Showing posts with label Diving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diving. Show all posts

Monday, 17 September 2012

Underwater Love 2.0

My passion for getting dressed up in vintage garb, donning wigs and a face full of slap is pretty well documented here on my blog but this is only one of my many passions.
A more recently added love of mine is diving, no slap & no wigs involved in that.
The attire you don CAN be snazzy, however any sensible diver would choose comfort & fit over style any time.
When keeping yourself comfortable, warm and dry is of paramount importance, looking good takes a backseat.
However saying that I really rather like the action woman silhouette that a snug neoprene wetsuit creates and as for the drysuit it makes me feel a bit like an adventuress about to explore another galaxy, ready to endure all the excitement, adventure and really wild that I will encounter.
We did our PADI open water diver course back in February here in the UK, the water temperature back then was +4 degrees Celsius, it was bitter.
 My life flashed before my eyes several times whilst kneeling on the training platform trying to preform my skill tasks  but I survived to tell the tale and managed to bag my open water diver certification.
This weekend we were going for our advanced open water diver certification and after the diving we did in Egypt I was so much more comfortable below the surface this time around.
On Saturday we went to Wraysbury, which is where we did our open water diver course. 
I have to admit that I was a wee bit apprehensive at first, thinking back on the watery stone cold grave scenario of February but after seeing the lake surrounded by lush leafy trees in the blazing morning sunshine my mind was soon put at ease and I couldn't wait to get in. 
 We did two drysuit dives and one navigation dive. 
One of the drysuit buoyancy skills involved an underwater egg and spoon race, which was hilarious to say the least. 
The navigation dive was crazy. We got lost and had to surface, descend and repeat the skill again. This was because a group of other divers who were doing a search and recovery dive a bit away from us kicked up so much bottom silt that we had virtually zero visibility, it was like swimming through pea soup. 
We will be doing two more navigation dives when we continue with the navigation specialty course at the end of the month and hoping to do a bit of compass practice on land before then. 
On the Sunday we were doing our deep, wreck and PPB dives at the national dive and activity centre outside Chepstow. 
So after our day at Wraysbury we went straight to Victoria to catch a coach to Bristol. 
We got there just before eleven at night so we had to take an excruciatingly expensive taxi "to" the dive center. 
The taxi driver didn't know where the dive center was so hubby and I jumped out and walked around for half an hour to find it, just as well Mark had stuffed a couple of torches in the bag cause it was pitch black...all good fun though. 
We slept in one of the wooden wigwams on the NDAC site, they are only £40 a night for two people but you have to bring your own sleeping bag.
In the morning the other Dive Wimbledon crew arrived and after brekkie we kitted up for our three training dives.
The first dive I was a little bit apprehensive about because it was the deep diver one but after the briefing I chilled out for a moment away from everybody else and tried to visualize doing the dive before actually doing it and that really calmed me down. We went down to 27 meters and swam around an aircraft at the bottom a few times, ascended and preformed the all important safety stop  at five meters for three minutes and then surfaced. I was a bit scared that I would freak at the bottom cause ascending rapidly from that depth is potentially fatal but I was surprisingly calm throughout the entire dive.
The second dive was the wreck dive and we went down to explore a double decker bus. We didn't go inside the wreck but when we do our wreck specialty dive there will be a wreck penetration option, hubby is keen but I'm not that bothered about going inside stuff, I'm happy poking my head in to have a look but who knows as my skills get progressively better I may be looking for further challenges?
The third dive was delayed because unfortunately a couple of divers had an accident on a deep dive (40 meters) and had to be taken away in helicopter to a recompression chamber. It certainly puts things into perspective and makes me want to adhere to safe diving practices rigorously and checking my equipment prior to diving even more closely. The most important thing though is to keep calm, yes, of course things can go wrong but panicking makes things a whole lot worse and as you never dive alone there is almost always a way of dealing with an emergency without bolting to the surface. I panicked back in February whilst trying to perform the mask remove and replace task and had to be brought back up to the surface by my instructor, he held me down so that I wouldn't bolt and then slowly brought me up whilst trying to keep me calm, what a star!
The third dive of the day was a peak performance buoyancy dive or PPB as it's called in diver circles. We descended to a training table did a bit of hoovering and then swam back to the exit point exploring the area, we swam around a troop carrier maintaining neutral buoyancy and spotted several gnomes. You can bring your own gnome and add to the family and I am definitely doing that next time we go.
After the last dive I was so shattered I could hardly get back up steps of the pier, exhausted but very happy and guess what I jumped in as a open water diver and emerged as an advanced open water diver...huzzah!
An absolutely fabulous weekend was had and I can't wait to get cracking on the four specialty courses that we've got left, diving is so much fun and I love it!
If anyone in the London area is thinking of learning how to dive I couldn't recommend Dive Wimbledon highly enough, the instructors are ace, they are very engaging teachers, meticulously organized and make you feel very safe when you are diving.
Here's a few snapshots from our awesome weekend :)
I hope from the bottom of my heart that the divers involved in the accident  yesterday pulled though and will have a speedy recovery.
Have a great week y'all!
Lot's of love,
Jennie
xXx


Sunday, 22 April 2012

One Thousand and One Outfits (not really)

