A journey into Madagascar’s fossil graveyards and flooded caves.
The June 2014 PADI Course Director Training Course was successfully conducted in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, at the newly completed Westin at the Punta Cana Resort. PADI Course Director Mark Goldsmith of Blue Vision Adventures provided exceptional logistical support and the staff at the Westin made the group feel welcome.
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By John Lippmann
DAN S.E. Asia-Pacific
Copyright: John Lippmann
During diver training, dive students are normally drilled to avoid diving beyond 130 feet / 39 meters. However this depth limit recommended by most of the training agencies is not forged in stone. Historically, it appears that it probably emerged from the U.S. Navy, possibly as a result of equipment limitations at that time, and the work restrictions imposed by the relatively short no-stop times available at greater depths.
An increasing number of divers dive beyond the 130-foot limit, some routinely and others occasionally. The advent of dive computers has negated much of the decompression penalty and dive restrictions previously associated with deep diving, and has no doubt encouraged the current trend. In addition, the increased availability of a variety of gas mixtures has enabled more divers to venture deeper and deeper.
Deep diving demands vast amounts of knowledge, experience and discipline, as well as appropriate preparation and equipment, since deep diving is fraught with potential hazards.
There appear to be some inescapable realities of deep diving. These include:
- the increased potential for certain problems to occur;
- if a problem does occur, the consequences are often more serious; and
- the fact that the physiological effects of deep diving are still largely unknown.
An old friend of mine used to teach diving at a tropical resort. The instructors routinely dived on air to depths approaching 300 ft (90m) and beyond on their days off. During such a dive, one instructor became unconscious at about 200 ft (60m) without obvious warning. He fell away and out of reach of the others before anyone could get it together to do anything. His body was never recovered.
Elsewhere, another diver diving at just over 165 ft (50m) on air on a wreck was seen to become unconscious and to convulse. Luckily his buddies managed to rescue and resuscitate him.
These are not isolated stories, and there are many similar reports involving deep air dives and mixed gas dives.