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Talking Tech
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Far from the diving crowd...
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Getting away from the recreational diver crowds and reaching technical. however, the mental challenge of tech is also appealing
the parts that few divers explore around the egyptian red sea, to experienced divers searching for the ‘what next?’ Planning and
technical diving is becoming increasingly popular among visiting executing the bottom time, gas requirements and decompression
divers. red sea-based technical instructor Cath Bates looks at stops can be somewhat more rewarding than just plopping in for
some of the treats on offer underwater in egypt for those who take an hour or until you reach 50 bar. Equipment configuration requires
the extended plunge. care and attention, not always in the manner of an obsessive train-
spotter, but you do need to get it spot on for reasons of discipline and
As a busy TdI (Technical diving International) instructor, I have come organisation.
to see a pattern in who is to become my next client. Most of my
students are usually instructors looking for their next fix or repeat Many course skills stem from the cave diving community. These
visitors who are in search of that pinnacle dive. For those who aren’t can be tough and humbling but teach us to respect the deep and
put off by the twin-set dive deck-huggers and want to see what else its potential dangers and to recognise our limits within. Yes, us
the red sea can offer, technical diving offers unique underwater instructors are going to whip your butt into shape, but this is your
experiences. life-support and it can feel pretty lonely surrounded by all that blue.
A one and a half hour dive on the Thistlegorm; a two-tank scooter decompression is not a dirty word. Just imagine not having to keep
ride across the saddle to Woodhouse reef; the wall of shark up with the group or having that pre-drift dive rush to the back
observatory looming up like a moon landing; and then there’s platform. It’s a world where the only bubbles for the first 0 minutes
the back of Jackson reef where the mast of the lara impregnates are yours and your guides’, where you don’t get your hair caught
the Bombay sapphire gin blue. here you have the best chance of in your snorkel, where the fish come to check you out, and where
seeing the resident scalloped hammerhead schools at depth. When you can accept the invitation as a deep crevice calls. As TdI says ‘We
surrounded with curious and majestic hammerheads, you know that surface only because we must!’
diving doesn’t get much better.
one of my fellow instructors loves the thrill of a 20m per minute
The eerie light of Thomas canyon is a triumph for any newly qualified descent (not a necessity but fun all the same). Another hasn’t had to
decompression procedures diver. Passing under the first arch and buy dive accessories for a year since he knows the best equipment
watching your bubbles skim the boulder is a beautiful sight. looking store is at 45m (below those popular entry and exit points). We
around, you then realise that for another rainy day there is another even have an advanced trimix-qualified videographer whose 140m
45m plus to be achieved. In the ras Mohammed National Park, the housing receives plenty of attention from the private dVd technical
Jackfish Alley satellite reef drop off is a hive of pelagic activity at its market.
the corner. Marlin, mantas, grey reefs and a hammerhead have all
been spotted by our deco divers here this year. And no matter what The main reason we tool ourselves with tech – in the words of
season on Jackfish, there is always a satisfying freefall to be had into captain kirk’s log – is simply to go where fewer divers have been
the crack of the reef’s canyon. before.
The walls and drop offs of the Northern red sea offer an impressive cath Bates is part of the technical team at camel dive club in sharm
argument for why an increasing number of divers are deciding to turn el sheikh (www.cameldive.com).
22 www.cdws.travel
Issue  october / November 2009
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