This week 72-year-old scuba diver Eddie Clamp from Selsey takes us on a journey around the world and under the waves.
Reading John Carter’s serendipitous moments from past memories of his travel life, I wondered whether I had any of those during my life both as a sailor for many years in the Royal Navy from 1958 and as a semi-professional/RN sports diver since 1971.
After looking up serendipity in my thesaurus, I see it equates to chance and discovery.
Not had many of those, but it made me skim back in my mind over all those years of my travels.
I was fairly well travelled in my early Royal Navy days as a single sailor, spending time in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Americas and the Caribbean.
Married to my lovely wife Sue in 1969, I was to spend much time away from her and my two daughters, Emily and Sally, while serving on both surface ships and on submarines.
However, we were blessed with two tours in Cyprus with the Army and one in Berlin with the RAF.
My family and I travelled through Yugoslavia during 1988 on our way to Cyprus where we would live for the next two years.
A journey of some 2,200 miles by motor caravan with all sorts of happenings along the way with two teenage daughters in tow.
I finally retired from the Navy in 1992. However, it was during my diving career that I had the occasional serendipitous moment.
Learning to dive with the then Brighton and Worthing Sub-Aqua club during 1970, I have travelled and continue to travel all over the world as an active diver with my long-suffering non-diving wife.
After spending some time in the early 1970s assisting Margaret Rule and Major Hume-Wallace on the bitterly-cold winter excavation of the Fishbourne Roman millpond, serendipity took me in 1977 from the UK to Mombasa, Kenya.
There, I was part of the joint service sub-aqua expedition to take a part in the excavation of the Portuguese wreck of the Santo Antonio de Tanna, sunk in front of Fort Jesus in the old harbour in 1697.
In 1979, the same serendipity also took me to the Mary Rose where I again worked for Margaret Rule.
I stayed there as a volunteer diver until 1981 when the Royal Navy gave me nine months’ unpaid leave to act as one of the shift chief divers. I was unable to return for the lift in 1982 as I was seconded to Fleet HQ at Northwood during the Falklands War.
British Sub-Aqua Club
Now, I am still an active diver, travelling the world seeking out new and exciting dive sites.
Not only do I get to write my own reports, I am also an unpaid volunteer editor of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) online travel club which is ‘written by divers for divers’.
I recently returned from a week’s diving around one of my favourite dive spots – the Brothers Islands, located 45 miles out in the deepest Red Sea.
I was somewhat dismayed to come across some damaged gorgonian fan corals, previously seen to be in pristine condition, with some theorising the damage had been caused by dolphins scratching themselves.
During an earlier trip to this area, I was videoing an Oceanic white tip shark in front of me when another crept up behind me and brushed against my arm.
You can watch this scary moment online by searching for Eddie’s Elphinstone reef shark encounters on www.youtube.com.
In my search for dive material over the years, Sue and I have visited Australia – both Ningaloo and Great Barrier reefs – the Cook Islands, Fiji, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Barbados, Cuba, Egypt, Oman, Sudan, Malta and Spain. Last year we went to Tenerife, Egypt, Gozo and Tobago.
Luckily for me, Sue loves travelling to foreign places, if not scuba diving.
Having lived and dived around Selsey since the late 1950s, I am very interested in local diving matters. I am a member of the Mary Rose BSAC diving club and pop into my local dive shop Mulberry Divers here in Selsey from time to time, especially when my dive gear needs servicing.
During my latest visit, I discussed the likelihood of the current lifeboat house remaining with dive shop owners Steve and Lynda Frampton.
I have dived and videoed underwater around the boat house many times, but do not consider myself an expert. Steve and Lynda are. They dive the area themselves as well as using it for training.
I snorkelled this area with grandson Thomas last year, with the best underwater visibility I had seen there for many a year.
Discussions with Lynda, Steve and I on the prospects for the current boathouse remaining were not encouraging.
We all agreed the groups which are active in the preservation needed something that would make the area a site of special scientific interest (SSSE).
This is not likely to happen as, although there is a myriad of different sealife under the house, it is no different from the seabed surrounding it.
Steve was especially worried that if and when the dismantling takes place, it should be with the least disturbance to the seabed.
Maybe the metal stanchions could be cut off rather than lifted?
Anyone with views on this subject and others like it please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe we can not only discuss my serendipitous diving travelling moments here but even start a local discussion on pressing matters to do with the underwater life around the Manhood peninsular.
Though let’s leave the more pressing matters of flood prevention to others more qualified than me to discuss please.