aquaCORPS Magazine

Revisiting Deep Air Diving

The “Flag Room” (360ft/110m) at Diepolder II (Sand Hill Ranch Scout Reservation, Hernando County, Florida, USA) discovered by Dale Sweet in 1979 on one of the first successful mix dives using trimix. Believing it was the end of the cave, Sweet placed a flag there (not shown), hence the name. Sheck Exley dived to the room on air in 1981 in his famous “Salute The Flag” dive. Dustin Clesi placed that guideline shown nearly three decades ago.

Today, the practice of “deep air” diving, and to a large extent, air diving itself has been related to the annals of sport diving history. Nitrox has become near ubiquitous as the diving gas of choice for shallow-water diving, and the trend, as pioneered by Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) is for divers to switch to helium mixes for dives beyond about 100ft/30m.

Set Theory

Image by aquaCORPS, Lamar Hires, Bob Janowski, Michael Menduno, Tom Morris and Joel Silverstein.

Though double (twinset) tanks and stage bottles are generally a requirement for most technical diving operations, diving sets vary significantly depending on the specific application and diving environment. Here’s a look at some of the more common methods of set rigging as practiced today in the “doubles community.”

Profile Evie Dudas

As Evelyn Bartram Dudas’s Nikonos III made its way toward the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean one day not too long ago, she did the only thing that made sense to her at the time. She dove after it, retrieving the camera just before it was lost amidst the twisted remains of a shipwreck on the sea floor. Her rapid descent cost her a broken eardrum.

Exley on Mix

I first spoke with Sheck Exley in the summer of 1991. I had begun publishing aquaCORPS: The Journal for Technical Diving, a year earlier and I was working out of the office at Capt. Billy Dean’s dive shop in Key West, Florida, the first technical diving training center in the United States. “Technical diving”, a term we had just coined to describe this new style of diving, was just in its infancy.

On Your Own: The Buddy System Rebutted

Buddies are not essential for a safe dive. On the contrary, buddies often increase the risk of a dive, either directly through unpredictable or unreliable actions, or indirectly, through an unfounded belief that security is enhanced by numbers alone, regardless of the training or state of mind of the buddy. In most instances, a competent solo diver would be much safer than the average buddy dive.