Want To Be An OWUSS Rolex Scholar? Deadline Closes In 3 Days!

owuss_rolex_diving-scholarship_rosemary-lunnAre you aged between 21 and 26? Are you considering a career in an underwater-related discipline? Are you a Rescue Diver (or equivalent) with at least 25 logged dives? Have you not yet earned your graduate degree?

Then take note and get scribbling because everyone involved with the 'Our World Underwater Rolex Scholarship' programme agrees on one thing. This is the world's best scuba diving scholarship!

Currently there are three Rolex Scholarships: North America, Europe, and Australasia. Each year one scholar is selected from each of the three regions and they are provided with a hands-on introduction to underwater and other aquatic-related endeavours, working side by side with current leaders in underwater fields.

OWUSS Rolex Scholarship, Felix Butschek, Lamar Hires, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, diving scholarships, Dive Rite,
Felix Butschek - 2016 / 2017 European OWUSS Rolex Scholar - diving Peacock Springs, following a sidemount course with Lamar Hires

These experiences may include active participation in field studies, underwater research, scientific expeditions, laboratory assignments, equipment testing and design, photographic instruction, and other specialised assignments.

Yolly Bosiger, Pete Mesley, Australasian OWUSS Rolex Scholar, scuba diving scholarships, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Yolly Bosiger - 2012 / 2013 Australasian OWUSS Rolex Scholar - learned to dive rebreathers with Pete Mesley

The deadline for this life-changing scholarship‬ is coming up. You have three days - until 31st *December - to apply.

Completed Scholarship applications must be RECEIVED via the online application no later than:

31st *December 2016 - North American Application
(to be considered for the 2017 scholarship)

31st *December 31 2016 - European Application
(to be considered for the 2017 scholarship)

31st January 2017 - Australasian Application
(to be considered for the 2017 scholarship)

Remembering Britannic's Violet Jessop

100 years ago today 'Miss Unsinkable' - Violet Constance Jessop -  survived the sinking of HMHS Britannic.

The Last Olympian, Ken Marschall, HMHS Britannic, Richie Kohler, Rosemary Lunn, Roz Lunn, Kea Island, The Underwater Marketing Company, Lone Wolf Productions, Simon MilsJessop originally served as an ocean liner stewardess on the White Star ship RMS Olympic. At the time this was the largest luxury liner in the World.

On 20 September 2011 Jessop was on board when the Olympic sailed from Southampton. The first Olympic class liner collided with the British warship HMS Hawk. Luckily there were no fatalities and the ship made it back to port without sinking.

Just over six months later Jessop joined the crew of the second Olympic class liner on her maiden voyage: RMS Titanic. The loss of this supposedly 'unsinkable' ship during the early hours of 15 April 1912 had a huge impact on the owners of the White Star line and the British maritime industry. Harland and Wolff - the Belfast shipbuilder - quickly adopted a 'safety-first' approach, and amended the design of their third Olympic class liner.

The Last Olympian, HMHS Britannic, Ken Marschall, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Violet Jessop
Ken Marschall is a respected maritime painter | www.kenmarschall.com

Britannic was born at the wrong time because she was launched on 26 February 1914 - five months before the outbreak of WWI. She therefore did not see service as a transatlantic passenger liner. Instead the British Government requisitioned the last Olympian, refitted her and repainted her. Her hull was painted white complete with large red crosses. Britannic's role was to carry sick and injured troops home from Gallipoli. Violet Jessop joined the crew as a nurse.

On 21st November 1969 Britannic was steaming along the Kea Channel in Greece. At approximately 08.12 a violent explosion rocked the ship. The ship had hit a German mine. Despite Harland and Wolff's major modifications, Britannic sunk within 57 minutes.

"The white pride of the ocean's medical world ... dipped her head a little, then a little lower and still lower. All the deck machinery fell into the sea like a child's toys. Then she took a fearful plunge, her stern rearing hundreds of feet into the air until with a final roar, she disappeared into the depths." Violet Jessop

In September 2006 I joined a HMHS Britannic expedition led by Richie Kohler and John Chatterton. During the expedition I was asked to play the role of Violet Jessop for a re-enactment.

The Last Olympian, HMHS Britannic, Richie Kohler, John Chatterton, Martin Parker, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Evan Kovacs, rebreathers, Simon Mills
The 2006 HMHS Britannic Dive Team

We filmed the sequence on Sunday 24th September 2006 in Kea Harbour. The cinematographer was Evan Kovacs and the safety diver was Joe Porter, editor of Wreck Diving Magazine.

It was already a hot afternoon before I donned woollen stockings, a long dress, a big black woollen coat, long scarf and hat. The ensemble was topped off by a very bulky cork life jacket.

We quickly realised that the life jacket worked. A good thing you would think. However I had to be pulled underneath the surface to re-create the struggle that Jessop had gone through to survive the sinking. The solution. I wore my 20lb shot belt beneath the long dress.

Jumping into Kea Harbour was a blessed relief from the intense Greek sun. But the respite was short lived. Film work tends to be a lot of 'hurry up and wait' interspersed with some intense action. There was a lot of hanging around in the water, and I began to get cold.

And it was literally hanging around for me.  I had to hold onto something solid for surface support as my weight belt proved to be most effective at pulling me under water.

