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We started 2020 in a very different world. As a dive centre, we had training planned throughout the year. Plus a large amount of trips both foreign and domestic already in the calendar.
I was in Canada when things seem to be heading in the wrong direction – numbers in China were growing at an alarming rate and in the westernised world cases were beginning to show up. But nothing that would alert us to the global pandemic it would become.
Many will know me as a dive instructor and dive centre owner. We certify over 200 students annually in both dive and first aid certifications. We sell a full range of dive equipment and other water sporting equipment. We service all dive gear including cylinders and rent out dive equipment.
Some of you might not know that I am also Head Coach of Yeovil District Swim Club and can be seen leaving the house at 4.30 in the morning for an early session or returning home at 10 in the evening after training. All of this I did 6 or 7 days most weeks throughout the year – until March 2020.
From a swimming point of view we already had plans in place to stop swimming on 22nd March then Boris announced the National Lockdown on the 23rd. For the dive business we were gearing up for a busy Spring when we had to close the centre. Everything was put on hold…no one could have anticipated just for how long.
I managed to continue servicing equipment and running online zoom courses which helped my sanity as well as putting a few pounds in the till. Swimming became land training and throughout lockdown ran 3 sessions a week all online.
The first week of lockdown was like a mini break – forced into taking life easy – not going out unless for exercise (which was great as I managed to get some serious running miles in!). However I have to admit I’m not a sit down and do nothing kind of person.
My background (again for those that don’t know) is nursing. I qualified as a nurse back in 1994 and still did the odd shift as recently as the early 2000’s. But due to the increased workload involved with diving I let my registration lapse in 2007. So with the changing picture within hospitals (battling this new disease) and a little more time on my hands I decided to head back into the NHS. And promptly found myself as part of the Covid 19 swabbing team linked to the hospital.
After the rules were relaxed back in June to allow us to re-open I decided that I would operate a limited opening on Weds, Fri and Saturdays, which worked well. Allowing us to continue to help our divers and water sport enthusiasts to get back into the water. Whilst I continued with the work within the NHS. Then in July when we were informed we were able to get back in the pool I began back with coaching duties once more. (Although frustratingly we were unable to get back into the pool for dive training)
A busy summer has come and gone and now we are back to Lockdown 2.0 – the centre is now ‘open’ only for click and collect. The pool is shut again so once more swimmers are back to land training via zoom. I’m still working for the NHS in a testing capacity working hard and trying to keep busy.
And for all those that missed Points West or my facebook messages last week myself and Samantha did manage to pull our wedding forward by one day to beat lockdown. So on 4th November we celebrated with a limited number of family and friends but next year we have a very large party so stay alert for your invite!
Thanks to everyone for their warm wishes….
We spent lockdown 1 revamping the website and now Lockdown 2.0 I am adding content updating the shop pages and getting on top of things so watch this space.
We already have lots of plans in place for next year, lots of trips, new dive club membership, new rental options, new dive experiences and so much more….we haven’t been taking it easy for the past 7 months it’s given us an opportunity to revaluate and come back better and stronger.
Take care, stay safe….