Skip to main content

Deep Blue

The last Bank Holiday of the summer and the weather looks to be a little unpredictable for the work I have ahead. Among the flying jobs between Thanet and the Isle of Wight, I have two marriage proposals, one wedding and happily no funerals!

If this blustery wind persists overnight, then two nervous suitors with big plans are going to be very disappointed and I'm doing my best to manage their expectations in view of the weather forecast.

I've always had an unfortunate tendency to pick interests which are weather dependent. in the early 1990's I ran Submariner Consulting Ltd and had an interesting time contributing to the development of the early industry surrounding mixed-gas deep diving; writing extensively for several specialist publications such as aquaCorps.

The picture on the left was taken on a dive on the cruiser Wilkes-Barre, which lies off the Florida Keys in over 250 feet of water and some other equally interesting adventures included visiting Comex in Marseilles for their 800 metre record, exploring central Florida's 40 Fathom Grotto on air in the years before new technology made it more accessible, and introducing Trimix procedures to the Israelis, 100 metres down off Eilat.



When I was a much younger I used to test my kit at high tide off St Mildred's Bay but one day, between it and West Bay, I was hooked by an excited angler from the promenade, so never tried that again!

The sad thing about the days, pre-circa 1995, is how so much useful information is now buried in boxes or archives and will never find it's way on to the internet. Cosquer Cave for example that I once wrote about, a fascinating prehistoric mystery, a cave which is now only accessible from a narrow entrance under the sea near Marseilles and which has wall paintings and carvings dating back to Upper Paleolithic.

In the attic, I have a volume of aquaCorps magazines which are now collectors items, as they chart an important period in the evolution of underwater exploration technology on a par with advances in the computer industry at the same time. But these and so much more interesting items of history simply don't exist in our modern world unless your'e prepared to go looking for them in a dusty archive or someone's attic

Two of the greatest underwater explorers, I knew well, are dead along with several others. The unassuming and professional Sheck Exley who reminded me of a test-pilot and our own adventurous and fearless Rob Palmer, who now lies somewhere at the bottom of the Red Sea. I wrote reams of material about such adventures but you won't find the stories anymore, unless perhaps you go searching in the British Library

The internet is a wonderful thing but sometimes we forget there was a time and a world that existed before it!

Popular posts from this blog

A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

Merlins over Thanet

Marooned, temporarily at Manston this afternoon are the Merlins over Malta team on the way to the Mediterranean for a display to mark the historic Second World War defence of the island.


Charlie Brown

Unfortunately, the weather over Thanet is appalling this afternoon and the Spitfire and Hurricane can’t get airborne again until it clears, so the celebrity Battle of Britain aircraft pilots, Charlie Brown, Clive Denny and their team-mates are contemplating an evening among the fleshpots of Margate.


Clive Denny (Hurricane) & Charlie Brown (Spitfire) Pilots

I’m rather hoping the weather it will clear through though as they have to get to Jersey before dusk if possible and I have to take some photos of the Spitfire and Hurricane for Pilot Magazine and I’ve always wanted a chance to get in either aircraft!

An Interview with Charlie Brown

They just got off, squadron scramble or what? They were ready and gone in ten minutes towards the nearest patch of blue sky!

An interview with the legendary S…
Median Saleh

I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!