Petar Denoble, HMHS Britannic, Violet Jessop, Titanic, Simon Mills, Rosemary Lunn, Roz Lunn, Richie Kohler, The Last Olympian, The Underwater Marketing Company, Lone Wolf Productions,
Filming in Kea Harbour | Photo Credit: Petar Denoble

This particular shoot took at least a couple of hours - I was filmed from all angles performing a variety of moves such as my feet kicking in the blue water. I was also shot from topside and underwater being pulled beneath Kea Harbour.

Evan asked that I jump into the water a number of times. He wanted to film me from below the surface as I replicated Jessop leaping out of the lifeboat and into the Aegean Sea.

"To my horror, I saw Britannic’s huge propellers churning and mincing up everything near them - men, boats and everything were just one ghastly whirl.” Violet Jessop

The lifeboat that Violet Jessop was in was being pulled into Britannic's still rotating propellor. The only way to survive this giant mincing machine was to jump from the lifeboat. In doing so Violet struck her head on the keel and suffered a fractured skull.

All in all it was a great experience working with Evan and Joe on this shoot. When it was complete I climbed out of Kea Harbour with new respect for Violet Jessop. She must have been a remarkable lady.

Footnote

There have been a number of documentaries and books about HMHS Britannic. The latest book - 'Mystery of the Last Olympian' - has been co-authored by Richie Kohler. Richie has dived this Olympic class liner in 2006, 2009, 2015 and 2016. He answers the century-old question as to why all the engineering solutions built into the mighty Britannic could not save her from sharing the same fate as Titanic.

#OTD Mary Rose Wreck Site Found Today

Fifty years ago today two divers - John Towse and the late Alexander McKee - pinpointed the whereabouts of King Henry VIII’s famous flagship.

Anthony Roll, Mary Rose, Alexander McKee, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Southsea BSAC, Solent, Prince Charles, Margaret Rule
The Mary Rose as depicted in the Anthony Roll

"On May 14, 1966 Alex and myself visited the penultimate resting place of the Mary Rose." John Towse

McKee and Towse were members of Southsea BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club).

Alexander McKee's widow stated "while we were living in Hamburg, he used to express his interest and admiration for the raising and preservation of Vasa – a Swedish warship – in 1961. I remember he said, ‘I want to make my mark in life.’ He has achieved that.”

John Towse wrote about the useful break that helped to find the ship. John and Alex discovered the location of the Mary Rose whilst looking at charts in Cricklewood. "There laid before Alex and myself was a magnificent hand-drawn chart [by the Deane brothers in 1836] of the approaches to Portsmouth Harbour. In a very short time and prompted by one of the Hydrographic Office staff, the actual charted site of the Mary Rose was clearly shown."

In 1965 McKee initiated ‘Project Solent Ships’ in conjunction with Southsea BSAC. The aim was to investigate wrecks lost in the Solent. His real quest was to find the Tudor Warship and he was the driving force behind the hunt and discovery of this Tudor Battleship.

Mary Rose, Henry VIII, Tudor Warship, Battleship, Alexander McKee, John Towse, Southsea BSAC, OTD, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Margaret Rule, X-Ray Mag
The wreck of the Mary Rose undergoing conservation in Portsmouth Photo Credit: Mary Rose Trust

Without Alexander McKee's dedication and pioneering work, it is likely this ship would still be buried beneath the soft Solent mud. John Lippiett, the Rear Admiral who leads the Mary Rose Trust said "The project wouldn’t be what it is today without the foresight and inspiration of Alex and the divers.” (McKee's stubbornness was later rewarded when he received the OBE for finding the Mary Rose).

Many years of seabed searching followed. Cynics dubbed the wreck 'McKee's Ghost Ship'. Between 1968 and 1971 volunteer divers explored the Solent. They used sonar scans and plunged long steel rods into the soft mud until they struck timber. Then the team employed dredgers, water jets and airlifts to excavate a strange shape underneath the seabed. Alex Hildred, curator of the Mary Rose, confirmed that this was the first time that remote sensing technology sub-bottom profiling and side scan sonar had been used in England.

"We were very fortunate that on the first dive of the year [5 May 1971] we slightly missed our target—the area that we had been searching. We were about 150 metres to the south. Percy Ackland, who I always called our underwater gun dog, came up and whispered to me, 'The timbers are down there Margaret [Rule].'” Ackland had found three of the port frames of the Mary Rose. By some miracle half of the hull had been well preserved by Solent mud. It was as though someone had chainsawed through the wreck from bow to stern and the entire starboard side of the Mary Rose survived.

SOURCES

Mary Rose Website
Obituary of Margaret Rule, X-Ray Mag
The Portsmouth News
Culture 24

On 29th August 2014 BBC Radio 4 broadcast 'The Reunion' with Sue MacGregor. Sue reunited some of the members of the team of marine archaeologists, divers and engineers who raised Henry VIII's sunken battleship Mary Rose from the sea bed in 1982. This link goes to a RAM (Real Audio File) recording of that programme.

 

The High Cost of Buying Cheap Diving Gear On-line

amazon-keyboardsA question asked on a scuba diving forum.

Beginner Advice Please

“I am a complete beginner and need to buy the kit.

Any advice on good on-line scuba diving retailers will be much appreciated.

My mate is fairly experienced, so he will be able to help me”.

 

 

Hi there

I am absolutely delighted to hear that you are thinking of buying some diving equipment. It is a researched and documented fact that if you own your own kit, you will go diving more regularly than if you haven’t got anything.

