Time: Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 March.
Place: ExCel Centre, London Docklands.
Reason for being there: It's the London International Dive Show.
How many more do you need?
What makes the London International Dive Show so special? Its sheer scale, for one thing. The acclaimed ExCel Centre in Docklands has the space and facilities to accommodate an event that grows bigger by the year.
This year more than 14,000 people are expected to attend over the weekend of 1/2 March, and they will find more than 250 stands to visit, representing nearly all the big names in the diving trade.
That means equipment-makers, distributors and retailers with the latest gear, accessories and clothing, so you can examine, compare, get advice from the experts and, if you wish, buy on the spot.
It means not only dive tour operators and tourist boards but representatives of dive centres from all around the world, so you can get the full story on destinations from the people who dive them regularly.
It means training agencies and schools, so you can make an informed decision on the courses you need, and it means all the well-intentioned organisations which one way and another seek to make the seas cleaner and safer places in which to dive.
It also means people - dive buddies from all over the world know that LIDS is one of the great places to meet and catch up.
Among those attending will be divers who regularly make the headlines in Diver, and a number of them have agreed to share their experiences with us.
Take some time out from the hustle and bustle of the main hall and settle down in comfort to enjoy their presentations. Whether you're into deep wrecks or shallow reefs, sharks, treasure-hunting, free-diving, photography or all of them, you'll find something to inspire your own diving in 2003.
First in terms of seniority is Bob Marx, whose extraordinary life story is told elsewhere in this issue of Diver. He ran away at 13 to become a helmet-diver, co-founded the first US diving club and the first dive resort, and became arguably the most successful underwater treasure-hunter in the world.
Anyone who has discovered 3000 shipwrecks commands attention, and Marx has a reputation for public speaking. On Saturday he will present two illustrated talks, Chasing After the Pot of Gold and Spain's Manila Galleons, and on Sunday The East Indiamen and The Golden Galleons of Spain (wrecks such as the Maranceros and the Maravilla, the second-richest galleon ever lost and found in the New World).
A new name at LIDS but one well-known to anyone familiar with the Doing It Right school of diving is US diver Jarrod Jablonski. President of extreme diver training agency Global Underwater Explorers (GUE), he also runs specialist equipment makers Halcyon and Extreme Exposure. His visit coincides with the planned launch of GUE-UK.
Jablonski has carried out more than 3000 dives around the world using mixed gas, rebreathers, underwater propulsion vehicles and extreme exposure techniques. He and GUE Training Director Andrew Georgitsis will give a video presentation with the intriguing title: Scientific Exploration: From the World's Longest Cave to the World's Largest Wreck.
The cave is Florida's Wakulla Springs (nearly 6000m in and 90m down) and the wreck the Titanic's big sister the Britannic, which lies in 120m near Athens.
From extreme diving with all the gear to extreme diving with hardly any: Frenchman Loic Leferme is the world's deepest breath-hold diver, having regained his No Limits title from Tanya Streeter recently with an incredible 162m plonk. Top free-divers always pack in the crowds at the Dive Shows - probably because we're fascinated to speculate on just how much punishment the human body can endure. Is No Limits finally reaching its utter limit? Loic Leferme is the man to tell us.
Other presenters at LIDS are taking advantage of new technology and research to reach deeper, and not just for the hell of it. Gavin Haywood and Dan Stevenson always seem to find something interesting on their dives. They chartered the first British trip to Ireland to explore the Justicia, the Empire Heritage and the Laurentic, all wrecks that now appear on every tekkie's wish-list (see Leigh Bishop's stunning pictures elsewhere in this issue).
In the South China Seas, Haywood discovered the bell of HMS Prince of Wales and with Stevenson took part in the first-ever joint Naval-civilian diving operation to recover it. And off North Cornwall Stevenson discovered the St George - an infamous treasure wreck containing 100 tons of copper ingots.
Enjoy video footage of their first dive on the wreck, and find out how they salvaged the copper without falling foul of the law, injuring themselves, or losing their friends!
