Compass Points

Any way the crow flies
Last year’s cold water adventures had the compass spinning in a 360° circuit of headings. No matter which direction, each revealed something unique and unexpected. British waters are hard to beat when the stars align.

West to Wales and some protected freshwater lakes provided a chance to explore the underwater world of waterlilies; a magical setting that few are able to experience in this way. The sensitive environment, challenging in so many respects, brought me closer to realising one of my ambitions. More about that in my next post but stay with me on this one! A long-held dream to photograph the most adored of aquatic plants was finally under my belt.

From West to East and by contrast, an unassuming lake in Kent. Which in fairness isn’t a new destination but a tranquil spot that draws me back each year. It's a place that keeps delivering the more I get to know it. Changing with the seasons, it's a watery world that wears many coats, each dramatically different to the last. Life in the lake hibernates in a sleepy dormancy through the bleak months then bursts into colourful song when the water warms. The more I look, the more I find. The more I find, the more I want to investigate every nook and cranny. And that bodes well for the future and my grandest of plans.

Early Summer arrived, Northerly shores beckoned and so to the Isle of Man with the crow, where a salty 11°C woke me up! Cold water brought crispy-clear visibility and stunning reefs. Treasures I’d been longing to see again, like Jewel anemones, were everywhere. So brilliant they made my heart sing. Seals and diving Gannets, Corkwing wrasse and abundant comical crabs made every dive seem too short. I can't wait to head there again, no matter that finger-numbing chill.

Diving out the year on the South coast, with a stint of shore diving at another old haunt, where warmer water means long, easy dives. Swanage Pier remains a favourite site, there's a festival of life waiting beneath the stanchions. The perfect spot to test a few techniques and have a little fun with those Tompots.

Our fabulous shores! Just spin that dial ...