The Really Technical Side of Diving……

6156 D Alternus 009This is one of those mornings when the insomnia kicked in at the worst time. Generally, if the 3:00ish a.m. monster awakens me (there’s an old post about that), I can get up for a while, then either go curl up on the loveseat with the TV on or plan to take a nap in the afternoon. This happens to be a day when that schedule doesn’t work because in a couple of hours, I’ll be prepping to go to the TEKDIVE USA show up at FIU North Campus. This will be my first time to attend and also the last dive show where I’m appearing with Richie Kohler for this year. (We have some October events together, but those will be covered in future posts.) Anyway, the reason I’ve never been to TEKDIVE is because it’s a gathering of divers who are at that next level up; some of them incredibly so who go deeper, longer, and use equipment that really was in the science fiction realm when we Baby Boomers were kids. For those who have already read, Mystery of the Last Olympian, Titanic’s Tragic Sister Britannic, (http://mysteryofthelastolympian.com) you read about the extraordinary advances in scuba technology.

I love to dive, but I have no interest in the highly technical side. I rarely venture below eighty feet and quite frankly, don’t particularly want to. I prefer to stay more shallow (sixty and above) and have longer underwater to enjoy myself. Another major drawback is I discovered I can’t deal with being in an “overhead” environment and especially not a cave situation. Let me explain for non-divers. In a shipwreck, you can have “swim-thrus” that are natural or have been prepared if it is a wreck that’s been deliberately sunk as an artificial reef. This means you have a clearly visible entry and exit point while you are inside the wreck and it’s usually not a long swim between the two points. A “regular” diver like me can manage a swim-thru with no problem. If you have an entrance without a clearly visible exit, such as you go down a passageway and come out another hole or you go in for a ways, have to reverse and come back out the way you came in, this is an “overhead environment”. That requires special training and equipment and is one of the factors that puts you into “technical diving”. There is of course some degree of risk with all diving, but it’s minimal as long as you maintain your equipment and follow fundamental safety rules (most of which are commonsense). The same holds true when you do technical diving, but the difference, and this is a big difference, is the equipment becomes far more complicated and when you dive deep (past 130 feet), you get into the whole required decompression stops you have to plan and execute. It isn’t anything that I want to do and  in the crowd I’ll be with today, there will be amazing stories told by men and quite a few women, who happily take the proper training, gear up with a lot of extra equipment and say, “Sure, let’s go down 150 (or more) feet to that wreck. It will be fun.” And for them, it is.

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