Then and Now: How learning to dive has changed
Do you want to learn Scuba Diving, read this first:
Today’s instructors are teaching in a different academic environment than past years.
More than 25 years ago the diving community was led by oils companies, a handful of few small civil communities and Navy.
The oil companies invested a lot in researched, in developing technical procedures for deep diving, as a consequence they were jealous of sharing their advancement. Some examples of these secrets are decompression tables, the use of mixed gases, the scientific knowledge of the human underpressure, tools used, etc.
In the same manner the civil efforts were treated as sects by the rest of the diving community, and for some reason, in short time they not only liked it but encouraged more or less their own club members to behave in such manner.
All of these knowledge was build with “great commitment by those civil pioneers”. So you should know that, what you take for granted today, costed a lot. People died or got ill building the knowledge that we have today.
But what changed along the way?
With the incoming technology didn’t require that divers go under extreme pressure. Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) enter the scene and the oils company begun to take less attention on researching and establishing new procedures for divers.
Then civil divers took the lead in research and exploration due to lack of incentives in the oil companies. Renowned physiologist commenced to collaborate with them, going even further than the oil companies went in those glorious days.
The era of civil explorations was at its peak!
One of those pioneers was Sheck Exley, he wrote several books and hundreds of articles about caves and deep diving, his uncanny persistence for knowledge and development diving skills lead him to become on of the greatest divers ever existed.
For example, he achieved a world record penetration of over two water miles during an eleven and a half hour solo dive in 1990. His custom Trimix decompression tables made for 238 m by the best diving physiologist at the time, R.W Bill Hamilton, called for eleven different Trimix blends and 52 decompression stops, exposed the complexity of this kind experimental diving at the time.
But when you’re an explorer and for the first time trying to develop technical procedures, equipment and so on for a highly extreme conditions, it’s possible that deadly incidents can occur and that is what happened to him. At the end he died doing what he loved.
In the other hand, the Navy made a lot of investigation, for example Capt. Edward Deforest Thalmann led some of the most interesting research of the US Navy. A modified “Thalmann Algorithm” is into the Cochran Navy Computer (which for me it’s till today one of the most finest diving computer out there).
Today, Diving agencies and manufacturers make possible that you can dive easily, even technical or rebreathers. All the diving-industry is collaborating to make diving a feasible business at the level of competing with other sports or recreational activities. Nevertheless, scientists, archaeologists, policies, firefighters and explorers still are going out there, doing what they’re supposed to be doing, changing the game!
Be delighted watching these wonderful photographs from Andrew Penny Collection of Boesmansgat Cave, August 1993.