Late June 2019 I turned 50, it’s kind of a milestone year so I thought to myself what the fuck!! lets go crazy it only happens once! So despite being in the middle of building garages and renovating my house I threw caution to the wind and became my bank managers worst nightmare. I fired up the plastic and bought the equipment Id been dreaming of and jumped on every chance I could to have a good time, the laughs were plenty and the diving amazing ! 50 was to be a special summer indeed 😀
The year had started well with spring trips up to the North of Scotland diving out of Dunstaffnge with Shane Wasik and Diveoban, exploring the falls of Lora . The scene of a few of mine and Neils kayak capers over the years. Clyde adventures on the Wallachia and Akka with Neil, skippered by the Clydes finest Jason Coles of Wreckspeditions and some amazing spring MarineQuest adventures on the North Sea including the amazing J6 Submarine dive. 2019 was a good year already and the summer was still to come!
First week of the summer season saw me doing my JJ CCR crossover with the infamous Stevie Sanders 😀 , that was a weekend to remember – see for tales of green slime and hippies The next few weeks saw me practising skills up St Abbs with Jim on the Silver Sky. My plan was to get familiar with the new rig before committing to anything more serious . I really enjoy these dives, the St Abbs coastline is beautiful and recreational diving is slightly more relaxing than its technical counterpart.
As luck would have it the first big day out of the summer season was my birthday weekend and the plan was to dive the amazing Not Silvio ? ….. the wreck is an unknown mark discovered by Marine Quest not long ago, where they found a beautiful bell inscribed “Silvio 1880 Hul” but it is unlikely that this is the ship, as the Silvio is reported scrapped in 1912 and differs in size from the wreckage found. It wasn’t unusual back then to re-use these magnificent bells on other ships after scrapping the original.
There are theories that it may be the Otago but there is nothing as yet to prove this so she remains unknown sitting majestically on the bed of the North Sea until eventually a diver unearths more clues to her identity and finally is recognized for who she truly is.
The next morning, still buzzing from the “not Silvio” I met up with Steve Saunders at StAbbs. He had asked me to be his safety diver for the weekend and assist with a rebreather course he was running. He is a good sort Steve so I was keen to help and no doubt I would also learn from it. Sue was his student for the weekend and it was very nice to meet her, a lovely lady who I think (Did I mention memory issues at 50) was a teacher. She was taking her Mod1 rebreather so was in for a tough couple days of skills.
We were diving with the StAbbs skipper of the high sea, Paul Crowe. A well known local character, top skipper and lifeboatman and runs the excellent dive company Dive St.Abbs We were in safe hands and the course went smoothly over the first two dives.. Dry and changed we debriefed over coffee and a tasty toasty at the brilliant Ebb cafe Steve went over everything with Sue and she was happy with how it went.
Iain Steve and I headed out on Saturday night to Oblo for something to eat and a few beers to celebrate my birthday although Steve kept plying me with big Strawberry cocktails!! Eyemouth wasn’t the worst place to turn 50 😀
Sunday was the last day of the Mod1 course and we were at the dock early, Steve briefing Sue about the skills that were required during her last two dives of the course. Paul arrived dockside and we set sail for Black Carr. Soon we were on the bottom and workign through the course. Sue was doing great , confidently doing exactly what Steve was asking and I was happy floating around keeping an eye on things in case Steve needed me to help. Her last dive of the course went the same way and Soon it was time to surface and we set off DSMB and headed for the surface .. Upon our arrival at the surface the Jacob George was circling us , skippered by Iain they approached and the divers on board were singing happy Birthday to me as I floated around in the North Sea 😀 Happy Days !! what a great weekend I was having 😀
Part 2 coming soon ………….A couple of weeks later I met up with Stevie again for a few days of diving, including an anniversary technical expedition to the famous Exmouth Wreck , later featured in Scuba magazine …. Part 2
As ever a good read ?