Technical Diving & Training
I started cave diving in Italy in 1990. At that time, the rules were very clear, codified and related to the kind of caves that were encountered in my region. Very often, they were resurgences with current (sometimes strong) or sumps inside caves, with water ranging from crystal clear to the color of coffee and variable visibility, depending on the rains.
In Part I of this two-part series (see issue 100), I made a correlation between scuba diving and driving a car, particularly in the context of learning how to anticipate and assess dangerous situations, make well-informed sensible decisions and stay safe—things that motorists tend to group together under the catch-all phrase of defensive driving.
In September 2014, Egyptian national and technical diver Ahmed Gabr performed a deep dive off Dahab in the Egyptian Red Sea under the auspices and observation of adjudicators from The Guinness Book of Records. After the dive, Gabr was acknowledged for having reached the record depth of 332m, surpassing South African Nuno Gomes who made it to 318m in 2005, also off Dahab.
I like sidemount. I will frequently, jokingly, disparage the configuration, but I do like it. It can be comfortable and streamlined. It can be very flexible. There is an argument to be made for completely isolated redundancy. Mostly, it is good for moving through places no bigger than the space below your coffee table.
Richie Kohler told the audience "The human element is most fallible. We prepare and train for equipment failure. We have a great advantage over pilots who cannot jump into another airplane mid flight. We can carry bailout systems and use them. But our checklists is our primary defense to not ever having to get there."
Human beings will make mistakes and have memory lapses. Richie Kohler
To this end RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) worked with a number of rebreather industry experts to identify key safety issues.
The result was a film that gives divers and those new to rebreathers a solid awareness of the key safety factors for diving with rebreathers.
Richard Pyle is an early adopter of technical-diving practices and is known around the world as a rebreather diver and designer. He is a highly respected Ichthyologyist (in plain English a scientist who studies fish) and he has discovered many new species of fish.
When Richard Pyle was 19 he was living and diving the western Pacific Ocean off Palau. During his time there he suffered a very serious case of decompression sickness and became quadriplegic.
RF3 was convened primarily as a platform for discussion of various issues that may have an impact on the safety of diving with rebreathers. It was attended by many expert presenters and rebreather divers who contributed to these discussions.
It was recognised however that the forum would also attract some divers who were not rebreather users, but who were perhaps contemplating purchasing one, or simply interested in learning about them. For this reason the program included this presentation on the basics of rebreather devices.