Twice a year exhibitors and visitors, either experienced or novice, come together under the same roof for the highlights of the sport’s calendar, the dive shows, the most recent one being the Birmingham Dive Show at the NEC on the 26/27th October. A real treat to all those wanting to plan their next diving holiday, pick up a whole load of goodies and listen to presentations given by the world’s top diving speakers. The hall was filled with Exhibitor Stands, Try Dive Pool, Rebreather Pool, PhotoZone. A day well spent for all of us who’s diving summer is already what seems to be a distant memory.
The car park was a long walk from the hall, yet you could feel the excitement brewing as the groups of us got closer and closer to the NEC building, the oncoming storms brewed wind and a little rain yet we all faced the battle, not letting the weather dwindle our spirits.
Queuing to enter the hall we gave a donation to the young cadets selling poppies in preparation for Remembrance Day, admittedly a little while off but everyone’s purses were full with change for the show. Handing over our e-Tickets at the correct booth we were handed our first goody bag, filled with I’m not too sure what, we moved into the hall without too much of a glance in them.
Entering the dive show hall is always an amazing feeling, you enter a hall filled with the sounds of a hundred people talking at once, and you know that pretty much everyone under that same roof as you has a love, like you, in diving. Here it isn’t odd or unusual to be a diver, unlike in the work place where you’re thought to be rather strange for wanting to spend a holiday on a dive boat with your diving friends. These people in the same room as you have had adventures, they’ve gone out have followed in Jacques Cousteau’s path, finding a mutual love in the sea.
Everyone enters the hall with a smile on their face, it’s not possible to walk in any other way, the size of the hall simply makes you grin, and everyone here today will come away with the satisfaction of a great day.
For a whole day you immerse yourself in all things scuba forgetting about the outside world.
The LIDS (London International Dive Show) in March had set a certain expectation in my heart for what would be my first dive show in Birmingham and it did not disappoint. It was freebie delight, with stands handing over tank stickers, wrist bands and pens as you walk by. Steel pans and fruit punch in the Caribbean village. Free cake after entering a competition in the BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) area, which I had for breakfast the next day after the dog ate my breakfast, (good excuse to have cake for breakfast but true ) and was actually very good just a tad too much icing for a Monday morning .
I have to say I did enter quite a few competitions but I haven’t received any emails yet for me to reclaim my prize. I’m sure it’s on its way though, just got lost in the web somewhere?!
It was really nice to see some familiar faces from the LIDS in March. I picked up my second ever copy of Tanked Up from the London and Midlands Diving Chamber stand.
I now understand what Octopushing is (for those of you who don’t; it’s basically underwater hockey) and I have a lot of pretty cool pens to use. Business cards are stored safely and those of you whom I talked to; emails are coming out very soon.
The best way to end a day on your feet is to congregate to the Diver Stage and listen to Monty Halls, Rich Stevenson and Andy Torbet talk about Dive Mysteries, an interesting and funny talk which finished the dive filled day off perfectly, before leaving I was lucky enough to get my book signed by Monty Halls and that, as they say, was that.
The day was drawing to a close and the voice on the overhead told us in its dreary tone that the show would be closing in 10 minutes. We prepared ourselves then walked out into the storm. It wasn’t that bad actually; I have never felt such a strong wind so luckily I was in trousers, but the sudden cold when leaving the warm NEC wasn’t nice. It had been a great day, not just for me and my family but I’m sure for everyone else who visited the show either on the Saturday or the Sunday. I’m glad we went and I can’t wait till the next one! 🙂