Free Dive shoot in the Bahamas

22 May

Hey Blog readers, I am afraid Sally is really busy at the moment so you have to put up with me for a blog, I know I suck at writing blogs, but Roger is too busy to do it, Billy is eating grass again so I am afraid it’s just me.

We have been super busy this Month which is fantastic news especially as we are officially in Low season and just about to enter our dreaded Hurricane season and how time flies, just seems like yesterday we were pulling the boats out for our vacation…

Good news with Hurricane season, predictions are for a calmer, quieter year than in the past, fingers crossed.

April was a very interesting month for me. I was asked to provide some technical information for a project in the Bahamas and after some email exchanges it soon became clear that I was needed on the project.

Some of you may or may not know the relationship between Richard Stevenson, Sally and I.

I was working for Rich at Deep Blue Diving in Plymouth when he sent me to Egypt as the dive leader of the club trip, and this is when I met Sally who was diving there as a member of the dive club.

Rich now owns Diving and Marine Solutions in Ivybridge, Devon and he was asked by CBS 60 Minutes if he could film William Trubridge on his World Record attempt Free dive to 125 meters (410feet) at Deans Blue Hole, long Island Bahamas – the deepest Blue Hole in the World.

125 meters to Richard is deep, but using the right tools for the job doesn’t pose too many problems to him. So I was to provide some Technical support to Rich during the shoot.

My dad always used to say “Just remember the 5 P’s, Perfect Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance” and it’s very true, so you now know why I am such a perfectionist!

It’s amazing, when you watch a 12 minute Documentary on TV, you have absolutely no idea what goes into the project, the planning, the preparation, the staff. Couple this with a remote location like Long Island Bahamas and it makes for a very difficult shoot.

We were there for 8 days which very quickly turned into 9 days, poor Sally :-(..

I arrived in Nassau for our connecting flight and met the crew with about 2 Ton’s of equipment.

They chartered 2 planes to get the kit and us to Long Island and our exciting journey started. I love flying into the unknown, not knowing what to expect, not knowing what I have to build (or glue together with chewing gum) in order to make this happen. I also love meeting new people – that’s the best part which is why I love working in this Industry.

The Crew from CBS were hardcore and I mean they were seriously hardcore professionals. The Cameraman and Sound man had both recently been behind enemy lines in Afghanistan, working alongside US troops on the front line, under attack in Flak jackets, helmets and flying in Gunships.

The stories that these guys tell are just humbling….

I also met Bob Simon a journalist from CBS News, and I also got to take him diving!

After some research online you soon realize just how dedicated and professional they all are and of course how close knit they all are.

All Rich and I had to do was get a Camera down to 125M / 410 feet, which in comparison seems pretty simple, but then again not just anybody can do that, so it was a proud moment to be asked to join the Dive team which comprised of Rich and myself!!

This is where I get boring, so you can skip this part, I won’t be offended!

To get to 125M isn’t an easy task and normal air is toxic at that depth, so we had to mix Trimix, which is a blend of Helium, Nitrogen and Oxygen and our mixes were nearly Heliox, (this means pure Oxygen and Helium).

If you breathed these mixes on the surface for any length of time you would most certainly have a few issues… 8% Oxygen and 80% Helium can’t sustain life at the surface for long!!

So without getting too technical you can see what we were up against.

Helium and Oxygen had to be shipped in for the project and we had to build an onsite mixing station in some guy’s garage, where we prepped the 2 Camera’s and Rich’s JJ-CCR Rebreather.

We also had to produce an Emergency Decompression platform just in case the Rebreather failed. This would be fed down to 100 Meters with emergency tanks clipped to it at various depths. This was built on site and was at the ready for every dive.

Boring part over phew!

The Freediver is another story (as in not boring at all), William Trubridge has already set the record of “Swimming” down to 101 meters or 331feet. The amazing thing is that Will does it with no fins! He frog kicks and swims down. This takes him around 4 minutes and when he gets to the surface he is physically and mentally exhausted.

To put this into perspective, try and hold your breath and run up the street, you won’t get very far!

It puts serious strain on the body and the build up of lactic acid in the muscles can be excruciating, but Will has been practicing this for years. His lungs are the size of golf balls when he is at his deepest point and it is black at these depths, no ambient light at all.

His new World Record attempt was to 125M / (410feet) and he knows he can do it, we watched him do it 3 times. I can’t say if he set a record or not, you will have to watch the show which should be aired in September, but I will let everyone know closer to the time when it will be shown.

Rich made it to 125 Meters but instead of coming straight back to the surface like Will, he had 3 hours of Decompression. I made his Deco easier by taking him Gatorade and writing rude, stupid things on a writing slate that kept him amused for a few minutes and I won’t talk about using the bathroom….

So, that was my trip to the Bahamas. It was such a great experience and hope that soon I get to return to Long Island. It appears that the cave system in the Blue Hole hasn’t been explored, nor has most of the wall dives that run alongside Long Island 26 miles offshore.

Rich and I want to set up an exploration dive out there and get some amazing footage of the walls, caves and Blue Holes, so watch this space!

(Chris wrote this one!)

One Response to “Free Dive shoot in the Bahamas”

  1. Janice May 23, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Great blog…from a resident of Long Island. My father taught me the 7 p’s…proper prior planning prevents…..

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