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‣ Farne Islands ‣ Australia ‣ Finning techniques


WELCOME TO THE SECOND EDITION OF THE EDGE First off, on behalf of us all at RAID, I would like to wish you the best for the festive season and New Year. I know many of you will be glad to see the back of a very challenging 2020, and I sympathize with you 100%. It has been an incredibly challenging 2020 for everyone. We hope that our FREe-Learning and REMOTe-Training options have helped. Since we released FREe-Learning, we have continued to develop it as a permanent product for RAID and have enhanced it significantly. We have been inundated with requests to crossover to RAID, so we are offering FREE crossover materials and FREE membership to any Divemaster, instructor, instructor trainer or dive centre crossing over to RAID*. This issue is particularly special as you will be introduced to our global team, who have been doing an amazing job given

the circumstances we are having to try and work under. Since global travel has been so badly affected, the team have focused on ‘staycation’ and hopefully, you will find a new underwater adventure right on your doorstep. Finally, we are thrilled to announce the release of several new courses. First, we have our new Instructor Development and Instructor Trainer programmes, including the incredible new Playbook. We have also released DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle) and Advanced DPV, so if you are after some truly exciting diving, DPV might just be for you. Then we have the Liberty backmount and sidemount rebreather programmes, and finally the Ocean Reef Full Face Mask programme. Have a fantastic New Year, now please enjoy. PAUL TOOMER | President *This offer may be withdrawn at any time so take advantage now.



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Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the views of the publishers. Copyright for material published remains with Rork Media Limited and RAID. Use of material from RAID magazine is strictly prohibited unless permission is given. All advertisements of which the creative content is in whole or in part the work of Rork Media Limited remain the copyright of Rork Media Limited. Cover image courtesy of Sue Regan Kenney











‣ Farne Islands ‣ Australia ‣ Finning techniques



6 News

8 Q&A: Steve Lewis

18 Prof. Timmy Gambin

14 Egypt

A farewell to RAID founder Barry Coleman as he moves on to pastures new, and an explanation as to where the name ‘RAID’ came from.

Join Prof. Gambin as he explores the Virtual Museum Underwater Malta.

36 Freediving

We chat to RAID Director of Diver Training Steve Lewis about wreck diving, cave diving, the Bell Island Mine off Newfoundland, and what the future hold for RAID.

Join us on a tour of the Egyptian Red Sea’s infamous ‘wreck graveyard’, Sha’ab Abu Nuhas, the final resting place of the Giannis D, the Carnatic, the Kimon M and the Chrisoula K/Marcus.

RAID’s freediving guru Emma Farrell offers ten top tips for equalisation, and some of them can benefit scuba divers too.

30 Cardiac issues in diving

70 Jill Heinerth

38 Regional Office focus

Jill knows a thing or two about CCRs, and here she offers some sage advice on nine things you should know before buying a closed-circuit rebreather.


Dr Doug Ebersole reviews the most-common cardiac conditions in diving, and why it is so important to be ‘dive-fit’.

We take you on a tour around the RAID regional offices around the planet, introducing the team members heading up efforts in those areas, and showcasing the amazing diving available within each of those territories.





60 Stage cylinder management protocols

20 Dive Like A Pro

RAID Cave 2 Instructor and Instructor Trainer Jeffrey Glenn discusses stage cylinder management protocols that RAID recommend during their Cave 2 programme.


Stuart Philpott saddles up and employs the use of a Suex scooter to blast between the popular wrecks of the P29 and the Rozi off Cirkewwa off Malta’s north coast.

76 TECHNICAL: Canada

Jill Heinerth waxes lyrical about the underwater delights that lie in store for adventurous divers off the coast of Newfoundland around the picturesque Bell Island.


RAID senior instructors PJ Prinsloo, Oli van Overbeek and Dan Weeks explain and discuss various different forms of finning technique, including frogkick and back kick.

66 Shoot Like A Pro

Our panel of underwater photography experts provide an insight into the best ways to get in and out of the water with a camera system.

GEAR GUIDE 84 Test Extra

Mark Evans rates and reviews a selection of products, including the Otter Watersports Atlantic Kevlar drysuit, the Scubapro Galileo HUD dive computer, and the Fourth Element Hydra neoprene drysuit.


Each issue of The Edge, we will be scouring the globe to bring together the latest RAID, and general dive industry, news from all over our water planet



As he moves on to pastures new, RAID founder Barry Coleman provides a potted history of the training organisation


started diving with my brother in the late-1970s, in the land-locked country of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. We used an old twin cylinder set and twin hose open circuit regulator at the back and explored many interesting places. There was no training available, except from an old BSAC book! In the early 1980s I received my first scuba certification, so I could get cylinders filled. In the early 1990s I started rebreather diving in South Africa and have loved the sport ever since. After my wife Celia and I delivered yachts all around the world for ten years, and diving in every possible place and ocean, we decided to open Meridian Dive Centre in Durban, South Africa, in 1997. Primarily diver training, sales, international inward and outward bound travel – the usual. We opened another dive centre and became one of the largest dive centres at the time in South Africa. Meridian Dive expanded the technical market in South Africa, with deep cave and wreck expeditions. My wife did not enjoy diving the manually controlled rebreather – it became time to invent something and start our own training agency! Thus, the idea for RAID was born. I guess it all started from a simple, reasonable question. Celia asked: “Barry, can’t you design a fully automatic, readyto-dive rebreather, so I can just take photos and not bother with manually driving the unit?” she enquired, after much complaining during her rebreather course. This was in 2003 and I replied, “Well, why not?” So, with my design finally on paper, my Swedish colleague Kurt and I flew to Gothenburg, where he purchased Poseidon Diving Systems. This was to be our base for the development of the rebreather, which became the Poseidon MkVI. In 2006, the world’s first fully automatic recreational rebreather, the Discovery MkVI, was launched. To support the rebreather, Celia and I founded RAID. This was the world’s first 100-percent online scuba training


platform. The two of us wrote all the training materials and crossed over many professionals in the dive industry. Other rebreather manufacturers recognised the pro-active quality control of the RAID system and wanted their units to be included in the RAID training.




Since we first opened the doors as a training agency, RAID has built a reputation for innovation, agility, and change. That’s the way we think. That’s the way we do business. But few things on our list of “firsts” come close to our online Nitrox Virtual Analyzer.

RAID soon offered training on a number of rebreathers only due to the high demand from dive centres and instructors. We then decided to expend the rebreather training and offer a full range of open circuit and technical courses. We launched open circuit two years later in May 2009 after many hours of dedicated work to ensure we exceeded ISO Standards. Our open circuit courses were originally designed to fill the gap between the technical diving requirements/skills and the existing recreational skill set. Our aim was to bridge the gap between the two. Since then, our recreational courses have evolved to meet the RSTC requirements, but our technical courses have not changed that much. The next ten years was a whirlwind experience, with much marketing, travel and consistent commitment. We also exhibited at every DEMA.

NEW SHAREHOLDERS In 2014, my wife and I decided that we needed to grow and expand more, and we took the opportunity when Mares purchased SSI to gather new regional representatives. This was the time when we looked for new shareholders. Jim Holiday, Paul Toomer and I became the shareholders for the next four years. Together we expanded RAID to become one of the world’s fastest-growing scuba diver agencies, moving across the world gathering 14 distributors in various countries, and thousands of dive centres, instructors and students. The RAID expansion into the world was enormous, and so in April 2018, Kalkomey USA bought 100 percent of RAID. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in RAID for their support and we wish you all the very best in the future! n

WHERE DID THE NAME RAID COME FROM? Well, in 2007, while on holiday at home in South Africa, our dive friends Cobus and Miranda threw around a few names and I came upon the name Rebreather Association of International Divers – however, in hindsight, perhaps we should have called it Recreational Association of International Divers and started with open circuit first! The design and development of the e-learning took many hours of blood, sweat and tears, however, our perseverance and determination paved the way for a 100-percent online training platform supporting HQ Administration, 14 regional representatives, many dive centres and instructors, with certification courses at varying levels.


In a response to the need for instructors to teach remotely, and considering the Nitrox course is one of the most popular diver specialties—plus the issues with certifying a diver at that level—we have released the Nitrox Virtual Analyzer app—Powered by RAID. Most nitrox students do not own—or, at least, have easy access to—a nitrox analyzer, and this is the most elegant and simple solution to the problem. Download the app to your mobile device (iOS and Android) now by following the links below and see for yourself. GOOGLE PLAY STORE details?id=ds.VAnalyzer APPLE APP STORE nitrox-virtual-analyzer/id1505174941?mt=8 We think it’s brilliant, and we hope you do too. Essentially, it’s designed to show divers who have enrolled in a Nitrox course the basic functions of an oxygen analyzer: turnon, calibrate, manage flow, note the result in a nitrox fill log, and apply the results to the dive plan. The Nitrox Virtual Analyzer helps take the mystery out of preparing for a nitrox dive. During a REMOTe-Training session with their instructor— via video conferencing —divers get to see the real thing being demonstrated. Of course, when they actually do a nitrox dive, they will use a real analyzer. At that point, though, they will already be comfortable with its functions. With RAID, and thanks to the Nitrox Virtual Analyzer, divers who earn a certification will have a level of familiarity with checking their gas before using it in the real world. GET STARTED Visit to take your diving to the next level.


Q: You are now well known in the technical and cave diving circles, but how did you get into scuba diving in the first place? A: Well, first, we should address the Peckham issue. I read a lot in my spare time because I don’t own a TV and enjoy reading instead. So, just a couple of days ago, I finished a who-done-it by Elizabeth George. In it, there are lots of mentions of Peckham, the Elephant and Castle, Southwick. All areas of South London where I grew up. No worries there. However, all Elizabeth George’s South Londoners seem to be thugs, drug addicts, and light-fingered tealeaves. I protest. New Cross and Peckham were lovely places to grow up… All this other stuff about gangs and violence, even the talk of a peculiar accent, is fake news and should not be considered relevant. However, it has to be said that I got the hell out as quickly as possible. Anyhow, now that’s settled, let’s move on to your question. Simple, really simple, it was a fortunate accident. A good mate won a trip to the Red Sea and I tagged along. We learned to scuba dive (good old BSAC) because of that trip, and seeing what there was to see off the coast of Egypt, I was hooked. Sometime later, after moving to Canada, I recertified with another agency based in North America, which will remain nameless. The whole learning-to-dive again thing was because someone here in Canada explained that there are lots of wrecks in the Great Lakes. And there are.

We chat to Steve Lewis, the Peckhamborn technical, cave and wreck diver who is the Director Diver Training with RAID, and was responsible for the agency’s cave-diving programme

Q: When did you first discover the worlds of technical and cave diving, and what was it about these particular disciplines that caught your imagination? A: Control and finding out where personal limits lay. There’s a whole bunch of related line-items such as it’s meditative, calming, instructive, promotes personal growth, encourages responsibility towards the environment, offers a personal introduction to Mother Nature, and so on. But at its base, learning about personal control and limits were the big draws for me. Okay, as a kid, I was fascinated by geology, fossils, caves – dry caves – and things along those lines. At some point when my personal diving was focused primarily on sunken sailing ships in the Great Lakes, it was pointed out that people actually scuba dived in flooded caves. I signed up. That was my real entrée into what’s called technical diving. By this time – by the time I started cave diving – I’d visited a bunch of deep wrecks including some virgin sites, but to me then and now still today, caves represent diving, technical diving, in its purest form. On a broader reach, you might also peg the influence of the nitrox and mixed gas ‘revolution’ of the early 1990s. Not sure I can call myself an early adopter, but anything that carried a promise of improved performance, longer bottom time, and a safer ride out and back, appealed to me… still does.




That revolution, as you know, was driven almost entirely by the sudden appearance of ‘technical diving agencies’. Basically, before IANTD and TDI stuck their corporate necks out, recreational scuba diving steered well clear of anything underwater that was bold and cheeky. Even a simple staged decompression dive for anyone not a commercial or military diver was verboten… considered audacious, reckless, a bad idea, and foolhardy. Also, diving anything other than compressed air was viewed as suicidal by most of the organizations then teaching open water programmes. It was a perfect situation for anyone even slightly nonconformist. So, I ended up teaching a lot of nitrox and then mixed gas (trimix and heliox classes) for Bret Gilliam and TDI. It was fun, challenging and granted access to some interesting dive sites, and thought-provoking people. Oh god, I was well into that scene when I did my first trimix dives with a crazy bugger called Larry Green. This was in ’95 or ’96. It was a one-on-one class with Larry and way more fun that it should have been. Part of the reason for diving with him was that he held the keys to a cave in North Florida called The Eagles Nest. I wanted to see that particular hole in the ground, and he obliged. It was glorious. Larry of course was, is, a great storyteller, a great mentor and has a unique teaching style. We did a lot of work together, including sitting on TDI’s training advisory panel. All that helped sew up my interest in all things cave and complex. Yeah, thinking about it, I blame Larry Green. Q: You are originally from Peckham in London, but now reside in Canada. In November 2015, you were appointed as a member of the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. What did it mean to you to earn this recognition? A: There’s that Peckham things again! LOL. I am tempted to start chanting: “We’re Millwall and nobody likes us…” Anyhow, yes, I am a Canadian by choice now, have been for decades and love the country. Like every other nation, we have our faults. But overall, Canada’s a great spot. Earning the recognition of the RCGS was a very proud moment for me. Not quite like the Order of Canada or a Governor General’s Award, but important to me. The Society’s mandate is, and I’m going to quote here: ‘imparting a broader knowledge and deeper appreciation of Canada—its people and places, its natural and cultural heritage and its environmental, social and economic challenges’. That’s a big ask, but it seems a small price to pay for an Steve has conducted various expeditions

Steve is a big cave-diving fan

uninvited guest sitting here in paradise. Actually, when you think about the overall premise of that mandate, it sort of fits in with covering yourself in expensive and heavy crap before jumping into the water, just for the hell of it. Q: You joined RAID back in February 2016, initially as an instructor-trainer, and you were then pivotal in the development of the agency’s cave-diving programme. Tell us a bit more about what you wanted to achieve with the creation of this set of specialised certifications? A: That’s easy. Comfort, Safety, and Respect. A watchword at RAID is diver comfort… well, two watchwords at RAID are diver comfort. If we can produce divers who are comfortable executing dives at level A or B or C and D, we’re more than halfway there. Conducting safe dives in an overhead environment, and respecting the opportunity we have to visit those places, makes up the rest of it. Everything else, the procedures, the best practice, the technology, the inclusiveness, all that becomes the cherry on top of the cowgirl, to quote Tom Robbins. At its most essential, everyone involved with diver training, at their core and without interference from phyco-babble and commercial considerations, wants to turn people on to what it is about diving that quickens their pulse. As an instructor, as an educator, as a coach, if we lose the drive to open eyes, hearts and minds, then we’ve lost the plot. To be given the privilege to take some enthusiastic but uninformed punter and hold their hand as they see, as they experience, what this planet is really about for the first time… or the thousandth time… well, that’s golden, isn’t it? Actually, I’ve misspoken, perhaps. Cave diving doesn’t quicken my pulse; it slows it down. And reflecting on things, perhaps that’s what I wanted to get across to students in RAID Cave Programmes. Q: You have conducted several expeditions to the Bell Island iron-ore mine (see Jill Heinerth’s article on page 78 for more about this unique location). What is it about this place that has made it such a focus for your attentions? A: Ha! How long have we got? Well, Jill’s article sums it up pretty nicely, but in a nutshell the Bell Island Mine and the four wrecks off its coast, are world-class, and abundantly more accessible than anything that comes close. First off, Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province, is unique. The topography, the people, the culture, the diving, even the language is, well, different. Certainly not quite the



As an instructor, an educator, a coach, if we lose the drive to open eyes, hearts and minds, we’ve lost the plot

Steve hanging out on a deco stop Steve kitting up for a dive

same as the rest of Canada, and most definitely unlike the rest of North America. Call a Canadian, ‘American’, and they are likely to whack you with a hockey stick. Call someone from Newfoundland, ‘Canadian’, and they’ll explain your error. Call them ‘American’, and they’ll whack you with a hockey stick and then chop you up and feed you to a moose. So how does that translate to Bell Island Mine? What is extremely difficult to explain in a few words, is the character of that mine. Mines are different to caves; caves are different to wrecks; and Bell Island Mine is different to all three. It has a tremendously powerful presence. There is not a better way to describe it except that is has a powerful vibe. A buddy you may know, Phil Short, after one of our early exploration dives there, took me aside and explained how


strongly that vibe, the mine’s presence, affected him. He said he felt connected with the people who worked there. Phil travels a bit, and that coming from him says a lot in my opinion. Same with my younger sister, Jill Heinerth. But I’ll let her speak for herself… Page what is it again? Every member of the crews who worked on the various Mine Quest expeditions, exploration divers, support divers, surface support, the local community folks who helped out, feels the same. It’s odd, but it’s lovely. Of course, as you also know, we lost a team member, Joe Steffen, in the mine during our first expedition in 2007, so there is that energy there too. If anyone is really interested in my take on the mine, read my book ‘Death In Number Two Shaft’. That sums things up pretty well. Q: In all your years of diving, what is your mostmemorable moment? A: Oh, my. What a question. One of the challenges with that sort of question is that as soon as you’ve answered it, you think of something better. You might say the very first dive in Bell Island Mine or laying the first exploration line in a Brazilian cave, or looking at a collection of clay pipes in the captain’s desk in a newly discovered shipwreck. Certainly, one of those moments was my first dive on a wreck called the Empress of Ireland, which sits in the St Lawrence River near Rimouski, Quebec. Massive, historic, breath-taking, scary and humbling all at the same time. We might also count the first-time swimming past the bleached white skeleton of some palaeolithic animal in a bleached white cave in the Yucatan. I was told later that the bones are the remains of a long-extinct species of giant sloth. Another was taking couple of students for their last dive before graduation. It was a tourist cave. Well within the range of the average cave diver and a spot that too many people swim by without taking note of how stunning it is.


In his element in a cave system

Steve enjoys being outdoors How many cylinders is too many?

Anyway, a spot that I’d passed by with tons of students before. But this day was a little different. Perhaps we all had powerful lights, perhaps I’d done a good job making these folks comfortable, but anyway as we rounded a corner in the passage to the spot where things opened up into a huge gallery, I heard one of them say: “HOLY F**K!” And the two of them sort of stopped kicking and hung in the water while they drank it all in. That was a satisfying moment. Q: On the flipside, what is your worst diving memory? A: Worst and one of the best too. Calling off a big mixed gas, multiple stage cave dive almost before we got into the overhead. Bummer. Things just did not seem right. We went for a beer and came back the next day, and crushed it. But at the time, the exact minute I thumbed it, it felt like the worst time ever.

Training with a blacked-out mask


Q: What does the future hold for Steve Lewis, and for RAID as a training agency, as we look to a future after COVID-19? A: Hang on. Hang on. Let me pull out my crystal ball and Tarot cards. I’m enjoying RAID. Lots of respect for Toomer [Paul Toomer, RAID’s President] and the team I work with at HQ. They all want to make a difference. They all believe in the industry. They are a talented bunch, and I honestly believe they have had and can continue to have a positive effect on the diving community. As a group, we have a load of ideas; there are some very interesting products ready for launch; the future looks good. As odd as it sounds, we have grown, and extended our market reach, particularly in the third quarter of 2020. All that said though, the adventure-travel industry has changed and will never go back to what it was, and how it felt. That flavour has all gone and we cannot re-order it. Currently, most of us have not stepped inside an airport for six or seven months. This is record-breaking. Almost everything expedition-related has been postponed or cancelled completely. Scores of resorts and dive centres have been bled white. Yet, I believe underwater exploration will continue. Divers will get back to diving. And non-divers will want to give frolicking underwater a try. So, it’s going to be up to us, you, me, our mates and colleagues, to make that possible. But it will be on new terms, the consumer’s terms possibly, rather than the 1980 paradigm we’ve been working in for the past… well, since the 1980s. In the meanwhile, we should chill out a little, dive often and dive safe. n


Image by Franco Banfi





The reef of Sha’ab Abu Nuhas has claimed countless ships over the years, but the remaining four are a magnet for avid wreck divers PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARK EVANS AND STUART PHILPOTT



The shipwrecks of Sha’ab Abu Nuhas hold a siren call for divers, with many having numerous logbook entries for all four of the sunken vessels




he northern Egyptian Red Sea is a hotspot for fascinating shipwrecks, being home to the likes of the legendary Thistlegorm, the Dunraven, the Million Hope and the Rosalie Moller, but there is one location which is a magnet for serious wreck divers – Sha’ab Abu Nuhas. Sha’ab Abu Nuhas is an unassuming reef which would probably not even merit a mention on any diver’s hit-list if it wasn’t for the fact that it lies close to the major shipping lane to the Suez Canal, and thus it has claimed more than its fair share of ‘victims’ over the years. Surrounded by relatively shallow waters and reasonably protected from adverse weather conditions, it is a regular on most northern liveaboard itineraries, and can also be reached by dayboats. The shipwrecks that have fallen prey to its coral reef are all in decent shape, especially the ‘newer’ vessels, and so this, combined with the depths and sheltered location, means they are perfect for all levels of diver, and the ideal ‘classroom’ for wreck-diving courses in a real-world environment.

The Giannis D


Of all the wrecks on Abu Nuhas, the Japanese-built, Greekowned freighter Giannis D is by far the most-popular, and for good reason – it is undoubtedly one of the best wreck dives in the entire Red Sea. The ship was carrying a cargo of lumber and hit the reef in 1983 going at full speed – a fact made obvious when you see the twisted prop, which mangled itself as it ground into the coral – and now it is split into three distinct sections The midships is smashed beyond all recognition, with lengths of wood, steel plates and metal panels strewn over the seabed. There is plentiful coral growth, and a plethora of marine life, but this is the least-interesting area of the wreck site, and is generally just passed over by divers transitioning between the more-intact bow and stern sections. The bow lies on its port side, and is still in one piece, so makes for an interesting spot to explore. There are limited penetration possibilities, but the bow itself is an impressive size and the bow mast is always surrounded by reef fish. However, it is the stern section which really makes this wreck special. The stern is fully intact from just before the rear superstructure, which means if you are appropriately trained, you can penetrate deep into the engine room, crew’s quarters and bridge. The deepest part of the stern lies in just 24m, and it is possible to enter the ship here, and then work your way through her engine room and then up several floors to eventually exit through the bridge. A torch is useful so you can pick out the details, but there is so much ambient light from the open doors, windows and hatch covers that it isn’t strictly necessary. For photographers, the stern is a great photo prop, as is the twisted propeller, which will dwarf a well-placed model.


While the other three wrecks all went down in the 70s or 80s, the Carnatic is far, far older. She was a sleek 90-metre steamand-sail-powered passenger and mail ship which hit the reef in 1869. She didn’t sink immediately, instead sitting hard aground for a couple of days. The captain mistakenly assumed the ship was sound and that the pumps were handling any incoming water, but the constant seesaw motion on the sharp coral took its toll and the vessel split in half and sank, sadly



Shipwrecks, and the remnants of other man-made constructions such as airplanes, military vehicles and more, are often one of the mostpopular underwater attractions for divers. Learn how to safely explore these sunken objects by signing up for the RAID Wreck Speciality course, or depending on your level of certification, the RAID Advanced Wreck Diving Speciality course. The Chrisoula K/Marcus’ cargo of floor tiles

The stern is fully intact from just before the rear superstructure, which means if you are appropriately trained, you can penetrate deep into the engine room, crew’s quarters and bridge WWW.DIVERAID.COM

taking some five passengers and 26 crew down with her. The survivors managed to make their way on to Abu Nuhas itself, and then in lifeboats to nearby Shadwan Island, where they were picked up a short while later by the passing SS Sumatra. The Carnatic now lies on her port side in 26m, rising to 12m at the bow. Coral growth is profuse because she has been down almost 150 years, and she is almost part of the reef now. Much of the wooden decking has fallen away, revealing the holds and the four-cylinder steam engine and boilers, and penetration is simple because of all the entry/exit points through the iron framework. Inside, you can find the broken remnants of hundreds of wine bottles, and there are often swarming shoals of glassfish which will ‘swallow’ a diver who carefully swims through them.


