Bret Gilliam has had a 40-year career in professional diving, logging over 18,000 dives in military, commercial, scientific, filming and technical diving operations. He is one of the diving industry's most successful entrepreneurs with investments in publishing, training agencies (TDI/SDI), manufacturing, resorts, dive vessels, cruise ships and film production companies. The aggregate sale value of his multiple multi-national companies totaled over 80 million USD when he retired in 2005 at the age of 54.
Author of over nearly 1,000 published articles, his photos have graced over 100 magazine covers, and he is principal author or contributor to over 50 books and manuals. His writing and photography has been published worldwide. He also has worked as location director, cameraman and operations manager on scores of Hollywood movies, television series, documentaries (including National Geographic, Discovery Channel and the Cousteau series) and IMAX films.
Gilliam is a Fellow National of the elite Explorers Club and the world record holder as the deepest scuba diver on conventional scuba equipment as well as the recipient of numerous other international awards including being named a Legend of the Sea.
He continues a limited practice as a widely sought litigation consultant and expert witness for diving and maritime legal cases. After nearly 30 years living in the Caribbean and equatorial regions worldwide, he now lives in Maine where he divides his time between three homes and a motor yacht. He is still active in special film and publishing projects.
Andy Connor is a mechanical engineer by training and has a PhD in mechatronics. Currently he is a senior lecturer at Auckland University of Technology. He is also a technical diving instructor, explorer and writer. Dr. Connor is a typical lecturer; always seeking perfection. That's why he is one of those instructors who enjoy filling gaps through presenting distinctive specialties.
Andy's diving interests mostly relate to technical wreck penetration beyond the daylight zone. However, his big project at the moment is surveying old gold mines. He and his fellow divers have started indexing known locations against historical references, plus searching for other sites. They have got around 120 individual mine shafts at present - one is definitely flooded and would make for a very exciting dive. Of the 120 mines they know about, Andy thinks about 20 of them will be flooded and accessible - and essentially untouched since they closed. The mines all date from the early 1900s, and the last of them closed around 1949.
Steve Lewis has been diving for many years and has succcessfully logged more than 1,500 staged decompression dives, 850 mixed gas dives, and more than 500 cave dives. He has worked as a member of the TAP (Training Advisory Panel) for SDI, TDI and ERDI until 2005 when he became the Director of Product Development. He has also written several training manuals, dozens of magazine articles and has been a popular speaker on diving and dive safety for many years at shows and seminars across North America, Europe and Asia.
Steve is an active instructor trainer and a strong advocate for the application of sidemount configuration for all open circuit divers who venture into an overhead environment. In addition to running sidemount courses and clinics on a regular basis, he also dives and teaches CCR and traditional backmount configurations. Steve is an editor and a publisher. He has recently published a book about technical diving titled "The Six Skills and Other Discussions".
Alberto Mantovani is a serial entrepreneur with almost 25 years of expertise in the high tech industry with extensive background in product development, marketing, business development, sales and corporate governance. Alberto moved from Italy to California in 1997 to work for Rockwell/Conexant where he became Executive Director of Strategic Planning. In October 2002, Alberto started RFDomus, a fabless semiconductor company specialized in the design of ultra low power GPS components. In June 2006 RFDomus merged with the GPS business unit of CEVA to form Glonav while in the process raising ~16 million USD from Atlantic Bridge Ventures, and in January 2008 Glonav was acquired by NXP in a transaction valued 110 million USD.
Alberto left Glonav in April 2008 to start DiveNav to develop products and services for the diving industry. He is a certified SCUBA diving instructor and has been diving since 1999. In addition to SCUBA diving, Alberto likes motorcycles and strives to ride almost every day... one of the perks of living in Southern California.
Jorge Russo is a diver since 1986. Born in Peniche, a small fishermen's town in Portugal, Jorge has always been interested in history and archaeology. Because of its geographic location, the peninsula of Peniche has always been a natural trap for ships. The stories of these ships and their crew members were always present since Jorge was a child. This planted the explorer seed in him. Persistence and hard work made it grow.
