Lessons from lockdown

WITH SO MUCH TIME being spent in our homes, it’s become fashionable to ask ourselves: what have I learned during the lockdown?

My answer would be: shockingly little. Though I have learnt the impressive extent of my self-delusion. All those annoying little tasks I told myself that I would tackle “if only I had enough time” are still waiting to be done. For example:

Properly cleaning the gunk out of the bottom of my dive-crate rather than just whooshing a bit of fresh water round it. Then finding a home for (or binning) the O-rings, D-rings and miscellaneous micro-widgets that have formed a small community in the corners of the crate.

It’s so much easier to stash them all into a spare pouch or hide them away in a random section of the cutlery drawer in the kitchen.

Glueing up that dodgy, worn part above the boot of my drysuit. You know the area I mean – it’s where the boot meets the fabric at the back of the ankle. That could definitely do with some attention…

But first I’d need to find that half-squeezed-out, congealing tube of neoprene adhesive. I must have stashed it somewhere non-obvious. It’s not in the cutlery drawer.

As I rummage further, I learn that my dive-computers look as if they need a battery change. Super-annoying for both to conk out at once. Why does that always happen?

The strap on my ancient (third) spare has completely disintegrated. Without repair, it’s just a pointless lump.

The “to do” list stretches on and on. I’d love to claim that my motivation to tackle it has evaporated in direct proportion to the opportunity to go diving. But it’s delusional.

An image springs to mind of a friend sitting on the deck post-dive, stirring sugar into her tea with the end of a comb. “Once a slut, always a slut!” she cheerfully announced to all present.

Honest and shameless – always the best policy.

DIVER March 2021

MORE LOCKDOWN REVELATIONS: I’ve taken to standing under the shower in the morning and turning the temperature to cold. Sounds masochistic but it’s the nearest thing I can get to that “whoah-oh-oh!” feeling of hitting the water when you jump off the boat.

Those awe-inspiring photos of fantastical marine critters taken by sh*t-hot photographers and posted on Facebook? I’ve realised that these are my lockdown porn. Videos of divers encountering whales, dolphins, seals. Sharks. Blennies. Pretty much anything that’s underwater. I’ve learned that hours can pass by and I’ll still be gazing at it on loop, like an idiot.

I miss the smell of the sea. Being smacked in the face by a big lump of spray as the RIB skips over the waves. Rinsing salt water out of my hair at the end of the day.

I’ve learned that the closest I can get to this experience is watching Cornwall: This Fishing Life on BBC 2.

Pressing my face close to the TV and trying to remember the distinctive tangy reek of the pots and the nets in the harbours. Admiring the display of rugged resilience.

And I’ve learned that the next time I go diving, I’ll definitely end up with a cold squelchy puddle in the right boot of my drysuit. Nobody but me to blame. I am absolutely longing for it.