The road into scuba diving is a fantastic one but there are many challenges along the way to certification. Like any other activity there is a certain amount of training and practical work to do to get started but there are also other factors to consider. We hooked up with the guys at Dive Force Marine in London to take one of our buddies for his first, in water experience. Sam Stimpson is a friend of The Scuba News UK and has some strong family roots with scuba. He is also a type one diabetic and so had various medical hoops to jump through before meeting the criteria to try dive safely.
After chatting to the team at Dive Force, Sam felt comfortable with getting in the water. With some brief training and guidance from the crew he realised that being diabetic was not a barrier to the sport and was keen to give it a go. The staff explained that many people with controlled diabetes enjoy diving and that as long the individual had not had a hypoglycemic event or been admitted to hospital for a reason related to it for the span of one year, there was no reason not to be able to take part.
Like any other condition, on the other hand if it was poorly managed then your body may not be fit enough to withstand the additional strain of water pressure and exertion which is exactly why pre diving, medical assessments must be made in certain cases to assess fitness for dives.
Dive Force was established in 1982 and has a long standing, supportive dive community attached to it. As a 5 Star Centre, it has not only got the support and loyalty from its customers but from PADI because of its premium facilities and service for recreational divers. A center that prides itself on high level teaching standards has kept it going for a number of years and has the same divers returning to continue their scuba education.
We caught up with Ian Culley, the owner who was more than happy to answer even the most basic of questions and to explain the best routes into diver training. We chatted on the phone for ages before actually visiting the center. A very charismatic and interesting chap with all sorts to say. We realised we had both been at the very recent Dive Show in Coventry but had missed each other by an hour or so at the industry evening. This connection is what I have always loved about the dive community, just that exact word, the community you become part of, path crossing, like minded folk who seek adventures and exploration.
So back to our visit to the center. We met on the pool night and were sent ample information and guidance beforehand. We were well communicated with and supported in finding the meeting point and pool location and arrived eagerly to get started.
Sam was met by Debbie Freedman who would be leading his one to one DSD (Discover Scuba Dive). She was a total delight of a human, really fun and engaging and had tons to bring to the table experience wise. Her directions were clear and thorough and she allowed ample time for questions and practice. I floated around the DSD as it unfolded amidst other activity going on in the pool and there was a really strong sense of passion. Club members were testing out kit, practicing skills and just enjoying being in the water. Sam was quickly flying around the pool, through buoyancy hoops and fine tuning skills.
‘I have always wanted to try diving. My Dad, brother and other family members have a history of it and interestingly some had used the same pool in Edmonton years ago. I was lucky to have Debbie as my Instructor. She made the whole experience fantastic and inspired me to want to learn more. I expected the experience to be stressful by it was far from it, almost meditative. I cant rate Debbie and the Dive Force Marine team enough. I will go back for sure.’ Sam Stimpson
The pool session was really well organised and there was a comfortable flow with how the evening was run. The van, full of kit arrived early and kit was well organised, sized and prepared for users. We were warmly welcomed and introduced to everyone and it felt easy to get involved right away.
We were so happy to get to meet the team and would highly recommend saying hello to them at any available opportunity.