Former president and founder of a local group of maritime archaeology, Jorge is now involved with XploraSub, a group of technical divers located in Lisbon, Portugal. Jorge is currently the team coordinator of the SS Dago project. XploraSub works on research projects related to cave and wreck diving and is presently researching several Portuguese cave systems in association with other teams. In 2011 two more wreck projects in Peniche, Portugal have started.
Brent Hudson and Brian Matthewman
Brent Hudson is a keen technical diver with over ten years experience in the field. Brent has been designing, building rebreather equipment for military, commercial and technical divers as the Technical Director of Narked at 90 Ltd. Over the years, Brent has conducted thousands of rebreather and technical dives and received the most prestigious awards for innovation in the industry as well as setting a world record.
Brian Matthewman has been diving for over 14 years, His true passion is wreck diving. He has discovered and indentified a number of wrecks off the North East coast (of the UK). Brian was the founding member of Silent Running Mixed Gas Dive Team and is the person responsible for organising the teams expedition wreck hunting weeks. He currently dives with a prototype Camillion generation 4 rebreather.
Michael Robert Powell
Michael Powell was born in Detroit, Michigan, and attended Michigan State University. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MS and a PhD in molecular biophysics (1969).
After graduation, he joined the Ocean Systems Division of Union Carbide. In 1975, he moved to the Institute of Applied Physiology and Medicine (IAPM) in Seattle working with Dr Merrill P. Spencer. He briefly worked for the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DFVLR) in Bonn from 1977 to 1980 and then returned to IAPM.
In 1989 he joined NASA at the Johnson Space Center in the Space and Life Sciences Directorate where he was the head of the Environmental Physiology and Biophysics group. His work was primarily directed towards the mitigation of decompression sickness in astronauts. He retired in 2005 and moved back to the Seattle area. He and his wife, Mary, have four children and ten grandchildren.
Matti is an engineer with a M.Sc. degree in technical physics and Ph.D. in spaceflight instrumentation, so diving science is close to his heart. He got trained as a minehunter diver in the Finnish Navy in 1995 using semi-closed rebreathers, and later pursued for recreational and then technical diving. In the late 1990s he began teaching technical diving in Finland, and currently he is a trimix instructor trainer with IANTD, in addition to being on their Board of Advisors.
Matti took particular interests in diving technology, experimental diving and cave diving. One of his fancy projects was to re-build an old Russian submarine escape SCUBA unit. He is a passionate diving instructor who still finds it equally nice to teach open water class for beginners or trimix course for more advanced divers. Matti is also an active author.
Jorge A. Mahauad is a permanent resident in the Galapagos Islands. At this time he is developing the fields of advanced diving, rebreather trips and technical diver training there. Jorge manages the only advanced diving facility in the Galapagos Islands and offers consumables and support for divers requiring specialized equipment, procedures, logistics and support. He is PADI Master Instructor teaching up to Tec Trimix with the Tec Rec range; Jorge also teaches with TDI up to Extended Range in open circuit or with the Evolution & Inspiration closed circuit rebreathers.
Jorge obtained a pre graduate degree in communications in 2005, and post graduate degrees in Communications Direction and Business Direction in 2009. His objective is to coordinate, support and execute underwater exploration of sea mounts between 50 and 150 meters (165 and 500 feet), underwater grottos and lava tubes in the archipelago.
Massimiliano Canossa is an IANTD Full Trimix, Tech Wreck and Cave Instructor since 1996. To fulfill his passion to both wrecks and exploration, Massimiliano founded the NMDT, an Italian group of wreck explorers. He has participated in many important diving expeditions, including the German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin and the cruise ship Wilhelm Gustloff in the Baltic Sea, in addition to the Szent Istvan expedition in the Adriatic Sea. Massimiliano is the owner of Nautica Mare and the distributor of Santi Drysuit and Light Monkey, along with other brands in Italy.
Massimiliano has written some important articles in various Italian magazines. He has also authored text in the Italian version of IANTD diving manuals, particularly for the mid and high level courses, such as the Technical Diver and the Normoxic Trimix Diver courses.
Albrecht Salm (or simply Albi) is a Ph.D degree holder in physics and computer science. Diving since 1976, his first instructor course was with PADI in 1988. He is since a Master Scuba Diver Trainer (#33913) and a SSI Technical Extended Range Instructor (#12653). Albi is contributing to technical diving events in the D-A-CH room and for the GTUEM (Gesellschaft fuer Tauch- und Ueberdruckmedizin, which reads in English: Society for Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine). He is "high on deco algorithms" and is actually one of the few who had personal communications with decompression theory pioneers like Albert Buhlmann and Max Hahn.
