In March 2016, Tekdeep were joined by blind diver Graham Owen on the specialist technical liveaboard vessel, MV Legends, in the Egyptian Red Sea. During what was planned as a dive to the 100m Gulf Fleet 31 at Sha’ab Ruhr Umm Gamar, Graham and his buddy missed the wreck and this resulted in his world record for the ‘Deepest Saltwater Dive for a Blind Diver’ at 105m.
Fast forward to 2017 and Graham made the decision to head back out to the Red Sea and better this record by diving The Crack at Sha’ab Ruhr Umm Gamar. The plan was to not only break his existing record, but to also raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind and assist in the training of a Seeing Eye Dog. The Crack is a crevasse between two continental plates where you can actually touch the rock face on each side at the same time. At the time this crevasse was discovered, it descended to a depth of 165m, but over time it has filled up with sand and now has a maximum depth of 135m.
This second world record attempt was to also be undertaken on MV Legends, with Simon Taylor-Watson from Tekdeep leading the dive, ably assisted by Alby Roberts and Stephen Arnold as safety divers.
On the morning of the dive, a full pre-dive briefing was conducted with all team members becoming aware of the dive plan and their role in it, and once completed, everyone kitted up and dropped into the water. Once in the water, pre-dive checks were completed, and Graham was to follow a strobe attached to Simon’s rEvo rebreather. Graham is able to distinguish light and dark, so although this was not particularly good in the shallower depths, it was to be essential as they dropped into The Crack.
The first part of the dive is a descent to a plateau at 20m, followed by a steady drop down the reef to 75m, where the seabed gently falls away to 90m. Continuing along the seabed at 90m you arrive at the first part of The Crack, and Simon, Graham and Alby dropped down to a depth of 111m and completed a congratulatory handshake. At this point, an audible ‘pop’ could be heard, but all equipment was functioning correctly, so the team began the ascent and decompression stops before finally getting back on board MV Legends and consuming a hearty lunch. Upon inspecting the equipment, it transpired that the loud sound heard at 111m was a torch imploding due to the pressure. Total dive time was two hours and 20 minutes, and the divers were on a rEvo rebreather, AP Inspiration and a JJ-CCR.
Congratulations to Graham from the whole Tekdeep and MV Legends team, and we look forward to exploring the silent world of the Red Sea again very soon!
From the man himself
Graham said: “My guide dog Gypsy makes my life possible. With her at my side, I have the freedom and independence to do the things I want to do – including my biggest passion, diving.
“When I lost my sight and couldn't do some of the adrenaline-pumping hobbies I once could, I decided to start deep water diving. I became hooked, joined the White Rose Dolphins diving club and now dive most weekends.
“I decided to combine the two and raise funds for Guide Dogs for the Blind to help train more of these life-changing animals by attempting to break the world record for the deepest saltwater dive achieved by a blind person.
“The record stood at 105m (set by me), but I wanted to go deeper! And I am pleased to say that I did it!”
To donate to Graham’s worthy cause, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Graham-Owen
Tekdeep is a leading technical diver training provider with facilities in the Red Sea, UK and Asia. A course with Tekdeep is about more than gaining a certification. Our aim is to not simply teach the basics of the course you are undertaking, but to ensure you have a full understanding of the skills, the equipment, the diving physiology and that you leave with a greater appreciation for all aspects of technical diving.
About MV Legends
MV Legends brings a very different kind of scuba diving experience to the Red Sea. Providing full support for technical diving and rebreather diving, there is no other dedicated daily or safari boat entirely focused on the needs of technical divers. Everything about MV Legends has been designed with the technical diver in mind. You will find a lot of safari boats and daily diving boats in the Red Sea which claim to be ‘rebreather friendly’, but this does not always mean that they are equipped to fully support rebreather divers. MV Legends is totally prepared to do just that.