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It's that time of year when we cast an eye back over what we have achieved in the past 12 months (or just get incredibly impatient waiting for Crimbo morning when we can open pressies and large bottles of booze!).  So what was your favourite dive of '03?  Mine was Spiney Colony in Tobago where we encountered a huge Manta Ray (the first they'd seen for about three months), a giant hawksbill turtle, a hammerhead and an array of sting rays.  A truly amazing, humbling experience.  
 

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Watching my wife's face as I lead her through and round the wreck of the Thistlegorm in the Red Sea. She'd heard so much about it that she was, ahem, gagging for it. The dive lived-up to its promises and she wants to do it again.
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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I am rather hopeing I havent done it yet.

Andrew and I are dooing the Blue hole off Dahab next week and I am getting realy excited.

PS: I took my wife to the Thistlegorm for the first time this year too. She loved it and said it was 'quite exciting' which is praise indeed from Ling.  She thinks diving rusty heaps of metal is tantamount to insanity.

Ling ran out of gas as we passed the captins cabin and had to come up on my long hose and didnt even bat an eyelid I was quite impressed (but not by her SAC)

ATB

Mark Chase
 

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I did the Blue Hole (Dahab) in February and it was amazing - hope you enjoy it!  Also did the Thistlegorm and found it really exciting, really got the adrenalin pumping!
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>A 40 odd minute dive watching 7 Mantas in the Maldives, along with most of the other dives on the trip.  

As for the UK, nice little wreck called the Glenshee done from Scott W boat in October, not deep nothing amazing happened just a lovely little dive.  More of those please.  


Fiona
 

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<font color='#3BB9FF'>Mine would have to be...the Red Sea in November, had surfaced from the Thistlegorm clambered onto the rhib, de-kitted when one of the guys shouted 'Dolphins!', I was of that rhib and in the water quicker than a bullet!

There were two, one swam away, but the other stayed and swam among us for what seemed like forever...Truley magical!!!!!!

x x x
 

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Snap Happy
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It was on the Thistlegorm last month that I was confirmed as a Fish Prodder supreme.

First dive with no penetration abs fabulous -  loads of life (of the marine and human varieties) and kept me totally occupied until we had to get out of the water.

Second dive doing the penetration - all jeeps and boots and stuff - I have to say this was the most boring part of the dive - almost to the point of tedious-ness.  I know this is heresy for some here but I say as I find.

I do enjoy diving on wrecks for the life that lives on, under and inside them but, as an end in itself, metal is just too dull for me.

Can't really think of the one best dive as I had some great ones this year - I was lucky enough to get fantastically good weather and calm seas every time I went out on a boat - Highlights were mainly wreck dives (funnily enough) and the life that was on em: Thistlegorm, Hood, JEL and a whole load around Anglesey oh and the M2 (actually that one was a little special just for what it was).
 

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Lucky Man
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Hmmm, too difficult to pick a best one. Had some lovely scenic dives of Cuba, descending through tunnels was especially good, but if I had to choose I thoroughly enjoyed the P555 submarine wreck off Portland. Helped that the vis was cracking, like a bright summer afternoon down there  


More of the same next year please Santa!
 

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Malta in September this year. Always wanted to dive with the girlie and see her gain confidence after being nervy and get a great photo of fish feeding. Managed both in one dive! Laying on the bottom, (only sand),  1000miles viz, looking up and taking a photo of thousands of Saddled Bream feeding...Nice..

My daughter is coming with me next year so will have to go through it all again. What a chore :)

Ian
 

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<font color='#000080'>Kate,
I could have put my mortgage on you picking that one! Unfortunately I didn't get back in quick enough to enjoy them. Never mind, always next year.

Tim,
You surprise me. I was sure you'd pick the night dive that we did at Shebna - the spanish dancer, free swimming moray, octopus and nudibranch everywhere! Forty five minutes of sheer joy!

What I enjoyed most on that Red Sea trip was the navigational triumph at Stingray Station, rewarded by those beautiful swimthroughs full of the shoal of glassfish that everyone else missed.

