When it comes to water, few speak with more authority than world renowned cave diver and underwater explorer Jill Heinerth. Jill swims through the watery veins of the earth on dangerous expeditions where she captures images of a breathtaking world few will ever experience.
In the next decade, access to clean water will be one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. Without courageous action on an international scale, competing factions will go to war over control of the world’s water supplies.
Your oxygen sensors are the heart of your CCR, offering critical information about your life support status. Attempting to save money by stretching your sensors beyond their service life may greatly increase your diving risks.
Teledyne stopped supplying sensors to the diving market well over eighteen months ago. If your rebreather contains any Teledyne sensors, they are beyond their expiration, whether they have just been installed recently or not. While you are checking your sensors, ensure that you have not mixed different brands within your rebreather. Your three sensors should be of the same brand. Each manufacturer has a proprietary algorithm that compensates for temperature changes within the unit. If you mix brands you may find that they drift apart through the duration of your dive. This might not be attributed to depth, but rather temperature changes. Ensure the sensors within your rig are made by one manufacturer and are approved by the manufacturer of the unit.
It is critical that these sensors were tested by the CCR manufacturer. CE standards ensure these critical tests have been completed. If your rebreather is not CE EN:14143 approved, then contact the manufacturer for verification of their test protocols for sensors and the approved brands that are documented through their testing. If your sensors are in good order, risks are reduced and without reliable sensors, its all a crap shoot. - Photo: Jill Heinerth testing the new Hollis Prism rebreather.
Filmmaker, cave diver and passionate spokesperson for water conservation, Jill Heinerth — recipient of the Sea Heroes award in our September/October issue — has been selected as the 2012 Sea Hero of the Year.
Scuba Diving magazine and Oris, the sponsor of the Sea Heroes program, recognized Heinerth for using her deep knowledge of some of the Earth’s most remote and pristine places to help ordinary people understand that water conservation begins and ends with individuals.
“I feel incredibly honored and humbled to be named Sea Hero of the Year,” says Heinerth. “I am just one of the many foot soldiers among so many people doing great work and advocacy for our planet’s water resources. Receiving this award might give my work greater outreach, and that’s a wonderful thing!”
Helping individuals make the connection between their activities on land and how those choices affect their water resources is the focus of Heinerth’s current project, the We Are Water documentary and traveling water-conservation road show (wearewaterproject.com). “Through my career, I have seen some significant changes in the quality and quantity of water coming out of our groundwater resources, and I worry,” she says. “It’s time to act, and time to help people understand the circulatory system of the planet. ‘Interconnectivity’ is a catchword, but I hope I can give people a real understanding of how everything they do affects our water planet.”
How will the $5,000 prize awarded by Oris to the Sea Hero of the Year help further the We Are Water project? “Right now we are wrapping up a documentary film and creating materials that will help people communicate the message of water literacy in classrooms and groups all over the world. We’re also looking ahead to organizing more speaking engagements where we can meet people in small groups and large audiences. “In the coming year, we are planning a 5,000-mile bicycle ride where we will blog, post and present the We Are Water project along our way as we learn about local issues and challenges that people face. “It’s a big agenda, but it is the most important work I have ever done.”
Her efforts were applauded by V.J. Geronimo, CEO at Oris Watches USA. “We at Oris are proud of our continued sponsorship of the Sea Heroes program and salute this year’s Sea Hero of the Year, Jill Heinerth. “In 2012, five special individuals earned the ‘Sea Hero’ designation for their unique work in the marine world. Oris has a long-standing commitment to marine conservation. We make ‘real watches for real people’ — individuals who do things, as opposed to just talking about them. Our Sea Heroes are the personification of this philosophy, and Jill Heinerth’s work has made her the 2012 Sea Hero of the Year.”
Engaging and accessible despite her impressive personal accomplishments, the Women Divers Hall of Famer seems like a natural for this important evangelizing work, furthering her “love affair with water.” She’s already on the road. “I realize that I can move people when I can speak to them peer to peer. Being on camera is one thing, but speaking to people personally makes a big difference, reaching people one at a time and helping them understand that small changes in their daily behaviors can make a difference. To that end, I hope to do a lot more motivational speaking and a lot more work with young people.
