About Me

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Leybourne Lake Dive Centre is a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre near Maidstone in Kent with the ability to offer IANTD, DSAT, TDI, Rebreather and the full range of PADI courses to fulfill your needs. We also have an on-site and Online shop to cater for your additional equipment needs, and a fully functional gas blending station offering air and nitrox gas fills. Trimix can be blended by prior arrangement.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Hammerhead Heaven

For those of you lucky enough to be off to Sharm soon, good news. Get to the back of Jackson Reef and the Hammerhead Sharks are there a plenty. 16 sightings on one dive alone. Wonderful creatures, such grace. The best advice if you want to see them. Keep the group tight - like a bait ball - stay around 14 metres and when the first few appear do not, in any circumstances swim towards them. Once the sentinels have come for a look if you don't spook them they will disappear to return with the rest of the group for a look. Then if you keep the tight grouping they will stay for a really good look at you!

A Product I Can Recommend

As many of you know I am an opinionated, individual. Not one for sitting on the fence, if I like something I'm only too happy to share my delight and if I come across a real bummer I squeal like a good'n.
Well have I got a dose of delight for you. Last week in Sharm, and I apologise for the missing week of blogging, I tried the new Cressi Travel Light BCD. At 5.5lbs it certainly lacks weight, but with integrated weights, big pockets, metal D rings, trim pouches and three dump points it definitely packs punch. All from a BC that will fold up to the size of your old school plimsoll bag!
So clearly it must have faults - the weight pouches fall out - No. Lacking in lift - No. Feeble construction - No. Sorry I dived it the whole week, 16 times in all, and couldn't fault it. I wholly and unreservedly say - Well done Cressi, 10 out of 10, one of the best diving products I've ever bought!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Oh No Not Sharm Again!

Tomorrow morning I'm off to Sharm and frankly I'm over the moon, so I'm amazed to hear people questioning why I'm going there for the 30th plus time. 'You have seen everything there' seems to be the favorite remark. I don't agree and I'll tell you why. If I walk in a wood and stand under an Oak tree for 20 minutes in December I would never claim to have seen everything that tree has to offer. To start with it has no leaves, in the spring it will grow some, in the summer it will flower and in the autumn it has acorns, then the leaves change colour and fall. And that's just the tree, I've not mentioned the effects of weather or light or even the visiting wildlife. So you see I will always see new things every time I dive in Sharm or on any other site and that's why I'm over the moon.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Swan Rescue

I had a strange encounter with a swan today outside the dive centre. It just didn't look right, it was just standing there, swaying and stumbling. So being an interfering kind of bloke I went up to it and stood next to it - him i should say to be precise. and he just looked at me. 'Fluffy', er yes I named him, then waddled towards me and sat down right next to me. Now I'm no expert but I knew 'Fluffy' was not acting according to the usual swan protocols here. So I picked him up and set him on the back of the pick up where, until the Swan Rescue Service man appeared, we had a big cuddle. 'Fluffy' is now recovering from what appears to be a bit of food poisoning. It made me think though, why did I react? Simple I'm a First Aider and Rescue Diver, I'm trained to take notice of the unusual, and have the confidence to react to it. So if any of you want to have the confidence to react to an unusual or problematic situation why not complete your Rescue Course this summer.
Please note no swans were harmed in the writing of this blog.

Monday, 13 July 2009

My Top 10 Diving Dislikes

We all have them - our pet hates. You know the event, issue or subject that just hits the spot on the grumble gland every time. Here's some of mine............
Lateness. The van leaves for the dive site at..... and it doesn't.
I didn't read the manual - nobody told me I had to.
Can I move my course from tomorrow as I can work overtime, have a wedding, hangover etc
No I cannot swim - is it important.
Twinned bottles without a manifold.
My regs don't need servicing I had them done three years ago.
As I've bought a mask and a snorkel can I have 70% off
This is a low fill it only has 231bar in it
Why do you charge for an air fill - air's free
I bought this from x,y,or z diving at the dive show and its broken will you sort it out under guarantee.

Whats your top pet hate?

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Cannot See The Wood for the Trees

How is it that we so often fail to see what's right in front of us? How many of us know some exotic location like Shark Yollander Reef or the Thistlegorm in the Red sea better than our own back yard or back lake. Today I have seen a great underwater video of Leybourne Lake taken only this week and it's made me realise I spend a lot of time looking at students and not enough looking at the fish! So I'm going in today for a pleasure dive and I'm going to look at the fish, and the boats and look for the Eel that everyone keeps seeing, oh and the massive Pike and the Mitton Crabs. As for the video when it's edited we will share it.

Friday, 10 July 2009

The Pleasure Of Success

Recently two people very dear to me experienced success. Within days of each other my Son finished his NVQ in Building and my Daughter passed her ICT GCSE. Both showed the same signs of delight and described their symptoms of pleasure. It was lovely to witness the buzz they felt from the of achievement. So I'll ask you a question, when was the last time you felt the buzz? Well how about completing something enjoyable - like a scuba course. No matter the level from beginner to instructor on completion you too can feel joy of achievement and bask in your well deserved glory. Pleasure, Glory and Buzz available to order just ask in the shop for details.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

We Provide A Dyson Service !

