I was finally a diver and still am!
Diving! I grew up in Elm Park, Essex and was generally hopeless at school. I remember the early 1960s when my life’s heroes were in their prime; Hans Haas was using military diving gear to film his fabulous shark documentaries; Mike Nelson was up to his neck in Sea Hunt adventures saving downed jet pilots, and beautiful women were hiring Mike for diving lessons; and Jacques Cousteau had invented SCUBA diving, written the Silent World and was exploring the world’s seas on the ultimate diving expedition on Calypso.
I had just failed my Eleven Plus, hated school, loved the sea and knew nothing. Except that I wanted to be a diver.
I can still feel that first dive in 1969; sideways rain/sleet on Chesil Beach, Portland, pulling on my homemade wet suit (black with yellow tape of course!). Carrying the boat, the outboard engine, fuel and all the gear across the stones, heading out a little way and then – rolling into the sea. You know I really can still feel that moment. It was clear water, I could see the bottom which was about 10 meters, the cool sea rushing into my wetsuit, the fabulous sense of vitality. I was finally a diver. And still am!
Paul Rose www.paulrose.org