Boat fins, scuba diving fins, diving Isle of Man, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Two pieces of core scuba diving equipment: a pair of boat fins and a dive mask

I would certainly advocate that as a new diver you get the core kit of mask, boat fins, snorkel, boots, a shortie / basic thermal protection and a timing device.

This is your basic snorkelling equipment which will last you from now until kingdom come, provided you look after it carefully. It also means that when you start / continue learning, you have the basics which will also be fine for pool work and blue water diving.

Once you have your core kit I would suggest that you don’t go on a mad spending spree - yet.

The thing about learning to dive (or any other sport for that matter) is that you don't know, what you don't know. This is not a criticism, just a fact of life.

It is terribly easy to peruse the magazines, let your fingers do the walking on the web or post a question on the Forums. And if you are British diver you will probably end up making the decision to buy a certain brand of BCD and regulators. But is it truly the right equipment for the style of diving you are currently doing, and what you aspire to do in the future?

Anglesey ScubaFest, scuba diving in Wales, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Jason Brown, The Underwater Marketing Company,
Attend an equipment manufacturer demo day or ScubaFest to try out new diving equpiment

To get the most out of your equipment you really need to have some in-water time and experience before you buy it. Borrow, hire, steal, beg equipment from fellow divers or your local club or dive centre and try it out. Or attend an equipment manufacturer demo day or the ScubaFests. But please pace yourself.

Try and dive ‘familiar’ diving equipment when you try out one new piece of kit to reduce the stress levels. By getting some in-water time, you will gain a mental and physical reference which enables you to start forming ideas of what equipment you want, and the route you wish to follow.

I am really glad to hear that you have an experienced mate who has taken you under his wing.

The one thing that I would say is that staff in dive centres have exposure to a large range of equipment from a number of manufacturers. They go on product days and launches, they get given the odd sample to play with, and it’s all so that they can understand the product better.

Anglesey Divers, Marting Sampson, Caroline Sampson, learn to dive in Wales, Porth Dafarch Beach, Holyhead, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Anglesey ScubaFest
Dive Centre Owner and Chief Instructor Martin Sampson (in the orange and black suit) with his students on Porth Dafarch, Anglesey, Wales. Martin and Caroline run Anglesey Divers

Dive centre staff are out there using the kit in anger, and diving it on a very regular basis. They should ask you what kind of diving are you doing now, and what do you intend to do in the future, and will advise you accordingly as to what kind of kit will suit you. This means that you will be given good solid equipment advice by someone who is more experienced than your average amateur diver.

DSMB, delayed surface marker buoy, dive reel, scuba diving equipment, diving safety, being seen on the surface, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, diving PR, scuba social media
A well stocked dive shop offering a plethora of safety accessories

The beauty about shopping in a LDS (Local Dive Shop), is that you get to feel, touch, try on and look at the equipment for real.

If you ask for help the staff will walk you around the shop and show you the difference between a pool fin, a boat fin, a nature's wing fin, a spring strap, a traditional fin strap and a quick release strap.

Absolutely nothing can replace the opportunity of feeling, touching, smelling, lifting, finding out just how heavy something is, and trying on new up-to-date equipment. It’s almost a rite of passage for a diver to walk into a dive shop with a pocketful of cash and buy your drysuit / regulator / bcd and thoroughly delight in the frisson, thrill and excitement of that hands-on experience.

Buying on the web is just not the same thing. Pushing a button or two and waiting for a brown box to be delivered is quite pedestrian in comparison.

It should be noted it is not polite to visit a dive centre and benefit from their time, knowledge and counselling to then go and buy the product off the net for the sake of a few pounds. I have seen this happen all too often, and it is little wonder that dive centre staff sometimes end up quite jaded by this behaviour.

Fourth Element, thermacline, proteus, dry base, OceanPositive, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Jim Standing, Paul Strike, EUROTEK Award Winners
I am not saying ‘never buy from the internet’

If you buy via the web you might get a more competitive price. This is because all you are paying for is for someone to take a piece of kit off a shelf, put it into a box and post it to you. There is rarely counselling and advice, and no cup of tea.

There is no substitute to having an experienced professional standing next to you, seeing how the kit fits and knowing how it will perform in the water.

When you buy in a LDS you gain education, information and benefit from the shop’s experience.

It is worth noting that your LDS doesn't necessarily need to be your nearest dive centre. My nearest dive centre is a is 12 minutes / 5 miles away. The one I use is 51 minutes / 28 miles away because of their great servicing, advice and gas blending. And your LDS will be ‘the one’ where you get good service, advice, mentoring and they actively go diving.

Buying on the web appears to be a great, short term gain, but you will definitely lose long term.

Now more than ever you need to support your LDS. (LDS equipment sales are one revenue source that helps to pay for rates, electricity, insurance, salaries, etc). Around the turn / start of the year I was hearing every week about yet another dive retail centre closing their doors and I know of another two dive centres that have gone down in the last 8 weeks. The blood letting continues.

Apeks, A clamp, DIN Adaptor, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Dean Martin, Aqua Lung, scuba diving equipment
We can't buy air or gas fills online

The price you will be charged in-store is a fair one because it’s the suggested retail price. Remember diving is effectively a luxury sport where you want life support equipment that will always perform efficiently in a harsh environment. You need it to work properly and that costs real money to research, develop, test and manufacture.

