Alp-Maritimes Marine Sports Institute is a scuba diving educational organization offering a customized approach to all courses from basic diver to mixed gas technical training, including instructor certification at all levels. Our top-level international staff is drawn from all major training agencies hence can offer certification of the clients choice. Offices are situated in Quebec, Canada but courses are given internationally. The Institute utilizes liveaboard vessels for training and diving; these operate along the St. Lawrence Seaway from the Great Lakes to the Gulf. Wreck and cave diving expeditions are organized to many of the most sought after sites.
Our operation is not typical of the dive shops/schools you are familiar with, we operate worldwide, it happens that our offices are here in Quebec, at least for now, but we will go where the need is. You must understand that our clients vary a great deal in their needs and resources, we do not try and get clients to fit into our schedule but we design programs to fit with the client. Hence, we do not have course schedules as per say, each client has his or her own program, true we may combine people in a particular situation as it is often advantageous for all but each person retains their own program. Basically we do custom tailored aquatic adventures ranging from entry level to extreme.
The sport of diving is constantly evolving and changing. Just over a decade ago the wisdom of the day said; back floatation B.C.s would drown you, twin cylinders would bend you, monsters below 130 feet would eat you and any gas except air was a Voodoo Gas from Satan. Still there were those who did not buy the wisdom they questioned, experimented, explored and pushed the envelope. Today there is virtually no area of sport diving that has not had a positive and ongoing effect from technical diving.
NAUI is one of the oldest and largest training organizations. To answer this new and exciting market, we have developed Technical Training Operations as a separate yet integral part of our training department. All our materials and programs are the product of a think tank collective of the best minds in technical diving science. NAUI Tech. Ops. is in constant contact with the cutting edge of diving be it scientific, commercial or military. Our courses are always evolving to reflect the latest in developments as they become available or declassified, from the latest in decompression theory and modeling (R.G.B.M.) to the best tested equipment configurations (W.K.P.P.). We embrace a total doing it right philosophy. Our courses will train you in real life scenarios, in which we will coach you to think rather try and memorize some hypothetical situation. Our goal is not to train divers to be certified but to be fully qualified to actually make the types of dives they want to.
Now you can source all course needs from novice to mixed gas from one outstanding agency. No matter if you are a novice, instructor or seasoned tech diver, you are no longer obliged to search the market of training agencies, NAUI now offers you one stop shopping. Our agency can deliver all the basics and prerequisites for your chosen course, be it a mission specific apex course or a personal development adventure.
We think you will agree that diving and especially technical diving is about individuals and individual situations; we are prepared to work with your situation. It is important to recognize past certifications, training and experience. On our website you will find a general description of our courses. Please be aware that these are conditions, which apply to the lowest common denominator of individuals and prerequisites. It is not our goal to make anyone jump through hoops just for the sake of the exercise. I would submit following a careful study of your particular case, taking into consideration your present certification and abilities, we could arrive at a mutually acceptable custom program for you and/or your associates.
During the summer months a lot of our actions are based in eastern Canada. We operate our main vessels on the Seaway between Brockville Ont. and the Lower Great Lakes because of the truly unbelievable diving. I do not exaggerate when I say that it is the best north of Dixie. In summer we have surface temps. of 76 to 80 and 68 to 70 even at 100 feet. From 100 feet you can count the prop blades on the boat so visibility is great. Add to that tons of wrecks and good natural aspects and we have an ideal location. We use countless sites that can give us any depth that we may need and all of these in a small geographical area. Since we operate from a liveaboard there are no hassles as to logistics and we do not waste training time just getting to a site, everything happens on our floating hotel. While the vessel is underway the guests can be lectured, prepared or just relax. In summer we can get away with any kind of suit, on short shallow dives we often use a 3mm. we have suits of every thickness on board at all times so we can make any one comfortable regardless of their personal resistance to cold.
Should you have any needs in the sport of scuba diving please give me a call. Our adventures are all inclusive, all you need is a fun attitude, a smile and some topside duds, and we will supply everything else. One big advantage of living on a boat is that if you want to do a course there is no down time and it can all be accomplished in a much shorter time span than on land.
We operate in the Thousand Islands from late May till end of October and despite being in the clutches of winter now is the time to get things planned. For the time being there is space at virtually any time but we will start to fill up certain weeks pretty soon, in order to use your free time best you should give it some thought.
In closing, thanks for your interest and I am sure we will have a chance to dive together.
Best regards, Capt. Gary Kulisek
Dec 21, 2004
Someone just reminded me winter only starts Dec. 20th. Please tell that to the guy who already dumped a foot of snow on us and took the temp way down. Last night I had a dream. I was back in Turks and Caicos, it was warm, the diving was great, the scenery hot and the party was definitely on. Oh, well it is only a dream from the twisted mind of a northeast wreck diver.
Although it is winter diving is on the agenda here every day with projects/planning happening.
VULCANO EXPEDITION: A few months ago we told you of the locating of the vessel Vulcano. Here is the story to date. She was registered in Genoa, Italy. 3450 net tones. On Oct. 8, 1927 she was rammed by the S.S. Union and sank off of Rimouski. No loss of life. Cargo was wheat. Lies at 115 meters (380 feet) to the sand (more likely mud). Appears upright. We have good numbers from sonar.
We are conducting research to mount an expedition. We have been in touch with the governments of Canada and Italy as well as the shipyard that built her and the owners of record.
Getting all the info in Italy has been a bear of a job. It appears a small event called WW II sort of hurt the archives.
The depth alone is not so much of an issue as is the location and water temp. For those who have done this before, putting a good hook in, even with good numbers at this depth and in these seas can take a day, a week or a month.
Time at depth, especially when one does not know where the hook has taken, is short.
Deco will be very long in zero degree water. Any issue can become very serious when faced with a choice of the bends or freezing.
To do this with any chance of success will take very careful planning, risk management and some balls. Rewards are not all that clear.
If we decide to do it we will need guys who have proven they can do the depth and the cold. Divers that are ready to work real hard on a TEAM PROJECT, as in the true meaning of Gung Ho, Work Together. This means not everyone gets to the wreck i.e. safety divers ect. Finally, everyone pays their way, no freebies. I will keep people advised by Newsletter.
NEW FACES AT PROFESSIONAL SCUBA ASSOCIATION: Hal Watts, PSA International founder and CEO, is pleased to announce Joe Odom as President of PSA International. Joe was formerly the International Training Director for Technical Diving International (TDI), Scuba Diving International (SDI) and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI). Joe has been diving since the mid 1960s and teaching since the late 1970s. He came to the forefront of the industry due to his contributions in cave and mixed gas diving. He is internationally recognized for his numerous understandable textbooks in the various areas of technical diving. Joe has served two terms as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society. He remains an active instructor for the cave community through NSS and NACD. Joe is highly regarded for first developing widely accepted and understandable recreational rebreather training. Joe is probably best known for his unmistakable voice and unique teaching style.
Hal Watts says, I am so thrilled to have Joe leading PSA International. I have been a friend, dive buddy, panelist and an educator, side by side with Joe for many years. For just as many years, I had secretly hoped for this day. I have the utmost respect for Joe and his abilities. I have no doubts that with Joe in this leadership role PSA will be innovative and progressive with exciting programs for all divers.
Joe simply said How could I turn down such an honor from one of technical divings founders? It will certainly be a pleasure to be a part of developing the enhanced PSA offerings.
TECHNICAL SCUBA TRAINING IN BAHAMAS FEBRUARY 12th-26th: Due to the overwhelming demand for technical diving courses over the winter, we have decided to organize an expedition to San Salvador Island Bahamas. The expeditions mission is to provide upper end training in the off-season. Many divers are just too busy diving to take further courses in the summer; hence, this is an ideal situation. You will learn new skills and experience true adventure in the best warm water diving in the world.
As a NAUI TECHNICAL TRAINING CENTER we can offer a full range of advanced courses: Intro to Technical Diving, Technical Nitrox, Staged Decompression Techniques, Helitrox, Heliair, Tri-mix I & II, Gas Blender and Tech. Support Leader. Recognition programs will be available for NTEC (NAUI Technical Equipment Configuration). All courses will be offered at both the diver and instructor level. NAUI Instructor Training Course and Instructor Crossover Course are also offered. GAP (Gas Absorption Program) software employing R.G.B.M. (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model) workshop will be featured and used for all dive planning.
San Salvador Island, in the southern most Bahamas, is one of the last real diving frontiers of the world
For more info please go to www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulliten Board, clique on Newsletter Archives clique on 2004-12-09 Baha.
NONHUMAN BONES: A while back I wrote about Capt. Heinz Wahls dive with John Doc Krake. At first it was nothing but the Wonderful World of Zebra Mussels. Then they stumble on the super weird. Large bones chained to cement blocks!! Now the bones have been there a good while and are sort of messed up. It is not clear exactly what or whom they belong to. These they recovered and turned them over to the U.S.C.G.
Well, we just heard back. NONHUMAN, what a bummer I thought the boys had found Hoffa.
Oh, well that will definitely not be the last discovery. Now is the time to start planning your expeditions to the Thousand Islands and Lake Ontario for next summer. We have chosen to offer trips and training here because of the truly unbelievable diving. I do not exaggerate when I say that it is the best north of Dixie. In summer we have surface temperatures of 76 to 80 and 68 to 70 even at 100 feet. From a depth of 100 feet you can count the prop blades on the boat so great is the visibility. History has added thousands of wrecks, great artifacts and nature has offered superb natural aspects hence we have an ideal location be it for training or excursions. We use countless sites that can give us any depth that we may need and all of these in a small geographical area. We operate both liveaboard and day charters and in either case can arrange 100% all-inclusive trips with or without training.
You will not regret booking your dive needs with us today.
HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL: It sure will tell your age if you remember this TV show. It comes from the time of black and whites (yes there was a time TV had no color) and you only had two or three channels. Believe me you do not know what you missed. I still remember the show and I sort of think of one part of Alps business as HAVE TRAINING MATERIALS WILL TRAVEL.
This old western had Richard Boone cast as a traveling hired gun. Well, the reality is that a lot of you folks have need of courses. All too often the impediment is the time/cost needed to just get to where we are. We have often solved this obstacle by doing the traveling and going to where the courses are needed. Especially, at this time of year we have the time to go to where you are and deliver such courses (or parts of courses) right in your hometown. We have gone all over the world as needed so virtually anywhere is possible. We can work around your daily schedule and get you the training with the minimum of disruption to your daily lives.
Ideally, you get together 3 or 4 buds and decide what you all want. Give me a shout and well work out a mutually agreeable scenario. Remember we do only custom work and so your needs are our guidelines.
LEWIS AND HUMBLE NAMED TO T.D.I. TRAINING ADVISORY PANEL: I love it when great divers, good ole boys and friends of mine get recognized. I am thrilled to see Steve Lewis and Dan Humble as members of our Training Advisory Panel at TDI.
Steve Lewis brings with him an expertise in cold-water Trimix and wreck diving and has been with TDI since its formation. As well as a strong background in education, Steve is a talented writer with many publications to his credit. So many long years ago I met Steve at one of the first TDI get-togethers ever since he has always impressed me with his professionalism and integrality. It does us all a great deal of good to see the right guys helping steer the training agencies.
Dan Humble brings a very well respected background as a successful scuba retailer and a highly sought after instructor-trainer. Dans addition will solidify the companys interest in recreational diving because of his years of experience in this particular area of the diving industry. How best to describe Dan? First thing comes to mind is that NO ONE KNOWS DIVE GEAR BETTER THAN HUMBLE. Still to me Dan is first and foremost a great guy who always smiles and always does what is best for his clients.
LEST WE FORGET THE HEROES: Well, a few days ago I went out in the bush with my kids and cut us a tree, we decorated it, and in a few days Ill be celebrating Christmas in the bosom of my family. I guess Im not unique in this; most of you will celebrate in much the same way. Still I never forget that this privilege is bought by those who will not be home and paid for by those wholl never come home.
I have many old comrades that are right now in country; in fact just today I got word that another just left. Hey, Eddy keep your head down and come home, ya hear.
Every time I see the CBS news and they show a Fallen Hero I am thankful it is not a friend. Still I know that they all had families and they will be missed this holiday season and forever.
Why not take a momentary break from the eatin and drinkin and partying this yuletide season. Bow your head, say a prayer for those overseas ensuring our right to freedom. I know that me and mine sure will.
For the boyz in the bush, Id like to say Peace on Earth, Good will toward men, well maybe one day, for now, Semper Fi.
For all our diving friends at home I wish you, health, good vis, easy deco and great dives in 2005.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the entire Alp Crew
Dec 9, 2004
TECHNICAL SCUBA TRAINING IN BAHAMAS FEBRUARY 12th-26th
Due to the overwhelming demand for technical diving courses over the winter, we have decided to organize an expedition to San Salvador Island Bahamas. The expeditions mission is to provide upper end training in the off-season. Many divers are just too busy diving to take further courses in the summer; hence, this is an ideal situation. You will learn new skills and experience true adventure in the best warm water diving in the world.
As a NAUI TECHNICAL TRAINING CENTER we can offer a full range of advanced courses: Intro to Technical Diving, Technical Nitrox, Staged Decompression Techniques, Helitrox, Heliair, Tri-mix I & II, Gas Blender and Tech. Support Leader. Recognition programs will be available for NTEC (NAUI Technical Equipment Configuration). All courses will be offered at both the diver and instructor level. NAUI Instructor Training Course and Instructor Crossover Course are also offered. GAP (Gas Absorption Program) software employing R.G.B.M. (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model) workshop will be featured and used for all dive planning.
San Salvador Island, in the southern most Bahamas, is one of the last real diving frontiers of the world. For many years, the island was leased to the United States Military and in effect closed to the world. When diving operations began first at Riding Rock Resort and later at Club Med it was virgin territory. Today, San Salvador is still one of the best-kept secrets for the quality and diversity of the diving.
The co expedition leader and host will be Jean Paul Morales. Jean Paul is a NAUI Course Director and is a NAUI Tech Instructor for virtually all disciplines. He has dove all over the world. He came to San Salvador just about the time it was being opened to the world. Morales has without a doubt more diving experience on this island than anyone else. JP knows the most spectacular sites, which will thrill the most jaded of northern divers. On top of that, he is our man in country who will ensure a smooth expedition.
There are over 50 dive sites to choose from. These are best known for their incredible visibility and great natural aspects like caves and super fauna, especially schools of Hammerhead sharks. All the sites are only a short boat ride away. The average dives start on a 40 shelf and then drop over the wall at 60-100. This yields ideal training and deco local in an unbelievable setting.
Reset assured you that these walls drop several thousand feet and hence hold an entirely different world from that which the recreational diver ever dreams of. Jean Paul and I have explored many of these sites down to the 40-50 fathom range. This is the world of helium based diving. We will in most cases be exploring virgin terrain. We will be using gas mixtures that have not been used here since the days of Navy exploration of the islands wall. We will be using new tools to go to new places.
Nov 18, 2004
Well, November 5th was our last day of charter for this season. All our boats are out of the water and in their winter berths. Right now we are cleaning up the paperwork, doing inventory but most important are planning for next season. Let me remind you that it is not too early to book for next season. This is particularly true for our expeditions on the Empress of Ireland. We already have several weeks sold out and the rest of this short season will go fast.
Although we have greater flexibility in the Thousand Islands/Lake Ontario the start of the season in May is really not that far off and this is the best time for upper end courses.
NAUI TECH OPS. UNVEILS NEW STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES: All of us are aware of the standards that guide each training agencys courses. What you may not be aware of is these are constantly under review and modification. Our sport is very young and hence evolution is at times at a rate better termed revolution. Tim OLeary, Director of NAUI Technical Ops, along with an advisory group has been hard at work for over a year modifying and improving NAUIs technical diving courses. They have done a huge job, both in terms of scope and benefit.
Some of the significant changes are a reduction of age requirements to 18, reduction of deep gas training depths open circuit, Level II mix is no longer mission specific, and modification of logged dive requirements to enter the courses.
All instructors will use technical check off list and gear configuration requirements will be clearly outlined. This will ensure greater standardization in tech course content.
Tech instructor authorization is time limited and will be extended as long as the instructor meets update requirements; CEUs and PDUs with updates are a requirement. The result being that all tech instructors are up to speed.
The following is a tech course list: Intro to Technical Diving, Technical Nitrox, Staged Decompression Techniques, Helitrox, Heliair, Trimix Level I and II, Ice Diver, Wreck Penetration, Technical Wreck Penetration, Cavern Diver, Cave Diver Level I, II and III, Closed and Semi-Closed Circuit Rebreathers, Mixed Gas Closed Circuit Rebreathers, Gas Blender and Tech. Support Leader. Recognition programs will be available for NTEC (NAUI Technical Equipment Configuration).
In the next month we will be redoing our website and have complete and up to date descriptions of all these courses.
Now is the time to plan to get on board with some of this training. We will be starting our tech courses in May. Why not get with us now and let us design a custom course package for you and reserve your spot.
NAUI AUTHORIZES EMPRESS COURSES AS INSTRUCTOR SPECIFIED:
Our goal was to set out very clear and detailed course outlines to diving this world-class wreck. While it is true any good and well taught wreck course might prepare you these courses, one for external survey and one for penetration, will definitely have you ready for the Empress. There is no question that the Empress can be an extremely daunting dive but with the right approach it can be a whole lot easier. The course outlines were submitted to NAUI Tech Ops. and have been approved as instructor specified courses. For info on diving the Empress please go to www.technicaldivingops.com scroll down the front page to the Letters of Introduction and clique on the Empress button.
CAPT. TODD BISSONETTES OTHER LIFE: When he is not taking care of operation of the best dive trips on the St. Lawrence and the Empress of Ireland, Capt. Todd makes his way as a freelance photographer based out of Lake Placid, N.Y. With an Olympic heritage of having hosted two Winter Olympic Games Lake Placid is host to multiple world cup sporting events and home to one of only two Olympic Training centers in the U.S. This keeps Todd busy covering many events for clients such as the Associated Press and the Olympic Authority, as well as some for many diverse publications.
Between events he keeps himself busy shooting anything from Adirondack Scenics, Environmental Portraits, and even the occasional wedding. Being a photojournalist primarily brings this into all facets of my photography. I like to tell the story of a situation and not just take mug shots. I hate when wedding photographers say they shoot in a photojournalistic style, I dont think about making pictures in a style, I just shoot what I see. You shouldnt have to make things happen to photograph them, just photograph what is happening.
In the next weeks we will be posting some of Todds work as it relates to dive expeditions. Youll see he has a flair all his own.
Todd also loves the technology of photography. I come from a computer background so the transition into digital photography was a natural progression for me. I havent shot a roll of film in almost two years. Digital has really changed the landscape of the business. It is great to be able to preview what you are doing to see if you are going in the right direction.
Of course this is no excuse for poor technical ability, I have had people ask me what takes a good picture, the camera or the lens? My take on that is this, my equipment is like a hammer to a carpenter, you cant do the job without it, but just having one doesnt make you Bob Vila.
If you have any event, sport, social or personal get with Todd: Has Camera, Will Travel.
You can see some of Todds work on his web site at www.rtbphoto.com.
BREATH A BETTER BREW: We have said it many times that air is not a great breathing gas in the modern world. For a long while our teams have used other mixtures that are so much friendlier, replacing Nitrogen with Helium as the inert gas. Tim OLeary and Bruce Wienke have written a super article on the subject, it is clear and concise yet complete. Go to our website www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin Board, clique on NAUI and read Deep Helium (not a great title as Helium is not only for deep but a good read). Do yourself a favor and get with modern diving and get with Helium. BTW, I continue to hear all kinds of horror stories about the costs associated with Helium. Believe me Helium is not gold and hence should not cost the same as gold. Nor is a Gas Blender course a degree in nuclear physics that takes 5 years and cost thousands. Think about getting with us for a Gas Blender Course over the winter, well get you all up on the theory and practical and advise you how to hook yourself up.
SPECIAL REMINDER TO NAUI INSTRUCTORS: I would like to remind all NAUI members that your vote for the Board of Directors is not only a right but also an obligation. As NAUI is a members driven organization you the dive leaders can steer your future by castling your vote for the candidate you feel will best represent your interests.
If you are not familiar with the candidates go to http://www.naui.org/index-side.html and read up.
If you do not have an official ballot please contact NAUI immediately to get one.
BALLOTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY NOVEMBER 23,2004.
Now everyone who knows the Ole Cappy knows I speak my mind even at the risk of being flamed. So here I go. If you need guidance on voting, cast one vote and cast it for Scooter Sellers. FYI, I do know that Scooter is the poster boy for the forward thinking top of the food chain.
Why one vote? Cause one vote for one candidate does that candidate the most good, rather than diluting your vote.
Why Scooter? Cause he has what it takes to grow the agency in the future. He comes from a strong business background and has for the last decade been exclusively in the Dive Business. He continues to teach a lot of courses so hes down with the boots on the ground. Sellers has contributed a lot of his time to the agency. Hes a good thinker and will continue to make the time to be available for the good of the agency.
But maybe most of all hes a good listener. He has an open mind and will weigh diverse opinions and help to make an informed decision for the greater common good.
BTW, if you have any question feel free to email Scooter at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Always at your service,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
Oct 21, 2004
Well, I look out over the marina today and I watch the leaves get blown off the trees in ever increasing numbers. Fall has really come to the Thousand Islands but with it some of the very best in diving. The vis this last week was pretty well in the 80 range. The weather has been sunny but cool. The key to really great diving at this time of year is to be using boats with all the luxuries of home. Right now the only vessels we are operating are our big cruisers. These all weather vessels have full heat, full on hot food and hot showers. Since you cant really sit in the sun as in summer, our audio/visual entertainment centers will keep you distracted during surface intervals. Think of it this way, it is like sitting at home watching the big game on the tube but during half time you can get up and go have a great dive and be back for the end of the game.
DEMA: Last week marked the annual dive industry trade show, this year in Houston. For the first time in a decade I did not personally attend. It was a very difficult decision not to go personally but logic dictated staying here.
First and foremost were my responsibilities as regards our clients. Last week we not only had several charters but also we were running an instructor course for a group, which came from all over the world. It was the only week they all could make it. Hence, my time was best spent here making sure that this critical training was top notch.
The other factor that helped make my decision easier was that the staff who I sent to DEMA were all veterans of this show. With careful planning and guidance they were able to pretty much get every thing done without me. In fact, at least one mentioned it was easier to get things done without the boss looking over your shoulder. Well see about that when they get back here in a few days and we debrief.
Although am sure well have all the new info needed to offer our clients the very best next year, still I am sad. DEMA is a place where I get to see and meet with so many friends and associates. For those of you who I did not see this year I send my best regards, See you next year for sure.
MCMURRAY EMPRESS EXPEDITION HUGE SUCCESS: In the last week of August Kevin McMurray once again organized an expedition to the Empress of Ireland. For the third year in a row we had the privilege of working with Kevin on what I hope has become a yearly event.
Most of you know that Kevin is the author of two of the very best books on diving. His first book, Deep Descent, diving the Andrea Doria, has become a classic and must read for every diver and especially wreck divers. His newest book, Dark Descent, diving the Empress of Ireland, is flying off the bookshelves and surging toward second printing. The book is getting some really great reviews. If you do not have a copy, why not ask Santa. On the other hand you can play Santa to a good little diver.
This year saw Kevins group grow to a number that required the use of two vessels. Of course we used Capt. Jean Pierre Bouillons Marie A B. In addition we used Capt. Robert Parents Majeur. Roberts vessel is a brand new state of the art, huge, crab boat. The coolest part was the fact we never climbed a ladder. Robert and First Mate Louise developed an incredible boarding system. Using the booms and tackle of his vessel they designed a first class diver recovery tool. Basically all we had to do is swim to the side of the boat, sit in a swing chair and were hoisted aboard and set on the deck like kings on our thrones. Now I know a lot of you rate dive boats by their ladders. Believe you me; once you have had this service no ladder will ever be good enough.
I have run a lot of expeditions and the greater the number of divers there are the better chance for strokes. In the case of this expedition nothing could be further from the truth. Kevin put together a group of a dozen plus of the very best divers Ive ever seen. Every one on this trip was a Top Gun! Every one was a hell of a great person. You know in the Navy, at the end of a dive course, the question is asked of the trainers, will you dive with this man. Tell you what, my answer on every guy on Kevins expedition would be a resounding, Sir, Yes, Sir.
Kevin has already started to take reservations for his expeditions in 2005. Most of the usual suspects have already deposited up. Do yourself a huge favor and get with Kevin, email@example.com or directly with us and treat yourself to what many are calling the best wreck diving trip possible. I am not kidding, space will be at a premium all next year so do it now, book early and avoid a downer.
CAPT HEINZ WAHL: Most of you know my associate Capt. Heinz Wahl. In fact many of you have chartered on some of Heinzs boats and others have had the treat of being on expeditions co-operated by Capt. Wahl and Alp Maritimes.
Now there is one thing for sure, Heinz loves diving. In fact the only thing that Heinz loves more than diving is finding cool stuff. I sort of see him as the King of Cool Underwater Finds. He is really what I call an explorer.
Many are the time Heinz will suggest diving in some obtuse location. I will always ask, Why, what is there? His answer is usually I do not know but well find out.
A while back Heinz is diving with John Doc Krake, on one of these looky see dives. At first it is nothing but the Wonderful World of Zebra Mussels. Then they stumble on the super weird. Large bones chained to cement blocks!! Now the bones have been there a good while and are sort of messed up. It is not clear exactly what or whom they belong to. BTW, around Montreal when we find bones and blocks underwater they are usually in a sleeping bag along with motorcycle gang crests.
Heinz and John carefully recovered the artifacts and have turned these over to the U.S.C.G. We have not heard back yet but well keep you advised.
Not all our finds are as exciting or as gruesome as these. Still the Seaway has countless treasures that are still to be found. Why not give us a call and charter up with Alp Maritimes and Capt. Heinz Wahl for some really different locations. You may have already dived the Thousand Islands with other cattle boat operations diving the same old, same old. Why not try us; maybe it will be the Wonderful World of Zebra Mussels then again might be pirate treasure. As Heinz says, we wont find new stuff till we dive new places.
NEW R.G.B.M. DOCUMENT POSTED: Every so often I receive questions from divers on numerous subjects but the majority has to do with decompression. Sometimes these are quite simple other times they are very complex. Sometimes the things going on out there are down right scary to me.
Although decompression is still very much theory and not law, some theory is better than other. For decades we relied on Neo-Haldanian decompression models dealing only with dissolved gases. Then Dr. Bruce Wienke developed R.G.B.M. (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model) this causing us all to see decompression in a dual light. Or more accurately as dual phase that of dissolved and free phase inert gases (bubbles).
Now much of the time the best advice I can give anyone is to consider R.G.B.M. Further I council those who question me to read everything that they can on the subject. These are heady subjects and not always light reading. As time has gone on better and clearer documents have become available. Recently, Wienke and Tim OLeary created a new R.G.B.M. Overview text. Although it is not a short document it does answer all the queries that have been most recently addressed by other theoreticians and myself.
I have posted the article to our website, www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin Board, then clique on NAUI and see the Article R.G.B.M. Overview 2004. Now that the weather may be a bit less conducive to diving maybe take the next weeks or even months to review it.
