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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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Hi all

I have been trying to talk myself into some UK diving for a while now, and having spent a week in the Red sea with 6 YD'ers extolling the virutes of this windy isle, I accept it is something I have to try. So a couple of questions.

Is this the right time of year to do it? I could either be turned into an instant year round UK diver or become a hibernating tropical taveller.

Is it safe to buy a suit before you do the training? or are you likely to learn a lot more on the course that may change your view? (me current favourites are brittanic or CNX, both mtm).

Thanks in advance for any advice. Also if anyone knows of an instructor willing to do an extra course some weekend I think there may be a couple of us, at least, interested in doing the training.

I need peer pressure

Conor
 

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Well I started as a warm water only diver until I did a rescue course in the UK.

Buying a drysuit is a bit of a risk if you do decide it is not for you,  having said that buying a drysuit might make the whole experience more enjoyable and also after paying all that money you might be more inclined to stick at it.

Personally I would recommend you give it a try and also stick with it for a while,  don't be put off if your first dive does not get you hooked.

I think you need to percievere a bit with UK diving but it really is worth it and can be just as enjoyable and more rewarding than diving around the red sea,  Also means that you don't have to wait until your next holiday for your next fix.

I can honestly say that one of my top 2 night dives was in the UK and a few dives are in my top 10 for shore dives.

Give it a try and stick with it.

Daz

P.S,  When I was on the plane on the way back from my last trip to the red sea I was honestly looking forward to getting back to some UK diving.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Is this the right time of year to do it?
No. It's F***ing cold inland and crappy vis in the sea.

But then, it doesn't get much better. So just make sure you've got the right exposure protection and go for it


Flippant? Moi?

I did my first OW dives in toney in March - the water was 4C, the air was even colder, the snow was falling. But, the water was amazingly clear - Stoney's vis is drastically affected by the plankton. We were in drysuits, so we didn't suffer too much from the cold, and we got lots of hot drinks courtesy of the shore cover.

So I'd say yes, it is, depending on where you are & where you'll dive, but ONLY if you get a good drysuit & undersuit first. Ditto gloves & hood.
 

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"hardly ever here"
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i think taking the plunge at this time of year could possibly put you off uk diving! the sea is generally out due to weather conditions, and fresh water sites will be a) cold, and b) uninteresting.

uk diving can be fantastic, but the sort of dives likely to get you hooked will be sea dives in the summer where you will see lots of pretty life-y stuff (which i assume you're into if you like the red sea!), have nice warm water, and be able to sit on the boat in t-shirt and sunnies afterwards.

once you've enjoyed your first season of diving, the hardcore dive-all-year mentality will follow naturally  


as for suit - it's probably better to try diving before you shell out a lot of money for a suit - what if you decide that uk diving's not for you after all? if you start diving in the summer you can hire/borrow a semi-dry, but if you start diving in the winter you may find that a bit nipply, so perhaps it would be better to hire a drysuit. if you do, make sure it's good quality (i.e. fits and doesn't leak) and that you try it out in the pool first...

p.s. i second daz's comment that you should stick at it if you don't get hooked at first.... not everyone loves it the first time, loads of divers i know had severe reservations to start with.... when it comes down to it it's how much you want to do it, and if you're committed you will. i just think it will be more likely that you'll love it first time if the water is warmer!!  
 

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PADI Internet Specialty Diver
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I went abroad once -- it was crap

Conor - the UK has some of the best diving in the world.  If only the vis was better, the weather was better and the roads less congested and the food better and the hotels were cheaper.  But then you can't have it all.

At this time of year the wind and weather make it hard to plan a decent dive.  I know its a long drive but think about a long weekend in Oban, Scotland.  Its my favourite UK venue with some good resturants and pubs and good vis and brill diving that is not too weather dependent.
I use Puffin (www.puffin.org.uk) althought there are other places to go there and I am sure they are OK too.  Puffin rent drysuits and do drysuit training.  They are helpful and friendly and have accomodation near the centre (although I suggest you stay in town near the boozer....)

If you fancy somewhere nearer maybe wait til spring. (BTW I guess you are cambs based so the drive to Scotland is easier than Devon given current traffic I think)

Chris.
 

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Well that depends Conor, are you a man or are you a small squeaky scurrying cheese-sealing rodent
 Not that I'm calling your manhood further into question you understand, but a soft southern shandy drinking girl managed to brave the UK sea recently and wasn't entirely put off  


Or as the Bard might have said:
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That dived with us upon Saint Crispin's day.


Seriously though, if you can get into the sea it'd be far far more enjoyable and more likely to make a man of ... sorry,  a convert to UK diving out of you.  I'm sure somewhere like Swange pier must still be divable year round with at least a couple of metres of viz? What about that big harbour (Portland???) isn't that good for year round diving too ?

do it! do it! do it!  
 

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"hardly ever here"
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ Dec. 15 2003,14:58)]or are you a small squeaky scurrying cheese-sealing rodent
a cheese-sealing rodent? like a capybara with a glue-gun?
 

