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Is there a current Sheck Exley?

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by KidK9, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. Tortuga68

    Tortuga68 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera, Philippines
    He also did some pretty crazy things in his early days too...

    But I tend to agree with the earlier poster that said it's going to be very difficult for there to be another Sheck because of the adavncements (many of which driven by Sheck himself) made since his time
  2. ucfdiver

    ucfdiver DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Orlando, FL
    Chasing EOL has gotten a lot more difficult these days. You're just not going to have easy cave, it's either small, very deep, or low viz (sometimes a combination of the three). Sheck took years to develop what we consider an easy training dive these days. Bill R was telling me this weekend how surprised Sheck was when he found out that Bill took his apprentice students on the crossover circuit in Peacock. The grand traverse was a big enough dive to warrant an article written about it, and now is one of the first dives people do out of full cave class (or some, in class). Lamar Hires and Jerry (?) swam to a record 4000ft in Ginnie, which is now a dive you can do with less than 15min of deco.

    For instance-- you can get beyond Sheck's Manatee push with a couple of stages and 2 scooters in a single morning and finish the dive not terribly exhausted, but to swim that and set it all up, was HUGE, something that I bet no one has ever done again (nor will anyone). Technology changes our perspective. There hopefully wont ever be another Sheck Exley, although there are several explorers. People are just more quiet about it these days, typically GPS coordinates to sites are given with a firm gag order.
  3. karstdvr

    karstdvr Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: South GA
    Peacock 1 to Olsen used to be a big dive and considered technical.
  4. stairman

    stairman Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: florida
    Don Hendley?:idk:
  5. diverbob

    diverbob Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Imperial MO
    John Orlowski pointed that out quite a few times in my cave class.

    I havent been doing this long enough to have a very valid opinion on the subject. I do think with the advancement of technologies, it makes dives that were very advanced back then, more within reach now, but also makes what was impossible before closer to a possibility now. I found this quote from Sheck today, which I think fits in good with this thread.

    “Every field of human endeavor from Tidily Winks to space exploration has its champions and its marks for human endurance and achievement. Without them there would be little or no human progress for we would have nothing to measure our efforts by or encourage us to try harder. It is difficult to imagine any aspect of our lives that is not enhanced by competition, the drive to excel and the recognition of excellence.”

    Sheck Exley
  6. Moonglow

    Moonglow Barracuda

    # of Dives:
    Location: San Antonio, Texas
    ABC Online - The Border Watch

    March 2, 2011

    Melbourne -- The body of a world-renowned cave diver has been recovered from the underwater channels where she was trapped.

    Agnes Milowka, 29, ran out of air after becoming separated from her diving companion on Sunday in the eight-kilometre-long channel system of Tank Cave near Mt Gambier, in South Australia's southeast.

    Divers recovered the body of the Melbourne diver on Wednesday in what is considered the most complex recovery exercise from a cave system in the history of Australian cave diving.

    Police will prepare a report for the coroner in relation to the death of the 29-year-old after her body was recovered around 4pm. Limestone Coast Superintendant Trevor Twilley thanked divers for their effort in the recovery task.

    A South East cave diver who has been involved in recovery operations in Australia and the US — and who asked for his name to be withheld — told The Border Watch that the last challenging recoveries of the bodies of cave divers were performed in the 1970s.

    “Those recovery exercises were mostly from open sinkholes or caves that are more easily accessible,” he said.

    “The recovery of Agnes’ body is the most complex one to be performed in the history of Australian cave diving because of … the spiderweb of tunnels in the cave.”

    Since Ms Milowka was reported missing while diving with a partner in Tank Cave on Sunday, highly experienced cave divers from the Cave Divers Association of Australia had used crow bars, water scooters and saws to clear a safe route to bring her body to the surface.

    Her body was found in a very narrow “tight spot” in the cave system and it appeared that she attempted to find her way out before she ran out of air.

