Mine is a never-ending quest for true tales of diving transgressions, for which I can fine the sinners and raise copious quantities of crunchies and cracklies for the Diver Lifeboat Fund.
In the course of that quest I have, like traffic wardens, heard many a strange excuse.
Most of the best reasons for diving misbehaviour come, you will not be surprised to hear, from those mistresses of the trembling lower lip and tear-filled eyes, also known as lady divers.
But not until now have I ever received an offer of a fine from any source before the misdemeanour has even been revealed to me by a Leak. Nor have I ever come across a diver who shops herself in writing to me and pleads innocence at the same time. Her e-mail started like this:
"Dear Mr Beachcomber, Sir!
"Knowing of your abhorrence of "journos" and your quest to rid the world of bad diving journalism and references to "oxygen cylinders", etc, I thought I would very nobly report myself to you, before some other sod does!"
She controls her language before telling me how she took part recently in a telephone interview for "a rather solid, middle-class, middle-aged lady"s magazine on the subject of scuba diving". She says she was horrified, when the article was published, to read that what she does is "deep sea diving".
Revealing herself as an Advanced Diver and Open Water Instructor, she reports that she was somewhat surprised to read herself quoted as saying that "to prevent decompression you have to pinch your nose and blow", that a regulator had become "a breathing piece", and that a recompression chamber was a "big diving cylinder which takes the pressure down".
"The moral of this story is - never believe what you read in the papers. I was misquoted, misunderstood and I am most definitely embarrassed by the way my words were twisted about. I will quite happily donate a crisp anything to the Lifeboat Fund.
"Please be assured, I did not say that!" She signs herself: "Love, Annie".
Well, what do you make of poor Annie"s tale of woe? Is she really the innocent girl betrayed by the hard female journos who lurk on women"s magazines, waiting to entrap the unwary with their calculated misquotes? I think not.
Though I do not wish to be unkind to her, I suspect that Annie talked too much technical-diving speak in her interview, confused the poor journos at the other end of the telephone with her superior knowledge and then, horrified by what appeared, tried to get in a pre-emptive strike aimed at Mr Beachcomber"s well-known soft heart.
In the circumstances I feel I can"t let Annie go. In fact, I have no alternative but to fine her a crisp crunchie for being just too good to be true.
The fine is reduced because she did have quite a good idea. To me swiftly. Without tears.
Before the war, which, it is hard to believe, began only last month as I write, I told you of tales going the rounds about terrorists training to be scuba-divers in order to plant bombs.
Some of these stories went as far as having members of Al-Qaeda joining diving clubs to find out how to use the equipment.
I"m afraid that, under the guidance of my Leaks, I rather pooh-poohed the whole idea.
I also asked you if you had heard that the Special Branch or the Anti-Terrorist Squad was asking British dive shops for names of people buying the more expensive items of dive gear, particularly rebreathers and diver scooters. Had your dive shop been approached?
My Leaks poured cold water on that one too, saying that the answer from every shop and club would be a resounding negative. And so I told you.
It seems that these terror tales started in the USA where, after the 11 September attack, FBI agents checked dive shops and collected lists of divers certified in the past few years. Nothing more seems to have come of it over there. But in Britain the tale of the diver-terrorist survives.
I now have to admit that I was wrong about this all being unfounded rumour. Two Lady Leaks have told me that their respective dive centres, one in London and the other in Sussex, have been contacted about diving terrorists.
My London Lady says that Scotland Yard asked her to let it know if anybody of Arab origin enquired about purchasing rebreather or "underwater GPS" equipment.
However, I fear that she would never make an anti-terrorist officer, for she adds: "Oddly enough, I did have two guys dressed like Bin Laden come in a couple of months later and ask about GPS gear, but by that time I had lost the police guy"s number..."
My Sussex Lady reports that: "We have been contacted by Customs regarding cash-paying customers for courses, or high-value unusual equipment sales to ethnic minorities. We had a visit from a Customs officer about six weeks ago and were asked to contact them should anything of the kind occur."
It all seems tough on those of Middle Eastern origin with a genuine interest in advanced diving. However, I believe I was right to tell you last month that if anything untoward or suspicious occurred in or around your club, or dive shop, you should contact the police immediately. That advice seems more important than ever.
Here is a lesson for all divers, and all who run dive centres. And here is a chance, too, for a handsome donation to the Lifeboat Fund.
My message is for John, the warmwater dive-centre owner who has been planning to send a UK cheque to replace a strobe stolen from a visiting diver"s equipment. John had earlier promised to look after that equipment. Will he now please send the cheque to me at Diver?
The lesson for all divers on the move is to look after your gear yourself, and don"t expect dive centres to do it for you.
The lesson for all dive-centre owners is not to promise to look after clients" equipment between dives and then leave it out overnight for items to get stolen.
This is what visiting diver Mike tells Beachcomber happened to his strobe. He has been waiting for the cheque for a replacement for so long - since October last year - that he has decided to donate the money to the Lifeboat Fund in the hope that this move will speed things up.
So come on, John. make it payable to the RNLI. Don"t keep Beachcomber waiting or this won"t be the last you hear about it.