It is time to report considerable activity in what Sherlock Holmes might well have called The Strange Affair of the Fisherman's Ladder.
Beachcomber's readers are all regulars, so they will hardly need reminding of the tale told by my Great Northern Leaks and faithfully recorded in the September issue of this wondrous magazine.
But for those just joining Beachcomber's Band of Real Divers, the strange affair concerned a rusty ladder, which was left by an aged fisherman on the slipway at St Abbs while he repaired his boat.
It was difficult to pick out on the rust-coloured rocks and sadly a diver tripped and fell over the rungs, cut his drysuit and was badly bruised.
This in turn led to an altercation which my Leaks described as furious, with threats to sue the fisherman for damages apparently flying in all directions. The victim took no part in this, said it was an accident, and was helped away by his buddies.
Knowing that over the years St Abbs has been a sensitive dive site, with considerable tension between pot fishermen and divers which settled into an incident-free peace only in recent times, my Leaks viewed the Ladder Affair with many misgivings. And so did Beachcomber.
In fact, I asked my readers for more information about this incident so that the divers who had harassed the old fisherman, and were believed to have come from the Midlands, would be left in no doubt that we didn't want soccer-hooligan tactics among the friendly ranks of British divers.
But the Ladder Affair was not as simple as it seems. No sooner had Beachcomber burst into print than letters, faxes and emails poured in.
Some suggested that the ladder had trapped more than one victim in its rungs. Some denied indignantly that they had behaved in the manner described and had indeed contacted the harbourmaster, who apparently felt that the incident was out of his jurisdiction.
David Skinner, the Diving Officer of Kendal and Lakes SAC, sent a very detailed account of what had happened after one of his members fell over the ladder.
He agrees that there was a heated exchange with the fisherman, who was "equally vociferous in his view that divers should not be using the harbour. We were back to the old debate of divers interfering with lobster pots. As I returned back down the berth, I pointed out in a quiet manner that the owner of the ladder was actually liable, at which point it was put in the boat, where it should have been all along".
David adds: "We are not yobs, simply a group of divers wishing to use this little Northern port to give access to an excellent diving area, as we do several times each year. The incident was unfortunate, but wholly avoidable and left one of our party injured, badly shaken and with a drysuit to repair."
My Great Northern Leaks agree that the Kendal divers behaved well after the first shock and believe that this was not the only ladder incident that day.
They have other sightings of divers falling over a ladder. Could these have been the Midland divers whom my Leaks believed were the group responsible for the row related by Beachcomber?
If so they, like all divers, will be pleased to hear that peace has been re-established between local fishermen and visiting divers. Long may it last.
I blame it on the weather, but there is no doubt about it that, generally, this seems to have been a good year for diving.
Instances of bad behaviour reported to Beachcomber are well down on last year, though there have still been some incidents. One of the worst comes from one of my Shropshire Leaks, who tells me of fantastic diving in fantastic weather off the coast of very Welsh Wales.
This Shropshire Lad says his club had dropped their shot in the midships of a wreck which was already buoyed at both ends. In addition to their boat with six divers down and, of course, flying the A-flag, there was another dive boat with four divers down also flying the flag.
Into the midst of this and right over the wreck, and the divers, hurtles a boat towing a water-skier. Not content with this intrusion, it carries on buzzing the dive flags until the skier falls off.
More than incensed by this, my Leak told the crew of the skiing boat to go and play in some other part of the ocean, and explained about diving flags, as he believed that the skiers clearly knew nothing about diving.
Later that day, my Shropshire Leak took out a second group of divers to the wreck and was somewhat surprised to find the water-ski boat with the same occupants, but this time diving the wreck. To his further surprise, these water-skiers, converted to divers, started complaining about a jet-skier who was more than 250m away and respecting the flags by staying away, unlike the water-skier in the morning.
What are we to make of all this? Do clubs and branches not teach the rules about the A-flag any more? Or is this just an isolated incident concerning water-skiers suddenly switching to diving and not learning properly about their new sport?
Matters have now taken a turn for the worse. My Shropshire Leak has just been told that the diver-skiers concerned are members of a long-established Welsh branch of a famous diving club.
In that case, I shall have to fine them at least a crisp crunchie each for the Diver Lifeboat Fund in the hope that this will cure them of their ignorance and teach them that the A-flag is not a turn-marker for water-skiing idiots.
To me swiftly, before I have to name names...
I am hearing niggles from members of an up-country branch who take an annual trip to dive the wrecks of Lyme Bay. The niggles express their unhappiness with another group of divers on the same sites they had chosen for their wreck-diving pilgrimage.
Niggle No 1 tells of members of the other club driving their yellow RIB over divers on a shot and putting the engine into neutral only after missing heads by inches.
Niggle No 2 came after allowing the same branch to follow them out to a wreck "because we could never find it".
Then, the last pair of "pilgrims" were on the shotline when another large shot was dropped right between the two of them. This, together with "barging our divers out of the way so that they could see the congers", has led to the pilgrims suggesting that Beachcomber should fine the yellow-RIB club for its diving misbehaviour.
Before I do so, I would like to hear more from the other branch. So will the woman with "Dive Leader" emblazoned on her kit, and who seems to have been in the thick of things, let me know her side of the dives which led to the niggles.
To me swiftly, please, because my patience wears thin very quickly...