Well, the storm that has been forecast for several days seems to have arrived. Even on a 44 cruiser tied to the dock I can feel the force of the gale. Id better take a quick look around and be sure everything is tied down.
What is for sure is that this weather will pass and well have calm water soon enough. Still we all known down under the surface it is calm, so why not book one last great dive adventure before the freeze. The boats are still in the water, heats on, Rosas Acadian chowder is hot and the vis is great. We remain ready for your late season adventure.
Always at your service,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
Sept 19, 2004
About two weeks ago most of our team returned from our last Empress expedition of the year. It was without a doubt one of our best expeditions with some really great divers and some very interesting new developments. Now all the staff are concentrated in the Thousand Islands and Great Lakes. Over these last weeks we have been running a very large number of courses from Basic to Instructor. The summer vacations are over and the tourists have left. The weather gives us cooler nights but still some super warm days. The visibility is getting better every day. I really believe this is the best season to dive here.
SINK IT AND THEY WILL COME: Once again the waters off of Ste. Luce and Rimouski have yielded another wreck. Just over a month ago a new wreck was located in the same waters that hold the Empress of Ireland, Germanacus, Volcano, Briar Mist and Nipigon. A schooner that sank in 1938 has been found and has begun to yield a large variety a of artifacts. Her name is a bit of a mystery, either he was called Lianne Gagne or was owned by a person of that name. Preliminary dives have been affected and a survey is being under taken. She lies in some 80 of water with strong currents usually present.
With this discovery the region is really becoming a wreck diving center. While the big deal will always be the Empress now there are so many other options.
Before Christmas we will establish our Empress Expedition Schedule. Be sure to book early to avoid the sold out situation of this year.
The Acadians can whip up some really super meals using ingredients that most chefs do not really understand. Cooking on board a vessel can be a challenge but Rosa has met this challenge with a special flourish.
Do yourself a favor this fall. Come dive the Thousand islands and Lake Ontario, great wrecks, great vis and just maybe youll be lucky enough to be on the same vessel as Chef LeBreton.
DID ALL MY STOPS AND STILL GOT BENT: Well, for the 1001st time I have heard this line. You know what? For the 1001st I believe it. We must remember that we are dealing with decompression THEORY and not decompression LAW.
Who says that the deco you planned was the right one for that diver, on that day and that dive. Regardless of what deco algorithm you decide to use and regardless of the platform (paper tables, wrist computer or PC generated) there are a number of assumptions that the authors made. These assumptions may just not be in tune with your body and the dive. Remember the theorician has to work with some kind of mean variables. It behooves you to know your theory/platform very well. It is key to understand those elements which we refer to as conservatism factors/settings. Further to use these to adjust the deco schedule to the mood of your body.
Hence, why is it that the same profile bends you one day and not the next?
The answer may lie inside your body. Not every day is the same, your body in constant flux. The key is to listen to your body sending sometimes subtle messages.
It is important for us to try and feel what is happening at deco. First, dive as much as you can. The more you dive the more comfortable you get in the water and the more we can be in tune with our bodies. Bear in mind that every dive (even those so called NDL dives) involves decompression no matter how shallow or short.
Second, try and sense what is going on during your ascent. Most divers are in tune with the descent, as forces are on the attack. Pressure is increasing (clearing ears), volume is decreasing (gas consumption) and most senses are being blurred (sound, light). We are reacting to increasing external forces being imposed on the body, defending.
During the ascent the forces are in retreat. The mechanical tasks of diving become simpler. Our body is on the offensive, internal drives are being experienced
Each time you head back to the surface try and imagine what is going on in your body. Along with any computer or schedule your senses can guide you on the ascent. This is not an easy skill to learn. It is very subtle. It takes years and 1000s of dives. You can of course steepen the learning curve by putting your greatest asset to use, your brain.
Try and dive with those of us who have 1000s of deco dives and do these every day. Listen, to how we interpret the subtle messages we get from the ole bones.
BUILD IT AND IT MAY FAIL: I notice that another manufacturer has issued a recall of a particular piece of gear. Now this is not some third rate knock-off artist in South East Asia. In this case it is a first rate domestic builder of high repute.
I have a very personal involvement with sports gear recalls. About a million years ago when I was primarily in the alpine ski business I was responsible for the first voluntary recall of a piece of ski equipment. Prior to that no one had ever done it in sporting goods. It was a very difficult decision to recall thousands of an item, at a huge cost and at the risk of our reputation.
Although the product in question was well designed, well tested it was found after deliver to end users that a subcontracted part was not up to spec. The risk was in the order of one in 20,000 that a screw might get loose due to an error in its thread angle.
Despite the low risk we decided to recall all the products. We planned it well and in twenty-one days had found and corrected all the defects.
Strange thing is that in the months to follow every one of our competitors also found some defect in their products and followed suit. Weird that they only found these after wed had the nerve to recall ours.
It seems that at any given time there is at least one piece of scuba gear under recall. As a diver I believe it is your duty and in your best interest to stay in touch with the industry just in case you end up with a problem item. First be sure to fill out that warranty card with a good permanent address. Second, be sure to subscribe to at least one of the dive news groups, this is the high tech way that the news it spread.
It is never fun to pay good money for gear and have it fail. There was a time that failure of scuba gear was the norm, today it is rare. Most failures are isolated but every so often it is general. In these cases stay informed and you may just save your life.
In closing, let me remind you that all the hurricane weather is having a very very minor effect on our inland seas. Despite seeing on the weather reports some bad weather along the east coast we are very protected here. The worst we will get here is a touch of rain. So why not come up here for some great diving and/or training. One thing is sure youll not have to rinse your gear.
Now is the ideal time to get together with your buds and dive or take that course youve been putting off.
Youll not regret booking with us today.
Looking forward to being of service,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
Aug 29, 2004
The last weeks have been super hectic with all vessels and crews in constant operation. The weather has been very good and the dives have gone great. Through to the 27th of August we will remain heavily booked but then space opens up. Should you be looking for charter or training expeditions we are ready willing and able to fulfill your needs.
CAPT. TODD BISSONETTE HAT TRICK: About a week ago our own Capt. Todd was able to locate three large anchors in three dives. We all know that the Seaway has been the highway into the continent for 300 years and those of you who have dove with us can attest to the huge number of wrecks. Still, whod believe that in three dives in a row a diver could locate three major anchors?
Todd was out surveying the outer debris field of a wreck. As it thinned out he decided to keep going. After a few minutes he found a large navy type anchor. He tied off and started his ascent. As luck is fickle, his line broke. No problem Todd blew his bag and did a floating deco. When he was picked up we punched the numbers and we had a rough idea of the anchor location.
Next day we go back. Todd splashes in. He searches a bit and finds an anchor but not his anchor. This one is a late 1700s fluked anchor. We mark and record it for later dives for our guests.
Third day we are out again. Todd is fixed on rediscovering his anchor. A 40 minute search produces a navy anchor. Resembling closely the first anchor we realize it is not the same one. It lacks the marker line the first one had.
The story is not yet finished. Todd had to go back to captaining his vessel. As weve been busy he has not yet had time to relocate the No.1 anchor. He plans to do so next week.
BTW, Todd hails from the mountains of the Lake Placid region of New York and is a professional sports photographer in his other life (http://www.rtbphoto.com ). He has done a lot of archeological dives most notably the Valcour Bay Research Project in Lake Champlain. (Find out more about this at http://www.historiclakes.org )
Why not come out on a charter or course and Todd can let you in on a few of his secrets to finding neat stuff.
NEED MARINE ENGINE PARTS?: Many of you out there own boats. Boat diving allows you the mobility to get to all the good sites. Unfortunately boats tend to break down just when you need them most. Most of us have very short seasons and hence can not tolerate any down time. All too often the worst problem is parts. How many times have you been told by your local boat service people they cant find the kazoo for your 1970 Puddle Hopper 302 and hence you have a 35 immobile house rather than a dive boat.
Better remember French Creek Marina, www.frenchcreekmarina.com, (315) 686-3621. This mega huge marine parts operation is run by Capt. Wilburt Wahl. He maintains a staggering inventory of marine parts; new, rebuilt and used. They are the largest supplier of Volvo Penta parts in the universe (O.K. maybe not the entire universe, but close). As well they stock mountains of parts for just about anything else from just about any year.
BTW, they ship all over the world, so do not worry you live too far to use this resource.
If you are not sure what you need call Wilburt, talk to him, the man has forgotten more about marine stuff than most boat service people have had time to learn. His knowledge is HUGE.
O.K. so youve given up on your local mechanics or are planning a major winter overhaul or repower. Get with Hans Wahl, head of service, he can handle what ever your needs may be. Ship him your old tired engine and in short order youll get back a motor better than new.
Do not loose this number, even if your boat is fine that wont last forever, French Creek will be your marine parts lifesaver!
HESS AND YORMACK YOUR ADMIRALTY-MARINE LEGAL BEAGLES: This last week I had the pleasure to collaborate anew with two amazing lawyers: Peter Hess and Steve Yormack. Admiralty/Marine Law is a very specialized field, there are not many attorneys willing to touch these cases and even fewer that can do the job for you.
Why should you as a diver care? I do not know if you noticed but we dive in the marine environment from boats, see the link, these are the branches of the legal tree which we may be hung from.
Peter, a Wilmington, Delaware attorney and solo practitioner, enjoys combining his vocation and avocation. He has been an avid shipwreck diver and amateur underwater archaeologist for more than twenty five years. In his many cases concerning historic shipwrecks, Hess has represented finders and salvers, the state government, the sport diving public, and even a federal admiralty court. His clients have been engaged in the salvage of wrecks ranging from Spanish galleons, paddle-wheelers, windjammers laden with Oriental porcelain, twentieth century luxury liners, private yachts, warships, to sunken warplanes.
Yet Hess maritime practice ranges far beyond salvage issues: it encompasses all facets of admiralty law, including vessel arrests, marine insurance disputes, shipboard injuries sustained by passengers and seamen, waterfront injuries sustained by longshoremen, cargo claims and disputes, marine pollution, and maritime trade development. His clients include major international marine underwriters, foreign and U.S. shippers and vessel owners, recreational marinas, and the injured victims of maritime accidents.
Steve, is the Canadian side of the team based in London, Ontario. Hence, no matter which side of the line your needs fall the Hess/Yormack Team is ready to go to bat for you.
The day will come when you find some real good and valuable stuff under the waves. If you are not careful youll be the finder/weeper and the powers at be will be the keepers.
If you find some thing: one; keep your mouth shut, two; get with Peter or Steve. It will be the best dime you ever dropped. Hessians@aol.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
GAP RGBM DECO SOFTWARE: This summer has seen a record number of upper end, read deeper deco, courses. Each of these courses includes a lot of time spent on deco theory. On the practical side we teach the use of GAP Deco Software. At the end of each course almost every client picks up a copy of GAP. Still it is not only our own direct clients that are buying into this superior algorithm. In the last few months we have been electronically delivering tons of keys for GAP, Gas Absorption Program, with RGBM, Reduced Gradient Bubble Model algorithm. I am sure more and more of you are appreciating that dissolved gas (Haldanian) deco theory although well known have now been superceded by much more modern thoughts. If you need to brush up on the reasons why you want to follow this theory please go to www.technicaldivingops.com and clique on Technical Articles. These will point out the benefits to all divers. Once you are comfortable go to the front page of the Alp site, scroll down and clique on the GAP button. You can down load a trial version good for several days. At this point you will have been convinced that this is the ticket; super easy and stable platform with the most advanced deco theory.
Id love to keep writing but duty calls and I have to head out on another expedition. Please keep in mind that September and October are really outstanding times to dive in the Seaway and Great Lakes. The water will remain warmer than the air and the vis will get constantly better. With summer vacations at an end there will be a lot less divers and well have most wrecks to ourselves. Our staff is ready to provide both great day and liveaboard charters. Further , this is a super time to take additional training, your skills are sharp from a summer of diving and youll be able to learn quicker and more.
Looking forward to serving you all.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
July 29, 2004
First off Id like to thank all the people who wrote back to me after the last Newsletter. While it is true that each edition does provoke a few compliments the last one actually caused quite a flood. Your kind words were much appreciated. If you missed this last Newsletter you can get it at, www.technicaldivingops.com , clique on Bulletin Board, then on Newsletter Archives.
During one of the latest expeditions I captained, one of the divers asked me exactly where are you when you write these things. It seems that I make it appear that the weather is always great, sunny and warm. Well, for everyones information, today is pouring down rain, it is cold and a truly miserable day tied up in the marina. To be perfectly honest, I am glad I have no scheduled charters and can catch up on paperwork.
STILL GOING STRONG: Last year my man, Hal Watts, owner of Forty Fathom Grotto, www.MRSCUBA.COM , was up diving the Empress of Ireland. This year he notched the Lusitania on his regulator. With two of the big three done, what will be next summer, the Titanic? May be call Bob Ballard and see what hes up to.
Press release: Wreck of The Lusitania, revisited by Senior Citizens. On June 25, 2004 a historic scuba diving event occurred. Gregg Bemis of Santa Fe, New Mexico, age 76, and Hal Watts of Ocala, Florida, age 69 dived to 300 feet on The Lusitania Wreck off the SW coast of Ireland. Hal Watts is a World Record Deep Air diver, a scuba instructor and CEO of The Professional Scuba Association. Gregg Bemis is on the board of directors of Ocean Corp. of Houston, Texas, and owns the rights to The Lusitania. This is the wreck which prompted the USA to enter the war against Germany. What made this a Historic Event is the age of both divers, showing that senior citizens can still participate in Extreme sports.
FYI, before anyone thinks that this was a spur of the moment lark let me assure you that the training and planning was more than a year in the making.
BTW, Hals wife Jan would have also made the dive but due to the incapacity of some crewmen, Jan passed up the dive in order to act as topside personal. This shows that even well planned expeditions can throw you a curve at the last minute and that a real team player, like Jan, is always ready to pass on personal goals in favor of the teams mission. Most important we see a good example of the Team Approach to extreme dives being a key to success.
VULCANO LOCATED ?: We have received very preliminary reports that the wreck of the Vulcano may have been located by side scan sonar.
The Vulcano was a 400 foot plus cargo that sank in the late 1920s in a region some 15 kilometers northwest of Rimouski, Quebec.
The sonar image shows a vessel of about the right size laying in some 300 feet of water.
No, Capt Jean Pierre Bouillon and I are not offering charters to this wreck, yet.
Further research will be needed to better establish the identity of the image. Rest assured we will keep you posted on the research and developments as regards an expedition to this wreck.
Wow, with the artificial reef of the Nipigon, the world class wreck of the Empress and now a possible real deep wreck, the region will truly be a wreck diving Mecca.
NOVICE COURSES OFFERRED: From time to time I feel it is important to remind everyone that we offer virtually every dive course there is. Too often I get caught up in talking about extreme dives and top of the food chain courses. Although we are best known for Tech Diving (what ever that means) we are happy and eager to furnish all levels of training.
A perfect example is that in July we have run about a dozen Resort Courses. Thats right, we offer an intro to scuba for persons who have never dove. This has been a hot item especially with families on vacation.
Just remember that almost all our staff worked at one time or another at Club Med and that we know all about intro to scuba. Further, we pioneered teaching diving to kids. I can remember a time when more than one agency put a price on our heads for teaching kids. Now they are almost all gung ho like they invented it. Sort of reminds me of the Ole West. Many a marshal was recruited from the ranks of bandits and gunfighters.
Given the conditions here in the Thousand Islands, warm/super clear water, it almost makes one think they are in the Carib.
So if you need any training, or know of anyone who needs training, let us hook up.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: Ah yes, memories of the tropics! Coming soon to a region near you is another tropical item. Alexandria Bay New Yorks, Pirate Week, August 13-22.
This is the real thing! Mardi Gras, Carnival, Woodstock, Disney World; all wrapped into one!
This is a great time to charter with us for some great diving during the day and some serious partying at night.
The bad news is the weekends are pretty much sold out with all operators and hotels. The good news is the middle of the week has space open and the carnival continues.
You can step back into the 1600s or just back to the 1960s (if you get my drift). Go watch the movie Pirates of the Caribbean Secret of the Black Pearl and Im sure youll get in the mood.
DARK DESCENT GOES TO SECOND PRINTING: Kevin McMurrays book on diving the Empress of Ireland has sold so well it is in second print. This book is quickly becoming a classic in the scuba/adventure genre. This book is a great source of info and a must have/read for very diver. Just last night a diver dropped by the boat and bought my last copy in stock, time to reorder. You can check with your local bookstore as to when they will be getting in their shipment or you can order on line at www.Amazon.com . Once you will have read the book I know youll want to dive her yourself. In the meantime reading the book is an adventure.
BTW, it is a great book to give as a gift to a non-diver. We have received many reviews from non-divers who loved it. If you are a wreck diver, like maybe give it to your mom so shell better know your passion. My mom loved it and she does not even swim.
MARINE SERVICES: On the subject of boat safety why not check out BOAT U.S. www.boatus.com. I know most of you have AAA or CAA for your automobile breakdowns. Did you know that the same exists for boats? Yes it does. Tow Boat USA has a number of marine towing plans to cover you for most of your needs. Just like the auto version it covers the member and not a particular boat. I am sure that most of you have had a day of diving ruined or worse risked life and limb due to a boat failing. Well, here might be a real lifesaver. The plans vary in price but bare in mind that towing and salvage start at $150/hour and the average bill is $500/tow.
Speaking of marine service, the Tow Boat USA service provider for the eastern Seaway and western Lake Ontario is Jeremy Kellogg out of French Bay Marina, Clayton, New York www.frenchbay.com . Jeremy is one very cool person and will be there at a short notice if you have any boat problems in the area.
Plus if you come to the marina Jeremy will show you his 75 LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized). You know, one of the huge landing craft used to storm the beaches on D-Day, and you can pretend being in Private Ryan. See photos at www.technicaldivingops.com clique Photo Album.
Now once you get towed youll need top-gun mechanics, well French Bay is the place. Mike Davis is the head of French Bay Service and along with his crew of excellent gnarly mechanics, can find the problem and get it straight and get you going in the shortest time possible.
O.K. so your boat isnt broken but you need to go to shore eventually for a cheeseburger in paradise and draft beer. You got it, French Bay Marina, a super place to tie up.
Oh, you dont have a boat yet, no problemo, call John Kellogg (315 686 5574) he is the best yacht broker I have ever met. Tell him what you need and he will search the country to get you the right boat, this guy really works for his clients. BTW, he happens to have a few excellent dive boats listed right at this time. I have spent a lot of time in marinas and boat yards but this has to be the best, most honest and friendliest marina Ive ever seen.
Well, looks like the rain stopped, wow just like in the tropics. Might just go out with the kids for a personal dive. Remember what ever you scuba needs we are a quick call or email away.
Remain at your entire service.
Capt Gary Kulisek and the Crew
July 8, 2004
Well, our season is in full swing and expeditions are progressing at fever pitch with all getting in some great diving. Last week we finished up a number of courses, most notably a mixed gas course. This type of course is always the most gratifying as it means that there are a few more divers that are not using air on deep dives. Other exciting activities included a film shoot by Capt. Dan Crowell on the Jodrey, an enviormental mapping expedition in the Seaway and the installation of new moorings.
EMPRESS SPOTS: We have just been able to open up space on an Empress Expedition. The dates are July 26-29 inclusive. Many of you have expressed clear interest in an Empress Expedition and have been waiting for an opening. This is your chance. These places will go on a first come first serve basis. I do not want to appear pushy but please act quickly if you intend to dive the Empress, as these will be the last open spaces.
HOMEMADE GEAR: Every so often we see divers show up with gear they built themselves. There are times that this equipment works quite well but other times it really is not up to snuff. I do realize that equipment does at times appear a bit costly for the item. Remember part of what you are paying for is R&D and the testing. A company that has made thousands of an item would clearly have the advantage over a garage mechanic.
To be honest I have tried my hand over the years at building a better mouse trap, in the end all the best gear Ive ever had came from a front line manufacturer.
I know that some of you will fault me for this statement as I am a member of the dive industry, while this may be true, gear sales to end users account for very little of our business. Our main goal is to provide training and diving. Since, most of our actions are all-inclusive, we often supply all/most of our clients gear, and hence we are also an end user and have found that manufacturer gear is always best.
On the scary side, my work as a coroners investigator has all too often meant that Ive had to study a diving death where homemade gear was a contributing factor. Several times the gear in question was being tested by the builder at the time of the accident.
Now I am not against persons developing new ideas but all too often the motivation is nothing more than cost. This to me is not a good reason to stray from designed and validated gear.
I remember a few years ago a diver on one of our courses came to me with a piece of homemade gear, it was beautiful, best Id ever seen. I imagined it cost a fortune to make but offered to buy it at his named price. What was weird is that the guy was only proud of the fact he built it cheaper than a manufactured version.
In the end, this betrayed a mindset and a pattern for this diver, who was not successful on that course.
Diving is not a cheap sport, diving does involve mortal risk. Do you really want to take the chance based on a cost driven item? To paraphrase Hollywood, what is the life of a diver (yours) worth to you?
MORE THAN ONE OPINION: The preceding article brings to mind another concept originating from my investigations of accidents. In the most horrific cases there appears to be a trend that the victims had gotten all their training from one instructor. In fact, many of theses had taken this instructor and placed him on a pedestal and created the ultimate guru relationship, that of a mentor. You have of course heard the saying, blind leading the blind.
To me getting all your training from one person is like getting your entire medical advise from one doctor. Not all instructors are equal and there is often defacto specialization. Do not ask us for a photo course, sure we could teach it, but there are much better people around. We will walk away from a course we do not feel that we are the best at but not everyone is as esoteric as we are. In fact, we get lots of referrals from good instructors for courses like wreck penetration that they know we do best.
Listen, if your doctor told you that you had a real bad sickness youd get another opinion, right? Well diving is a very serious medical condition, check out the options.
BTW, always diving with the same buddy can even be worse. We get dependant on a skill and mind set over time and this can lead to a skill deficiency.
No matter who you decide to trust ask for their philosophy on the subject. If they do not have one, pass, they are strokes that have not thought enough on the matter. You can check out our Training Philosophy by going to www.technicaldivingops.com and hitting the appropriate button.
WAR AND PEACE: Most of this newsletter is about how you think about diving or simply thinking about diving. Dive planning is something we do before every dive, or not? Everytime a pilot takes off into an alien enviorment he writes out a flight plan. Do you write out a dive plan every time you venture into an alien environment ? You should!
Two thousand years ago in Egypt it was a dictum, so it shall be written so it shall be done. I feel that a verbal dive plan is just that, noise in the wind. By writing it down, even if they are just notes on a slate or scratches on a drink coaster, it causes you to think, it is clear, it is a record and it is serious.
I am running a course this weekend and the whole issue is how to make a dive plan. Not the plan but to develop the skills to do the framework.
If there is one set of guidelines I can give you here is, Plan for Peace and Prepare for War. We should always plan that things go ever so smoothly but we must be ready when the worst case scenario happens, as it will one day. Most dives are no more than a paddle about, but even these can go south and have some pretty scary results. Planning makes the difference between an event and a disaster.
Last thought on this subject. We all know that anyone can call (cancel) a dive, for any reason, at anytime, no questions asked. But how do you decide when to call it? My old buddy Mike Fowler told me of his RULE OF THREE. You make a detailed plan and the minute three (even minor) elements do not match the plan you scrub and retire to a nice cold drink and dive another day.
FYI, our Motto (see www.technicaldivingops.com on the front page) tells why we choose ours, Fortitudine Vincimus. Shackleton planned for the best but prepped for the worst.
I have always said the best diver is often the live one who never made the dive.
Well, the rain just stopped and my bud Capt. Heinz Wahl has a new drysuit to test. So I guess well motor out to one of the many great wrecks close by for a quick dive. But not before we have a pizza and draw up a plan on the paper carton.
Please remember we have space at virtually anytime for your charter and training needs. The crews are ready, the clear warm water is waiting and no one has moved any of the wrecks. Get with us anytime (best by email) so we can schedule your custom expedition in the Thousand Islands. Of course do not miss the chance to dive the Empress.
Always at your service,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and all the crew
June 7, 2004
Some dive industry guru once told me that the biggest dive day in America is Memorial Day. I do not know if it was the biggest but it sure was some great diving in the Seaway. The vis is coming up to the 60-70 level and the water is just about the temp when we can forego the hood.
REBREATHERS-FUTURE OR FAD: A few weeks ago at a gathering the question was posed; What does the future hold for diving, will rebreathers totally replace open circuit?
Since then Ive given this query a good deal of thought. For the record I do not reside solely in either camp. I use the right tool for the mission, some times it is OC others is CCR.
First off, rebreathers are not something new they have been around for along time and in fact predate scuba, as we know it.
I do not think that we will see the day when there is only one-way to dive scuba, I see that both options will co-exist, despite the fact that the split will vary. Look at other technologies. When the first automatic transmission came out many said that it was the end of the manual transmission others said it was a fad, both were wrong. Over the years we have seen the ratios change to favor one then the other. This evolution continues today, depending on the mission, depending on personal bias, depending on 1001 factors some will drive an automatic and some a standard.
When the first automatic pistol was developed many saw it as the end of the revolver. The next 20 years saw a see/saw of preference but both technologies remain and almost a century later both systems still co exist.
True some new technology obliterates the old technology; some new technology passes as a fad. Still. it seems to me that the OC/CCR dichotomy will continue for a good long while.
So choose the tool you/the mission favor then most important dive as much as you can.
JODREY OPEN TO DIVERS: As many of you know the wreck of the Roy A. Jodrey, at Alexandria Bay New York, has been closed to divers for about two years while ecological work was being preformed.
This spring the United States Coast Guard invited interested parties to apply for dispensation to dive this wreck. Alp Maritimes and our associates Capt. Danny Crowell and Capt. Heinz Wahl have been granted permission to dive on the wreck!!
This is really great news! We applaud the USCGs approach in granting permission on a case-by-case basis. This wreck is not always the easiest to dive from logistic point of view and so it is best that it be treated as a special case. Further, it is not a dive for every diver and so by filtering who dives it we can avoid unpleasantries or disaster.
BTW, our permission is based on some very precise conditions and obligations.
FYI, as per general regulations Title 33. Code of Federal Regulations. Section 165.23. entry into or movement within this zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of Port. Persons violating this regulation are subject to a civil penalty up to $27,500. Hence, be very very sure that you have a written permit before you even think of diving here.
QUEBEC DIVING REGULATIONS TAKE EFFECT: As most of know, two years ago, the Government of Quebec penned legislation to regulate diving within its boarders. This last April the entire mechanism was put into effect to make these regulations come into force. This means that in order to legally dive in Quebec you must have a diving permit. Further, if you wish to teach diving in Quebec you must have a teaching permit in order to issue the diver license along with the agency cert.
I guess the best way to describe this situation is like a hunting license. Despite the fact that you have one states hunting permit if you cross the state line then you need that jurisdictions permit.
On May 25 the first seminar was held to qualify those who could issue the diver permit. Alp Maritimes was part of this first group to be mandated to deliver the license. Over the next month similar seminars will be held in various locations to nominate other such instructors.
