it's an attitude thing
Text by: Mark Brill
Louise was in one of her contemplative moods 'You know, diving has changed so much over the years we've got modern equipment and a much more open attitude towards learning to dive.'
'Well I don't know. The good old days were so much better' I said. 'There was much less to worry about the kit was simpler and you didn't have to think about what colour you wore as most of it only came in black. In fact looks weren't considered important at all.'
'A sport where nobody cared about their looks. Where's the fun in that?' Louise retorted 'Anyway that's a total lie, they all spent most of their time trying to look like they were on a secret mission for the SAS!'
'Well,' I explained 'it was a very macho world designed to discourage as many women as possible ... I remember when we had to...'
'I don't think you remember anything. You weren't there' Louise pointed out.
'True. But I've heard so much about the 'good old days' that I might as well have been.' I told her. Having said that I thought I better go and check my sources with 'Uncle' Keith Holman who started diving in the 60s.
'So Keith' I began 'The good old days of diving...'
Keith rolled his eyes. 'Just between you and me mate.
The good old days were rubbish'
The Dive Boy Guide to
the good ol' days
Blokes. Mostly with beards. And there was none of this 'learn to dive in a week' and touchy-feely progression stuff. They had to learn the hard way.
For the first ten weeks you'd have to snorkel up and down the pool carrying a large brick.
Then they'd let you go diving?
Not exactly. First you'd have to go to the pub and drink 12 pints of beer. Finally, one day they'd bring out the 'aqualung.'
And then they'd let you go diving?
Nope. They'd put the 'aqualung' away and you'd have to swim up and down the pool for another 10 weeks with the brick.
At least they could console themselves by going to the diveshop and drooling over the equipment.
Diveshop! In the good old days you had to make your own kit - masks, wet suits, dry suits, reels, rebreathers ... you name it.
What no shopping? Buying kit is half the fun of diving!
Well, there were a few things for sale - you could buy knives and you could buy a contents gauge. Trouble was both these items were very expensive, and divers could only afford to buy one or the other.
So they bought the contents gauge?
Er, no. They bought the knife. This was the age when you'd be considered a complete nancy for wanting to know how much air you had. You usually just breathed your cylinder until it was empty, and then came up. Or mugged the nearest diver - hence the knife.
Were all the dives were pretty shallow then?
Oh no. Basic equipment and a lack of a contents gauge never stopped them going deep. Air dives to 50, 60 or even 70m were not unheard of.
Of course the average bottom time was 7 minutes ... and they were so narked off their faces that they did actually believe they were on a secret SAS mission. And would refuse to tell you what they'd seen (or they'd have to kill you)...
So how do these old dive blokes react to women coming into their sport?
Well that's the trouble with modern diving, its just all too easy, anyone can do it. Women kind of spoil the SAS fantasy thing.
Why do you think they invented technical diving!
Dive Boy quote of the season
"We could have worked together, Jill, but you would have been making coffee and carrying tanks, preferably with a gag on" - George Irvine (WKPP) to Jill Heinerth
George I think thats a little more information than we needed about your sexual preferences!