Unbelievably, divers had been diving the freighters either side of the Carnatic for many years before accidentally discovering the much-older vessel on a drift dive. Floor tile inside the Chrisoula K/Marcus


The third-most-visited wreck on Sha’ab Abu Nuhas is the Marcus, but the reason it is so well known in diving circles is probably due more to the continued saga of whether it really is the Marcus, or the Chrisoula K. There are arguments for both identities, and while it is now considered a pretty safe bet that the Marcus is its actual name, there are still those veteran divers out there who will remain convinced it is the Chrisoula K. Regardless of its true name, what is known is that this Bow of the was another Greek-owned freighter which Carnatic ran aground and sank in 1981. She was carrying a vast cargo of Italian floor tiles, which gives the wreck its nickname ‘tile wreck’ and it is possible to see stacks and stacks of these in the hold. The vessel is pretty much intact, with the midships upright and sitting in 26m-28m and the stern section twisted over towards starboard. The holds are quite open, with lots of ambient light and entry/ exit points through the deck.


The fourth wreck on Abu Nuhas is probably the mostinfrequently visited, which is a shame, as it is still a great dive, even if not in quite the same league as its neighbours. This German-built freighter was carrying 4,500-tons of lentils when it drove hard onto the reef at full speed in 1978, destroying the bow section. It stayed on the reef top, before the weather conditions eventually took their toll and it slid off the reef into 30-32m of water, coming to rest on its starboard side. Marine life is not as plentiful as on the other wrecks, but she is still worth a page in your logbook.


The shipwrecks of Sha’ab Abu Nuhas hold a siren call for divers, with many having numerous logbook entries for all the sunken vessels. Being located where they can be reached by both dayboats and liveaboards, they are visited by hundreds of divers every year, and if you have yet to dive Egypt’s wreck graveyard, I’d suggest adding it to your bucket list. n



DIVER’S LOG BOOK: PROF. TIMMY GAMBIN An unforeseen global pandemic has left a lasting impression on every sector, not sparing the diving industry. This also holds true for underwater cultural heritage diving enthusiasts, many of whom consider Malta a premium location for technical wreck diving. PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF PROF TIMMY GAMBIN


alta is home to a number of technical-depth wartime shipwrecks and aircraft, many of which are under the protection of Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit, regulating diver access to the sites. The very nature of underwater cultural heritage as being located beneath the surface of the sea has often resulted in an out of sight, out of mind mentality by the majority of the public. The simple reason for this is that most people do not dive! One way to overcome this barrier is the application of digital technologies, often used for the promotion of underwater cultural heritage. The creation of the Virtual Museum Underwater Malta falls within this category, a project first conceived in a pre-pandemic context but ultimately launched in a COVID-19 bubble. The relevance of digital technologies has only gained traction over the course of this past year, with many work spaces going digital, including museums and cultural attractions the world over. Underwater Malta was designed as an online repository of underwater cultural heritage, however, its digital relevance in the context of a global pandemic could not have been foreseen. The virtual museum provides a single widely accessible space where members of the public can explore shipwreck and aircraft sites as 3D reconstructions or through virtual reality. Aims are twofold. Firstly, the construction of a unique digital bridge between the limitations brought about by the deep-sea and the non-diving public. Secondly, the promotion of Malta as a premium technical diving destination. Travel restrictions aside, interested expert diving tourists can virtually explore Malta and Gozo’s seabed, familiarising themselves with the multitude of shipwrecks and aircraft sites and whetting their appetites for future exploration.

Underwater Malta was launched with ten sites. This includes submarines, ancient shipwrecks, aircraft and Second World War vessels, all reflecting the diversity of Malta’s underwater historic repertoire. Powerful underwater lights and cameras were used to systematically record the sites, often requiring multiple dives and thousands of photographs, which were ultimately converted to 3D and virtual reality. Dive teams were composed of a cameraperson, a light operator and a safety diver, with depths ranging between 110m at the Phoenician Shipwreck site and a couple of metres for the recording of Victorian guns. The work behind Underwater Malta is far from over, with more sites posed to be added by the end of this very unusual year and throughout 2021.



EXPLORATION GRADE DRYSUITS l NEW Seamless underarm pattern for

even greater flexibility

l NEW turbo boots with ankle strap l Telescopic body with crotch strap

and front entry zip l CHOICE OF RipStop, Armour Skin or

ultra-tough Kevlar material

l CHOICE OF Apeks or SITech valves l Large bellowed Velcro side pockets l Strong internal braces l OPTIONAL Made to measure available l OPTIONAL SITech glove/neck ring system l OPTIONAL Otter balanced pee valve

Wishing all divers the very best during these difficult times. We’re all in this together!

l OPTIONAL KUBI glove ring system

Photo Silvano Barboni

Photo Jason Brown


Photo Richard Stevenson

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Each issue, a panel of RAID Instructor Trainers will give their insight into a specific topic. This issue, the team discuss finning techniques PHOTOGRAPHS BY GARRY DALLAS


while back, a guy named Loudon Wainwright sang ‘This summer I went swimming, this summer I might have drowned, but I held my breath, kicked my feet, and moved my arms around…’ His song was titled, aptly enough, The Swimming Song. Neat song, crappy advice for a scuba diver though, since we don’t hold our breath, we’re not supposed to move our arms around, and when we kick our feet, it’s not as simple as Wainwright would have us believe. We are, like him, trying to avoid getting drowned, but when it comes to moving around underwater, we have lots of other issues to consider - maintaining visibility, working efficiently, and having the ability to position ourselves precisely where we need to be without failing around like… well, like a folk singer. In this episode of Dive Like a Pro, our experts are going to give us some pointers and tips on how we can, with just a little effort and practice, move through the water as though we belong there. And they’ll give us a rundown of the variety of moves we can make with fins attached to our feet, and what each of those moves allows us to do. Be graceful - and enjoy!


The reason we fin underwater is to move or swim in a particular direction. In a cave or wreck, we need to propel ourselves in much the same way, however, with a bit more care. When diving in ‘open water’, there is usually a great deal of space around you. The divers swimming over a reef are typically spread out, often side by side and some at different depths. When diving in a cave, space is often limited and for the most part, cave divers are navigating the cave along a line in single file. With that in mind, the first thing we need to consider is that if you are in front, you have good visibility, but if you are using the incorrect finning technique, the diver/s behind you will be swimming into your cloud of silt. In


open water, a bit of silt isn’t always the end of the world, but in a cave or wreck, it could prove to be fatal as the divers that are following the line could easily lose sight of the line and, in doing so, lose sight of the way out of the cave or wreck. Most recreational divers use the standard flutter kick, which forces the water downwards to propel you forward. The force of that downward water movement is what disturbs a sandy bottom and creates a cloud. Divers in an overhead environment will use alternate methods of finning ensuring as little downward thrust as possible. The frog kick, for example, forces the water to the back and sides resulting in less downward disturbance. In tight spaces one could bend one’s knees up and using small movements to fin forward, this is known as the modified flutter, or modified frog kick. An additional skill overhead divers need to be familiar with is the helicopter turn, whereby the diver uses only small movements of their fins to turn their bodies without touching the bottom or using their hands. Sometimes there isn’t enough space to turn, so divers need to perfect the skill of back-finning or reverse kicking. This technique is almost like a reverse frog kick, again ensuring as little disturbance to the bottom of the cave or wreck as possible. Another important factor when diving in an overhead environment is using the correct fins. Not all fins are created equal. Typically, a short broad blade is best, and they must be black. Just kidding, they could also be dark grey. You should avoid fins that have big buckles or long straps that could potentially be ‘line traps’. Even odd-shaped fins or split fins can potentially cause entanglement. Whenever entering an overhead environment, it’s wise to always assume you will be exiting in the dark. Making this assumption will ensure you are cautious with your movements, staying within your limits and never leaving your reference.


Most recreational divers use the standard flutter kick, which forces the water downwards to propel you forward DAN WEEKS, RAID TERRITORY MANAGER (USA, CANADA AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS)

When someone asks ‘what type of fins should I use’ or ‘which fins are the best’, the truth of the matter is that fins are only one piece of the puzzle. In order to actually be efficient underwater and achieve the best air consumption rates, one must be comfortable, streamlined and in proper trim. This not only includes your choice of fin, but also your choice in buoyancy device. The newest, most-advanced designed fin on the market will not mean anything if you are incorrectly weighted and/or forced to swim upright or fight to stay down. My first advice when looking for a fin would be, please do not just hope for the best and purchase on the internet. I would highly stress to, at a minimum, head to a local dive shop or even better a demo event where you can actually get in the water and try out different types of dive fins. Several other questions should also be asked when selecting the appropriate fin: • What type of equipment will you be wearing? A set of sidemount tanks, doubles or a heavier CCR unit will more than likely require a fin built for this type of diving, i.e split fins would be a poor choice. • What is the environment you will be diving in? Cold water diving will require an open-heeled fin which is meant to be used with booties or drysuit boots. They may also be suggested for warm water diving as booties or rock boots can protect your feet when entering and exiting from shore dive areas which may be covered in shells, rocks or even urchins and coral in the shallow water. • What are your dive goals? If you know you will be pursuing moreadvanced certifications and more-challenging diving, I would select a fin that would support that progression unless you are willing to spend more money to have several sets of fins for different purposes.



Another characteristic that is important when it comes to proper trim and finning techniques is the actual weight of the fin. Several manufacturers make their fins in both light and heavy versions for this very reason. This is another reason it is important to actually get the chance to try out different fins in the water with your full equipment set-up. I can recall several occasions while teaching technical diving courses and even a few recreational courses in warm water tropical locations where simply changing out the diver’s fins made life much easier and more comfortable. Those specific challenges were related to that environment since many of us, especially as we get a little older, tend to have a more muscular base in the legs and carry more of the buoyant characteristics in our upper body. Combine that with a heavy set of fins and no exposure suit and you have the recipe for poor trim and a harder time maximizing your finning techniques.


Besides dive fins, another piece of equipment that plays an important role is the buoyancy device. In my opinion, too many divers are talked into and sold BCDs that are less efficient underwater and also do not actually support the growth of the diver. How many dive buddies do you know that replaced their BCD within a year or two of getting certified? ‘Having huge pockets for tons of items’, ‘easily being upright on the surface’ and ‘this is what a lot of beginners buy’ are phrases that I hate to hear. Divers spend the vast majority

listen to the customer and select the appropriate products for their interests, performance and growth. Finally, another fantastic service or option I recommend is an in-water session if a demo of the gear was not available. Even if it is not a full course like Performance Diver or Equipment Specialty, see if there is an option to get in the water with the dive professional to tune in your new equipment. Some dive centres may offer a pool workshop to help ensure the proper fit and selection has been made.


of their time underwater, so it is important to find the equipment that performs the best in those conditions as well as growing with the diver as they advance through diving. Personally, I would recommend all divers go try out a backplate and wing as the weight is distributed better and supports much better trim position and efficiency. If the diver needs more space for items at that point, a simple solution is a set of dive shorts with thigh pockets, or even buying a wetsuit/drysuit that comes with thigh pockets.


Another key concept besides just purchasing new gear is receiving proper training. This is key in developing the proper finning techniques. There are many tools available today in the digital age from online forums to instructional videos, but nothing can replace good old fashioned training with a qualified professional. Several programmes are catered towards this specific purpose of getting you dialed in with either your current set of gear or your new gear. RAID’s unique Performance Diver course is a perfect example and worth looking into. This course can be completed either in open water or confined water from start to finish, so logistics should be easy to arrange and a prerequisite for instructors to be certified to teach this course is that they are a RAID technical diving instructor, meaning they will be proficient in all of the finning techniques as well as helping you achieve the proper trim. Another option would be the Equipment Specialty, which will also familiarize students with how to properly maintain their equipment, troubleshoot smaller problems and also get them in the water to instill full confidence with a professional. Maybe the coolest thing about these programmes is that you can access them for free using RAID’s new FREe-LEARNING concept to help you gain some insight while looking into proper gear choices.


For all of those out there interested in selecting some new diving equipment, please seek out a knowledgeable professional. Customers, spend some time asking questions, researching ahead of time and think about your end goals. For dive professionals, take the time to


Let’s look at this from a different angle, most dive pros when asked to talk about finning techniques will go into the benefits of the frogkick over the flutter kick and how it allows you to keep a more-stable platform and thus more-effective glide through the water. And they will talk about turns, reverse kicks, modified flutter and frog kicks and so on and so on. I’m not going to talk about finning techniques… Before I taught diving, I taught Wing Chun Gung Fu for a good number of years, where all footwork springs from one central stance, and is taught in response to support the retreating, deflecting, or attacking nature of what the upper body and arms are doing. This means no footwork is done accidentally and can flow from one set of movement into another even mid motion if so required. In application there is no set footwork, the flowing stances are practiced so that in application the user will ‘feel’ what makes sense and what does not. I guess a little bit like everyday walking around - you don’t stand at the door and decide you are going to take ten mid-sized steps to arrive at your car door, you just walk, and if the ground is slippery you adjust your stance and step size, if you trip, you automatically correct your footwork, if you forgot your car keys, you turn around and walk back, you don’t execute a half 360 helicopter turn on the spot and go back. In other words, you don’t define your journey to the car as four full step, half helo turn, four full step, one half step, one adjustment step, retrieve lunch, half helo turn, five full step, enter car… you just walk, you don’t even think about it, because since you were a little kid, you have been tasked with mastering the ability to hold your entire body mass up with two legs, in a balanced fashion while moving, falling, tripping, etc. Like Gung Fu (Kung Fu), diving is no different, you might start with individually identifying your propulsion, but eventually it becomes second nature where different techniques will flow in and out of each other, with little nuances for fine control.


Let’s assume you have achieved a good platform of trim and buoyancy control, then the answer is yes, and then no, and then yes again, etc. Yes, you work on your finning technique until they are good and solid, and then you go diving, you blend your techniques, eventually your technique might become sloppy, you cut corners, get bad habits, before this happens you schedule time working on each technique individually to ensure you maintain them in their purest form. Try and find a balance between the perfect technique and the functional technique - if you spend all your time at platforms in a quarry filming yourself, you have surely missed the point of diving in the first place. n


C a re fo r b reat h i n g, n at u r a l l y.

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Ocean Reef Group Geúk

The coral growth is phenomenal


ISLAND Adrian Stacey journeys to the tiny Heron Island at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef for a dive holiday to remember PHOTOGRAPHS BY ADRIAN STACEY




elieve it or not, but Heron Island was first used as a turtle soup factory. Thankfully, for tourists and turtles alike, the factory went out of business and the island - a natural coral cay located on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef - was turned into a resort. The island itself sits on top of Heron Reef, a large fringing platform reef, and the whole area is a protected marine national park. Heron Island can be walked around in 30 minutes; it is 800 metres long, 300 metres wide and at its highest point reaches a giddy 3.6 metres. Suffice it to say it is not the place to visit if you are keen on long hikes and mountaineering! It is, however, the perfect place to visit for diving, snorkelling and relaxing. Water temperatures can drop to 20 degrees Celsius in the winter (April to September) climbing to around 27 in the summer months (October to March). Visibility is good all year round, averaging 20 metres of crystal-clear blue water. Leaving from Gladstone, we boarded the Heron Island Flyer, a large catamaran, for the two-and-a-half-hour crossing to Heron Island. As we approached the entrance to the small harbour, we were greeted by the rusting remains of the HMCS Protector. After what could only be described as a pretty rough crossing, a somewhat green and dishevelled group of guests disembarked on to the jetty. Once we set foot on the island, all our worries and cares seemed to disappear as if taken off our shoulders by a pair of invisible hands. It was a relaxed feeling that stayed with us for the entirety of the visit. Our luggage was taken directly to our rooms while we were escorted to the bar for a welcome drink and island orientation. There are no room keys, no TVs in the rooms and no mobile phone reception. Cash is not required, as any purchases can be paid for on departure. Excellent food and friendly, helpful staff only add to the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. The beachside suite we were staying in did exactly as advertised. We could literally step off our veranda and onto the beach, where we had spectacular views over the shallow turquoise waters that surround the island. In the distance the colour of the water changed to dark blue as the reef dropped off into deeper water.

Once we had finished marvelling at the view just outside our room, we wanted to find out more about the diving that was on offer and so headed off to the dive centre. Ian, the very helpful manager, explained that they go out three times per day and we were welcome to join any of the trips we wanted to. The boat returns to shore after each dive; two dives in the morning and one in the afternoon. Night dives are also offered. All of the 20-plus dive sites that surround the island are a short boat ride away, the furthest taking about 15 minutes to get to. Once Ian had filled us in on the schedule, he offered to take us to see the boats they use and show us a couple of good places to snorkel. While on the jetty chatting about what we might be able to see on the dives, our host nonchalantly drew our attention to the water beneath us. A bait ball had gathered in less than a metre of water and a stealthy lemon shark was scything through the agitated little fish. Thanking Ian for his time and not really waiting for his response, I rushed back to my room to get my camera into its housing then back to the jetty for some snorkelling with the shark. Unfortunately, as I entered the water, a seaplane arrived scaring the shark away. This was possibly what Ian had been trying to tell me earlier, but I can’t be sure. I was assured, however, that it is quite common for the sharks and a variety of rays to be found in the shallow water around the island. Thankfully, this proved to be true and on one of our later forays we came across whiptail and feathertail stingrays, sometimes congregating in large numbers, plus four lemon sharks and a bait ball. I was amazed at how close to the shore they came; actually getting into the water is not necessary as they are clearly visible from the beach. Turtle chilling on the reef

Various nudibranchs can be found


The waters in Egypt play host to a myriad variety of fish and invertebrate species – find out more about marine conservation and how you can limit your impact on the environment with your diving by signing up for the RAID Ecological Diver Speciality course. WWW.DIVERAID.COM


Arriving by seaplane very James Bond

The shallowest of the three was wrapped in a school of snapper and the next slightly deeper one was home to a large green turtle. As it lounged on top of this rocky spire, small reef fish swarmed around its head like flies. The deepest pinnacle was a macro enthusiast’s dream; we saw numerous nudibranchs. A multitude of small Durban dancing shrimps hid in one of crevasses along with a pair of amorous pipefish. In stark contrast to the morning, the afternoon became increasingly cloudy and then it began to rain. Apparently this is a very rare occurrence on the island, so after a sumptuous buffet lunch, the snorkelling plans were postponed to the next day. Instead we took the opportunity to do absolutely nothing, other than sit on our veranda and watch the storm with a beer in hand. On the second day the cloud cover thickened. Again we opted for the two morning dives hoping that the weather would clear up in the afternoon. The forecast suggested it wouldn’t but I was hopeful it would. Our first dive was at Gorgonian Hole on the less-sheltered side of the island. A wall which was covered in hard plate coral descended to a sandy plateau at around 15m. Vibrant colours on the reef

The next day we decided to do the two morning dives then spend the afternoon snorkelling around the island looking for the sharks and rays. For the first dive we made the brief commute to a dive site called Canyons. As with most of the dive sites in the area, this was not a deep dive; 18m was our maximum depth with the majority of the dive spent in shallower water. Clear blue water allowed us to see the dive site in all its glory. Vast undulating meadows of hard coral disappeared into the distance, occasionally broken up by shallow canyons; the perfect habitat for the myriad of small fish that danced energetically above the reef. Whitetip reef sharks rested in the shade provided by overhangs and numerous green turtles grazed on the abundance of food. The next dive was at Heron Bommie, regarded by some as the best dive site in the Heron Island portfolio. It was easy to see why. Three pinnacles of descending depths sit on a sandy slope that drops to around 18m. The upper reaches of the slope are covered in staghorn corals where a large school of yellow-finned fusiliers swept back and forth. The pinnacles themselves host a variety of hard and soft corals.


Shoals of fish inhabit the reef

Clear blue water allowed us to see the dive site in all its glory. Vast undulating meadows of hard coral disappeared into the distance, occasionally broken up by shallow canyons 27

As the dive progressed, the wall became more broken up and the topography changed to one dominated by shallow gorges that were home to numerous large orange gorgonian seafans, swim-throughs and boulders. Here we found whitetip reef sharks, schooling snapper and yet more turtles. The second dive was also a drift dive. We started at Heron Bommie, which was just as impressive as the first day. A mild current then pushed us along a staghorn coral-covered slope, alive with fish and small crustaceans, to Pams Point, where the boat picked us up. Whale songs in the distance provided a soothing soundtrack to a very pleasant and relaxed dive. Still with overcast skies that afternoon, we took the guided tour around our little island paradise, our knowledgeable guide pointing out the impressive wealth of bird life that inhabits the predator-free, tree-covered environment. Regular guided tours and talks by staff of the research station that is located on the island are also available. The research station is run by the University of Queensland and offers facilities to students and scientists to study the birds or marine life on and around Heron Island. Currently their main project is studying ocean acidity. Other activities that guests can enjoy include whale-watching, sunset cruises and guided reef walking. A spa caters for those who require some pampering and star gazing with binoculars and telescopes offers something a bit different. On the day we were leaving, the sun banished the clouds from the skies and beat down relentlessly on the island. There was time for one final dive which we began at Blue Pools, drifting on to North Bommie. The dive site was dominated by a large bommie. Glassfish hid in a spacious hole at its centre, constantly harassed by grouper and other predators. Moray eels poked out of the many holes that pockmark this large rock. The bommie also acts as a cleaning station and manta rays can regularly be found here. Although none were present while we were there, several eagle rays did cruise by. The diving here is excellent. The pristine coral reefs teem with life of all shapes and sizes, with the added benefit of having the dive sites all to yourself. The shallow waters that fringe the brilliant white-sand shores provide an excellent opportunity to swim with large numbers of stingrays or among schooling bait fish with lemon sharks slashing through their ranks. I was sad to leave our island utopia. The simmering turquoise water seemed like it was winking at us as the sunlight danced off its glassy surface. With one more rueful glance over our shoulders, we boarded the ferry back to Gladstone, thoroughly enchanted by this stunning little island and thoroughly sad not to be staying longer. n

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Cardiac issues

IN DIVING When evaluating a diver’s fitness to dive, a lot of issues come into play with regard to their general health, their level of physical fitness, and underlying medical conditions. A large proportion of these involve cardiovascular disease. Dr Douglas Ebersole reviews the most-common cardiac conditions in diving PHOTOGRAPHS BY DR DOUGLAS EBERSOLE


It is estimated that there are about three million certified scuba divers in the United States. A large number of these individuals are middle-aged or older and at risk for coronary artery disease. Cardiovascular disease is the third most common cause of death while diving and remains the principal cause of death in the general population. The development of symptoms of angina, pulmonary edema, or sudden cardiac death underwater, carries with it a muchhigher mortality than would the same event on land. This article will review the workloads related to scuba diving, ways to assess risk in those with or at risk of developing coronary artery disease, and make recommendations to make scuba diving safer.


In 2008, Denoble published a paper showing the annual death rate for scuba divers was 16.4 per 100,000 persons (1). This was similar to the rate of 13 jogger deaths per 100,000 participants each year (2) or the risk of driving where motor vehicle accidents result in 16 deaths per 100,000 persons per year (3). Thus, while the likelihood of dying scuba diving is quite small, understanding how and why these deaths occur is imperative. Unfortunately, the ultimate cause of death while scuba diving is drowning. This does not give us a great insight into what led to the drowning. Denoble reported on the causative process of 947 fatalities in an attempt to better define scuba diving fatalities (4). He divided this into sequential components: trigger, disabling agent, disabling injury, and cause of death. Cardiac events constituted 26 percent of disabling injuries and these events were frequently associated with a history of cardiovascular disease and age greater than 40 years. Thus, it looks like underlying cardiovascular disease is a major component in scuba diving deaths.