“The response has been amazing so far. We’ve met really diverse groups in many different geographic regions, and have learned about local issues that are deeply affecting people’s lives. Overall, people seem to be getting a feeling of empowerment when they get the information they need.“Essentially, nobody wants to pollute. Nobody wants to overuse critical resources, but sometimes they don’t know how to lessen their water footprint. I feel like we are able to give people hope and give them a sense of usefulness so they can be a part of the solution.”
This is the most important project I've ever been involved with, and I am asking for your help! "We Are Water" is a transmedia film and lecture series that will educate, entertain and motivate people to take action in protecting our planet's water resources. Please get involved at www.indiegogo.com/wearewater Please make a donation, and, in addition to feeling good about supporting a great cause, you can also collect some wonderful perks from our partner, SUUNTO. Thank you - Jill Heinerth
Our good friend and colleague, Michael Angelo Gagliardi has posted this first-hand report on the tragic loss of Brendan Lee Napier, during an explorartion dive in Cozumel.
Report on accident at Sisteme Cocodrilo
I am writing this today as a chosen representative of the Cocodrilo/Dos Coronas Exploration and Mapping Expedition. On Sun October 16 we had a member of our team (Brendan Lee Nappier) die during a survey dive in the Sisteme Cocodrilo System on the island of Cozumel. The team has asked me to post this report to prevent and dispel any misinformation or misconceptions of this tragic accident. The team is understandably distraught about the loss of our good friend. I will use no names in this report other then the victim’s.
The Expedition was to survey, map and document the Sisteme Cocodrilo cave system. Sisteme Cocodrilo is a land locked system that contains several thousand feet of passage most never getting deeper than 40 feet. The Cocodrilo team arrive onsite at approximately 10 am and began gearing up in the parking lot of the dive site. The team consisted of 5 divers. The dive plan was to swim to the “Air Dome ” approximately 4200 feet into the cave and video map the room. The plan was cut very short.
Two divers were using Passive Semi-closed Rebreathers driven by two Al 80’s. One Al 80 had 32% nitrox while the other contained air. The 32% drove the rebreathers while the air was bail out. The other 3 divers were on open circuit side mount. Each open circuit diver carried an addition stage. All open circuit tanks contained air. The day before the dive 3 more 80 cubic foot tanks containing air were staged along the dive route. These were placed as additional emergency bailouts bottles.
At 11:19 am the team entered the water. The victim led the team. The team planned on a slow paced swim. At about 15 minutes in to the dive the victim began to accelerate his swim pace causing the team to string out into two groups, two divers in front trying to kept pace with the leader, followed by the second pair falling behind. At approximately two minutes later, the victim had outpaced the second and third diver and began convulsing, he then drifted to the ceiling. When the two closest buddies got to him he was unconscious and his regulators were out of his mouth. The victim’s bailout regulator was observed to be deployed and dangling. His Rebreather loop and his bailout tank had been closed, however neither buddy saw when he closed it. Both buddies, each, deployed and attempted to get a regulator in the victim’s mouth. The victim’s jaw was clenched and had to be pried open to insert the regulator. The regulator was purged into his mouth. By this point all 5 members had got to the victim and began a coordinated rescue attempt. Three divers began swimming the victim out of the system while also keeping the regulator in his mouth and purging it. The last team member kept the line out well lit and guided the team out of the system. It took approximately 18 minutes to get the victim to the surface. His gear and suit was cut away and CPR was administered in round robin by three team members. The last member called for help and got people on the surface to call for EMTs. After about 20 minutes an ambulance and local police arrived and took control of the body.
An autopsy was performed and the team was informed by local officials that the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning. Both Brandon’s rebreather and one other teammate’s rebreater were found to be in working order. We, the team have now been led to believe (but we have no way of verifying ) that this is not the first case of “bad” nitrox fills on the island. We have halted all diving till we can be certain of what we are breathing. We also urge anyone going on any similar expedition to please add a carbon monoxide analyzer to their dive kit. We all are buying one now. We all are emotional, stressed, and angry by Brendon’s passing. We ask out of respect for the victim and his family, to please refrain from any online speculation or comments that might cause additional stress. Brendon was young, intelligent and in shape, he did nothing wrong nor was any rules broken. There is no good reason why Brendon was taken from us. He died because he had the misfortune of breathing “bad” air. Brendon was our friend and he was taken from us too soon.
Michael Angelo Gagliardi