Category Archives: Sport News

Body of a 40 Year Old

I had my 5 yearly health MOT from Bupa today and after the blood test, ECG, lung analysis, physical examination and other checks the computer actually gives your body an age!

Mine was 40 and before all the jokes fly in about me being 26 I’m actualy 45 so I have a body 5 years younger!

I don’t smoke, have never been ill from work even for a day, cycle to the office and I guess teaching karate keeps me fit. Check out the Senior Veteran martial art champion from last week in the picture on the left! (I’m far right giving tactical advice to my students)

In true francophile style the glass of red wine with every meal should keep me going till I’m 100.

Not often you get good news from the quack – there’s life in the old dog yet…….

Jason awarded ‘Master Scuba Diver’

Master Scuba Diver

After a fabulous week diving in the red sea on the Blue Horizon liveabord I was rewarded with my master scuba diving certification.

Blue O Two is a superb company to dive with; the boats were luxurious, teams were very helpful and food incredible bearing in mind the facilities and that comment comes from a seasoned restaurateur.

Once you have dived this way it would be hard to do anything else, the boat teams helped you with your kit; you had your own storage areas and you never had to take the tank from your jacket as it was filled with air/nitrox by boat teams.

When the bell range we dived, when it rang again we ate breakfast…….the next bell summoned our second dive followed by lunch bell.

One more ring and we were back in the water until it rang for afternoon tea and in my case for studies & lectures.

When we weren’t in too harshly protected areas we even managed a few night dives.

I felt like an experimental mouse, scurrying around every time the bell rang!

But perhaps one of the luckiest and pampered mice in the world!

We saw sea turtles, barracuda, large Napoleon wrasses, a myriad of brightly coloured and amazing species as well as Thresher, Grey & White tip reef sharks in abundance ~ just awesome.

The master scuba diving certification is given after completing 50 dives, taking the open water course & exam, the advanced open water course & exam, special first aid course, a rigorous rescue diver course & practical exams, five speciality dives and an underwater review by master scuba diver examiner.

The master scuba diver is nicknamed the black belt of scuba diving so of course I had to add this to my array of black belts! OK one New Year’s resolution completed with a few more still on my pad……..

Putney Boat Race

Join me tomorrow for the 156th Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race which will take place in Putney.

The first race was in 1829 and it has been held annually since 1856, with the exception of the two world wars. The course is 4 miles and 374 yards (6,779m) from Putney to Mortlake passing Hammersmith and Barnes and follows an “s” shape, east to west.

The restaurants & bars will be buzzing in Putney and the atmosphere electric despite the weather intentions!

Up to a quarter of a million people line the banks of the Thames from Putney to Mortlake to watch the boat race. During the race the crews pass various traditional landmarks, visible from the river: Putney Bridge, Fulham Football Club, Harrod’s Furniture Depositary, Hammersmith Bridge, Fuller’s Brewery and Chiswick Pier.

Oxford won the race last year but Cambridge may be set to turn the tide…….

Saturday 3rd April 2010 at 4.30pm.

Visit for more information

Underwater Naturalist

Speciality Diver V

Underwater Naturalist

This course followed on from the coral reef conservation and we studied in detail Sharks & Dugongs.

The most shocking fact…..a 6 pack can holder left in the sea will take 450 years to deteriorate.

We looked at global warming impact on the sea and its organisms, diving aware and symbiosis between different creatures which was fascinating.

We also researched & studied coral reefs and aquatic plants.

I will not be eating another prawn until it can be caught responsibly as at present for every 1 kg of prawns caught 5kg of ‘bycatch’ happens. ‘Bycatch’ is other species caught in the dragging nets on the sea bed that include sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, groupers and so many other species.

Only buy prawns, or any fish for that matter, from responsible retailers such as M&S or by ensuring it has an MSC (marine stewardship council) logo on packaging. The message is NOT that we shouldn’t eat fish as we need to protect the livelihood of millions of people in this industry and fish is a great source of low fat protein; the message is simply ‘shop responsibly’ and demand sustainable caught products in shops and restaurants.

This was another, hands on, spectacular diving course and gave a deep understanding of the ocean and its inhabitants and was perhaps alongside the coral reef conservation the most rewarding courses in the PADI scuba diving syllabus.

Coral Reef Conservation

Speciality Diver IV

Coral Reef Conservation

I loved doing this course that was all about endangered regions and human’s environmental impact on lakes, ponds (Lentic ecosystems!) and rivers and streams (lotic ecosystems!!) and oceans.

Understanding how we can avoid negatively impacting the reefs and marine species was rewarding and added to my armoury of environmental values.

I was proud to be one of the first restaurant groups working with the marine stewardship council and procuring and highlighting sustainable fishing. So to buddy up with a marine biologist and study the impact underwater was a lifetime ambition of mine.

I have spoken about sustainable fishing and how caterers/restaurateurs can make a difference at several trade conferences and even ran some promotional retail campaigns with the MSC.

44% of pollution is caused by industrial & agricultural run offs.
33% of pollution is caused by propellants, hydrocarbons & chemicals.
12% of pollution is caused by maritime accidents and bilge from ships
10% of pollution is caused by dumping waste

I was in my element and the PADI aware courses are yet another great way of spreading the message.