It is clear that exercise itself is a cardiovascular stress and that the majority of non-traumatic deaths during exercise are cardiac in origin. In most situations, diving is not particularly physically stressful. However, there are times that due to current, waves, wind and other environmental stressors that demands during diving can reach 20 ml/kg/min (6-7 METS). Exercise capacity is reported in terms of estimated metabolic equivalents of task (METs). The MET unit reflects the resting volume oxygen consumption per minute (VO2) for a 70kg, 40-year-old man, with 1 MET equivalent to 3.5 mL/min/kg of body weight. In the standard Bruce protocol, the starting point (ie, stage 1) is 1.7 mph at a 10 percent grade (5 METs). Stage 2 is 2.5 mph at a 12 percent grade (7 METs). Stage 3 is 3.4 mph at a 14 percent grade (9 METs) and Stage 4 is 4.2 mph at 16 percent grade (12 METs). This protocol includes three-minute periods to allow achievement of a steady state before workload is increased. Thus, a diver with a steady state exercise capacity of 6-7 METS can expect to manage most diving contingencies without concern for cardiovascular complications. In most occupational exposures requiring increased physical activity, guidelines recommend maintaining workloads below 50 percent of maximal oxygen consumption. Based on this relationship, a diver who is expected to minimize safety concerns related to environmental contingencies should have a maximum oxygen consumption of 12-13 METS – or about 12 minutes on a standard Bruce protocol exercise test. Divers with peak exercise capacity below that level could expect to dive safely in low stress conditions such as warm water, minimal currents, and calm seas but could develop cardiovascular limitations under stressful diving conditions.


For divers older than 35 years, the dominant risk for sudden


death is from coronary artery disease. Although the incidence of coronary artery disease death is falling, the rising incidence with age makes this diagnosis the most important consideration when clearing divers who are middle-aged or above. One strategy to lower the risk of cardiovascular deaths would be to screen all adult participants prior to certification as most exercise-related cardiac events in adults are due to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The Framingham Risk Score is one of a number of scoring systems used to determine an individual’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease. A number of these scoring systems are available online (5,6). Cardiovascular risk scoring systems give an estimate of the probability that a person will develop cardiovascular disease within a specified amount of time, usually ten to 30 years. Because they give an indication of the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, they also indicate who is most likely to benefit from prevention. For this reason, cardiovascular risk scores are used to determine who should be offered preventive drugs, such as drugs to lower blood pressure and drugs to lower cholesterol levels. The population risk for divers could be predicted by using tools such as the Framingham Risk Score and potential participants with a specific score could be identified and excluded. The problem with this approach is that atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is prevalent among lower-risk subjects. Also, extremely high-risk subjects are only a small part of the total population. Consequently, the largest absolute number of acute events occurs not in the highestrisk subjects, but in the moderate- and lower-risk groups. Excluding the highest-risk group likely have little effect on the total number of deaths. A Framingham risk score lower than 10 percent (less than 1 percent per year risk) is considered a low score. If a subject is assessed to be at low risk in general, that individual is not likely to have an acute coronary event while diving. On the other hand, high-risk individuals (Framingham score > 20 percent) could be at considerable risk and should have further evaluation to evaluate whether diving will be safe. Intermediate-risk individuals with a Framingham score between 10 percent and 20 percent should have further risk stratification to assess their risk for an acute coronary event while diving. In all individuals, regardless of risk, we should practice primary prevention of coronary artery disease. The recommended performance measures for primary prevention are: • Lifestyle/risk factor screening • Dietary intake counseling • Diabetes screening and management • Physical activity counseling • Smoking/tobacco cessation • Weight management • Blood pressure control • Blood lipid measurement and control • Global risk estimation with tools such as Framingham Risk Score • Aspirin use in selected individuals Implementation of these measures requires performance of a careful history and physical examination, laboratory testing for lipids, and formal assessment of cardiovascular risk. Performing stress testing in selected individuals, such as those with intermediate or high-risk Framingham score, is also an approach. In comparison to younger individuals, far less


attention has been paid to designing screening programmes for older, usually recreational, athletes. Few detailed preparticipation guidelines exist, and there is little reported experience in this age group. Instead, most authorities focus on strategies used in clinical medicine for the early detection of atherosclerotic diseases, as these are the most common cause of death in this age group. Since most individuals are asymptomatic, the history is often more helpful in identifying risk factors rather than symptoms. Similarly, there may be few detectable abnormalities at rest or even with exercise as events are often due to spontaneous rupture of non-obstructive plaque.


Patients with known coronary disease often have been subjected to revascularization either by coronary artery bypass surgery or by percutaneous coronary intervention, usually with implantation of one or more coronary artery stents. The degree of revascularization can determine safety in diving. With complete revascularization, low-stress diving can be accomplished successfully, but diving in rough seas, fast currents or cold water could be risky. There are many divers who have returned to diving after either coronary artery bypass surgery or stenting. Success in return to diving is based on restored exercise capacity without ischemia after revascularization and choosing diving environments that do not produce excess stress on the cardiovascular system. Patients with significant reduction in left ventricular systolic function (LVEF < 35 percent) are at risk for exacerbation of congestive heart failure while diving. Water immersion itself results in approximately 700cc of fluid shift into the central circulation. This could provoke congestive heart failure in patients with impaired left ventricular systolic function. Additionally, most patient with LVEF < 30-35 percent will have impaired exercise tolerance when diving as outlined above. For these reasons, patients with significant left ventricular systolic dysfunction should be advised against scuba diving.


• All adults should be evaluated for their risk of coronary artery disease prior to scuba diving. • Selected individuals with intermediate to high-risk Framingham scores should be referred for additional evaluation, such as treadmill testing prior to scuba diving. • All individuals should practice primary prevention strategies to decrease their risk for the development of coronary artery disease.


If we were logical, the future would be bleak, indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

We will be back in the water soon, stay safe and well - from us all at O’Three

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- Smoking cessation - Blood pressure screening and management - Weight control - Physical activity counseling - Cholesterol screening and management - Diabetes mellitus screening and management • Patient with coronary artery disease may begin (or return to) diving as long as they have been revascularized with no ischemia on treadmill stress testing, have good exercise tolerance capacity of 13 METs or an ability to sustain a workload of 6 METs), and have relatively preserved left ventricular systolic function.


Patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a very popular topic in scuba diving as the appreciation of its relationship to decompression sickness (DCS) becomes more widespread in the diving community. Though the incidence of DCS in recreational diving is only about two episodes per 10,000 dives, decompression sickness affects approximately 1,000 divers per year. The presence of a PFO is felt to increase the risk 5- to 13-fold (8-10). An understanding of the link between PFO and DCS as well as various treatment options is vitally important to health professionals who treat these patients.


The patent foramen ovale is an integral part of the normal fetal circulation. Normally, a portion of the blood from the inferior vena cava passes from the right atrium to the left atrium through the PFO during fetal life, bypassing the lungs. At birth, pulmonary blood flow increases greatly, increasing left atrial pressure. The resulting atrial pressure differences compress the septum primum against the septum secundum, functionally closing the PFO. Anatomic closure of the PFO occurs later in infancy in most people but is incomplete in approximately 25 percent of the population (11,12), leaving these individuals at risk for right to left shunting. PFO diameters are quite variable in size ranging from 1-19 mm with the average size being larger in older adults (11), suggesting PFOs my continue to enlarge during life.


It was first suggested in 1986 that a cardiac right to left shunt may be important for paradoxical gas embolism in scuba divers (13). Subsequently, the importance of PFO for DCS in divers has been further investigated (8,14-17). As mentioned above, the risk of DCS in sport divers is quite low but is increased by at least five-fold in the presence of a PFO (8-10). Additionally,


the average number of ischemic brain lesions as seen on MRI in experienced divers with PFO has been reported to be twice as high as in divers without PFO (18). The etiology and clinical significance of these findings are unclear but may represent multiple subclinical paradoxic embolic events across the PFO.


Both transthoracic echo (TTE) and transesophageal echo (TEE) have been used for the diagnosis and assessment of PFO. TEE is the preferred diagnostic test of choice, however, given its better visualization of the atrial septum resulting in greater sensitivity in making the diagnosis. The injection of agitated saline increases the diagnostic sensitivity by enhancing echocardiographic detection of the trivial intermittent right-to-left shunting across a typical PFO. Agitated saline contrast injected intravenously during Valsalva maneuver with release of straining when contrast is visualized in the right atrium increases sensitivity. Visualization of contrast microbubbles passing from the right to left atrium through the visualized foramen ovale during the release phase is diagnostic of an interatrial communication. In clinical practice, the actual site of right-to-left shunting may not be convincingly visualized or recorded for technical reasons. If a recording convincingly demonstrates microbubbles appearing in the left atrium immediately after arriving in the right atrium, then the presence of a PFO can be presumed. If bubbles appear in the left atrium before or > 5 beats after they appear in the right atrium, then the possibility of anomalous pulmonary arteriovenous connection to the left atrium or pulmonary arteriovenous malformations must be considered. Contrast injected through an upper extremity vein may be washed away by contrast-free blood flow from the inferior vena cava directed by the Eustachian valve, creating a falsenegative result (19). Injection of contrast via the femoral vein has been proposed to enhance detection by TEE, with the streaming effect of directed inferior vena cava flow to the region of the fossa ovalis and through a patent foramen (20).


No specific guidelines exist for PFO closure in people who have decompression illness, but the options are to stop scuba diving, decrease the depth and/ or time of dives to limit the inert gas load, or undergo percutaneous PFO closure. Some divers decide that they have many other interests and diving is not that important to them. These divers will frequently give up the sport. Other divers who enjoy the sport but dive infrequently often opt for diving “conservatively” to limit their bubble-load. This would involve no-decompression diving, limiting depths to < 100 feet, diving nitrox on air profiles, prolonged (> than the usually recommended 3-5 min) safety stops at approximately 15-20 feet at the end of their dives, and limiting the number of dives per day to one or two. People who make their living through scuba diving (instructors, Divemasters, etc) and divers who enjoy more aggressive types of diving such as deep wrecks, cave diving, rebreather diving, and mixed gas diving often elect percutaneous closure of the PFO. This also holds true for


divers who have had recurrent ‘unexpected’ DCS events despite diving conservatively as defined above.


A recent study reported the results of conservative diving practices after an episode of DCS (21). Eighteen divers in this study had a right-to-left shunt, nine were small and nine were large. Mean follow-up was 5.3 years (range 0-11 years). Four of these divers had undergone PFO closure and had no episodes of DCS in follow-up. The absolute risk of suffering DCS before examination for the remaining 14 divers with right-to-left shunt and no closure was 23.5 DCS events per 10,000 dives for those with a small shunt compared to 71.6 for those with a large shunt. After recommendation for conservative diving practices, the DCS risk at follow-up fell to 6.0 per 10,000 dives in the small shunt group and zero in divers with the large shunt. The major limitation to this study is its small sample size, but the results suggest a need for more studies of conservative diving practices for divers with right to left shunts. When DCS has occurred, especially after so called ‘undeserved’ cases of DCS, divers are often encouraged to seek screening for a shunt and some diving medical societies classify these divers as ineligible to return to diving (22). There are also several diving medical specialists who recommend divers with a history of DCS and a positive right-to-left shunt to undergo closure if it turns out to be a PFO, even though there is no clear evidence to indicate that this intervention reduces the risk of DCS or neurologic events (23-26). However, in a 2011 study of 83 scuba divers with a history of DCS and a follow-up of 5.3 years, 28 divers had no PFO, 25 had a PFO closure, and 30 continued diving with a PFO without closure (27). At the beginning of the study, there were no significant differences between the groups in the number of dives, dive profiles, diving depth, or cumulative dives to more than 40m of salt water (msw). After follow-up, while there were no differences between the groups with respect to minor DCS events, the risk for major DCS was significantly higher in the divers with PFO and no closure than in divers with PFO and closure or divers without PFO. Although this offers new evidence that PFO closure reduces the risk for major DCS, the authors do not recommend closure in all divers with a history of DCS but rather recommend further studies to confirm these results.


The closure procedure for a patent foramen ovale is relatively painless and is done percutaneously through a femoral vein. Imaging during the procedure is done with a combination of fluoroscopy and ultrasound imaging, either TEE or intracardiac echo. The most-common device in use in the United States is the Amplatzer PFO Occluder. This is a wire mesh made out of nickel and a titanium alloy. The device is filled with securely sewn polyester fabric to help close the defect. It is deployed through a small catheter which has been placed across the PFO. The procedure takes about an hour and patients are usually discharged home the same day or the following morning.



Should all divers be screened for a PFO? No. There is approximately a five-fold increased relative-risk of DCS in patients with PFO, but the absolute risk is still quite small. Should all divers with DCS be screened for a PFO? No. Twenty five percent of the population has a PFO, so one would expect a similar percentage of divers with DCS to have a PFO.Not all scuba dives have the same risk of DCS. To paraphrase James Carville’s famous quote from the first Clinton presidential campaign, ‘it’s the bubble, stupid’. The issue with decompression sickness is the inert gas ‘bubble load’, not the PFO. However, episodes of DCS in ‘low-risk’ dives, especially neurologic events, or multiple ‘undeserved’ DCS events should prompt investigation for PFO. Should all divers with DCS and PFO have a PFO closure? No. Options for divers with PFO and DCS include discontinuing diving, conservative diving practices, or PFO closure. Recommendations should be made on a case-by-case basis based on the DCS event(s), the type of diving being performed by the diver involved, and the risks of PFO closure.


Cardiac rhythm abnormalities are quite common in adults. Most are quite benign, but some will result in the need for placement of devices. A cardiac pacemaker is used to treat dangerously slow heart rhythms. Scuba diving with these devices is somewhat controversial as there is very little data with which to base recommendations. The vast majority of pacemaker models have been tested to depths of about 2-3 ATA, not because of divers with pacemakers but for hyperbaric wound care. There is limited information on the function of pacemakers at deeper depths. The issues at depth are possible malfunctioning of the device and the effect of pressure on the pacemaker generator itself as this is a rigid metal device with air space inside which could be deformed under pressure. The same issues apply for implantable defibrillators. However, most people who have implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) have cardiac conditions that would exclude safe scuba diving such as a severely weakened heart muscle function or a history of dangerous heart rhythms that could result in loss of consciousness and drowning underwater. So the issue with ICDs is more of WHY does the patient have an ICD as opposed to issues with the device itself. n


Dr Douglas Ebersole, MD is a cardiologist specializing in coronary and structural heart interventions at the Watson Clinic LLP in Lakeland, Florida. He is also an avid technical, cave, and rebreather diver and instructor. He can be reached at:






RAID’s freediving guru Emma Farrell ( offers a host of hints and advice aimed at easing equalisation – and some of them can benefit scuba divers too


hen I talk to people about freediving, one of the most-common questions is ‘how do you know when to come back up?’, as if the limiting factor for depth is breathhold ability. I reassure them that not only do we progress depth so gradually that each new personal best is a breeze, but that the issue that stops most freedivers in the first few metres is their inability to equalise fast enough and in a headdown position. Equalisation issues occur in all divers, however with freediving you don’t have an almost unlimited supply of air to play with, nor plenty of time. Your tank is the air in your lungs and your dive time when starting out is usually less than a minute. This means that for freediving instructors, teaching someone how to equalise effectively is the biggest challenge. After 18 years overcoming my own equalisation issues and those of my students, I have yet to find a student who cannot learn to equalise. It may take years in some cases, but with my tips and tricks below, hopefully you will soon be equalising like a dream. Equalise frequently and pre-empt every equalisation This may sound obvious, but when you are on a dive there is so much to think about and so much to look at, we often forget to equalise until we feel pain in our ears. At this point we have left it too late and it can often be too difficult (especially for freedivers) when we have reached this point. I and my instructors always tell students to pre-empt every equalisation - equalise before you need to. This means that your eardrums are not put under stress and you get into a good habit of frequent and gentle equalisations. Another related tip, especially for freedivers, is to perform a ‘prequalisation’, a lovely term coined by Jorgen, one of my instructors, to describe equalising on the surface, just before

the duck dive, so that the slight over-pressurisation of the ear drums compensates for the delay in the arrival of the second equalisation at the end of the duck dive, which can often be at 4-5m.


Want to up your breath hold game and learn to push your limits. RAID has a wide range of Freediving courses from beginner to Instructor.




The frenzel is a very precise and efficient equalisation technique that uses the tongue to create pressure, not the diaphragm and lungs. It is gentler than the Valsalva and more efficient. It is the primary equalisation technique we teach on freediving courses, and because a large part of learning to freedive is learning how to equalise quickly and effectively, it is amazing for scuba divers.


If you force your equalisations, particularly when using the Valsalva, you can easily damage your ear drums and create inflammation around the eustachian tubes. This can lead to reverse block where, on your ascent, the tissues around the eustachian tubes have become so inflamed that the eustachian tubes cannot open to allow the expanding air in the middle ear to pass back to the throat. Be gentle with your equalisation!


I, and many of my instructors and students, swear by using Doc’s (vented) Pro-Plugs. These help prevent exostosis, also known as ‘surfer’s ear’, but I have found that they make equalisation easier in most people who use them. They come in different sizes to fit all ears, and I have a fitting kit so that I can sell the correct-sized Pro Plugs to my students. I find these invaluable and will wear them even in the warmest of waters.


An Otovent is a simple device that was developed to help children suffering from glue ear. It comprises a small plastic plug with a hole in it that you block up one nostril with, and on the other end is a balloon. You close off the other nostril and try and inflate the balloon using the plugged-up nostril. This opens up the eustachian tube and is brilliant equalisation practice that you can do on dry land.


A neti pot comes in all shapes and sizes. It can look like a small tea pot, or it can come in a more-western friendly design of a bottle for ‘sinus rinsing’ or similar. The idea is that you clean the front sinuses out with saline solution and this helps clear mucus and also prevents infection. It is another great way to help the sinuses remain clear and help deal with stuffiness or allergic reactions which can adversely affect equalisation.


If you do have a blocked nose, sticky mucus, or dried-out sinuses, get your head over a bowl of hot water with a towel over the top. The warmwater vapour is wonderful for clearing out your passages and soothing your mucus membranes. If you have infection then you can also use essential oils, such as oregano, thyme, eucalyptus, pine, tea tree, or simply a couple of drops of olbas oil. For ‘on the dive’ nose clearing, one of my instructors also puts tiny bits of Vicks inside his nose before he puts his mask on.


If you’re travelling abroad to dive, the flight is the worst thing to start off your holiday. Overly dry, re-circulated air will dry out all the mucus membranes of your sinuses, dehydrate the body and often give you a lovely bug from one of your fellow passengers. A great trick to prevent this is to wear throughout the flight, a scarf over your entire nose and mouth so that you are breathing in humidified air. At home in the winter with central heating, get a humidifier, or water traps that sit over the radiator to help humidify the air.


A cranial osteopath is someone who has done at least a four-year osteopathic training programme, followed by further specialist training in cranial osteopathy. I had a tenyear sinus issue that was cured by a few sessions of cranial osteopathy and the treatment has also cured sinus bleeding in one of my instructors and equalisation issues in countless students. If you have exhausted all other options, it is worth going for a consultation to see if it could help you. To find a recommended cranial osteopath in your area, you can ring one of the world’s leading centres, Stillpoint, in Bath on 01225 460 106 and ask for the details of a practitioner near you.


One of my students spent ten years learning how to equalise, and the thing that finally cracked it for him was giving up gluten, dairy and refined sugar. Every person will have subtly different dietary needs, but gluten and refined sugar cause inflammation in the body, which can affect equalisation, and dairy products can cause extra mucus production. If you’ve tried everything else, then try 30 days without gluten, refined grains, processed foods, all sugars and dairy and see if it makes a difference. I guarantee that your health will be improved in ways you won’t have thought possible - and it will most likely help your equalisation as well! n




(Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India) CHRIS HASLAM |


Gary Hawkes, Partner/Business Consultant has been working within the recreational, hyperbaric and occupational diving industries for the last 20 years, mainly in the Australasia region. Initially working as a hyperbaric technician and remote medic, training co-ordinator (Thailand) for DAN Asia Pacific and an active instructor trainer, he then went on to introduce a large mainstream diving agency to the SE Asian market as the regional managing director for nine years. The last six years has seen him based in Australia conducting high-level diver training for government contracts for both the recreational and occupational diving industries. An avid environmentalist, he classes himself as a retired technical diver who has a passion for accelerated deco, and his faithful twinsets, but is now more likely to be found floating around in 10m-40m discovering critters. This is mostly down to the sheer biodiversity that is found on the Great Barrier Reef now on his doorstep, however he is just as happy diving wrecks and pinnacles with their huge bio mass that are to be found in the SE Asia region. He has have trained or supervised training for over 150 occupational divers so far using the RAID system to dive supervisor level (DM or Inst), many of whom are now working as instructors, research divers, rangers or within the marine industry. He’ll admit to being sceptical at first, but RAID really did change how he teaches, and the areas that he focuses on when training - not an easy task with 15 years of training behind him! Chris Haslam, Partner/ Field Representative and Training, was 17 when he took his first breaths underwater, instantly he was hooked. He packed up his life and moved to Cairns to pursue a life as a dive instructor on the Great Barrier Reef. At


the time he never knew how much this move would impact the rest of his life. Since then, he has travelled all over the globe, visiting some of the best dive sites few are lucky to have seen. He backpacked the world for seven years straight using diving as a source of income and allowing him to see all the sites he had only once read about. Now, 19 years later, he is a RAID Examiner and avid technical diver, residing in Thailand, certifying over 2,500 students at various levels.


Many divers migrate to Southeast Asia to enjoy the tropical warm waters, diverse marine life and affordable prices. With hundreds of dive sites to date, Southeast Asia is the perfect


playground for any adventurer, hiding beautiful reefs and historical treasures beneath the surface. It’s hard to choose a favourite dive site in SE Asia, there are just so many, and for all different reasons. Whalesharks and manta rays are a highlight for many. These regions offer a multitude of diverse diving options to include tropical reefs, wrecks and caves. Whether you are interested in freediving, rebreather, technical, cave or recreational diving, one of our many RAID centres can cater to your needs. Asia’s abundant beauty and variety of pristine diving conditions have made it popular among local markets even in a global pandemic. Adaption is the key to survival, which is what RAID has nicely done. In response to an ever-changing world, especially where global events restrict the ability to function normally, RAID was challenged to think creatively about how to modify standards and procedures to enable business to be conducted easily and safely by utilizing technology as much as possible. Internationally, Instructor Trainers have been busy crossing over dive pros and new centres to RAID using video calls and video submission of in-water skills for evaluation. Thailand has lifted domestic travel restrictions due to reduced COVID cases, which has now allowed many divers


to travel throughout the country. Certified divers are taking the opportunity to continue their education and explore new dive sites and inspiring non divers to take the plunge into becoming certified themselves. There has become an increasing interest into the freediving market as well, creating a well-rounded community for all to participate in. Chris is lucky to be a part of a solid team of technical divers that love to bring their resources together and explore. In their last few expeditions, they dived the wrecks of the Burma Maru and Akita Maru sunk in World War Two and a pottery wreck dating back to the 15th century. The IJN Burma Maru is a 4,100-ton mid-bridge cargo ship sunk by the USS Swordfish in 1942. While enroute to Japan from Siam, she was carrying gifts of reparation for the Japanese Emperor from the King of Thailand. Sitting upright in 68m, this ship overflows with history - blessed with the remote location and excellent visibility, this shipwreck will continue to excite avid wreck divers for years to come. The team also correctly identified the IJA Akita Maru, part of the Japanese invasion force which was attacked by the Dutch submarine 0-19 while waiting to launch the opening account for the Japanese in World War Two. Wooden ships have also fallen foul of the high frequency waves, thrown up by the squalls in this region. Trade routes navigated by the Chinese and Thais provide an insight into the complicated history of commerce between these cultures. The first time diving a wreck mound littered with pottery from the 15 Century will leave you in awe. n




(Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) THE TEAM

Steve Bates has been with RAID since Paul became a partner with Jim and Barry, and was instrumental in the roll out of RAID in Australia. He has extensive dive industry experience from all facets including instructing in tropical and temperate waters, retail sales, wholesale distribution, dive operation management, training agency staff, examining and technical diving. While well accomplished, Steve does not take himself too seriously, is easily approached and has a good (all be it dry) sense of humour. Being a Pomme (originating from the Isle of Wight, England) and now being Australian, has meant he’s needed to cultivate a thick skin, which he thinks has helped his longevity in the dive industry! Steve’s role is mainly in administration and higher-level training; sales and acquisition are important but not tasked to Steve as his primary focus, however if the opportunity presents itself, he is very comfortable in guiding a Dive Centre or Instructor into the agency. Steve co-owns a number of businesses and as such, has empathy for those in business and understands the demands business places upon people.