By demanding cheaper equipment you will get just that. There have been comments on the Forums about cheap weight belts falling to bits, cheap clips and knives rusting up, cheap reels jamming and tangling, and I am aware of a couple of lovely masks that are sadly now just plain nasty.

These two low profile masks fitted 95% of all faces, looked great and were a sensible price. Unfortunately because the public kept on demanding cheaper masks, production was switched to another factory, and now these products are inferior and sales have dropped right off. The silicone used is horribly hard and the frames crack. By demanding cheaper kit the product has been destroyed. Everyone loses.

It is worth pointing out that I am also not saying ‘never buy from the internet’. That is just plain daft. We are very time poor these days, and when you know precisely what you need, and that it will fit you perfectly, buying on-line is a useful, timely solution. But as a new diver, or a diver upgrading key pieces of equipment, you really benefit from buying your equipment in store because of the personal hands on service you will receive. And you leave with something that properly fits you.

Cylinders, air tanks, mixed gas diving, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Divetech, nitrox, stage cylinders, The Underwater Marketing Compay, buying cheap dive gear online, scuba diving PR, rebreather diving
Do we really want to return to 100 mile round trips to get diving cylinders filled?

Whatever your position on internet sales, if they become all that we have got left, along with some very large regional centres, then not only you, but everyone will lose out.

So if you end up spending a tad more now on kit at your local dive centre, it should mean that in the future we all won’t be doing 100 mile round trips to get cylinder fills and regulators serviced which is better for our pockets and kinder to the environment. And the great thing is that we will be well looked after by like-minded kit monster professionals who still get huge thrill out of playing with shiny toys.

Good luck with your diving, I hope this helps.

#TBT – "Make A Meaningful Difference" says PADI's Drew Richardson

The 'Beneath The Sea' show celebrated a major birthday earlier this month.

Beneath The Sea Show, 40th anniversary, Scuba diving show, Armand Zigahn, Chris Sasso, Robert Ricke, JoAnn Zigahn, Robert Schrager, Maria Hults, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Women Divers Hall of FameThis USA based scuba diving event was founded in 1976, making this the 40th year Beneath The Sea has recognised divers who have made significant and lasting contributions in the fields of the arts, education, environment, service and science.

Included in the 2016 'Diver Of The Year' Class was Dr Drew Richardson for Service. Drew is PADI Worldwide's President & CEO.

Here is Drew's acceptance speech.

"Thank you. I’m honored and humbled to receive this recognition as there are so many other more worthy recipients out in the world.

I’m passionate about diving and I've dedicated most of my life to it – to improving dive training to help make divers confident, competent and comfortable underwater.

Many of you may not know this, but I lost my brother in a diving accident when I was eighteen. My brothers and I were all experienced watermen- competitive swimmers, water polo players, lifeguards and divers. In large part, his passing was a catalyst in my decision to dedicate my life to diving education and exploration and contributing to helping make it safer for all who choose to try it.

I owe this honor to the many people who have worked with me over the years to make diving more than diving. To make it about changing lives.

As I see it, when we bring people into diving, going underwater is just the start. We’re not just in the dive business, we’re in the life transformation business.

Think about all of the amazing leaders who, through diving, change lives every day. A lot of these folks are in this room right now.

Look at the women recognized here tonight in the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame. Cody Unser, you are a shining light and a rock star! Congratulations on this recognition. You open new doors every day for those who may have long thought them shut.

WDHOF, Dawn Kernagis, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Beneath the Sea, scuba show, dive show, Drew Richardson, Project Pink Tank, EUROTEK, Women Divers Hall of Fame, Dr Neal W Pollock
Dr Dawn Kernagis

And, Dawn Kernagis, well done to you, as well. Your contributions in diving physiology, research and exploration in diving are for the betterment of all divers.

Margo Peyton isn’t here tonight, but she’s inspiring the next generation to become divers and join the ranks of dive professionals, leaders and ocean advocates. All of the Women Diver Hall of Fame members are all special and remarkable in their own right as leaders and role models. They change lives every day.

And then there’s my fellow Diver of the Year and Diving Pioneer award recipients. Wayne [Hasson], congratulations to you on receiving the 2016 Diving Pioneer award - this award is well deserved.

Fabien Cousteau, congratulations to you, as well, and thank you for carrying on your family’s legacy.

Richard [Lutz], congratulations and thank you for sharing the impact and importance of a perceived alien world with millions, influencing them to care.

Wendy [Benchley], thank you for standing up for shark protection to ensure future generations will have the opportunity to experience these majestic creatures.

And, to my friend, Bill Ziefle, thank you for standing up for diver safety through the efforts of DAN to ensure there’s help divers when they need it the most.

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the Beneath the Sea steering committee . . . Zig and JoAnne, Bob and Maria -- along with all of the show volunteers who have humbly supported and served the dive community for 40 years. Their efforts have changed hundreds of thousands of lives over the years and provided new opportunity to our diving youth. They are the lighting rod in bringing us all together as a community. Thank you.

Dr Drew Richardson, PADI CEO, RF3, Rebreather Forum 3, Beneath the Sea Awards, Diver Of The Year, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, acceptance speech, award speech,
Dr Drew Richardson

As divers, this is what we do. Through many ways, means and methods, we change lives. Some of us change lives in big ways, and others in small ways. But, it’s all significant.

I am honored to be among you all.

