The world’s largest closed circuit rebreather diving event, Inner Space, was held in Grand Cayman last week for the eighth time.
From 21-28 May, more than 65 closed circuit rebreathers gathered at Divetech at Cobalt Coast Dive Resort in West Bay to dive Cayman’s deep walls and shallow reefs.
The divers, who included new recreational divers through to deep trimix divers, came to Grand Cayman to dive at various depths based on their certification limits, from 100 to 330 feet on dives lasting up to three hours.
Rebreathers can stay underwater longer than divers using ordinary air or Nitrox tanks. Rebreather units allow divers to dive in virtual silence and without bubbles as air exhaled by the divers is recycled and rebreathed rather than discharged into the water.
“Celebrating the eighth year of Inner Space, it’s a great group of people exploring the world of ‘silent diving’ right here in Grand Cayman at Inner Space,” said Nancy Easterbrook of Divetech.
A team of three field researchers attended from DAN (Divers Alert Network), conducting their third CCR technical diver field study. The tests were harmless and non-invasive and include transthoracic echocardiogram or cardiac ultrasound, and Doppler, allowing researchers and divers to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ bubbles in the blood stream and/or heart after dives.
This year, venous blood was drawn from divers to look at biomarkers of decompression stress by a trained phlebotomist.
“This is very valuable research and will assist to further understand decompression models for the future,” Ms Easterbrook said.
Inner Space attracts many of the ‘Who’s Who’ in the CCR world, she said, with representatives from around the world attending the event to show their products, new technologies, rebreathers, computer software, accessories, photo and video equipment, electronics and more, providing insight into the state of the industry on products, design features, decompression models and new updates on what’s coming.
She added that the manufacturers, training agencies, dive shops and distributors that attend Inner Space make it a very special event for customers.
“When you own a rebreather or are thinking about trying CCR diving, it’s phenomenal to be able to dive with the people that make and develop equipment and training courses for technical divers,” Ms Easterbrook said.
The event included a mini trade show so the divers can touch and feel the new products and talk one on one with the manufacturers. There was also a pool demo allowing guests to try out many rebreathers in the water.
For the first time, the visiting divers were able to dive a site close to Ms Easterbrook’s heart – the ex-USS Kittiwake. She was instrumental in bringing the ship, which was scuttled in January, to Cayman.