Scuba diver beaten with club

Who wants to join a dive club?


Scuba diving is generally classed as a sociable past time as it revolves around a group of people sharing a common interest - scuba diving. I would regard myself as quite a sociable person, although in this age of digital networks it’s hard to grasp what sociable actually means. I am beginning to question if I like people at all, or if they like me; in real life that is.


I had over 2000 friends on my old myspace page, yet not so many want to be my friend on facebook; perhaps people are more ignorant on facebook. I don’t really know. Maybe everyone on myspace died, which would certainly explain its plunge in popularity. I hope whoever was last to leave dropped the keys through the letterbox.

Social networks are great but the main problem with internet buddies is that you can’t go diving with them. I can dive with a few, but not many. Most of my internet friends are from across the globe and don’t seem very keen to fly thousands of miles to join me on Sunday morning for a 45min wreck dive in a murky Irish Lough.

Selfish bastards.



As a result, most divers are proud members of a dive club. Everyone except me.





I used to be in a club, but it exploded……….. or imploded ……………. or disintegrated. It was hard to tell.


The club I used to be part of was basically the group of people I learned to dive with. There was the instructor fellow, a couple of DM’s and a few stragglers from previous courses that just seemed to 'hang out' with the instructor generally ‘helping out’ a bit.

When Kerri and I were learning I could have seen the other club members far enough, as it was quite intimidating learning a new sport with all the other “Jedi masters” around who had been doing it for ages. In hindsight, most of them were far from “Jedi masters” and were lucky to come back from any of their dives in once piece.


A standard conversation went like this;



ME: “What’s the deepest you can dive on air to?”

GUY: “Not sure, about a mile I think.”

ME: “Really? That’s great.”



ME: “What regs are you using? I need to get own soon, and would appreciate some advice.”

GUY: “I have a black one and a yellow one.”

ME: “Really? That’s great”



That was when I found myself turning to the internet for scuba advice.



Then there were "The dives."


Now, when I get to dive site I am usually in the water within 40 minutes. I don’t think this is particularly fast, but it does entail donning my undersuit, my dry suit, getting my kit together, donning it, checking it, locking the jeep up and then walking down to the water. It’s not horrendously slow either.



I recall arriving at the dive site with the club at 11am, as instructed. When we got there everyone else was already standing around. ‘This is good’ I thought. It was a shore dive, so all we had to do was kit up and walk in. 

It was a fascinating spectacle to watch 10 divers take SO long to get themselves sorted; arranging who was with whom, and who would be diving first ……. second ……. third ….. last ……. never. It resulted in Kerri and I standing around in our semi-drys, sweating in the sun until 3pm when we finally got a cylinder on.

It was scandalous.

When we eventually got our kit together we always seemed to be last in and were then hurried into the water while being asked not to be too long.



Then there was “The Liability.”



The Liability” shall rename nameless for so many reasons it hurts. Ultimately, it just wouldn’t be fair to do that to the fellow on the World Wide Web. I am not the world’s best diver, I have never stated that, but I honestly believe I am competent and safe. Safer than "The Liability" anyway.



This guy was a legend. He had all the best kit; wet suit, dry suit, undersuit, new BCD, expensive torch - the works. However, this was all wasted as most of his dives were conducted on the boat, finding far too many reasons not to actually get in the water.

I remember a dive when he actually did get in;

The guy in charge of the dive told him to descend first, then let us newbies follow him down. Dutifully ‘The Liability’ gave Kerri and I the ‘thumbs down’ and descended. 2 mins later as Kerri and I were about to follow him he shot up out of the water like a cork! 

He must have come 6 feet out of the water. His BCD was bulging at the seams it was so stuffed with air, his eyes were staring wide, and the craziest thing was, somehow, he had ended up with his octopus in this mouth rather than his main reg!


Outstanding.


The next dive we had with him was from the shore. As usual Kerri and I were waiting around to “share” the weights. This translated to standing on the beach in semi-drys for 2 hours in the hope of finally borrowing a weight belt. At this stage “The Liabilty” had all the club weights on; it appeared to be the only thing he didn't own. Even with 60lbs of lead on his belt, the guy was skimming along the surface, basically snorkelling with scuba gear.


ME: “Good dive?”

THE LIABILITY: “Great thanks. I think I need more weight, but I got wet and that’s the main thing”


Outstanding.



He had another go with 2 of the other guys in the club. They explained, after 5 mins into the dive they turned around to signal to one another and “The Liability” had simply gone. They surfaced a minute later and found him floating near the boat.


DIVER: “What happened mate?

THE LIABILITY: “I lost you, so I dumped my weight belt”

DIVER: “You dumped your belt at 20m?”

THE LIABILITY: “Yeah. You know me – everything by the book.”



Outstanding.



I vowed to never dive anywhere near The Liability ever again.




There were numerous other crazed moments in the club. Dives were cancelled last minute for reasons so obscure it was staggering; diggers were parked in front of the dive store, random hurricanes were forecast, the boat sank, cars broke down, pasta had been spilled on the kitchen floor, everyone was still drunk, the list was endless.



Eventually Kerri and I decided enough was enough. We bought our own cylinders, completing our kit, did some internet research on local dive sites, and basically began diving on our own. 

We have the best dive club ever.

In our club, dives never get cancelled, we go on lots of holidays, no one is ever late, everyone pays their own way, the divers are all at the same training level, dives are conducted properly in a safe manner, we always have fun, everyone gets along famously and we all go home and get into bed together.

I know divers who swear by their club, and are extremely dedicated to its operations. It takes a lot to run a successful club and without a doubt there are advantages. I get my air fills from a local BSAC club; they are nice people and have often asked us to join them.

Ultimately however I have been scarred for life and can’t imagine diving with a large group of divers in such fashion ever again. I just can’t go back to it.

It’s a sad story I know, but please don’t cry. Wife-buddy and I dive very happily, mostly on our own.

In the end we were beaten to death by a club.

I beat I Are Diver with my club!

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Safe diving buddy.