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September 2005 Vol. 20, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Lost Art

from the September, 2005 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Bob Halstead, the father of Papua New Guinea live-aboard diving, is a well-known diving curmudgeon. Here's his opinion on what he sees as a troubling trend among live-aboard divers.

* * * * *

"Life was never like this. If you dived from a boat, you were expected to be able to get back to it and end your dive at the boat ladder. If you were diving from a small boat without a separate tender and failed to surface right at the boat, you would have to swim for it or wait, drifting around for 30 minutes or so, shark bait, until all the other divers were on board before the boat could pick you up. If it could still find you.

"On our boats we had a rescue tender, but if you were picked up away from the main boat, we considered that to be a rescue, and we used to charge for rescues. A crew member would take the tender and pick you up. To be assured of survival, it was wise to carry $5 in your BC pocket.

"Nowadays most diving seems to be from big boats with multiple tenders. The art of underwater navigation appears forgotten. Divers surface all over the ocean, inflate their safety sausages and get picked up--and no one charges anything. It is a pity, because the rescue fee had multiple benefits, including keeping the crew alert to surfacing divers, since the cash went to the crew member who effected the rescue."

-- Bob Halstead from Dive Log Australasia

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