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Deep Cave Dive at Song Hong, Thailand

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There’s a certain feeling that arises when tying into the end of a deep cave line.  As you are laying new line in virgin cave, there’s this unmistakable burst of adrenaline being injected into your system. You can feel your heartbeat, your synapses sharpen and you can clearly hear every sound, click and hiss the rebreather makes.

This time is no different.

Mike Gadd had a double scooter failure in Song Hong around the 135m mark as the pressure had made the o-rings squeeze the propeller axe to a halt.

I decide to scooter to 120m to save time, drop the scooter, then swim to the last tie off.
It takes me only 8 minutes to arrive at the end of the line at 153m, the same one Pekka and myself laid a good half year ago.

The video showed a drop into a black void. I tie off into the last arrow and start laying out line. The viz isn’t that good, around 20meters as opposed to the 40m in the shallower parts and the drop isn’t that steep. Instead I’m facing a lunar landscape of rocks strewn around on a perfectly polished beach.

I negotiate my way between the rocks whilst tying off every 10m.

After another 8 minutes, the bottom seems to go up again and I decide I’m far enough for now. My double twenty litre stage tanks allow for a 20 minute swim back to the 90m mark. I also carry two 300 bar carbon tanks on my butt d-ring. As they are positively buoyant, they carry a bit of the weight of all the equipment. I make a final tie off at 177M just above a small hole. I cut the line, place an arrow and start swimming back. With one hand freed, I can now turn on my 11000Lumenvideo light to look at the bottom. In the bottom of the landscape I see multiple black holes which are just too small to swim through. The question is, where are these holes going? Is there another passage below this level?

DCIM103GOPRO

Then in the corner of my eye I see something crawl away. 5m further I see something else and I move closer. A white-pink millipede-like worm crawls over the sandy bottom. It’s about 2 inches long. Yes, it is just a worm, but, in 6 years of diving in song hong, I have never seen any living creature below 25m. Thermoclines and different dissolved gasses make it basically impossible for any creature to sustain life below these levels, except for some bacteria clusters feeding off hydrogen sulphide and Co2…. yet, at these depths, there is this worm having its own empire.

I make my way back past the 150m mark and face a dilemma; both my computers show completely different decompression stops/profiles. My plan correlates most with my old computer, but I don’t want to ‘bend’ my other computer, so I start doing the deep stops. First stop is at 126m… 15 minutes later, I’m still crawling with 3m increments and only just past the 100m mark. My other computer has now added another hour of deco; 6 hours to go. Not good. I won’t be home in time for dinner, so I decide to fall back on my old trusted computer and my plan. 5 minutes later the first computer tells me I’m dead, whereas I see a little smiley face on the older one.

Miscommunication with the support crew means that my back up air supply is not at the 50m mark as discussed. The briefing was too hastily done and I curse myself for not having written it down.

DCIM103GOPRO

I had a light trimix in my drysuit to keep me a little cool during all the finning at the bottom, but I’m now cooling down rapidly. The air tank also had my isotonic drinking bag on it and I start to get cramp in my right foot. This is mainly because of loss of fluids and salts, but also because of the vasoconstrictive effect high oxygen exposure has on your extremities, limiting blood flow.

As I arrive too late at the rendezvous point, I just catch a glimpse of the safety diver, who quickly signals an ok sign with his torch and disappears. He has been waiting at the 50m mark longer than anticipated because of the extra deco my computer gave.
Finally, at the 20m marker I get my air and my fluids. I feel warm and hydrated within 15 minutes and back on the happy track.

Ben R Photo 3

Once at the 12m area, I can offload most tanks on the custom platforms that are cable suspended at 12 and 9m with a habitat/bell at 8m of depth.

After 4 hours I finally reach the habitat. Cameron helps me to get out of my rebreather and into the habitat, where I start breathing pure oxygen. The air in the habitat is being ‘cleaned’ with a custom scrubber and a computer fan powered by a motorbike battery.

I’m out of the water waist up, my pee valve is below the surface and a big catfish keeps me company on the seat next to me, attracted to what comes out of the pee valve. Multivitamins and electrolytes tend to colour urine fluorescent yellow and I wonder if that is it what attracts the catfish. He remains unfazed as I’m being served hot lasagna… I forgot to put a spoon in the bag and try to scoop the lasagne with the lid of the box. Next time Cameron surfaces inside the habitat he pictures a massacre as my face is covered with lasagne and he nearly chokes in his regulator.

