SOMETHING TO SAY
Why am I doing this?
For a bit of fun, one of my resolutions this year (apart from the traditional 'lose two stone') has been to start writing about my experiences and interests, with a view to better connecting myself with like-minded individuals on similar journeys. I make no apology for this being the sordid ego trip, vanity project, and trite collection of theses that it will almost certainly become. This is my attempt to document, for whosever may be interested, my journey through these increasingly bizarre times.
I've been interested in the natural world for as long as I can remember, the sea particularly. It was hard not to be absorbed by it, growing up as I did by the Solent and then the Rame Peninsula. My parents were a good deal to blame for this, my father was volunteer crewman at GAFIRS, later Station Officer for Tamar Coastguard, so the beach at Gosport was really my first playground, the RIB cradle my first climbing frame. Both my parents have been keen sailors all their lives, and to this day they would rather be afloat than anywhere else (well, except perhaps spoiling their grandchildren rotten, and even then they'd prefer to do that on a boat).
Well do I remember shivering in a SOLA shortie as myself and my sister were schooled on Oppies (TMSC), Bosuns (Jupiter Point) and Lazers (Cawsand Bay) before we went on our own adventures in our Mirror dinghy.
We made the move to southeast Cornwall when I was seven and from that point onwards my life was out and around the beaches of the area, particularly the rockpools of Cawsand, Kingsand, and Portwrinkle.
Wanting to stretch my legs a bit, I eyed up several Scottish universities before settling on four fantastic years reading Literature at The University of Glasgow, indulging in their magnificent library as well as in musical theatre through my time in the superlative Cecilian Society, and exploring further north with the Mountaineering Club.
After a backpacking trip through Australia was punctuated with a PADI Open Water certification on the Great Barrier Reef, I returned home to undertake a PGCE at Plymouth. Whilst there, I continued my diver training with my AOW through Indeep (Mountbatten) and with the occasional trip out from Looe. My NQT status meant I could earn a crust as a teacher and (in those days) live pretty much anywhere I chose.
Happily, I chose Cockermouth in the Lake District, where I was lucky to meet my wife during her job interview (neither of us knew it at the time of course). We shared our first for years in education together and made some friends for life against the backdrop of the lakes and mountains. My diving 'career' likewise progressed with a RD course in December on a frozen Ellerton Water (we had to break the ice to get in!).
Itching feet brought us down to Dorset's Jurassic coast, the site of several of my wife's own seaside holidays when she was growing up. We've been fortunate enough to make Bridport our home these past ten years now, bringing our two young children up on the beaches of Dorset and Cornwall and everywhere in-between.
Since our arrival here, I've been involved with numerous clubs and agencies locally, getting to know the Portland diving scene and the wonderful people in it. Whilst exploring under the Jurassic coast and the wrecks it is strewn with with, I've found myself becoming more a more fascinated with stunning biodiversity we have at our fingertips. These past three years have also coincided with more emphasis on underwater photography as I have attempted to improve my own composition and technique.
I continue to dive and explore our corner of Dorset, and the events of 2020 have only reinforced my resolve, alongside many friends, to do more to make space for nature in our lives.