In addition to teaching both technical and sports diving, Albi is currently working as a consultant for the Sub Marine Consulting Group (www.SMC-de.com).
It didn't take long for Ag to become hooked on blowing bubbles - after her first underwater breath she thought "this is what I want to do with my life!!" Indeed since then diving has been at the very center of her existence. Initially fascinated with reefs and fish, it wasn't long until the focus shifted to wrecks.
Captivated not just by their sheer beauty but also by their stories and history, she went from being a keen and avid wreck diver to a wannabe maritime archaeologist and did a Graduate Diploma in Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University. Her desire to pursue untouched and pristine wrecks meant going ever deeper and having to play with more gear and gases to do so.
Afterwards it is the caves, both wet and dry, that have her enthralled and she is most passionate about the exploration of never before seen passage. Ag spent a year living and diving in Florida's cave country, where she got her first taste of laying line. It is a phenomenal feeling to reach a place that no other human has ever seen before and she was hooked. She feels privileged to have seen the far reaches of some of the most beautiful caves in the world in Australia, the US and the Bahamas.
Agnes died in Tank cave in Australia on February 27th, 2011.
Chris Jewell is UK based exploratory caver and cave diver. He has been a member of the CDG (Cave Diving Group) since 2006, is a PADI OWSI and DSAT Tech diver.
Chris dives in a wide range of caves using different techniques. Everything from side mounting in small low visibility caves to long rebreather dives. He has been on numerous caving expeditions in 2009 and 2010 led a cave diving expedition to Cueva Culiembro in Spain.
Chris enjoys writing about caving and cave diving as well as giving lectures and presentations on his exploit. Recently he has started to make short films about his adventures, taking his video camera where no one has taken one before and filming live exploration.
Peter Buzzacott learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, in 1992 while serving in the Australian Army. Over the next few years he dove the wrecks of Scapa Flow, Thailand, Turkey and Wales before becoming an instructor in South Africa in 1997. He opened a dive business in Western Australia in 1999 and earned PADI Master Instructor, DSAT and TDI instructor ratings, issuing more than 500 diving certifications.
Buzzacott completed a BA (Training) in 2003 and a Master of Public Health Degree in 2005 (researching recreational diving injuries). In 2007 he won a five-month internship at DAN and the Duke University Centre for Hyperbaric and Environmental Medicine, where he took part in a couple of medical experiments for NASA and the US Navy. In 2010 Buzzacott dived Lake Titicaca with the Bolivian Navy and in 2011 he was awarded a PhD for research into risk factors associated with diving morbidity and mortality.
These days Buzzacott dives almost exclusively inland, mainly in caves. For a living he conducts decompression experiments at the Universite de Bretagne Occidentale in Brest, north France. Recently he has dived mines and caves in Budapest, Belgium, France, Italy, Slovakia and Australia.
Cristian Pittaro was born in 1974 in Argentina. He learned to dive in 1993. Over the next few years he dove in many locations including Florida, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Cristian is a founding member of the Dominican Republic Speleological Society (DRSS), a society that strongly believes that cave diving and exploration go hand in hand with science and research.
Pittaro is an avid technical/cave diver and explorer. With over 10 years experience as a cave and trimix diver under his belt, he is currently engaged in an ambitious yet interesting mission: exploring and surveying new caves in the Dominican Republic. His mission has already started in 2009 and is expected to continue for years to come.
Joseph Emmanuel has been a technical diving instructor for more than 14 years and was a member of two teams of extreme deep/cave divers. Over a decade these two teams conducted a series of exploratory dive trips to Boesmansgat cave in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. These expeditions culminated in 4 Guinness Book of Records being awarded to Nuno Gomes and Verna Van Schaik for the Deepest men and women cave diving as well as a Guinness Record for the deepest ever open water dive by Nuno Gomes to 300+meters in the Gulf of Aqaba.
