Add Helium Dive Team performs 652 foot dive in Grand Cayman

Add Helium Dive Team announces the successful completion of a closed circuit rebreather dive to 652 feet, conducted on May 30, 2012 off Grand Cayman’s West End. Divers Peter Sotis, and Kimberly Inge, along with a team of support divers, successfully completed the 6 hour dive using stock rEvo rebreathers.

The dive was made possible by contributions and logistical support from Nancy and Jay Easterbrook of Divetech, custom scooters from Submerge Scooters, dive computers from VR Technologies, safety equipment from Narked at 90, Light Monkey, Hollis, and Molecular Products.

The Add Helium Dive Team members present for this event were:
Peter Sotis – Deep diver/Team Leader (rEvo)
Kimberly Inge – Deep diver (rEvo)
John Mankat – 400 foot support diver (rEvo)
Jeff Addis – 400 foot support diver (rEvo)
James Smith – 200 foot support diver (Megalodon)
Georgia Hausserman – 200 foot support diver (Evolution +)
Terri Simpson – 150 foot support diver (Megalodon)
Estefano Isias – 150 foot support diver (rEvo)
Eric Cunningham – scout (rEvo)
Kristi Cunningham – videographer (rEvo)
Daniele Addis – videographer (rEvo)
Julie Morgerson – photographer (rEvo)
Tony Land – videographer (rEvo)
Dr. Claudia Roussos MD – Dive Physician and Dive Supervisor

Also present who assisted on the dive were
Dr. Douglas Ebersole MD – Interventionist Cardiologist and IANTD CCR Instructor, on hand for assistance in the event of an emergency, and Dr. Neal Pollock PHD – Research Director, Divers Alert Network, who was on hand to conduct post-dive bubble scans of the divers, via 2d trans-thoracic ultrasound examinations.

The dive was conducted on stock rEvo Rebreathers. Peter diving a rEvo III Micro FT, and Kimberly on a rEvo II Micro. Both rEvo’s utilized the stock orafice module and constant IP oxygen regulator. PO2 was maintained during the deep phase of the dive via off-board gas addition. Setup for this dive began the day prior, which involved placing a high-vis reference line along the wall, and staging multiple 80 cubic foot bottles of gas at various points. 32 aluminum 80 cylinders were staged or carried amongst the team to ensure that both deep divers would be able to surface after a catastrophic failure of their CCR’s.

Submerge Scooters of Jupiter Florida manufactured custom ‘deep’ scooters for this dive, which were a variant of the UV-18 lead acid model they currently offer. Among other modifications, super thick hull walls, and improved seals were installed to withstand the pressure of more than 20 atmospheres. Divers reported these scooters operated flawlessly throughout all phases of the dive.

Training for this dive included over 8 months of preparation, skill practice, team rehearsals, and deep bailouts, to include multiple bailout ascents from 450 feet, utilizing the Time to Surface method of PO2 averaging.

Both deep divers, and the 400 foot support team, along with other members of the team, embarked on an extreme physical fitness regimen, to include diet and exercise in order to raise cardiac output and efficiency, and lower body fat percentages. Kimberly’s body fat was measured by Dr. Pollock to be 11%, 2 days before the dive.

While water temperatures were in the high 80’s, due to the extended runtime, concerns about hypothermia were raised. Wetsuits and hooded vests were worn for exposure protection, along with heated westuit vests. Drysuits were considered, but ruled out

The video team entered the water at 9:45, followed by the deep divers and the 400 foot support team at 10:00 AM EST. Aside from some minor glitches with the deep safety divers, was uneventful for the entire 360 minute runtime.

The decompression algorithm for this dive was the VGM profile used by the VR Technologies VRx dive commuter. Post bubble scans of each diver conducted by Dr. Pollock at 20 minute intervals showed excellent results. Post dive examinations by Dr. Roussos were unremarkable, and and no signs of decompression illness were felt by either diver 48 hours later.

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