In the Beginning: The Diving Journo

Posted on January 1st 2013
“EUROZONE turmoil deepens as unemployment reaches record high” ... BONG ... "Economy is shrinking faster than predicted"... BONG... "Unemployment at highest since 1995 with almost one in four young people without work.”

Mmmm. With headlines like those, it was probably not the best time to walk away from a half-decent paying job as a journalist with the hope of swapping it for that of an ocean-going adventurer specialising in writing about scuba diving and life beneath the waves.
 
But, buoyed by the thought of finally taking control of my life after 30-odd years, I decided that my future lay on some sun-kissed desert island beach somewhere tropical rather than in an office in Birmingham.
 
Anyway, all of those headlines were from the Daily Mail. And knowing how the newspaper likes to scare readers with tales of Britain going to hell in a hand basket, I convinced myself that things couldn’t be that bad. My wife, Alison, also works in international HR so I felt confident that she would tell me if I was doing something wrong. That’s right, isn’t it darling?
 
So, here I am, putting the final touches to a website I hope will encourage lots of people to come forward with interesting offers of work. It is the start of a journey, probably one in which you hear me constantly asking: “Are we nearly there yet?” And one with lots of toilet stops, because you know how you have to stay hydrated with all of this diving lark.
 
So who am I? My name is Mark Cowan. I'm in my 30s and live in the most landlocked place in the UK, which is unfortunate as I have a deep love for the oceans borne out of my passion for scuba diving.

For 16 years, I worked as a journalist; having already got the credit card and mortgage by the time I realised I actually wanted to be an adventurer. Or beach bum. Whichever came first.
 
Being a journalist is a great job, despite the impression the Leveson Inquiry is giving about the industry. I never once saw a phone hacking guide or had the expenses to hire a private eye, although one recently offered me a job, strangely enough. I got to cover a warzone, delve into all sorts of murky goings-on and met some of the world’s loveliest people in the worst possible circumstances. But this year, it felt like time for a change. So I started on this new venture.
 
The aim is to be the go-to guy for those wanting something written about our sport. Being a trained journalist and passionate diver, I can offer something new, whether to magazine and newspaper editors wanting the latest news and features, or to travel companies and scuba businesses looking to inspire customers with succinct and inspirational writing.
 
The blog, meanwhile, will be a place for me to let you know how it is going; share stories about scuba diving adventures; discuss the best places to dive, and the ones to avoid; look at dive gear (grrrrrrrr); have a laugh at some of our underwater exploits; tackle the major ecological threats facing the ocean; and feature discoveries being made in the oceans.
 
If you stuck with me this far down, thank you. I'm thick-skinned - the day job taught me that - so please feel free to comment, criticise, poke fun at, whatever you like, because only by participating can we all have a good time on those afternoons when we're stuck behind a desk desperately wanting to be beneath the waves. 
 
One final mention must go to the guys at Clever Cherry who took my ramblings-that-masqueraded-as-ideas and back-of-a-fag-packet scribblings to come up with fantastic branding and website design. You guys truly are design geniuses. Thank you.
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