And the sun goes down

IMG_0052The week has come to an end, but what a finish! The final day started with an early morning penetration dive of the Thistlegorm: I don’t know anything that can prepare you for the spectacle of this wreck’s cargo.

We moved on to Shark Reef and Yolander where (quite appropriately) we saw a shark. We’re not quite sure what sort (maybe a White Tipped Oceanic) but we were at 28m and he was quite a bit below us and still very big… After that the bathroom suites of Yolander were a little less impressive despite their abundance.

The final dive of the week was Ras Ghazlani. An easy dive, swimming against a very gentle current until Manon (our guide) turned us around and we drifted back. We just about got back to our entry point when a boat-load of snorkelers appeared above us. We’d just got over the shock of this, and were preparing to ascend, when a Manta Ray appeared! Only a couple of metres across it was still very impressive. We stayed around and it played for us but too soon we had to surface, avoid the day boats looking for their snorkelers and get back on the Mistral. Once aboard, Manon told us that was the first Manta she’d seen in 16 years of working in the Red Sea!

Just for completeness, here is the rest of my dive itinerary:

  • Dunraven
  • Tile Wreck (look this up and see why I’m so non-specific)
  • Carnatic
  • The Barge
  • Ulysses (dolphins appeared just as we got back into the rib – had to get back in!)
  • Kingston
  • Thistlegorm
  • Thistlegorm (night dive)
  • Thistlegorm
  • Shark Reef and Yolander
  • Ras Ghazlani

My diving century

robin_dive_100This week finds me in Egypt, actually on the Red Sea. Sailing on the MY Mistral I have been diving the “Wrecks and Reefs” itinerary.

The first dive this morning was my 100th dive! Due to a photographic “malfunction” the picture of the slate wasn’t taken underwater, as planned, in front of a wonderful fan coral. Neither was the one of the Hawksbill Turtle that tried to photo-bomb us…

The full list of my dives so far is:

  • Ras Katy
  • Jackfish Alley
  • Temple (night dive)
  • Jackson Reef
  • Woodhouse Reef
  • Gordon Reef
  • Gordon Reef (night dive)
  • Thomas Reef

Running up that hill

Back in March 2011 I ran the adidas Silverstone Half Marathon. My training was severely interrupted by a knee injury but I still managed a time of 2:20:24. This year I ran the race again and achieved a much more respectable 1:57:40.

I’m currently waiting to see if I’ve got an entry in next year’s London Marathon but I’ve already entered for the 2016 Silverstone race. If I don’t get a London place I shall try the Edinburgh race and see if I can beat my current “record” of 5:08:46; I hit the wall at about 18 miles but managed to stumble to the 25-mile point and then ran to the finish!

If you are wondering about the Kate Bush reference in the title, it’s all about location; the only way out of the village (in any direction) is uphill.

Go through that door

There are probably many occasions when you will have heard or used the phrase, “Your life will never be the same.” The most applicable for me came in the Introduction to the PADI Open Water Diver Manual almost 3 years ago. How right they were! From those basic beginnings in a classroom at Oxford Dive Centre and a 2.5m deep swimming pool at Headington School, my eyes have been opened to fabulous new experiences both here in the UK and abroad.

This blog is another new start for me and while I’m not suggesting it is going to change your life, I’m hoping to share some of the amazing things that are now part of my ever-changing world. Along the way I’ll cover some of what got me here today but more importantly I’ll be sharing what is happening now and what I’ve got planned.