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Yeah, f***ing b***ards those capybara, everythings so gummy in the pampas and it's all their fault, definately evil herbivores of the Izzard-like persuasion
 

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<font color='#000F22'>
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ Dec. 15 2003,14:58)]And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That dived with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
My god  - if Steve's quoting Henry V at you then you better give it a go.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised  
 

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I think any time of year is a good time to start diving in the UK. I agree in the winter it's colder but on some days the sea can be a lot clearer than in the summer. I think the bad dives are cancelled by the really great dives the UK has to offer.

You don't need to go miles off shore to find great dives you would be suprised what you can find just off the beach.

If you go down the drysuit route I recommend you get in on your first dive with someone with a bit of experience, to give you a bit of advice and go some where shallow, you will probably enjoy it more.

Give it a go you might enjoy it!
 
 


Dave
 

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"hardly ever here"
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ Dec. 15 2003,15:11)]Yeah, f***ing b***ards those capybara, everythings so gummy in the pampas and it's all their fault, definately evil herbivores of the Izzard-like persuasion
and the evil pilot fish! they swim at other fish in pairs, who think "oh no, there's a car coming towards me, heeelp!..... VROOM...... hey! you evil pilot fish! i know your dad"

hence my quote  
 

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I will eat more leaves than I should, then other giraffes may die baw haw haw haw haw...
Think we share the same favourite comedian  
 

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Not as tall in real life
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Conor...

You have to give it a go,  the socialising is good fun as well and you get to engage in conversations as follows..

"Yeah I was diving at the weekend"
"Really, what was it like"
"Fantastic, I had 1m vis"
"1m !!"
"Well yeah, but it was a good metre"  


Daz
 

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"hardly ever here"
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ Dec. 15 2003,15:42)]I will eat more leaves than I should, then other giraffes may die baw haw haw haw haw...
Think we share the same favourite comedian  
oh yes, and glorious rules

you'll just have to imagine me doing the giraffe walk, it doesn't translate online!
 

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Just not enough dive time.
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I'll add my tuppence worth if I may.

I learnt abroad (Lanzarote) and came back unhappy that I was only going to dive on holiday so I bought the basic kit (fins/mask/bcd/regs etc and tanks) then a semi so I could UK dive in the Summer, trouble is I enjoyed it so much I bought a dry suit too. Now whilst I have done Portland with zero viz and thought 'what a waste of time' I have also done some cracking dives, Cornwall, the Farnes etc and thoroughly recommend it. Not all the dives are going to be mind blowing, just like abroard really, but its the only way to keep those skills up to scratch so you dont dive like a newbie every time.

So I would recommend it whole heartedly.

Matt
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Kate R @ Dec. 15 2003,15:01)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ Dec. 15 2003,14:58)]or are you a small squeaky scurrying cheese-sealing rodent
a cheese-sealing rodent? like a capybara with a glue-gun?
Kate, I just read this and now I have coffee all over my keyboard  
 

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"hardly ever here"
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (frogkick @ Dec. 15 2003,16:36)]Kate, I just read this and now I have coffee all over my keyboard  
sorry - didn't realise that people were actually sabotaging their computers to avoid my jokes!  
 

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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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Thanks for the peer pressure guys, just what I needed, I would have replied earlier but I was laughing too much (Eddie is a god in high heels).

So what do you think of the idea of getting the drysuit before the course?

Pro's; train in suit I'm going to use and be more confident that I'm not going to get the north sea down the back of me neck

Con's; More risk financially, If i don't take to the icecream headache thing, or if I get the wrong kind of suit for me.

I reckon I am going to take to it, I had a couple of dives in Wraysbury last summer (21C so not too bad) and got a feel for the low vis thing, not too bad. I am aiming on setting aside at least a day a month for UK diving from next year (parenthood prevents much more).

And Mr Steve, I know sue has lead the way, but I still refuse to hold your hand.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (camdiver @ Dec. 15 2003,16:47)]So what do you think of the idea of getting the drysuit before the course?

Pro's; train in suit I'm going to use and be more confident that I'm not going to get the north sea down the back of me neck

Con's; More risk financially, If i don't take to the icecream headache thing, or if I get the wrong kind of suit for me.
well, if you're dead sure that you'll want to continue diving in the uk, and you're dead sure of the suit you want (don't think you'll go far wrong with otter or dui) then go for it, it'll be false economy to spend money on hiring.

i personally would be wary of spending the best part of a grand on something i might not even get into a big way. i would consider it worth spending a few quid on hiring a suit while training, and seeing if i could try out the suit of my choice beforehand.

so that's my opinion on the money aspect. the danger is that if you hire a nasty suit while training, you could be very uncomfortable, which could put you off, which is exactly what you don't want! but that's a chance you take, you might get a suit that's fine and easy to use anyway.

a general rule of thumb for me is that it's better to try different things before you buy - if you only ever dive in the first suit you buy, how do you know what's good/bad about it, or whether something else might suit you better?

and finally... but look! it's a badger with a gun!!
 
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