When I think about the future, I think about the ways we can inspire the global family of divers to stand together to pay it forward. To care about something much larger than ourselves, this includes adaptive scuba and also about as a community paying it forward by about turning around to the next person in line and helping them along on their journey.

This includes ocean conservation, underwater cultural heritage and preservation, and defending and protecting our ocean. While, as individuals, we all touch lives for the better, together we can make a meaningful difference.

There’s no group better positioned to accomplish these things than divers.

Success depends upon you – and every diver around the world – taking action. Let’s work together to unite a global force of divers to drive forward as agents to change. Let’s join together to take care of this gift that takes care of all of us. Now that’s life transforming.

I never get tired of seeing the PADI family change lives with diving. While this is reward enough, I deeply appreciate this recognition of my contributions to the industry and sport. I will use it to help inspire other to change lives and band together to save our oceans.

Thank you."

Scubapro Launches 'Human Factor' Mantis Computer

We are entering the age of the 'Quantified Self'.

This was recently confirmed when Fitbit - the company that manufacturers a suite of devices that track your steps, calories burnt and active minutes - floated on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2015. The Financial Times reported that within minutes of Fitbit making their public debut, their shares soared 52 per cent.

Divers tend to be more self-aware and engaged with their personal fitness and physiology, probably because of the nature of the sport. Being able to self-track your body is a natural step. We are curious and hungry for data.

With the launch of Scubapro's Mantis M1 it looks as though some of the thirst for this knowledge will be quenched. Scubapro state they have launched "a dive computer like no other. The first and only wristwatch-style dive computer to incorporate Human Factor Diving™ (a combination of Human Factors, Ergonomics, Biometrics and Wearable Technology) into its design, enabling you to live your life in dive mode, and create detailed 'real-time' self-tracking reports on how your body is functioning, both above and underwater."

Scubapro Mantis M1 Dive Computer, Human Factor Diving, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, X-Ray Mag, scuba diving, dive computer, scuba diving magazine

For once, let's consider the après diving activities first. This feature-rich timepiece has an alarm clock, and a stopwatch. Scubapro has also incorporated an altimeter that can track your hiking adventures. In the event that you decide to climb a mountain not long after diving, the computer is smart enough to alert you both visually and audibly 'that today this walk in the black forest is probably not one of your wiser decisions' - you are going to altitude too quickly. It also has a chronograph with lap memory for running, or you can switch it into Swim Mode to record your swimming time, number of swim strokes and swimming distance.

Scubapro has been quick to realise divers are ageing (and so are their eyes) and they have utilised the CHROMIS font on the Mantis M1, thus ensuring that the LCD segmented display has extra-sharp large alphanumeric characters that are quite readable underwater. The marine grade 316 brushed stainless steel casing has no holes in it. Instead the four rounded buttons are magnetic. They activate the relevant electrical reed switches inside, thus the casing is kept watertight. What does this practically mean for the diver? Because the unit is sealed, you are able to get your CR2032 battery (rated for 300 dives / 2 years) changed by a professional watch shop in a remote location, rather than returning the unit to Scubapro because the technician only has to worry about one compartment seal.

Divetech, Ceyron Powell, Divemaster, carrying stage cylinders, Inner Space, rebreathers, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, working in scuba diving
Ceyron Powell carrying stage cylinders during the Divetech's Inner Space rebreather week Photo Credit: Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company

I get the feeling that Scubapro has designed the Mantis M1 to be a robust working tool for Divemasters and Instructors. By the very nature of our job, we can be quite tough on our equipment. For instance, the mineral glass face is deep set on the Mantis M1 to minimise the chance of scratching the face. (I was most upset when I scratched the face of my Citizen Promaster on a stage cylinder in March 2000). And strap security has also been considered. In the event that one pin fails, you won't lose your computer. It will remain on your wrist because it is secured by two pins. Small details but important ones.

Scubapro state the UWATEC ZHL-8 predictive multi-gas algorithm "is the only dive computer algorithm that includes a diver's breathing rate, heart rate and skin temperature as an indicator of workload during a dive, and adjusts the decompression plan to avoid risk factors." So lets discuss this.

Scubapro revealed at the 2014 DEMA Show they intend to incorporate a 'Skin Temperature Monitor' towards the end of this year (2015) so that this factor can also be integrated into the Mantis M1 algorithm. On the face of it, this sounds really quite exciting. In reality it probably means more questions than answers for the diver.

During your basic training you should have been taught when planning a dive in cold water, to plan the dive assuming the depth is a number of metres or feet deeper than actual. This concept conservatively pads the table, adding in a safety factor because temperature can affect a diver's ability to on and off-gas nitrogen. You are not going to off-gas optimally when you are cold.

PADI RDP Dive Table, Recreational Dive Planner, dive planning. Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, safe diving plan, plan the dive dive the plan, scuba diving
Scubapro marketing materials confirm they have included thermal management in their algorithm since the early 2000. There are a few wrinkles with this. The computer may be able to measure water temperature but it has no idea how you, the diver, is clad and what your personal temperature is. Are you gibbering in a semi-dry or nice and snug in a decent set of thermal underwear and a fully working 'dry' drysuit? By incorporating a Skin Temperature Monitor, Scubapro intend to measure, in real time, the skin temperature via a chest strap (that also measures your heart rate), and include this data in their decompression algorithm.