‘Bubble’ or ‘Holiday Blues’? Waiting for that stress-free, hypnotic, relaxing or pure adventure holiday? Cairns - the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef has all those choices and more! Having just had the biggest ‘love’ session (coral spawning) across this amazing World Heritage site – the ‘youth excitement’ is palpable - with the summer holidays fast approaching pack your bags, jump on a plane and head north to meet all that the spectacular nature this Northern region has to offer. The dive choices are immense – find out why thousands of international guests from all corners of the world venture to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef each year to make this destination a top bucket list holiday… and it is on your doorstep. Experience that ‘international feel’ you have all been yearning for – this tropical destination will ‘feel foreign’ but at the same time will feel safe and familiar – a perfect first choice for the journey back to travel. If you an experienced certified diver wanting big deeper water (the big blue!), drop-offs, drift diving, large pelagics, have a look at the number of liveaboard experiences. If deciding that it was time to learn to dive, then check out the numerous dive schools in the region.


If you prefer a more conservative relaxed dive experience where you will still see all of the ‘Nemo Hollywood Stars’, be pampered and also get to do other in-water activities with your travelling buddies / family, then choose a tour that balances snorkelling and diving on a day tour and visits shallower dives sites – remembering also that most of the colour is most vividly seen in the first 10m as it depends on the intensity of the light ( hence the even more vivid colours seen with flash photography). Ocean Free and Ocean Freedom are one of the very few longstanding local, family owned and operated tours offering this style of snorkel and dive experience. With low passenger numbers, this operator offers small certified group diving with complimentary guides so you can be assured that all you have to do is be mesmerised by what you see, while being ‘navigated’ around the best parts of their sites by their Master Reef Guides or Naturalists, and also offers highly specialised Introductory Diving (no previous experience required) by offering two divers to one instructor. Safety is a number one priority with all High Standard Reef operators so any certified or introductory divers will be required to fill out a dive medical form on board all the vessels to ensure there are no contraindications to diving. On Ocean Freedom’s Wonder Wall, explore a mix of numerous species of soft and hard corals and fans with a myriad of marine life, as you dive along the 10-12m depth wall. Make acquaintances with the turtles, stingrays, bull rays and reef sharks which are frequently seen as well as a plethora of colourful reef fish teasing you as they dart in and out of the coral taking a quick peak at you!


On Ocean Free, a 16-metre classical sailing schooner experience true sailing, and then step straight off the boat, at its exclusive reef mooring, and dive under to discover a pretty coral garden site, surrounded by small coral outcrops ascending from 10-12m below to just below the surface of the water. Be greeted by the numerous resident giant trevally and the timid blacktip reef sharks and numerous other not-so-timid schools of reef fish on this highly protected Marine Park areas. QLD also has the highest dive safety regulations and safety in the world with all certified operators working under strict Workplace Health and Safety regulations and also under strict Great Barrier Reef Marine Park rules. Look out for the Ecotourism logos denoting High Standard Great Barrier reef operators. Sustainable practices is also a great passion of this region – check out five high standard Great Barrier Reef operators involved in an exciting ‘Coral Nurture’ programme – Ocean Free & Ocean Freedom, Passions of Paradise in Cairns and Wavelength, Quicksilver and Sailaway in Port Douglas. With so much choice to ‘suit’ your style of diving, ensure you check out the best ‘match’ for you to get the dream holiday you all yearn for. And the beauty of this Cairns tropical region is, that while you will be blown away by your Great Barrier Reef experience(s), you will also be absolutely spoilt by the choice of activities, other nature experiences within close driving range - not to mention the laidback friendliness of the Cairns’ locals. Cairns is synonymous with the Great Barrier Reef – Dive every day, all year around in the tropical waters of this stunning region. Choose a liveaboard deep blue, drift, large pelagic adventure in the Coral Sea, a dedicated dive boat offering three dive day tours, or a relaxing mix of a day tour with two conservative dives and snorkelling with the perfect location for your first ever taste of diving – the Introductory Dive. Experience your style of diving with Cairns diverse Great Barrier Reef Experiences – all in the one easily accessible region where it never gets cold – what are you waiting for – dive in! n





Steve Lewis is RAID International’s Director of Diver Training, and also runs RAID’s Canadian operation. He lives a stone’s throw from the Great Lakes with their wealth of diveable shipwrecks… has a love of diving on wooden ships, but can be easily convinced to dive on any historic wreck, especially casualties of war. He is a best-selling author, also an avid cave diver, and a professional adventurer. In his writing, teaching and personal diving, he puts a strong emphasis on mindfulness and focused meditation’s role in risk management. He is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, was elected to the Explorers Club in 2005, and has won several honours, including the Sheck Exley International Safety Award.


In Canada, we’re famous for hockey, maple syrup, Justin Bieber and some of the world’s best wreck and critter diving. Surprised!? Yeah, me too. I thought we’d managed to palm-off Bieber to the Yanks, but no such luck. And about the diving, well that surprises quite a few people because although we’re not the number one choice as a dive destination for everyone, it’s worth remembering Canada has more coastline and access to fresh-water lakes (big, huge and amazingly large) than any other country. So, yes, we have diving for just about every taste and experience level. One


proviso though, the majority IS better enjoyed in a drysuit with cozy underwear. Now just in case you hadn’t heard, allow me to expand a little on what is available. Working from west to east, there is our Pacific Coast… that’s Richmond (the Sunshine Coast), Victoria (anything below water level has something colourful growing on it), around the Vancouver Island (bring a camera and be ready for current and big animals), and up the Inside Passage to Haida Gwaii. Probably the most famous dive sites are around the North End of Vancouver Island – God’s Pocket, for example – where the attractions are large sponges, soft corals, sea fans and giant Pacific octopuses, sharks and whales! But of course, there are plenty of those all over the west coast. Also, because of an active dive tourism lobby, there are also eight artificial reefs at last count, accessible from BC’s coast. Oh, and by the way, some dude calling himself Jacques Cousteau used to say that British Columbia has ‘the best temperate water diving in the world’. Go figure. Skipping over a lot – we really are a big country – I have to mention the Great Lakes. This area, one province (Ontario and bordering eight States), includes Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, Ontario and some bits in between is truly best known for some of the very best fresh-water wreck diving in the world. Preserved, protected, and remarkable. Most of the great ones at mixed gas level, but shallower ones scattered about liberally as well. One of the ‘bits in between’ would be The


Thousand Islands area, where Lake Ontario lets into the St Lawrence River. More wreck diving and mostly drifting with the current as a lot of water is on its way to the Atlantic. Because of the underwater topography of the ‘Islands’ summer water temperatures hover in the mid-20s… from the surface down to 60m. Fun stuff. Also worth mentioning is that about halfway between Lake Ontario and the ocean is the wreck of the Empress of Ireland. I am definitely biased, but this is one of the best dives in the country! There’s also Fathom Five Marine Park… a national park at the end of the Bruce Peninsula with a bunch of shallow wrecks and a couple of wall dives to 100m and beyond. An interesting spot! Which brings us to Atlantic Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador. Wrecks, big animals, small animals, fish, more fish, oh, and an abandoned iron-ore mine that’s close to my heart. Iceberg diving on Canada’s East coast… did you know the water around an iceberg is fresh water? It’s also about the clearest you’ll ever see. The bergs have to be ‘grounded’ for us to dive them, which means they have ploughed their way along the seabed kicking up lots of critters that the surrounding fish love to feast on. Thinking about all of this, I cannot even begin to describe the opportunities for diving in Canada in the little bit of space available here. You’ll have to come and see for yourself. Bring a camera, warm underwear, and if you’re coming in summer, a T-shirt and shorts! n




(mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan) EDMUND YIU |


Edmund Yiu is the CEO/Training Director, and a RAID Examiner / CCR / TEC Instructor Trainer. He is responsible for instructor development and general operations, and general and technical training development in the region. Eric Law is Business Development Director and a RAID Examiner. He is responsible for developing new business in China for instructors, dive centres and crossovers, etc. Tao Wang is a Regional Manager and RAID Instructor Trainer, and he supports and services existing members and dive centres, and offers online system / translation support. The RAID China Regional Office was established in 2015, and all core programmes including instructor training programmes and technical diving were translated into the Chinese language since 2017, and continue to get updated quickly and frequently as new programmes and updates are rolled out by RAID HQ.

China can be dived. Extremely interesting for those who are interested in history and exploration. Some of the best tropical dives are in the southern and eastern part of Taiwan, on the Pacific side, with deep dropoffs, and its outer islands, which enjoy tropical weather and crystal-clear deep-water year around. There you will experience 30-50-plus metres of visibility with tropical coral reefs, not so much unlike the Philippines, which is actually very close to it. The most-famous dive sites are in Green Island and Orchid Island in Taiwan. n


Located in subtropical / temperate climate zone, with the exception of South Island of Hainan and Taiwan, continental China has a large coastline, but with the continental shelf extended well off shore, the coastal water is quite shallow, muddy and very poor in visibility. The diving centres are all city-based and not considered to be diving destinations, however there are still some interesting dive sites inland in China, like the many caves and underground river systems located in the southwest in the Guangxi province. There are also many submerged ancient cities and villages because of hundreds of years of dam building - some are more than 1,000 years old - and even a submerged part of the Great Wall of




Kim, Dong Hyuck is the Representative of RAID Korea and started diving in 1988. He has done many things in photography, technical diving, and education in Korea. He has served as President of NAUI Service Korea, President of SDD International and Chairman of the Korean Diving Education Council. He is currently chairman of the Korea Underwater Photography Association and chairman of the Korea Diving Expo under the Korea International Boat Show. Jeong, Haewon is a RAID Freediving Examiner and RAID Korea Freediving Training Director. He is the first evaluator in Asia, and is currently leading the distribution and education of RAID Freediving in Korea. Kim, Young Wan is a RAID open circuit instructor and has been in the diving industry for seven years. He is working for RAID Korea on promotion and marketing.


Jeju Island, designated as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature areas, is located in the southernmost part of Korea and is a volcanic island. Jeju Island is a beautiful area that has been designated as a World Natural Heritage Site, Global Geopark, and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The climate belongs to the subtropical zone, and the annual water temperature remains between 14-26 degrees Celsius. The marine environment is home to a variety of fish species based on soft corals that are more colourful than any other region in the world. Jeju Island itself consists of basalt because of the volcanoes. Also, it has the best conditions for marine life to inhabit, so it is home to a wide variety of fish and creatures. The underwater visibility maintains an average of 15 to 20 metres. It is the most beautiful diving site in Korea. n





RAID Italy was born in 2014 and is run by Stefano Stolfa (CEO), Danilo Turola (Director of Business Development) and Gianmichele Iaria (Director of Training), with the help of Elisa Franzoni (Chief Financial Officer), Federico Boni (Social Media Manager) and Francesca Frisone (Communication Manager). We are very proud of what we have achieved as a team in the last few years! We completed the translation for all of the educational products into Italian, and got the website up and running for rec, tech, rebreather and freediving. Our 18 ITs and two certifiers spread along the peninsula and islands provide ongoing support to roughly 450 dive pros, as well as to many dive centres and schools. Dive pros can also refer to the RAID Italy headquarters 24 hours a day, via a friendly and very supportive network that is our strength as a service company.


We were able to break two World Records: for the the longest underwater human chain, with 173 divers (Guinness approved); and for the most participants in a night dive (with 133 divers). Definitely not a ‘piece of cake’ managing all these divers in the same dive, never forgetting safety and reliability but always providing fun and laughs. A special moment of the year for RAID Italy was attending the EUDI Show in Bologna, the Italian dive show involving all the dive industry stakeholders: dive centres, training agencies, tour operators, resorts, factories, etc. EUDI is a very popular show that we love to enjoy with an inclusive, themed, booth: we can chat, meet old friends, divers to be, or people interested in our business, the one and only RAID way of teaching. Every year we host international guests for public speeches, arrange updates for ITs, instructors and dive guides, and celebrate the achievements of our community.


We’ve also tried to turn what we teach into a practical opportunity of discovery and exploration for all kinds of


divers: we launched in 2016 the ResEX project (Research and Exploration) to promote dive expeditions among divers from Open Water up to Tec levels. The project aims also to help public and private institutions in research, conservation and enhancement of submerged heritage, as well as to lift engagement in environmental protection and data collection. Up to now, the ResEX International Team completed some expeditions in Castellammare di Stabia-Naples (discovery and exploration of a German Junkers 72 and a Roman wreck, 2016/2017); Gozo-Malta (discovery and exploration of the oldest shipwreck of the Mediterranean, the Phoenician wreck, 2016/2018); Malta (discovery and exploration of the British submarine HMS Olympus, 2018); ResEX also launched the Medusa project, aimed to develop a complete visual census, and follow-up operations, for Corallium Rubrium settlements in Sicily and Tuscany. Furthermore, we work steadily to enhance the beautiful Italian submerged heritage through the diving activities - think about the 27 marine protected areas, the many historical wrecks sunk in shallow waters, as well as the stunning archaeological dive sites and submerged parks (e.g. Baia, near Naples, where you can find a well-preserved Roman city), or the great biodiversity you can discover with the help of our diving centres: never-ending adventures hidden just under the surface of the sea. n




Jose Morera, President of RAID Latin America, has 20 years of experience in the development of the diving industry in Latin America. A man full of initiative, dynamism and vision, he has helped to create from scratch and develop areas that are currently a powerhouse in the diving industry (Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, etc). He became a dive instructor in 1994, and is passionate about helping in the business plans of all the dive centres in the region. Ulises Portugal is the Training Director for RAID Latin America. In Mexico he has been an instructor for more than 20 years, developing different projects in underwater activities throughout Mexico. The promotion of diving is one of his main objectives for the development of the industry. Pedro López Michelone is RAID Latin America’s Apnea Training Director. He has more than 25 years experience in underwater activities, and as a promoter of freediving in Latin America. Ricardo Sanchez is Regional Manager South America for RAID Latin America. He has been a diving instructor for more than 27 years and an instructor trainer for 20 years. Since then he has contributed to the training of new diving instructors both in Colombia and in the rest of Latin America, and has also supported different ventures in the region for the creation of diving centres, resorts and operations in the region.

unique conditions, and for playing home to some 75 percent of the marine mammals of Mexico and almost the half of the world’s species. Diving in Cabo Pulmo is magical, as it gives visitors an opportunity to meet and observe marine life in its natural habitat; from giant grouper and bull sharks, or listening to humpback whales singing in the background. Peru - Diving in Peruvian waters evokes idyllic warm waters teeming with colourful fish and coral; however, divers may enjoy a cool surprise. The coastline in Peru is mostly bathed by the Humboldt Current, characterized by relatively cool waters when considering the latitudinal position of the country. This chill has its origins in the upwelling processes that pump cool and nutrient-rich waters from the oceanic bottom to shallower depths of the Peruvian coastline. An encounter with sea lions or penguins during a diving experience is not far from a common trait in Peruvian diving! The northern coastline is washed with ‘El Niño’ (or South Equatorial) Current, a warm mass of water flowing southward and westward when joining the northward Humboldt Current. These oceanographic characteristics create two different ecosystems, one of tropical species, and another populated


Mexico – Diving around the Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Mahahual has it all. The Mayan Reef begins in Cabo Catoche in the north of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and extends southward to Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, and it is considered the second largest reef structure to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The reef teems with life, and between November to March, pregnant female bull sharks visit. The then there is the Great Mayan Aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula, unique in its kind, the largest system of caves and interconnected caves in the world. For example, Tulum has more than 1,200 miles of flooded caverns within an easy drive and in which a diver can enjoy guided cavern dives and cave dives. La Paz is considered one of the best dive sites in the world - Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez ​​ ‘the aquarium of the world’, for its



Diving in Cabo Pulmo is magical, as it gives visitors an opportunity to meet and observe marine life in its natural habitat

with a mix of cold-affine and warm-affine species, and also, a certain degree of endemism. The enriching upwelling effects synergizes with the stable warmer temperatures, resulting in the highest number of species known to the Peruvian coastline (both fish and invertebrates). PanamĂĄ - Portobello is located on the Caribbean coast approximately a 90-minute drive from Panama City. This small town is also an historical reference from which all treasures that came from South America set sail for the Spanish Main. Many galleons sank in the bay, which is a paradise for scuba divers. Bocas del Toro has some of the best preserved hard and soft coral in the world. The waters are inhabited by a wonderful variety of tropical creatures, including nurse sharks, stingrays and species of crab and lobster. The list goes on. Guatemala - Located in the north of Central America and with the most extensive mountain range of volcanoes in the area, it is home to Lake Atitlan, designated by UNESCO as World Heritage. It is situated 5,000 feet above sea level and protects the submerged archaeological site of Samabaj.


Ecuador – This country has a choice of underwater worlds close at hand. The first are the Galapagos Islands with their infinite fauna, and which are familiar even to divers who have never actually visited. Second are the Ecuadorian coasts, offering warm water throughout the year with wrecks and lots of marine fauna. Then there are the Ecuadorian East trenches and rivers of crystalline water. And of course, in the Sierra, an extreme dive at 3,000 metres above sea level in the crater of a volcano with absolutely transparent prehistoric glacial waters. Dominican Republic - Diving in Puerto Plata is a unique experience. As a great destination for ecotourism, Puerto Plata offers divers a diverse marine ecosystem to explore. Along the north coast you will find coral reefs teeming with marine life, and majestic walls that offer a variety of sites to explore. Colombia - Diving in Colombia is a dream for any lover of marine life. It is the only country in South America with two oceans. The islands of San Andres and Providencia, located in the Caribbean Sea, are among the favourite destinations for Colombian and foreign divers. These islands have the third largest coral reef in the world. The island of Gorgona located in the Colombian Pacific, is one of the favourite destinations for diving in Colombia. The best season to visit is from April to October, in which many divers have reported sightings of whalesharks, manta rays, and humpback whales. Malpelo is a good place to observe schools of hammerhead sharks. Chile - Diving in Chile demands dedication and discipline. Many of the places in the small bay of Pichidangui are very deep within a few minutes swim from shore. They offer multi-level dives on ocean walls covered in invertebrate life, to 60m or more. In short, Chile and its treasures await. Our wild waters, so full of life, are without a doubt something you must dive once in your life. n



Jassim Alkaabi is Partner and Owner of RAID Middle East, and is a diving instructor, and head of security and safety. Diving is a passion that took him into the diving business with a great focus on providing what was missing within the local diving industry. RAID attracted him with the new way of teaching diving to higher standards, plus flexibility for our new fast pace of life. He didn’t hesitate to be a partner and he sees this way of teaching made him as instructor enjoy teaching even more, and his students had more fun taking courses through RAID than any other agency. Abdulrahman Alghanim is Partner and Owner of RAID Middle East. He is a Marine Pilot and a sea lover, an entrepreneur and a businessman. RAID was the best business opportunity for him as it combines his love of the sea with a very well-constructed business model. Mubarak Abu Haimad is Partner and Owner of RAID Middle East, and is a Captain and Instructor in the Kuwait Coast Guard. He is also a dive site and chamber supervisor and team leader. He started his diving journey in 1992 and ever since his love for diving has kept him going until he joined the rescue unit in the Coast Guard in 1997 with a full-time job. RAID is a passion for him, and seeing it growing every day makes him realize how his love of diving has turned into something very big now. Mahmoud Elmallah is the Regional Manager for the Qatar Office, General Manager to a Dive Center and an Active Dive Instructor .Diving was always a dream for him since a young age and it came true in 2007, but what started as a passion is now a career. With previous experience in other fields of business, this has been applied to his full-time job with RAID.


Diving in the Middle East is a unique diving experience and it is a great place to dive all year round since the water does not get very cold in this region. UAE and Kuwait have a great dive experience and access to some deep site to do technical diving, Oman is a great destination with dive sites that has corals that can’t be seen anywhere in the Gulf except Oman, and Qatar has a very unique dive site where you can go dune bashing and scuba diving on the same trip, there are many shipwrecks dive site and, of course, the biggest gathering of whalesharks every year from May to October. Saudi is a great place on the Red Sea where you can have clear water and the best corals and marine life in the area. n


Christos Patsalides is a professional diver for over 20 years. Since 2005, he is an Instructor Trainer and since 2014, an Instructor Examiner for both recreational and technical diving. For the past 14 years, Christos is engaged in scientific diving, and he is responsible for the training of the marine archaeologists of the University of Cyprus for scientific diving, and since 2010, he serves as the Chief Diver for maritime archaeological excavations in Cyprus. Furthermore, he trains numerous government agencies, such as the Navy, Marine Police and Fire Department. Lastly, since 2017, he is responsible for the RAID Cyprus and Greece regional office. n

Since 2005, he is an Instructor Trainer and since 2014, an Instructor Examiner for both recreational and technical diving



RAID Philippines operates under the wing of RAID Asia, led by Col McKenzie and Steven Moon, and is managed by James Oman, who is based in Anilao, the place where scuba diving was born in the Philippines. James has been an active instructor trainer for almost ten years and runs a RAID resort and dive centre in Anilao. He has been actively involved in educating and training local indigents to become dive professionals to work for the local diving community. RAID has partners and affiliates in almost all major islands like Palawan, Cebu, Camiguin, Siquijor, Dauin and Dumaguete. In the biggest island, Luzon, they have partners in Anilao, Subic, Bicol, and Puerto Galera.


Whether you are looking for lush coral gardens, World War Two wrecks, mantas, whalesharks, thresher sharks, huge schools of fish or rare critters, there’s something for every diver in the Philippines. Made up of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is home to some of the world’s best diving. Anilao diving is best known for macro photography. Subic and Coron for World War Two wrecks. Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Dumaguete/Dauin in the Visayas group of islands for diverse adventures - sandy beaches, dolphin watching, freediving, thresher and whalesharks, sardine run, macro photography and a lot more. And the gem of Philippine diving, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, known to be one of the most biodiverse diving spots in the world. n

Whether you are looking for lush coral gardens, World War Two wrecks, mantas, whalesharks, thresher sharks, huge schools of fish or rare critters, there’s something for every diver in the Philippines




Keryn Van der Walt runs Training and Standards and since first qualifying in 1992 has logged more than 4,000 dives. She learned to dive in Port Alfred when she first moved there, and from that first dive knew that this is what she wanted to do. Since then she bought a dive centre, became an instructor and worked her way up to instructor trainer. She joined RAID as an instructor trainer, evaluator and co-owner in 2014. Brett Louw is Marketing and Sales and since certifying in 1987 has logged more than 2,000 dives. Brett started working in his first dive centre in 1989 before he left school, and then owning his own from 1992 till 2019. He is a Trimix Rebreather Diver and just completed his RAID Level 2 Cave Divers course. PJ Prinsloo is the Director of Technical Training. Since qualifying in 1995, he has logged more than 10,000 dives. PJ started his diving career in 1995 and worked as a commercial diver until becoming a recreational instructor in December 1996. Apart from a two-year break, he has remained in the diving industry and logged over 10,000 dives. He joined RAID as a Tec Examiner and technical Instructor Trainer.


