Saturday, July 05, 2008

Hard-Hat Diving, Stromness

Holidaying in the Orkneys last summer, an article in the local press saw me stepping off Stromness pier weighed down with 100lbs or so of equipment, while a mother and son pumped air to me down a rubber tube. It is, I understand, the one openwater chance in the world (do correct me if I'm wrong) to experience hard hat diving.
What tempted me was the chance to walk in the footsteps of John Scott Haldane. My biography of him, Suffer & Survive, was just coming out. Haldane devised the dive tables which allowed divers to reach depths without experiencing the bends. He plunged overboard in hard hat diving equipment, in Scottish waters, despite being unable to swim. So how was that experience?
My own version was relatively tame by comparison, walking the harbour floor beneath a lifeboat, but adventurous enough - and I'm told I broke some records. I've just posted a full account on the articles page of my website ... please visit and have a read.
A celebration of Haldane's dive tables, and this consequent Centenary of Modern Diving, is taking place at the University of Plymouth, October 31st through November 2nd 2008. I'll be talking on Haldane's life on November 1st. A fascinating programme is lined up ... no web link available as yet, but book the date if you're interested.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Dad has written his first book at the Grand old age of 79!! We are all so extremely proud of him and know that whoever reads this book, will get to hear about some Fantastic stories about his Adventures as a Deep Sea Diver.

9:15 PM  

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