The Lure of the Deep
Contributed by Andy Taylor
It's a rare diver amongst us that has not felt the urge to stray that little
deeper on a dive, the temptations of that rare aquatic encounter just that little
further below you. Seduced by the call of the deep like sirens from the abyss
we are tempted into the sapphire blue waters off the many deep drop off coral
walls surrounding us here in Bali.
divers realize that with greater depth comes greater risks, but the untrained
diver venturing deeper may not recognize the potential hazards they are exposing
them selves too. So why as divers would we want to take greater risks just to
see what's that little bit deeper below us on the reef. Firstly divers tend
to be by default adventurous people and the appeal of the deeper unknown holds
some interest in most divers. What could be down there? A new wreck for you
to explore, a fact that most wrecks are found in deep water, one reason why
we are so lucky to have such a great wreck to dive in shallow waters off the
beach in Tulamben. The appeal of deeper wrecks around the world is that they
lie untouched by waves and surge offering a better preserved wreck to explore.
Underwater photographers always strive to capture the unique and unusual and
the depths offer up some great and challenging opportunities to any underwater
photographer. Many of the larger marine creatures such as sharks are more commonly
found cruising the reef walls at depth and oh the frustration with camera in
hand not being able to go and take that perfect shot for your album. But divers
beware! It seems so harmless to slip that extra 10 meters, but the deep is unforgiving
and you must be aware of the greater potential hazards you are exposing yourself
What exactly do I mean by deep diving? PADI & SSI the largest diver training
agency in the world and by far the most common to be found here in Indonesia
define recreational deep diving as below 18 meter/ 60 feet to an absolute maximum
of 40 meters / 130 feet.
as a certified PADI/SSI Deep diver you will be qualified to dive to this maximum
limit of 40 meters you will probably find that 30 meters/ 100 feet is an optimum
limit you should set for most all dives here in Bali. Although many dive sites
here in Bali have the potential for much greater depths the rewards compared
to the risks do not always justify exploring these depths.
The standard dive equipment and air fills used by most all dive centres here
in Bali do not cater for or offer the options to safely explore deeper. As with
anything there are exceptions! For those with the training and experience levels
there are a couple of Dive Centers here in Bali today that have the required
equipment, well trained staff and gas mixing facilities to offer recreational
Technical diving training and experiences. For the rest of us making up the
vast majority of divers enjoying the beauty of Bali's diving, 30 meters is a
good guide line for a maximum safe diving limit at most dive sites if your training
and experience allows.
For good reason most dives are conducted within this 30 meter depth level for
over that depth you have very little time to enjoy your dive before your no
decompression limits are reached. Secondly at around the 30 meter mark some
divers start to experience the first effects of "nitrogen narcosis"
and this can increase dramatically as your depth does, leading to many potential
problems. On the PADI/SSI Adventures in diving course and the PADI/SSI Deep
Diver Specialty you will find out more about this narcosis effect.
as an experienced diver with 1000's of logged dives and the training and qualifications
for deeper diving I still find very little reason today to stray bellow the
30 meter depth level. With so much to see within this depth range I find now
the additional risks involved with deeper diving not worth to potential rewards.
But in my younger more adventurous (some may say more reckless) days the call
to explore the depths was too strong to ignore. I sort out the training and
experience to help me understand and minimize the greater risks involved in
Over the years I have used that experience on deep wrecks in Scapa Flow, Scotland,
coral caverns of Taveuni, Fiji and now on those rare occasions the sirens of
the deep call on some of the wonderful deep coral walls here in Bali. This
training is readily available to all divers wishing to address the adventure
and curiosity of the deep. It can be very rewarding to safely explore deeper
into the blue but only if you have the right training, experience and planning
can you push your safe deep diving limits just that bit further.