Scubapro Mantis M1 Dive Computer, Human Factor Diving, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, X-Ray Mag, scuba diving, dive computer, scuba diving magazineWhilst a chest strap will give some indication of surface skin temperature, the process may not be effective in measuring whole body thermal status. The monitoring of one point will not give you an accurate measurement, what is needed is the status of many points. However, as far as I am aware, this is the first dive computer to actively consider trying to incorporate real time diver temperature into their algorithm, therefore Scubapro should be given a pat on the back for this important development. Whilst the whole body status may not be wholly accurate, this is a necessary step to get us moving to where we want to be, ie full physiological monitoring and interpretation.

"This is a necessary step to get us moving to where we want to be, ie full physiological monitoring and interpretation

The Mantis can operate in four underwater modes - Apnea, CCR, Deco and Gauge. Three of these modes (Apnea, Deco and Gauge) have been pretty much standard on many computers for several years. With rebreathers becoming more popular it is good to see that manufacturers are now considering including a CCR option and the Mantis has a fixed PPO2 (partial pressure of oxygen) for closed circuit rebreather diving. The Mantis can also handle three gas mixtures, from 21% nitrox through to 100% oxygen, giving you the flexibility to carry additional staged gas in addition to your primary breathing gas.

Link to manufacturer or source: Scubapro

First Published: X-Ray MagazineJuly 2015 Issue 67, Page 34

Countess of Erne To Be Buoyed

Nina Hukkanen, Izzy Imset, Underwater Explorers, Countess of Erne, Dorset diving, wreck diving, UK wreck diving ,scuba diving, Portland Harbour, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Image Credit: Nina Hukkanen / Underwater Explorers

 

Underwater Explorers in Dorset, England has advised us of an update on a popular Portland wreck.

Following an incident in May, Portland Harbour is taking measures to avoid diving incidents related to the Countess of Erne. The wreck is to be permanently marked with a buoy on the bow. Detailed handouts are also being prepared to give to visiting divers to help reduce in-water accidents.

On 22nd May three divers were swept out of the East Channel as a 90 metre tanker was being piloted in. The divers had apparently failed to find the Countess of Erne and started an ascent. During the ascent they conducted a 5 metre safety stop and ended up drifting through the channel as the tanker with a draft of 5.4 metres was being piloted in. It was only because the pilot boat spotted the divers' SMB and the tanker was small enough to alter her course, that an incident was avoided. Had this been a larger less maneuverable vessel and the timings been a little different, this may have resulted in a very serious incident.

John Dalla-Zuanna Receives OZTek 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award

OZTek 2015 Technical Diver of the Year, OZTek 2015 Industry Recognition Award, OZTek 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award, OZTek 2015 Media Excellence Award, John Dalla-Zuanna, Richard Vevers, Richard Evans, Lance Robb. OZTek 2015 Award Winners, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, The OZTek Awards celebrate the achievements and endeavours of Australia's leading Divers and Dive Industry personnel - the people who have helped push the boundaries of knowledge and exploration in the field of advanced and technical diving.

On Sunday 15th March 2015, during the Gala Award Ceremony, previous OZTEk award winner Dr Richard 'Harry' Harris announced OZTek's 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award. This is what Harry had to say to packed audience of advanced and technical diving movers and shakers.

"It is an enormous honour to be asked by the OZTek Organisers to present this very well deserved award to a close friend, a wonderful dive budy, a mentor and a constant voice of reason in the mad world of technical diving!

I would like to break with tradition and ask this man - John Dalla-Zuanna - to come and join me up here, whilst I tell you why he is such a special guy in this great sport of ours.

At the cheeky young age of just 58, JDZ is truly a veteran of the sport of cave and technical diving. Cave diving in Australia started pretty much at the time JDZ started cave diving, so it is impossible to consider one without the other. Around the time the CDAA became incorporated in 1973, JDZ started visiting the Mount Gambier area. He cut a fine figure in Piccaninnie Ponds with his Moray suit! He became qualified in 1975 as member #256 and from that time on was inspired by the sport. A trip in the late 70's to Florida to meet Sheck Exlley, Wes Skiles and Woody Jasper quickly led to adopting sidemount diving, and feeling the thrill of laying line in virgin passage.

OZTek 2015 Harry Harris and JOhn Dalla Zuanna by Rosemary E Lunn
Dr 'Harry' Harris introducing cave diver John Dalla-Zuanna at the 2015 OZTek Award Dinner Photo Credit: Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company

Thus the passion was born and returned to Australia and began teaching both open water and cave diving. He has reached the highest levels of recreational and cave diving instructor. And, as a long time FAUI instructor, a PADI Course Director and CDAA Advanced Cave instructor, countless students have come under his thoughtful and methodical influence. The CDAA has benefited enormously from John's vision for cave diving, and he has filled a voluntary position with that organisation in some form or another almost continuously. Ken Smith always said that he used to think cave diving politics were a matter of life and death, and now he realises it is much more serious! JDZ has been a calming influence on all factions of the CDAA for many yearss and is unique in that he is respected and heard by all sides.

OZTek 2015, cave diving explorer, Paul Hosie, Craig Challen, Ken Smith, Wetmules, John Dalla-Zuanna, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, technical diving, scuba diving, The Underwater Marketing Company
Cave diving explorer Paul Hosie @ OZTek.15 Photo Credit: Rosemary E Lunn

I met John at OZTek in, I think, 2003. We had been exchanging emails for awhile and I was about to leave to live in Vanuatu. John had built a rebreather heads up display from an LED light and a mobile phone vibrating motor! He generously gave me this device to put onto my KISS rebreather, which considerably enhanced the safety of my cave exploration at the the time.

