Hell hath no fury like a Princess Challenged
Contributed by Ric Mingramm
For those that have followed my ramblings over the years, you will know that
I have a varied scuba career and now find myself tinkering on the dark side
~ learning technical diving...God help me if I ever even consider Caving!
Technical diving puts a whole new spin on diving, apart from everything is
black, tied together with bicycle tubing and the ubiquitous stainless steel
clips and sightings or discussions of fish species are whispered in case someone
hears that you are not talking about a wreck penetration ~ it is at a different
level of diving.
Training is much more explicit, focussed and precise and there is plenty of
opportunity for rework before you even hit the water, as you need to know all
the calculations and permutations. New phrases like Rock Bottom, Next Deepest,
Next longest, Worst case - a myriad of calculations, run times, dive plans
and slate work - one can almost feel that this is all part of the mystery
of technical diving, created to make mere mortal shy away. But there is nothing
more consoling or encouraging than hearing your Instructor say, "If you
stuff up in this sort of diving, you die - so listen carefully". (Thanks
Buhlmans tables, SAC, EAD, MOD, PPO2, CNS - WTF! Gee can't we just roll off
the back of the boat in our new commando gear wait for the computer to beep
and come back to the surface? My sort of humour sometimes doesn't go down all
that well ~ especially when these Tech Divers live and breath this stuff!
Having said all that there is an enjoyable side to it! Carry 2 X 85 cu ft steel
tanks (manifolded with a long hose on your primary regulator and your secondary
regulator bungeed around your neck), weight belt, steel back plate, wings, 65
c u ft steel tank with decompression gas, 2 knives, 2 torches, wrist slate,
compass, bottom timer, computer, spare mask and of course dive in a dry suit.
Walk to the boat, collapse, wriggle out under your gear like Houdini and sit
and talk in hushed whispers to your colleagues while looking with disdain at
those diving on singles or in ‘recreational gear'.
on the weekend my buddies (Andrew "the Bitch" Bennett & Princess Amber)
decided we would do a deco dive (on J4 submarine) with our new gear and then
a Cray bash for the second dive, assuming no other tech divers were around otherwise
we would say we were looking for a wreck.
Princess Amber, the Bitch and I have been diving together now for over 3 years
and it never ceases to amaze me at the ferocity the Princess has in making her
point. Whether it is identify a species of fish, discussing the composition
or F stops for underwater photography, or dive times ~ in fact she will argue
black is white ~ and she normally wins!
The weekend revealed an entirely ferocious side to her nature. On dive 2 with
2 minutes to run on dive time, the Bitch looked under a ledge and there for
all to see were 4 massive Southern Rock Lobsters. I knew it was a good find
as the Bitch was gesticulating frantically and his eyes were pushing the mask
from his face! Try as we may neither the Bitch or myself could get near them.
sound! Here comes the Princess, firstly she attempted to dig a hole in the sand
so she could fit under the ledge - apart form cutting viz to 1 metre this did
little. The Bitch moved to the other side of the ledge and we noted that a HID
torch is not the natural friend of crays probably because of their small eyes
and the blinding light an alpha puts out! But the crays actually move away from
Having seen this fact there was a flurry of activity, the Princess was disrobing
~ well dropping her tanks off (ooops dry suits need to dump the air!) ~! Like
some sort of possessed animal she crawled under the ledge long hose in mouth
tanks being held by me. Legs flailing, sand being churned up, detritus floating
in the water after a 6-minute struggle the Princess pokes her head out, face
scratched, screaming under the water! Yes, you guessed it a nice 4kg Cray held
to her chest.
She gestured wildly for the catch bag as she was struggling to hold the monster,
the Bitch decided it was a great photo opportunity so started setting up for
a shot! Meanwhile I unclipped his bag and helped feed most of the monster into
We shared the charter boat with an instructor and 3 scuba intro divers ~ we
are sure that they will have signed up for the full course having seen the beast
Being the ecological sound divers were are we thought the only thing to do
was take him home show our friends and give him a nice hot bath, and then rub
him down in mayonnaise!!
So thank God for tech diving without that long hose;....we would have been