The books are the result of many years of observations and research. His work took him all over North Wales, where he spent many lunch hours observing the tidal flows in the Menai Strait, and elsewhere around the coast, visiting slipways in all states of the tide. or researching shipwrecks in the local archives and libraries. Chris Holden is a BSAC First Class diver, and his many years of experience in diving in North Wales is reflected in his enthusiasm for the area, its marine life and its wrecks.
He was introduced to diving in 1971, when his first dive was made from a boat moored off the Skerries (Anglesey), using a twin-hose regulator, a leaky mouthpiece, a home-made wetsuit and insufficient weight. Surprisingly, despite this shaky introduction he still dives around the North Wales coast for 12 months of the year, diving anywhere from Barmouth to the Mersey Approaches and the freshwater lakes, quarries and rivers of the area.
Having escaped the rat-race, he published two volumes of The Essential Underwater Guides to North Wales, which were mainly for divers.
His fascination with the Royal Charter stems from 1982, when he first dived the wreck. While researching the diving books, he realised just how much more of a story there was to tell. She was built near to where he lives, she was wrecked in an area he loves to dive, and the story of her cargo bring a gleam to every divers' eyes!
The stories of the passengers on board that vessel became almost personal, and on a visit to Australia, he just had to go to the goldfields area, to understand their hardships, their elations and their disappointments, and try his hand at panning for gold!
Having lived with diving for more years than she cares to count, hearing and absorbing tales about diving, wrecks and marine life, Lesley felt she had to give it a try. Unfortunately, ear problems made it difficult to continue diving, but she still marvels at the underwater world. Previously a scientist, she used her analytical skills to research historical facts. She also gets called upon as a boat-handler, photographer, scribe, editor,web-site designer, collector of miscellaneous facts, and general dog's-body. Life and Death on the Royal Charter is their first joint publication, and they are still on speaking terms!
Way back in 1987, I bought my first RIB, a 5.5-metre Delta with a 60hp outboard. Wow!
But what should we call it?
Most of the obvious names had already been taken, so we invented ‘Calgo’ based on the following:
C - Chris – Me. A - Andrew – My son. L – Lesley – My wife. GO – Goldie – Our dog. CAL – Calico – Our Cat. GO – Goldfish – Guess what?
Calgo didn’t quite ring true, so the boat was named ‘Calgo One’, with ‘Calgo Two’ being launched in 1998. Calgo Publications was the obvious name chosen when I published my first book.
So that’s it – Me, son, wife, dog, cat and goldfish!