‘Bob-Diving’ -Scuba-diving with a difference!

It was just another normal summers’ day, with baking hot air all around us -and bluer-than-blue skies in every direction, as my children and I ambled along the small promenade at Puerto Colon, all four of us desperately in need of some liquid refreshments -and so we stopped at one of the local bars overlooking the beautiful marina, where our thirsts were soon quenched with pints of ice-cold Coca-Cola. Sitting not too-far away from us was this rather small boat, its minuscule carcass totally engulfed by the glamorous yachts that surrounded it -and yet there was something rather unique about its cargo which made it stand-out above the rest. Four Dalek-looking machines were strapped to the back (is that the ‘port’, ‘stern’ or ‘starboard’ -whatever) of the boat -and I have to say that I was seriously intrigued as to what these blessed things were? Thankfully I would soon have my answers, as within minutes a gentleman appeared on the scene, who was heading directly for the vessel in question -and so I immediately scrambled-across the relative gang-planks, until I finally reached his boat.

The guy told me that he ran a ‘Bob-diving’ excursion, which was somewhat similar to scuba-diving, only instead of carrying the air tanks on ones back, they are strapped to the ‘Bob’ -and instead of swimming under the waterline, one simply ‘drives’ along the bottom of the ocean! By now my three children (Liam, Carl and Hayley) had arrived on the scene, and they were just as intrigued as I was about this new adventure, and so, after having covered the fact that at only 8 years of age my daughter was eligible to do the ‘dive’, we duly booked ourselves in for the excursion the following morning. As the day dawned and we made our way over to the port, some serious trepidation began running-amok in my brain, as I was now putting my children’s lives in the hands of a man I had never met before -doing something that none of us had ever done before -with strange-looking machines that not one of us had ever seen -or even heard of before!

However, my worst fears were soon quelled, as our ‘captain’ for the day gave us all a list of safety precautions, along with a handful of do’s and don’ts, as we set-about getting into our individual wet-suits -a job easier said-than-done when one has the shape of a six-months pregnant woman -in other words an overhanging beer-belly! (It was a ‘piece-of-cake’ for the children, of course!) Within minutes we were heading out to sea -and after coming to a halt in the middle of nowhere, four of the ‘Bobs’ -which looked like over-sized Russian dolls, were duly lowered into the water by means of a block-and-tackle-type harness, the tops of the ‘Bobs’, bobbing-about above the water-line, as if waiting in readiness to be boarded. The seat of the bob rested on two huge batteries, which were secured in a metal frame, and protruding from this frame, was a giant arm, which in turn had a huge bowl on the top of it, reminding me of the massive hair-dryers they use in hairdressing salons. To get ones head into the ‘goldfish bowl’ one had to first go under the water, where, after parking one’s backside on the seat, one’s head was duly ‘popped’ into the bowl.

Bolted onto the centre of this huge arm was a moon-shaped steering wheel, with a starter-button attached to one end of it -and sitting behind the batteries was a small propeller. Attached to the framework was a very long cord, which in turn was attached to a winch at the back of the boat, and so the ‘bobs’ were never actually detached from the boat throughout the dive. Once our heads were inside our individual bowls, there was no need for any breathing apparatus, as the air-pressure made it possible for us to breathe normally, and so after the ‘go-ahead’ was given by our dive-master and the ‘OK’ signals had been returned by all participants, we duly pressed our starter buttons, which immediately set our propellers in motion -and within seconds we were all gliding through the ocean with the greatest of ease -what an amazing adventure!