After my stint in Vanuatu JDZ was one of the instructors on my penetration course and we struck up a real friendship underscored by our passion for caves, rebreathers and exploration. John had dived in so many caves around the world and along with guys like Paul Hosie, Craig Challen and Ken Smith, I quickly found a group of experienced cave divers who mentored me into the world of exploration and expedition diving. I am sure John has had a major impact on many other peoples' lives, the way he has influenced mine.

JDZ's ingenuity goes way back. He built a radio detection device called 'the Thumper' which played no small part in the mapping of Mount Gambier's showpiece, 'Tank Cave'. John was an early adopter of closed circuit rebreathers, and along with Tubby McKenzie the early leaky valve CCR Dolphin was born and dived to 85 metres on the Bayonet in the ships graveyard in Victoria. It was this creation that caught my eye and got me into rebreathers in 2002.

John the inventor became an indispensable part of the Wetmules team. (Moto: Lurching from crisis to crisis). His lithium scooter batteries propelled Craig Challen and I to the end of Cocklebiddy in 2008, where Craig added new line to the end of the cave. They also now famously caused the fire which burnt my car to the ground on the way home! His early 12 volt heated undergarments kept us warm in the Pearse Resurgence and his wonderful pasta kept us fed.

OZTek 2015. Dr Harry Harris, battery fire, Cocklebiddy Cave Exploration, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Dr 'Harry' Harris contemplating the fact that his beloved Mk15.5 rebreather was now a blackened blob inside the burnt out shell of his Nissan Patrol. (Along with all his other diving equipment, camera system, camping equipment, laptop and clothing). Harry was his way home from a two week cave diving trip to Australia's famous Cocklebiddy Cave in summer 2008, when he spotted smoke in the rear view mirror. 10 minutes after pulling over, everything was destroyed by fire.

John is a regular ocean and wreck diver. He has numerous sub 100 metre / 328 feet wreck dives to his credit and continues to teach young divers open water diving through the La Trobe university club, sharing his passion for all things aquatic. His huge passion right now is the 3D mapping of cave using a combination of video and gaming technology, and in this area he is becoming a world leader. I hope many of you got to see his talk on this today. As the current Site Director of CDAA he shows no sign of letting up, and I look foward to sharing many more dives with this wonderful friend and great ambassador for the sport of technical diving.

2015 OZTek Speakers, Heather Hamza, Alberto Nava, Richard Nicholls, Jayne Jenkins, Richard Taylor, Paul Raymaekers, Ben Reymenants, Liz Rogers, Dave Ross, Ken Smith, Lance Robb, Martin Parker, Simon Pridmore, Sue Crowe, Rod Macdonald, Daren Marshall, Barry McGill, Pete Mesley, Rosemary E Lunn, Simon Mitchell, David Strike, Dr Catherine Meehan, Michael Menduno, Richard 'Harry' Harris, Lamar Hires, Paul Hosie, Deborah Johnston, Richard Lundgren, Heather Hamza, Liam Allen, Michael Aw, Peter Buzzacott, Matt Carter, Steve Cox, John Dalla-Zuanna, John Garvin, Laura James, Paul Haynes, Paul Toomer,
The 2015 OZTek Speakers

John Dalla-Zuanna, please accept this Outstanding Achievement Award for your long standing contributions to cave and technical diving."

 

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With 23 Years Of Hindsight – Rigging Options For Diving

A recent post on a diving forum stated "sidemounting is just a fad".

New(er) divers to the sport could be forgiven for thinking this style of scuba diving is a recent phenomenon.

Cave Photography, Gavin Newman, Mike Thomas, Cave Diving Group, CDG 50th Anniversary, Wookey Hole, Drager Dolphin rebreather, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
Two Brit Cave Divers marking the CDG's 50th Anniversary by diving Wookey Hole, June 1996 Photo Credit: Gavin Newman

Sidemounting was actually invented in the 1960s by the Brits. They were exploring sites such as Wookey Hole, Swildons Cave and other underground systems, and would often find 'the way on' was blocked by a submerged passageway called a sump. In order to explore further, these sumps needed to be navigated.

British sumps tend to be short, cramped, flooded passageways, therefore buoyancy is not an issue nor is the use of fins. Cavers just needed a means to be able to breath and (sometimes) see where they were pushing. The caver would attach a cylinder and regulator to their body using a robust belt that allowed the cylinder to be worn against the body. This 'English system' of cylinder rigging allowed the explorer to crawl through both dry and wet sections of cave and keep on pushing the system.

During the 1970s the 'English system' was adopted across the pond by Floridian cave divers. These cave systems tended to be properly flooded with the emphasis on diving to explore the cave. Buoyancy, trim and propulsion became an issue, hence cylinders were moved from the waist / thigh area, up towards the armpit and against the torso.  Once again, these divers made their own rigging system. However it wasn't until the mid 1990s that the first commercial sidemount diving system was manufactured by Dive Rite. This was designed by Lamar Hires, a renowned cave explorer and instructor. 

The following article by Michael Menduno is reprinted from the pioneering American journal for technical diving, aquaCORPS, V4, MIX, January-February 1992.

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.”