Joseph, now 40 something, lives in Perth, Western Australia with his family and still enjoys diving as much as work and family commitments will allow. His other interests include, cycling, running and playing guitar from time to time and very occasionally, building and maintaining the odd website or two.
Rick has been an avid diver all of his adult life. He became certified in 1977, at the age of 17. Rick incorporats on-going dive-training as an important element of his approach to diving. AS Underwater Technology Diploma holder, FIT Diploma holder, experienced in offshore commercial diving and hyperbaric recompression treatments, and recreational diving and advanced OC technical diving, Rick co-founded Techfills two years ago in support of the south Florida technical diving community. Rick is also a business partner in Nautical Structures Industries, a Florida-based manufacturer of high-end marine deck equipment.
Rick has been into technical diving since 2005. He is IANTD and GUE certified. He is also an associate member at UHMS (Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society) and a member at Miami Wreck Exploration Project.
Jurij Zelic has graduated Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Since the mid 1990s, he has been acting as a full time software developer in complicated technological fields such as low level system programming. He has been promoted up to the system software development manager level at one of the leading telecom solution providers in Slovenia. Jurij is an avid technical diver and he likes exploration. He is both Trimix and Cave Diver.
As a software developer, Jurij is really into algorithms. He is fond of the dual phase models in general and the VPM in particular. Jurij uses his self-written programs for decompression planning and gas mixing. He frequently implements additional modules to account for multi-level diving, extended stops and ICD threats. He is also an advocate of the "Do It Yourself" and "Open Source" concepts.
Erik Wouters started diving in 1985 in the Mediterranean and had been an active speleologist and rock climber. He is a member of the Belgian caving group Science Explorers and diving team Technical Diving Antwerpen. He is an active cave diver since 1998, IANTD IT Normoxic and since 2012 IANTD CCR Trimix Cave Diving Instructor. He has also a keen interest in industrial archeology, especially abandoned and flooded mines.
There have been numerous expeditions where Erik has been the diving team leader or participant. Among these is the diving expedition with Dirk Roelandt, the Soqotra Karst Project in Yemen, where they filmed for Discovery Channel, the Leopoldville where they filmed for National Geographic, the HMS Victoria in Lebanon and the Tollensesee where they searched for remains of experimental torpedos of the Second World War. He also dived in numerous cave systems in Belgium, France, Hungary, Florida and Mexico. In 2005, several expeditions were undertaken in the Elephante Bianco cave in Italy.
Sandra Yoshida is a technical instructor, cave diver, CCR diver, service technician, dive medic technician and chamber operator. She is most famous as the "deepest bride".
Sandra holds a B.A. degree in anthropology. She stared diving in 2005. Her favorite place to dive would be in a cave, yet a reef with a lot of swim throughs would do just fine. Underwater photography and videography are among her special interests.
On September 30, 2013, Sandra (then Smith) exchanged vows with Hiroyuki Yoshida inside a fresh water cave called Song Hong in Thailand... at 130 meter (427 foot) depth! Her husband is a technical instructor who enjoys macro hunting in deep waters.
Thomas Feiden is an engineer with a M.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering. He works as expert witness for accident analysis of traffic accidents.
He started diving in 1986 within the German Red Cross and became one of the first rescue divers in Rheinland Pfalz, Germany. In 1991 he became instructor for rescue divers and since 2005 he is a member of the advisory board for instructor trainers of the German Red Cross.
Besides, he was always interested in wreck, and later cave diving. He is an avid underwater photographer who dove a lot of wrecks in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, the Red Sea, both sides of the Atlantic as well as the Pacific before he fell in love with caves. He started cave diving in 1999, dove caves in Germany, France, Italy, Croatia, Belgium, Florida, Dominican Republic, Cuba and is a proud member of the Grupo Carsico, the NSS-CDS and the Forschungstaucher Aach. Since 2008 he contributes articles about cave diving regularly in the US for the NSS-CDS and NACD and technical diving magazines in Europe. In 2009 he published his first book about the best wreck and cave diving spots in Florida and his photos can be found in a couple of manuals and other books of friends.
