EACH TIME I HAVE PACKED my bags for the filming of the present diving series, I have done so with a certain sense of trepidation about what awaited me.
Each location has been a steady progression, racking up the hours and the jeopardy as the next expedition takes me deeper into technical diving. And so, as we prepared for Dahab, I was already thinking about Japan, and as we packed for Japan I was keenly aware of the challenge of the Great Lakes.
As we dived the frigid Great Lakes, I knew that a legendary sinkhole awaited me in the arid heart of northern Namibia.
And yet, as I packed for Namibia, I realised that this was it – the end of my technical diving odyssey, for this year at least.
Everything would come to a head here, the culmination of an entire year’s continuous training and diving, and I hoped beyond hope that the site would not disappoint.
I type this having returned from Namibia only a few days ago from what was – without question – the most remarkable and fulfilling diving expedition of my life.
We landed in Windhoek and headed north in a fleet of four-wheel drives, our convoy the rattling head of a comet’s tail of desert dust.
We duly arrived in Tsumeb, an old copper-mining town that could charitably be described as somewhat past its best. Bushes sprang from the long-abandoned pit-head, and dust devils span down empty streets.
But for us it was paradise, because of what waited a mere 12 miles away in the bush.

NAMIBIA BASICALLY HAS TWO lakes in the entire country – Lake Otjikoto and Lake Guinas – both situated in the north. Both were formed in the same way, and both are remarkable in their own right.
They are sinkholes, formed in identical fashion to the one at our first destination of the series – the Blue Hole in Dahab.
But there the similarities end. These lakes are seldom dived, with Guinas in particular still holding a great many secrets that are worthy of exploration by future expeditions.
But oddly enough, it was Lake Otjikoto that had bought us to Namibia. There were whispers of a lost safe containing (depending on who you happen to be talking to at the time) £7 million of lost gold, or 1400 carats of diamonds, which is not a bad alternative, all things considered.
The thought of such riches is a heady one, although the back-story of how the safe ended up in the lake is almost as intoxicating for any diver.
In 1915 the retreating German army, hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned by the advancing South African forces, pushed their weapons and supplies into the lake in a last-ditch act of defiance.
There are eyewitness accounts of the safe going into the water as well, and – not unreasonably – we wanted to find it.
The fact that I’m not typing this column on a platinum laptop perched on top of my solid gold pajama bottoms as I sit in front of a roaring log fire in my playboy mansion would seem to indicate that we didn’t actually locate the safe.
But we did find all sorts of other stuff in what turned out to be the most fulfilling, demanding and enjoyable of all diving challenges.

HAVING DRIFTED OVER THE TOP of the guns in the dark heart of Lake Otjikoto – an eerie monument to a vanquished army, preserved forever in the deep water of the sinkhole – we moved onto Guinas to explore further.
As we stood at the top of the great amphitheatre of rock that surrounds the lake, dived by only a handful of people, Rich Stevenson turned to me and said: “It’s moments like this that are the reason I got into diving, you know.”
At that moment he looked a very, very happy man indeed.
For the dive itself I hovered at 60m as the dutiful safety diver, and watched the deep team – Dan Stevenson and Rich – descend into the blue to touch down on the lake floor at 100m. More people have been to the Moon.
Dan Burton and I then did a lap of the lake on scooters, soaring in a great arc for 40 minutes at a depth of 30m under the vast, echoing overhang of what was once the cave-roof – maybe, just maybe, the greatest moment of my diving life.
And so the filming of this series draws to an end. I must finish by saying a huge thank you to the team who have nurtured the technical novice in their midst throughout – Kev, Dan S, Andy, Rich and Dan B, it has been an absolute pleasure.
We’ll see you all at the Dive Show in Birmingham, where the tales of questionable accuracy will be told and a few beers sunk (although not necessarily in that order).
It’s been a blast.