During an Internship with Team Blue Immersion and Dahab Divers Technical our technical instructor interns gets invited on occassions to join on expeditions or filming commercials. This time around we had a photo shoot in Aqaba, Jordan for a recreational diving commercial for OceanReef. We decided to invite a few interns to be part of the team. The commercial is going to be broadcasted during the Dusseldorf Boat show in January 2014. The team was Gal Avital, Katy Fraser, Adam Miller, Huw Rowlands and Jonas Samuelsson. This was technical instructor intern Huw Rowlands impression from the trip.
Our trip to Jordan started at 6am, with everyone meeting at the dive centre. After a ﬁnal check that we had all the equipment we were off on the ﬁrst leg of our journey to the boarder at Taba. With the amount of camera equipment, full face masks and comms, we were not very optimistic about the speed at which we would get through the four boarder controls that day. It turned out that our fears were correct as it took us a solid hour to be allowed out of Egypt. It looked a bit hit and miss with who they were going to stop though as myself and Katy were let through straight away, where Jonas and Adam were questioned about all the kit they had. We eventually got let through and had to carry our 300kg of equipment across into Israel. With a much easier crossing we were able to have a breather after lugging hundred of kgs of kit through customs. We were only going to be in Israel for 45 mins or so as we were driving straight to the Jordanian boarder. Jonas and Adam had a quick stop to pick up Gal, the ﬁnal member of out team.
After meeting up again we had a very swift exit from Israel and a long 200m walk with all our kit to get to Jordan. we were anticipating this crossing to be fairly smooth as we had staff from the military intelligence on the other side as it is apparently illegal to us full face masks and large camera equipment in Jordan. Luckily we were able to get permission to use them. BBC and a few other networks had been stopped in the weeks prior to us arriving because they did not have the correct paperwork so another victory for the team. The customs checks started off fairly well. It looked like we were through so our military contact wandered off and then another customs ofﬁcer need to look at our kit so the crossing took twice as long as needed.
Finally in Jordan we took our kit to the dive centre to get rid of the bulk of our stuff before heading to the hotel. We were meant to go ﬁlming that afternoon but the boat had already left. To be honest I think all of us were glad as we were all knackered and hadn’t eaten for 8 hours. After eating at a charming little Jordanian restaurant (Burger King), we checked into our hotel. After crashing for a couple of hours we wandered down to ﬁnd some food in the hotel. Being in a 5* Movenpick we were spoilt for choice. We decided on the Italian restaurant which was totally empty and was apparently its opening night. Best choice we ever made. Best pasta I’ve ever had! Couple of free extras thrown in and all of us were very happy divers.
First day of diving. This was going to be a wreck dive for the Advanced Wreck course Adam and I were going to do. Katy and Gal were also planning on diving the wreck in order to get generic shots for the commercial. Jonas threw us in the deep end during this dive. Straight in with line laying and then out of air drills both with mask on and blindfolded. We ended up spending around 20 mins blindfolded out of a 60 min dive. Weirdly this was one of the most fun dives I’ve ever done. After the dive we couldn’t do a second as we only had one twinset each so we started trying to record the sound while the rest of the divers on the boat did their second dive. Due to the wind we weren’t able to get anything of use but we learnt a lot that we could use on later dives.
Read PADI Staff Trevor Sanfords blog on padi.com about his experience diving with Team Blue Immersion
Day two of diving was the ﬁrst day of ﬁlming. We were going to attempt to get as many of the scenarios done on this dive, however we may have been a bit ambitious with the amount of air we will use. The ﬁrst scenario was missing diver, where Jonas, aka Raymond, would get lost. we would then show how much easier it would be if I,as the ‘Master Diver’ had an Integrated Diving Mask (IDM) to talk tot he surface with. The ﬁrst shot with all of us on normal masks probably looked hilarious with exaggerated signals and expressions. After a quick underwater mask change for me to the IDM we shot what would happen if I had the mask.
Next scenario we shot was what would happen if there was bad weather and the boat wanted to call us back. This just involved me playing with the buttons on the IDM a bit and then telling the other divers using the M101A, a handy little comm that you can hold up to a divers ear and speak to them.
The ﬁnal scenario of the dive was swimming into a strong current as we needed to reach a predetermined point to get picked up by the boat. The dive without the IDM had Raymond panicking and shooting to the surface. With the IDM I call the boat to change direction to go with the current preventing any problems before they start. Were meant to do a second dive to pretty much complete the ﬁlming, but all of the batteries for the camera were dead and with no power on board we could only do a bit of sound recording on the laptop.
Day three was meant to be and Advanced Wreck day, however as we only managed to film during one dive the day before we had to ﬁlm again. We ﬁnished the strong current scene and ﬁlmed a scene where Raymond is suffering narcosis and I have to tell Jane (Gal) to keep an eye on him. Without the IDM we struggle to communicate t each other, however with the IDMs I can get my point across well. After a quick change of tanks we jumped back in to ﬁlm the ﬁnal scene where Raymond is ill and needs to go up. Without the mask communication between us is bad and he panics and bolts to the surface. I have to go up rescue him, leaving Jane and Tim (Adam) on the bottom. Using the IDM and M101A I was able to speak to Raymond to calm him down while calling the boat and also tell Jane and Tim to stay on the bottom and wait for me to come back down. This was our last dive to ﬁlm and thankfully we were pretty much able to get everything we needed. We also managed to ﬁnish the sound recording and Katy got all the surface shots she needed with the crew.
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Next morning consisted of packing and more packing. After several attempts we got everything to ﬁt in their boxes and we started the long journey back to Dahab. Thankfully all the boarder crossing were easy this time. They boarder control ofﬁcers at the Jordanian and Israeli boarders recognized us from last time and the Egyptians just didn’t really seem to care, so a pretty quick trip home.
This trip may have been for business and there were sometimes when things did get a bit stressful. However it was an incredibly enjoyable few days with some great friends and is deﬁnitely a major highlight of my Internship with TBI. Just want to say a big thanks to Dive Aqaba, OceanReef, TBI and especially Jonas, Katy, Adam and Gal for an amazing experience.
Huw Rowlands, Technical Instructor Intern 2013