|Back To Main Index.||So just who is this guy Dave Cordes?I'm a retired electronics engineer living in Bedlington, Northumberland, a few miles north of Newcastle.
Whilst I used to be quite a keen diver, I've gone through the stages of not-so-keen, then being choosy about my dives to having just a couple in 2009 and only one outing in 2010; I won't be doing any in 2011 as I've now sold off almost all my gear; snorkelling on holidays is to be my lot from now on. To be honest I found cost of medicals and cylinder testing etc. not to mention the now ridiculous costs of transport and boat charter was making the cost per dive far too high for the few I was doing; especially as most were the same-old-sites I've been to so many times before.
So, needless to say, the diving pages won't be getting updated as often and I apolgise for any information that is now, or becomes out-of-date.|
From an early age I was encouraged to get into and onto the water and like many of my era was brought up on a television diet of Hans and Lotte Hass, Lloyd Bridges' "Sea Hunt" and eventually the various Jacques Cousteau series'. Around 1972 I bought a DIY wet-suit kit and snorkelling gear and tried my hand at snorkelling in the North Sea, I remember the vis' being particularly good at Newton-by-the-Sea in January(!) and this only increased my desire to get under the water properly. Bitten with the diving-bug, in 1974 I joined a local BSAC club where, shortly afterwards (nothing to do with me), an in-house dispute led to the club's "instructors" leaving en-masse (that should be Second Class Divers, real instructors were a rarity in those days). Not a good time to learn to dive, but with the dedication of the remaining members and the eventual return of a couple of the "instructors", we got through our pool training and ventured into the sea. Almost all our early dives were from the shore, not only the sites described on these pages but also quite a few others that we thought might prove interesting - but invariably weren't. In 1976 (what a glorious summer, dead flat seas, fantastic vis' and great dive buddies), I acquired a half-share in a boat which allowed us to begin exploring the Farnes (how we survived is a miracle - no dive guides to refer to in those days and what was this "slack water" thing we kept hearing mentioned?). As soon as the club got its own boat we sold ours, did boathandling and chartwork courses then started trying to do things properly. Over the next twenty years I held most positions within the club (except Treasurer - I never liked the idea of being responsible for other people's money), made a lot of friends and helped teach a lot of people to dive. In 1999, together with several others, I resigned from the club (we all assigned various reasons but petty politics and personality clashes were the root causes). I then visited a neighbouring town's branch for few weeks but found it far too divided (arrogant old-hands vs enthusiastic newbies) so I travelled further afield and eventually joined the same branch most of my fellow leavers had. Sadly, after two years of fruitlessly trying to persuade the resident D.O. that he should, at least occasionally promote diving in open water as opposed to the pool, we realised it wasn't for us so we left and in 2002 formed our own BSAC branch. Over the following few years I had some of my best local diving ever. No trainees meant no shortened or aborted dives; no boat to tow meant we dived from hardboats (luxury! albeit more expensive) where, when and with buddies of OUR choice and no bombastic, posturing fools to contend with back at the branch. Fantastic! Please don't judge me too harshly on the "no trainees" comment, after all, we all went through that stage, but after twenty-plus years in a club environment I hadn't realised just how much good diving I was missing; the "benefit" of being an experienced diver meant I almost always ended up buddying someone who needed shepherding and it wasn't until I got away and regularly dived with competent divers that I realised how much of an impact this'd had on the quality and enjoyment of my dives. As for the "bombastic, posturing fools" comment, I make no apologies; I suspect every branch has one and we were unfortunate enough to leave a branch with one, only to end up joining a branch with two. I'm sorry to admit it but it's true what they say, BSAC clubs do seem to be rife with petty politics and cliques - although that's probably true of most truly democratic clubs. Most foreign diving has been combined with family holidays; the few places I've dived include Malta, Minorca, Cyprus, Barbados, Egypt, Cuba, Tobago, the Bahamas and Grenada. Warm, clear water may be nice but I still think UK and in particular, Northumbrian diving, is up there with the best. Dave Cordes, 27 March 2011.