The last few weeks have seen beautiful days in Dahab accompanied by the feeling that perhaps the Egyptian summer is here. Realistically, for an Englishman like myself summer feels almost never-ending anyway but now seems an appropriate moment to wrap up a great spring with Team Blue Immersion. The presence of 25m+ clear waters is giving us some fantastic dives that will get even better as the water warms further. It has been a busy time of late, so we would like to say a big thanks to all our friends, old and new for continuing to be drawn by the lure of Dahab’s beautiful canyons and bright blue depths.
So, just what has been going on? Where it is nice to have such variety in dive sites, we also have such variety in the people through our doors, the configurations they are diving and the courses they are taking. This year has already seen courses at every level from PADI Tec 40 through Tec Trimix, TDI Advanced Nitrox through Advanced Trimix. Our backmount and sidemount tanks are equally in use across all levels of courses with dives to 100m in both configurations and to 130m in backmount. We have had guests from America, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Turkey…and I hope I have not missed any!
But of course it does not stop with open circuit. Our Hollis Explorer and Prism 2 rebreathers join the fun having created nearly 15 new “silent-world” divers and certified existing ones to higher levels. We have seen Evos, Inspos, Megs, and rEvos, JJs and Optimas too. Some have come as divers and left as instructors in PADI and TDI with courses at the Tec Deep, Tec Trimix, Rec and Tec Sidemount, Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Procedures and Extended Range! We continue to welcome external instructors from across the globe who teach their own students, in their own way while benefiting from the great dive sites and simple logistics to which we can serve them.
Our technical diver and instructor internship programs extend the TBI family by ensuring there are always long-term students in the dive centre. More than ten students have stayed with us for at least a month and most for two or three to make the most of the technical immersion that we are fortunate enough to offer in Dahab’s surroundings. Through this period they will cover all diving configurations, reach as deep as they should wish to go, explore all of Dahab’s best dive sites and generally focus on technical diving excellence in a way that few will ever get to experience.
The classroom is as important a location as in the water and each month sees a host of academic presentations on topics such as decompression modelling, deep stops, gradient factors, M-values, oxygen toxicity, isobaric-counter-diffusion to name a few. Big thanks to Andy, Anna, Ben, Carlos, Kerstin, Kostas, Luca, Mickey, Tamara, Yasmine for keeping us diving daily and challenging us to ensure we are offering the best experience we can to those who delay their normal lives to train with us!
New faces keep what we do such a fun, engaging and variable activity but it is with much joy that we welcome back friends from old. Good friend and wreck diving legend Jamie Macleod returned for some diving and sun with his daughter Vicky.
World deep diving record holder Pascal Bernabé had ditched open circuit and brought his JJ for some “shallow” 100m CCR diving with Mia Pietikäinen prior to their cave discovery expedition in China.
Former Advanced Trimix student Sam Ong cam back to push his skills to the limit with deep open circuit attaining a depth of 130m with Aron. Also going deep, Tsvetan returned for his dream of 100m in 5 tank sidemount config with Erik and Tamara and Geoff found himself at 115m with Aron as well as doing his Tec Trimix instructor course. Big congratulations to all!
Chris Haslam, old friend and founder of TBI Sweden arrived with brand new Prism 2 to start gaining some experience. After just 5 weeks he had opportunities to move on but managed to do so with over 70 hours gained on his CCR and certification to 75m with mixed gas, his time culminating in some awesome extended bottom times in the Blue Hole, at Neptune’s Cave and the persistently alluring Abu Helal canyon system.
We would also like to give mention to Patryk Salamon, who originally did his rescue course with Erik three years ago and this year ended a fantastic progression to full tec trimix with a 90m dive in the Arch, complete with all the laughs, excitment and dodgy-dealing that his visits tend to bring 🙂
Speaking to any of us at TBI you wiil hear no end of endorsements of Dahab’s diving with much justification resulting from the convenience and easy logistics of its almost exclusive shore diving opportunities to the north and south. However, there can always be too much of a good thing and this year we felt a change was on the cards.
It is important for us to redefine what we offer and explore new places both near and far and a technical boat trip to the southern site of Gabr El Bint was a resounding success. With backmount, sidemount and CCR divers onboard, it highlighted many opportunities for further trips to deeper and darker places across all disciplines.
Where there are new additions there are also departures and this year marked a very significant one for TBI history. Founding member Jonas Samuelsson accepted a position as PADI Regional Manager for Denmark, Israel and Sweden marking an end to his permanent time in Dahab.
It will certainly not be the last we see of Jonas, it is a fantastic opportunity and an evolution for him personally given his well commended and long history with PADI over the previous two decades. We wish you continued success Jonas!
So as the water continues to warm up, we look on to a promising summer with many courses already booked up through the months ahead. Anna Loznevaya continues her technical instructor internship and former intern Huw Rowlands is back for some deep sidemount diving with Erik. Old friends from the recreational world will be here to begin their own techhnical journeys. Mark Carmichael joins for a month of deep training and experience dives with Extended Range, Advanced Trimix and beyond and repeated guest and friend Tobias Wilkinson returns to raise his technical skill level with TDI Extended Range and Trimix courses in July. And this is just the beginning…
Thank you again for an amazing start to 2014 and we cannot wait to be in the water with you all for the amazing summer diving experiences that are on their way!