Squeezing By - authored by Lamar Hires

Lamar Hires, Jared Hires, Lee Ann Hires, Bob Janowski, Michael Menduno, aquaCORPS Magazine, Dive Rite, sidemount diving, technical diving, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, XRay Magazine
A Floridian sidemount rig from the early 1990's, before Dive Rite released their TransPac system Image Credit: Bob Janowski

Originally developed for the tight low visibility sump diving that is common in Europe, sidemounts allowed spelunkers to more easily transport single cylinders through a dry cave to the dive site. In North Florida, the use of sidemount techniques has allowed exploration into small silty areas that were once thought impassable and has opened up entire new cave systems that were simply inaccessible with back mounted doubles.

Sidemounts reduce the strain of carrying heavy doubles up steep inclines, lowering cylinders down into a hole, and making those long walks through the woods to the dive site. Cave systems known to be silty can now be penetrated without heavy silting. Sidemount configuration means wearing the cylinders on the hips instead of the back. The cylinders are fastened in the middle with a snap to a harness at the waist. The necks are clipped off at the armpit using bungee material (a bicycle inner tube is preferred) so that the cylinders are forced to lay parallel to the diver’s body. Adjustments are usually needed at first to insure a snug comfortable fit.

When diving with sidemounts, gas supplies must be balanced for adequate reserves throughout the dive. The regulator and SPG hoses no longer lay across the back and instead are clipped across the chest area. The management of these is critical for proper monitoring of gas supplies and switching regulators during the dive. Back-up and emergency equipment must be streamlined and tucked away to achieve the desired profile—no thicker than two cylinders that lay along the diver’s hips.

Clearly, sidemount diving is not for everyone because of the potential hazards that exist; low visibility, line traps and squeezes that seem to get smaller and smaller are only a few of the obstacles to be overcome. A diver must be totally comfortable in all these conditions before considering sidemount as an alternative. Suitably equipped, divers who are, can usually find a way to squeeze by.

China Cult - authored by Billy Deans 

Billy Deans, Joel Silverstein, Michael Menduno, aquaCORPS Magazine, SS Andrea Doria, Poseidon, doubles, twinset, technical diving, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, XRay Magazine,
Technical diving pioneer and educator Billy Deans Image Credit: Joel Silverstein

Previously isolated from the underground and fellow wreckers to the south, the east coast wreck diving community evolved its own style of set rigging suitable for the cold dark waters of the north and the available technology. Still seen on the boats that work the Doria, Texas Tower, the Virginia and the San Diego, a typical east coast wreck diving set consists of a pair of double 80s or 95s (10.5 or 11.5 liter) or secured to a large capacity BCD jacket with a manifold system, or commonly two independent regulators, which are rotated throughout the dive.

A 40cf (5.5 liter) pony mounted between the doubles serves as a bailout, along with a handmade upreel (hemp rope wrapped around a forearm-length aluminum spindle). For the most part, stage bottles, typically air, are something divers leave tied off to the anchor line at 10ft (3m), and oxygen for decompression is still used sparingly, if at all.

Now with the advent of larger tanks, harness and manifold systems, improved decompression methods and mix technology, all that is changing. Today, a well-outfitted high tech wreck diver carries a pair of cold-filled Genesis 120s (14.5 liter) with DIN crossover manifold and valve protectors, shoulder mounted stage bottles, or ‘wing tanks’, containing decompression gas (EAN and or oxygen)—do you really want to bet your tissues on that cylinder clipped off to the anchor line? Harness, bag and back plate system, argon inflation system and of course an upreel.

The result? Wreck divers are staying down longer, getting more of that first class china, and most importantly are doing it safer. After all, when you come right down to it, the most valuable artifact that you’ll ever bring home is yourself.

To read the full article, click here

First Published: X-Ray MagazineMay 2015 Issue 66, Page 78

Wanted! A Backplate As Strong As Steel, With The Weight Of Ali

It would seem that Dive Rite has the answer with the launch of their next generation backplate, the XT Lite.

Spotted at New York's 2015 Beneath The Sea Dive Show, this eye catching backplate is manufactured from marine grade 316 stainless steel. (316 is the preferred steel for use in marine environments because it has a greater resistance to corrosion, hence surgical steel is also made from 316 grade stainless).

Dive Rite, Lamar Hires, Jared Hires, XT Lite Backplate, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, twinset, diving doubles, scuba diving, technical diving, Florida cave diving

Dive Rite has a simple solution. They have lost the excess weight, whilst ensuring the strength of the backplate is not compromised, by laser cutting a series of cut-outs from the body of the plate. The plate is then hand finished to ensure that there are no rough or jagged edges.

It is good to see that the Dive Rite has considered that divers have changing needs for their kit. The XT Lite backplate has two sets of 2 inch slots cut along the centre spine so that the plate can be dived with a single cylinder without the need of a single tank adapter. Plus a series of 3/8 inch holes and 1 inch slots have also been cut along the outer edge of the plate, thus giving the diver a plethora of choice when it comes to mounting lights, lift bags, pony bottles and other paraphernalia. And the ever useful crotch strap has not been forgotten either. There is a slot cut for that too.

As you would expect, Dive Rite have complied with the standard twinset / doubles bolt setup measurement of 11 inches between the two holes. But that is no surprise. Dive Rite introduced this measurement back in 1984 when it started manufacturing backplates. This measurement was then adopted by the tech community.

First Published: X-Ray MagazineMay 2015 Issue 66, Page 51