Paul Colley

Welcome

PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE SUB AQUA ASSOCIATION

If you have recently joined the diving community, I extend a warm welcome to you. If you aspire to dive or just give it a try in the safe confines of a swimming pool, then use the resources on this web site to contact your nearest club. Their members will be pleased to see you and it can open up that world of water that covers most of our planet, yet which relatively few people explore.

I recently retired from active service, but was asked by Royal Air Force Sub Aqua Association colleagues to stay on into my fourth year as President of the Association and was delighted to accept. Once you start diving, the bug tends to get you and opportunities are everywhere you look. For my part, the diving gods smiled on me last year, which was my most prolific year since I started diving 12 years ago. One highlight was a superb trip to Scapa Flow, where at long last I saw those amazing wrecks that comprise the remains of the German High Seas Fleet. Resettlement training also offered an opportunity; to train as a PADI instructor and in 4 weeks of back-to-back diving to learn accelerated decompression procedures, complete a mixed gas course, do some photography and learn to be a self-reliant diver. For once, I managed to do all of that in UK waters wearing a dry suit. So I felt rather less guilty about a subsequent overseas excursion to Ascension Island, where I completed my BSAC Open Water Instructor course. It was the highlight of my diving year and I will return to the subject of Ascension Island in a moment.

I continue to do most of my Service-oriented diving with RAF Halton and High Wycombe, but remain open to offers to dive with all other clubs; just get in touch with me and I will consider anything, especially if you would like photographic coverage of your diving or some professional instruction for underwater photography, which is still my great passion and principal reason for diving, not least as it is now a formal part of my second career portfolio. Any underwater photography that I do for Service communities is to professional standards, but completely free of charge.

2013 sees us blessed yet again with the same hard working and capable Chairman (Air Cdre Rich Powell), and many familiar faces working with him who continue to volunteer their valuable time and expertise to further the cause of diving within the Royal Air Force. They do an exceptional job and I encourage you to mine this web site, which contains the fruit of much of their labour.

I mentioned Ascension Island. Many of you are familiar with its outstanding diving, which is truly world class. But we cannot take this superb adventurous training facility for granted and one way that you can help is to use it as much as you can. The committee puts a huge amount of work into this and its members are having to be ever-more imaginative about keeping the facilities going given the inevitable financial squeeze. Please support the committee on this subject in any way that you can.

So I do encourage everybody to consider what you might contribute back to the diving community. Beyond club level there are always opportunities on the committee for people to make valuable contributions; such inputs are both very welcome and formally recognised. Dive in!

My best wishes to you all for 2013. Safe diving.

Paul Colley, Air Vice-Marshal (Retd)

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