May 24, 2023
Cover Photo: Barbara Carson and fellow explorer Audrey Rushbrook in 1976
The early Great Lakes diving pioneers were using a single scuba tank with one regulator, no gauges, and homemade wetsuits. When their tank ran out of air, there was a rod connected to a J-Valve, which when pulled would supply a small reserve of air. This additional amount would give them a few minutes to reach the surface. A huge issue in the design was forgetting to check that the value was in the correct position before a dive which could lead to having no reserve supply. For decompression, the US Navy Tables were the only thing available which resulted in little safety and bottom times were limited.
Available to modern shipwreck divers today is an amazing array of high tec scuba equipment which has not only improved safety and comfort but has extended the depths and times that we can explore beneath the waves.
My personal diving rig starts with a Fourth Element Argonaut 2.0 Drysuit which was custom fitted to my body by an award winning BIOMAP system. Combined with my HALO 3D technical undergarments, I am completely warm for hours in sub-zero water yet still have amazing flexibility.
For extended time underwater, I use twin 72 cubic foot steel tanks which provide two separate sources of air for safety. They are attached to me with a Hollis SMS 75 sidemount harness which provides me with perfect trim in the water and keeps me streamlined.
For regulators, I use a pair of HOG D3 first stages paired with Zenith second stages setup with custom hose lengths (short and long) plus swivel valves and small heads up pressure gauges.
Last, for maximum safety I wear a pair of diving computers. My primary is a Suunto EON Steel Black and my secondary is a Suunto EON Core White. With one on each arm, I can at a glance see all aspects of my dive on the large colour screens.