Hope you've all had a splendiferous weekend.
I've finally finished sorting through all the holiday pics, huzzah!
 As I mentioned in an earlier installment I would do a 'random holiday outfits' post as well, so here it is.
First off is a caftan that I bought from a car boot sale two months ago...
This stunning turquoise caftan is perfect for throwing over a bikini when going for lunch or just as a cover-up when doing a spot of beachcombing.
******
I brought a few pairs of lightweight trousers with me cause I read that it can get pretty nippy out in the desert at night.
 These ones I bought several years ago from an Indian clothing shop, they are double-layered with a stunning cream jacquard fabric and sheer black chiffon...
This quirky top was another car boot sale buy and I've teamed it with one of my Indian choli tops that I won on eBay last year.
******
These are the trousers that I for some obscure reason deemed suitable to travel in.
Wide-leg trousers are possibly the worse thing to wear when traversing the London Underground during crush hour and especially when you are loaded up with heaps of luggage.
My foot got caught in the swishy trouser leg but luckily I have cat-like reflexes and I managed to grab onto something instead of loosing my two front teeth, phew!
I do love these trousers though, just not to travel in.
Emporio Armani top teamed with another one of my Indian choli tops.
******
I got this wine red mesh top from the car boot sale the week before we went away.
The design is really quirky and its even got a hood.
Harem jumpsuit, tribal mirror & coin belt, Topshop hammered brass disc necklace that I scored from the car boot sale for a quid.
 ******
We went to Luxor for an outing and visited the very impressive Karnak temple complex, The Valley of the Kings & Hatshepsut's Temple.
It was a real whistle stop outing and we even managed to cram in a short boat trip on the Nile.
Those double-layered trousers got another outing,  I teamed them with a rose print silk blouse by Diane Von Furstenberg and my trusty vintage jazz dance trainers.
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I brought my harem jumpsuit & two pairs of harem pants, I'm still in love with this roomy trouser style...
Indian silk harem pants, tassel-tastico hippie top and in the last picture my beloved vintage 70s suede vest/waistcoat.
******
The second pair of harem pants have more glitz than you can shake a stick at...
Bronze harlequin diamond patterned harem pants teamed with a sequin embellished mesh top and low-slung leather belt.
Shake your tail feather! OMG, I think I've just attracted a randy ostrich ;)
Here I've added an embroidered chiffon top and my funky sequin elephant cap.
PIMP MY CRIB!
******
 We also went for an awesome day out to the stunning Sataya reef where you are sometimes lucky enough to swim with dolphins.
Unfortunately the dolphins stayed away until we were on our way back home, so we saw them from the boat, however we did get to swim with a huge-ass Napoleon fish and we also managed to do some pretty spectacular freediving.
Those Indian silk harem trousers again,  this time teamed with a cut-out butterfly Tee, turban fashioned from a sarong and my bestest fashion accessory ever...my hubby of course!
Early morning at divers paradise Tondoba Bay, chilling before scuba ;)
As we spent most of the day on the beach or in the sea I was sporting a bikini or my wetsuit most of the time...
I brought two bikinis and one tankini. The fabulously colourful one was a gift from the divine Helga.
Hubby scored this Mares wetsuit on eBay...what a kind, clever and awesome man I am blessed with.
Snorkeling, freediving  and scuba...I absolutely LOVE IT! The Red Sea is awesome and I couldn't recomend Egypt and Marsa Alam highly enough.
Last but by no means least my underwater kit...Mares fins, Scubapro snorkel and Cressi mask all purchased off eBay.

That's it folks...now you've seen all my holiday get-ups.
Now I'll have to put my thinking cap on to figure out what to blog about next, any requests?
Have a fantastic week!
Lot's of love,
Jennie
xXx


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Underwater Love

I've not been very active on the blogging front for a bit cause I've been learning how to dive.
Hubby and I decided to give ourselves a PADI open water diver course for Christmas and we booked it for early February. 
Two weekends worth of classroom time, confined water dives in a pool and finally the qualifying open water dives which took place at Wraysbury lake last weekend.
I am very proud to declare that both hubby and I are now qualified PADI open water divers, which means that next time we go on holiday we can hook up with all those cool peeps in wetsuits and go diving...HUZZAH!
We fell in love with the underwater world during our snorkelling excursions in Thailand the year before last and have been talking about progressing to diving ever since, it just felt like the natural thing to do.
I've already scored a "new" wetsuit, fins & mask on eBay, the actual SCUBA diving gear is rather expensive so that will have to be hired until we can afford to splash out.
 I can't wait until our next magical mystery tour i.e. holiday abroad...
This is what started it all off, snorkelling in Thailand 2010...
This was me last weekend at a rather chilly Wraysbury lake doing the 
'tired diver tow'...
I think that I was probably more tired  than Sergey ;)
All the peeps at Dive Wimbledon were fantastic, especially Anton our brilliant instructor...
If it wasn't for AWESOME Anton's patience of a saint and steadfast encouragement I don't think I would have managed it through last weekend. 
You really couldn't ask for a better instructor, the dude deserves a medal.
You only really notice the sheer weight of your SCUBA kit when you get back up on "dry" land.
I was loaded up with a ten kilo weight belt plus all the other kit, my knees weren't loving it to put it politely.
To willingly descend into +4°C English lake water in the middle of winter certainly isn't everybody's idea of fun but if I was asked to do it again (as crazy as it may sound) I'd do it at the drop of a laden weight belt!
However I have a sneaky suspicion that I'll like diving in tropical waters even more.
Hope eveyone has had a splendid Saturday!
I'm off to the car boot sale later, first one in weeks ;)
Lot's of love,
Jennie
xXx