South Africa has dive sites spread along its entire coastline as well as inland training sites. Just like above water, the diving is extremely diverse and exciting. Best known for its sharks and other large marine life, it also features a wide range of life. From Kwa-Zulu Natal and its tropical species to the West Coast, where the invertebrates provide the colour. Cape Town – the cold waters may not have the many colourful fish found on coral reefs. Instead, incredibly colourful reefs, which are perfect for a macro fanatic. Dives can be done from shore (we have many easy-entry sites – quite unusual actually for South Africa). Boat used for deeper dives or further offshore, with depths ranging from 5m-30m of depth. Nudibranchs are one of the main macro life you can find on each dive, apart from simply enjoying the colour of our reefs and moody kelp beds alike. Then other animals we have is the Cape for seals, which amuses loads of divers. For the metal junkies we have loads of wrecks which can be dived, from open water to technical. Gansbaai – a hotspot for cage diving with great white sharks. Sardine Run – This is said to be the largest biomechanical event on Earth, surpassing that of the Serengeti migration. Nonetheless, it remains less well known. A range extension – don’t call it a migration - that occurs during the winter months, the action begins in June when the ocean currents change and allow the silvery fish to follow a cold slither of water up the eastern coast of South Africa. If the conditions are not to their liking, the sardines do not ‘run’, remaining in deeper, colder water offshore. Unfortunately, their behaviour cannot be predicted, so divers should take this into account when booking travel. When the run does occur, bait balls only last up to 20 minutes – divers must be prepared to enter the


water quickly, as the predators - gannets, sharks, dolphins, whales, etc - pick away at the sardines (Sardinops sagax) mouthful by mouthful until it disappears. For this reason, and so you’re not mistaken as food, it is advisable for divers to stay at the periphery of the bait ball. Protea Banks - depending on the time of year, you can see up to seven different type of sharks, Ragged-tooth, oceanic blacktip, bull, tiger and three varieties of hammerhead sharks—scalloped, smooth and great hammerhead sharks. It has two main dive areas, Northern or Southern Pinnacles. An advanced dive with lots of current normally. Aliwal Shoal - This site sits five kilometres offshore, but the trip out of the river mouth alone can be quite eventful, just like the diving. The entire area has been designated a Marine Protected Area (MPA) and boasts plentiful marine life. There are also two shipwrecks (Produce 1974, Nebo 1884), and combined, this makes Aliwal Shoal a bucket list desination. Sodwana Bay – within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is Sodwana Bay. A year around diving destination with 1,200 species of fish in an area less that 10% the size of the Great Barrier Reef! It also boasts the most southern coral reef in Africa. Numerous shallow reefs along with very deep reef make novice and experienced divers keep coming back for more. n


Cape Town is known for sharks, whales, magical kelp forests, seals and wrecks, while Gansbaai is the hotspot for great white sharks


Yalin Tolga Yilmaz graduated from Middle East Technical University, Political Science and Public Administration Department at 1995. Currently a RAID Examiner, a passionate Tech Instructor Trainer, CCR Instructor and Sidemount Instructor Trainer. He plays a significant role in training new sidemount divers. Ümran Basak Guleken started diving at 2001 with the Sub Aqua Club of Middle East Technical University, where she graduated and holds a Masters Degree on Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. She is currently a RAID Instructor Trainer with a passion to learn more, and a CCR diver.


Anatolia - surrounded by three seas lying like a bridge between Asia and Europe continents, this has been a very important trade centre for centuries. It also served a secure route between the various trade centres. Due to its historical significance and geographical location, many unique historical wrecks and sunken ancient sites are located along the costs of Anatolia. Some of these sites are well preserved and they survive till present day. Some of the oldest wrecks known to men are also located off the Anatolian coasts. The Anatolian Peninsula is regarded as one of the significant fronts of World War One, especially the Çanakkale (Gallipoli) region, which hosts English, French, German and


Ottoman battleship wrecks from 1915. Some of these lie between recreational diving limits while others require technical diving skills. Many of these wrecks are well preserved and survive until today. The Anatolian Peninsula still is a popular trade route between east and west. Due to this fact these waters also host many modern-day shipwrecks. In addition to these, retired army, navy and commercial planes and navy and commercial ships have been deliberately sunk to create diversity as well as habitats for sea animals, which in turn accelerated the design and implementation of artificial wreck projects. Finally, there are magnificent walls, temporary and permanent underwater art exhibitions as well as modern-day statues are also a part of the spectacular underwater sites. In Turkey, spring runs from March to May (spring waters and snow melt mix with sea – colder sea temperatures) and summer from June to August. n


Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei Maldives & Indonesia JAMES COSTELLO | THE TEAM

James Costello migrated to Singapore from the UK in 2002, under the role of a Principle R&D Engineer for a large semi-conductor MNC. He has been working professionally in the diving industry for over 15 years. James has a wide range of skills and diving experience, from the near-freezing waters of China lakes to the extreme heat of volcanic lakes, open circuit deco to rebreathers. James is passionate about the diving industry, trying to build a sustainable industry for others to benefit from and work in. Simon Hemmings moved to Singapore in 1996 working in the construction industry as Business Development Director, overseeing several billion-dollar projects. Simon has been an Instructor and active in the diving industry for over 13 years, and has been key in developing the international retail side of his diving business, shipping diving products to well over 110 countries worldwide. He is a key part of the RAID team, able to offer support, education, and advice to others in the industry.


Diving in Singapore doesn’t always have the best reputation, as the waters can be quite silty (mainly due to local land reclamation over the last few decades). However, for those that try, it does not disappoint. Despite varying visibility and currents, there is a wide range of sea life, mostly smaller creatures. Many, many species of nudibranchs can be found, as well as seahorses, frogfish, sea snakes, and hawksbill turtles. Diving in Singapore is a perfect escape from the city, a boat ride out to dive sites only takes 30 to 40 minutes.

If you’re brave, there is some once-in-a-lifetime diving further out from Brunei in the Spratley Islands, but these trips are not regular and should be enquired about before planning a visit.



Malaysian dive sites often appear in the ‘World’s Top Ten Dive Sites’, with locations like Sipadan and Tioman Island. Being located just west of the famous Coral Triangle, both East and West Malaysia have some awesome diving. East Malaysia (Borneo) has abundant diving only 20 minutes ride from Kota Kinabalu town in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The largely unknown area of Silam Bay and the Blue Ring Reefs, with Mabul and Sipadan only a ferry ride away from Semporna, are located just south. West Malaysia is not forgotten with the islands of Tioman, Aur, Redang, and Perhentian, which all offer a great range of warm, clear water diving. Tioman is a favourite for Singaporeans as its ease of access for weekend trips, but if you venture further north to Redang and Perhentian, you will not be disappointed with the diving!


Brunei is a developing region and has some awesome reefs and wrecks within a short boat ride from the dive centres. A range of World War Two wrecks, such as Australian Wreck and American Wrecks, plus the Oil Rig Wreck. Several of the reefs that are also good to note are Abang and Pelong Island.


Indonesia is estimated to be home to 25 percent of the world’s fish species and over 70 percent of coral species, so obviously it’s a must for any diver. The type of diving varies depending on the destination, so if you want to see mola mola and manta rays, head over to Bali and Nusa Penida. Ambon Bay is home to some great macro stuff with its muck divin,g and there’s the less-visited island of Alor for a good mix of both large and small creatures. Not unusual enough for you, then try Derawan Islands, where you’ll find one of the few Jellyfish Lakes in the world.


The Maldives atoll has a unique position in the ocean, where the currents from different parts of the world meet, making it a rich bio-diverse location for divers. Most island resorts offer diving, but to see the most, it is best explored by liveaboard. Expect to encounter pelagics like whalesharks and manta rays as well as Napoleon wrasse, eagle rays - the list is endless. From the densely populated capital Male, which has great diving on its doorstep, to the far North/South Atolls, you are spoilt for choice for world-class diving. n


Switzerland MARTIN GROS |


Martin Grob started his diving career at the age of 25 after a trydive experience and instantly became hooked - in his words ‘diving is the best drug!’ Martin has worked and dived all over the world. He became a RAID Instructor Trainer in 2016 when he was convinced by RAID’s new approach to diver training, the people behind RAID and the philosophy of diving that they practice and preach. Melanie Bieler completed her first diving certification in 2004. Since then, Melanie has vastly expanded her knowledge of diving and found her passion in the tech diving realm. At least once a week she will be diving in the beautiful lakes, rivers and caves of Switzerland - when she is not travelling to amazing dive locations all over the world. Water is her element and she never misses an opportunity to dive. Melanie finally started freediving in 2018. Kim Rindlisbacher completed his PADI Open Water Diver and Advanced Open Water Diver courses in 2003 in Switzerland and has been excited about diving ever since. In 2007 he completed his CMAS** before being certified as a CMAS*** in 2009. IN 2011 Kim moved on to tech and CCR diving before completing his cave training in 2013. He then discovered RAID in 2016 and completed his crossover to become a RAID Instructor. Daniel Siegwart has been diving since 2001 and became an instructor in 2002. Daniel has been certified across multiple agencies before stopping with RAID in 2016 when he was certified as a RAID Instructor Trainer. He believes RAID has a coherent teaching philosophy and a well-thought-out course offering combined with a sophisticated online learning system. Daniel has been fortunate enough to travel and dive the world in places such as Egypt, France, Italy, Spain, Scotland and Malta, to name a few. His favourite place to dive is the wreck of the Amoco Milford Haven in Genoa.



Especially during such difficult times with COVID-19, we consider ourselves really lucky to live in such a great country with so many diving opportunities. Statements like ‘Diving in Switzerland is stupid, boring and you can‘t see anything anyway’ are by no means true. This year the diving conditions were better than they have been for a long time, and with the many schools of fish aroun,d we sometimes feel like diving in the sea. You do not believe us? Do not wait any longer and convince yourself! Switzerland offers not only countless lakes, but also beautiful rivers, crystal-clear mountain lakes and even caves. Professionals, technical divers, recreational divers and diving beginners all feel comfortable here - there is something for every diver‘s heart. n


United Kingdom JAMES ROGERS |


James Rogers started diving in 1991 and joined PADI in 1993, becoming a dive pro in 1995. In addition to being an Open Circuit Instructor, James qualified as a rebreather diver in 1997. He served in various positions at PADI, including being the Director of Sales and Field Services and Director UK Business. Joining RAID in 2014, he established RAID UK Ltd as one of first RAID Regional Offices that services the UK, Ireland, Malta, Gozo, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Monaco. He’s a RAID Instructor Trainer. Having dived, and continuing to dive, all over the world with such a strong dive business background, he brings all this experience, drive and expertise to RAID. His experience and time is now shared with a dual-role at RAID International as Director - Business Development. Olivier van Overbeek has been a RAID Instructor Trainer for five years and has worked in the UK and Malta in various consultant positions for RAID UK and RAID International. Oli works on course design and training for both the UK and international RAID offices. Oli has been instrumental in how RAID has and wants to progress within the scuba diving industry. This includes


acquisition of new members, as well as creating courses, events and campaigns to help RAID Instructors and Dive Centres succeed. Oli, being Dutch, is multiingual, he has strong IT and business skills that he applies within his own business, DiveLife in Manchester (that has turned into a training centre that offers RAID only). DiveLife has been a little bit of a case study showing how the RAID system can help a business succeed. Natalie Sidebottom (Nat) is from the Southwest of England, but was lucky enough to learn to dive in Sydney, Australia. She has worked in marketing since leaving Plymouth University in 2013 and has worked in the diving industry for the last four years for brands such as Oceanic, Hollis, Lavacore, Sherwood Scuba and OMS. She is working on various projects involving digital and social marketing, so is likely the person behind the keyboard when chatting on Facebook/Instagram, so feel free to say hello! Nat’s passions outside of work are travelling (anywhere with good food, somewhere to hike and the ocean), music (although can’t hit a note or play an instrument), and taking her chocolate labrador on an adventure. James Stafford Little has been a part of the diving industry for over 25 years in both sales and marketing rolls. He was a regular organiser and attendee at international functions, including all the UK Dive Shows and international forums. He learned to dive in the UK but has been lucky enough to dive in some of the most-amazing dive locations, such as the Great Barrier Reef, Maui, Iceland and Portland. James supports RAID and its members in various digital marketing initiatives and digital communications.



Diving in the UK and Ireland, don’t believe the narrative of the uneducated that its cold, dark and there’s no marine life. We are blessed with a global gem of diving locations and sites to enjoy all year round. Let’s take a quick look at a few I know and hopefully encourage some of you to jump in and hit the water somewhere new soon. Now I could write all day on this, from Cornwall to Scapa Flow and Cork to the Farne Islands, we have it all - great reefs, good charters, abundant sea life, great food and accommodation options - but the real ticket to adventure for us all are the wrecks, wrecks and more wrecks, each one a time-capsule of exploration for divers of all ages and expertise. Let me highlight a few of my favourites: A dive trip to Plymouth as an example rarely disappoints, the wreck options are huge and après-dive isn’t too shabby either, such great fun above and below the water. I’ve picked the James Eagan Layne – some may be laughing now, well it’s true, this won’t satisfy some ‘depth-junkies’, but it’s still a firm favourite of mine. This Liberty ship was torpedoed during the war, lots of its cargo is still apparent and the fairly intact bow section structure and the life on the whole wreck always impresses. The beautifully rugged Welsh coast offers much to divers as well as all other fresh air adventurists, from Chepstow through Pembrokeshire to the Isle of Anglesey, the vast store of diving and charter wreck site options should be explored. There are some ‘must dives’ in the North East too, the Farnes and St Abbs are compelling wreck and scenic diving for all. My favourites are Longstone End and the Somali. I’ve attached some images from Longstone End so picturesque,


the view back to Bamburgh Castle never gets old. The Somali, like the Layne, was wrecked during the war, bombed and torn apart by powerful explosions, the wreck is pretty scattered but there’s a lot to explore and enjoy still. Scotland offers so much, leaving out Scapa Flow as a dive mecca in its own right, there are a huge range of locations and sites to hit. From fabulous Loch dives to wrecks galore, you must not miss out on the dive site adventures. Ireland is the ‘green-gem’ not only because of its landscape but also its seascape, the great diving there just seems to offer everything available in England but on steroids – maybe it’s just the ‘Guinness effect’… a dive is always made better by the number of people you talk to about it – right?

Diving in Malta and Gozo

Malta offers a warm water European destination, where the diving is world class. From wrecks at all depths to quiet, secluded coves and shore-diving sites that will provide a great variety of adventure options for all. There are very different locations, busy bars and clubs’ venues for the night owls to quiet and private retreats of the less-hectic nature Gozo. My site picks are the wreck of the Um El Faroud in Malta and the Inland Sea in Gozo. There is a lot of history on these islands, everyone through the ages has fought for or over this important Mediterranean Sea location. Most wrecks were sunk in conflict, but some wrecks have been sunk deliberately to cater for the dive tourism market, from trydive scuba or freedive to trimix CCR these islands will provide what you need. n


USA & The Cayman Islands DAN WEEKS |


Dan Weeks is Territory Manager and a RAID Examiner. Dan was born and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida. Before getting into the dive industry full time, Dan spent five years active duty in the United States Marine Corps as well as holding certifications as a Law Enforcement Officer, Firefighter and EMT in Florida. Before working for RAID, he was a Recreational and Technical diving Instructor Trainer at one of the largest and busiest scuba career development centres in the world and has spent time living and teaching in the Florida Keys as well as the United States Virgin Islands. Besides acting as the Territory Manager for RAID in his region, he also is a recreational and technical diving examiner and assists with training standards and new course materials for RAID.


Dan’s region is full of amazing diving for any diver regardless of certification level. The Cayman Islands has fantastic visibility with both shore dive and boat diving sites, including



reefs, wrecks and wall diving. The Florida Keys are also known for their beautiful reefs like Molasses Reef and French Reef, where divers can expect to see everything from dolphins to spotted eagle rays, turtles, eels and a variety of sharks. The Florida Keys are also world famous for their wrecks including the Spiegel Grove (510ft long), The USCG Bibb and Duane (327ft long) and the Vandenberg (just under 525ft long). Other popular dive destinations include ‘cave country’ in North Florida, the wrecks off the East Coast like North Carolina, and the kelp forests in California. Another location of note is actually not the first thought in most diver’s minds, but quickly turns into a fantastic vacation that they will most likely never forget. The Homestead Crater in Utah is a geothermal spring with water that is a constant 90-96 F (32-35 C) all year round with unlimited visibility! Besides diving, Utah is also one of the most-beautiful states in the USA. Many other activities are close by including the Olympic Training Park, which hosted the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Games, and the Sundance Resort, which hosts music


and film festivals. The USA also offers some amazing diving indoors where the weather can never ruin your schedule. One of the first RAID facilities, the Georgia Aquarium, offers several diving experiences including ‘Journey with Gentle Giants’ as well as another newly opened Shark Cage Dive. Not too many places can guarantee unlimited visibility and the chance to dive with all types of animals, including whalesharks, manta rays and more. The Aquarium also offers Try Rebreather diving regularly, which is an amazing experience for anyone considering getting into closed-circuit diving. n



RAID Poland is run by Centrum Techniki Nurkowej (Diving Technique Centre), the first diving centre in the ‘coastal’ region of Poland. It is a family business founded over 35 years ago, with a rich history and experience. The Polish RAID team is co-created by diving enthusiasts Łukasz Piórewicz and Ewa Kochańska. Łukasz Piórewicz - one of the most-recognizable and experienced wreck divers in Poland. He has been diving since the age of seven and to this day it is the most unique form of spending his life for him and his great passion. Łukasz is the first ‘technical’ instructor in our region. He is the originator and co-founder of Baltictech, the largest diving conference in Europe, already known all over the world. He is a passionate discoverer of Baltic wrecks and takes part in numerous diving expeditions. Thanks to his vast knowledge and experience, he is one of the most-respected divers in Poland. Ewa Kochańska is a master of oceanography and marine biologist. She started her diving adventure in college. From the beginning, diving was her great passion, and over time she took up professional diving. She was an educator at a science centre and spread knowledge about oceanography, diving and protection of seas and oceans. She started working at RAID with the aim of spreading ‘sustainable development in diving’ and developing as a diver.


Our centre has always focused on the highest level of training and we have trained in various organizations for many years, but now we focus on RAID due to the quality of standards, international collaboration of RAID members and unique training materials. In our dive centre, we mainly focus on local dive sites. We organize diving trips to the Baltic wrecks. The Baltic Sea is a shipwreck Eldorado for divers from all over the world. There are also many lakes in our area with amazing flora and fauna. A unique lake in which we dive is Hancza Lake - the deepest lake in Poland. Other unique places are opencast mines such as Piechcin or Honoratka - these are sunken quarries with crystal water, wrecks, caves and vertical walls. A paradise for divers! A special place in our region is the newly created Deepspot - the deepest diving pool in the world - 45m deep! There are ideal conditions for diving there, as well as numerous attractions - wrecks, caves. It is an ideal place for beginners and experienced divers, as well as for people who love scuba diving and freediving. Currently, our diving centre is dynamically developing as RAID Poland. We are working intensively on the translation of RAID manuals and courses into Polish. We are proud to be part of the RAID family and contribute to creating exceptional diving training courses in Poland. We are at the initial stage of creating an instructor network and we put a lot of work and heart into the development of the RAID federation in Poland. n

Our centre has always focused on the highest level of training and we have trained in various organizations for many years, but now we focus on RAID due to the quality of standards, international collaboration of RAID members and unique training materials 60



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Tempted by the ‘dark side’? Dread the ‘thumbs up’ signalling the end of the dive, and want to stay down that little bit longer? The RAID Deco 40 Speciality is a bridge between recreational and technical diving, sign up for this programme and you will learn how to complete up to ten minutes of decompression, and use different gas mixes.

Jeffrey Glenn, RAID Cave 2 Instructor / RAID Instructor Trainer, discusses stage cylinder management protocols that RAID recommend during their Cave 2 programme PHOTOGRAPHS BY SJ BENNETT, MIKKO PAASI AND JOHN CAFARO




see a lot of columnists usually starting their article with some inspirational quote they borrowed from the internet. Here’s mine: ‘Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go’ - T.S. Eliot It’s a relevant quote, particularly since this article will discuss stage cylinder management protocols that RAID recommend during their Cave 2 programme. Stage cave diving is a superb way for divers to go further, deeper and longer while, in some cases, also giving themselves a larger margin of safety. Because a diver can only carry a certain amount of gas on the back, a stage cylinder, filled with the appropriate gas for the dive mission, is the best way to help meet their dive teams’ objectives. As safety is paramount in any dive mission, and as gas is such a treasured commodity, the ability to increase the availability of gas by utilising stages adds both conservatism and a broader range of protection. If the planned dive then has varying depths and decompression requirements, each stage cylinder or decompression cylinder must have the correct mixture suitable to that depth in separate cylinders. The team must ensure they follow previously learned standard procedures for gas analysis, cylinder marking, and gas switches. Proper protocols and techniques are revised, adapted and refined during Cave 2 training and beyond to safely take advantage of the benefits of diving with stage cylinders. What I’d like to discuss with you in this edition of The EDGE, is RAID’s approach to gas management on their Cave 2 programmes and why we recommend the practices that we do. Understanding these practices, and the ability to execute them safely, is an absolute necessary component of our Cave 2 training.


The most-common method of utilising a stage during a cave dive is to partially breathe the stage to a predetermined pressure, drop it safely and securely to the guideline, then recover and resume breathing the stage cylinder as you make your way to the exit. The question is ‘how do I determine what will be the ‘drop pressure’ of my stage cylinder?’ The more-traditional approach is applying the Rule of Thirds directly to their stage cylinders – this method dictates that you use 1/3 of your total volume for penetration while reserving 2/3 for the return journey to the exit and for any emergencies e.g. loss of gas, loss of line or entanglement. Example – our 11-litre stage cylinder has 210bar of gas. 210bar / 3 = 70bar 70bar penetration gas / 70bar exit gas / 70bar reserve gas Drop pressure = 140bar This approach is very simple to calculate, but it can cause grave problems in the event of an emergency deeper into the cave. If this was to occur, both divers would need to manage multiple cylinders and carry them to the exit, possibly as one diver only is able to have access and breathe from the reserve gas. This potentially could seriously complicate and slow the exit. A much-safer approach, and RAID’s preferred technique for Stage Cave diving, is the Half + 15bar. This approach dictates that the stage is used only during penetration and exit, and NOT as a reserve gas. The diver will breathe their stage down to a half + 15bar. The 15 bar is considered ‘switching gas’, meaning its gas needed to switch from or to a stage cylinder. Gas used while the team determine where to safely clip of the cylinders on the guideline. Gas used while retrieving the cylinders and cleaning up while heading to the exit. This gas is not to be considered as a reserve gas. Example – Your 11-litre stage cylinder has 210bar of gas 210bar / 2 = 105bar 105bar + 15bar = 120bar Drop pressure = 120bar 210bar – 120bar = 90bar Stage Penetration Gas = 90bar



The divers reserve gas is now carried within their primary cylinders. This reserve gas is accounted for and retained in the back-mounted or side-mounted cylinders of each diver in the event of an emergency. This reserve gas is now with the diver at all times. To calculate what is the reserve, the volume of gas equal to 1/3 of the stage cylinders starting pressure, and should be subtracted from the starting pressure of the primary cylinders.

To make it even more simple in either configuration, I would round it down even further to 50 bars. Why? Because, at the furthest point of my penetration, I like having things as simple as possible, plus, it’s easier for me to track my linear distance in 10bar increments as well. 50 bar penetration gas 50 bar return gas 110 bar reserve gas Turn Pressure – 160bar

Example – Back Mounted Diver using double 11-litre cylinders Your primary cylinders have 210bar of gas Your stage cylinder has 210 bar of gas Stage: 210bar / 3 = 70bar The beauty of this approach is that all the RESERVE Gas is 70bar must be left for Reserve gas in the Primary cylinders. available in the primary cylinders, using the configuration 70bar divided over the two primary cylinders = 35bar the diver at this level has chosen and is comfortable in. This Primary Cylinders: 210bar - 35bar = 175bar reserve gas is now accessible to two divers simultaneously. The diver has 175bar of Usable gas With the Reserve gas now located in the primary cylinders, To simplify the calculation, and to add more conservatism, divers - in an emergency situation - can then breathe the round down to make the number divisible by three stage down, ditch the stage if needed, and exit as efficiently 165bar / 3 = 55bar - The diver has 55bar of penetration gas and streamlined as possible. once they switch to their primary cylinders Starting pressure 210bar – 55bar = 155bar Cave diving can Turn Pressure = 155bar offer spectacular views

Example – Side Mounted Diver Your primary cylinders have 210bar of gas Your stage cylinder has 210 bars of gas Stage: 210bar / 3 = 70bar Primary Cylinders: 210bar - 70bar = 140 70bar must be left for Reserve gas in the Primary cylinders Divided between the two side mount cylinders = 35bar 210bar – 35bar = 175bar of usable gas Calculate Thirds (round down for conservatism and ease of calculation) 165bar / 3 = 55bar penetration gas (Rounding down represents another 10bar of safety or ‘contingency gas’) Starting Pressure = 210bar – 55bar = 155bar Turn Pressure = 155 bar Using stages can make your cave diving a happier experience



• Stage cylinder: a single rigged cylinder used during a dive. • Decompression cylinder: a rigged stage cylinder with a specific gas mixture used for decompression purposes only. • Safety cylinder: a stage cylinder deployed only for emergency use. • Stage diving: Using stage cylinders with primary cylinders to extend dive time in regard to depth or penetration distance. • Back gas: The gas in the primary cylinders. • Reserve gas: Your emergency gas. Gas left in your primary cylinders in the event of an emergency for you or your teammate. • Switching gas: Gas used while switching between stages and back gas. • Drop pressure: Pre-planned gas pressure at which the stage cylinder will be removed. • Turn pressure: Pre-planned gas pressure where the dive is turned, and the team return to the exit or previously dropped stage cylinders. WWW.DIVERAID.COM


If the dives mission then requires multiple stages for penetration purposes, then another volume of reserve gas from each stage is required. This reserve is deducted, again, from the primary cylinders’ gas supply to then calculate its thirds. This method would continue until you reach the point where the volume of reserve gas needed to be subtracted from the primary cylinders, exceeds the overall volume of gas within the diver’s primary gas supply. In this case, you would either increase the size of your primary cylinders or introduce safety cylinders to your mission. A Safety cylinder is a marked, labelled and full cylinder with the appropriate gas. These safety cylinders are placed in advance, within the cave system at strategic locations, offering another emergency supply of gas if needed. Be mindful though, that using multiple stages throughout a cave dive will greatly decrease a divers’ swimming efficiency, so if an emergency exit were to occur, gas calculations would dictate for one stage to be depleted and dropped, before picking up a safety cylinder to continue the exit. A better tool possibly for extended range stage cave diving, would be a CCR, a Closed-Circuit Rebreather. But I’ll leave that discussion for my next article.


