The week-long Inner Space event takes place in Cayman from 25 May to 1 June this year.
It might sound like some kind of spiritual meditative retreat to the uninitiated – and maybe to participants it is a route to a place of calm and silence – but rather than sitting in lotus position and chanting, participants will be getting up to speed on all the latest developments in closed circuit rebreather diving.
Hosted by Divetech, it’s the largest rebreather event in the world. Around 70 people will fly to Grand Cayman from as far afield as South Africa, Egypt, the UK and the US to take part in the event, said Steve Tippetts, senior instructor at DiveTech, who is organising much of the event.
Unlike standard scuba gear that the majority of divers use, which is open circuit, meaning that exhaled breath bubbles out into the surrounding water, closed circuit rebreathers recirculate exhaled breaths, replenishing oxygen levels and therefore making the air supply last much longer. This allows divers to stay underwater much, much longer – typically two to three hours.
Not only do re-breathers increase dive time, but depending on one’s training, divers can also descend to far greater depths – some of the participants at this year’s Inner Space are planning dives to 400 feet.
Because exhaled breath is not bubbling out of the sides of one’s regulator, diving with re-breathers also eliminates that Darth Vader sound effect that typically accompanies scuba divers. It is totally silent, which means divers can get much closer to marine life, Mr. Tippetts said, which is particularly good for underwater photographers.
Inner Space will be bringing together re-breather designers, distributors and manufacturers of technical dive computers, teams from the Divers Alert Network and more.
“It’s a meeting of minds,” Mr. Tippetts said. “People who are all into the same thing can dive together.”
Although it’s quite a specialised activity, Inner Space aims to make it more available to the masses, Mr. Tippetts said.
There’s a great deal of emphasis on diving during the week, and Cayman’s underwater walls certainly lend themselves to this type of diving, but in the evenings there will also be lectures and presentations.
Any members of the public who are interested in finding out more about this sport are welcome to attend the lectures and presentations that will take place in the evenings at Cobalt Coast. They are open to all, free of charge and will cover new technologies, methodologies and developments.
Those wanting to have a go, and get an idea of what it’s like to dive in silence, without blowing bubbles, can strap on some gear and jump in the pool at a demo session on Tuesday, 28 May.
For more information, on Inner Space events contact Steve Tippetts or Nancy Easterbrook at DiveTech at 946-5658.