Home » Featured » Amazing Weekend at the Dive-a-Thon for HSA-SA: Scuba Diving, Citizen Science and more

Amazing Weekend at the Dive-a-Thon for HSA-SA: Scuba Diving, Citizen Science and more

Green Bubbles RISE, H2020-MSCA-RISE-2014, is a project receiving funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 643712. This article reflects only the authors’ view. The Research Executive Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Serena Lucrezi (Green Bubbles RISE); Morne Christou (DAN Southern Africa)

Last weekend one of the best fundraising events yet mobilized divers of all ages and levels of experience. It was a 50-hour non-stop Dive-a-thon (Dive Marathon) for the Handicapped Scuba Association South Africa (http://www.hsasa.co.za/hsasa.html). The event, which took place at the Miracle Waters inland quarry, South Africa, was intended to raise money to help disabled divers participate in scuba diving courses and diving trips. The diving was organized with a relay system, whereby divers would get into the water and log an hour dive before giving way to other divers, with at least two people holding their position on one of the quarry grids at all times. There was no way that we were going to miss out on participating in such an amazing event!

The project on sustainable scuba diving Green Bubbles RISE (www.greenbubbles.eu) participated in the event by diving three slots during the Dive-a-thon, and by making use of the stand kindly provided by the Divers Alert Network Southern Africa (DANSA) to showcase information about the project, not without some marine life! While you may think that kids only get excited about dolphins, turtles, and other charismatic species of the marine world, think again! Sponges of the Indian Ocean reefs were the star of the day, with kids and adults alike observing them under the microscope, looking for small invertebrates and other particles in their crevices, and checking out other amazing critters on the Two Oceans Guide of Marine Life to Southern Africa.

DAN challenged the handicapped scuba diving community at the dive-a-thon event in a unique way. The reason was simple: to achieve greater understanding on diving conditions with the help and active participation of scuba divers themselves. Volunteers from Europe and America have been involved in collecting data according to scientifically and epidemiologically appropriate methodologies. Now it’s time that the South African divers also get the opportunity to participate in DAN research. Thus, the DAN Diving Safety Laboratory database is collecting and analysing hundreds of thousands of real dives, which allow investigation on a number of different aspects of diving safety. The DAN Diving Safety Laboratory (DSL) is a real mobile research laboratory, making all the necessary tools for field diving data gathering available. DSL offers various participation levels to allow volunteers to get involved in investigating dive safety.

I wanted the Sidemount to give its small contribution to the cause too. And the effort was totally worth it! Strapping on the two 10L cylinders I regularly use in the quarry, I met with the rest of the scuba diving group in the water, ready for the 11am slot on the last day, before the very last diving slot of 12 o’clock. They told me that the last group would be large, and that it would have taken just a little longer for it to get down to the grid. We descended at 11am as planned, and once on the grid, we immediately took off to do an amazing 12m dive. After a full hour of freshwater fun (yes, I love it!), back on the grid, we spent several minutes hanging and playing around at 5m, waiting for the others to get down. The Sidemount paid off when my buddies told me to be stationary on the grid, as they needed to ascend and I still had plenty of air. So, I became the ‘grid guard’ for enough time to allow people to comfortably ascend and descend, not without asking me and giving me the ‘OK’, until the last group was good and ready to conclude the marathon. When I came out of the water I thought “here is another good reason why to go Sidemount!” And the benefits just keep adding up… 😉

Serena Lucrezi - Morne Christou

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Lost your password?