After another 2 hours I crawl back into my rebreather and slowly surface. I get a mild pain in my knees when surfacing, something I had as well on the 239m dive after 3 hours in the habitat. I guess my knees should keep moving during deco instead of sitting down to promote the helium getting out of my joints. The pain goes away quickly; I crawl into the truck and fall asleep.

Ben R Main article photo and thumbnail

Max depth; 177
Runtime: 366minutes
Number of gasses carried: 7

At this moment, the shape of the main tunnel remains a mystery. Earlier dives revealed another drop below the ‘slope’ that characterises both sides of the tunnel. If so, then the tunnel would have the shape of a ‘keyhole’, with a much deeper bottom. The width measured on a scooter (very inaccurate) is roughly 200m, where the height is approx. 100m. Rather vast.

Ben Reymenants’ passion for diving began in 1982 with inspiration from the classic James Bond movie, ‘For Your Eyes Only’, where divers salvage a computer hidden in a shipwreck. He has been diving in Fiji, Bonaire, Egypt, Tenerife, Thailand, France, Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia and Scotland. Having begun his dive training with CMAS, Ben is now a Technical Diving Instructor Trainer for PADI, SSI, TDI and IART for all levels (his highest level is IT for CCR Cave Level IV). He can teach tech courses in 5 different languages. Ben and his partner Simone currently own and run Blue Label Diving in Phuket, Thailand. In addition to Phuket, Blue Label Diving has facilities in Bangkok, Brisbane (Australia), Bunaken and Lembeh (Indonesia). Blue Label Diving teach technical diver training from Sidemount to CCR Rebreather down to deep trimix and Cave Courses. For more information, visit www.bluelabeldiving.com.

Competitions

WIN one of the NEW Momentum M20 Dive Watches!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Nautilus Diving to give away one of Momentum’s new M20 Dive Watches as a prize!

Leading watch brand Momentum has introduced the new M20 series of watches. The new collection includes the M20 DSS Diver with a classic black dial, or striking Bahama yellow dial, and the M20 GMT Diver in a black & blue “Batman” version.

The M20 Dive watch features a solid 316L stainless steel case that is beautifully rounded and polished, taking its design cues from our original 1990’s Aquamatic model. The case is just under 42mm in diameter, but the smooth curves make it feel much smaller. Style, performance and unmatched comfort on the wrist.

The M20’s elegant yet durable design allows it to be worn in almost any situation. It has a 200M depth rating along with an off-set screw-down crown for added comfort.

The M20’s are also very legible, with its double-dome sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating there is virtually no glare. At night, the SuperLuminova luminous dial and hands come to life, a vital feature for serious divers where light may not reach certain depths.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can find here), we reported that the Women Divers Hall of Fame have announced the selection of how many new members who will constitute the Class of 2021?

Is it:

  • A) five
  • B) six
  • C) seven

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Nautilus Diving Momentum M20 Dive Watch October 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Nautilus Diving and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. Your information will be shared with the competition's sponsor unless you tick the opt out box. This competition closes on 09/12/20. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Dive Training Blogs

5 Easy Steps For Choosing A Scuba Diving Center You’ll LOVE! (Watch Video)

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How do you pick which dive operation wins your money for your scuba diving vacation? If you only get to dive on vacation, you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth and getting experiences you enjoy. That’s why we are giving you our easy 5-step process for filtering out dive centers and narrowing down your selection to find the scuba team you want to be diving with!

In this example–driven video, we are showing you our procedure for how we pick our scuba dive operator. In this case, I use the island of Barbados, as I’ve actually never been scuba diving there.

THANK YOU so much to EVERYONE who is a part of this great community. We promise we have so much more planned for this channel. We’re going to keep spreading information and positivity to the Scuba Divers around the world! IMPROVE. INSPIRE. EXPLORE.


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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Spend 7 nights at the Cinco Plazas Apartments, Lanzarote with flights and 5 days diving from just £625pp with Diverse Travel this winter.  Travel 12th November - Spaces are limited - contact us now to book. Other dates available.

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