Details will soon be available here of my next major dive, as it happens. From the 4th Jan 2005, a daily update will be posted giving you details of how we are progressing. Thanks go to Derek Hughes for doing that for me. In the mean time, a few details.
This will be the body recovery of Deon Dreyer at Boesmansgat. The dive is in the late stages of planning now, and will take place between the 4th and 12th January, 2005. Many people are involved and the project is quite big.. Don Shirley (IANTD Southern Africa) is doing the bulk of the co-ordination, for which I am most grateful.
The dive will be unique and huge. I plan on spending up to 5 minutes at 270m recovering the body. That will equate to a 680 minute dive on CCR. If I have to bailout the dive will extend to 764 minutes. The bailout gas will involve 19 x 11.4lt tanks, using 7 different mixes. If all goes to plan I will still be flushing onto the 7 different mixes on the ascent. The deepest bailout tanks will be at 150m. I will carry 4 x 11.4lt tanks with me so as to have sufficient gas to get from 270m to 150m. At the bottom, one tank will last just 3-4 minutes.
All my bailout tanks are equipped with either Scubapro X650 regs or TX100 regs. The X650 breathes brilliantly at great depth, and the TX100's also work well at 200m, the deepest I have ever breathed them. With luck I will have to use none of them on this dive.
The support diver team is made up of the following ...Don Shirley, Lo Vingerling, Dusan Stojacovic, Mark Andrews, Steven Sander, Peter Herbst, Gerhard Du Preez. All these divers will be using Closed Circuit Rebreathers. Derek Hughes, who will be filming in the shallower depths will be on Open Circuit.
On the surface are many people, and they will be acknowledged as soon as I know who they all are. At last count there were 25 in various roles. We are also grateful to a number of sponsors, and they will also be acknowledged in due course. Thank you one and all.
Once on the bottom, I have to cut Deon out of his dive harness, place him in a body bag (custom built), hook a strong wire line to the dive gear, get back to the drop line with the body bag and the other end of the line fastened to the dive gear, hook that line to the drop line, and than start my ascent, with the body. Quite a lot to achieve in 5 minutes. The priority will be the body, and then the gear. If I have trouble ascending with the body I will fasten the body bag to the line to the surface and it can be pulled up later. Assuming the ascent with the body works ok, I will pass the body to Don Shirley when he meets me at 220m on my ascent. He will take it up to the next support diver at 170m, who will take it up to 120m and so on. Thus Deon will be out of the water many hours before me.
While on deco, the support divers will be visiting me every now and again to see if I am ok. They will provide me with drinks and food as required. This I will partake of while on airbreaks. From 15m up I will have airbreaks every 30 minutes. After an airbreak I will breath 100% O2 on open circuit to flush my system of air before going back onto the rebreather (when at 6m or above of course). Below 6m I will flush my system with 50% O2 OC gas. My first airbreak will be about 315 minutes into the dive. The last stop at 3m will be about 140 minutes long.
On the surface, 70m up from the actual cave entrance we will have a portable two man recompression chamber. This unit is capable of taking a diver down to 90m. Large quantities of gas are required in the event of a major decompression incident. We will have over 50 x 50lt cylinders of Helium and 14 of Oxygen, just in case. To get the diver from the cave entrance to the chamber a mine rescue team will be on standby. They have the equipment to get the diver quickly up the 70m and into the chamber. We also will have a doctor and other medical staff and equipment on hand.
As you can see, the planning task is significant.
More to come as I get time......