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Cave divers defend sport after deaths at Eagle’s Nest Sink



Darrin Spivey, 35, and his son Dillon Sanchez, 15, died while cave diving at Eagle’s Nest Sink in Citrus County on Christmas Day. Since then, questions have been raised about whether to close the dive site and cave diving in general.

The dive equipment found on the father and son showed a dive depth of 233 feet, well below the maximum 60 feet permitted by Spivey’s open-water certification.

Sanchez was not certified.

Chester Spivey Jr., Darrin’s father and Dillon’s grandfather, wrote a letter at the end of December to the state asking the park be closed. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said they have no plans to close the site.

Many cave divers believe it’s a safe sport and dive to experience an alternate reality.

“I go cave diving, believe it or not, to relax,” said Rod O’Connor, who travelled from Tampa to dive at Blue Grotto Dive Resort in Williston. “There’s a misconception that it’s for adrenaline seekers, and that’s not the case.”

Jeff Cary has been on more than 1,000 dives, many of them into Florida’s unexplored underwater caves, with nothing but a dive light, his equipment and sometimes a friend.

“Everybody has had dreams of flying, and that’s what it is,” said Cary, after a dive at Blue Grotto Dive Resort in Williston on a recent Saturday morning. “It’s a chance to let your mind clear and experience your body in a totally different environment,”

International Training Director for the National Association of Cave Divers, Rob Neto, believes all diver deaths are due to faulty equipment or divers going beyond the limits of their certifications.

“With the proper training, it’s an extremely safe sport,” he said.

He said the two men experienced the phenomenon Jacques Cousteau called “the martini effect”.

“Every 50 feet is equivalent to one martini, and they were almost five martinis deep,” he explained. “That’s how debilitated they were.”

About 50 percent of diver deaths happen at less than 50 feet from the water’s surface, according to DAN’s Annual Diving Report. Since 1970, reported deaths in the U.S. and Canada have ranged between 40-160 annually.

O’Connor does not believe the dive site should be closed.

“That’s equivalent of somebody going to Dick’s Sporting Goods, buying a pair of skis, taking off down the black diamond of a ski slope and then wanting to shut down the mountain after they smack into a tree,” O’Connor said. “You know, you don’t blame the mountain.”



Photo: Jeff Cary


Roots Red Sea is the Travelers’ Choice



There is a remote spot on the coast of the Egyptian Eastern Desert that has been steadily developing an enviable reputation amongst the worlds diving community. It’s absolutely no surprise then that Roots Red Sea has just received TripAdvisors top award, Travelers Choice, the 10th year running it has been recognised with awards from TripAdvisor!

With a passing glance, many divers have dismissed a visit to this gem, its rustic appearance and remote location seemingly enough to deter further consideration. However, those that take a closer look have been rewarded with simply a totally unique experience with awesome diving, an unbelievable welcome and life long memories.

Winning an award once could be luck, every year for 10 years, there has to be a reason. Why not go to find out what it is?

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Miscellaneous Blogs

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Nays Baghai



Gemma and Ian chat to Nays Baghai. Inspired by The Blue Planet as a child, Nays’ work as an underwater cinematographer and photographer has been showcased by numerous premier brands, including Rolex and Sony Alpha.  Nays was featured amongst the Top 30 finalists of the Australasian Top Emerging Photographers competition in the Portfolio and Animal categories. He is a PADI-certified Freediving Instructor and Master Scuba Diver, and can dive to 40m both with and without tanks.

Have a listen here:

Find out more:

Find more podcast episodes and information at the new  website and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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A luxurious dive resort in the heart of Lembeh Strait. Enjoy refined services while exploring the rich waters of Indonesia.

The resort is nestled around an ocean front deck and swimming-pool (with pool-bar) which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner cocktail at the end of a busy day of critter-diving.

All accommodation is full board and includes three sumptuous meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals and in the evening dining is a la carte.

Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email

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