The two approaches discussed of managing your stage bottle will equate to quite similar penetration distances, however, if the worst-case scenario of a catastrophic gas loss was to occur at maximum penetration distance, then the rule of thirds team would arrive back to the stages with their primary cylinders almost depleted while the half + 15bar team would arrive back to their stages with almost 50 bars of usable gas left in their primary cylinders. Though both methods of stage gas management do work, and will both result in magical cave diving experiences, one is definitively more conservative and hence, for RAID, a much safer and recommended strategy for all RAID Cave 2 classes. As a cave diver, the additional gas reserves using the half+ method, allow more time to sort out any issues if Murphy was to make an appearance. That time gives a definite peace of mind, knowing you have enough reserves, and for me, is priceless in overhead environments and could be the difference in any decision-making process whilst under stress during an emergency. As an active RAID Cave 2 Instructor, that additional gas my students arrive back into the cenote with also allows me plenty of time for the opportunity to complete skill development drills like lost line, entanglement and line repair without having to exit the water. The more in-water time we can spend with our students refining our skills and polishing our techniques is so important at this level. Having additional gas after a Cave 2 training dive simply facilitates our goal to safely develop skilled cave divers.


I’d like to finally add here, that another aspect of RAID Cave training is to ensure protection of our cave systems. During RAID Cave 2 training, we emphasise the importance of stage bottle positioning by selecting drop points very carefully. Our intention is purely, to ‘Respect the Cave’. To avoid damage to the caves fragile features as well as avoiding damage to our guideline.


CYLINDER ANALYSING AND LABELLING. A RAID REVIEW! RAID’s General Standards require every diver planning to breathe cylinders filled with any breathing gas, including Nitrox and Trimix to personally witness their gas being analysed before taking them in the water. Because part of their teammates gas is considered reserve gas, it is strongly advised they witness all the team’s cylinders being analysed, labelled and the planned fill pressure checked off. Diving Cylinders must have the following data, written clearly, on a piece of tape applied on the neck of the cylinder, close to the valve: • O2 percentage • Date analysed • Tank Pressure in BAR / PSI • Name of Diver • Lastly, in the CENTRE, in LARGE TEXT, the MOD (Max Operating Depth) of the gas in metres / feet which delivers an acceptable Oxygen partial Pressure agreed upon during the dive planning process. Stage cylinder near a line jump


In summary, I hope I’ve explained ‘why’ RAID recommend the Half plus 15 method during your RAID Cave 2 programme. It’s crystal clear that it’s for the added safety and time that this method allows. And, since I started with a quote from a great man, I’ll end here with one as well. As a new Cave 2 diver, calculations required can look a little daunting but as our Director of Training Steve Lewis has said: ‘These are Sacrosanct figures! They’re there all the time. Do this once, then you’ve done this forever’. These numbers will hardly ever change if you stay on the same configuration, which really does help simplify the process for you to go out and see just how far you can go, while having a safe time exploring the planet’s amazing cave systems. n


Each issue of The Edge, our panel of underwater photography professionals will offer hints and advice on particular topics. This issue, we ask our team for hints and advice on getting in and out of the water with a camera PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MARTYN GUESS, PAUL DUXFIELD, MARIO VITALINI AND ANNE AND PHIL MEDCALF

I have always been very careful with my camera rig when getting in and MARTYN out of the water. This stemmed from GUESS my Nikonas film camera days, when on a RIB heading out to the drop-off, I happened to notice my lens had fallen off and was rolling around the deck! I had intended to roll in with the camera! I always have the camera handed to me, whether jumping in or rolling. I have seen strobes fall off where they haven’t been tightened down, or a last -minute glitch, which the boat boy or you spot as he hands the camera to you, so why risk a flood or a bang on something by going in with the camera? I have heavy strobes and arms on my camera rig, so I have a rope handle attached between the top joints of the arms making it easy for the rig to be carried and handed to me, and also lifted safely out of the water. The minute the rig is in the air, it becomes very heavy and the arms otherwise flop down with the strobes on the end, risking damage. The handle is also very useful when walking to and from the boat or shore. When I get out of the water, the first thing is a quick camera dunk in the rinse tank. Never leave your camera there – firstly, its selfish and takes up room, and secondly, it could easily be bumped causing a leak or damage. I store the camera either securely on the camera table if available and it’s not too rough, or somewhere away from people on the deck in a safe position before drying it and moving it inside the camera room or cabin.



When it comes to attaching our camera to ourselves, we both use a simple but effective solution, a bodyboarding leash tied to our lighting trays and strapped around a wrist. These are strong enough that if need be we can let go of our housings and let them dangle without them coming away even with a quite negatively buoyant camera rig. They also stretch long enough for our rigs to be out of our way when we do let go of them. This is handy when dealing with an issue. For tasks like deploying DSMBs, we usually hook a strobe arm into the crook of an elbow or hold the housing between the knees. Getting into the water we hold our cameras rather than having them passed to us once we are in. Transferring the camera from a crew member to a diver is usually where fumbles occur and cameras can be lost or damaged. Not just when passed from hand to hand, but also when divers try to clip housings on to BCDs, failing to engage clips onto D-rings properly is common reason for a lost camera and can occur at the start or finish of a dive, especially when using a D-ring that isn’t clearly in your vision. The advantage with using the bodyboarding leashes is you can attach it before you get in and it is constantly in vision. If you need to ditch your camera, it is easily accessible and quick to unfasten and when getting back into a boat, you can hand it up still attached to your wrist and wait for it to be physically over the boat before you undo it. Remember to explain this to crew before doing this, otherwise you may get your arm pulled as they go to put your camera somewhere safe. Entering the water, we hold cameras above shoulder level for giant strides, this gives room for the impact of you entering to be dissipated before your housing hits the water. For backward rolls, hold the camera against your body with one hand and your mask and reg with the other. When it comes to buoyancy, we keep our set-ups negatively buoyant and trim our weighting to allow for it. This is a matter of personal choice, and while it works for still photography, for videography it’s better to keep your set-up neutral to improve the steadiness of shots. When back on the boat, retrieve your camera as quickly as possible from the rinse tank if it has been put in there. If it hasn’t, give it a quick rinse but don’t leave it unattended. The rinse tank is the graveyard of cameras. Scratches to ports and lenses are regular occurrences, as are floods caused by heavy rigs being dropped onto other housings. Leaving a housing in a rinse tank can also result in floods from large changes in temperature. The water in rinse tanks on sunny dive decks can get very warm and when you then



jump into the water, the materials of the housing can cool rapidly and the seal can fail. Between dives, keep your camera somewhere safe and out of sunlight, such as your dive crate on a boat if you have one. For UK diving, a large cool bag or rubble bucket can be a good option, and be used for rinsing afterwards. Deploy an SMB with both hands free by hooking the strobe arms over your arms

A bodyboard leash lets you drop the camera out of the way if needed

Bodyboard leashes are coiled so stay out of the way underwater but stretch when passing up to a boat


Our underwater photography professionals are ideally placed to dispense advice as they have, between them, literally thousands of hours of dive time and countless hours spent travelling the world shooting underwater images and teaching workshops.

First time I dived with a big camera rig, I was quite nervous and reticent about PAUL making a big splash. DUXFIELD So I’d get the camera rig handed down to me after first rolling or giant striding in. I had fears that the impact could cause some water ingress to the housing because of the extra stresses being placed upon it. Over time though, I’ve found that dilly dallying worrying about the camera rig could lose me a shot. A case in point happened quite recently when dolphins made a fleeting appearance alongside the zodiac, and the driver took pains to put us in front of them as they passed by and all we’d see is tails, which with spinner dolphins is a real possibility. I’m not slap dash about things though, so when back rolling from a zodiac, I keep the camera rig close to my body, with the strobe arms clamped down tight, so they don’t whack me or anyone else in the face. This way means I am protecting the camera rig with my body. If giant striding I will also lock things down securely, put plenty of air in my jacket, and hold the camera aloft - it’s possible even with a bigger rig. This will mean that the camera is barely breaking the surface, by the time me and my BCD have broken the fall, and I’ve done this thousands of times now with no issues. Modern housings are pretty tough things, and if like me you


have a housing with a vacuum pump warning system, then if there were any issues with a rapid change in pressure, I trust it would have alerted me before too much trouble had been done. I don’t know this for sure, of course, because it’s never happened. It’s also worth mentioning that I don’t use a fancy leash attached to my person any more, as a simple bungee around 18-inches long with a carabiner on both ends, that I picked up from a pound store, is all I now use. I can clip it off if needs be, and loop and clip it around my wrist on the dive. Did I mention I’ve picked up a penny-pinching mindset now I live in Yorkshire!


In all the years I’ve been diving, I’ve MARIO seen my fair share of camera floods. VITALINI In most cases, the cause is poor O-ring maintenance, but occasionally a housing can flood when mishandled getting in or out of the water. When entering the water, I always try to protect my rig from impacting the surface. Therefore, when jumping from a boat back platform, the easiest way is to leave the housing on the platform, and have it handed to you by someone else - especially if using a heavy system. I immediately secure a lanyard attached to my housing directly to my BCD. When using a lightweight set-up, such a compact, I preferer to jump with it. I make sure my BCD is partially inflated to keep afloat when I hit the water and jump holding my housing rig with one hand high above my head. When diving from a RIB, I hold the housing tightly against your chest as you roll back. This is the best way when making a negative entry. If I have time to sort myself on the surface, I always prefer to have the housing handed to me by the zodiac driver. After my safety stop, when I’m ready to surface, I fold the strobe arms in and protect my dome port with a neoprene or hard cover. On the surface, I hand up the camera first, only then unclipping it from my BCD. Once on the boat, I dunk it in a rinse tank but never leave it, as other divers may throw in torches or other pieces of equipment that can damage your kit. If there are no rinsing


facilities, I always make sure the housing stays wet or damp so the salty water does not dry and form crystals that can then damage the O-rings. Onboard I make sure my housing is secure on a flat surface, such as the floor of the saloon, especially when the boat is moving. I often use the strobe arms to make the rig more stable. n


9 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING A REBREATHER RAID examiner Jill Heinerth provides some handy hints for those contemplating buying a closed-circuit rebreather. PHOTOGRAPHS BY JILL HEINERTH


hopping the rebreather marketplace is challenging. It can be like comparing apples and oranges. Consider these nine tips before making your choice:



Read a comprehensive book about rebreathers or complete the e-learning portion of an entry-level CCR class before making a purchase decision. Ensure you understand how it works and what functions and specifications are essential to you.



Ask yourself if you can be vigilant and unwavering regarding safety procedures for preparation, maintenance, and diving activities. Have a risk assessment discussion with your family and heirs so they can weigh in on the decision. If you choose to take on more risk in your diving, you better share all the facts.



Your budget will guide your choice. You may want to own the top of the line technical rebreather that makes coffee at the dive site, but have to look realistically at a lower price point - budget for the unit itself, proper professional instruction, annual consumables, and regular maintenance. Please don’t spend all your savings on the rebreather itself and then cut corners on sensor replacement. If you don’t have the finances to support meticulous maintenance, then don’t buy the unit in the first place.



The manufacturing process for rebreathers is proprietary and secretive. Qualified, third-party testing and validation ensures that quality control standards are applied in the manufacturing process and that certain industry-agreed-upon safety standards are met consistently. Insist on seeing test data for work-of-breathing, oxygen-tracking, canister duration, and other factors. Ask the manufacturer for details on their CE or equivalent testing. Check into the manufacturer’s history and service track record so that you have a reasonable guarantee that they will be around when you need their help.



Look for an instructor before you buy a unit. Instructor availability for many rebreathers is limited. Learn from a trusted, experienced, and current instructor.










Do a little research on the manufacturer, and i’s support centres. Can you get local service, or do you have to ship internationally for repairs? Do they offer good customer service, timely repairs, and proper warranty coverage?

Make a list of features that are important to you. Consider manual versus electronic, handset versus NERD, and other details that can affect price and risk assumption.

If you plan to travel with your unit, will it fit within baggage weight standards for your carrier? Is it modular? Is it common enough that you can find tanks and other parts at a vacation destination? Is there international support for your rebreather?

If you find a great deal, you should budget on sending the unit back to the manufacturer to restore it to factory specifications and verify performance. You’ll also want to start with new sensors. This can quickly add up, so be sure the deal is worth it. Buying a rebreather is a tough decision, and nearly everyone you ask for an opinion will have a strong one. Be pragmatic and analytical. A try-dive experience will only help you fall in love with a harness. A comparison of cosmetics will only help you decide whether you will look cool. Take time to research the unit on your own before jumping into one of the mostsignificant purchase decisions of your life. n



"Move over, Jon Krakauer. This well-written memoir is destined to become a world classic of exploration literature.”

— Ken McGoogan, author of Fatal Passage "Every form of extreme endeavor produces a pre-eminent practitioner: Messner in mountains, Honnold on rock, Ballard in oceans. As Into the Planet eloquently demonstrates, for cave diving it ma may well be Jill Heinerth”

— James Tabor, author of Blind Descent

“Simply, she is our generation's Cousteau.” - Fourth Element, Jim Standing

“A Must Read!” — Dr. Robert D. Ballard, Discoverer of TITANIC

Available on Amazon Worldwide


lipped on, throttle set to max, we sped out of the bay into deeper water at a fair rate of knots. I felt the increased drag on my regulator so clamped down harder. Diving with scooters was definitely addictive. Alan Whitehead, the owner of Techwise Dive Centre based at St Julian’s Bay in Malta, had suggested a P29-Rozi crossing and I was well up for the challenge. The Rozi and P29 wrecks are located just a few hundred metres offshore at popular shore-diving site Cirkewwa. Due to distance and time restraints, most divers will only contemplate one wreck per dive. Being kitted out with twinsets and stage cylinders would solve this problem but I still needed to look around and compose pictures. I had visions of power finning out to the P29 for a hasty photo-taking session followed by a full-on pump over to the Rozi, in and out of the bridge for a few more happy snaps, and then return via the anchor back to the wall. I am always ‘planning for the worst, hoping for the best’ and was pleasantly surprised when Alan brought out two Suex scooters to get us there and back in double-quick time. Being a rufty-tufty tech diver, I felt slightly guilty about taking the easy option but if I could do the job in comfort and style, then who was I to complain! Italian manufacturer Suex have been building underwater ADVs (Advanced Diver Vehicles), otherwise known as scooters, for more than 19 years. Originally focusing on the technical diving market they have now expanded their range to include five different scooters from recreational to long-range cave. There is even a slick-looking military version available. A few Maltese centres now offer a selection of these scooters for rental. The batteries had been put on charge overnight, so my first job was to assemble the unit. Alan showed me how to fit the battery into the metal chassis, then slide the outer casing onto the rubber O-ring seal and lock into place. The whole process took less than a minute, so nothing too complicated. The XJOY-7s and XJ VRs are basically polycarbonate tubes 200mm diameter by 760mm long, which is slightly larger and heavier than a conventional 12-litre steel cylinder. Sizes and materials vary with Suex’s higher-spec scooters. There was a carry handle attached to the nose, but nothing on the rear by the propeller, so I had to grab hold of the outer casing when I lifted the scooter onto the pick-up truck. I noticed that the newer units had a carry handle front and back fitted as standard. Located next to the Gozo ferry terminal, Cirkewwa is probably the busiest shore-diving site in Malta.

Usually the P29Rozi crossing took about 15 minutes when finning conventionally. I checked the time on my watch as we left the P29 and again when we reached the bow of the Rozi. It had taken us just one minute 30 seconds to cross the void




Scootering through an archway

On the P29 Minesweeper

During the summer months, the roadside is often overflowing with trucks and vans from just about every dive operator going - and in Malta, there are quite a few! This means early morning starts are necessary to secure a parking spot. Cirkewwa is not just a ‘one dive seen-it done-it’ site. There are some great natural features to explore, including the sheer wall and the archway. I have had so many memorable night dives at Cirkewwa searching for macro life, which is usually overlooked during daylight hours. Slightly further out from the shoreline are two popular artificial wreck sites to visit, the more-established tugboat Rozi and the relatively new addition, Minesweeper P29. The 40-metre-long MV Rozi sits upright at a maximum depth of around 35m. She was scuttled in September 1992 and used as an attraction for Captain Morgan’s Cruises submarine safari tours. Captain Morgan’s ceased operations a long time ago, so the wreck has now become a major diver attraction. Fifteen years later, the Malta Tourism Authority bought the 52-metre-long by seven-metrewide Minesweeper P29 from the Maltese Navy, stripped out most of the fittings, cleaned away all the contaminants and sunk her upright just a few hundred metres from the Rozi. Recreationally speaking it is possible to dive both wrecks in a single dive, but this doesn’t allow much time in between for exploration and to be honest, what’s the point in huffing Preparing to dive

and puffing across a relatively boring sandy seabed for about 15 minutes just to get a quick glimpse of both wrecks before surfacing. This also relies on good old compass navigation skills, which tends to strike fear into most UK divers. Strapping on a twinset and stage cylinder and using a scooter for transportation makes life much easier. As usual I was running on a tight schedule and didn’t have the luxury to wait for a mirror calm day. When we arrived onsite, a blustery northwesterly wind had whipped up the sea. Waves were breaking spectacularly against the sea wall. There are a number of entry and exit points at Cirkewwa. Most have got chunky stainless steel hand rails for divers to grab hold of for support, but even so the concrete steps and slipway can get quite slippery at certain times of the year, especially when stomping about in full scuba or worst case, heavier twinsets and rebreathers.

Stuart Philpott saddles up on a Suex scooter and uses it to blast between the Minesweeper P29 and the Rozi at Cirkewwa in Malta PHOTOGRAPHS BY STUART PHILPOTT 73

There were so many scooter possibilities in Malta. I could see myself scootering around HMS Stubborn submarine, or better still Le Polynesien

On the Rozi


Fancy getting your blood racing while speeding through the water or travelling further underwater? Then checkout the new RAID DPV courses. Scootering between the rudders


Feeling the need for speed

We precariously walked down the steps and placed our scooters next to the rocky entry point. I had a long dive ahead of me so made a dash for the toilets before getting kitted up. It was the first time I had used the new toilet/shower block, which was a welcome change from the chemical ‘Tardis’ loos I had been using for years. I managed to stand up in the shallows but had to trust Alan with my camera while clipping on to the scooter. The length of the leash was adjusted so that my body would take up the tension rather than my arm. A rogue wave tipped me off balance and I was left helplessly rolling about on my back like a beached whale. I’m sure Alan was cursing under his breath (or laughing his head off). I eventually switched on the scooter and followed Alan out of the shallows, steering on a course for the P29 at warp speed hopefully not a collision course! When holding a camera I am not the most-streamlined shape. Even though I was driving at top speed, I still lagged behind Alan. The Suex XJOYs have a max speed of 3.3km per hour and the XJ VRs are slightly faster at 3.9km per hour. When driving a car or riding a bike, this doesn’t seem like much at all but be assured underwater this is a very respectable speed. The top of the range XKs have a mask-dislodging max speed of 6km per hour. Within no time at all, I saw the dark shape of the P29 looming up in front of me. I stopped underneath the stern by the giant rudders to get a few shots of Alan and then ascended to deck level and headed for the bow. Even though the scooters have a dry weight of around 19kg, they are totally neutral underwater, meaning when I stopped to take pictures, they don’t sink. I got Alan to whizz around the bow while I took a series of landscape and portrait shots. The scooters were mainly white in colour, which made a nice contrast. Suex also make a black version, and a dark green special for the military. We scootered back to the deck gun and I took some more pictures with the bridge and mast silhouetted in the background. The silvery scales of a banded bream were irritatingly reflecting the light from my flash guns, so I spent a precious few minutes retaking the shots, but I still had plenty of back gas contingency and a full 50 percent O2 stage cylinder, so from my perspective everything was going according to plan and on schedule. Usually the P29-Rozi crossing took about 15 minutes when finning conventionally. I checked the time on my watch as we left the P29 and again when we reached the bow of the Rozi. It had taken us just one minute 30 seconds to cross the void.


The Liberty in the Sidemount configuration demonstrates an entirely encompassed system with gas delivery systems fully enclosed within the system. The unit in Sidemount configuration weights ready to dive with shortened scrubber 22,8 kg (50,3 lb) thus making the unit optimal for travel and expedition.








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Checking kit pre-dive

We had even seen a few rays gliding over the grassy patches. The MV Rozi has always been a very photogenic little wreck, especially for atmospheric black and white pictures. I hovered over the bow and got Alan to circumnavigate the bridge while I took a spread of shots. The scooter just hung neutrally from the leash not causing any hindrance. There were hundreds upon hundreds of damselfish raining down around us, so much so I couldn’t get a clean shot of Alan. I caught sight of a moray shimmying across the deck and disappearing behind a bollard. I was pleased to see so much marine life milling about. I switched on the scooter again and ascended to the bridge area. We spent a good five minutes composing some close-ups and then headed off towards the funnel and the stern. After a quick scout about I followed Alan across the seabed to a huge Admiralty-shaped anchor. Again we stopped to take the usual splurge of shots, although this time I managed to stir up the sandy bottom with my subversive driving behaviour. Shortly afterwards we were sitting at 5m decompressing. My surf exit was far from graceful but by this time I didn’t really care. I shuffled out on my knees smiling from ear to ear. The Suex scooters were a lot of fun, very easy to use and added a completely different dimension to my dive. We covered a huge distance and used far less gas doing so. I’m glad Alan had the responsibility of navigating. I’m pleased to report we had no deviations and found both wrecks without any problems. Our dive time was clocked at one hour ten minutes surface to surface and there was still plenty of charge left in my scooter. Suex’s figures for the XJ VR (lithium battery) are 100 minutes at full throttle or a 150 minutes if being more conservative. But in my mind there can only be one speed and that’s full speed! Driving a scooter while holding a housed camera with strobes was, in a word, interesting and required slightly more effort but most divers wouldn’t have to worry about this. My mind was already beginning to wander. There were so many scooter possibilities in Malta. I could see myself scootering around HMS Stubborn submarine, or better still Le Polynesien. With a massive hull length of 152 metres, just imagine how much of the wreck I could see in a single dive - now that would be quite a story! n Using a scooter is far less effort...



