Went for a scuba yesterday with Aquanaught Divers here in Antigua. Bit of a trip down memory lane really. It was here 5 years ago that I took my first plunge into the depths at the dive site ‘Pillars of Hercules’ just outside of the entrance to English Harbour.
My Instructor of choice was One Eyed John. A slight fella in his 60’s, an ex-pat from blighty much like myself. One eyed John taught me for my first diving lisence and also my most recent dive master 2 years ago. Back then, he was celebrating being cancer free for 5 years after his second battle with the disease.
Before we dropped in for the second dive of the day at ‘Pillars of Hercules’ John was telling me that the doctor had ordered him to only dive once per day as he was back on chemotherapy to fight the cancer for a third time.
Now John might me frail but he really is anything but weak. This guy has always amazed me. He can dive twice on 1 scuba tank when other divers have to use a tank for each dive. His fins he can keep on without the ankle straps, with that one eye he can spot more stuff than me and it still amazes me when he takes his tank off at 12 metres, hands it to me and then slowly ascends to the boat. What we would certainly refer to in blighty as ‘A good old bugger’.
Now, lets talk about the boat that I came here to see. Sarissa is a 42 metre carbon fibre sloop built by Vitters and launched last year. A couple of years ago, I was approached by a captain I know who was working for the owner on his last boat. I was shown the plans of the boat and asked if I would be interested in engineering it form build. Of course I was but unfortunately my friend departed the programme before I could join. I have chased the boat more recently and finally got the opportunity to come and see it as they were looking for an engineer.
A fast modern sailing boat, good crew, high tech systems – of course I was into it. Imagine my pain when I realised how small the engine room was and just how cramped I would be in there – at the tallest part, it was 25cm too short for me, at its worst – even when kneeling, I still had to duck my head. So, with regret I had to tell the captain on friday that I couldn’t work the boat for him. I was wounded!
So – back to blighty on tuesday night, then oral exam in Southampton at the end of the month, after that, I have a new project up my sleeve already.