    Supt Twilley said at the cave site on Wednesday morning, prior to completion of the recovery effort, the team of eight divers were making slow progress in recovering her body.

    “(Wednesday morning) it took divers 32 minutes to get from the entrance to the location of the body, while before it took them much longer,” he said.

    “Although they are quicker to reach the location where Agnes’ body is, visibility and the location are a problem — she’s in a small chamber with jagged edges and solid rock and divers are chiseling the rock and using saws.

    “A diver can spend only 12 minutes down there and then has to return and wait for about three hours for the sediment to settle before they can return.”

    Supt Twilley said it was planned that at least three divers would bring Agnes’ body to the surface.

    “One diver will be in front with a light, another one behind him, then Agnes’ body and then one behind them,” he said.

    “Alternative routes have also been worked out so that the person behind Agnes can get out, in case something happens.”

    Supt Twilley said police divers — who are restricted by regulations in performing such a recovery — would be called in shortly before the body was brought to the surface.

    It is understood that Ms Milowka swam away from her diving buddy to explore a channel in the cave system where there were no guide ropes, which are in the cave system on a permanent basis for divers to use.

    According to Supt Twilley, Ms Milowka — like most cave divers — was known for getting a thrill out of exploring parts of caves that have never been explored before.

    “That is what cave divers do when they go diving — they explore undiscovered parts of caves and if they didn’t do it, no one would have known that the channels in Tank Cave go for 7km,” he said.

    “This is just a very unfortunate thing that happened to someone so young and so well respected in the Australian cave diving fraternity.”

    Ms Milowka’s traumatised parents arrived at the scene on Sunday, where they remained until Tuesday before they returned to Melbourne.
    “For personal reasons they did not want to be here at the final moment,” Supt Twilley said.

    A spokesperson for the cave divers association said an investigation into safety procedures would be undertaken.

    He said it had been an extremely emotional period for divers, who were glad the recovery process had been completed.
  7. DeepSeaDan

    DeepSeaDan Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Ontario, Canada
    As a former commercial deepsea oilfield diver, I have to wonder if Mr. Exley & others of his ilk ever tapped into the vast reservoir of knowledge & experience of the military / commercial deep diving establishments. The depths he was attempting ( & far beyond, in fact ) were reached many years before, and considerable work was performed. Does anyone know if such attempts were made? Even if they were, I fear those establishments might not share their data, citing it as propriatary information, or, in the case of the military - classified material.

    To my knowledge, HPNS came to light in the late 70's/early 80's, as an aspect of extremely deep commercial diving ventures ( beyond 1500 fsw ), and was then studied as part of the hyperbaric research into extending man's deep diving capabilities beyond 2000 fsw. I seem to recall that in the ultra-deep saturation environment, HPNS became an intractable problem, despite extremely slow rates of compression. At those depths, helium density was becoming problematic, and various exotic mixes were experimented with in an attempt to overcome the debillitating effects of HPNS. It is my understanding that this & other issues effectively ended the quest for breathing gases useable beyond 2200 fsw, and efforts to push back the depth threshold for humans was abandonded in favour of the development of autonomous u/w vehicles.

    When I read of Mr. Shaw's demise, I again wondered if he had ever sought the advice of the bell bounce / saturation diving community. Having been saturated to a depth of 730 fsw myself, I know something of the extreme fatigue associated with great depth. I would have suggested to him that rather than trying to "bag" the remains of the deceased diver ( something I would deem to be considerable "work" at such depth, particularly when using a rebreather ), he simply snap a clip to the deceased diver's kit, that was attatched to a haul-line to surface. I suspect he may have rejected such a plan as there would be a risk that not all of the remains would make it to surface. Still, it would have significantly reduced effort & time at depth, making the attempt much safer for him.

    While not something that compels me personally, I can understand the needs of others to explore & push the boundaries - in this case, the limits of self-contained diving. For all those that follow Mr. Exley, I hope they access every scrap of available knowledge to not only achieve their goals, but to survive to dive another day.

    Belmont likes this.

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