In Newfoundland, summertime is an orgy of outdoor activity – 18-hour days crowded with whales, World War Two wrecks, beach picnics and icebergs, leaving little room for manual labor. Winter is work time


n the pale light of a wintery Canadian dawn, the Arctic blast persuades me to snug my hat securely down over my ears. Emerging from the neck of my parka, my muffled voice emits curly wisps of white vapour into the cold air. A barrel-chested John Olivero vaults clear of his truck in a long-sleeved T-shirt loudly announcing ‘let’s go diving!’ My sturdy Canadian resolve cannot hide my disbelief. “First, we have to get out of the driveway, Johnny!” I mumble. “No problem!” he smiles backs. “We have a secret weapon!” Who would have imagined that a diving expedition would require a snowplow? On this day, we need it to move the metre-deep snow that has accumulated overnight. But the list of necessary tools is even more peculiar. For months, John Olivero and Ocean Quest Adventure Resort ( owner Rick Stanley wrangled volunteers, convincing them to heft pickaxes and shovels to prepare for our visit. The group of selfless volunteers moved tons of iron ore, built decks and benches, and installed critical lighting in preparation for us to dive into the depths of the Bell Island Mine. February never deterred their dedication. On the contrary, there is plenty of time in the winter for projects and diversions. In Newfoundland, summertime is an orgy of outdoor activity – 18-hour days crowded with whales, World War Two wrecks, beach picnics and icebergs, leaving little room for manual labour. Winter is work time. Summer is for play.




Jill Heinerth waxes lyrical about the underwater delights that lie in store for adventurous divers off the coast of Newfoundland around the picturesque Bell Island PHOTOGRAPHS BY JILL HEINERTH WWW.INTOTHEPLANET.COM



When I met the genial Rick Stanley, I knew I had to go back to tell the story of its hidden geography

Boat lifts are really useful for tech divers

Most vacationers to this area don’t visit in February, but choose instead to enjoy the summertime. Newfoundland might not the first name that comes to mind when planning a vacation. North America’s easternmost point balances on the verge of Canada’s Atlantic frontier like a launching springboard diver rising from his toes into an aerial pike to be free of the continent. The vibe of this place is inspiring - strong, homey, and a little bit quirky. Living life in extremes breeds a true sense of community. You can’t leave this place a stranger because a new family will have captivated your heart. I first visited Newfoundland by bicycle after making a 7,000km ride across Canada. When I met the genial Rick Stanley, I knew I had to go back to tell the story of its hidden geography. Flooded iron mines cover nine square miles and descend over 1,800 feet beneath Bell Island. Historic shipwrecks lay just offshore. The mines were once the area’s economic engine providing extremely high-grade iron ore to shipbuilding efforts in the Great Wars. Recognizing the strategic importance of the mines, German U-boats twice raided the island in 1942. The Germans knew that if they could disrupt the export of shipbuilding materials, even temporarily, then the Allied war efforts would be seriously affected. In two separate attacks, German submariners sunk the vessels SS Saganaga and SS Lord Strathcona, followed by the SS Rose Castle, and Free French vessel PLM 27, while destroying the ore-loading wharf on Bell Island.

The sheer audacity of the attack awakened North Americans that they were now on the front line for the Battle of the Atlantic. Part of the mine closed not long after World War Two due to a decline in the ore market value, but the economic hammer slammed down hard over the Christmas Holidays in 1966. When miners returned to work in January, they discovered that the mine was full of water. Determining that extraction was no longer feasible, owners had pulled the plug on the dewatering pumps and let the network of tunnels slowly fill, leaving the entire island in jobless despair. The remaining dry sections of Bell Island collected cobwebs until a modest museum opened up at the No. 2 Mine entrance. Offering walking tours of the first 650 feet down to the water line, guides keep their family histories alive by telling (and even singing) stories about over 100 men that died in the course of their work there. Pump in Bell Island Mine

Torpedo hole on the PLM 27



John Olivero and buddy braving the cold water

Squared off walls marked with large white numerals enumerate every crossing rib in this maze of hematite ore, that descends one foot for every body length we swim. Nearly five metres above the floor, electrical wiring with bright turquoise insulators and wooden crossbars lead us on a trail toward some of the heavy machinery that once kept this place dry. A crumpled bucket, pair of old leather shoes, broken shovels, and saws make it seem as if the site is frozen in time. What remains is a time capsule conserving the demoralizing moment of economic desperation when the pumps were turned off. Gliding over the chassis from an ore cart, we reach a large dewatering pump. A hulking crippled wheel connects long silent gears with broken pistons that supply severed pipelines. An inscription on the wall catches our attention. ‘James Bennett’ has scrawled his name beside a cartoonish caricature sporting a small pipe and watchman’s cap. I envision this man taking a smoke break in the dank dustfilled darkness. A nearby tangle of rusty box springs may be evidence that he took a few covert naps as well. Around the next corner is an epitaph. A tiny white cross adorns the wall in a place where a miner has lost his life. Was it a fall of rock, or was he run over by a cart racing through the darkness on

Renee bow

Rick Stanley on the Strathcona

this now-empty track? It was a tough business, and not a single family was spared tragedy. If you didn’t lose a loved one in the mine, you might have a family tale about the nights that torpedoes brought the war to your doorstep. The wrecks themselves convey a sort of intimacy. You might stumble across an antique LP record or even a sextant, as one of our teammates did a few years ago. Inside the wrecks, the telegraph and other artefacts are still intact, a testament to Canadians’ strict protection efforts. But for me, the exterior beauty is second to none. Every square inch of heavy plating is festooned with colourful life. Puffs of plumose anemones frame the entrance to an intact Marconi room, where an operator made a call for help. Bulbous red lumpfish guard eggs in a ventilation shaft, and large cod swarm a massive anchor locker. Brass plates identify unfired deck guns, but parts of the ships bear wounds where torpedoes ripped them apart. Each year things are a little different. The icebergs mow a path through the debris in winter, and summer growth of marine life hides the scars once more. While giving a presentation to schoolchildren on the island, I thought the gymnasium seemed too large for the assembled kids. The island population is one-fifth of its Strathcona



Massive anchor on the Saganaga

Visit Jill’s dedicated page on her website: newfoundland

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former glory, and yet the room is filled with vibrating energy there are not too many presentations like this on Bell Island. After our workshop, we chat with kids about their vision of the future. Although most will leave the island for work, some are discovering their sense of place. A small boy walks up to us, and enthusiastically offers a simple statement that lets me know we have accomplished our work. “I didn’t know we were important. I didn’t know Bell Island mattered.”


Diving alongside an iceberg


Ocean Quest Adventure Resort co-ordinates all local diving activities. Certified cave divers are escorted into the mine, briefed, and supported by local safety staff. Landlubbers can enjoy a fascinating tour of the No. 2 Mine and Museum, or a hike through abandoned mine tunnels at the ‘Grebe’s Nest’. Ocean Quest offers packages, daily recreational, and full technical excursions to dive the World War Two wrecks, large enough to merit numerous visits. Advanced diving qualification is essential, but personal guides and instruction are also available. No trip is complete without a Zodiac excursion to swim with wildlife such as humpback whales that feed in the region in the summer months. In late June and early July, a parade of icebergs drifts down the coast. Advanced divers comfortable with navigation, down currents, and free ascents may participate in this activity based from a RIB. Divers wear provided helmets and should carry a compass and surface marker buoy so they may ascend away from the ice face. n


OTTER WATERSPORTS ATLANTIC HD KEVLAR | SRP: £1,750 Mark Evans: What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Kevlar’? I bet ‘bulletproof’ is in the top three for sure, and Kevlar is certainly an extremely durable, robust and strong material. These qualities mean it is ideal for the world of diving, where - let’s be honest - equipment does take more than its fair share of a battering, especially right here in the UK. Over my 20-odd years in the diving industry, there have been a few Kevlar products come across my desk. I recall a pair of wet gloves which had an outer skin made from Kevlar. They were extremely abrasion resistant, it has to be said, but the dexterity left something to be desired. Then I had a Fourth Element Argonaut Kevlar drysuit. This was my first encounter with a suit made from this material, and it was a revelation. Now the Kevlar that the Fourth Element suit was made from was a weird breathable fabric, which was very thin and appeared to actually ‘weep’ liquid as it allowed moisture from inside the suit to escape to the outside. It was lightweight, very flexible and gave plenty of manoeuvrability. However, it seems that there was an issue getting the seam glue to bond with the Kevlar, as the majority of the seams on my suit gave up the ghost after a couple of years, and I know of several others that had the same issue. Fourth Element have rectified this by dropping the Kevlar from the line-up and moving on to a similarly thin but stretchy material they call ‘Stealth’. Now Otter Watersports are getting in on the act, with a Kevlar version of their latest membrane drysuit, the Atlantic. The Atlantic has been garnering rave reviews, and is currently in our Long Term Test line-up, being given the once-over by long-time contributor and technical diver Jason Brown. Described by Otter as ‘the new standard in explorationgrade drysuits’, the Atlantic and the Atlantic HD are visually very similar to the award-winning and best-selling Britannic II, but they feature a nifty seamless underarm pattern designed to give more flexibility, especially for those reaching over their heads to cylinder valves on twinsets, or cave divers having to work around tight restrictions. I currently own and dive an Otter Watersports Britannic II, so was used to the build quality and feel that the company are famous for - along with their legendary customer service - so I was excited to receive a box containing the Atlantic Kevlar. First impression? It looks cool. I was quite taken with the colour scheme of the Kevlar material, which almost defies description. It is a strange green/yellow/grey, but when it is wet it almost goes a gun-metal grey. Whatever colour you want to call it, I like it, and it certainly stands



out from the crowd. It doesn’t feel as thick or stiff as the material of my Britannic II, and it was certainly easier to get on and off. There is definitely more flexibility in this Kevlar material, so it is not just a case of it being more durable, there are other benefits to be had. As with the standard Atlantic and the HD version, there are loads of personalisation options available. It can be equipped with soft ‘socks’ to go inside Otter’s Rock Boots, or as in my test version, the neat Turbo boots, which have a sturdy sole, but are made from flexible, comfortable neoprene. I love these boots, which fit close to your foot more like a wet bootie, reducing any potential air space, and the Velcro-closing strap around the ankle further reduces air migration into your feet. You can have standard latex seals, or you can opt for a factory-fitted dryglove system, either a SiTech set-up, or a KUBI. My test suit was fitted with KUBIs, which I am very familiar with having them on my Britannic II. They are very easy to get on and off, and with a decent pair of undergloves, you will have toasty warm hands regardless of the temperature you are diving in.


This particular suit was also equipped with an optional pee valve, and as well as the standard internal braces, also had a useful pocket which attaches at the front of the braces, and is perfectly placed for you to be able to reach a hand in through the cross-torso zipper and stash/retrieve your car keys, wallet, etc. The spacious thigh pockets are well equipped with bungee cords ad D-rings to secure the contents, and they have a neat zippered pocket on the ‘flap’. So what was it like to dive? Well, first and foremost, as you’d expect, it kept me nice and dry. The soft neoprene neck seal and the KUBI drygloves eliminated any potential water ingress. I tried contorting myself into all manner of shapes and positions, and while I obviously was aware I was wearing a drysuit and thick undersuit (Fourth Element’s Halo 3D), it didn’t feel overly restrictive. Definitely worth looking at if you want a durable, wellmade and robust drysuit which most certainly does not blend in with the endless line up of black suits. As with all Otter suits, it came with a soft and comfortable 5mm hood, and a neat bag-cum-changing-mat.


SCUBAPRO HUD | SRP: £1,130 COMPUTER-ONLY / £1,325 WITH TRANSMITTER Mark Evans: There has often been talk about fighter-pilotstyle head’s-up displays for divers, but for a long time, it was just that - talk. Then Oceanic launched the Datamask, which was marketed as a HUD mask, but was more an ‘eyes-downto-the-right’ mask. It had a small screen mounted into the bottom right-hand side of the mask, so you needed to angle your eyes down to the right to look at it. It made the mask bulky, you lost a lot of peripheral vision to your right-hand side because of the battery compartment and innards of the computer itself, and to be honest, it wasn’t that advanced a computer in the first place, so it seemed a lot of effort for little gain. There was no real benefit over glancing at your wrist and a normal dive computer. Things went quiet in the world of HUD, until the launch of the innovative NERD by Shearwater Research. Originally designed for use with CCRs, a second-gen model was released that could be mounted on a second stage regulator. This ground-breaking piece of kit was more what people envisaged when they said ‘head’s up display’. Thanks to clever technology and design, a small screen that was located in front of the right lens of the mask appeared as a much-larger display a couple of feet away when you focused on it, but when you looked ‘past it’, as it were, it all but disappeared. The NERD II was essentially the company’s tried-and-tested Perdix AI in a smaller form, so it was a well-specced computer in its own right, but with the advantage of being a genuine head’s up display computer. The only downside was the computer being mounted on the regulator - fine when you are shore-diving or off a hardboat, but if you are in a RIB and need to de-kit for reboarding, you didn’t really want to see your precious and expensive computer disappearing beneath a pile of BCDs and cylinders, not to mention feet as other divers got back on board. Now mainstream manufacturer Scubapro has got in on the act, with the Galileo HUD dive computer. The Galileo series of computers was well received when they first came on the scene, and later generations - such as the G2, currently in our long-term test stable - were equally welcomed with open arms by the diving fraternity. So the functionality was there, Scubapro just decided to engineer that into a head’sup display product. Like the Shearwater Research NERD, the Galileo HUD features a small OLED screen suspended in front of your right eye, which when you focus on it, essentially becomes a larger screen in front of you because of the precision near-eye optics. When you look ‘past it’, it all but disappears from your line of sight. However, the big different here is that the Galileo HUD mounts directly on to the mask itself, not the regulator. Because of the way it attachs to the



central section of the mask, it can literally be swung up and completely out of sight, if so desired. A series of spacers lets you align it from side to side in front of your eye quickly and easily. The Galileo series were among the most-simple computers to navigate around the menus, thanks to the screen displaying what the buttons did at any given time. Now the HUD can’t quite manage that given its size and design, but an innovative push-wheel knob makes it almost as easy as, say, the G2. A short push takes you to the next stage in the menu while a long push takes you back a step (and it tells you this at the bottom of the display), and by dialling the knob you can scroll up and down the menu. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and, because of a neat design, it is easy to operate even wearing thick neoprene gloves or drygloves. It is not only easy to use, it is also very well-specced. It has four modes - scuba, gauge (for tech diving - it is depth-rated to 120m), apnea and CCR - and it has two algorithms to select from. You can go for the Predictive Multi-Gas Buhlmann ZHL16 ADT MB PMG, or the ZH-L16 GF. The predictive algorithm programmes up to eight selectable gases, including nitrox and trimix, in scuba mode, plus two set points for CCR diving. To further personalise its functionality, you can incorporate microbubble levels and Profile Dependent Intermediate Stops (PDIS) into the algorithm. Via hoseless air integration with a transmitter, the HUD can monitor your tank pressure, and also show your true remaining bottom time (RBT). The Galileo HUD also features a 3D full-tilt digital compass, which allows you to store three pre-programmed headings, and the 2GB memory means it can store 10,000 hours of dive profiles, so you’ll never have to


worry about running out of space! When you do want to download your logbook, you can do this either using a USB cable or wirelessly via Bluetooth. And it is compatible with Apple/Android using LogTRAK. You never have to worry about running out of battery, either, as the HUD has a rechargeable battery, and fully charged, this will give you some 20 hours of dive time. A compatible mask mount is included in the box, and several existing Scubapro masks can be retrofitted to hold the Galileo HUD, such as the Zoom Evo that came for the test. The brand-new D Mask has been designed from the outset to work with the HUD. However, the HUD will also work on many other brands of mask, so you might not have to dump your ‘old-faithful’. So what is it like in use? Well, first off, it is very lightweight, and while visually it might look quite large sat on top of the mask, in reality you hardly notice it is there, especially once you are in the water. There is no real drag. It was quite handy being able to swing the HUD completely up and out of the way. When it is in place, it isn’t too noticeable, until you want to read your computer, but when I was taking photographs, I sometimes found it was easier to do this with the HUD flipped up out of the way rather than in the ‘down position’. I had no trouble using the control knob to dial through the menu. It is a decent size, and I had zero issues finding and using it wearing 3mm gloves, 5mm gloves and even drygloves with a thick under-glove. As stated before, it is relatively simple to get to grips with the HUD, as with the G2 and previous Galileos, and the screen display is very clear - all I had to do was raise my view point slightly and then the computer screen came into sight. This was literally a slight tilt of my eyes upwards, not a very exaggerated down-to-the-right as with the old Datamask. All of the prominent information is well displayed in the default setting. You can tweak the layout but I actually found the default setting was perfect for me. The green digits appeared nice and bright underwater and on the surface, and I liked how warnings came in orange and red - for instance, as you ascend, a green line extends up the side, but if you go too quickly, it goes orange, and if you continue to accelerate towards the surface, it goes red. No way you will miss that! I think that the NERD II had the edge in terms of sharpness of screen display, but the HUD is still very easy to see, and easy to control/use, and I like how it is actually mounted on your mask rather than on your regulator. You can detach it quickly and easily from the mask, and it comes in a neat case along with the charging cable, transmitter (if you opt for the full set) and mount.


FOURTH ELEMENT HYDRA | SRP: £999 Mark Evans: I started out my drysuit diving, many moons ago, in a 7mm non-compressed suit, which was undoubtedly very warm, but gave you that classic ‘British diver’ silhouette, with your arms out from your sides as if you were carrying a box under either arm. People often used to think we walked around like that as a bit of a swagger, but really it was just that was the natural shape of the suit and it was too much effort to fight against it! Now things have moved on massively in the world of neoprene, but so has the development of trilaminate, and so I went from being a hardcore neoprene drysuit user to a huge fan of trilaminate suits, which are just so lightweight, comfortable, easy to get in and out of, and quick-drying. So with that in mind, why would anyone go the neoprene route? Well, there are various plus points for neoprene. One, it is easy to fix with neoprene glue if you happen to snag it on something sharp, and two, the closer fit of a neoprene suit more-closely resembles a wetsuit, and so is perhaps less-daunting for those coming from warmer waters due to the familiarity. Also, neoprene suits are usually cheaper than trilaminates, and due to their inherent warmth, do not require such a thick, bulky undersuit. The downside is they are heavier than trilaminates, and take longer to dry than their neoprene counterparts. So, there are pros and cons to both types of drysuit. Now there is a new neoprene drysuit on the market, and it comes from Fourth Element. One look at the Hydra and you can tell its heritage – it has all the design flair and attention to detail we have become accustomed to from the Cornish company’s range of wetsuits, and their existing drysuit, the trilaminate Argonaut. The Hydra is made from high-density neoprene, which is compressed from 7mm to 4mm, which is a great combination of the thermal protection afforded by neoprene but with a greater consistency of buoyancy at all points of the dive. The outer surface of the high-density neoprene is laminated with a hard-wearing fabric, which offers superior abrasion resistance, while the inside has a smoother lining to aid donning and increase general comfort. There are Supratex linings in critical wear areas, such as under the arms and in the crotch, which provide extra toughness without limiting movement. The shoulders, waist and knees, which are the points that will get maximum wear, there is a Durawear print for additional protection. All of the seams are fused and blindstitched before being taped in the inside, while the outer seams are treated to plasma finishes. The Hydra suit has a traditional cross-shoulder rear-entry zipper, but inside of the usual brass zip, it is a composite YKK dry-xipper – as used in the Argonaut – which is more flexible and lighter in weight.


Fourth Element’s excellent 4mm compressed neoprene dryboots are fitted as standard, and their combo of doublelayer reinforcement, good grip and ergonomic footbed make them exceptionally comfortable. I had been looking forward to trying the Hydra after seeing it in the flesh at previous dive shows, and the production version did not disappoint. It is a smart-looking suit, with nice use of printed graphics, especially the huge Fourth Element logo on the back – you are not going to be missed in this suit! I had not dived in a neoprene suit for a long time, but even by those standards, the Hydra is – by design – a slim-fitting suit. You will not get a thick undersuit under it. I opted for a base layer, but if you wanted additional warmth, you could wear an X-Core vest around your torso. I was not cold after an hour-long dive in 11 degrees C water. The neoprene wrist and neck seals are very comfortable, and I am already a big fan of the Fourth Element dryboots, as they are the same as fitted to my Argonaut. The cut of the boots allows lots of ankle movement for delicate finning actions, and the Velcro-closing webbing strap helps prevent air migration into the feet. That said, the very close fit of the Hydra really keeps air movement to a minimum, and I could


see this making the transition from wetsuit to drysuit not such a daunting process. Even though it is a close-fitting suit, the 4mm compressed neoprene does have some flex to it, and underarm gussets help retain a high degree of movement for this kind of suit. One thing I noticed immediately was the unusual inflate and dump valves. These Apollo Bio-Dry items were completely new to me. I had used a side-inflate valve once in the past, but the vast majority of inflate valves on the market have a push button on the front, so I was surprised to see a hinged side-inflate button on the Hydra. However, while it might be different from the norm, it worked extremely well, and I quickly got used to locating and pressing the lever with my thumb. The shoulder dump was brand new to me. In fact, at first, when I was faffing with the suit fresh out of the bag, I was trying to twist the entire thing to open and close it, before I realised that a small slider was all that was needed to render it open or closed. I have to say, I was a little dubious about this, especially as to how easy it would be to locate and operate this slider when wearing neoprene gloves on cold hands. How wrong was I! In use, I found it very easy to get my finger on to the slider and move it to open or closed, or


wherever I wanted it in between. I was able to easily adjust the deflate rate, and when fully open, it certainly vented nice and fast. It is also a nice, compact design. Overall, I was very impressed by the Hydra. It is comfortable, easy to get on and off, gives you ample movement, and combined with a decent base layer will keep you warm and toasty. This is not a ‘technical diving’ suit. It has some nice features – the comfy boots, the valves, the YKK dry-zipper – but it lacks pockets and some of the other features found on the more-technicalorientated (and more expensive) Argonaut. It is aimed at recreational divers who want to dive in colder waters comfortably, not spend a fortune, and have a good-looking, high-performing suit. And it more than ticks all the boxes on that front. The Hydra comes with a Hydpro Smooth Pro low-pressure hose, which is a braided hose encased in a polyurethane coating, which ensures low friction, flexibility and excellent durability, a 5mm neoprene Fourth Element hood, and a Hydra bag, which doubles up as a changing mat. The nifty Hydra drysuit bag is also available separately.


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It’s seems best to start with a thank you message. During the worst pandemic in a century and an economic downturn that has hurt every one of us financially, RAID has seen unparalleled growth in membership. The number of dive professionals crossing over to the agency, particularly since July, has exceeded all previous records and all expectations. Inevitably, the industry will rebound. The main players may change, and the scope of business may not be exactly what we are used to, but adventure travel, diving, and ecotourism will come back, and with it, interest in the scuba-diving experience. When it does, we’ll be ready to help you plug into that interest. So, thank you for your faith in us and for including RAID in your business plans. One commitment we made to our Dive Centres and professional members was to continue to provide them up-to-date academic training materials and teaching tools. Innovations that leveraged technology, and empathised diver safety and inclusiveness. We believe we’ve done just that. STEVE LEWIS – TRAINING DIRECTOR



TRAINING UPDATES THE ALL-NEW INSTRUCTOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (IDP) We mentioned in the last issue of The Edge about the launch of our new IDP manuals and support materials. As part of the initiative to produce the best possible training and reference materials, this was totally revamped before the Beta launch, and based on initial member feedback, we made some minor adjustments and edits before the ‘real launch’ (One advantage of being a totally online agency is the ability to ask for member feedback from our training panel and respond quickly… and this manual is a good example of that). If you have not checked the IDP out in its new format and contents, do it right now. The course is available in the FREe-Learning platform for anyone registered with RAID. Perhaps the thing we are most excited about is that all our new instructor materials break a mold that’s existed in the diving industry for decades. RAID uses prescriptive teaching. This means that the core of classroom presentations is focused on explaining in detail the information that a student has missed during their academic online sessions. In other words, teaching them only what they have failed to grasp during personal study sessions. However, during an IDP, instructor candidates were asked to include in their presentations information regarding continuing education, equipment ownership, travel and local diving. In conversations and interviews with instructors and instructor trainers, we learned that this caused issues. In fact, we were told that this requirement had even stopped Divemasters from entering an IDP. But perhaps our biggest surprise was that it made Instructor Trainer candidates nervous as well. The question we got asked by them was how do I coach instructor candidates to insert a believable reason to sell equipment, travel and continuing education into a remedial presentation explaining lung overexpansion, or how to effectively manage a dive debriefing, for example? There was the added complication, how do we introduce these topics when a student scores full marks on all the quizzes and on the exams, since in this case, there are no required ‘remedial’ presentations required, and therefore no opportunities to shoe-horn travel, gear, and continuing education promotions into the conversation. With all that in mind we developed three stand-alone workshops that cover the topics of Continuing Education, Dive Travel, and Equipment Sales directly. These are now mandatory workshops as part of all RAID courses, no matter what course is being taught.