As for UK diving, the weekend in the Sound of Mull was fabulous, with the dive on the Thesis being the highlight for me. With the early Autumn sunlight beaming down through the exposed spars of the wreck and shoals of fish swaying around inside. A beautiful, even magical wreck!

What a year's diving with YD. Bring on 2004!
 

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Small, yet perfectly formed...
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For me definately the third dive on the Thistlegorm once all the hoards had left with my son son Matt 14 holding the torch and  leading. Magic. Or the swimming with Dolphins when we saw them from the Livaboard and jumped in.

Or actualy some of the many dives in sound of Mull with Nick who was was just a friend at the beginning of the season and ended up becoming the love of my life. (ahhh):D
 

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Snap Happy
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Mark Davies @ Dec. 24 2003,22:00)]What I enjoyed most on that Red Sea trip was the navigational triumph at Stingray Station, rewarded by those beautiful swimthroughs full of the shoal of glassfish that everyone else missed.
Oh yeah, forgot that.  Course what with you and I being the only ones diving the highlight of the whole site, it was absolutely bloody great - swimming amongst those glassfish through that narrow gorge-ette was just stunning.  

And of course,as you rightly said, your navigatiponal triumph despite my best attempts to take us in the wrong direction by following whatever group of divers we happened across.  
 

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<font color='#000080'>The James Barrie.  Sat in 45m of water, having missed her once due to crappy weather i got another chance the next time i went up there.  Very intact wreck, fantastic vis, narked outta my box!
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Doing Scapa for the first time this August ... Great stuff !
 

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There have been quite a few this year but one that really shines through is the 2nd dive on the wreck of the Aida on big brother island in the red sea. there were 21 divers on the Excel and we had done the wreck that morning and were given the option of:
1) returning to the wreck
2) going to the south point of the island where the current was breaking and thresher shark, manta ray and hammerheads had been previously seen.

17 of the divers plumped for option 2 whereas John, Barbara, Dawn and I plumped for option 1 (quieter dive and we wanted to go back). The dive was fantastic but was made better by the circling hammerheads on the wreck. Just simply beatiful.

When we got back to the Excel, obviously hyper, we asked the other chaps what they'd seen which wasn't a lot.

If any of you unfortunate 17 are reading this post I'm not sorry at all about gloating
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Most memorable, sadly not for the right reasons was May this year - recovering a fellow divers body from 20m of water at Furnace Quarry (off Loch Fyne). Not the easiest thing to do when you've been sharing a joke and a laugh 30 minutes before.

Hope not to have to do that again ever, let alone in 2004

Best however......

Fairweather V at the Sound of Mull - fantastic viz, amazing wreck as it's fairly new, great weather and an easy dive. Was also about three days after a serious car crash which made the weekend a bit better.....  
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Driftwood @ Dec. 29 2003,10:06)]Fairweather V at the Sound of Mull - fantastic viz, amazing wreck as it's fairly new, great weather and an easy dive.
They must've moved it at the same time. Is that the "same" Fairweather 5 just off Ullapool. Look at a map, dim child!!!
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Leave me alone... I'm in work.

Got the SoM on the brain at the mo..... Still not dived it  


Yes, the Fairweather V is off Leac Dohnn in the Summer Isles (Loch Broom to be precise)
 

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<font color='#000F22'>Lots of memorable dives in the red-sea and around S.wales, but if I was to pick one i'd have to be during out club trip to the Skelligs in September. 30M dive lots of life, anemanies of colours i've not seen before, masses of starfish, loads of Tompot, lobster, barracuda and other fish. Absolutely teeming with life and then to end a 50min dive coming through some tunnels out into about 6m of water with the sun breaking through the water - you could almost feel the warmth. It was a really good experience.

gareth

The black rock area of Valentia Island was very good too.
 

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Oi Gareth!

You Jammy bar-steward! Any chance of a dive trip report on the Skelligs? Who ya dived with? Dive site names, descriptions etc?
 
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