Fundamentally, if you are a certified, practicing diver with nordic experience it is a simple matter of contacting a mandated instructor and getting equivalence. In the same way those traveling to Quebec to dive can obtain a visitors permit.
Rest assured that Alp Maritimes along with our associates, Jean Pierre Bouillon and Dany St Cyr will take care of all these issues for our clients coming to the Empress. No worries Mates!
One word of caution, if you are taking a dive course in Quebec please be sure that the person who is teaching you has an instructor permit. This will avoid any unpleasant circumstances.
DARK DESCENT WELL RECEIVED: It has been about a month since Kevin McMurrays new book on diving the Empress of Ireland has been out. The reaction from wreck diving aficionados has been great. Just about all of readers I have spoken to love the book. Of course a book covering decades about wreck diving and especially in Quebec is bound to cause some controversy. Not everyone is thrilled with they way they/events/places are described. That is life, as you sow so shall you reap. Hell, nothing makes for a better read than some cloak and dagger diving intrigue.
BTW, I know that a lot of divers along the New England coast are pretty proud of their wreck diving feuds, just remember, the wreck divers of the Empress invented the wrecker feud (that is my Quebec pride shining through.
Hey, do not take my word for it. A few days ago on Memorial Day we honored our fightin men who bought for us freedom of the press. Go out there and exercise that freedom and read Dark Descent, trust me, it is a worthwhile endeavor.
SPACE AVAILABLE ON EMPRESS: There are still some spaces available on Empress expeditions. Now after youve read the book you can come and dive the wreck and meet many of the personalities in the book. Believe you me, truth is stranger than fiction and many of us are very strange pirates indeed.
Well, I never like to write too much so Ill sign off. Anyways I have a P.M. dive trip to run and the only thing I prefer to writing about diving is doing it.
Just a quick reminder if you have not booked a dive trip with us we still have very good availability for trips and courses. Allow us the pleasure of serving you.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and all the Crew
May 13, 2004
Well the dive show season is finally over. It was great to get out and meet so many new people and to hang with old friends. We are just about finishing up our last details on all our boats and are just about where we want them. We have actually done a few courses and are in the midst of others. Please remember it is now the time to book.
GIVE OUT ONLY GOOD ADVICE: Not too long ago Capt. Jean Philippe and me were running back from the eastern Great Lakes. The weather was real bad; high winds, big waves, driving rain not fun but thats the lakes in spring. We are pounding our way when we get a distress call from a private dive vessel that ran aground, luckily they can give us their GPS. So J.P. punches it in his unit, drops the hammer and starts booking to the coordinates. Meanwhile I go below to plot it on the chart to get an idea of what they hit. I find that they had gone into area that had like no water, like two feet, any wonder they were grounded.
Well we get to them and realized we have to pull them off. Luckily, we can hook them and get them off the bar before they are driven on the rocks. But that is not the story, once off we asked how they got there and were told that they had followed the GPS coordinates for a wreck given them by a dive operator. They had made no mistake, later they showed us an email they had received with coordinates for several dive sites, all of which were WRONG, like on the rocks.
I know of a fella that wrote a book on dive sites and was given bad GPS numbers by operators who didnt want anyone to dive their wrecks. A dive operator has even told me he always gives out bogus numbers when asked.
Listen here boys, if you dont want to give out numbers that is your business but bad numbers can ruin a day or a boat or a life. If you dont want to give numbers be man enough to say so! To those who get numbers, be sure you get them right (i.e. dd mm ss.s or dd mm.mmmm or dd.dddddd ect.) then be sure to check them on a chart. If you cant read a chart then youd better learn cause GPS is not a solution for poor seamanship. If you want Ill teach you to read a chart.
A BREATH OF FRESH HELIUM; I think that it is time to look at what we breathe and give it some thought. You all know that I like to use the words best gas for the mission, and I submit that if the mission is on land at sea level then Normoxic Air (21% O2) is the best gas, several million years of evolution have proved that. For all of us, our missions are underwater at increased pressure and what we breathe on land is not the best. I know that there will be a great protestation from some that goes like this. Air diving is fine cause I am not a techie, I do not go deep, when I do I can use air cause I did 20 years ago, plus I am used to narcosis and have a super high tolerance to it, Oxtox only happens to bad divers, further mixed gas is real complicated and expensive. Did I cover all of it in one sentence?
Realize that diving on compressed gas is a very new activity and development is virtually daily. For those who have been diving a while think of the improvements you see every few months, for you new divers remember that a lot of what you just leaned will be superceded real soon.
NASCAR season is in full swing, in the 60s you roared down the straight away and turned left on Bias Ply Tires, there are drivers today who remember using Bias Ply Tires, but there is not one that will roll on Sunday on anything less than the best Radial Tires, best equipment for the mission. BTW, if the driver has his way air would be replaced as a tire inflation gas.
Think about Everest, twenty years ago only the best in the world climbed her and yes at times on air. Today many different types of people go but one thing is common and that is use of O2, best gas for the mission.
You all have heard of Martinis Law. I guess we can all remember a time when 24 beers, a fast car, and 5 saloons spread on 40 miles of blacktop meant a good Saturday Night (remember the days when you had high tolerance to alcohol?). Today, for whatever reasons virtually none of us would roll those dice, best plan for the mission.
My crew and I have been diving a long time, (back when diving was dangerous and sex safe) and we all have been on some great dives. Problem is when diving on air we too often came up and asked our buddy a question like, Yo Billy, was that one wreck or two we just dove?
One last thing no one ever died of OxTox, whenever the bodies were recovered the cause of death was always drowning. I guess you get my point. You really got to get into the new century. There is no good reason to dive air! Oh sorry, the last argument, the cost of mixed gas and O2 deco. Id love to say something like this could be your very last argument or what is the life of a diver worth to you but actions are better.
On all of our expeditions ALL & ANY GAS ARE INCLUDED, it just is not a cost issue when you dive with us. Further we can conduct training for you so that you can take full advantage of modern diving elements. Remember that any course on our liveaboards can be affected in a shorter time frame than on land due to the increased time in a day availed by our floating institute, fewer days more training.
THE EMPRESS IS WAITING: For those of you looking for an Empress Expedition now is the time to act. Places are filling up real fast and the only way to get there this year is to book now! BTW, we have renewed our deal with a major on hotel side of things for some excellent accommodations without ridiculous price increases. The days of camping at the Empress are now gone. As to the Nipigon, this is a real bonus, another great dive in the region. Many thanks to all those who have helped in getting it sunk, your contributions are greatly appreciated.
THE PIRATES ARE LANDING: Along with great diving the Thousand Islands offers a great deal more. Quaint towns and beautiful scenery to go along with the super diving. One event stands out Alexandria Bay Pirates Week August 13th to 22th. This is a great time to come and dive but also to party in an incredible atmosphere. Believe me, I have seen Pirates Week in Grand Cayman and it is tame and boring compared to A Bays version. If you think you were born 300 years too late come on along and live your fantasy. Actually, if you think you were born 30 years too late come any ways cause Im not sure if it is more like the 1660s or the 1960s. Last year I think I saw Hendricks, Joplin and Blackbeard all on the same night.
COLL REGS BALLS & FLAGS: As I am writing another good ole boy drops by to tell me hes just put his boat in the water and is ready to dive. Id like to make a point about identifying a vessel engaged in diving.
Let us start with the diver down flag. While this maybe recognized by many and where it maybe required by state and local laws it is not enough. The real big guns are the United States Coast Guard; they will want you to respect the Collision Regulations. This will mean that you must also fly the Alpha flag.
So if you fly both then all is good? Not really! The Alpha Flag denotes a vessel with limited ability to maneuver, not necessarily due to divers in the water.
To be completely in accordance with the regulations you need to fly a vertical combination of black ball/black diamond/black ball. If your vessel is over 20 meters you must also identify the diving side and the passing side, with balls and diamonds. Normally, the balls should be .6 meters across and the diamonds 1.2 by .6 meters. Now it does state that the size may be reduced for smaller vessels but does not give other dimensions. BTW, an Alpha flag should be a meter square.
I do not want to complicate your life but if you wish to obey the letter of the law this is the way to go. We do it and it is no big deal. Remember, if you are boarded and inspected this could be a citation.
One last thought as I sit here in beautiful French Bay Marina watching a great T.I. sunset sipping a spiced rhum with mango juice. I do not know how many brave soldiers died overseas today. I do know that all the great things we enjoy in this country are in large part due to the sacrifices of those in the military that protect us. I am sure many of you had a good day so when you are chilling remember to say a word of thanks to those who are defending our rights and freedoms.
Always at your diving service,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
Apr 16, 2004
Dear Diving Friend,
Well Easter is by us and this is a sure sign that the summer diving season is upon us. This week most of our vessels have hit the water or will be there pretty soon. Lake Ontario is ice free as is the upper Seaway and we are ready to go diving, the vis might be a bit ruff but soon enough well have those 100 vis and warm conditions the area is known for. Down in the Gulf it will be another few weeks before we start diving the Empress and Nipigon but we are getting ready and are stoked.
DARK DESCENT RELEASED TODAY: Well at long last Kevin McMurrays book on diving the Empress of Ireland is starting to be shipped out. The finished book looks real good and reads great. Up till now wed only seen drafts without any pictures but still we were impressed. The final product is just beautiful and a must have/read for very diver. You can check with your local bookstore as to when they will be getting in their shipment or you can order on line at Amazon.com. Once you will have read the book I know youll want to dive her yourself. Do not be disappointed with a sold out situation and book your expedition now.
BTW, Kevin will be at the 34th Our Underwater World, April 23, 24, 25 2004 at the Rosemont Convention Center, Chicago http://www.ourworldunderwater.com/index.shtml . You can meet Kevin and get your book signed at the OxyCheq Booth #822.
There you can meet with Patrick Duffy a tech dive gear-designing wizard. Just about every month some new product is coming to light. The really exciting news has been the wings. The reception has been just outstanding. The other hot mover is the HS Explorer Trimix RGBM computer. Check these and all the other products; go to www.technicaldivingops.com scroll down the front page and clique on OxyCheq.
DEEP SEA DETECTIVES AIRS APRIL 20TH: As we told you a few months ago we were very pleased to have participated in the History Channels show, Deep Sea Detectives, and this episode on the Empress of Ireland. On April 20th at 20:00 the show will air. Do not miss this incredible show on an incredible wreck. This was a real group effort because in addition to the regular cast just about all the people involved with diving the Empress collaborated. Capt. J.P. Bouillon, Kevin McMurray, Capt. Dany St.Cyr, Serge Lavoie and many others plus myself tendered what services were needed to help make this a truly great episode.
For many of us it will be a memorial to co-host, Michael Norwood, who tragically passed on shortly after the filming. Do yourself a favor next Tuesday, get a big bowl of popcorn, a cold one and kick back and enjoy.
TDI to HOST OTTAWA TECH CONFERENCE: The good people at Technical Diving International Canada http://www.tdicanada.com/ are putting together a tech conference in Ottawa, Ontario, May 1st. This is going to be a great event for all. They have invited some pretty cool speakers from all around the continent and there will be lots of good stuff to learn. A number of dive related service providers will be on hand to present their wares for your approval. Please be aware that this is a non denominational party and everyone interested in tech diving is welcome no matter what alphabet soup you put after your name. We applaud our associates in this action, as it will only help the sport in general. BTW, yours truly will be there to present GAP, Gas Absorption Program with R.G.B.M., Reduced Gradient Bubble Model, the worlds best deco software. Further there will be a show special on this product for attendees.
One last reason to come, Ill be bringing two cases of signed copies of Kevin McMurrays Dark Descent. Bring a bat and fight to the front of the line and be the first on your dive boat to have read it.
90TH ANNIVERSARY OF EMPRESS SINKING: On the night of May 29th 1914 the Empress of Ireland rolled over after being rammed and sank in just 14 horrifying minutes taking 1022 persons to their watery here after. Ninety years have passed since but the events of that night still stir all that are involved with the Empress and especially those who dive this ice water mansion. The Musee de la Mer (Museum of the Sea) at Pointe au Pere (Father Point) will be organizing a super day to commemorate the sinking and subsequent events. This is an incredible chance to start your own exploration of the greatest peacetime marine disaster that is actually diveable. Check it out at http://www.sea-viewdiving.com/shipwreck_info/empress_home/90thanniversary.htm.
BTW, the Titanic sank just last week (April 15th), 92 years ago, but the present technology does not yet allow you to dive her.
Depending on the break up and spring run off, this maybe a bit early for really great diving on the wreck itself. We will see. It is definitely not too early even now to book with us for some primetime diving on the Empress.
STRATGICIS ALLIANCE STRUCK WITH CROWELL: It is with great pleasure that we can announce a very important liaison between Alp Maritimes Sports and Capt. Danny Crowell. Most of you know Capt. Crowell as the skipper of the Seeker, legendary charter vessel to the Andrea Doria. On top of that Dan is a leading explorer of many other wrecks and has for more that two decades led expeditions to some of the most important wrecks in the world. Not only has he found and dived them he has filmed his exploits in a truly artistic fashion. Crowells many film making assignments and subsequent awards speak volumes to his skills with a camera and in the directors chair. Add to this the fact that Dan is a superb technical diver trainer having coached and guided many great wreck divers.
Parallel to running the Seeker, Dan will be leading a number of wreck diving expedition and training sessions to Lake Ontario and the Thousand Islands. We are so very pleased and honored to have hooked up with Dan to collaborate on his outstanding exploits. You can reach Dan directly at email@example.com.
I really hope that many of you will be able to take advantage of our services and especially at the times when Dan will be there. It is important to note that now is the time to reserve your available time for the best in fresh water wreck diving.
FOR GIRLS ONLY: From time to time many of you have expressed a desire to organize a girls only dive trip. We think that this is a great idea! It has be a pleasure for me and my crew to host such Thousand Islands Mermaids liveaboard trips in the past. Imagine a get-away with nothing to do but relax, kick back, and make some gnarly dives. You all have enough responsibilities in your day-to-day lives and you all need a break. Rest assured that on this trip you will have nothing to do but enjoy yourselves, we will wait on you hand and foot. All our expeditions are 100% all-inclusive so all you need is a party attitude, a big smile and your topside summer cloths. Remember that we have all the gear you could want so no need to even think about gear issues if you are short an item or two. Ah yes, decide when and where you want to dive, no significant others to deal with, no kids to deal with, you can all be princesses for a few days (I promise the toilet seat will always be in the right position). If youd like to toss in a quickie certification we should be able to arrange this to fit in. This first trip can take place in late June, if we get the interest, so set aside the time to pamper yourselves; if you dont do it for yourselves, no one will do it for you. Right now I have real good availability but we are booking up quickly so you need to make plans now for your adventure.
Let me take this moment to thank all those who have booked courses and expeditions with us to date. For those who are still contemplating an action I urge you to contact us as soon as possible with your needs or desires. The rate of reservations is quite high and space is getting to be tight, we do not want to miss the opportunity of serving you simply due to tardiness. As you know we do only custom work so let us know what you need in the way of diving services. I am sure that you will not regret choosing us to provide your scuba-related needs and reserving now.
Always on standby for your underwater needs.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
Mar 24, 2004
It is with a very heavy heart that I open this Newsletter. I hate to be the bearer of sad tidings but the realities of diving are often harsh. Hence, it is with no joy I write the first two articles.
JOHN BENNETT MISSING IN SOUTH PACIFIC: Our Southeast Asia associate, Joe Kaiser writes: We have just received the following report from a very reliable source close to John Bennett.
Im sorry to say, that as of 12.45 Monday the 15th, while doing a salvage dive, John Bennett went missing.
His buddy on the dive said they were both at 45m on top of the ship; water temp 7c visibility one to two meters no current. The (sic) were on a 29% helium mix, bottom time 20 minutes total time 73 minutes to the surface.
His buddy noticed some unusual behaviour (sic) from John and gave John the OK sign, to which John returned the OK.
Again his buddy noticed John was acting differently and gave John the up sign. John returned the up sign, so he (sic) buddy proceeded to the up line and then noticed John wasnt behind him. Going back to find John and seeing no sign of him, the buddy went back to the shot line and noticed bubbles. Thinking that John was there, the buddy proceeded to ascend. At his deco stop, the buddy noticed bubbles ascending past him, but then the bubbles stopped. When the buddy got out the water, he informed the leader of the job what had happened. Searching the surface, they spotted some bubbles a distance from the boat. The assumption was that John had lost the line until a few minutes later when the bubbles stopped. When John did not surface, anoter (sic) diver proceeded to do a twenty minute search, but there was no sign of John. A surface search was then performed for hours, but still no sign of John Bennett.
Further information will be released as received and an official statement will be issued soon.
John was a true pioneer and an icon in the world of adventure diving.
For my part John was a real unique person. He was one of those few who when he talked to you, you felt like you had his undivided attention and that he was truly interested in your point of view.
We extend our condolences to Gabby, Joshua & Katie and the rest of their family. And all of Johns associates.
CLEMENT POULIOT NO LONGER WITH US: Last week while cave diving in Mexico, Clement Pouliot failed to surface from a dive. Initial reports are sketchy and the autopsy is being performed today as I write. Clement was a very accomplished diver and had a great deal of experience in many varied diving locals. For me personally it is a real shock. If I close my eyes I can see Clement standing there last summer telling me this joke all the while waving his arms to make the story even more hilarious. He was a very friendly, cool guy and that is how I will remember him. Our entire team extends our most sincere sympathies to all of Clements family, friends and associates. If you wish to know about the funeral arrangements please go to: www.nepteau.com. Should you wish to send a note to the family please send it to Clements associate, Eric, and he will see it gets to them: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were also advised of a second death in the same cave system on the same day. Although we did not know this other diver we extend our condolences to family and friends.
EMPRESS COURSES COMPLETE: After several months of very hard work we are pleased to announce that our specialized courses on diving the Empress of Ireland are now complete. Many thanks must go to my associates Dany St. Cyr and Tyler Bradford who did legion duty on this project. I was incredibly fortunate to have two of the best and most experienced instructors currently diving the Empress help me with the project.
Our goal was to set out very clear and detailed course outlines to diving this world-class wreck. There is no question that the Empress can be an extremely daunting dive but with the right approach it can be a whole lot easier. The course outlines have been submitted to two leading agencies to be considered as instructor specified courses. For info on diving the Empress please go to www.technicaldivingops.com scroll down the front page to the Letters of Introduction and clique on the Empress button.
As most of you know the Empress season is short and boats limited. Our bookings are well advanced so please contact us as soon as possible to book charter and training space.
BTS THIS WEEKEND: Come to the 28th Beneath the Sea show at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, the weekend of March 26th, 27th, and 28th, 2004, and allow us the pleasure of meeting with you, discussing your dive charter and training needs and proposing solutions. We will be in booth #540.
Do not forget OxyCheq will be right next to us at # 542.
Both Saturday and Sunday Kevin McMurray, world-renowned dive author, will be doing presentations on the Empress of Ireland. Kevins book Dark Descent, The Deadly Allure of the Empress of Ireland, will hit the bookstores April 12th. You can of course order your copy right now at: :http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/007141634X/qid=1074462022/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-8437922-5278324?v=glance&s=books .
Be sure not to miss these super presentations. World famous underwater filmmaker Danny Crowell will have some very interesting footage of last years expeditions will support Kevin. In addition Dany St Cyr King of the Empress will be on hand to add color commentary. Finally yours truly will lend a hand in making this a MUST SEE EVENT.
Outside these presentations Kevin and the entire cast will be at booth #540 to preview the book and answer all questions on the Empress.
DUAL PHASE MODELS & DEEP STOPS NOT NEW: At this time of year I am out doing a great many conferences and shows. One of the main topics that I am asked to speak on is decompression theory. More in point of fact, Reduced Gradient Bubble Model, which employs dual phase mechanics of dissolved and free phase gas. Most often people ask me to explain this NEW DECO THEORY. The reality is it is not exactly new. Way back in the late 60s Brian Hills was already postulating his thought on the subject. Many of us were using deep stops in an ad hoc manner but Brian was approaching it from a sound scientific angle. Recently he wrote to Dr. Bruce Wienke commenting on the current state of the art/science of decompression. I have added this exchange on our website, go to www.technicaldivingops.com clique on Bulletin Board then NAUI then on Father of Dual Phase. This article will illuminate the reality of how slow it is for info to get out in this sport.
The reason that this article so impressed me is that for almost thirty years there existed a much better approach to decompression than the theories of Haldane and the Buhlman application. For three decades divers were not using the best theory they could, all be it there was one. Further anyone who understands particularly Buhlman knows that his algorithms do not work well with Helium. The result was doubly sad, divers were not decompressing as efficiently as they could and Helium was as a result not being used as much as it could. The result was countless injuries and deaths.
It makes me sick when I think of this. Look at Nitrox. Its growth was retarded for over 10 years by a group of deceitful powerful people in diving not because they had any proof against it but because of a hidden agenda fueled by greed (thank God one of these groups is no more).
My point is this. I cant understand why advances in diving by the leaders take so long to be accepted by the masses. Look at any other sport; whatever innovation or revolution occurs at the top it is literally used by the masses in months if not weeks.
I urge you all to get out there and learn as much as you can. Do not ever use a phase like it has served me well for a decade or I know all about that. Diving is a very young sport, we venture into an environment as foreign as space. Move with the times, keep learning.
Remember we are at your service with educational programs to enhance your performance. We can hook you up to use Helium, teach you to decompress on R.G.B.M. and supply the tools, GAP deco software and HS Explorer Computers, to make your diving experience the most modern, efficient and pleasant it can be. GET WITH US IN THE 21ST CENTURY OF DIVING.
Time to get all packed up for BTS. I want to see as many of you there for a rocking good time. And for those of you who asked; Yes, the MONKEY will be there! As I leave for the show I do realize that some of you will not make it. Not cause you do not want to but cause you are away making it possible for things like BTS to happen. As another wave of Marines goes in country, this time to Haiti, I stop and I think. I give thanks to those far away from home fighting to ensure our way of life, our quality of life and our freedom, especially to dive.
God protect the armed forces cause they protect us.
Always at your service,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
Mar 6, 2004
Dear Underwater Adventurer,
Man, am I ever in the mood to dive. We have been busy attending recent dive shows and our agenda is full over the next month or so with shows. Every time we speak at any of these underwater events it makes me more eager to go out and do it. If you missed the show list in our last newsletter just go to www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin Board then Newsletter Archives and see the 2004 list.
DARK DESCENT AVAILABLE SOON: I am really one lucky guy, for the last two years I have had the good fortune to help out Kevin McMurray on this next book, Dark Descent, story of diving the Empress of Ireland. A few weeks ago I was privileged to read the galley or proofing copy. I got the book at 18:00 and started to read, next thing I knew it was 03:00 the next day. I guess that first read was not much of a proofing cause I just could not stop and put it down. GREAT DIVE BOOK!!!! All the people I know who proofed it loved it, among them guys who know a lot about diving but also people like Clive Cussler who knows a great book when he sees one.
As of yesterday the people at McGraw Hill hit the save button and will shortly hit the print button then on April 20th you will be able to read it for yourself.
BENEATH THE SEAS SHOW: This show has always been the big deal eastern dive show and this year will be no different. Alp Maritimes crew will be at our usual booth #540 and it will be our pleasure to meet with you all. We will be able to discuss your dive charter and training needs and advise as to how we can help.
Kevin McMurray will be doing presentations every day on the Empress of Ireland. He will be giving you a preview of his book as well as very useful information and interesting stories about this world-class wreck. Do not miss his very cool talks. 28th Annual Beneath the Sea Show, the Meadowlands, Secaucus, New Jersey: March 26.27,28 2004 www.BeneathTheSea.org.
OXYCHEQ TECHNICAL DIVE GEAR: As you may know our associate Patrick Duffy is just a designing wizard. Just about every month some new product is coming to light. The really exciting news has been the wings. We started out with a 50 lbs double and a 70 lbs double. The reception has been just outstanding. We have been getting back incredible reports as to their performance that only confirm our own results. For me the mark of a great wing is how well it swims (lets face it even junk will float you on the surface). Our workhorse tanks are twin 95s and the 50 lbs is a dream; streamline, well distributed and flawless filling and dumping. This week I got a report of two good divers whose trim had always been too much head up, no matter what they did. While on a course they both got the chance to try OxyCheq wings and things got real level real quick. Now we all know that it will always be the gunner and not the gun but why fight with your gear.
Check these and all the other wings; go to www.technicaldivingops.com scroll down the front page and clique on OxyCheq.
The other hot mover is the HS Explorer Trimix RGBM computer. While we will always cut tables on PC and carry deco slates, this tool makes life a whole lot easier. The super technology of the instrument coupled with the best algorithm in the world makes for a great combination. The resent demand took us by surprise and has been so high that there was about a month delay in delivery up till now. Gene Melton at HS ensures us that production improvements will now allow us to meet the demand in a timely manner.
Pat Duffys OxyCheq booth at BTS will be #542, right beside Alp Maritimes. Gene Melton, head guru at HS, will also be there to answer even the minutest details. Since our team dives exclusively OxyCheq this way we will have lots of pro divers who use the gear every day, they can talk the talk cause they walk the walk. Drop by and we will be able to answer all your gear needs.
MCMURRAY & KULISEK NAMED TO BOD: Kevin McMurray and Capt. Gary Kulisek both accepted positions on the board of directors of the Société des Récifs Artificiels lEstuaire du Québec, R.A.E.Q. (Artificial Reef Society of the Estuary of Quebec). BTW, you pronounce the French acronym WRECK. The R.A.E.Q. was founded to undertake the sinking of the destroyer Nipigon. Once that mandate was full filled last July 24th the organization took on a new mission. Its mandate is to render the wrecks of the Nipigon/Empress easier to dive, safer to dive and to promote the wreck diving in the region. Both Kevin and myself have been closely associated with these projects and given our very close relationship to the wrecks and divers we are pleased to render our services. We along with the entire board feel that these wrecks represent incredible untapped potential for divers.
THOUSAND ISLANDS VESSEL IMPROVEMENTS: This week marked the finalization for our planned improvements to all our vessels, most particularly our liveaboards. Meetings with shipwrights have yielded a tight schedule to render our boats as diver friendly as possible by May 20. We will be paying special attention to gear stowage, means of entry and exit and kick back space. On the dive/deco gas production/storage scene we will revamp our gas racks and supply/storage cylinders to ensure quicker fills and less manipulation of tanks. Our day boat capabilities will be augmented by long-term leases to enhance that part of our services.
GAP RGBM DECO SOFTWARE: In the last few months we have been delivering tons of keys for GAP, Gas Absorption Program, with RGBM, Reduced Gradient Bubble Model algorithm. I am sure more and more of you are appreciating that dissolved gas (Haldanian) deco theory although well known have now been superceded by much more modern thoughts. If you need to brush up on the reasons why you want to follow this theory please go to www.technicaldivingops.com and clique on Technical Articles. These will point out the benefits to all divers. Once you are comfortable go to the front page of the Alp site, scroll down and clique on the GAP button. You can down load a trial version good for several days. At this point you will have been convinced that this is the ticket; super easy and stable platform with the most advanced deco theory.