Drysuit diving is becoming more and more common, and drysuits are being used in increasingly diverse environments. Gone are the days when drysuit diving was only for the hardcore enthusiast wanting to brave icy waters. Today, good drysuits offer advanced base layer designs and increased buoyancy control, making them suitable for temperate and even tropical waters. Did you ever call a great dive, not because you were bored or time was running out, but just because you felt too cold? We all hate to be beaten by the cold, but in most of the world, cold weather means cold water—and that’s the end of the fun. The arrival of cooler weather signals that it’s time to hang up the dive gear. But it doesn’t have to be that way. RAID is proud to announce that we have partnered with SANTI Diving to produce a brand-specific drysuit training program. SANTI offers a range of premium, handcrafted drysuits, undersuits and heating apparel to extend the possibilities and the joy that diving brings. RAID offers a complete range of online academic programs married to technologically advanced, hands-on diver training that is high quality, safe and inclusive. WHY SANTI? In drysuit design and production, the main challenge is finding the best methods to keep divers safe and dry. SANTI meets that challenge by offering elegance, durability and fit while providing a full range of motion and ensuring a drysuit’s most important feature: THE DIVER MUST STAY DRY. All of these elements are supported by SANTI’s excellent customer service. SANTI connects passion with business, just as we do at RAID. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN Throughout this program, you will learn about: • Drysuit operations • Buoyancy control and inflation systems • Common (and not-so-common) drysuit problems • Drysuit care and maintenance • Thermal protection—the real story • Your comfort zone and how to extend it • Undersuits and heated garments • Hypothermia risk factors • Seals, zips, valves and accessories • Buoyancy and inflation systems GET STARTED Visit to take your diving to the next level.


THE ALL-NEW INSTRUCTOR TRAINER PROGRAMME (ITP) RAID released its last update to the Instructor and Instructor Trainer programmes in 2014. An update was certainly due, so when we launched the new IDP, we included a new manual and support materials for the Instructor Trainer Programme (ITP). Anyone familiar with the old materials we have replaced will immediately notice a huge difference. To begin with, the working manual is NOT a simple cutand-paste from the IDP. Doing that seemed like a wasted opportunity. Instead, we recreated the instructor trainer materials from scratch, and by doing so, we’ve given the men and women training the next generation of RAID instructors (at ALL levels) the best guide to running successful and efficient programmes. The contents include guidance on enrollment prerequisites, a comprehensive list of IT duties, how to run specialty programmes, how to maintain status, and a suggested template for running an IT program, including the structure of core and other modules. Other useful additions are an extensive section on the protocols for delivering instructor crossovers (a growing need in the current market), and comprehensive guidance on the arts of teaching and in-water evaluation.

CROSSOVER Right now, we are offering FREE crossover materials and FREE membership to any Divemaster, instructor, instructor trainer or dive centre crossing over to RAID*. From the business perspective, the reality is that there has never been a better time for professionals accessing their business options in a new reality to crossover to RAID. We have been inundated with requests from professionals who feel their current agencies are not giving them enough value. Because the pandemic is causing so many issues with travel and traditional scuba-training methods, we took the time to design a REMOTe-Training instructor crossover. By taking advantage of our new IDP designs and utilizing advances in technology, we are able to confidently, safely and conveniently bring approved instructors to RAID while maintaining our high standards. Our instructor crossover process involves the use of our online manuals, quizzes and exams. Audio-visual platforms are used to deliver presentations and evaluate academic teaching ability. Skill evaluation is via a seamless, onetake video recording of crossover candidates performing the RAID crossover skill circuit. The RAID crossover is still focused and structured and is not a ‘magic wand’ solution where instructor certifications are awarded without effort. The process is fair and simple, and it helps meet the increased demand from serious professional diving educators who want to join RAID so they can give their students the best possible training at every level. And that’s why this section of the new ITP materials was beefed up and expanded. *This offer may be withdrawn at any time, so take advantage now

WORKSHOPS But perhaps the biggest feature is a whole segment in the new ITP covering the new workshops that every RAID instructor needs to be familiar with. This includes the equipment, continuing education, local diving and travel, nitrox and deep diver workshops. Since these are mandatory content on all RAID courses going into the new year, this segment has been one of the focuses during the development process. A very effective way to make these workshops have the biggest impact with students and instructors alike is to move them as far away from the traditionalstyle tired old presentations so common in our industry. Instead, these will be presented in a role-playing format. This gets everyone involved, and invested in the creative process. More importantly, when directed gently by an instructor or instructor trainer, the results from this type of learning activity are far superior and longer lasting than from the more-traditional slides and lecturing method. One additional note: We have made a change in the suggested use of training





Since we first opened the doors as a training agency, RAID has built a reputation for innovation, agility, and change. That’s the way we think. That’s the way we do business. But few things on our list of “firsts” come close to our online Nitrox Virtual Analyzer. In a response to the need for instructors to teach remotely, and considering the Nitrox course is one of the most popular diver specialties—plus the issues with certifying a diver at that level—we have released the Nitrox Virtual Analyzer app—Powered by RAID. Most nitrox students do not own—or, at least, have easy access to—a nitrox analyzer, and this is the most elegant and simple solution to the problem. Download the app to your mobile device (iOS and Android) now by following the links below and see for yourself. GOOGLE PLAY STORE details?id=ds.VAnalyzer APPLE APP STORE nitrox-virtual-analyzer/id1505174941?mt=8

aids. In times gone past, instructors were asked to use slides, whiteboards and even ‘imaginative aids’. Candidates could only earn a point in this area if they used multiple aids. But how does this fit in with learning and teaching in this day and age; especially following modern teaching methodologies. Well, it doesn’t. RAID has never demanded a classroom, so in that situation, where would an instructor find these aids in a real-life teaching situation. The answer is, they wouldn’t. Therefore, we have removed any reliance on this style of aid from our evaluation process. Instead, to ‘earn a point’, instructor candidates must use the RAID training manuals. Seems so obvious since they can be found on the website, mobile site and also the App. We know instructors and trainers will love this new IDP/ITP format. We will be conducting a series of update webinars for Instructors and Instructor Trainers in the coming weeks. Dates will be announced in the Edge Newsletter. As always, if you have any queries, please contact your local regional office.


We think it’s brilliant, and we hope you do too. Essentially, it’s designed to show divers who have enrolled in a Nitrox course the basic functions of an oxygen analyzer: turnon, calibrate, manage flow, note the result in a nitrox fill log, and apply the results to the dive plan. The Nitrox Virtual Analyzer helps take the mystery out of preparing for a nitrox dive. During a REMOTe-Training session with their instructor— via video conferencing —divers get to see the real thing being demonstrated. Of course, when they actually do a nitrox dive, they will use a real analyzer. At that point, though, they will already be comfortable with its functions. With RAID, and thanks to the Nitrox Virtual Analyzer, divers who earn a certification will have a level of familiarity with checking their gas before using it in the real world. GET STARTED Visit to take your diving to the next level.

RAID offers the perfect route to ‘go pro’ in the diving industry. The Divemaster qualification is the entry-level within the pro system, followed by Instructor, and then Master Instructor, as well as Rebreather Instructor and Tech Instructor. Whatever route your pro journey takes you, RAID has got you covered.





ADVENTURE AND EXPLORATION THROUGHOUT THE AGES “Shipwreck”—what an amazing word. Whether you’re a diver or not, the word conjures up magical images and stories in your imagination, regardless of your age. Pirates, Romans, fighter planes, destroyers, submarines—they’re all there, waiting to be discovered and dived. As wonderful as it is to dive on the outside of a wreck, wouldn’t you like a taste of what’s inside? Could there be treasure? You may not add gold to your bank account, but what you may find on a shipwreck dive will certainly be gold to your soul: passageways, portholes, engine rooms, and so much more. As you dive through the inside of a wreck, you cannot help but imagine what it must have been like to crew or captain that vessel. WE HAVE TWO RECREATIONAL WRECK SPECIALTIES • Wreck Diver for those who want to enjoy the view from outside (no wreck penetration) • Advanced Wreck for those who want to adventure inside (wreck penetration) These wreck specialties are designed to extend your knowledge and skills as a wreck diver, including the best and safest ways to explore the exterior and interior. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN You will learn about safe gear configuration and focus on history, industrial archaeology, and environmental consciousness. You will understand the challenges of finding, getting to, and meeting the special conditions of wrecks, including those that are casualties of war, intentional reefs, or victims of the weather or poor seamanship. You will also learn how to: • Choose appropriate wreck sites. • Recognize hazards and risks. • Recognize and use the appropriate gear for wreck diving, including the use of a two-meter/seven-foot long hose. • Lay line—externally and internally. • Enter the overhead environment without damaging it or yourself. PREREQUISITES Wreck Diver You must: • Be 12 years of age. • Be certified in Open Water 20 or equivalent. Advanced Wreck You must: • Be 15 years of age. • Be certified in Explorer 30 or equivalent. GET STARTED Visit to take your diving to the next level.


So, with the launch of a new IDP and ITP, it followed that we had to rethink the accompanying instructor manuals for confined and open water. The new Playbook is the result of that rethink and, we think, it is the biggest innovation we’ve come up with in a year of innovations. The Playbook replaces both the old Confined and Open Water Instructor Guides and contains instructor guidelines for RAID’s Core Programmes – Open Water 20, Explorer 30, Advanced 35, and Master Rescue, and as mentioned, has been reimagined and reworked from scratch. Moreover, the feedback for our beta-testers in that is in now an invaluable teaching resource for new and experienced instructors alike. There is an expansive introduction, a full listing of the skills specific to each dive and each programme - including skill objectives, values and student actions - and, of course, vital teaching tips for each and every core level skill. It is an innovative and fresh approach to scuba instruction. In addition to sections explaining how to teach basic skills (there is a new ‘how to’ on teaching buoyancy for instance) and a breakdown of which skills apply to which courses, there are suggestions on how to introduce these skills to students, and tips on common errors that students make. This will make prep for a class easier for instructors since the relevant information is easier than ever to reference. There is also a section on the differences between skills and drills and an explanation about passes and failures. Overall, the Playbook layout is clean, logical, and flows perfectly. As a ‘course planner’ it is unparalleled and is an essential ‘how to’ for instructors running RAID Core Programmes. All in all, we think the Instructor Playbook is one of the finest resources for new instructors (and more experienced ones, too), and we plan to introduce the Playbook format as we update existing instructor materials, and develop new ones going forward.





There is nothing quite like the bubble-free silence of a rebreather and its ability to extend your time underwater. The Liberty is available in many different variations and is customizable, so you will definitely find a unit to suit your needs. The Liberty is a designed as the perfect companion for the technical and expedition diver, which is why RAID is proud to offer the most up-to-date training materials for the Liberty Sidemount and the various Liberty backmount configurations.


Although RAID has offered the Liberty programme for some time, we are tirelessly committed to constant improvement and development. With that said, RAID is relaunching updated materials that reflect not only the outstanding improvements that Divesoft have done to the Liberty, but also the most up-todate rebreather training methodology. There is still so much to explore in the underwater world, why not explore with the rebreather built with exploration in mind. Whether it’s the Sidemount or the Backmount version that interests you, RAID has a programme for you.


During the Liberty certification programme, you will learn about: • The benefits of CCR diving • How to assemble your CCR safely • Buoyancy Control • Maintenance • Planning CCR dives • Water entry and exits • History of CCR diving • Dealing with emergencies • Safe descents and ascents • Post-dive care


You must: • Be a minimum of 18 years old. • Minimum of 50 Logged Dives. • Be certified as a RAID Master Rescue Diver or equivalent. • Be certified as a RAID Deco 40 Diver or equivalent.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER— SPREAD THE LOAD Regular scuba and twinsets, although convenient, can be quite cumbersome, especially out of the water. If you have back issues or are smaller in stature, they can be a real pain. Wearing cylinders on your sides not only makes entries and exits incredibly convenient—you can take the cylinder to the water’s edge and put it on in the water— but when wearing double sidemount cylinders, you build in a degree of accessibility and redundancy that is unparalleled in open circuit scuba. So, sidemount is easier on the back, easier to manage valves and regulators, and it is simple to pack up for travel. What’s not to love? For every diver, removing the cylinder on your back and putting it on your side reduces drag, conserves gas, increases dive time, and magnifies the senses you get of freedom and flying. This is why sidemount diving is one of the biggest and most popular trends in scuba. In fact, it’s so popular that you can do the course as an Open Water 20 diver or even during your Open Water 20 training. The RAID Sidemount Diver program is a modern one, designed around up-to-date techniques, proven practices, and current innovations in equipment. Moreover, it was written by instructors, who have used sidemount gear to enjoy recreational dives; by key members of technical expeditions; and to explore unvisited sections of the world’s most challenging wrecks and caves. So, if you are interested in applying sidemount practice to your diving, come and speak to the experts. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN As part of this extremely flexible program, you will learn: • How to certify using single and double sidemount configurations • Several styles of sidemount diving configurations • How redundancy increases safety • Recreational and technical applications PREREQUISITES You must:


This certification option is aimed at an open circuit, or certified rebreather diver who wishes to learn how to safely use the Liberty rebreather in a morefamiliar configuration.

• Be a minimum of 12 years old. • Be certified in Open Water 20 or equivalent. Note: The RAID Sidemount Diver program may be combined with the Open Water 20 course. Also, it is not a decompression or overhead program, but it may be combined with other advanced programs. GET STARTED Visit to take your diving to the next level.


This certification option is aimed at the certified rebreather diver that wants to utilize a sidemount rebreather for either as a primary rebreather in sidemount configuration, or as a second back-up rebreather for exploration diving.





PUT SOME ‘DASH’ IN YOUR DIVES RECREATIONAL DECO DIVING— NO FUSS, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. What is the worst signal you can ever be given on a dive where you’re having fun? It’s the “thumbs up” signal. It tells you that the fun is nearly over, and it means that you are going to have to head back to the surface. Even though you’re a Nitrox and Deep 40 diver and are super comfortable in the water, you just keep hitting that no decompression limit—especially when you’re a bit deeper—even though you have tons of gas left. Frustrating, right? Well, we have the answer for you. Our Deco 40 program is specifically designed for recreational divers that want to stay underwater just a little bit longer. With minimal kit adjustments, you can safely learn the basics of limited decompression diving. Decompression diving often has little to do with diving deeper. Sometimes, it’s simply about staying down longer. Let’s say your favorite wreck sits in 35 meters/115 feet of water, staying within the NDLs built into your computer gives you barely enough bottom time to say hello before it’s time to head back to the surface. With decompression training, you’ll have time to stay for a real conversation. We believe the benefits of conducting decompression dives should be available to every diver that’s interested—not just an elite few. Our commitment to stay at the forefront of diver training really shows in our Deco 40 program. Of course, Deco 40 dives also count as credit toward the Deco 50 program, should you fall in love with technical diving. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN This course is a sensible bridge between recreational and technical diving. You will learn how to: • Use traditional recreational equipment. • BCD or wing needs to have D-rings capable of attaching a stage cylinder. • Dive with a two-meter/seven-foot primary regulator hose for safety. • Dive to a maximum depth of 40 meters/130 feet. • Use any optional combination of air, nitrox, trimix, and oxygen. • Complete a maximum of 10 minutes’ decompression. PREREQUISITES You must: • Be a minimum 18 years old. • Have been a certified diver for at least three months. • Be certified as a RAID Nitrox and RAID Deep 40 diver or equivalent. • Have a minimum of 20 logged hours underwater or 40 dives using open circuit. GET STARTED Visit to take your diving to the next level.



The thrill of speeding through the water behind a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is an experience that really gets your blood racing. Using a DPV provides divers both immense fun and the means to achieve goals that would be impossible without their use. RAID is proud to announce the new twotier DPV training programme. The DPV certification covers everything you need to know about using and looking after a DPV in a recreational diving environment. The Advanced DPV certification adds skills such as complex navigation and use of longhose configurations to add some spice to more advanced dives.


Launching this new programme is a general reflection on RAID’s commitment to giving our members, and the diving public, the most current and useful training aids. It’s apparent that recreational and technical divers are using DPVs to access sites that would be difficult to reach and explore using traditional propulsion methods; to help propel large amounts of heavy equipment; to increase the safety of dives in areas of strong current; or just for the pure exhilaration of shooting through the water at speed and performing underwater acrobatics. By extending your capabilities and extending your range, using a DPV opens new vistas for exploration and fun.


During the DPV certification programme, you will learn about: • How DPVs were developed • How a DPV is constructed • Battery types and management • Maintenance • Planning DPV dives • Water entry and exits • Buoyancy control when using a DPV • Driving skills • Navigation • Team positioning • Gas sharing • Dealing with emergencies • Safe descents and ascents • Post-dive care During the Advanced DPV certification programme, you will add the following topics to the DPV certification: • Advanced navigation techniques • Additional skills for diving a long-hose configuration using a DPV


You must: • Be a minimum of 12 years old. • Be certified as RAID Open Water 20, Junior Open Water or equivalent.


This certification option is aimed at the recreational diver who wishes to learn how to use a DPV to enhance their diving by using mainly natural navigation.


This certification option is available to anyone who is familiar with long-hose configuration, has logged a minimum of 20 dives and is certified as Navigation specialty divers. This certification option is aimed at the slightly more experienced diver with pre-existing navigational training and diving on a single, twin or sidemount set-up with a long-hose. Although this level is slightly more challenging, the more-advanced navigation exercises provide an important base for more complex types of DPV diving within a team.




YOUR TICKET TO INNERSPACE How many times have you really looked at something so beautiful that it took your breath away? How many times have you looked around at your buddy and realized that, in the whole history of the world, there have only been a handful of people who have traveled to that place? Cave diving gives this kind of unparalleled experience every time. RAID’s cave diving program was written by people who have spent years sharing their love of the overhead environment with people like you. It has been their life’s work to train people to safely explore places that are incredibly stunning and unique—where the tracks of rain that fell thousands of years ago are traced in limestone formations


Once again, RAID has lived up to its promise to ‘expand products and service for our members and dive centres’. The Ocean Reef Full Face Mask Specialty programme is a really exciting and versatile addition to the agency’s expanding online curriculum.


Ocean Reef is one of the most-respected manufacturers of full-face masks in the world! This programme leverages that respect and reliability, plus couples in with RAID’s commitment to technology and innovation. This new FFM course offers divers and instructors added comfort, expanded vision, safety and the potential to communicate verbally with other divers, back to the shore or boat.


The Ocean Reef FFM Specialty is a stand-alone programme open to any diver certified as an Open Water 20 diver or above. The programme involves a thorough grounding of the Ocean Reef FFM design and set-up, its features and benefits, plus mastery of the required skills to safely dive this specific full face mask. One of the many features of FFM diving is the ability for the instructor to communicate directly and clearly with their students, in the pool or open water, during skills development for any core program. This is also applicable for specialty and technical courses and in addition where the FFM certification can be offered as a bolt-on to that existing course. This programme was developed by RAID in agreement with Ocean Reef.

RAID’s Cave 1 and Cave 2 Diver programs were created with a fresh and realistic approach to modern diving techniques and equipment. They take overhead diving to a level that sets our cave divers apart from the pack. Cave diving has always been considered a pinnacle diver program. The overhead environment demands respect and the sharpest technique. Without training, an overhead can swiftly become threatening and confusing. With training, caves are beautiful, intriguing challenges that reward certified cave divers with an unrivaled experience. History, geology, timeless and unique. If you agree, you should be cave diving the RAID way. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN • New student materials that reflect modern best practices • No cavern prerequisites • Making safety fun and accessible • Setting the bar higher • Comprehensive progression from Cave 1 Diver to Cave 2 Diver • Penetration of up to 300 meters/1000 feet for Cave 1 Diver; no limit in Cave 2 Diver PREREQUISITES Cave 1 Diver You must: • Be a minimum of 18 years old. • Be a certified diver for at least 3 months. • Be certified in RAID Nitrox, Deep 40, and Master Rescue Diver (or equivalent) and have experience in Navigation and Night and Limited Visibility diving. • Be certified in RAID First Aid and Oxygen Provider or equivalent. • Have logged 50 hours underwater or 75 dives using open circuit. Cave 2 Diver In addition to the Cave 1 prerequisites, you must: • Be certified as a RAID Cave 1 Diver or equivalent. • Be certified in RAID Deco 50 or equivalent. • Have logged at least 10 Cave 1 dives beyond training. GET STARTED Visit to take your diving to the next level.


You must: • Be a minimum of 12 years old. • Be certified as a RAID Open Water 20 Diver or equivalent.



TRAINING UPDATES UPDATES TO RAID TECHNOLOGY TRAINING PLATFORM Over the last three months, the information technology team have been hard at work upgrading our technology platform. Since there are more mobile phone contracts than there are humans in this world, we have decided on a ‘mobile first’ approach to our technology platform. This means we are designing everything to work on a mobile device as a priority, which will actually make working on a desktop even faster. We are presently moving our system from our classic site – - to our new site – - and we encourage you to start using the mobi site when working as a student, Divemaster, instructor, trainer or dive centre. Most of the features have been replicated on the mobi site, but some are still in the process of being moved. We are positive you will enjoy the new look and feel, and you will notice immediately, how quick and responsive the new platform is. Let us now have a look at some of the cool new features - we KNOW you will enjoy the new platform.

MEDICAL QUESTIONNAIRE – MANDATORY PAPERWORK You may be aware that earlier in 2020, a new Diver Medical Participant Questionnaire was created by the Diver Medical Screen Committee in association with the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, DAN (US), DAN Europe, and the Hyperbaric Medical Division, University of California, San Diego, and has recently been formally adopted by many councils and training agencies. RAID’s technical team have done an amazing job loading up this new medical to the mobi site. It has been designed to be a much-simpler process for completing the medical and most importantly, it is extremely current and even addresses COVID-19. In addition, the Safe Diving Practices and Liability Release form have been loaded into the same area. The mostimportant upgrade feature is that these three mandatory paperwork forms can be filled in at any time. This means that should a student change dive centres or instructor, become ill during training, participate in a referral or any one of the many reasons new paperwork may be requested, it can be done quickly, and paper-free, via the mobi site. Access to this section is achieved via logging in and using the ‘profile’ menu option.


We were challenged with making registration as a RAID diver easier and this was achieved by making the registration a singlestep process rather than the three-step process registration used on the classic site. As we move forward in 2021, we will streamline this process even further.



When you use the mobi site you will see that we have colour coded the user interface. When logged in as a diver, the interface colour is blue, when logged in as a professional it is orange, and finally, when logged in as a dive centre, it is green.


At present, the mobi site is only available in English and we apologize for this, but as we move into the New Year, the site will be translated into all the languages we presently offer. However, all the course materials, quizzes, exams and skill sign offs are multilingual.


We have added a menu option for FREe-Learning which allows much easier navigation to the courses offered. We have improved the FREe-Learning platform so that when a diver chooses a FREe-Learning course, they can now allocate a dive centre and the dive centre can allocate an instructor. This means that during these challenging times, instructors can conduct REMOTe-Training academic sessions for almost any course that they are certified to teach. When the student and instructor are able to meet and begin the in-water phase, then the course must be allocated to the student by the dive center so that the exam, skills and certification can be processed. This is a massive boost for dive centres challenged by seasonal effects or travel restrictions. It is a fantastic marketing drive that has been developed for the future, not just for the present challenge of Coronavirus.


Downloading courses and manuals is now much quicker and the user experience has been modernized and streamlined.



SUUNTO D5 If we can ascend the highest mountains and descend to the deepest depths, we can certainly make the most of this temporary situation for the greater good. Stay safe. Stay home. Stay strong Suunto Diving UK