Writer and technologist Michael Menduno published and edited aquaCorps: The Journal for Technical Diving (1990-1996), which helped usher tech diving into the mainstream of sports diving, and coined the term "technical diving". He also produced the first Tek, EuroTek and AsiaTek conferences, Rebreather Forums 1.0 and 2.0 and edited "Proceedings of Rebreather Forum 2.0", published by DSAT in 1996. His freelance writing work has been published in numerous publications including Alert Diver, Bass Player, DIVER, Newsweek, Outside, Scientific American, Wired and X-Ray magazines.
Menduno worked with Capt. Billy Deans to set up the first technical diving training center at Key West Diver, Key West, Florida, and was a member of the US Deep Wreck Diving team. He was given the "Lifetime Achievement Award" for his contributions to technical diving at EUROTEK 2012. Menduno, who remains an avid technical diver, is based in Palm Springs, CA where he writes and plays jazz bass.
Having spent his life at sea working in various capacities in the merchant navy, finally as Master Mariner (Unlimited) onboard liquified natural gas carriers, not to mention executive and directorial positions in various companies, Captain Fritz Farrugia now dedicates his time to a sport he's always been fond of; technical diving.
Farrugia is affiliated with TDI and ISDA as recreational and more importantly as technical diving instructor. Currently working on making this his full time profession, Fritz is focusing on both OC and CCR in "standard" gear configuration as well as sidemount. He believes being up to date would enable him to offer his current and future clientele technical diving at the highest of standards. Fritz is currently located in the Mediterranean resort of Gozo, Malta, Europe.
Duncan Price took up SCUBA diving in 1981 and then started "dry" caving in 1983. Duncan combined the two actvities five years later and has been involved in many explorations in the UK, Europe and the USA including acting as a support diver during the establishment of a new British cave diving depth record at Wookey Hole Caves in 2005.
Duncan has co-authored a number of books about cave diving including the current Cave Diving Group training manual and the award winning “WOOKEY HOLE: 75 years of cave diving & exploration”. Duncan has just finished writing his memoirs, entitled "Underwater Potholer" which will be published towards the end of 2014. When Duncan is not underground he lives in Wells, Somerset and masquerades as a chemical engineer in the semiconductor industry.
Ben Reymenants’s passion for diving began in 1982. At the age of 18, he enrolled in a dive course with a local CMAS club and received the prestigious 1 star diver rating. At the age of 23, Ben was certified as an Extended Range Instructor and Trimix diver.
In order to further the physics and physiology aspect of his technical diving career, Ben walked a slightly different path for some time: he took up a volunteer position at his local recompression chamber in Phuket, learning the intricacies of decompression theory. He was flown to Mexico and Belize as a consultant in the trade before settling once again in Thailand as regional manager of the network, treating 300 cases of decompression sickness over 10 years. All the while the technical diving training continued.
Ben has been diving in Fiji, Bonaire, Egypt, Tenerife, Thailand, France, Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia and Scotland. He can teach all tech courses in 5 different languages. He is now a technical Diving instructor Trainer for PADI, SSI, TDI and IART for all levels and his highest level is IT for CCR Cave Level IV. Ben’s CCR expertise are the Megalodon, the Pathfinder and the Poseidon MKVI. He is also the owner of Blue Label Diving.
Originally from France, Denis Bourret lived in Bermuda for 12 years, where he started SCUBA diving. Denis moved to the Dominican Republic in order to pursue his passion for cave exploration. In 1999, Denis started the Golden Arrow Technical Diving Center in Santo Domingo. He is also the co-founder and President of the non-profit association Fundacion Espeleobuceo Hispaniola. Among their many projects, they have published the book Las Cuevas Sumergidas de Republica Dominicana.
Dennis became a SCUBA Diving Instructor in 1990, and a Full Cave Diver in 1994. He explored over 180 different cave systems. He is also a recompression chamber operator and attendant. In April 2008, Denis became the licensee for IANTD Caribe based at Golden Arrow. Beside the Dominican Republic, IANTD Caribe covers Aruba, Bermuda, Bonaire, the BVI, Curacao, Haiti and Jamaica. He is now an IANTD Instructor Trainer Trainer and a DAN Instructor Trainer.