QUEBEC DIVE REGULATIONS IN FORCE: In 1997 the Government of Quebec enacted legislation to govern diving in Quebec. Although these laws were on the books since then they will actually go into force on April 01 2004. This means that to dive in Quebec and to respect the law you need another dive card. Yeah, Yeah I can see the eyes rolling; the hands thrown up and hear the assorted profanities. What it really means to the serious divers coming up here to dive the Empress/Nipigon is you will show your C-Card/documents, pay $5.00 CDN and youll have the permit. In fact since more than likely youll be diving with Alp Maritimes Sports and our associates well take care of this for you and youll never even notice you signed one more form. BTW, no matter what, get the card this year, a sort of a transition year, and in the future it will mean a no hassle renewal. Trust me, do it. It sounds simple enough for the diver and it is but there are a few more hoops if you want to teach diving here ect. but I will not go into that here. It should be mentioned that at this writing we have yet to be advised exactly when, where and how those of us who will be authorized to issue the cards will be brought up to speed on the mechanics.
Before anyone asks, there are no Scuba Gestapo named as of yet, not sure who, if anyone, will do the checking of cards. I guess it is the way of the world; laws to tell us what to do are all over the place we just got to chill out and soldier on.
I wonder if the best place to be is not on the high seas with only a rolling deck as a country and a black flag off the stern. What is it Buffet sings, born two hundred years to late?
MIA CULPA: In our last newsletter I listed a number of northeast dive shows, it was by no means meant to be a complete list, I did omit one very venerable event. It was pointed out to me that I didnt mention the Boston Sea Rovers 50th Anniversary Clinic, which we all agree is worthy of inclusion in any show list. The whole program is available on www.bostonsearovers.com. My apologizes to all my friends in the Rovers, no insult intended.
Well it is time to pack up the displays and off to another dive show. Please remember that we are in the busiest part of our reservation season. To date our bookings are very strong but we have the resources to answer the charter/training needs of many more friends. It is critical that you indicate to us the dates and services you will need. That way we can reserve space for you and have the pleasure of diving with you.
Always at your diving service,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Alp Maritimes Crew
Feb 14, 2004
Despite the cold northern weather we have not been hibernating but been in high gear getting ready for next season. The last month has been very hectic with a lot of new developments not the least is a bit of new look to this newsletter.
Website Update: We are proud to direct you to the improvements on our site, www.technicaldivingops.com. Despite the general layout not changing new info has been added to almost every page. The first big news is that we have added a slide show, clique on Contact/Photos. Here we have assembled 150 plus photos we felt were of interest. We tried to give you a bit of the flavor of our expeditions and our approach.
Up until last year we were very shy on photos, we just did not take very many, as we were too busy diving and taking care of our clients. Last year our old friend Joe Ifi, Director of Sales and Marketing, at SeaLife Reefmaster www.sealife-cameras.com helped get us into the digital age. With his guidance and expertise we were able to record our adventures a lot better. We will be expanding our efforts and will try to add to our slide show in the months to come. BTW, 99% of all photos were shot with Sealife cameras, easy to use, good quality, no hassles; a great product.
Finally we got tunes! I have wanted for a long time to have music on our site as tunes make it all better. Our web guy, Steve OCollin, http://www.aoadesign.qc.ca laid down one of my favorite songs, I hope you will enjoy it. It may take a minute or two to load (I should know cause my line here is the slowest of the slow) but I think it is fun.
Jan Watts Saves Life: For once I can report on the diving death that never happened, a happy story. Most people in diving know Hal Watts, www.fortyfathomgrotto.com, this time Hal has got second chair as his wife Jan is the hero. A couple of weeks ago a group is diving at the Grotto, something goes wrong for one of the divers and she ends up on the surface unconscious. A couple of minutes later shes on the deck pretty much in a tag her and bag her situation, no pulse, no respiration, no vitals!
Enter Jan Super Women Watts, using her classical training as a nurse and her knowledge of diving she leaps into the breach. Taking charge and administering a sound but bold approach she begins to work on the women. Within in a short time there is pulse, then respiration then consciousness. By the time the fire department and E.M.T.s arrive, the diver is lucid and more worried about her cut wet suit than her brush with the reaper. After a precautionary chamber ride we are told all is well. Congrats to Jan for a super job of bringing one back.
BTW, speaking of nurses, I spoke with Billy Deans; hes fine, got a new rebreather and is busy as ever at the Key West Hospital.
Upper End Courses in June: We have had an unprecedented call for top end courses in early June aboard our liveaboards in the Seaway and Great Lakes. A surprising number of divers have requested particularly instructor and mixed gas courses at this time. Despite the fact we will basically run any course at any time it would make sense to combine students as one often learns from others on a course as well as the staff. I suggest that if you are in anyway considering upper end courses you get with us as soon as possible. Taking a course at the start of a season really makes a lot of sense, as the benefits are immediate and will make the rest of your season more profitable. Please be advised that we will fill up fairly soon so act now.
Alexandria Bay Pirates Week: If you are looking for a rocking good time you got to be in Alex Bay August 13-22 for Pirates Week. You can step back into the 1600s or just back to the 1960s (if you get my drift). Go watch the movie Pirates of the Caribbean Secret of the Black Pearl and Im sure youll get in the mood. This is a great time to come and dive with us on our day charters (well handle a shore based hotel/meal package for you) get in excellent dives during the sunshine hours and be able to get in some gnarly partying after dark. This is a chance to combine the Ole Cappys two favorite things: diving and raising hell. BTW, bail bonds arranged at an additional fee.
Three Great N.E. Dive Shows:
28th Annual Beneath the Sea Show, the Meadowlands, Secaucus, New Jersey: March 26.27,28 2004 www.BeneathTheSea.org. A really great show, a must for divers. More info on special attractions in the next Newsletter.
3rd Annual Mid Winter SCUBA Expo, Ramada Inn, Watertown, New York: Feb. 28 2004 (to see flyer go to www.technicaldivingops.com clique on Bulletin Board, clique on Winter Scuba Expo). A worthwhile day of dive activities in up State New York.
Great Lakes Underwater 2004, SUNY Oswego, Lanigan Hall, Oswego, New York: March 6, 2004 www.oswegomaritime.org/glu.html. A great update on what is happening in the Great Lakes.
Troisième Colloque Québécois de la Plongée Sous-marine (3rd Quebec Underwater Symposium) lHôtel Gouverneur de lîle Charron, Longueuil, Quebec: March 20 2004 http://www.diablesdesmers.qc.ca/colloque.htm. A great French language event held in one of the great French cities of the world, Montreal: great people, great food and old world ambiance.
Empress of Ireland Specific Wreck Course: As you may know we having been planning on creating some specific wreck courses for the Empress. It is a long over due project and finally we have made the time.
My plan is to have three; External Survey, Penetration, and Deep Penetration. The first two; External Survey and Pen 1 are done and being reviewed by associates at the top of wreck diving. Given that the wreck of the Empress of Ireland and its location are classified as one of the most challenging in the world these courses have been designed to prepare graduates for this adventure. They will provide the diver with the skills and knowledge needed to gain experience and minimize risks in diving the wreck of the Empress of Ireland. Although a general wreck course may give the generic skills for this type of dive these specific courses concentrate on the particular challenges of the Empress of Ireland.
Much of these courses will be learning by guided discovery and example of instructor. Hence, most of what will be learned will be through doing and not listening, lots of diving.
If you have never dove the Empress why not book on with us for this really special course.
Bouillon Follows His New Passions: Any one who has dove the Empress of Ireland certainly has heard of Capt. Jean Pierre Bouillon, legendary diver and senior charter captain. Most people know him as the man that sunk the Nipigon. While researching his upcoming book Dark Descent, diving the Empress, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/007141634X/qid=1074462022/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-8437922-5278324?v=glance&s=books Kevin McMurray commented to Jean Pierre that he was always a man with a passion. Kevin asked what would be the passion after the Nipigon was sunk? Jean Pierre said, to learn English and have a daughter. True to his word hes enrolled in English courses at the university. Then on 04-01-26 at 19:43 weighing 8.10 lbs. and measuring 22.5 inches, Florence arrived. Both baby and mother Eve are doing fine and Jean Pierre is following his next passion to be King of Diapers. Congrats to the Bouillon family.
Well, that is about it for now. I trust everyone is gearing up for the next hot season. Please remember we are ready to serve you 24/7 for all your diving needs.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
Jan 21, 2004
Dear Dive Enthusiast,
Can you believe this Northeast weather? It is hard to think of diving when it is this cold; only solution is hot rhum and a fireplace. While we are kicking back we may as well advance our diving minds, like reading a book or two.
One thing I know really makes a wreck dive more worthwhile and fun is knowing all one can about it. Despite that over 1000 died on the Empress and she sank in 14 minutes unfortunately it is one of those wrecks whose saga is forgotten. Forgotten Empress is actually the title of David Zinis 1998 book on the wreck. It is a great overview of the whole story. It is well written and easy to read with lots of pictures if you cant read.
For those of you who can read well and have a thirst for detail try Derek Grouts 2001 work Empress of Ireland. Derek is an incredible researcher and has dug up the minutest details about the vessel, the Edwardian Age and her sailing history. It is like going back in time and being there.
You can get both these books through www.amazon.com
After you have read one or both of these books youll really know a good deal about how she got to be a world-class wreck. Unless you are a historian youll be more interested in diving her and the best way to successfully dive any wreck is to learn from those who have. Kevin McMurray to the rescue! Most of you have already read Deep Descent, Kevins book on diving the Andrea Doria. If not get it at http://www.deepdescent.com/index_main.html , and youll gain a wealth of knowledge on that wreck.
In April Kevins latest book Dark Descent will be out. He has spent the last few years researching, interviewing and diving the Empress. His book covers the Diving History of this great wreck. Kevin has turned over every stone, talked with every key diver, got virtually every story (and checked them three times) to be able to tell a tale of diving from the first hard hats to last summer. THIS BOOK IS A MUST FOR ALL DIVERS! FYI you can pre-order Dark Descent on Amazon.com:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/007141634X/qid=1074462022/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-8437922-5278324?v=glance&s=books
Mark your calendars; Beneath the Sea Show, the Meadowlands, Secaucus, New Jersey: March 26.27,28 2004.
BTW, Kevin will be there and Alp Maritimes will be back at our usual booth 540. More on the show in the next newsletter.
Now let me get back to some real dive issues especially diving the Empress. Please trust me when I say now is the time to book on the Empress to avoid disappointment. Several weeks are already sold out and full up. We have never seen the level of bookings we have now. For info go to www.technicaldivingops.com in the middle of the front-page clique on the Empress of Ireland button. ACT NOW!
What makes a good technical diver, or a good diver period? We have often extolled the virtues of helium based breathing gas. Of course it is great to have a clear mind and sharp wits. Still this alone is not enough.
Great modern gear well configured can be a huge help. Still all the best kit will not make you a good diver.
Oh yes, taking courses is the key, you say. Take all the courses you can from all the big name guys from all the powerhouse agencies. Do one course after another and have a sack full of cards, we call these people course junkies, as this will not necessarily do it for you.
Well I know the next answer will be experience. Go out and dive a lot. Get every dive you can in your logbook, especially some big name trophy dives (Doria, Empress ect.). Bear in mind a favorite question I have for the person with a gazillion dives; do you have a gazillion experiences or one experience repeated a gazillion times? It is all too easy to just make the same dive over and over again, even if the location is different, and especially if you dive with the same people.
Sure you need the gas, gear and courses but what do you do with this base, go out and dive with your peers? Hockey players do not get better playing games, ski racers do not get better in races nor do pool sharks get better hustling games. The key is DRILLS and more DRILLS and still more DRILLS. When was the last time you committed a whole dive to practicing a skill, any skill: buddy breathing, no mask swimming, power inflator breathing ect. ect. Long time Eh? Sure I understand diving is a poor time/pleasure ratio, it takes so much time for a few minutes of fun, so why waste them on mundane drills? Why? Cause youll be a better diver and may just one day save your neck. BTW, every week my instructors and crews, besides diving almost every day, have to do a certain amount of drills and maintain a drill log (I never check a dive log, I do check drill logs).
Even if you will not commit a whole dive to a drill, combine a few in your adventure dive. Things like: when at an easy deco spend some time opening and closing your valves with no depth change, when there is an easy ascent up the anchor line shoot a bag and do a swimming deco around the boat, descend a line with no mask/do deco with no mask, run a line when there is no real reason ect. ect. Be creative use your off time to drill.
One other thing, vary your dive buddy. If you dive the same buddy team you tend to get too used to/dependant/role cast on a particular way. If that person is not there then bad stuff happens.
Last comment, as the underwater part of a trip is real short and the topside real long we tend to dive with people we like. Never the less, whenever an opportunity arises to dive with someone of acknowledged skills and experience, take it. True, we all know some great divers who have what Id call peculiar personalities. It would be nice if all the great divers were super nice people but some are not. So for the sake of learning, bite your tongue and learn what you can from anyone that is better.
I have not come up with anything new here, just advise on drilling hard, no pain no gain, all I offer is blood, sweat, toil and tears. Maybe for a victory and a finest hour.
All this talk of books and drills makes me think Im back in basic training. Well at least this has put me in a scholarly mood. My next project is to write the standards for some very special courses. We will be designing a number of Empress Specialty Courses. These will range for basic external survey to deep penetration. Although there are certain elements common to all wreck dives, experience has taught us that the Empress has her own particular elements.
I leave you now and trust the fire is roaring and you are dreaming of the diving adventures to come. Of course we remain at you entire disposal for custom dive training and trips.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Alp Maritimes Crew
Dec 28, 2003
I open this newsletter with my best wishes to all of you and your loved ones at this time of year. May you all have a most festive holiday season with much joy.
Unfortunately there is a dark specter over this season. It is with an extremely heavy heart that I must report that Michael Norwood died while diving in Palau. Michael, 36, was a veteran diver and co-host of The History Channel series Deep Sea Detectives. Michael, his co-host John Chatterton, and Director of Photography Danny Crowell were working on an episode diving on the wreck of the USS Perry, off of Palau. Despite all the right planning and procedures, something went terribly and inexplicably wrong resulting in Michaels demise.
In November we were engaged to full fill a number of roles, ranging from logistics and handling of talent to expertise and translation for Deep Sea Detectives. Our team was honored to have had the opportunity of working with Michael on an episode about the Empress of Ireland.
Michael was the consummate professional. He brought a rare combination of talent, not only was he an experienced diver and former Scotland Yard detective, plus he was a really fun guy to be with, great to work with. I know he thoroughly enjoyed what he did, and that was the magic he brought to every broadcast. Michael had worked on many other dive related film projects and further he was the co- founder, expedition leader and instructor of Deep Blue Diving, Ltd. in the United Kingdom, a center of excellence for advanced and technical diving, well respected in the U.K. and the continent.
We at Alp Maritimes Sports are profoundly saddened by his untimely death and we extend our deepest sympathies to Michaels wife Diana, his parents Fred and Pat Norwood, and his brother David Norwood, as well as his many friends and colleagues.
As you may be aware we at Alp Maritimes Sports have virtually gone over completely to helium based diving. Originally we eliminated deep air but now we are using helium mixtures even at the intermediate depths, anything over 100 feet. What is clear is that helium gives us the sharpness of mind that allows for more profitable dives. Given that full on Trimix diving requires a commitment that not everyone is ready to make nor whose benefits in relation to increased depth franchise are personally tangible, we have realized there should be some intermediate steps. Every diver can benefit from a dose of helium. Hence, we will be offering in a formalized manner two additional courses: Helitrox and Heliar. Despite the fact that we have offered this training it was on a custom ad hoc basis. Now these structured courses will allow all divers venturing below 100 feet the benefits of helium. If you are still using only air, now is the time to move into the 21st century with these courses that fill the training gap between advanced courses and Trimix. Your increased ability to think and recall will make every dive more worthwhile.
Another area where we felt there existed a training gap was at the entry level of tech. diving. Classically divers would take a number of advanced recreational specialties and buy some tech gear and sort of feel their way along. Problems arose when they got to some upper level tech courses, Deep Wreck Penetration or Trimix and they were missing some very basic info and skills. Too often we had to regress or divers had to unlearn misconceptions and habits.
Our approach till now, for those starting out in tech diving was to offer a very heavy Nitrox course. We would offer an intense Nitrox course; pack in a ton of info, in an effort to get people in the right direction. This approach did work fairly well but there were time constraints imposed by a Nitrox Course. Hence we have decided to offer an Intro to Technical Diving Course. This is a skill-oriented course with lots of diving skills and gear refinements. The goal is to get divers out of the Jacket B.C./short hose mentality and get them started on the right foot to adventure diving. Naturally we will still offer combo courses, for example by combining this new course with a classic Nitrox we will have the time to establish a very firm base of skills and knowledge.
Our sport has developed and the envelope is being pushed. The days are gone when you could learn by watching other divers on the boat. We are very pleased to be able to offer a full, formalized and continuous training plan all the way from beginner to deep Trimix. By the mechanism of our liveaboard training venue we can still impart a huge amount of knowledge in a comparatively shorter time than the classroom/day boat approach.
Speaking of pushing the envelope, Briton Mark Ellyatt has set a new world record of 313 meters for the deepest scuba dive, beating the previous record by five meters. Describing his dive in waters off Patong, Andaman Sea, Mark said, Its a lonely trip, like a trip to the Moon.
The descent into the depths took a mere 12 minutes and he spent just 60 seconds there, collecting a marker to verify his record-breaking depth. But the ascent took six hours and 40 minutes. Word is that he used only various Trimix and 100 % oxygen with no intermediate Nitrox on his stops and that this overcame earlier obstacles in his deco.
He dove with six tanks to begin with and had another 24 brought down to him by support divers who met him at various depths on his way back up. Mark stated that success lay not just in reaching the record depth. But also in coming back up safely and gathering experience/data to help better understand extreme conditions and ultimately improve safety standards.
Certainly not a dive for everyone but it is great to see us pushing the envelope of knowledge. In the same way that not every driver can be in NASCAR, extreme situations develop elements that bleed down to every driver.
Mark holds the depth record for the deepest wreck dive at 170 meters, diving it twice! Also the deepest mine dive with 21 minutes at 170 meters in 9°C water, exploring a flooded copper mine. In Feb 2003, Mark completed a 260m dive off of Phuket Thailand, using Reduced Gradient Bubble Model tables. The dive was the deepest RGBM dive to date. You can learn more about RGBM at our web site, www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Technical Articles and deco software with RGBM by cliquing on GAP Software.
One of the mandates we had this last summer was furnishing the Coroner of Quebec with technical expertise during their investigation into the last death on the Empress of Ireland. Despite the unpleasant reality of working for the coroner we were gratified in that we could pool together real experts in diving, wreck diving and especially diving the Empress. We feel that this resulted in some very sound conclusions. At the end of these inquests comes the recommendation phase, the goal being to learn from accidents and to not repeat errors. In this phase just about anyone who has a stake in the matter can give a recommendation. In all the public and private interest groups came up with many dozen recommendations. The Provincial Police of Quebec, of course, made a recommendation. Based on the risk elimination philosophy, that all police must follow, their sole recommendation was to close the Empress to diving. Ironically this was the only recommendation that the press services reported on, based on their report the most sensational philosophy.
In the weeks that followed we received hundreds of questions on the subject. The answer is that the EMPRESS IS NOT CLOSED TO DIVING nor is it very likely that this will happen. During the spring the coroner will draft recommendations which will be studied by the government.
Rest assured that we are gearing up for another great season of diving on the Empress and as well the Nipigon. In fact our bookings are well ahead of last year with certain weeks sold out. If you are thinking about an Empress expedition now is the time to book.
Well, enough about diving. This is the holiday season and the endless parade of turkeys and eggnog beckons.
Let us all take a moment to give thanks for the good food, good friends and freedom to enjoy these. A special greeting goes out to those overseas in the defense of democracy. Thanks and God speed your safe return to dive with us next season.
A very Merry Holiday and a great New Year.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the entire Crew
Dec 6, 2003
I guess we cannot be blamed for sending out too many emails. Time has flown by since our last newsletter six months ago. Many of you have contacted us to find out what was up. Well, to be perfectly honest we have been virtually on one expedition after another since June. This summer conspired to leave us with no permanent office staff and so the news updates suffered. Now that the northeast is gripped by the icy hand of winter I finally have a chance to write. So in no particular order:
SINKING of the NIPIGON- after seven long years of blood, sweat, toil and tears, Capt Jean Pierre Bouillon, realized his dream when the Canadian warship HMCS Nipigon slipped below the surface at 13:30 July 26. She now sits in 105 feet of water (at low tide) at a distance of 1.4 miles from the wreck of the Empress of Ireland. She is sitting virtually perfectly upright and the shallowest contact is at 45 feet.
Unless you have been involved with the sinking of a major vessel to create an artificial reef you cannot imagine the complications. Even the night before with the Nipigon moored on site, and a ton of explosives carefully placed, things did not go easily. At 17:00 just as we were preparing for a presinking banquet the Alp Maritimes Team was sent out to spend a lovely last night on board complete with cold pizza and wet sleeping bags. The weather forecast called for 40-knot winds and 20-foot seas so it was felt that if she decided to try and sink on her own we would blow her in the night so she would land where and how we had planned. It was a very long night spent in drysuits or Mustangs watching the weather. When we woke (that is not really true cause none of us actually slept) we were still a float and the sea had laid down. When the coffee and donuts arrived first thing we got was a Quebec City paper with the headline Nipigon Sinks in Night. Basically it is like reading your own obituary. What is it Mark Twain said, the reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated.
From then on the excitement just kept building till early afternoon. The sea was not exactly like glass and the multitude of boats at the site perimeter were jockeying to hold their positions. When the fireworks started we knew it was go, when we heard the eight charges go off we knew it was happening and after several minutes as she went down by the stern we knew it was a done deal.
Within minutes the three vessels with the clearance divers were over the wreck. I could not believe the total lack of flotsam; all we saw was a scrap of wood and a pop can, nothing else. Our clearance team of six divers came from all over the world and dove the wreck just to be sure all charges had gone off. It is a very strange feeling to dive a wreck that still had bubbles coming out of her and that the bottom she stirred up had not settled.
Later we had the chance to dive the Nipigon under normal circumstances and it really is superb wreck. Well, dont take my word for it, do book on one of our expeditions and see for yourself.
Not all the action was in the Gulf we also had some very cool expeditions in the Thousand Islands. In the early summer we were approached by the extended family of Madgel Brown. More than fifty years ago her husband the late Ernest Brown had the mail contract to deliver the mail to the outlying islands. Well, in winter hed jump into his already decades old Ford Model A and drive over the ice to get the mail to the islanders. As these things happen one day the car goes through the ice and his partner/brother John and hejump out but the car goes down. For the next five decades the family talks about their car and wonders about its location and condition. Now these people are all great boatmen but they have this thing about staying in the boat and dry hence no one ever dove. After several family meetings Mrs. Brown decided to ask us the find, photograph and secure her car. We were given the family long held secret location. Well we did not exactly get GPS coordinates more like, line up the red channel marker with the old (as in not there anymore) island landing and cross that with the line between Joe Smiths barn and the lighthouse that was there 25 years ago. Well 44 man/dives later we found it. Actually an eel found it. We were starting to question the legend or our careful and scientific search grid. I was swimming along at about 100 in a neat canyon, this huge eel crossed my path and as I was dead bored at looking at the unmoving terrain my eyes followed Mr. Eel. Well there up on a ridge was a big square box (thank God for the great vis in the Thousand Islands) that turned out o be a Ford Model A Coupe basically intact but very fragile. It was all there; body, fenders, windshield, rad and Ernests best snow shovel in the rumble seat. Pretty amazing site when you are there 75 down looking at a car that left Detroit some 80 years ago and had spent close to five decades underwater. It was sort of a scene from Waterworld, like it had been driven there then the water came. Well I guess it had been driven there, sort of.
Recovery was affected in conjunction with S.E.R.E.S (Submerged Cultural Recourses Exploration Research and Education Society) to ensure that this private SCR was given the expert treatment it deserved and to maximize its benefit to all. Needless to say many divers joined us on the many expeditions regarding this project. Not every group of divers got to be there when we found it still many great dives were had in the search. We do not just run dive trips we run expeditions hence there is always a goal or a research. We invite all of you to book on with us for an expedition of adventure.
We did not spend all our expeditions sinking warships and finding antique cars. A large number were in the pursuit of knowledge especially that of our guests. Dozens came aboard to do training from every level from basic to mixed gas instructor. One really special training mandate came in relation to Ms. Veronica Roni Gilligan. Today women make up a large part of the diving community but that was not the case in 1968. SCUBA gear was not yet 20 years old and was primitive and the sport, especially difficult wreck diving was the domain of big tuff ex-Navy guys in their 20s. No body told Roni this so in 1968, just four years after the Empress of Ireland was rediscovered she was the first woman to dive it. We made Ronis acquaintance through Kevin McMurray as we were assisting in research on this new book, Dark Descent, the story of diving the Empress. Well, Roni is 63 years old has successfully battled some nasty illnesses and her diving has been sporadic and warm water of late but we all thought how cool for her to see the Empress again.
The only way this mission would work is if we did it right. First, it was fast forward from steel low-pressure low volume single cylinder, a funky-monkey regulator and no BC. We got Roni set up in a Doing It Right rig using modern regulators and the best in harnesses and wings from OxyCheq, http://oxycheq.com. Next we evolved from a rubber suit to the best from DUI, Diving Unlimited International www.DUI-Online.com. Much thanks to Dick Long and Faith Ortins who went the extra mile and supplied Roni with the best in drysuits. You know as they say in the USMC, it is not the gun it is the gunner now Roni had to do Olympian tasks to get used to this gear and the changes it entails. It was clear that Roni was a great diver back in the day with the gear of the day but new gear entails new skills and she put in a Herculean week in the Thousand Islands to get ready. One thing is sure even the Thousand Islands had changed, in the sixties vis was 15 and now it is at times 100, great for training.
Finally at the end of August Roni joined us in Ste Luce for her return to the Empress. Although our staff was there topside to tender her in and our usually safety divers were in the water Roni made her Triumphant Return to the Empress in her own way. It was a very emotional event as was recorded and later broadcast by C T.V. (Canadian Television)
Most of the training we do is like Ronis, custom work. We do not sell courses, we mentor personal dive training nor do we sell certifications but we guide divers to qualification. What ever your dive education and development needs are contact us for a personal consultation.
In your pursuit of our own personal development and ultimately to provide you are clients with better service we once again traveled to attend the DEMA diving trade show in Miami. Since this years show was held in early October, while our diving season was still in high gear, we were not able to take all our staff as we usually do. Hence, the workload for those who did attend was much higher. It is our philosophy to try and get every bit of info out there and this takes time. There were at least two important conferences as relates to the world of tech. diving and much was gained in these events.
We were particularly pleased that our European associate Kees Hofwegen, designer of GAP Decompression Software was able to attend the show. Being able to spend the week with Kees and attend meetings with other players in the science of decompression theory especially those working most closely with RGBM (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model) certainly went a long way to developing even better tools. Kees and I were fortunate enough to meet with the training departments of every agency. This gave us the opportunity to bring these good folks up to speed on the program and to be sure they all had working copies to apply to each agencys needs. It is important to remember that GAP based on RGBM is not the sole domain of any one group. Every diver wishing to employ the most modern in decompression theory can benefit greatly from the product. There is no question that RGBM is the most sane approach to dive planning and that GAP is the most user-friendly platform. Please visit our site, www.technicaldivingops.com and clique on the GAP link from the front page. Retailers requiring info on becoming GAP dealers should contact us by email.
