Friday, March 28, 2014

One off the Bucket List

I have been intrigued from birth by the underwater world.  From early days I snorkeled in the bath and watched Jacque Cousteau's documentary films - The Silent World.  Many holidays in Greece were spent tracking jelly fish in the bays of Thermosifonos and other Greek islands previously occupied by the Italians and Ottomans. I wondered at the sponge divers of Kalymnos and their funny shuffling mihanikos dance and catchy song darla dirladada  Listen here in serbo croat----->SONG

Naturally then I jumped at the opportunity of diving into a 6m deep pit somewhere near York wearing proper equipment euphemistcally known as "standard diving dress".

Here is the Siebe Gorman admiralty pattern 6 bolt diving helmet
Discretion being the better part of valour, and claiming a potential "bad back" when advised that the diving dress weighs in at 67kg (including boots),  I moved myself to the back of the queue.

Here is the lovely Lisa being dressed by adoring dressers whilst her partner looks on
The spit cock - allows water in to allow the diver to demist the window.
Air is fed into the helmet through a surface supplied air hose and via a one way valve - this late innovation ensures that the hapless diver is not sucked up the hose when it is severed by a passing car ferry. 
No flippers here - strictly lead boots one size fits all
The whole dressing process takes around 30 minutes and requires at least 2 tenders.  The boots are applied just before the helmet.  The air rushes in as is quite loud.  There is no way to equalise the ears from pressure increase whilst descending down the ladder other than jaw wiggling and yawning.  Quite how the sponge divers of Kalymnos managed jumping off a caique escapes me.

Simulated view out

sponges and diver
Marathon man - found on the sea bed by sponge diver near Anti Kythera.


  1. That dive suit just looks entirely too uncomfortable. Although I know a few people I'd like to give the lead shoes to. :-)

    1. It was uncomfortable mainly due to it being cut for a person 12 inches shorter than me!

  2. So, where are the pictures of you and who is that standing on the air line?

  3. I think I would be claustrophobic in that suit. Not much of a waster baby so I think I would have to pass.


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