The other day I was really very impressed with something - so I'm going to recommend it. I have a 9 year old Dyson cleaner. Yes I know I'm a bloke and what do I know about cleaners!!! Well I'm single so I have too. Anyway back to the issue. The cleaner handle was broken, plus the pipe was split and the stair brush snapped.... you get the picture. So I went on line and the new parts were £52. Or, so the Dyson website claimed, for £63 a man would come out, service it and replace all the broken parts. Now come on you cannot get someone to come out for less than £90 and then the parts and labour bill will be a gazillion, but, ever the optimist I phoned and the very next day (yes I'm serious) the man was there, and on time. What happened next was amazing, he tore it apart, cleaned it, replaced my handle, pipe, and brush and then, because, 'they looked a bit worn, and were old style' put on a new cable, filter and brush head. By now I'm expecting the extras bill to require a mortgage! Nope! Exactly as it said on the tin £63 - amazing, even fantastic. Then I realised something, that's exactly what we do with our courses, advertise a price, include everything, give great service, and no hidden charges. Result, very happy customers. Maybe on the Dyson blog their recommending a 'Leybourne Service' !

Where did the website go?

It's an amazing phenominum the inter-web, such power. Power to make paupers millionaires and millionaires paupers! Well I'm frankly neither but today the inter-web cost me a whole day of my life. How? - well everything just vanished. Yesterday we had a website, a shop and an email system and this morning, no we didn't. After frantic unanswered calls to the web people, texts, voice mails, emails, no reply. This afternoon and still we had nothing interwebbingly. So we started the only thing we could, we temporarily re-hosted the site and re-routed the emails to keep the thing working whilst looking for answers. So if you found us missing that's why and if you sent a mail that was not answered today, please resend it, because it's stuck out there - somewhere. Never to return. Unlike our website which has - I hope !

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Days Off Are Precious

I had yesterday off! Those who know me understand the rare nature of this phenomenon! And wow!!!! It reminded me just how precious a day off is, and how not one second of it should be wasted. And that made me think of how we help you use your precious time off. Having the pool in the morning, lake in the afternoon, we really do give you the opportunity to make the most of your day or weekend. Without reducing your contact instructor time by a second we can complete your training much more efficiently than other centres or schools. It's all down to using our local pool and, as importantly our local lake. Why do other local schools keep their students away from our lake and make them drive for hours around the M25? Does Wraysbury offer better viz, lower entry fee's? NO. It's simple: they do not want their students to come into our shop and see our lower prices on equipment, servicing, holidays and training. So at least you know you are being smart, saving time and money choosing Leybourne as your dive centre where we know service and value matters.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

In August Let's Get Wrecked!

On August 24th we are in Stoney Cove for a Wreck Specialty training course. Transport leaves the dive centre at 4pm Sunday traveling to Leicestershire. We will be staying in our favorite Badgers Mount Hotel. Monday's three wreck dives on the Stairngarth will include a mapping exercise followed by line laying drills culminating in full penetration. I know that all who know me will expect some remark here but I'm going to pass; just this once! If you want to know more about this exciting specialty give the centre a call. Due to the nature of this course spaces are limited.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

More Congratulations - What More!

More converts to 'Devils Gas'! As from today we have two more Enriched Air divers. We congratulate Stacey Smith and Stephanie Kimmenauer on completing their courses. On their final exams between them they missed only 1 mark - very well done to you both. If you would like to join the Nitrox users club we run courses on demand - simply ask in store.

Congratulations Master Scuba Diver

Congratulations to Divemaster Trainee Martin Vass on achieving PADI Master Scuba Diver. His route to success was, Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Deep, Wreck, Nitrox, Boat, Drift and just to make sure, Night and Submersible Marker Buoy. We wish you continued success with your ongoing DM.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Advanced Open Water August 23/24

As you know the Advanced Open Water course is designed to do just that 'advance' your skills and knowledge. Starting with Peak Performance Buoyancy and Navigation in Leybourne Lake on the Sunday followed by Deep, Multilevel and Wreck on the Monday at Stoney Cove in Leicestershire. Five dives worth of supervised learning with a pleasant evening in Badgers Mount Hotel in between. Upon qualifying, your depth limit is increased from 18m to 30m, your comfort limit far beyond!!! Next available course is August 23rd / 24th. Bookings being taken now.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

What's Hot and What's Not

We regularly get asked what's the viz? or what's the temp in the lake today? But so very often lately I've been surprised by non divers or holiday divers ideas about the temperature during the summer.
Over the past few days I've asked people to take a guess. All have be wrong, hopelessly wrong. One lady assured me 'it must be around 9 or 10 degrees', another suggested '12 at most'.
So what is it today? 24 degrees centigrade, yes twenty four!!!!! My advice, if you own a dry suit - leave it at home. If you have a shorty - consider wearing it! And if you have never dived in the UK because it's too cold, now is the time to try it.