The other big buzz was centered around the OxyCheq booth. From its position a year or so ago as the leading supplier of gas testing equipment the company has grown to offer virtually a full range of incredible dive tested gear. We have been using OxyCheq wings over the last season and along with everyone else who has had the chance to test these, were totally impressed. This full line of floatation wings coupled with backplates and harness provides the ideal solution regardless of tank choice. The OxyCheq wings are the most streamline in the industry, the most efficient at filling and dumping and totally bulletproof. Added to the wings is a full line of lift bags, markers and pockets to cover virtually all needs. Please visit our site, www.technicaldivingops.com and clique on the OxyCheq link from the front page. Retailers requiring info on becoming OxyCheq dealers should contact us by email.
All in all it was a great show and yes of course we did combine two dive expeditions in with the show, one off the Lauderdale coast and one in the northern cave region.
This summers expeditions saw a lot of really great divers joining us for all types of adventures. I dont usually mention the names of our guests but there are a few that merit a word or two. In July Hal Watts, pioneer, innovator and owner of Forty Fathom Grotto www.fortyfathomgrotto.com in Florida, and his wife Jan, joined us for a combined Empress/Nipigon expedition. Now one must remember that Hal is a southern gentleman, southern as in Florida, southern as in warm water. Despite being really great divers it was a new experience for both to dive in near freezing water. During the expedition they proved that good divers who take advise and get the right gear can adapt to extreme conditions, even if it does feel as if your face will fall off from the cold. I mention this since we get a lot of inquiries from people in the south about getting ready form real cold water diving. If any of you need expert advise on the issues of very cold diving get with Hal and Jan. They know from first hand recent experience how to get ready and they can get you set with great diving advise and some sound thermal protection gear.
In August we had the pleasure of welcoming two of New Englands most famous (notorious?) charter captains; Dan Crowell, captain of the Seeker of Andrea Doria fame and Gary Gilligan captain of, you guessed it, the Minnow, what else could he call his vessel with a name like Gilligan? These fellows proved to be without a question amongst the best wreck divers we have seen of late. During their Empress expedition these divers covered and filmed a huge part of the wreck all be it with some very challenging sea conditions. It was great to dive with other charter captains and see that they really know their stuff not only at the helm but also under the waves. If you want to take one charter captains endorsement of another you cant go wrong sailing with either of these guys. They can get you there and give sage advise on your dives plus they are very funny monkeys and a barrel of laughs to be with. Seeker is out of Brielle N.J. www.deepexplorers.com/seeker and the Minnows homeport is Bridgeport Conn. email@example.com.
Well I guess I could go on forever talking about the past but lets look forward. As I look out in the boatyard and see the blowing snow and flapping tarps it is a bit hard to think of diving. Still I only have to look to my in-box to see that next summers bookings are coming in strong. It is clear even with additional vessels/staff brought in we will sellout for next summer. It is very important that you give some thought to next dive season while we have the best choice of dates/options. Even if you are not ready to book please give us a shout so we can start working on your expedition and pencil in dates to try and hold these for you. Whether it is the Thousand Islands with its warm water and great vis, the allure of diving a world class a wreck like the Empress or training at any level we are at your service.
Capt. Gary Kulisek
June 26, 2003
It has been some time since I last had a chance to write; we have been running pedal to the metal for the last month or so. One of the big challenges is to try and keep in touch with all our friends and associates. As you know our operations are almost exclusively based on liveaboards and hence we live on and operate out of our vessels. It is often hard to find the time to write when our first concern is for the passengers onboard at the time. Further, despite the modern electronic miracles like satellite phones these dont always work great for emails especially long ones to a lot of people. This afternoon Im sitting in a marina, the vessel Im captaining is cleaned, provisioned and ready to go, the crew is in town doing what sailors do when in port. Since our next guests only come onboard tomorrow I thought Id put pen to paper or more like finger to key.
Living and operating from boats is the way I like it, I feel best with the roll of the deck beneath my feet. Boats are really a great way to dive, especially liveaboards. With all the modern convieniences they are a trip. Still to power all the neat gear you need electricity and there are no power lines out here. Enter the marine generator, a real wonder. Now I know that a lot of you have boats or dive on lots of different boats. Generators are real common. Please be real careful with these as due to set up and design they are often very close to where you live. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real danger. Many people have died due to an exhaust leak into the cabin or by breathing in exhaust while in the water (especially kids around the swim tail or divers hanging out on the surface). A carbon monoxide detector can be had in many hardware stores and only cost a few dollars. Most of us have smoke detectors in our homes; a CO detector in a boat makes lots of sense. Hey, a lot of people travel with smoke detectors, might be a good plan for divers to carry CO detectors. Listen here, I have spent my life on boats and last October I had a close call with this grim reaper, trust me, keep ever vigilante to this danger. If you think you took a CO hit; DO NOT DIVE THAT DAY, GET TESTED! CO clings to the body for a long time.
While we are on the subject of boat safety why not check out BOAT U.S. www.boatus.com. I know most of you have AAA or CAA for your automobile breakdowns. Did you know that the same exists for boats? Yes it does. Tow Boat USA has a number of marine towing plans to cover you for most of your needs. Just like the auto version it covers the member and not a particular boat. I am sure that most of you have had a day of diving ruined or worse risked life and limb due to a boat failing. Well, here might be a real lifesaver. The plans vary in price but bare in mind that towing and salvage start at $150/hour and the average bill is $500/tow.
Speaking of marine service, the Tow Boat USA service provider for the eastern Seaway and western Lake Ontario is Jeremy Kellogg out of French Bay Marina, Clayton, New York www.frenchbay.com . Jeremy is one very cool person and will be there at a short notice if you have any boat problems in the area. Plus if you come to the marina Jeremy will show you his 75 LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized). You know, one of the huge landing craft used to storm the beaches on D-Day, and you can pretend being in Private Ryan. See photos at www.technicaldivingops.com clique Bulletin Board, clique My Photo Album. Now once you get towed youll need top gun mechanics, well French Bay is the place. Mike Davis is the head of French Bay Service and along with his crew of excellent gnarly mechanics, can find the problem and get it straight and get you going in the shortest time possible. O.K. so your boat isnt broken but you need to go to shore eventually for a cheeseburger in paradise and draft beer. You got it, French Bay Marina, a super place to tie up. Oh, you dont have a boat yet, no problemo, call John Kellogg (315 686 5574) he is the best yacht broker I have ever met. Tell him what you need and he will search the country to get you the right boat, this guy really works for his clients. BTW, he happens to have a few excellent dive boats listed right at this time. Yes these people are my friends and yes this is a plug for them. I have spent a lot of time in marinas and boat yards but this has to be the best, most honest and friendliest marina Ive ever seen.
Back to diving, we are most pleased to be able to announce your involvement in the formation of SERES. Submerged Cultural Resources Exploration, Research and Education Society. Since so much of our activities centre on wrecks and other manmade underwater situations we felt that it was key to our endeavours to be aligned with a truly international organization with whom we shared a common philosophy. It is the mission of The Society, a not for profit organization, to maximize the value, understanding and accessibility to all types of submerged cultural resources. This will be accomplished through; state of the art training/education of underwater researchers, exploration expeditions employing the most modern techniques/equipment and monitoring of all research and findings. The Society will not be bound by geopolitical boundaries and welcome any and all qualified participants in its worldwide underwater research benefiting the global community. Anyone joining our expeditions will automatically and at our cost become a member.
If you have not recently visited our website www.technicaldivingops.com this would be a good time as we had our web guy made some updates and some changes and added some new photos to My Photo Album.
Be sure to link off the front page to Oxycheq. As distributors of this fine line of products we want you all to be familiar with the cutting edge gear. Of note is our line of lites, Green Force. These HID canister lites are the most durable, compact and diver friendly on the market. Our own line of wings is ready for shipping. The initial reviews have been OUTSTANDING. If you need new gear do yourself a favour and look at OxyCheq!
While on the front page also check out GAP Dive Planning Software. As promised we should be able to release the GAP RGBM platform for the first of July. If you are serious about diving and doing it right then the only choice is to plan it with GAP RGBM.
Ah, the pizza deliveryman, thats right when there are no guests we do take out. Sure we love cooking for the guests but on these rare days off we opt for the easy way out. Please remember we still have some good availability among our numerous vessels. Our seasoned crew of senior instructor/captains is available for your charter or training needs. Email us with your wish list and let us make your adventures a reality. Dont delay!
Looking forward to the honour of serving you,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
May 6, 2003
Well, winter is finally over despite having taken longer than usual to release its grip. The task of getting the thousands of boats in the water all along the Seaway and Great Lakes has every marina in full court press to makeup for a tardy start. We have made a few working dives and despite icy temperatures it was great to be back in the water up here, soon we will back to our normal conditions of close to 70 degrees and 100 foot vis.
Like everyone else in the marine business we are putting in long hours at the boat yard getting all vessels up to standard. This year marks a major direction change for us in boat operations. Until this year it had been our corporate strategy not to own our boats but to secure them through leases and partnerships. While this may have been given us a level of flexibility it did not always render us vessels that were 100% to our liking as we did not have full control over all elements of preparation and maintenance. During the winter all arrangements came to an end and we embarked on an acquisition program to secure the best vessels possible for our guests. Our goal was to purchase what normally would be considered carriage trade yachts (Chris Craft, Pacemaker, Grand Banks etc.) and enhance these for diving expeditions. Not every design of luxury yacht will work for diving so we spent months traveling the country to find the right boats. We now have secured three yachts to be added to those wed already owned, and are finalizing details for their operation. For the most part these vessels are all: 40+, wide beam, twin engine, multi-cabin liveaboard yachts with added features like air conditioning and full baths. With the addition of custom dive ladders and similar diver friendly features we will now offer to our clients a very civilized topside environment coupled with great diving down below.
With all these new vessels we have enhanced our offering and hence have space available at most times. Now is the time to book trips or courses and be assured of the best services on board great boats.
O.K. once you go down everything is good but eventually you have to come up and it is best to do so as safely as possible. Long gone are the days of descend those who wish, ascend those who can! The answer is RGBM (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model), your only modern, prudent, and intelligent choice for the state of the art in decompression procedure. As we told you in our last newsletter and at the dive shows we are, in conjunction with OxyCheq, the North American distributors of GAP (Gas Absorption Program) with RGBM. I am pleased to report that the beta platforms are up and running and in the process of operational verifications. What does this mean? In record time Kees Hofwegen has put it all together and we have functioning programs. Congruent with our philosophy of doing it right we will be combat testing the marriage of GAP and RGBM. We know each works on its own, we want to be sure it is 99.9999999 bug free as a the system. We plan to be able to release civilian versions on July 1.
Be advised you will receive a special notice just before availability.
In addition to GAP, OxyCheq and Alp Maritimes also distribute the Hydro Space Explorer. This wrist computer also employs full up RGBM algorithm. It is available right now and is the tool that you need when you are on an underwater mission.
The long awaited RGBM Decompression Table Manual (#66022) is now available to customers from NAUI Worldwide. The manual includes:
1. Ranged constant PO2 tables for nitrox and trimix with PO2 of 1.3 and 1.4.
2. Open circuit tables for EAN 28,30,32,34,36,40,50.
3. Ranged trimix tables for 16/24-40 and 10/40 to 60 for depths between 90 fsw and 350 fsw.
4. Air tables with accelerated oxygen decompression.
5. The manual includes extreme exposure tables
Think of it this way: GAP is your strategic weapon, HS Explorer is your personal weapon, and the NAUI tables are your hide away sidearm. The result is victory on every mission! Why not book a trip with us and come and get introduced to modern decompression theory.
BTW, our good friend Patrick Duffy, president of OxyCheq (http://oxycheq.com) has been going full speed in the development of great new products. By June 1 the OxyCheq line of wings and other products will be fully available. Check out the site for updates and get in touch with us for any info you might need. Of course test product will be available on all our expeditions.
One thing I have been asked for over and over is to have a bit of a photo gallery. The first problem is having photos. I have never been much of a photographer; cameras confuse me and tend to break for me. Sure people take pictures on our expeditions but we either do not get them or animal protection groups would not allow us to publish them. So here is the deal, we worked out a program with Sea Life Cameras, and now have these digital underwater cameras. We will start to keep a photo journal. In the meantime I have dug out some photos that would pass the censorship laws and posted them to our site, www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin board, clique on My Photo Album. We will try and post more in the future.
Our expeditions to the Empress (as well as the sinking of the Nipigon, July 26) are almost all booked up but some space is still open. This would be the right time to book a space and share with us the adventure of a truly world class wreck. Do not delay space is at a premium.
In closing I want to wish you all a pleasant spring and hope that we will be able to be of diving service to you soon.
Gary Kulisek and the Crew
April 8, 2003
Once again this year the Beneath the Sea show was an incredible success. It appears as even more divers than in the past attended this event on the last weekend of March. All the booths were sold out with tons of new products and services; the aisles were jammed for most of the weekend. Despite the BTS show being a sort of starting gun for the northeast dive season the weather sure has been the pits the last week. Fear not, summer is coming and pretty soon well all be diving under more reasonable conditions.
The show this year marked two important events for all divers and especially for Alp-Maritimes Sports. First we have been named the Canadian distributor for GAP, (Gas Absorption Program), and its new RGBM (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model) based algorithm. For sometime we have been touting the merits of GAP. Our good friend in Europe, Kees Hofwegen, has for over three years proven that he can build the worlds best, most user-friendly PC decompression platform. Dr. Bruce Wienke has developed the only truly modern and validated decompression Algorithm. Together these two are an awesome tool for all divers. We are extremely proud to be distributing this product in Canada. See the announcement and details at: www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin Board, clique on GAP. The target release date will be July 01,2003 and we will keep you advised of purchase opportunities.
The second important event was the unveiling of the OyyCheqs New Expanded Product Line. This California based company is the brainchild of Patrick Duffy a long time acknowledged guru in the field of technical diving equipment design and especially in the area of rebreathers. OxyCheq has stormed on to the tech dive scene with the very best in O2 and Helium Analyzers, without a doubt the finest units available. Last year Patrick began distributing the HydroSpace Explorer RGBM computer. This space age instrument is the work of Gene Melton, long time engineering genius in the space program and well know undersea explorer. Linking up With Dr Wienkes RGBM the Hydrospace EXPLORER full up RGBM computer is a huge step forward for all divers. The EXPLORER RGBM addresses deep stop, mixed gas, deco, deep, altitude, constant ppO2 (RBs), diving for arbitrary switches and mixes. From all quarters this is monumental, Gene Melton deserves all the praise. Thanks, Gene we all know the effort involved here. Not to be one to sit around and be satisfied with these great products Patrick has been a designing machine, developing new products. As of this printing OxyCheq has added: lites, wings, spools, gas mixing equipment, backplates, hardware and with much more to come. Go to Patricks site http://oxycheq.com for a vision of the future of your diving gear. Guess what? Oxycheq is the United States distributor for GAP RGBM decompression software. Guess again! Alp Maritimes Sports is the Canadian distributor of Oxycheq. Hence, for any consumer or retailer on the North American continent we are together at your service. Patrick firstname.lastname@example.org and I email@example.com are working closely to bring to all divers superior products and service. What ever you need drop us a line and well be happy to help. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to work with a team like Patrick, Kees and Gene to help advance the sport of diving. I will keep you advised of new web pages concerning product availability.
O.K. back to my first mission, running dive expeditions and courses. I regret that I have not been able to write sooner but the over whelming response has caused us to have to take a moment to breath and to reschedule the locations of our vessels/staff to better answer the demands. Now we are back on track and have been able to open up some availability. On our livaboards the in Thousand Islands we have space available at just about anytime, still a few dates are sold, out so now is the time to book.
On the Empress of Ireland we have space for the third week of August and the first week in September. From August 25-29, Kevin McMurray, author of Deep Descent, will once again be diving the Empress of Ireland with us. Last year his expedition was so successful that it only had everyone wanting more. We had the pleasure in providing for all what proved to be a pinnacle dive trip for the McMurray group. Kevin has a few spaces open for the trip. Like last year, everything is included. That means hotel rooms (a comfortable place a short drive to the dock), three meals a day (at areas top restaurants), all diving (10 dives out on the wreck), gas (nitrox, argon) and drink (yep, beer & wine included). Your only other expense is getting to Rimouski, Quebec. Contact us as soon as possible for either this week or the first week in September. Many of you know that Kevins book on the Empress will be out in the next year. We expect some festivities surrounding the book and perhaps others with the museum during Kevins expedition. It should be a fun time for all. We will also have the opportunity to dive the latest addition to the St. Lawrence bottom, the Nipigon, a 326-foot Canadian destroyer set to be sunk in July 26 near where the Empress lies.
Of course you may choose to be there for the big BOOM when the Nipigon goes down. Right now it is still below zero, windy and Rimouski is sort of quiet. The Nipigon has been put to bed but the planning never stops, 1001 details have to be arranged and each day we are able to tick one more item off of the list. In the next months the final push will be on toward D-Day. I said it is kind of quiet now but that is not the case in the summer, the region rocks; it is major tourist town, with dozens of events. For those of you who are not aware here in Quebec we sort of do the Euro thing and most people (like 60%) take their vacation at the same time, this year it is July 5 to 27, notice the last weekend! What this means is that accommodations will be overbooked on the Nipigon Weekend. Before you say anything as relates to the dates, please realize that this was not a decision that the R.A.E.Q. took lightly. The mandate is to sink the ship and do it straight and right. To do this we need the best seas possible and the tide charts dictate the magic window, this is the best possible date in the whole summer. It will not do anyone any good if we sink it upside down.
This will be a happening time, a rockin event and a party to remember. The only way to be able to be part of the event and not just read about it in the mags is to be there and for that you need a place to stay. As a service to our clients we have reserved and paid for a block of accommodations and a few spots remain. So it is up to you, IF YOU WANT TO BE THERE WHEN WE MAKE THE NIPIGON GO BOOM YOU HAVE TO BOOK NOW! Once you have a reservation you can decide what activities you want to do: the parties, the sinking, diving the Nipigon on the first day, diving the Empress, or the Brier Mist.
I will take a moment to remind one and all that our senior international staff is on stand by for all your training needs. As most of you already know our training personal are all at least instructor trainers, all are multi agency, all are full mixed gas and all have at least a decade of teaching experience in all types of diving. This will be a particularly great year to get in that training you have been putting off. All levels of training will feature RGBM theory, use of GAP planning software and a chance to use the HS Explorer computer.
Hopefully, the weather will get a bit better as we will be starting our annual boat preparation season, as in living in the boatyard. There are only forty-five days to our first expedition and we got a lot of work to get every one of our vessels in top shape for our guests. On that note I will bid you all a pleasant spring till we speak again. Remember we are at our posts waiting to be of service 24/7.
Capt. `Gary Kulisek and the Crew
March 14, 2003
Well we are finally back from a month of Florida expeditions. Just in case we missed the snow and cold we are quickly reminded that the northeast is still under the artic influence. Never the less we should all be getting ready now for the summer dive season.
While in Florida we were able to dive a lot of very varied conditions from the caves of north central, the wrecks off the Atlantic coast and some pretty good reef dives in the Keys. I must say that everywhere in the state we found great service and real friendly people.
While in Tampa we were present at the Deco Conference. What a great event. My hat off to Tim OLeary, Bruce Wienke and all the great folks at NAUI who put together a super event. More than 100 participants (BTW, many of which were acknowledged experts in decompression) spent two days in conference with the very best in speakers from many disciplines of science and diving experimentation, all concentrating on the issue of decompression. I am pretty sure we all came away being in a better position to plan decompression strategy. I really feel sorry for those who could not be there.
It would be impossible to try and expose all that went on here in this article. Basically, we started out by posing the question of whether we had evolved from Haldanes work and models, then we asked; where were we today, and finally are we on the right track or are we there yet. It was pretty much agreed that we have come a long way in the last century, especially in the last fifteen years, from the days of bubbles in snake eyes. Today if you have a clue of decompression theory you have to be looking at both free phase and dissolved gas models thus appreciating the concept of deep stops. It was pretty much the consensus that we are on the right track, that any dive over 50 feet could incorporate some type of deep stop before going to the classic stops at the shallowest depth and dealing with bubble trouble at a pressure where it was already insulting tissue. It would be great to be able to say we are there; it would be great to tell divers we had found the answer, that deco accidents were gone, but that is not the case yet. Never the less let us use the most modern theory possible. One conclusion/recommendation was what we are calling Half Stops. This is an idea that has been used for years by deep divers but now we felt it could benefit all divers. What we are suggesting is that for No decompression dives deeper that 50 feet; make a one minute stop at the midpoint between your maximum depth and the surface and then do a two to three minute stop at 15. This is felt will cover both dissolved and free phase gases.
O.K. a few quick notes and links. The 27TH Beneath the Sea Show is coming up fast; March 28-30, Meadowlands, Secaucus, New Jersey www.BeneathTheSea.org. This looks to be the best show ever. We know that all the booths are taken so there will be a cornucopia for great info to glean. We will be in our usual booth #540 with our associates Oxycheq in #544. Great new products and programs to see at both booths. With a bit of luck maybe even the WORLDWIDE LAUNCH OF A NEW PRODUCT. World-renowned diving author Kevin McMurray will be at our booths doing book signings of his last book Deep Descent the Andrea Doria story http://www.deepdescent.com. Come by and talk to Kevin about this book and his next work on the Empress of Ireland. Please do your self a big favor and come by the show. This is the DIR way to get the season on the right track plus youll get some gnarly deals and have fun. See you there!
As we have told you the Nipigon goes down in a great ball of flame July 26. This will be such a cool event. We have pretty much used up our allotment of rooms but we can still offer places for this exciting event. If you have never seen a destroyer sink, if you have never been able to dive on a wreck within hours of its sinking, if you have never dove the Empress this is the week to book with us. If you have already dove there you will know what an exceptional expedition it is. DO NOT MISS THIS VERY COOL SCENE. Book Now. BTW, the site is http://www.libertel.org/raeq/, please excuse that the English version is not yet on-line, still good visuals.
Not to forget the 3rd annual Dive for a Cure, a 12-hour scuba diving and snorkeling charity event, will take place on Sunday, April 13, 2003 at the Etobicoke Olympium pool, near Toronto. The goal of this event is to bring the dive community and non-dive community together to help raise funds and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society AND to promote scuba diving to the community. For more info go to www.technicaldivingops.com clique on Bulletin Board, clique on Dive for a Cure or visit www.diveforacure.
A great many people contact us in regards to the new (they have been in effect for almost a year) diving regulations in Quebec. There seems to be a lot of misinformation and foolish concepts as regards these laws. Not to worry, these will in no way curtail the efforts of legitimate divers to dive in Quebec. There maybe some paperwork to deal with but that is the world we live in. For those diving with Alp Maritimes Sports rest assured we will take care of these issues just like we take care of all your needs. If you want to wade through the law itself and all the jargon please go to http://www.fqas.qc.ca/ otherwise hook up with us and well take care of you.
In the last month we have had a record number of bookings, so much so as that we will be adding at least one new dive vessel to our fleet and looking to only operate vessels that are wholly and solely owned by us. It really is time to set your mind in plan mode and get with us to line up the courses and trips you really want. I realize that you may feel it is early with a gazillion feet of snow, over meter thick ice and 50 below. But now is the best time to reserve as we have good space open at just about anytime. At this time of season please feel free to call 24/7 for info.
Thanks for your interest in the world of diving and hope to see you all at some point in the season. In closing I want to extend our thanks to all those who wear the uniform in the forces of the coalition of the willing and to the families they leave at home. Rest assured your efforts are much appreciated by us here since it is you who defend our freedom and allow us to enjoy our way of life and the sport we love. Thanks and God speed to victory.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and all the Alp-Maritimes Sports Staff
Jan 19, 2003
Dear Scuba Friends,
O.K. let us get out our agendas and mark some key dates.
NAUI Worldwide will be hosting a cutting edge workshop on Deep Stops and Modern Decompression Strategies in Tampa, Florida. The two-day workshop will be held on February 22 - 23, 2003 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Tampa. Leading scientists, physiologists, and doctors from around the world will present their findings and conclusions regarding modern decompression strategies. Question and answer sessions and a panel discussion will be a part of the workshop. NAUI Worldwide will also publish proceedings from the workshop. Speakers will include the very top of the diving/scientific food chain. Please make your reservations immediately, as SPACE IS ALL BUT GONE. Please call Kim Rutledge at NAUI HQ (800) 553-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If youre a tech diver or a diver who still believes that Haldane/Buhlman had all the answers or are involved with hyperbaric medicine / research, you wont want to miss this ground-breaking event! Just so we are real clear on the issue, NAUI is the host but this is open to EVERYONE, unlike some functions run by other agencies this is not a propaganda session, this is the art/science of deco.
Beneath the Sea Show, The Meadowlands (like where Jimmy Hoffa is), minutes from N.Y.C. March 28, 29,30 2003. Be there or be square! This is the keynote dive show for the East. All the major players will be there. This is a great show to attend; to learn, to plan and of course to have a good time. I most strongly urge every diver to try and make the scene. We will be back in our old booth #540. Our new associates Oxycheq will be right beside us, booth 542 with a whole new raft of great gear. This will be an unveiling of some cutting edge products newly designed by some of the best minds in technical diving. We should have a platform of the new GAP (Gas Absorption Program) with RGBM (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model). Do yourself a big favor come to the show and you will never regret this time well spent.
Steadily gaining momentum, the 3rd annual Dive for a Cure, a 12-hour scuba diving and snorkeling charity event, will take place on Sunday, April 13, 2003 at the Etobicoke Olympium pool, near Toronto. The goal of this event is to bring the dive community and non-dive community together to help raise funds and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society AND to promote scuba diving to the community. This event is for EVERYONE: scuba shops, scuba divers, scuba clubs, scuba training agencies, scuba manufacturers and non-divers. At the 2002 event, we had many of the scuba community assist with discover scubas, gear demos, lending tanks and generally participating. This first of its kind event held in Canada raised over $35,000 in 2001. In 2002 it was an even greater success; raising $95,000 and doubling the number of participants. This super great action is the brainchild of my man, Paul Davies, one hell of a cool dude. For more info go to www.technicaldivingops.com clique on Bulletin Board, clique on Dive for a Cure.
In your last Newsletter, 2002-12-21, I spoke about the Sinking of the Nipigon and the need to BOOK Now for the event. A great many of you have gotten back to me and your places are assured. The response was great and I appreciate those who have planned ahead. I still have a space or two left and will try and find other good arrangements for lodging but I urge you again to make your plans now. My associates and I are looking to add a new boat to our resources in the area but as yet cant confirm a new vessel yet; youll have to check in the next Newsletter.
For those of you who were wondering, the Briar Mist is a wreck. She is a scallop dragger that sank Nov. 27, 1988 off of Rimouski. Despite the SAR no trace of the wreck or three of the five crew was found for more than five years. The wreck has been recently located and surveyed. At this point in time the possibilities are undetermined as the remains of the crew are still aboard, the investigation is not closed, so no definitive plans can be announced. We are in touch with the situation and will keep you advised.
