This week we got the absolute pleasure of meeting the crew at Oyster Divers and what a team they were. The ever so cool meeting point in Soho, central London was easy to find and felt completely unusual. Standing just off Carnaby Street armed with our fins and masks we waited outside the very grand building that is the Marshall Street Leisure Center and got signed in.
The joy of this spot was that is added an obvious must to grab some street food from central SOHO pre pool session and a cheeky flat white from one of the quirky local coffee shops. A stroll along Regent Street and around the Trocadero made the afternoon a rather nice one. A pleasant start to our in-water session.
The pop-up table outside of the leisure center with efficient documentation checking and welcoming vibe made the start of the evening really positive. The staff were really lovely and warm and had lots to chat about. It is never a chore meeting other divers and hearing about who they are, where they are from and what they have done. We spotted some immediate links with shared recent dive show visits in Coventry and links to the Brighton Dive Centre and Andark in Southampton after one of the newer Instructors had explained its where he had recently completed his IDC.
The varied locations that Oyster operate in mean that you can join the team all over the country with dive enthusiasts meeting in London, Brighton, Surrey, Kent and other spots. A really easy way to engage with the center and to meet your location needs.
The Central London pool as I said, was a real treat. A fine pool in a vibrant and cosmopolitan area that houses World class shops, leading businesses and this Premier Diving and Travel Center. The 30m long Art Deco pool gives you ample room to train and fine tune skills. With a maximum depth of 3m, it is ideal for confined training and practice. A very cool place to go and learn.
We were overwhelmed by how friendly and knowledgeable the staff were. The pool side was set up really well for students with kit lining the poolside ready to go and thorough briefings given to individual groups. Nothing was too big an ask and everyone seemed really relaxed and excited to get in the water. This atmosphere isn’t always just natural. Professionals running sessions create it and it is so key to students dive experience and progression being a nice one.
We swam around the groups watching all of the amazing training going on and it took us back to the days of open water. Mask removal skills, out of air scenarios, buoyancy control practice and skill mastery. You have never been diving too long to be able to appreciate how magical those first moments in the water are to people, to yourself when you first started. It was lovely to see.
The really keen Instructors and Dive Masters running sessions had an obvious passion for their sport and that really came through in their student briefings. Part of wanting to learn to dive in the first place comes from meeting others who love it and inspire you to want to give it a go, without that positivity and excitement learning to dive would seem very boring.
It is hard to feel like you can connect with the ocean or with training to dive when you live in a big city but our introduction to Oyster proved that their doesn’t need to be a barrier to a life of exploration. Diver training is merely the first step. Once you have that initial open water qualification under your dive belt the World is literally your Oyster. With Dive Centers like this one also supporting and planning dive trips locally and internationally gates are opened and there is really no stopping you once you get started.
Visit Oyster Divers and kick off your watery adventures.
Learn more about Oyster Diving at: https://oysterdiving.com/
All photography by Radoslaw Krol