If substantially of scuba diving is invisible to the non-diving public, cave-diving is out of sight even to quite a few scuba divers, especially at its more intense boundaries.
But not so at the Go Diving Show, exactly where the amount of properly-attended shows shedding gentle on this side of the sport discovered the popular hunger to listen to extra about divers’ deep, darkish doings.
Go Diving can take put at NAEC Stoneleigh Park close to Coventry, and the venue is proving pretty preferred, not minimum mainly because it is close to the geographical centre of England and provides unlimited free car or truck parking proper by the exhibition hall – in stark distinction to other dive-show venues of the earlier.
Go Diving is now the United kingdom present, obtaining neatly assimilated the very long-managing Dive Demonstrate, so it provides the only place and time for divers to assemble en masse.
Following an unexpectedly solid pandemic-emergence demonstrating very last 12 months, the common look at of the 2023 function held from 4-5 March was that the dive demonstrate and the field it reflects are officially again with a vengeance. A lot more than 9,000 divers, close friends and families absolutely qualifies as en masse, and there was a distinctly constructive excitement all-around the halls.
Categorised as “a pleasant difficulty to have” was that the talks programmes had been pretty unique on each times of the weekend, with only a couple of of the presentations reprised – and with a few levels to go over that could necessarily mean visitors possessing to make a several difficult conclusions.
This method, and the calibre of the invited speakers, could definitely justify earning a weekend of Go Diving as an entertaining warm-up to the United kingdom diving time – and which is even before considering all the other points of interest in the two exhibition halls, from the Pool to the well-liked Shark Rodeo experience.
This year’s cave-diving topic designed its presence felt straight absent, with heavyweight practitioners these types of as Patrick Widmann, John Kendall, Andy Torbet, Chris Jewell and Cristina Zenato (effectively-recognised to divers as Bahamas-dependent “Mother of Sharks“ but potentially considerably less familar as a cave-explorer) delivering powerful shows.
Torbet proved, as he has before, a hugely helpful onstage linkman throughout the weekend, as perfectly as offering a dynamic double act with Jewell as they revisited bushy cave-dives in the British isles, France and Spain. He has also perfected an captivating Q&A structure to deliver the very best out of interviewees, from shy, retiring Television temperament Ross Kemp to paraplegic underwater record-breaker Dan “Wheelsdan” Metcalfe.
Austrian cave-explorer Widmann was notably helpful at conveying the difficult logistics – invariably with a funny side – of establishing-planet expeditions (in the stop Madagascar yielded a treasure-trove of paleolithic stays). Tiffany Norberg delved into Swedish mine-diving and while Rannva Torfrio Jormundsson’s preview of Expedition Buteng in Indonesia did appear to go into remarkable element, it would give a very good primer for everyone contemplating mounting their to start with dive expedition.
In yet another corner of the show, in the meantime, visitors of all ages have been finding their possess style of overhead environments as they crawled through 30m of darkness in The Cave. Some young readers returned so often that they arrived close to getting the other indicating of restricted entry.
If caves have been a aspect, it was only right that wreck diving should also be substantial on the agenda and, all over again, normally at comprehensive expedition stage. Belgian technical diver Vic Verlinden (another diver partial to caves) was sure to draw in curiosity in discussing the Lusitania off Ireland, whilst Lanny Vogel who, like Widmann, is dependent in Mexican cave region, talked about diving what’s remaining of another iconic wreck, HMS Bounty.
Ross Kemp bought his PADI ticket 30 decades in the past, quickly after joining East Enders, but has given that gone specialized and has a new Deep Sea Treasure Hunter Television collection coming up in April. It seems promising as he goes “shaking fingers with ghosts” on wreckage from the Mary Rose bow continues to be to the Empire Broadsword. He was close to all weekend, patiently complying with selfie requests.
Tiffany Geer highlighted Grenada’s wealth of underwater metallic but it was wreck-photography pioneer Leigh Bishop’s Sunday-early morning chat on Fantastic British Wrecks that experienced it all – after the preliminary “No Pretty Fish!” warning, it was a wham-bang succession of stunning photographs and commentary.
Self-confessedly at the other close of the diving-knowledge spectrum was Natalie Hewit, producer of the forthcoming documentary Discovering Shackleton’s Endurance, but her matter is a single of the most iconic shipwrecks to have been located a short while ago and ultimately strike the mark.
If there were any fairly fish to be located it was in the images classes. Master of the art Alex Mustard after all over again ran the Underwater Photographer of the Year winners’ presentation along with the prints show, guaranteeing 90 minutes of higher-top quality imagery.
But as a result of the weekend readers had been ready to attain inspiration, suggestions and ideas from unique underwater photographers these as Lawson Wooden (now crafting his 58th dive-associated book!), Anne & Phil Medcalf, Byron Conroy, Roisin Maddison and Stuart Philpott, as very well as those people exhibitors dealing in digital camera machines.
In a class of her very own among the speakers was Hollywood stunt performer, freediver and shark-wrangler Liz Parkinson, with a freeflowing stream of anecdotes about her underwater perform on Avatar: The Way Of Water (“I’m in each individual shot beneath water but in a green suit”), Black Panther: Wakanda Endlessly, Thai Cave Rescue and Discovery’s Shark 7 days (“not so substantially science-dependent as surreal”).
Exciting as well that, in tune with the times, mental well being now commands because of attention. Although instructor-trainer Nick Lyon’s talk was as amusing as may well be expected from his writings, it was pre-titled “the Hannah Brookes Lecture” – the kicker was his start of a “mental well being for divers” marketing campaign, inspired by his very good buddy and Valkyrie skipper who took her have lifestyle final 12 months.
At the identical time on another phase Clare Dutton was talking about the troubles of creating her renowned Welsh dive operation inspite of her very own struggles with despair, and it was fantastic to listen to her say that in hindsight she would not have changed a point.
The 130+ exhibitor stands at Go Diving provided a colourful and energetic microcosm of diving nowadays, and it was very good to note the returning associates of those people intercontinental places that shaped the things to do of so lots of Uk divers prior to the pandemic.
More than fifty percent of the exhibitors have been either primarily based overseas or in the business of arranging travel to faraway spots and, with those people fascinating visits functional once more, stand-holders described accomplishing brisk business enterprise. Their customers may nicely have been pleased diving in the United kingdom – a good deal had been checking out the British Isles Practical experience, some admittedly on their way to the Good British Pub – but they are also understandably eager to range their underwater diet geographically.
The undoubted good results of Go Diving delivers substantial assure for next year’s function, with a lot of exhibitors committing to 2024 even in advance of the doorways had shut. Preserve an eye on the demonstrate web page as the 12 months progresses to come across out what treats to expect when the time will come.