The good, the bad and the merciful
I have never been one of those who believe that things go in threes. But since I wrote last month about the new eco-terrorists, the "sub-aqua sabs" and their stupid and dangerous efforts to stop pot-fishing at St Abbs, I have had two reports about other incidents at that super little port.
Fortunately, neither of these reports concerned the "antis", but were about foolish diving.
Incident One, according to my Eyemouth Leak, needed the services of the St Abbs inshore lifeboat to pluck two divers, a husband and wife, off the rock of Big Green Carr near the harbour when the weather suddenly went sour.
This time, however, I have no need to threaten exposure, for the divers concerned sent me a crisp crunchie for the Diver Lifeboat Fund only hours after my Leak leaked the facts to me. And they sent some more cracklies in thanks to St Abbs RNLI.
Those are the kind of divers from whom I like hearing. Not those of St Abbs Incident Two, who on the same day took no notice of the earlier rescue and promptly plunged into rough seas.
As they took a good bashing on the harbour wall as they came out, I am refraining from imposing more grief in the shape of a fine upon them, though such mercy is much against my better nature.
Keen gardeners get stuck in
The League Against Cruelty to Underwater Gardens didn't take long to submit their complaints to the Editor, about my condemnation of those not-so-exotic sites in warm seas bearing the name "Garden".
Gardens they ain't, I said, and further advised any divers who heard the word "Garden" or "Gardens" in the title of the site to be dived to ask for their money back immediately.
My postbag overflowed with your support for this point of view, but now LACUG has entered the fray. Its spokesman, who claims to be an instructor taking large parties to the Red Sea each year, has the effrontery to suggest that I have been unfair to Gardens in general, and those near Sharm El Sheikh in particular.
He says that somewhere called the "Far Garden" is where he swims with mantas. He sees eagle rays there, turtles, large morays, blue-spotted rays and bearded scorpionfish, all with a background of excellent gorgonians.
He does admit, however, with reference to the "Near Garden", that "construction dust from the new hotels did kill off large areas of it, but it has now recovered much of its former glory".
He adds that he suspects that all those who complained about Gardens suffer from the "British Disease", which means that "they have to dive to 30m to call it a dive".
Well, well. Consider yourselves well and truly put in your place. Even so, I don't think I'll be diving the Gardens, no matter where they are. Not even if Charlie Dimmock and her team have given them a make-over!
Brass eagle has landed
It will come as no surprise to you to know that some of the high and mighty of this world do not like Beachcomber exposing their frolics and multiple failings. Nor their lack of imagination. The latest to swoop upon me is a very high-flying legal eagle indeed.
The cause of his discontent is my exposure of the reason for the delay in arrival of the wreck souvenirs amnesty, which was proposed some time ago by the Receiver of Wreck.
That reason was the Government's lack of storage space for the 200,000 brass portholes which are likely to be handed in.
That is not an unrealistic number. Is there, I ask you, any mantelpiece in the house of any wreck-diver that is not presently groaning under the weight of at least one souvenir porthole? Of course not.
However, this future Lord Chief Justice has written to Diver's Beloved Editor to complain about my suggestion that this was the reason for the hold-up in the Wreck Divers' Amnesty.
He pompously points out that divers would not actually have to hand over the brass.
"In fact," he writes, "storage will not be needed at all, as the amnesty will be a paper exercise, where report forms, not portholes, should be sent in.
"Currently 95 per cent of finds are returned to finders in lieu of salvage, so it is anticipated that the vast majority of divers declaring under the amnesty will not even need to part with their non-dangerous finds."
I do hope that the amnesty doesn't turn into a completely paper tiger, as all the divers I know are in favour of the idea of all that brass being melted down to form a great bronze statue of a merchant seaman as a war memorial to all the crewmen who died for Britain to survive.
The fact that the statue would be created from parts of their sunken merchant ships makes it a right and proper thing to do. And Trafalgar Square has been suggested as a fitting site for its unveiling.
All real divers support the idea. Who among the other high and mighties has enough imagination, power and drive to see this proposal through to completion?
Dave the forgetful diver - bar none
Now here's a sad story - one of misplaced trust between one diver and another.
John, who is a disabled diver with more than 75 dives in his logbook, is missing two parts of his wheelchair. He tells me that they are two bars which stop the chair from tipping over backwards when he has to do "little wheelies" to get up kerbs.
John was coming back from Sharm when he realised that he had left the anti-tip bars with his dive guide. "Never mind," said a diver called Dave, who was returning to the UK some days later. "I'll bring the bars back with me and then post them on to you."
A very grateful John handed over his address and £5 to cover the postage. But, guess what, poor John is still bar-less.
Now John is a kinda nice guy. He keeps making excuses for Dave, who lived somewhere near Coventry. Perhaps his baggage was overweight? he suggests. Perhaps he lost my address? Perhaps he forgotÉ
Tell you what Dave, you just send those bars to Beachcomber. You can't lose my address, and I'll see that John gets them.
If you forgot, then send me a crisp crackly like the one John gave you for the postage, plus another four to help us all remember you kindly. Do it now or I might remember some other details about youÉ
Appeared in DIVER - February 2000