25% of all known marine species live in coral reefs, they are truly the store house of biodiversity and we need to look after them.

Aware Fish Identification

Speciality Diver III

Fish ID was a very interesting and practically useful course.

By learning to distinguish between 12 different groups of fish it becomes easier to work out what you are swimming with.

They are of course:

1) Butterfly fish, Angel fish & Surgeon Fish
2) 2) Jacks, Barracuda & Chubs
3) Snappers & Grunts
4) Damselfish, Chromis & Hamlets
5) Groupers, Sea bass & Basslets
6) Parrotfish & Wrasse
7) Squirrel fish, Big eyes & Cardinal fish
8) Blennies, Gobbies & Jaw fish
9) Flounders, Scorpion Fish, Lizard fish & Frog fish
10) File fish, Trigger fish, Puffers, Trunk, Cow & Goat fishes
11) Eels
12) Sharks & Rays

Each group has identifiable characteristics that once found makes the deduction process of noting exact fish much easier.

Enzo had to find unusual species on his dive and using a set process identify them on board and to count numbers of specific fish found on the reef.

A very satisfying & rewarding course especially in the red sea where the water takes on an aquarium of colourful species.

Speciality Diver II

Enzo takes back to the sea in his diving adventure journey this time by completing a couple of speciality diving courses.

The peak performance buoyancy was just like the advanced course with similar knowledge review but the practical session was more precise. My first ‘test’ was to come down slowly to around 8m on top of a bed of sea grass with arms extended like mission impossible and stop a few millimetres from the bottom which was rather funny. ‘I was as cool as Tom Cruise at this moment’ then we swam at varying heights around the rocks – piece of cake!

The deep diver was equally just an extension of the advanced diver course, same old knowledge review and test was to descend to within 0.5 metres of an agreed target first dive being 30m and second 30.5m

We dived to 40 metres (exact!) and took with us a piece of wetsuit that had compressed and was as hard as leather.

Frankly unless there is anything interesting to see it’s just cold & dark and more fun diving around 20m. (You can stay longer too!)

Winter Diving in Europe

I’m just not into dry suits, if it isn’t warm enough to dive in a wetsuit you should stay at home or get on a flight to somewhere warm.

However here are a few ideas to keep your skills up between holidays that I have discovered….and experienced.

Nemo 33

The deepest indoor pool in world finds itself in Belgium. Nemo 33 has a few artificial caves & caverns and does go down to 34 metres if you put your computer at the bottom! The stalactites look almost realistic with a foggy mask and bubbles from the myriad of divers (it gets quieter in Summer but that defeats the object)

You need no gear except your diving watch and nothing else is allowed anyway to keep the purity of the water (no chlorine to be seen thank fully) and everything is provided in a multitude of sizes.

There is a restaurant that has large windows to watch the divers and you can turn up on your own and they will match you with a buddy.

A hell of a lot of fun for just £20 but its not a dive you will want to do regularly! The best advantage is having moules frites and great Belgium beer at end.

London School of Diving

If you are a LSD member and if on a rare night the pool is not in use you you can kit up & play away. Its only 3-4m metres but very useful if you buy & want to test some new kit.

Blue Planet Acquarium.

You can never guarantee a shark encounter in sea except at this acquarium in Chester.

Again definately worth doing once ~ the downside is that they remove your flippers and give you extra weight so that you can’t swim upwards ~ the good side is that means the sharks won’t eat you!

The dive team teach you about sharks and their behaviours (you can do a shark awareness or national geographic course if you stay a couple of days usually overweekend) and I found that to be really useful when I came face to face with them in the ocean.

They have a range of large and impressive sharks here and they come & check out the group in pecking order (biggest sharks first) and yes I for some reason was taken for the alpha male and this 10ft shark hovered inches in front of me. I’m sure it was just for a few seconds but felt like several minutes…… it’s very safe unless you do something daft to shark (guides leg was recently bitten as he inadvertedly hit the shark accidentally with his flipper)

What hits you is the awe of majesty of these creatures, the incredible array of teeth and the sad fact that these creatures are in fear of extinction from Asian/Japanese hunting for just its fin, which from experience I can tell you that soup gets its taste from other ingredients and not the gelatinous fin. I have made it from a good clear fish stock and my Japanese sous chef could not tell the difference.

The film Jaws regretably gave these creatures a bad name, they do not eat humans and on rare occasions it has been by accident/mistake most often by bad practice of feeding them from boats.

Yes its sad to see these creatures in a tank, however large, but if it helps promote shark awareness it might just save the species from extinction.

It also makes for a great winter dive…..

Enzo becomes a rescue diver

Never fear Enzo is here! (non non et tartine de non)

After saving countless neurotic actors & actresses under water our diving hero Enzo post a few bumps & scratches is now a qualified rescue diver.

The latest episode in Enzo’s diving career is surely making you feel that much safer or diving with a shark more appealing.

The course took a couple of days & was pretty tiring constantly putting kit on & off, avoiding the over zealous and oscar winning panicked divers and lifting some of the larger ones up the slippery shore!

Never has a cloth badge been more merited…..

On the plus side great learning and gives you more confidence underwater…….and planning your next dive.