West Sussex resident Will Appleyard spends an enviable amount of time in Europe and further afield, documenting his diving, boarding, climbing and paragliding adventures. In this story he's closer to home, explaining his love of wreck exploration. Most of us don’t have Will’s equipment or experience but we do share his approach to embracing adventure, in whatever form and wherever that may be.
'As a diver, I often visit and explore ship wrecks. I wonder whether my fascination with Brighton's West Pier somehow derives from that interest? The West Pier to me, is almost the opposite of a ship wreck - a land wreck.
A relic of times gone by, the pier was formally closed in 1975. But fire finally took away any hope of restoration in 2003. Now all that's left are its skeletal remains, draped in commercial fishing net and rope.
It's a hazardous place to be - underwater its twisted rusty structure lunges upwards, only breaking the surface at low tide. Above, the pier is slowly collapsing, with one winter storm after another dismantling her one section at a time. Sea birds nest here too, the land wreck's answer to shoals of fish. Paddling through the pier with the kayak, the birds take flight, as fish often do when startled by my regulator's exhaust bubbles during a shipwreck exploration.
I love to experience the morning and evening light anywhere in the world. I enjoy the peace and the effect that the low sun has on colours, the water and objects and then the richness that this kind of light creates. Snorkelling and kayaking around the West Pier at these times of the day is one of my favourite things to do. It's a local adventure for me, and not one early morning or evening ever looks the same here.'