Derek Covington was first SCUBA certified in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in 1997. And, it was love at first breath. He continued to dive once he moved to southern California, yet only started to enter the realm of technical diving in 2010 while living in Las Vegas and exploring the depths of Lake Mead. Once relocating to Florida, he advanced through open circuit technical diving with SDI and TDI. At the present time, he is an active instructor with SDI/TDI and a closed-circuit rebreather diver. He also provides medical support for aquatic expeditions and was one of two team physicians for Diana Nyad during her record breaking swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida.
When not underwater, Derek spends much of his time pursuing a career in anesthesiology and hyperbaric medicine. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California (USC) with a BA in Neuroscience and a minor in Business Administration in 2006. Afterwards, he completed his undergraduate medical education at the University of Nevada, School of Medicine (M.D. 2011, AOA). Currently, Derek resides in Miami, Florida and is a resident physician at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital in the Department of Anesthesiology.
Don has been involved in diving since 1974, conducting recreational and technical training. He is an Instructor Trainer Trainer for IANTD and DAN. He was an electronics engineer in the British Army for 22 years. The main reason he enlisted was because they offered adventure sports. Don began diving on "day one" and organised and led expeditions for the soldiers to many destinations around the world.
He was a member of the first Army sanctioned sport Trimix expedition in '96 and one of the first divers to see the sunken HMS Pheasant. His swan song expedition in the military was a 2 month diving exploration in the Falkland Island, diving totally remote sites on the furthest of the islands.
For the last 17 years technical diver training has been his full time occupation, he's been permanently located in South Africa, most of the training is done there, with some expeditions to more remote locations which you can only reach by 4 x 4 vehicles, and where you need to take everything, including gas, compressors, camping gear, food and more.
Some of his favourite sites are Boesmansgat Cave; a great back to earth experience in every sense of the word. Zimbabwe's Chinoya Caves, Namibia's Lake Otjikoto, Lake Guinas, Harasieb, Gamgarab, Dragon's Breath; and many more to explore, Antarctica's diving next to icebergs and the Mexican caves – where his wife André had to drag him back home. Then there are also the more familiar trips along the South African coastlines, Red Sea, Mauritius, Florida, etc...
Don's main diving passion is Closed Circuit Rebreathers and cave diving. His area of expertise is training all forms of technical diving. He currently resides at Komati Springs dive site next to a 186m cave system in a Big 5 Game Reserve in South Africa with André.
Onno Kok did an intro dive in Australia while travelling the east coast. Many more intro dives followed soon after that, until finally being able to start the Open Water course back home in the Netherlands. The diving virus caught him big time and many more course followed. Now he is IANTD Full Trimix rebreather diver and a MOD2 Inspiration Rebreather Instructor. He loves to dive on his Inspiration Vision rebreather and to visit as many wrecks as possible. In the last years he has visited wrecks in Ireland (Malin Head), Scotland, Croatia, Italy, Norway and many other countries.
Onno has a master degree in Information Science and works as a principle finance/IT consultant during office hours. In the evenings and weekend, he is a diving instructor, author for the Dutch diving magazine Duiken and loves other sports like running, mountain biking and squash.
Konstantinos Alexiou (Greece) started diving in 2006 with IANTD. In 2008, he moved to Denmark where he became a commercial diver.
Konstantinos has earned master's degree in Applied Mathematics and Marine Engineering. He is a Commercial Diving Instructor at the University of Southern Denmark. In addition, he works as a Dive Safety Officer in scientific diving projects related to Maritime Archaeology. In 2014, he qualified as a Diving First Aid Instructor approved by the Danish Maritime Authority.
His interests include diving medicine, decompression theory and modelling, and diving technology. In order to extend his knowledge in the fields of medicine and physiology, Konstantinos trained as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Captain Tom McCarthy is the Owner and Operator of East Coast Wreck Diving and the Long Island Dive Boat M/V Tempest, both of which are based in Freeport, New York. He is a technical diving instructor holding ratings up through Rebreather Trimix Instructor and dives units including the rEvo, SF2 and PRISM Topaz. Tom is an active Northeast Wreck Diver, Cave Diver and Underwater Photographer. He can be contacted at EastCoastWreckDiving.com.
Tom believes that an instructor intimately familiar with the local diving will lessen the learning curve for the student on certain things unique to the local environment. For instance, want to gain skill and confidence in free drifting decompression? Go do some live boat diving off South Florida.