In collaboration with renowned Empress explorer and cinematographer Dany St. Cyr we are working on a series of Empress Specific Wreck courses. Over the years we have come to realize that certain wrecks require very specific protocols for safe and productive diving. This has been borne out by the large numbers of clients that come to us for a course on diving wreck XYZ, rather than a generic wreck diving course. The Empress is a very particular wreck, as Commandant Cousteau said on our first dive on it this is the most difficult wreck in the world. Well it can be but with some good specific training and insitu advice it can be the greatest experience of a diver. In the past we have guided many divers on this wreck but now we feel that the need exists for a set of formalized courses. Drawing on Danys and Jean Pierre Bouillons vast years of experience we will be able to offer a comprehensive training at several levels. With any luck we should have details at BTS and youll be able to meet and discuss your desires with the entire team including Dany.
Today it is like 10,000 degrees below zero here, everything is frozen, especially the lakes and rivers, this brings me to think of another type of specific course. My feeling is that frozen water, commonly referred to as ice, has one proper place, in my Rhum and Coke. Now it is true our team does do a bit of ice diving but we limit that to commercial work and recoveries (like we only do it for big cash), still we know tons of people who think it is fun, hey whatever gets you through the night. I happen to have heard some disturbing comments out there like, I am Joe Wreck Diver so ice diving is easy or I am Cave Super Ninja Certified so ice diving is easy. True these are all overhead environments but that is where it stops! Ice diving is a very different sort of game. If you have the desire to go ice diving for the first time or even if you have done it sort of on the fly, PLEASE PLEASE get with some real specialists in this sport. There is a lot of unique stuff to know from ice surface procedure to type and size of hole to tenders to lines plus plus plus. Dont kid yourself there is really only one SOP for ice diving. You can D.I.R. (do it right) or D.I.D. (do it dead), please invest and do the former. BTW, the crew is off to Florida and the Bahamas, no ice courses given by us.
I guess it is time to sign off. I want to take a moment to thank all those who have booked trips and courses, we are gearing up to deliver you the very best. For those not yet committed and being in mid winter, now is the time to get things planned for next season. For the time being there is space at virtually any time especially in the Thousand Islands but we will start to fill up certain weeks pretty soon. In order to use your free time best you should give it some thought and get with us so we can plan your custom dive trip or training.
In closing, thanks for your interest and I am sure we will have a chance to dive together.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
DECEMBER 21, 2002
Well it is finally decided; the NIPIGON WILL BE SUNK JULY 26, 2003 at 13:00. More than six years of Jean Pierre Bouillons visions and Herculean efforts will be rewarded by eastern Canadas first artificial reef and it will be done on a grand scale.
The Annapolis Class comprised 2 ships, displacing 3000 tons, and 371 feet in length. Armament consisted of 1 twin 3 50 Caliber gun, two triple torpedo tubes and one triple Limbo anti submarine mortar, as well as her CHSS 2 Sea King ASW helicopter. These ships were the first to be built from the keel up as helicopter destroyers. Both were extensively modified electronically, with Nipigon serving as test ship for some of the components seen today in the Canadian Patrol Frigate, including the CANTASS, the Canadian Towed Array Sonar System.
The Récifs Artificiels de lEstuaire du Québec Society (RAEQ), under the leadership of Jean Pierre, has been working on this project of capital importance for the development of scuba diving in Quebec. Over the years, the Rimouski region has become the oceanographic capitol in Quebec. This project is one of the most innovative, unique in Quebec and of major importance for the region. In fact, its realization will give Quebec and the Lower St-Lawrence region, already known worldwide for the wreck of the Empress of Ireland, an international recognition in the modern scuba diving world.
Right now it is 20 degrees below zero, 60-kilometer winds and Rimouski is sort of quiet. The Nipigon has been put to bed but the planning never stops, 1001 details have to be arranged and each day we are able to tick one more item off of the list. Come next spring the final push will be on toward D-Day. I said it is kind of quiet now but that is not the case in the summer, the region rocks, it is major tourist town, with dozens of events. For those of you who are not aware here in Quebec we sort of do the Euro thing and most people (like 60%) take their vacation at the same time, this year it is July 5 to 27, notice the last weekend! What this means is that accommodations will be overbooked on the Nipigon Weekend. Before anyone says anything as relates to the dates, please realize that this was not a decision that the R.A.E.Q. took lightly. The mandate is to sink the ship and do it straight and right. To do this we need the best seas possible and the tide charts dictate the magic window, this is the best possible date in the whole summer. It will not do anyone any good if we sink it upside down.
This will be a happening time, a rockin event and a party to remember. The only way to be able to be part of the event and not just read about it in the mags is to be there and for that you need a place to stay. As a service to our clients we have reserved and paid for a block of accommodations. What we have right now is going to be the best price value ratio. After this first block is gone the price will go up and up and up till finally there is nothing left for love nor rubles. I have seem times when there are no rooms 200 kilometers each side of Rimouski, if you dont believe me I can give you the names of some good ole boys from Texas that didnt believe it till they lived it (dont worry Texicans your rooms are reserved).
So it is up to you, IF YOU WANT TO BE THERE WHEN WE MAKE THE NIPIGON GO BOOM YOU HAVE TO BOOK NOW! Once you have a place to stay then you can decide what activities you want to do: the parties, the sinking, diving the Nipigon on the first day, diving the Empress, or diving the Brier Mist. Did I say Brier Mist, whats that? Ah well youll have to read the next Newsletter to know (Hint: it is not an Irish Pub).
As usual I have been a bit long in the tooth, it is just I dont want anyone to be disappointed.
Well, I see that it is four days till my favorite holiday. We at Alp-Maritimes Sports want to take a moment to wish to all our friend, clients, associates and of course to those who wear the uniform who are defending our freedom which allows us to celebrate:
MERRY CHRISTMAS and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR
May you and yours have a most joyful and loving holiday and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and all the Crew
DECEMBER 12, 2002
Alp-Maritimes Sports is pleased to announce that we have been granted the status of NAUI Worldwide Technical Diver Training Center. We join less than thirty dive operations worldwide that are part of this elite group. It is most gratifying that we are the only dive organization with offices in Canada to hold this level of recognition. More than ever this will ensure that our product is the most up to date and of the highest standards possible. In the fast evolving science of diving it is key to be aligned with the best of partners and associates.
I would like to address a possible misconception on the part of many of our readers. Despite the fact that we are often writing on more technical issues and may appear to be somewhat technical centered we do in fact host a great many recreational divers on our trips. Given our goal of custom tailored trips it is you the client that dictates the kind of dives that you want to make. Look at us as your facilitator in getting the best diving you possibly can. Our involvement in tech diving certainly affords us the best in information and operating procedures but this can only serve to enhance every dive trip we run. Let it be known that we are more than pleased to welcome aboard even the newest diver and help them get the best experience out of the sport. Given the fact that every member of our staff is a senior instructor the advice you get is always appropriate. Bearing in mind that our international nature allows us to offer embarkation points that are convenient to the whole Northeast (4.5 hours to N/Y/C, 2 hours to Mtl. & TO.).
Through out the year we run a great many courses from basic diver to technical instructor, there really are too many graduates to congratulate every single one here despite the fact they all deserve it. That being said I want to take a moment to congratulate two pretty special guys, Dany St-Cyr and Simon Pelletier. For those who do not know Dany is sort of the current King of the Empress of Ireland (with 400+ dives on her and the furthest penetrations), Simon is his partner and dive buddy and has a very impressive list of accomplishments on this world class wreck. What sets them apart is that they dive this wreck every divable day of the summer season. In October they embarked on a different kind of mission, they decided not only to cross over as instructors to NAUI but also to become NAUI technical instructors for all courses. This type of course is a meat grinder lasting several weeks of constant diving, lectures and assorted training, (sort of like BUDS). In the end both Dany and Simon not only survived but also showed they had all the right stuff and graduated with honors. As we say in Quebec pas mal too much. What this means to many of our friends is that there is a further option to dive the Empress with top gun NAUI Tech Ops professionals. Coupled with the services of Capt. Jean Pierre Bouillon we can now assure a wider range of excellent service.
Still on the subject of the Empress, NOW IS THE TIME TO BOOK! This year we are facing more and more early bookings, so if you plan to dive the Empress next summer you must get with us as soon as possible to ensure a place, it very much appears that we will shortly be completely sold out. Bear in mind that the NIPIGON will most likely be sunk in late July early August (we will confirm the target date in the next week) and the pressure on our combined resources is being felt. This is the year to dive the Empress. As a special note we are currently collaborating with Jean Pierre, Dany and Simon in the design of a number of wreck courses specific to diving the Empress of Ireland. We have realized from past expedition that the nature of this wreck requires certain particular operating procedures, which we plan to address in formalized courses. More on this in the next newsletter.
NEW RGBM TOOLS: As we have continually expounded the only truly modern and adequate decompression theory is Reduced Gradient Bubble Model, RGBM: http://www.technicaldivingops.com/pages/updates.html. Although Haldanian decompression models have served us for the last century their time and limits are now evident. We have taught countless RGBM courses either as part of our regular training or a stand alone seminars, our dives of the last few years have only employed RGBM, our clients have been exposed/trained to this modern theory now some super tools are available to make your use of the algorithm easier and more efficient.
GAS ABSORPTION PROGRAM: GAP (www.gap-software.com) is the brainchild of Kees Hofwegen who is a computer guru and a great extreme diver. Several years ago he realized that there was a need for a totally user friendly decompression PC platform. His needs as a diver and his skills as a programmer/tech diver led him to create a super tool. Now for a number of reasons, not the least being that Kees is very cool, the program was FREE. About two years ago Kees started to look for the next generation algorithm to replace the current algorithm. We had suggested to him to get with RGBM but there were a number of issues to resolve on the financial level. After much negotiation Kees was able to come to a favorable arrangement with Bruce Wienke to secure RGBM for GAP. In the next months we will be unveiling and launching RGBM GAP. This will no longer be freeware but will be priced at a very reasonable price for such an awesome tool.
Alp-Maritimes Sports will be serving as agents for GAP in a number of key areas. This will mean that we will be able to deliver this product to you our clients in an easy and complete fashion and to assure that it functions, as it should for you.
OxyCheq-HS Explorer: Kees has not been the only one who has been working out arrangements with RGBM. Our associate Patrick Duffy, owner of OxyCheq (http://oxycheq.com) and advanced diving equipment designer, has become part of the RGBM Team. He has secured the distribution rights from Gene Melton of HydroSpace Engineering for a RGBM wrist computer. Along with Oxycheqs current products, paramount being the worlds best oxygen and helium analyzers, and future new products we are very proud to be associated with this great company. As agents for Oxycheq we will be able to supply a very wide range of the most advanced dive equipment developed by industry leaders.
In the next weeks we will be presenting you with the possibility of attending a TEAM RGBM MISSION SCHOOL. This indoor seminar will cover RGBM theory, RGBM user application to GAP PC platform and a user guide to the HS Explorer (http://www.oxycheq.com/HS_Explorer.html). Think of the beauty of understanding fully the algorithm, being able to plan the dive on PC and then to back it up in the water with a fail-safe.
I look out of my window at the boat yard and watch the snow fly over the tarped boats and listen as the wind in the wires makes a tattletale sound (Gordon Lightfoot, Wreck of the Ed. Fitz). Although it is not ideal Northeast dive weather that season is not that far off. We are real busy getting new gear in, designing new courses, refitting our boats and planning our expeditions. We cant do it alone, we need you to plan now and get signed up for your custom expedition. At this time of year we still have good availability but it gets tighter and tighter and we hate to disappoint any one, so do it now and commit to the courses and trips you really want to do.
Highlights of our next newsletter will include:
-BTS update; New Jersey March 2003
-Modern Deco Strategies & Deep Stop Workshop; Tampa Feb. 2003
-New product lines
In closing thanks for all the kind emails regarding the newsletter and a special thanks and Welcome to all that have booked their expeditions with us.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
NOVEMBER 23, 2002
I am not sure where to start in this update, after two months of constant action there is a lot that I want to share. I have pondered what is the best order to do this as not all of you have the same preferences or agendas. I guess I will try and run through my thoughts in order of urgency.
First off is a call to all our NAUI MEMBERS. As you are no doubt aware the current election for the Board of Directors ends on November 27, if you have not voted please do so as soon as you can. If you have lost your official ballot form contact NAUI and they will fax you a new one. If you need some good advise how to vote please go to our website www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin Board, clique on NAUI and read the Letter from K. Sliman. Now I know that some of you who I have talked to lately did vote early and now realize that you made a mistake, were misled or have changed your mind. It is not too late, get a new ballot and vote again for different people. No, this vote will not count for the new candidate but it will invalidate your original vote. It would be great to add your vote to the right people but if you cant at least take your vote away from the wrong people.
We have said it many times that air is not a great breathing gas in the modern world. For a long while our teams have used other mixtures that are so much friendlier, replacing Nitrogen with Helium as the inert gas. Tim OLeary and Bruce Wienke have written a super article on the subject, it is clear and concise yet complete. Go to our website www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin Board, clique on NAUI and read Deep Helium (not a great title as Helium is not only for deep but a good read). Do yourself a favor and get with modern diving and get with Helium. BTW, I continue to hear all kinds of horror stories about the costs associated with Helium. Believe me Helium is not gold and hence should not cost the same as gold. Nor is a Gas Blender course a degree in nuclear physics that takes 5 years and cost thousands. Think about getting with us for a Gas Blender Course over the winter, well get you all up on the theory and practical and advise you how to hook yourself up.
This years DEMA was truly Rock and Roll. Greater numbers of exhibitors and attendees were present and after a year and a half of no show it was just great, the excitement was electric and one could feel it in the air. We were there in full force and none of us stopped for the four days. Tons of great new info, super new products and excellent commercial contacts made this a very worthwhile event. All this will bring to our guests better service and lots more safe and exciting expeditions and courses. Just to be sure no one thinks it was all work and we got boring there rest assured that while in Vegas we did find a lot of real good parties and fine party animals. As a member of DEMA I urge all professionals to plan to be at the next show in Oct. 2003 in Miami, it is a MUST.
Out of the Big Three Maritime disasters there really is only one you can reasonably dive, the Empress of Ireland and a lot is happening on that scene.
First following his expedition to the Empress with us this summer Kevin McMurray (author of Deep Descent http://www.deepdescent.com/index_main.html ) has been pounding the pavement and the keyboard. Kevin has criss-crossed the continent and met with just about anyone who has been part of diving the Empress. McMurray is the kind of writer who gets all the facts and when he writes he lets the reader draw the conclusions. Big time wreck diving creates a lot of emotions and Kevin has been able to capture the heat of the moment, get all the versions and will portray a complete and accurate picture of the diving history of the Empress. If you have not read Deep Descent do so now, (Christmas Hint for the diver on the list: Deep Descent) then look for his next book Dark Descent in summer 2003.
While on the research trail Kevin found a lot of the pioneers of the wreck, many old faces surfaced, many an old battle scars remembered and several toasts to the fallen. One that really sticks out is Dianne Strong. Dianne lives in Guam but came out of New York State and dove with the Pete Perrault Flying Circus and Rock & Roll Wreck Divers (if you dont remember the 60s and driving to dives in a convertible Cadillac, you might not see the irony in the group names). Dianne wrote a super article on Diving the Empress in 71. Go to our website www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin Board, clique on EMPRESS and read 1971 Empress Expedition or go to http://www.scubadiving.com/members/tripreports.php?s=1783 (it is a long load cause of the good pictures). If any of you remember my man, Perrault, there is an article on him that will take you back and bring a tear to the crustiest of old hands.
Sort of on the same subject, a quick update on the sinking of the Nipigon. Capt. Jean Pierre Bouillon has been charging ahead, dam the torpedoes full steam ahead. The Nipigon is pretty much cleaned up and has been put to bed for the winter. Jean Pierre and the entire international team has and continues to plod through the 1001 details it takes to sink a 366 destroyer. You can not imagine the obstacles, natural and manmade, that we have to surmount. Rest assured WE WILL DO IT! We are looking at a July sinking. You all have heard the saying, Money talks, Bullshit walks; well Jean Pierre could use a bit more of the former. There are still a lot of real good sponsorship possibilities and our collection plate is still out there. If you want to give Jean Pierre a bit of a Xmas boast let us know. BTW, the sinking will be the major dive party of next year, a real BLAST, pun intended. What a great chance to dive an old wreck, the Empress and be one of the first to dive a new wreck the Nipigon. We have already taken reservations for the tentative week, do not miss out now is the time to book.
O.K. the computer just jumped to a second page. That means I have already been too wordy plus for those of you who dont know I still only pound the keys with one finger. I started this just after lunch and it is now cocktail hour so Ill sign off. Before closing a few items Ill get into the next Newsletter:
-RGBM Update; A whole lot on new PC programs and Wrist computers that have moved into the 21st Century with RGBM, youll get the entire story.
-Course Results; A complete story on all the newly qualified divers and instructors.
-New Tech Courses; We will unveil a number of really new courses.
-New Products/Services; I will be able announce our distribution of a number of new and exclusive items to make diving better.
So, it is about a month till Christmas, as you are rushing about getting ready for the holidays with the family give a thought that a big reason you can is because of those in uniform who will not be home for the holidays. Next time you see a serviceman thank him for the Gift of Freedom.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the entire Team
SEPTEMBER 19, 2002
Dear Diving Friends,
There is a saying, you cant learn diving on the net, well this is very true but while we are under water it gets real hard to stay in touch with all our friends. Once again I am quite tardy in my writings as the last month has been one of constant activity.
Our two major expeditions to the Empress of Ireland were a roaring success. We had virtually no days where we were blown out and there were two separate days of unheard of 60 foot vis, true there were a day or two of 2 foot vis but these only make you marvel the more when you see the big picture. It is really neat to see entirely the big pieces when usually we only see small sections of masts, hatches and stairs.
Kevin McMurrays research expedition, for his next book, was hectic as not only did the team make the maximum of dives but also interviews were conducted with a host of people who are connected with the wreck. Kevins team did a very organized and detailed survey of the key elements of this incredible site. One thing is sure that these guys came here really knowing how to wreck dive and left with a great respect for this ship and this dive. Since the expedition Kevin has not stopped his research and is burning up the miles visiting everyone who has or has had a stake in the wreck. One thing I have learned about Kevin and come to respect is that hell get every version of a story, print them all and let the reader decide the truth. Look for his book late next summer.
BTW, there is a super video out on the story of the Empress from its conception to diving on her hulk today. It is called Journey to Oblivion, http://www.nfb.ca/e/press.releases/02-42.html, This is a must for all wreck divers libraries, a real gem.
The Texas Empress Expedition also went very well with some great dives. One of the high points was the chance to be there when Dany St-Cyr, reining King of the Empress, made his 400th dive on the wreck, despite having well over a thousand other dives these 400 are a real accomplishment. BRAVO DANY! Tell you what, these boys can dive but they also can party when there is a reason to celebrate and with Danys milestone we had a good one.
Mark Conrad said it best; Your expeditions are one adventure after another, no dull moments.
Sort of in the same area, The Nipigon Project, is going full speed ahead. Jean Pierre Bouillon has been charging ahead pedal to the metal on the project, not an easy task when you consider hes running divers out to the Empress every day. With strategic alliances stuck and with the help of the best consultants and blasters in the world things are looking good. We anticipate a sinking and creation of the artificial reef to happen in July 2003. As soon as we have set an exact date we will advise all so you all can attend this mega event and excellant party.
Not all the action was in the Gulf, as our Thousand Islands vessels hosted a number of training and dive trips. Congratulations to Mike Elvidge on crossing over to NAUI and gaining a number of NAUI Tech Instructor ratings. Mike is from Toronto and will be a great asset to divers in the area, atta boy Mike, and welcome aboard!
We were honored to have Jeff Barris and Ed Bram from Advanced Diver Magazine www.AdvancedDiverMagazine.com. This is a very cool tech dive publication and we were pleased to show off our operation and the area and to get to know these good people. They were joined by a couple of seasoned N.J. wreck divers for a real good trip. It was great to dive with some of the best and most autonomous divers we have yet to meet.
For all our NAUI members and friends there is some excellent news. NAUI is now comprised of two corporations. NAUI Corporation is the same not-for-profit membership organization that we have had for more than 42 years. After looking at all of the options and weighing the features and benefits of each, a two thirds majority of your elected board members decided to form a wholly-owned subsidiary, for profit corporation. NAUI Services Group, Inc. is a NAUI wholly owned for-profit corporation registered in the State of Florida. For more on this story visit our website, www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin Board and see the article NAUI Services Group.
As a NAUI member you should be aware that there are two spots open on the board to be decided by the election ending Nov.27, 2002. If you do not have a ballot please get one. The selection of excellent board members is particularly critical in this next period, take the time to read the bios, then vote with your head. If you have trouble deciding who are the best candidates Id be pleased to give you advise, just email me.
O.K. looking forward we have a very busy month coming up. From Oct. 1st till mid month we are hosting absolutely all upper end, tech and instructor courses. We have clients in from the four corners of the globe during this period to join with us in some excellent training and super diving. Some of these people are truly excellent divers in their particular domains coming here to sharpen skills and open new horizons. This is an incredible time to come to train with us and learn not only from our international senior staff but also to exchange ideas with other expedition attendees. I really encourage everyone one of you who has training needs and dreams to get with me as soon as possible so I can make a custom program that fits symbiotically with the greater expedition. Do yourself a favor, join with us, you will not regret signing up for the course of your choice today.
In closing let me invite one and all to come dive with us and to enjoy our particular type of hospitality. Yet more important get out diving no matter where, sitting at home will do you no good, get out in the water and LIVE. BTW, the DEMA show in Las Vegas is about a month away, Oct. 22-25; we will be there in full force. We have a couple of condos at the Hilton Grand Vacation near the convention center. Get with us to meet, discuss and party.
Always at your service,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the entire Crew
AUGUST 11, 2002
Dear Diving Associates,
This will have to be a very short Newsletter. We are right now working all staff at full tilt to answer the varying needs of our clients and to do so we cant afford to sit at the keyboard. As you may know all our trips are tailor made and so we must use larger staffs than the average vessels. We are in port so little that time to write is regretfully short.
First off, please go to our website, www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin Board and then on the article RGBM a Simplified Overview. This article has just been released by NAUI Tech Ops and Bruce Wienke for general electronic distribution. It is just super, easy to understand and so very user friendly. There is no question this decompression theory is the state of the art/science. Recently we have seen the greatest skeptics embrace Bruces tenants as if they were the inventors. Problem is not everyone understands it correctly. This recent article by Bruce Wienke and Tim OLeary really cuts to the nut. Do yourself a favor and read it over. Please remember that RGBM No Calculation Tables are available exclusively from NAUI and its agents.
For those of you who want to dive the Empress of Ireland and to do it right, there are two trips with at least one space still open. . Kevin McMurray, author of the acclaimed book on the Andrea Doria, Deep Descent, will be diving the Empress from August 18 to 22. You can join a world-renowned author and diver while he researches his next book on the Empress. You can be part of the research, see a few special things and who knows maybe see your name in print! Diving the Empress is a great expedition but the chance to do it with Kevin is really special. Just being able to spend the week and listen to Kevin would be worth it but to dive on his expedition is a once in a lifetime. Also the first week in Sept promises to be one of the very best on the Empress according to tide charts and long range forecasts. A place or two still remains on the Sept 2 to 6 Texas Expedition.
Please remember that although we are real busy we can usually fit in an individual or group on one of our Thousand Island Expeditions. A special note on the last week in August (23 to 30). If you have been considering any upper end training this will be the week to do it. All our senior staff will be crewing on Merry Ann and Histoire dEau, and they will be sailing together. The itinerary includes: NAUI Instructor Cross Over, NAUI Full Instructor Course, pretty much all Tech courses at both diver and instructor levels. With all these courses going on, plus some really great diving this is definitely the high speed low drag way to go. If you are a good diver and have been hesitant to book courses because of jump through hoops meaningless training this is the week for you to be with us. It will be good divers, great real life training, exceptional dives and great ambience of serious an expedition.
Well, I got to get back on board. If you need any info please email me along with a phone number and Ill get with you real quick.
Take care, dive well and stay safe,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and all the Crew
JULY 22, 2002
Dear Diving Friends,
This has just been a great summer for us and I trust that you are all getting out and diving and having a super time. We have just completed a really interesting and challenging expedition in Lake Ontario to recover an airplane that went down a year ago. This project was under the auspices of your good buddy John Kellogg owner of French Bay Marina in Clayton New York and was a combined effort with Oddessy Dive Center of Sudbury Ontario.
The plane was en route to Rochester New York and crashed and sank to a depth of 127 feet about three miles off shore. It was originally located by Jim Walkers team out of Lighthouse Marina (more on these folks later) using a ROV. Basically, it was felt that to raise it was not feasible. John Kellogg is not the kind of person who accepts what people say and got it in his mind to bring it up. We formulated a plan with John that we all felt would work. This is not exactly like lifting weight belts from the bottom of a pool.
First you need boats, for this project we used a steel fifty foot construction barge as a main platform and salvage transport, a 30 foot cruiser as a mobile logistic support base and several inflatables a fast tenders. Next you need some good calm weather and we were able to get three days of glass. Our dive team consisted of four seasoned divers who could operate for long periods at this depth, at a temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit and knew how to use tools and rig awkward and heavy items for lifting. We dove a light mix for clear minds, deco on 100% to be able to dive often as needed and used RGBM deco schedules to get us out of the clod water as quick as possible. We made a total of 36 man/dives to complete the numerous raising operations.
The mission went smoothly as we raised the six separated elements of the plane like the engine and gears. But like every underwater mission there is always at least one big hurdle. In our case it was the bottom sediment and the hold it had on the plane. Despite having enough lift bags from, 50lbs to 2200 lbs. to raise many times the weight you have to break the bottom suction before ever using a bag. The stabilizer and one landing strut/wheel were buried up to 5 feet in the mud/sand/clay. A combination of high-pressure air blasters, winches and comealongs coupled with many hours of divers blood, sweat, tears and toil broke the fuselage free and intact.
The raising was textbook, I was on the barge as she came up on a glass sea, beautiful sunset and she made the surface without a ripple at dead-stop speed. The excitement was rabid! That is till we realized the barges main winch had decided to die. So now we are six miles from a landing sitting on a barge with a plane as big as the barge hanging on our side and no way to pull it on board. Remember I said that with John Kellogg failure is not an option, also John is a reader. So like the old man in Hemmingways book we strapped and cabled the bird to the barge and chugged off to port at a stunning 1.2 knots. John sure proved to be a master captain. You have to try sometime driving a 50 x 15 foot barge with 40 foot of mangled aircraft hanging off the bottom and get it to a landing where trucks could pull the plane out and do this all in the dark and negotiate some very narrow and shallow inlets. Hell, that Kellogg is one real good captain.
The mission ended past midnight with the plane being hauled up a boat ramp. The end was almost like out of a movie: after the crash, a year on the bottom, the breaking free, the lifting and the boat ride slung under the barge; we pulled her out nose first dragging her tail and on the wheels. One mission done and on to the next, John and the team are now searching Lake Ontario for a luxury cruiser that went down in the early spring.
