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Local researchers gain technical diving certifications

Tuesday 15 March 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Local, National

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Local researchers gain technical diving certifications
The Decompression Procedures course trains experienced scuba divers to plan and safely conduct staged decompression dives. From left, Jess Cramp, Bermy Ariihee, Patrick Jaletzky (instructor), Fiona Pearson, Kirby Morejohn. JESS CRAMP/22031409

Four local scientific divers and dive instructors earlier this month completed their Technical Diving International (TDI) Decompression Procedures course conducted by Adventure Cook Islands.

The Decompression Procedures course trains experienced scuba divers to plan and safely conduct staged decompression dives, Adventure Cook Islands said in a statement.

During the course divers learn the equipment requirements and set up as well as dive planning and decompression techniques.

Technical Diving International (TDI) is one of the oldest, largest and most respected technical diver training organisations in the world and has been on the forefront of tech diver training since 1993.

Course students were Kirby Morejohn, Fiona Pearson and Bermy Ariihee from the Ministry of Marine Resources as well as shark researcher Jessica Cramp from Sharks Pacific.

Ministry of Marine Resource’s Kirby Morejohn during the dive course. Photo: Kirby Morejohn/22031410

The four participants are all experienced scuba divers and hold PADI instructor or divemaster ratings. The course was conducted by Adventure Cook Islands’ TDI course instructor Patrick Jaletzky.

“Our coral reefs are stunning and lots of people enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving and freediving in Rarotonga. However, the real gems of our reefs lie beyond the reach of most recreational divers,” Jaletzky said.

“Rarotonga’s deep coral reefs are home to some of the rarest tropical reef fish in the world.”

In addition, massive sea fans, brightly coloured soft corals and vast rose coral fields similar to those recently discovered in French Polynesia inhabit Rarotonga’s deep drop-offs, and hardly anyone in the world knows about it, he adds.

Ministry of Marine Resource staff during dive course. Photo: Kirby Morejohn/22031412

“Exploring these deeper areas of Rarotonga’s reef is very exciting as you never know what you may find. Furthermore, knowing our local research divers can use their new dive skills to study and protect our unique deeper reefs makes the training extremely rewarding.”

Even though diving trips and recreational diver training through PADI, SSI and SDI is Adventure Cook Islands’ main business, divers have shown increased interest in their range of technical open circuit diving courses like the TDI Deco Procedures course or SSI Extended Range courses.
Adventure Cook Islands also offer an extensive range of closed circuit rebreather (CCR) training for experienced divers, including rebreather discovery dives for those who just want to try it out.

Diving with a rebreather is a whole new experience for any scuba diver. Rebreathers are silent as there are no bubbles on exhalation. This allows the rebreather diver to get much closer to marine life without disturbing it. The rebreather diver does not exhale into the water. Instead, the rebreather recycles the remaining oxygen in a divers exhalation, allowing the diver to stay down much longer than with traditional scuba gear, while using only a fraction of the gas. 

Rarotonga’s deep coral reefs are home to some of the rarest tropical reef fish in the world. Photo: Kirby Morejohn/22031413

Modern electronic CCR’s control the partial pressure of oxygen that the diver inhales and provides the optimum gas mix at any depth. Because of this, the diver decompresses much faster compared to traditional open circuit scuba, making it a great tool for deep dives.

“A CCR is basically a Nitrox mixing machine strapped to your back. Furthermore, you can add helium to the gas mix, allowing you to go deeper without feeling the narcotic effects of nitrogen narcosis at depth,” Jaletzky said.

For more information, visit Adventure Cook Islands in Aroa or their visit website at www.adventurecookislands.com or give them a call on 22212.

The elusive peppermint angelfish. Photo: Patrick Jaletzky/22031414