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.
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…..