I mentioned Jim Walker and his team. Jim is an old salt with long and honorable service to his country in all the Seven Seas who has established himself in Pulaski New York which is on Mexico Bay of Lake Ontario. This is a super area: great fishing, nice beaches and good ole boys to take care of you. Jim owns a unique thing, a lighthouse, in fact a historic one of a kind lighthouse plus you can rent it. This is so cool, see Jims site: www.maine.com/lights . Jim also has a safe harbor marina, which is ideal stop over while cruising. The shop has all kinds of neat and useful things, call the manager Nicole, she is a sweetheart and is really helpful. Now apart from this Jim has a great dive boat and all kinds of commercial and scientific gear including ROVs, if you need commercial work done please check him out. His chief ROV pilot Evan Tanner is a true professional and really knows the ropes. Listen here, we staged out of Jims and believe me you, this is a great place run by top-drawer people.
NOTICE!!! THERE IS SPACE ON THE EMPRESS.
Despite real heavy bookings we do have a few places still open on the Empress. Kevin McMurray, author of the acclaimed book on the Andrea Doria, Deep Descent, will be diving the Empress from August 18 to 22. Kevin has been kind enough to open up two spots in his expedition. You can join a world-renowned author and diver while he researches his next book on the Empress. You can be part of the research, see a few special things and who knows maybe see your name in print! Diving the Empress is a great expedition but the chance to do it with Kevin is really special. Just being able to spend the week and listen to Kevin would be worth it but to dive on his expedition is a once in a lifetime.
O.K. we have sort of held a week in reserve. The first week in Sept promises to be one of the very best on the Empress according to tide charts and long range forecasts. So far Sept 2 to 6 we have a couple of good ole boys out of Texas coming up, they are a real howl to dive with. I have spots open so now is the time to book. CALL ME ASAP TO GET A SPOT ON EITHER OF THESE DATES. DO IT NOW AND AVOID DISSAPPOINTMENT.
On the Thousand Islands front we are real busy with day charters, courses and liveaboard activities. Never the less we have yet to turn anyone away. Should you have any needs be it a day charter, multiday liveaboard or courses from basic to mixed gas instructor we can probably cover your needs.
For those of you who may wish a land based location or a land based vacation we offer the Wellesley Hotel in Thousand Islands Park on Wellesley Island. In conjunction with our associates at French Bay we have really one of the greatest gems in the Northeast. Thousand Island Park is a unique community; Id sort of call it the prototype of the gated private resort. The little village is incredibly beautiful and tranquil and the architecture is very special. The hotel is housed in a century old massive building of rustic Victorian charm. This is the ideal place to dive from or just to chill out. Still the best part of the deal is the restaurant. Debra Kellogg has worked tirelessly to secure the very best of chefs. No where in the region will you find a more varied and lovingly prepared table, in fact the restaurant has been recently awarded its three and a half star rating. Coupled with the well selected international wine list youll find it hard to leave the dining room, but there is the downstairs bar or veranda that can enticed you.
Well, that is about it for now. Remember if it has to do with diving we offer you the very best in charters training and hospitality.
Always at your service,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and all the crew
JUNE 19, 2002
A good many of you have contacted us to see why youd not received any updates. Although it is no excuse the fact of the matter has been that we have been out on expeditions for the last month with hardly any breaks in port and even less in the office. Despite what we would consider rather poor weather our operations have been running pretty close to capacity with some real good diving.
Great News: NEW NAUI RGBM No-Calculation Dive Tables Are Here. Have you ever heard a diver say, I just cant seem to understand Residual Nitrogen Time? RNT+ADT=TNT, this seems to be where planning gets difficult. NAUI exclusively introduces the new no-calculation dive tables for recreational diving. The tables use the modeling of the Reduced Gradient Bubble Model (RGBM). The result of some thoughtful design is a set of dive tables that can be easily used by any diver who can read a watch and a depth gauge.
There are nine tables in the full set. Three air tables: Sea Level 2,000 ft/610m, 2,000-6,000 ft/610m-1, 829m, and 6,000-10,000 ft./1,829-3,048m, three EAN32 tables for the same altitude increments and three EAN36 tables for the same altitude increments. Visit the NAUI web site at http://www.nauiww.org/NewProducts/RGBMTables.html to see photos and item #s.
The concept and use are simple. An outline of definitions and how to use the table is printed on the back of each of the nine plastic tables. Of course you can come along on one of our expeditions and see their use first hand.
Along with great diving the Thousand Islands offers a great deal more. Quaint towns and beautiful scenery to go along with the super diving. One event stands out Alexandria Bay Pirates Week August 9th to 18th. This is a great time to come and dive but also to party in an incredible atmosphere. Believe me, I have seen Pirates Week in Grand Cayman and it is tame and boring compared to A Bays version. If you think you were born 300 years too late come on along and live your fantasy. Actually, if you think you were born 30 years too late come any ways cause Im not sure if it is more like the 1660s or the 1960s. Last year I think I saw Hendricks, Joplin and Blackbeard all on the same night.
A quick update on our vessel situation. As you know we always employ chase and shuttle boats, this year we have replaced are the hard boats with Zodiacs. This will mean greater comfort and security when these boats are being deployed.
When it comes to contacting us, especially for last minute trips please realize most of the staff are out on the boats fulltime and so our office is really running via email. If you need to reach us rest assured that we download emails at least once a day while out on the water. For quick answers leave us a 24/7 telephone contact and we will get with you as soon as we can by E or by T.
Please be advised that we still have space on the Empress of Ireland in particular the first week in Sept. As far as the Thousand Islands we can usually fit a group in on one of the vessels pretty much at any time. Further our senior staff of instructors are always available for courses from Basic to Mixed Gas instructor.
Well, good on you mate, tis time to get the boat underway for more diving adventures.
As always at your subaquatic services,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
APRIL 18, 2002
NEW: books, website, thoughts
In the three weeks since the BTS show we have been extremely busy lining up your reservations. It had been our goal to get everyone familiar with the fact that not all our expeditions are training only. A great many of our guests join us for simply our diving services. Given the fact that more people have realized this side to our operation and the fact that our bases of operation in the Thousand Islands are really not that far from most of you, for example 5.5 hours from NYC, bookings are up. It was a good thing that we added to our pool of vessels, as these will allow us to serve more clients and offer better service.
Finally, we have gotten around to renewing our website! www.technicaldivingops.com. I do realize that we had let this renovation job drag a little too long. The basic framework is not changed but we have peppered the site with photos to spice it up. I do not pretend to be a photo guru and most of the photos are home boy style but now you have a visual representation to many segments of our operation. New pages, text and articles have been added and updated to reflect the current state of our operations. We will be making additions over the next week or so and will try and keep it as current as diving operations allow. We will continue to use the Bulletin Board-Briefcase to post urgent and short-term articles. Please visit the site but better yet come visit us and dive what some people are calling, Canadian Caribbean or Key West, New York.
O.K. let us stay on media and cultural issues but turn to two recent books that will be of interest to all divers. Bruce Wienke, program manager at Nuclear Weapons Technology
Office of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), author/contributor to hundreds of underwater articles and father of Reduced Gradient Bubble Model (RGBM) has written a new book. Technical Diving in Depth is 428 pages of the most up to date info for those who wish to have a very clear picture of the state of the sport and an absolute must for those looking to go beyond recreational parameters. It is all there: thermodynamics, pressure and density, gas kinetics of bubble formation, gas mixes, O2 dose, deco models, and the nuts and bolts of gear and its configuration. Bruce has targeted this book at the upper end of the food chain and these folks will not be disappointed, the average diver can also learn a lot, as the presentation is quite user friendly. You can get this hard cover addition from Best Publishing www.bestpub.com for $58.00 USD.
The name Andrea Doria conjures up images of one of the most challenging wreck dives in the world, definitely part of the Big Four Liner Wrecks Dives. The story of the ship and her demise has often been well chronicled but Kevin McMurrays new book Deep Descent is a tale of those who came after her sinking and tempted fate to visit the liner. McMurrays is an earnest journal of deep-sea wreck diving on the Italian passenger liner, which sank in a collision off New England in 1956. The Doria still draws extreme scuba divers 235 feet down to the Everest of scuba, where, over the last 20 years, 12 divers have met their deaths. After an introduction to the ships history, the author turns his talents as a journalist and diver (he has reached and explored the Doria hulk several times) to question why inverse mountaineers still come back to the wreck. McMurray renders a shared obsession, through sketches of expeditions to the wreck in the 1980s and 90s, and follows a dozen divers down to the Doria. If you have dove her it will be a great reminiscence, if not it will give you a picture of those who have. You can order the book directly at www.deepdescent.com for $26.95 USD or through us at $40.95 CDN.
I think that it is time to look at what we breath and give it some thought. You all know that I like to use the words best gas for the mission, and I submit that if the mission is on land at sea level then Normoxic Air (21% O2) is the best gas, several million years of evolution have proved that. For all of us, our missions are underwater at increased pressure and what we breathe on land is not the best. I know that there will be a great protestation from some that goes like this. Air diving is fine cause I am not a techie, I do not go deep, when I do I can use air cause I did 20 years ago, plus I am used to narcosis and have a super high tolerance to it, Oxtox only happens to bad divers, further mixed gas is real complicated and expensive. Did I cover all of it in one sentence? Realize that diving on compressed gas is a very new activity and development is virtually daily. For those who have been diving a while think of the improvements you see every few months, for you new divers remember that a lot of what you just leaned will be superceded real soon.
NASCAR season is in full swing, next is Talladega. In the 60s you roared down the straight away and turned left on Bias Ply Tires, there are drivers today who remember using Bias Ply Tires, but there is not one that will roll on Sunday on anything less than the best Radial Tires, best equipment for the mission. BTW, if the driver has his way air would be replaced as a tire inflation gas. Think about Everest, twenty years ago only the best in the world climbed her and yes at times on air. Today many different types of people go but one thing is common and that is use of O2, best gas for the mission. You all have heard of Martinis Law. I guess we can all remember a time when 24 beers, a fast car, and 5 saloons spread on 40 miles of blacktop meant a good Saturday Night (remember the days when you had high tolerance to alcohol?). Today, for whatever reason virtually none of us would roll those dice, best plan for the mission.
My crew and I have been diving a long time, (back when diving was dangerous and sex safe) and we all have been on some great dives. Problem is when diving on air we too often came up and asked our buddy a question like, Yo Billy, was that one wreck or two we just dove?
One last thing no one ever died of OxTox, whenever the bodies were recovered the cause of death was always drowning. I guess you get my point. You really got to get into the new century. There is no good reason to dive air! Oh sorry, the last argument, the cost of mixed gas and O2 deco. Id love to say something like this could be your very last argument or what is the life of a diver worth to you but actions are better. On all of our expeditions ALL & ANY GAS ARE INCLUDED, it just is not a cost issue when you dive with us. Further we can conduct training for you so that you can take full advantage of modern diving elements. Remember that any course on our liveaboards can be effected in a shorter time frame than on land due to the increased time in a day availed by our floating institute, less days more training.
Over the last few years we have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of great people at dive shows. One group that really stood out for their professionalism, integrity and friendliness is Underwater Criminal Investigators, www.CrimeSceneDivers.org. This group of law enforcement specialists bring their skills to the underwater world. Should you have any needs in the area of underwater police training, Public Service Diver, get with these people who can show you the best approach. Their home base is in Pennsylvania but they are sort of Have Gun, Will Travel types (remember the TV show of the 60s?). Now I know that for some Southerners the last trip in 1863 with Lee to Pennsylvania was a bit of a bummer but these outstanding cops will be sailing with us so you can up and meet with us all and I guarantee Southern Hospitality plus our clear warm waters.
For those of you looking for an Empress Expedition, now is the time to act. Places are filling up real fast and the only way to get there this year is to book now! BTW, we have struck a deal with a major on hotel side of things for some excellent accommodations without ridiculous price increases. The days of camping at the Empress are now gone. As to the Nipigon Project things are going very well. Many thanks to all those who have helped so far, your contributions are greatly appreciated. There is still a lot to do and we sure could use any assistance that is available. The sooner we raise the funds the sooner we can lower the Nipi to her resting-place for us to enjoy.
On the Thousand Islands scene all is going according to plan. The mechanics and shipwrights are forging ahead with their tasks on the renovation of our vessels. We have scheduled the Marine Surveys for three weeks from now which will have our fleet ready in early May. Reservations for charters and courses have been coming in at the usual pace so, with the added vessels, we have virtually space for any size group at any time for any type of cruise. I welcome you all to get with us to reserve space at the ideal time for you.
As always we remain at your diving service,
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
MARCH 18, 2002
The big news is definitely that the Beneath the Sea show is less than a week away. You really must try and make it down to the Meadowlands March 22, 23 and 24: this will be a great event for all with things to see, hear and do. Our entire staff will be on hand at booth # 540 to discuss all your needs and make plans. Of great interest to all wreck divers is new footage we have of the furthest penetration of the Empress of Ireland, all the way to the manual steering assembly in the fan tail, plus some footage of areas that are longer franchisable. On the subject of video we will also have great footage of some of the best Seaway wrecks. Drop on by and chat awhile.
Couple of website updates: In our last newsletter we spoke to our good buddy Paul Davies project Dive For A Cure. This is a super cause to use scuba as a means to aid the war on cancer. Paul has a website now, www.diveforacure.ca. Visit his site and see if you cant help out in this super cause. Well, our associate in Northern Ontario, Oddessy Dive Center, also has his site up, www.oddessydivecenter.com. Tim Zilkowskys shop is fully DIR and offers the very latest in gear and training. BTW, as part owner with us of our fleet of dive vessels Tim will also be at the booth at BTS.
Id like to take a moment to be sure that you are all clear on certain aspects of our operation. Most of you know that a big part of our emphasis is on training; basic to mixed gas at both diver and instructor levels. Never the less we also will welcome guest on our vessels who simply want to sample our great service and just dive. So, if you want to get in great dives and no training then contact us, we are at your service.
Due to the overwhelming demand we will now offer DAY DIVE CHARTERS in the THOUSAND ISLANDS and eastern GREAT LAKES. Given our recent acquisitions in the area of vessels we can now take divers out for the day. Our fleet is available anytime after June 1st, so get with us and tell us when and where you want to dive for a day and well be at your service. FYI, we have recently been advised that open frontier attitude on the waterways between Canada and the U.S. is to be greatly revised and hence the laissez faire attitude will now longer be the case. What this means is that the ability to leave one country, cross the water boarder and dive the other side wont be as easy as it used to be. As it stands you will have to check in at customs both before the dive and after, as well the radio clearance will disappear. What this will mean is that the planning factor will become much more important and that only the best operators with fast boats will be able to offer convenient and acceptable cross boarder service. Rest assured that we have revised our planning and docking to be able to offer the very best service. It may seem like a pain to many of you but remember we are at war and security is a necessity in these unpleasant times. Let us do all the planning and paperwork for you so you can have a safe pleasant and legal transboarder dive trip.
O.K. speaking of boats let me make a comment or two. As many of you know we treat every trip as a mission and that we never compromise on our operation, least of all on our vessels. It never ceases to amaze me how ill prepared and bad some operations can be. All our personally owned and maintained boats are twin engine, which gives us speed and range. More over we do not get stranded due to engine problems cause it is rare two engines go at the same time. On top of the power plants there is an engineer on board at all times with a full set of tools and spares (we even have double back-up props). Should things really get out of hand each of our vessels has a high-speed tender/chase boat. Add to that our internationally qualified captains and your passage is pretty sure. OXYGEN, sure everyone has this on board, but do they have enough? do they have enough delivery systems? and do they work? All our vessels have high volume O2 (not the little Mickey Mouse Coke bottles), multi delivery systems that are simple, tested and good to go. Finally, we have all heard the horror stories of trapped divers and a boat that had no gas left and no one to go down to the rescue. This is not us! No matter where we are we have plenty of spare cylinders on board with the right gas for the depth. There is always a 95% ready to go rescue diver, not some stroke but a fully qualified specialist trained and equipped (all the tools) to lend assistance as needed. This is on top of the staff member we have in the water at all times when divers are there. His job is to be there when hes needed: as a guide if you like, as a first responder or just as an early warning system. Listen here, we are not paranoid but we treat diving as a serious activity and plan for the worst. So, far we have not needed all the systems but the day will come. We are there at your service and for your security.
At this time Id like to extend a great big congratulations to the Quebec based dive club, Diables des Mers (Devils of the Seas) for hosting a Diving Conference (Colloque Quebecois de la Plongee Sous-marine) last week. We were very lucky to have been invited to this great event that benefited all the divers who attended. Further the Club made a very generous donation to the Nipigon Project, the sinking of a destroyer for an artificial reef, close to the Empress of Ireland. Speaking of which, our booth at BTS will feature a section on the Nipigon and youll have the chance to review our progress, give us a hand and get a polo shirt.
In closing let me invite all of you to contact us with your diving needs. Now is the time to plan for some great adventures with us.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
FEBRUARY 18, 2002
In our constant efforts to improve our dive services we have taken another major step forward. In our last newsletter we said that wed be looking at a new liveaboard vessel and as most of you know once we think of an improvement it usually happens. It is with great pleasure that we can now announce the acquisition of M/V Merry Ann, she is of all steel construction powered by two power plants as big as a house. This vessel offers our guests increased comfort and stability coupled with the speed to move to and between dive sites even further afield.
Still the addition of a new vessel is only part of the story. It is a cornerstone of our philosophy to embrace the concept of buddies and have a team approach to all our missions. Hence, in order to acquire and refit Merry Ann we have joined forces with a couple of buddies. All the great gear in the world will do you no good if you dont have the right people. First off, Chief Engineer, Glenn Craig, has now become a stakeholder in our operation by becoming a partner in all our vessels. This will mean that Glenns superb skills as an engineer will now be applied to vessels he owes and hence his time/energy commitment will be at a new level. But power plants are only the means to move, and on a liveaboard creature/dive comforts can be paramount. The third partner in our vessel ownership consortium is Tim Zilkowsky, owner of Oddessy Dive Center in Sudbury (their website is changing so we will advise when it is up). He brings to our association the resources of a full DIR operation but more directly his skills as a first class shipwright; he really knows what a great dive boat needs and can do all the work to make it a reality. What this means for our guests is that all our vessels are now directly owned and maintained by us resulting in greater comfort, security and of course easier and better diving.
Merry Anns homeport will remain to be Clayton, New York and this brings us to another new associate. She is currently in dry-dock at French Bay Marina owned and operated by the Kellogg family who have been in the marine industry for more than three generations. The current manager is John Kellogg, who along with his staff runs a superb operation. If any of you need dockage services or are cruising in the area (they have tow boat service) this is a great place to visit and great people to work with. Their website is www.frenchbay.com.
It seems that this month our operations are really spread all over the world, thank God for satellite phones and emails. While part of the team is conducting cave diving expeditions in Florida, another group is in the Bahamas doing open ocean exploration, Jean Philippe is in Italy consulting on some mixed gas courses and this morning we began a Divemaster course here. Please give some time to yourself and think about your dive trip and course needs. Winter will not last forever and it is good dive philosophy to plan ahead. Even with the addition of new resources in vessels and staff we may not be able to accommodate all demands if you wait for the last minute. Remember we do custom work so let us know what you need or want and when so we can put it all together first class; be it a trip or a course varying from basic to mixed gas instructor.
Last year about this time we advised you of the efforts of our good friend Paul Davis and his Dive for a Cure Project. Paul decided last year to use his love for the sport of diving and his contacts to help in the war against cancer. His project raised in excess of $35,000 to fund the cause. This is a milestone as this is the largest sum ever raised by a third party effort. This year on Sunday April 28, 2002 from 08:00 to 20:00 at the Etobicoke Olympium, near Toronto, the 2nd Annual Dive for a Cure will take place. Dear Friends, this is a Holy War against an evil right out of Dante, this is a great cause. If you are in the area try and give Paul your support directly, if you are far away maybe do something indirect but concrete and if none of these actions are in your means well then send Paul an email of encouragement as he embarks on this task. For more info please go to our website www.technicaldivingops.com, clique on Bulletin Board and then Dive for a Cure.
O.K. be sure to mark your calendars March 22, 23 & 24 for Beneath the Seas Show in New Jersey. This will be the premiere dive event out of the water, come and meet with us and chat. Well be in booth 540 and well be glad to bring you up to date on all projects and give you personally all the info you may need. Check out their website www.beneaththesea.org
Remember we are at your service 24/7. Be it a mixed gas week long expedition, exploring the Empress of Ireland, an open water weekend or any training you need we are there for you with a custom made program
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
JANUARY 11, 2002
We are just three weeks from our southern trips and everything is going as per plan. There still remain spaces at stops in Key West and Dominican Republic, sorry Andros is sold out. If you have not checked out the schedule go to the Bulletin Board at www.technicaldivingops.com and check it out. There is still time to join us and it will be a rockin good time regardless at which point you are on board. We look forward to meeting and diving with all our expedition members.
Last week I was reading Underwater Speleology, the magazine of NSS-CDS (National Speleological Society-Cave Diving Section). One article in particular captivated me, Ya Wanna Know What Its Like To Be Really Bent by John Burge Jr. This is at the same time a horrific tale of the effects of severe DCS and a heroic tale of one mans ascent from the depths of disability. I encourage you all to read this article as it carries many messages that can help so many. Too many divers carry dangerous ideas and draw flawed conclusions from limited experience. Johns story will allow many to live, all be it vicariously, the single most common fear of divers. For those out there who have the ill-founded macho idea that getting bent is no big deal this article will clearly show just how big a deal it can be. Too many divers fear the recompression chambers, youll find out that the hotbox really is your buddy. Once again getting bent does not mean that you made a stroke dive and were at fault. Maybe most important is the fact that with great will and effort you can overcome the greatest hurdles, Fortinitude Vincimus, if you dont know what this means get the answer on our web page, www.technicaldivingops.com. Great works mean different things to each reader so I will not try and tell you all what you will learn from the article, but I know you will all learn. Thanks to John for his kind permission to post his story. Go to www.technicaldivingops.com, click the Bulletin Board, click on the John Burge folder and then, Ya Wanna Know What Its Like To Be Really Bent.
On the subject of avoiding the bends there are a couple of important developments in deco software. Out of Holland our good friend, Kees Hofwegen, developer of GAP (Gas Absorption Program) announces GAP Version 2.1. For those of you who are familiar with his work you will know that the platform is without a doubt the most reliable and user friendly there can be. Until now it was freeware based on the work of Eric Baker. The new version will employ a different algorithm and be available commercially. I just spoke with Kees this morning and the Alfa Version is in advanced testing and the final product and distribution will be announced shortly. We have used GAP since day one as our corner stone deco software and although we also employ several other programs GAP has an incredible track record of reliability. We will keep you all advised to the timetable. In the meantime check out GAP earlier versions at www.gap-software.com.
On the algorithm side of things some real great news out of RGBM (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model). Tim OLeary tells me that in the next few months a number of delivery options will be available for this state of the art/science deco model. The last few years have proven that Bruce Weinkes work has really revolutionized your understanding of how best to deal with inert gas absorption. With more options of utility this model will prove to be the best tool in bubble management. You can learn more about RGBM at the Bulletin Board of our web page but better yet you can join us on an expedition and learn how it can make your diving safer and more efficient.
Last summer a couple of guys, Eric Godbout and Rob Cote booked on to one of our expeditions. We really didnt know them at all and all they told us was they had cameras and they wanted to shoot some wreck video. What an understatement! They turned out to be top of the industry pro talent cameramen, their cameras/lighting were state of the art equipment, and these two could shoot some totally gnarly footage. We have received the preliminary cut and it is awesome, great, and topnotch, I cant wait to see the final as the current cut is amongst the best Ive ever seen. What sets these pros apart is that they know the camera, dive rock steady and have the artists eye for what to shoot. Hopefully, they will be back next season to shoot some more deep mixed gas footage. In the meantime, we will have their work at BTS and maybe they will be there themselves. They are real good ole boys and if anyone needs cameramen, in or out of the water, contact me and Ill hook you up.
Speaking of BTS, Beneath The Seas Show (March 22-24-Meadow Lands N.J.), we will be at booth 540 and be at your disposal to cover all your underwater needs. Apart from expedition and course info we will have a full update on the Nipigon Artificial Reef Project, the Eric-Bob Show, some hot off the press publications and a few surprises still in development, drop by and sit a spell and chat.
About a year ago a new member sort of slid into our team. His name was Glenn Craig, at the time we knew him mostly as a champion race car driver and one of the best high performance mechanics north of the Carolinas. He proved that the race driver mentality works real well in diving especially tech diving, in fact he was one of the first proponents of DIR Open Water, proving what makes sense at the top of the food chain also is valid for the novice. Glenn has proved that a commitment to excellence and detail is the key to success in any sport, just lately Glenn tends to listen more to George Irvine (WKPP) than Dale Jarrett (#88), but he still he uses his race drivers Nomex underwear in his drysuit. So what does this mean to your clients? Well, Glenn is now our Chief Engineer and has convinced us to use only twin engine boats for all our expeditions and is in the process of rebuilding all our engines, whether they need it or not (racetrack logic). It is his mandate to ensure that every engine from main power plants to chase boat outboards, is 100%. This means that the reliability and safety of our vessels will be beyond compromise. Each will have twins (and spare props on board) and of course each will have its own fast chase boat. If Glenn has his way hell have me buying another 50 footer this Saturday, more on if he succeeds in the next letter. BTW, Glenn will no longer have time to race cars, hell be too busy exploring new sites with our guests, so if anyone out there wants to by a championship Mini Legend Race Car, we got one.
O.K. one last point. Your bookings for next season are coming in quite well and we are in the middle of a Dive Master and Instructor course right now. It would be a real good idea to get with us as soon as possible with your needs and to book your space. If there is something right now on especially on the theory side, call me today, we have staff ready at your service. As always please take care and hope to be at your service in the near future.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew of Alp-Maritimes Sports.
As I look out on the boat yard I see our vessels covered with snow, as I look around the office there are zodiacs and engines all over the place and my kids are out snowboarding; I guess I have to admit that winter is upon us. Still there are a number of developments in the dive scene.
First a big congratulations to Capt. Jean Pierre Bouillon, he was able to purchase the 366 foot destroyer HMCS Nipigon. In fact he has brought it home to Rimouski and has it tied up and secured for the winter. He is the MAN, who else has a warship parked in his backyard? Who else can have a family B-B-Q on a ship of the line? I know that Jean Pierres two and a half year old son thinks it is a great toy, but you know what? So do we all! Getting the ship is just about the halfway point in this project, now it has to be readied for the sinking. This will cost a bundle of cash but it can be done and the quicker it is done the sooner we can dive it. She will be sunk in the region of the Empress of Ireland so this will give us two super wrecks to dive. This will provide us options when the Empress is blown out, an easier wreck to dive and twice the fun. The team is in the process of financing the next step; we will keep you advised as to how you can be part of this exciting project.
Speaking of the Empress, it is now time to think about planning an expedition there for next summer. I know that many of you have been putting off this dive expedition in the last few years, now is the time to go. I do not want to seem negative but she will not last forever, each year takes its toll, so do yourself a favor and grab a piece of history while you can. We are presently booking expeditions and are at your service.
