I left Fleetwood Nautical College as I was approaching the age of 17, I had no idea what I wanted persue. My intuition pushed me to quit the college and education I was following. My mother was not happy, I look back and reflect that maybe part of her motivation for these feelings was she was now living with her new partner and as he and I didn't see eye to eye, it would be better if I spent as little time as possible at home. Life at home was comfortable My mothers partner was ex RAF and training at British Midland Airways as a First Officer. Therefore income flow into the house was, compared to most, very good and we had food on the table, heating and a nice house to live in. It allowed me to take my time to reflect on my purpose.
I took a job at a filling station , in those days self service was just starting to arrive, my function was to fill customers vehicles with fuel and try to squeeze as much in to their tank as I could, we were trained to at least get an extra penny's worth in a tank, as 100 pennies a day add up to way more sales.
In my spare time I would go fishing on the river trent or the local canal. fishing had always been a passion since I was introduce to it at the age of 8 years old. I loved the solitude and been close to nature. More often than not I was on my own on the bank for 10 hours a day talking to others fishing or sat there waiting for a bite alone with my thoughts.
My life had always taken me to engage with water, swimming and fishing. However, whilst on holiday in Jersey, we stayed at the hotel L'Horizon in St Brelades bay. Whilst staying here one of the activities on offer was learning to scuba dive in the hotels swimming pool, another encounter with water I enjoyed.
This sparked another idea in my mothers mind and suggested, no convinced me to become a commercial diver. She then discussed this with her then partner and they both found a local Dive school at Stoney Cove near Leicester. I was 17 in the May and this must have been around September of the same year 1976. So off I went on a four week coarse to learn how to be a commercial diver.
Insite into Stoney Cove
Stone quarrying first began in Stoney Stanton at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Granite from local quarries was used to repair roads. Around 1850, a railway line was built to move granite out of Top Pit. The railway line ran through a tunnel and surfaced near St Michael's Church in the centre of Stoney Stanton linking the village with the busy Birmingham to Leicester line.During the quarry's working life, the spring water was a constant problem. Pumps were used to prevent the quarry from flooding. When all quarrying ceased in 1958, spring water was allowed to flood the quarry workings. Five years later, the flooded quarry had already become popular with local pioneers of diving and waterskiing. The discovery of North Sea oil was important to the development of Stoney Cove. During the 1960s and 1970s, the flooded quarry was used to train commercial divers en route for the North Sea. The facility was also used for developing and testing underwater equipment destined for use in the oil fields.
In 1978, Stoney Cove Marine Trials Ltd was formed to develop the full potential of Stoney Cove for scuba diving and commercial underwater activities. Since then there has been a continuous programme of improvements which began with a tarmac surface for the waterside parking area. A shower facility and that most important item, a pub, followed soon after. September 1999 saw the completion of a new access road and entrance to Stoney Cove. Beneath the new road is a drain system that directs rainwater and silts from the cliffs and banks away from Stoney Cove during storms. This has significantly improved underwater visibility during rainy periods.But that's not all brought to Stoney Cove in year 2000 The Stanegarth, the U.K.'s largest inland ship wreck, and the Nautilus submarine have both provided major new attractions.
Work on the Underwaterworld Dive centre has brought world class teaching facilities now available for dive clubs and schools to use
Stoney cove was and old quarry that had been allowed to fill with water, its deepest part was about 165 ft and sports divers used this on a regular basis. The commercial dive school was based here as well. It was a very scary looking place, the water looked deep and dangerous and at this point my feelings were what I am doing here !! I started the coarse. The first chilling experience was after a few lessons on pressures on the body and how a person must decompress based on a chart.
The chart depicted depths and the time one spent at these depths, the science was that nitrogen in your blood stream would expand far greater on accent after a dive so the chart showed how long on accent you had to stop at varies depth to allow this nitrogen to stabilise and come out of your body, otherwise you could get what is termed as a bend. ( Nitrogen that has expanded in your blood stream and lodged itself in a joint causing immense pain)
We were put in a decompression chamber ! this was a cylinder about 12 ft long and enough room for 4 people to sit crouched whilst the instructor took us to a simulated pressure depth of 165 ft. Which is the maxium depth you can go to safely, breathing compressed air, before the nitrogen in you system becomes toxic. If it gets to this point it's called nitrogen narcosis. I have to say during this experience I was terrified, I wanted to get out, I felt claustrophobic. I managed to hold myself together for the 30 minutes this lasted. My 3 other fellow students seemed to embrace the experience but they were some 5 to 10 years older than me and had far more sports diving experience than a few minutes in a swimming pool.
After two weeks into the coarse doing various practical things such as diving in a commercial dry suit with commercial breathing equipment. Learning to cut metal with oxygen and gas combined as well as generally getting used to the water in all this equipment. I then came down with tonsillitis followed by a septic throat so I had to rest for two weeks. I went back to finished my coarse and there was only me for the last two weeks. Finish it I did and "voila" I had my commercial dive certificate , which was a bit like learning to drive , it furnished me with basic knowledge to then try to secure some form of work that would allow me to practice my new found skills. However I was still only 17, we were in the early part of 1977 and I couldn't legally dive for a living until I was 18 years old.
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I am happy and fulfilled, I have a property business and an online business. I have learnt to serve others ( as I hope I am doing now ) respect others for what they are trying to achieve no matter how big or small their ambition. I work on my attitude each day and look to help anyone I can on a daily basis.
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