Haywood and Stevenson are in good deep-wreck company at LIDS. Simon Bennett organised last year's expedition to Tunisia to find and dive HMS Manchester, torpedoed and sunk in 1942 while taking part in Operation Pedestal, a convoy to save Malta. The cruiser lies in 82m and the expedition provided evidence that the Manchester's disgraced captain was wrongly charged with scuttling the destroyer prematurely.
Simon specialises in diving the deep WW2 wrecks around Malta, and it was there in 2001 that he discovered Rommel's transport ship the Marinsanudo. He will show footage from the TV documentary of the Manchester expedition and also at LIDS will be the two Manchester veterans who accompanied the dive team.
Submarine-wreck specialist Innes McCartney is becoming as well-known as a book and video publisher as a diver. With his own book The Last Patrol finally completed, he will be talking about some the 121 English Channel submarine wrecks it covers, some of which he discovered. If names like the Holland 5, L24, M1, M2, U480 and UB81 mean anything to you, or even if they don't, you'll find this a memorable session.
What about the methodology of deep wreck diving? Jack Ingle is a wreck-diver and also the BSAC's Technical Diving Adviser, and no show would be complete without his kit-configuration workshops. Visitors have an insatiable appetite for discussing better ways to streamline equipment while still allowing rapid access to mouthpieces, cylinder valves and safety and technical equipment.
Back in shallower waters, you can get some close-up shark action by attending Mark Addison's exciting video-driven presentation. Addison is in the forefront of shark research in South Africa, where he pioneered diving with tiger sharks and evening feeding of raggedtooth sharks at Aliwal Shoal, and in Mozambique, where he initiated a whale shark-tagging project.
Last year South Africa's Sardine Run, in which dense walls of baitfish are chased towards the beaches by a variety of predators, was highly publicised, and Addison has filmed the incredible action under water. Don't miss it.
Also in this issue you can read the final instalment of the Diver Full Circle Expedition, in which readers visited 10 of the world's best dive sites - and one lucky reader travelled for free. It was Monty Halls who ran the expedition, and it was an travel-weary yet happy team that arrived back in the UK 10 weeks later.
Come along to his presentation and see the video footage of this unique trip - who knows, you might be able to take in the next Full Circle project yourself!
And if you do go, you'll almost certainly want to record the experience for posterity. British diver Dan Burton has worked on many deepwater projects, including the 90m El Cazador wreck off Mexico, the USS Monitor off the USA, and the Britannic in the Mediterranean. He is also a keen free-diver.
Dan was early among professional photographers in shooting with a high-resolution digital camera under water, using his own housing for a Nikon D1 camera. And that's what he'll be talking about at LIDS, so anyone who is already a digital diver or wants to be one should find this an interesting session.
All this, plus the Rebreather Pool for advanced divers and the Try-Dive Pool for beginners, countless competitions and much more. Better be there.
Is yours the name on the magic ticket? This year's Show Draw prize, open to all LIDS visitors and offered by Snooba Travel and Grenada Tourism, is a special one.
You and a companion will receive return flights to the Caribbean island of Grenada with Monarch Airways and 14 nights' bed and breakfast in a villa room at the Rendezvous Beach Resort on Grand Anse Beach.
You will be able to do up to 20 dives each with Aquanauts Grenada, including the Caribbean's biggest liner, the Bianca C (below), a multitude of colourful reefs and perhaps shark dives on the east coast. It's a great prize worth £3000 and someone has to win it. Let's hope it's you!
Do you have a load of diving buddies? You get another crack at a free diving holiday by booking in advance for LIDS on behalf of 10 or more people. This time the prize is a week-long Red Sea holiday for 10, based at the Amar Sina Resort in Sharm el Sheikh and including a five-day dive package with Emperor Divers. BOOK ON-LINE NOW!
Share a £5000 holiday with your mates and save on LIDS entrance too - you pay only £7 instead of £9.50 on the door, so that's £25 saved straight away!