O.K. we have been listening to your comments. For some time our clients have been requesting that we run a down south warm water DIR trip. We have taken the decision to do so some time in February. So where are we going? Well that is still up for discussion, we will decide by December 15th. What is for sure we want to go to place that allows for great diving, great adventure and fun/freedom for all. What we want to avoid is a place run by boat monkeys or dive Gestapo, we want to Do It Right! Once we have pick a destination partner we will advise you of the opportunities and costs.
Although this may not be the season for mega diving it is the ideal time to sharpen ones skills. Our entire training staff is available for custom tailored programs. Whether you come here (maybe even do some great skiing or snowboarding as well) or we go to your local, we can deliver the very best in out of water and theory training. For especially the upper end and instructor level programs this is a super time to get going. We all have loads of time and so we can really dive into the theory of the sport and go very deep in the subject matter. It is real simple, get with us and tell us what you want and well make it happen.
As I said the offices and boat yard are jammed with gear, it is only at this time of year that we realize how much fun stuff we have collected over the year. I do realize that redundancy is a key element of successful dive expeditions but to have three engines for each zodiac, four spare props on each of the big boats and four back-up regs for each diver is a tad overkill. Hence, we have a good deal of gear that would best be in the hands of others. Check out our website, www.technicaldivingops.com , click on Bulletin Board and go to Gear for Sale, and Ebay Listings see if there is not an item or two you need. BTW if there is something you dont see but really need let us know and maybe we have a spare to sell.
Right then a special note to all NAUI Instructor Members, as you are no doubt aware December 3rd is the deadline for voting for our new BOD. This election is probably the most important in NAUIs history so I urge you to vote. For further comments on the subject go to www.technicaldivingops.com, click on Bulletin Board and check out NAUI BOD Elections 2001.
Well, that is all for now, remember we are at your service for all your underwater needs. There remains one grim task that has become almost routine. We at Alp-Maritimes Sports wish to extend our sympathies to the families and friends of the victims of American Flight 587, may they rest in peace.
Capt. Gary Kulisek
AUGUST 9, 2001
At last a spare moment in the office to be able to give you all an update on our activities. This last six weeks have been just hectic with a record number of divers and courses. All our staff and vessels have been at maximum operating capacity trying to take care of all our guests requests. I do not believe that there is any level of course or diver (basic to mixed gas instructor) that we have not had the pleasure to work with in this last while.
To borrow a line from a dive operator on the East Coast, you cant learn diving on the net, sooner or later you got to get in the water with this in mind I will not bother very long. We have spaces on a few cool expeditions in the next month so wed love to include you in these:
Empress of Ireland: Aug. 18 to 24. Diving the very best in wrecks. A true adventure.
Thousand Islands: Aug. 28 to Sept. 1 Open- water courses and diving, a nice laid back trip.
Thousand Islands: Sept. 9 to Sept. 16 Holidays are over the region is quieter, ideal for what ever type of diving, basic to mixed gas.
Now of course we will offer our services till the end of October in the region and there is great availability, no crowds, and super diving.
O.K. a word of advice. As you all can feel it the northern part of the continent sure feels like Dixie. No doubt you have all heard of the unfortunate illnesses and deaths due to these tropical conditions. Your best protection is H2O!!!!!!! Either you get in it or get it in you!!!!!! Seriously folks in these temperatures really turn up the hydration factor, go for greatness with the water bottle, it should be by your side at all times, it is your best topside buddy. Plus do not forget that good hydration is one of the key elements in preventing decompression sickness.
Now you all dive safe and contact us for any of your diving needs.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and all the Crew
JULY 6, 2001
Dear Diving Associates,
How time flies, it has been a month since our last newsletter, and what a busy one it was. The better part of three weeks was spent on an intensive and multifaceted expedition in the Thousand Islands. During this extended trip we ran just about every type of upper end course you can have and often up to five different courses at the same time.
First let me congratulate our new Irish friends who joined us for a Nitrox course and some wreck diving. Not only were the fundamentals of air alternative diving covered but a good deal of time was spent on getting into a DIR gear configuration and mindset. Much credit goes to Mark Master Chief Brooker who led this activity.
On a more intense subject an international group attended a NAUI Instructor Course. For the better part of this expedition candidates were challenged, coached, crammed and counseled on the highest standards of diving professionalism. We are proud to announce that all candidates met the challenge and are now NAUI Instructors. Jean Philippe Ex O Ewart, drove the candidates long and hard and set the bar at a level that challenged all the candidates. In the end our final evaluation of instructor candidates causes us to pose the question, would I allow this person to teach diving to a loved one? The answer was a resounding YES in all cases, and as a note, Jean Philippe was particularly well placed to make this call as he had just three days before the trip become a proud father for the third time, with the birth of his new daughter.
Moving up the food chain, a group of Canadian and French divers worked on Mixed Gas Diving and Deep Wreck Penetration, some at the diver level and others at the instructor level. Deep exploration calls for the highest level of understanding, abilities and situation skills. This group endured and overcame a multitude of scenarios to ensure that they could plan and execute more challenging dives and deal with Murphys Law or the NYC Factor. Candidates were put through virtually every situation that could arise on extreme dives and met the challenge.
A big CONGRATULATION to all the candidates on lessons well learned and tests well passed. A special thanks to all my crew members and instructors who did legion service to make this cruise a resounding success, thanks guys, sorry you did not all get your names in print.
In our last letter we told you we had bought a new vessel but needed a name, so thanks for all you folks who sent in suggestions. But like many things in diving, the plan just does not work out and you have to deal with situations. On making final inspection and sea trials of no name we found her lacking in some areas of seaworthiness and legal title, so we had to pass on her. With four days before the expedition and needing an extra vessel to ensure comfort, safety and efficiency on this complex trip, we went into search mode. Luck was on our side and we found a superb vessel for our needs. She is Histoire dEau, built in Washington State and has seen service from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. For our French friends the name needs no explanation. For the Anglo world, her name means Story of Water, pretty appropriate but also the title of a famous French book, play and movie. We put her into service and she performed very well. Never the less, as we are sticklers for details this last week she was in dry-dock so we could rebuild both her engines, redo her interior, add safety gear and get her up to our standards for our guests. She goes back to work this Monday out of Rockport.
O.K. couple of opportunities: Empress of Ireland July 10 to 15- due to a last minute cancellation we have open space at this time. If you have the desire and the time call me ASAP to book a trip. Act quickly if you want to go as this space will go fast.
Empress of Ireland Aug. 18 to 25- at least two spaces remain on this ideal time to dive the Empress and lower St Lawrence. This is a great trip to realize the pleasure of this majestic wreck. As usual this is an all-inclusive trip, no hassles for you, just adventure. Also a good time to take just about any course as well.
Thousand Islands Aug. 27 to Sept. 1-Especially good availability on this week. Basically we can take any number of persons and offer any course you wish, from basic to mixed gas. The water is at its warmest and vis is very very good, do yourself a favor and let us be at your service.
Not withstanding the above we have a few spaces open on most dates through out the summer. Give us a call.
Although it is the diving season and you should be out doing it there are a few really good dive related flicks you should catch on video. The Big Blue/Grand Bleu has been re-released in the directors cut version, some really great new scenes never seen in the original. This is the story of Mayol, freediving champion, not a lot of scuba but great insight into the early days of extreme limit diving. Try and see Men of Honor, no not really scuba but a good portrayal of what it was like to do your tour of duty in a brass Mk V.
That is it for now, I hope you are out there diving and having fun but be sure to do it safely. As usual we are at your entire service for all your underwater activity needs.
Capt. Gary and all the crew.
JUNE 3, 2001
Well, this week has been a bit slow, we finished up a number of on going courses and next week we are on a mixed gas instructor-training marathon of fifteen days a float. Now when ever we are not teaching or running trips we spend our time dreaming up new ways to offer better service to you our clients. So this week we sold our boat in the Caribbean and bought a new boat up here. Now that may not sound like such a big deal but up until now our philosophy was to lease the three liveaboards we use. Some advantage for our clients is that she is newer, faster and able to franchise a larger area, all the way to the Gulf if need be. Most important she is totally uncommitted after June 17th, so in concert with our other vessels we can welcome many more people on board for courses and trips. We have had to put too many folks on standby or simply refuse their bookings due to lack of space. Hence, we have availability, which is much better.
Also this week Alp Maritimes Sports attained the status of NAUI Pro Gold Scuba Center. This status brings with it several requirements that not every dive center in a crowded market will be able to attain. As you know we specialize in diver training and not in giving out diver certifications, our commitment to excellence in underwater education is reflected in our new status. Whether you are taking basic training or are doing an apex course in mixed gas expedition preparation we are there to provide you with all the tools for success. We are honored to hold this prestigious status with our partners at NAUI.
In our last issue we announced that we had a good stock of gear to sell; check our website, www.technicaldivingops.com and click on Bulletin Board and open Gear for Sale. The response has been quite high and we have made a good many people happy. This brings us to a bit of a warning to potential gear buyers. We realize that dive gear, especially tech diving equipment, is fairly costly and yes most people try and save money. Just be careful not to buy cheap only to buy twice. You should only purchase a particular brand from an outfit that is authorized to sell it and trained to service it. If you buy previously owed equipment please have it checked out before or serviced after purchase, by a factory trained technician (dont be shy to ask to see a technicians certificate). Despite the fact that all dive centers have a moral obligation to care for their clients there are some that are more interested in dollars than safety. Here is an example: a couple of years ago a major equipment company received a shipment of Buoyancy Compensating Wings from a sub contractor. Upon inspection these were rejected a junk and returned to the builder. Now you would expect that if the Dive Company who designed these wings and is the expert rejected the product that the Cut-Sew-Trim House would have used these as landfill. Wrongo, they sold these on the grey market to some dive shops that in turn sold these to consumers. Their line was, just as good as, at half the price; now these wings are failing at depth! Remember that if a deal is too good to believe it usually is! Listen folks, these are not hairbrushes you are buying, this is life (yours) support gear, stick with the authorized and trained operators.
Enough gloom and doom, think about great diving. Right now we have availability including: June 22nd to 25th in the Thousand Islands and August dates for the Empress of Ireland. You should really give it some hard though, this northern season is just too short and you have to make the most of it. In dive training we always talk about planning a mission. Well the first step in planning is to define a mission, so apply that logic and let us help you make a dream into a reality. As usual we are standing at alert to be at your service.
Capt. Gary and the entire Crew
MAY 19, 2001
Dear Diving Enthusiast,
As our programs and expeditions shift into high gear we thought wed drop you a line and update you on some interesting developments.
As most of you know we run all our programs as all-inclusive which means we supply basically all the gear. As we are not primarily concerned with retail and have kept you up dated on new acquisitions you have to imagine we a have a fair amount of extra gear. Add to the fact that. Gary personally can never turn down a hot gear deal and we have much more than we need. Hence, we are pleased to be able to offer all our friends the chance to purchase dive gear from us. Go to our website, www.technicaldivingops.com, and click on Bulletin Board which will take you to our briefcase and open Gear for Sale. Browse the list and get with us with any questions you may have.
At the DEMA trade show in January our major agency, NAUI, unveiled a totally revamped line of training materials. From Basic Diver to Instructor rating the new NAUI materials are state of the art and come in complete student kits that are easy to use and a quantum leap forward in diver training. Each kit contains not only printed material but also audio, audio-visual and computer based elements that will make learning a real joy. We have divested ourselves of all earlier material and embraced this new approach; every student will get a complete kit with absolutely every element. In congruence with our philosophy of custom training these kits will allow individuals to study in the media of their choice, hence better results.
NAUI has also made a very strong commitment in the training of its top-level instructors. Over the last few months all NAUI Course Directors and Instructor Trainers (these are the people who train and certify the instructors) were obliged to requalify for their status. This process will insure from the top down that the NAUI instructors out there are totally up to date and delivering the best product. As our staff are virtually all Course Directors and/or Instructor Trainers everyone had the chance to get totally up to speed. In fact due to show schedule and travelling some guys did it twice, just for the fun of it. Rest assured that the training, at any level from NAUI is better than ever.
A few months ago we told you that there had been a change in the importer of Poseidon Dive Products and that there was some uncertainty as to the position of the product in the market place. We are very pleased to announce that a Canadian distributor has been named and that the United States distributor will be in place shortly. We have been involved with Poseidon for more than 20 years and are extremely happy with Swedens choice as the new organization is of the highest of experience and professionalism. The new team will not only ensure continued service but also bring it up to an as yet unseen level. Should you have any needs in regards to Poseidon please contact us for information.
In the last few weeks we have received a number of requests for solo diving and/or deep air training. Let me state for the record that Alp Maritimes Sports WILL NOT engage in these foolish enterprises. We are aware that solo and deep air courses are being marketed and offered by some individuals in dive world, maybe they can do so and still look at themselves in the mirror, we could not. Yes, we can train you to any depth you want to go to, even the bottom, and we can train you to be totally self sufficient in the water at that depth but we will not train you to take ridiculous risks. To best understand our position on the use of the right breathing gas go to our website, www.technicaldivingops.com, click on Bulletin Board, open the file NAUI and see Tech. Ops Update. Last week I lost a great friend and a world class diver (thousands of extreme dives over two decades) and maybe, just maybe, if hed had a buddy Id still be able to go diving with him and have a few laughs. Listen folks, there may have been a time and place that the deep air dives we made were justified, that was another time and place, if you go deep use the right gas and take along a bud; no empty seats at diner!
For those of you who know us and what laid back people we are you know we hate to be pushy. The reality is that our availability is getting tight. If you are considering an expedition or course please get with us a soon as possible so we can have the pleasure of serving you in the underwater world.
Capt. Gary and the Crew
MAY 3, 2001
Our season is off to a quick start as we complete our first set of courses. In the last weeks we welcomed more that two dozen Park Service Rangers who completed training in emergency response, search and recovery and underwater survey. Currently we are hosting four international candidates on an Instructor Training Course. Our first liveaboard action will take place June 7 to 15 and a few places remain open on any of the dates. This will be an exceptional cruise as we are conducting a vast array of courses from Nitrox to Trimix as well as Instructor Training. This promises to be one of our best cruises as the guests come from varied backgrounds and will bring a very international flavor and experience. Why not join us early this season and benefit all summer long from the experience and training?
Since completing the bulk of our equipment orders new product has been arriving on a daily basis. In continuing our philosophy of courses and expeditions that are all-inclusive we are in even a better position to equip our clients with the best array of equipment. We have increased our float of DIR backplate/harness/wing systems by 30%, our canister light inventory by 25%, and made important additions to our high performance regulator stock. Currently we are re-evaluating our emergency oxygen delivery units with the plan to render these simpler to use and quicker to deploy with greater supply. As usual all with the goal of making your diving safer and more enjoyable.
Due to the very positive response we have received to our briefcase, http://briefcase.yahoo.com/garykulisek, we have established a direct link from the front page of our website, www.technicaldivingops.com, simply click on Bulletin Board. This allows us to quickly post articles and information in seconds and keep our clients and guests advised of new developments. For example, many of you have requested back copies of our mailings, hence all 2001 mailings are found in the file Newsletter Archives. Newly posted is an update on NAUI Technical Operations by the director, Tim OLeary, which gives insight to our training approach and why we are the leading training agency. Go to the NAUI file.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, sounds like a real nice group and of course anything the United Nations does is for the good of all. If you are a diver, nothing could be further from the truth! This organization is in the process of effectively banning wreck diving and private (this means you) wreck exploration. Do not be blind to the threat to your diving freedom, first it is wrecks, then reefs and who knows where it will end, as we do not know their private agenda. A few good ole boys are fighting hard for all our rights. Visit the briefcase, http://briefcase.yahoo.com/garykulisek, and check the file UNESCO. Stay informed, encourage those fighting for your rights and contact your Member of Congress or Parliament.
In closing we wish to extend our congratulation to our good friend Paul Davies. In our last mailing we told you that Paul was spearheading a Dive for a Cure for Cancer event. Well the event generated in excess of $30 K for cancer research, virtually a record for this type of project. Paul, youre a pretty good diver but a really great person.
As usual we are on standby to design your custom course; be it a Basic Diver or a Mixed Gas Instructor, we are here to deliver the best in training respecting your availability and resources. Please bare in mind that our staff and logistic availability is beginning to be taxed hence I urge you to make your commitment to better diving as soon as possible.
Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew
APRIL 11, 2001
The last few weeks have been action packed as we gear up for our high season. The Beneath the Seas Dive Show was a major success really one of the top events for divers, the organization deserves a great hand on a job well done. We had the pleasure of meeting in person many new clients and were pleased to accept a large number of bookings. The show presented a number of opportunity purchases that will greatly enhance our services. We virtually doubled our fleet of twin cylinders with a large acquisition of Faber steel 95s and 104s with Highland bands and Thermo isolation manifolds, coupled with many new Alu 40 deco cylinders this provides us with a great stock of state of the art gas transport units. A really exciting development was the procurement of several Patco Diving Suit heaters. We have decided to make these electric suit heaters available to our clients on a trail basis, to ensure your maximum comfort. Check out the product at http://www.patcoinc.com .
SHIPWRECK DIVER E-MAGAZINE FREE! For a limited time, this newsletter by Capt. Dan Berg, well known wreck diver, is available at no charge. Packed with great wreck diving info you can start to get it by simply sending an email to Dan at email@example.com and typing in the subject: Please e-mail me the SHIPWRECK DIVER E-Magazine. Be sure to visit www.aquaexplorers.com .
On the training front Alp Maritimes Sports has made a strategic move to align itself with the National Speleological Society-Cave Diving Section (NSS-CDS) http://www.caves.org/section/cds/. In an endeavor to provide the best training in all disciplines of diving we have chosen to adhere to the guidelines of this organization. Despite the fact that there are several tech type cave diving organizations there is only one, the NSS-CDS, that are solely committed to the underground world and diving there in particular. Over the years we have always sought out the best alliance in each domain of diving, after much research and consultation we believe that NSS-CDS will provide the agency guidelines to best serve our clients. Beyond the fact that NAUI recognizes virtually only this organization, there is the harsh political reality that the only certification that you can be 100% sure will be accepted virtually anywhere, especially in Florida Cave Country is the NSS-CDS. Now our clients are assured of the best in cave training and as well as the best in certification together providing a passport to other world.
FOR GIRLS ONLY-From time to time many of you has expressed a desire to organize a girls only dive trip. We think that this is a great idea! It would be a pleasure for me and my crew to host such a Thousand Islands Mermaids liveaboard trip. Imagine a get-away with nothing to do but relax, kick back, and make some gnarly dives. You all have enough responsibilities in your day to day lives and you all need a break. Rest assured that on this trip you will have nothing to do but enjoy yourselves, we will wait on you hand and foot. All our expeditions are 100% all-inclusive so all you need is a party attitude, a big smile and your topside summer cloths. Remember that we have all the gear you could want so no need to even think about gear issues if you are short an item or two. Ah yes, decide when and where you want to dive, no significant others to deal with, no kids to deal with, you can all be princesses for a few days. If youd like to toss in a quickie certification we should be able to arrange this to fit in. This first trip will take place June; 22,23,24,25 so set aside the time to pamper yourselves, if you dont do it for yourselves, no one will do it for you. Right now I have real good availability but we are booking up quickly so you need to make plans now for your adventure.
One of our clients, Mr. Paul Davies is really trying to make a difference in the lives of many. Together, with a group of scuba diving enthusiasts, the support of Waterline Sports in Toronto, and the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), he is planning an event called Dive for a Cure. This event will be held at the Etobicoke Olympium pool on Sunday, April 29th, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Having lost both of his parents to this disease in 1995 and 1996, he has a personal conviction to raise both funds, and awareness for cancer. Last year he personally raised $4,600.00 CDN for the CCS. This year, Paul is combining two of his personal convictions, cancer fund raising/awareness and scuba diving in this fun filled event. His team is soliciting participants, pledges, and funds for support, prizes for the silent auction, prizes for the highest pledge amounts raised AND volunteers. All funds generated will go directly toward the cause. Anything that you can offer, to assist in this event will be greatly appreciated. This event is open to anyone who has ever been interested in trying diving or snorkeling and to all certified divers. For more info please go to http://briefcase.yahoo.com/garykulisek, and click on the Dive for a Cure folder.
Let me take this moment to thank all those who have booked courses and expeditions with us to date. For those who are still contemplating an action I urge you to contact us as soon as possible with your needs or desires. The rate of reservations is quite high and space is getting to be tight, we do not want to miss the opportunity of serving you simply due to tardiness. As you know we do only custom work so let us know what you need in the way of diving services. I am sure that you will not regret choosing us to provide your scuba-related needs and reserving now.
MARCH 21, 2001
It is definitely a sure sign that the northeast dive is fast approaching as the BENEATH THE SEA 25th Anniversary Undersea Exposition, Dive Travel Show will be at New Jerseys Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, March 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2001.
Living up to its reputation as the largest consumer diving event in North America, this year B.T.S. will have 300 exhibitors from all corners of the world. Sixty plus seminars by specialists and experts, diving demonstrations, exotic destinations, social events, and workshops, to entertain, inform and excite the experienced diver, new diver, and non-diver equally.
Almost 300 exhibitors representing the training agencies for scuba diving and the major manufacturers of scuba equipment and accessories will be there to let you see, touch, talk about and, in some cases, even demo new products. For the dive traveler, the show is loaded with dive destinations, liveaboard dive boats, resorts, and airlines that will take you to all those far away places with strange sounding names.
You can learn the newest in technique be it digital editing of video, digital manipulating of underwater slides, catching up to all that flash and dash on the Internet, finding out how you can save a life, or the latest in mixed-gas diving. This event will have seminars, exhibits, and workshops explaining the latest from the fields of scuba diving, oceanography, Northeast diving, wreck diving, rescue, and all kinds of photography.
Alp Maritimes will have a delegation at the show and it would be a pleasure to meet with old and new friends. We will be at the NAUI booth, if you have a meeting time in mind just send us an email telling us when. If not just stop by, if we are out please leave a message when youll be back and well be sure to be there. If you are anywhere in the northeast then this event is definitely worth the drive, youll not regret the investment. For more info. visit: http://beneaththesea.org/
A good number of you have contacted us with concerns as to the status and future of Poseidon Diving Systems in North America. While it is true that the previous North American importer is no longer representing the line a new arrangement will be announced shortly. We have been in close contact with our associates at Poseidon in Sweden and we are assured that a solution is at hand. For the time being, Alp Maritimes has a good stock of regulators and parts on hand and we have placed an order directly with Europe anticipating our needs for the season. Rest assured that those of you who have invested in this product or are thinking of doing so can have piece of mind that we will do everything in our power to service this product. We do believe that the future is bright for Poseidon.
Quick comment on our registrations and bookings to date. As a large number of individuals especially those in leadership courses, have opted to start at least some training already, our in water programs are off to a very early start. Never the less, with the exception of some weeks in September, we have availability at just about anytime. We urge you to consider your needs and desires and get with us as soon as possible. Let me suggest that an early season course or trip will make the rest of your season that much more enjoyable.
As usual, at your service,
Capt. Gary and the Crew,
FEBRUARY 9, 2001
In our last communication, we advised you that our entire team would be attending the DEMA show in New Orleans. Now that we have been home for over a week we are pleased to report that this venture was by far our most important ever. The meetings and interaction at this show provided a vast quantity of great information. This will allow us to serve you our clients better than ever. There were major long-term developments from virtually all the training agencies, which will effect the future of scuba education. New products abounded especially in the domain of technical diving but also in the area of entry level equipment, these will impact directly on how we teach and dive. We formed several strategic alliances with new international partners to provide the best services. There is no question that we have returned completely updated in all areas and have great new ideas.
Apart from our fact-finding mission, we also welcomed new clients on board for several expeditions. Two groups, one from Florida and another from Texas have booked expeditions to the Empress. We have received new training mandates from divers in the Czech Republic, Russia, Egypt and the United States.
In our absence reservations have continued to come in. We suggest that all of you who are considering trips or courses open a dialogue with us as soon as possible. Availability is still very good but space and staff will soon be very much committed. By opening a discussion we can try and hold places open for as long as possible.
Despite the fact that the summer diving season is still several months in the future we have had requests to start training before the season. In general we feel it is best to conduct the theory and practical training at the same time. It is for this reason that we favor the use of liveaboards so that your day is a mix of diving and lectures. Our guest can actually put into practice theory within minutes of a lesson. That being said, many of you cant seem to wait and want to start your courses now, especially on those courses that are lecture intensive. Hence, if you wish to begin any course at this time, please let us know and we will consider the merits.
As usual, we are at your service to respond to questions and look forward to serving you soon.
Regards, Capt. Gary Kulisek and the Crew www.technicaldivingops.com
JANUARY 13, 2001
It has been some time since we have had the pleasure of updating you on our projects. During the autumn, the bulk of the team moved our expeditions to the south. We operated most of October in Florida, dividing our time between Key West on the ocean and Ocala in the central part of the state. This allowed us to offer our clients every type of scuba diving and training; wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico and the best of cave diving. During November we were in the Cayman Islands and Honduras where we conducted both courses and excursions specializing in mixed gas and deep diving.
When we returned home things slowed down on the expedition side of the operation. This allowed us the time to effect some very important improvements to our company. We completed a total revamping of our mobile gas mixing equipment, which is now more exact, quicker and more compact. Working with new sources we have increased our bank of computer generated decompression software to included virtually all the programs used internationally. This will yield greater options in the efficiency and safety of your scuba diving activities. Our transport fleet has been overhauled and added to in order to be able to deliver absolutely all the possible equipment we could ever need to any site where we are teaching or organizing expeditions. Our rental pool has experienced important growth in quantity and quality.
Our efforts to improve our services will not end there. Our entire crew will be attending the DEMA, Diving Equipment and Marketing Association, trade show in New Orleans at the end of January. This is the 25th anniversary of this show and due to format changes it will not come again for almost two years until October 2002. This show is critical since every participant will try and get much more done than if there was a show in the next twelve months. We have a very long shopping list of products we will be purchasing to improve the operation. Still, more important, will be the new information that will be released at the show. Virtually every training agency and organization will unveil their direction and products to be used for the next two years. We are investing in a larger than usual delegation in order not to miss any opportunities that may lead to improved service and safety to you, our clients.
December has been a very active period for reservations. During the month we have booked a record number of courses and expeditions for the up coming year. Our clients have been quicker than ever to select and schedule their needs; be it a single course, a group activity, specialized scuba diving location, or what ever other underwater activities they want.
We definitely can cover all your desires. Please remember our company is not typical of the scuba diving shops or schools you may be familiar with. You must understand that our clients vary a great deal in their needs and resources, we do not try and get clients to fit into our timetable. We design programs to fit with the client. For this reason we do not establish courses dates that apply to all our clients, each client has his or her own program. True, we may combine people in a particular situation, as it is often advantageous for all but each person retains their own program.
Despite the winter season, now is the time to plan for your diving needs. For the time being, I am confident that we can accommodate just about any request at any time but if current rate of reservations continues there is a danger some of you my be disappointed. Please be sure to visit our website, www.technicaldivingops.com, and to contact us with any information you may need. We will be pleased to design a custom program that suits your needs.
In closing, let me wish you and yours all the very best in 2001 and assure you that we are looking forward to being of service to you.
Capt. Gary and all the Crew