Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Dives

We dragged all our diving gear with us. With four people in the car and three of them being divers, there was very little extra room. So little room in fact that there was no space to bring back more than a few bottles of wine. We have to re-think this for next time.

We all learned to dive in the Mediterranean so diving in this sea wasn't a new experience, but we have never been diving in the French section of the sea. French regulations for diving are just a bit different to Spanish and Greek rules for diving what is essentially the same water. We all had to have medical certificates that had been signed by a real doctor and the certificates had to be less than 12 months old. With a little bit of organisation, I got all our medical certificates for the trip. The convenient thing was that Gordon, though not our son has been our neighbour his entire life and we share the same family doctor. All the signed certificates went into the bag of important documents along with our proof of diving qualifications and passports, insurance etc. . . . .
There are a number of good dive centres along this bit of coast. We chose one in Argeles sur Mer called Divemania. They were very friendly and professional. If we ever get back to that part of France, I would not hesitate to dive with them again and if you ask me about which dive centre I would recommend in that part of the world, I would recommend these guys. The Man of the Place got to dive a WWII German submarine!
Diving is the only sport where you get to regularly strap a knife to your leg. How butch is The Man of the Place?

The center has a big RIB (rigid inflatable boat) that is employed to get divers to the dive sites. On the last dive of the holiday, the sea was up and the rides to and from our dive sites was better than a roller coaster ride! We had to hang on to keep from getting bounced out! When boat rides are as rough as that, I am usually the first one to puke over the side but these rides were fun! I have learned that if conditions are choppy, the best thing for me to do is to keep my face into the wind and my eye on the horizon. That's what I did and I had a blast!
Gordon and George after a dive.

For me, diving is all about the sea life. I saw a number of nudibranch which thrilled me. I love the brightly coloured animals. Sadly, I am not very good with the new camera and most of my nudibranch photos are too blurred to use.

Here are a couple that were good enough to not delete: This is an old favourite, Spotted Doris. The Spotted Doris were impressively large in this area of the sea.
Here is a very large and beautiful yellow nudibranch that I have never seen before. I thought I had a field guide to marine life of the Mediterranean, but it seems I don't. I have two for the Red Sea and one for the water around Great Britain, but none for the Med. This must be remedied!

The highlight of our diving was a seahorse! I have never seen one before. Lucky Gordon got to see this beautiful creature on his try dive!

In addition to the lovely seahorse, I got to have an interaction with an octopus! Sorry the camera work was shaky. I guess I'll never make it as an underwater cameraman for any BBC Wildlife shows. As gentle as this octopus seemed, I didn't want my hand anywhere near his beak.

Here is Henry doing the dance.

Our young man.

Yours truly.

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