of flogging them in the lobby.
GO WILD was a live, fire-breathing, irresistible monster, surfing a wave of goodwill and carrying us all along with it.
Seven hours later, we all had crazy eyes and stunned expressions, but we also had
nearly £16,000 donated towards the disaster relief effort.
There are two ways to close the column this month. The first is to say that the alchemy of a reasonable idea, a tremendous bunch of mates, a bit of social media, and plenty of belief means that you really can do anything you choose.
Invent a new species of squirrel Invade Wales No problem, it’s merely a tweet and a convincing sales pitch away.
The second thing is – of course – a series of massive thank yous. Thanks to everyone involved, thanks to the volunteers, the speakers, to Steve Weinman for personally driving a 250- mile round trip to bang out books like some balding Del Trotter and raise £200 for us, and most of all, thanks to you for spreading the word and getting behind it all.
See you in December 2014 for the next one!