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April 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Guinness World Record Dives with Added Bite

Egyptian diverís plan goes awry

from the April, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Smashing records has never been so much fun since Barry Manilow stopped releasing his work on vinyl. When it comes to diving and the Guinness Book of Records, people make claims for huge derivations from original concepts, although very little is ever achieved for medical science. For example, a Mexican diver has recently been attempting to raise sponsorship for the deepest scuba dive by a person with only one leg, while Brit Graham Owen claims the record for the deepest dive by a blind diver at 341 feet.

As one of the few Arab women scuba instructors . . . I was looking for a way to raise awareness for . . . the plight of Arab women in the Middle East.

In March, the familiar shark diving territory of Stuart Cove's Dive the Bahamas hosted another world record attempt, this time by an Arab woman, for the longest -duration scuba dive. Kuwaiti national Ms. Reem Aleidan and her team decided to move the location of her record attempt from Egypt's Red Sea in the hope of attracting more media attention from the US.

She said, "As one of the few Arab women scuba instructors in the world, plus being a single mother of two children, I was looking for a way to raise awareness for women's rights and the plight of Arab women in the Middle East. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry is a challenge. Being a woman and wanting to teach diving is even more challenging. I am hoping by holding this event in the Western World, we can bring media attention to the plight of women like me in the Middle East and any other countries around the world where women are repressed and not allowed to express themselves like men can in many activities."

The women's record stands at 58 hours. At the same time at the same location, another Kuwaiti, Mubarak Abuhaimad, joined her, hoping to break the men's record, presently standing at 72 hours. According to Stuart Cove, this was the first time that a world record attempt had taken place in Nassau.

Liz Parkinson, the event media coordinator, commented, "The event was tentatively scheduled for the first days of March 2016, and we had some very cool (shark) feeds planned. Working with the local cell carrier, BTC, we planned to have a live underwater video feed that will be streamed to global media via YouTube for this event, to help with getting this live stream out to as many media outlets that wish to pick up this stream. We planned to have boats on station 24 hours a day for this 60-plushour Guinness World Record-breaking event. Our goal was to use as many women in the logistics and production as possible, as we all believe in the 'Team Reem's' concept and idea. Having been to the Middle East myself, I have seen first-hand how women are placed in their society, and this record attempt means a lot to me personally as well."

Initial optimism might have been ill -placed. In the event, Ms. Aleidan's attempt ended after only five hours, while Mr. Abuhaimad's dive lasted seven hours and 49 minutes. It appears that neither had allowed time to get used to diving in their drysuits, which arrived in the Bahamas too late to be tried and tested. Nevertheless, both divers claimed records for the longest duration dives with sharks!

Their joint achievements may not stand for long. Gulf News reports a Saudi diver is planning to spend a whole week underwater. Al Sumaili says that he spent ten hours underwater in December and one full day in January as part of his training. He plans to have a liquid diet to avoid food-related complications, but no details have emerged on how he plans to sleep. Scuba bulletin users are sharply divided over the merit of this adventure expected off Haqi, near the Gulf of Aqaba.

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