Sunday, January 22, 2012

Going Down

I'm seeing a great many searches reaching this site for information surrounding a report of a young women being stabbed in Broadstairs and all I know about the incident is that the Police were called after an altercation between two Thanet College students, both women, at Granville Road on Friday lunchtime.

The Kent Air Ambulance flew the victim, who reportedly had serious chest wounds to the Royal London Hospital where she is in a stable condition.

I find it interesting that the newspaper story has finally broken surrounding the organised nature of Eastern European gangs and families selling The Big Issue. I came across this extended 'family business' control of the pitches in a triangle between here, Whitstable and Dover in Thanet when I was the Cabinet Member for Customer Services & Benefits and challenged an underage girl selling the magazines in Westgate. I had a very revealing chat with her and her broken English was good enough to paint a picture of how it all worked. When I contacted the Big Issue's Head Office they agreed the magazine was facing a problem but it wasn't one they couldn't do anything about because the group involved have a legal right to be in this country and a legal right to sell The Big Issue.

Last night I had dinner with an old friend, a prominent figure from the diving industry who is visiting from the States. Catching-up with what happened to many of our mutual friends over the years, I asked him if 'Captain B'  was still in business, the man who first taught me deep, mixed gas wreck diving twenty years ago.

Apparently 'B', with his world-class reputation as a wreck diver, was asked to investigate a side scan sonar anomaly, which showed a non-ferrous metal mass, 400 feet down on the seabed, a very challenging Trimix dive indeed. He dropped down the shot line onto the spot, which turned-out to be a large concreted mass of gold coins. He surfaced a very rich man, promptly sold his dive business and hasn't been seen since. I had to laugh and wish him well; a real pirate made good!

So much of the ground-breaking kit we used to wear and use in the old days - pictured - is now obsolete and sitting in my attic, pink hood included. Twenty years ago, rebreathers were an exercise in dicing with death because the software to control the gas mixture was very much in its infancy, now they are safe and state of the art and Suunto even do a Trimix dive computer that doubles as a wristwatch.

Looking at the half submerged hull of the Italian cruise liner on the news, the difficult job of the search divers can't be underestimated.

Lots of recreational divers have dropped on to wrecks lying on the seabed but not that many go on penetration dives. Some twenty years ago, I dived on the Zenobia, a 'Roll-on Roll-off' ferry that sank at the entrance to Larnaca harbour, lying on her side in 138 feet of water. I was invited by the company that controlled the wreck to go down with them through a hatch on the bow into the inner car-deck and access the ship from there and I confess that it was one of the stranger experiences of my life, much like a scene from the Richard Cameron movie, 'The Abyss' as wearing bright dive lights, we lit-up the interior and passed rows of Volvo trucks parked-up and tied down where they were abandoned.

How on earth one searches through a ship the size of Concordia, a small floating city, is hard to grasp. The difficulties and potential dangers are enormous.


Anonymous said...

Nothing new in history

At this time of Big Issue sellers. Benefits increases for each addition to any benefits dependent family. A burgeoning dependency culture. Perhaps the way ahead may be to take a leaf out of the old Rev Maberley book and have a scrap in the House of Lords ?

The thing is if the Rev got injured nowadays being bounced out of the House of Lords he would sue for compensation and claim DLA !

The basic premise of the Act opposed by the Rev was that benefits if too generous would discourage people from work and encourage them to breed.

Stand by for incoming and all I did was mention history .....

Anonymous said...

"but it wasn't one they couldn't do anything about" - hmm....... I don't think you haven't got too many negatives there!