When I first started scuba diving in 2007, I never imagined that 12 years later I’d be looking at dipping my toes into tech diving. But there comes a time in every diver’s life where they reach a scuba plateau and need to decide what’s the next for their life underwater.
As recreational cold water divers, my husband Joey and I have gradually worked our way from Open Water water rookies to seasoned Divemasters. We are passionate about scuba diving and are constantly looking to further our knowledge and challenge our skills. So when the annual Bonaire TeK week happened to coincide with our extended stay on the island, we made sure to be the first in line to participate, as much as a non-tech diver can.
Bonaire TEK is an annual October occurrence, where Buddy Dive Resort partners with leaders in the tech diving industry for a week of technical dive demonstrations, equipment trials, presentations, training ins and outs, and camaraderie. In a nutshell, it’s a whole lot of expertise and dive knowledge on one small island.
This year, the event ran from October 5th to October 11th, 2019 and was a huge success. Tech divers from all over the world had the opportunity to explore, learn, laugh and dive in one of the best shore diving locations in the world.
One of our biggest draws to Bonaire TeK week was for the equipment demos.
Hang around the diving industry long enough and sooner or later you’ll meet a tech diver decked out in gear. And when you do, it’s hard not to have your interest sparked by some of their robotic contraptions.
At Bonaire TeK week, there were several equipment manufacturers offering tech gear tryouts. These one-on-one 30-minute sessions allowed participants to learn and try out Re-breathers, Sidemount style diving and Dive Propulsion Vehicles (DPV’s).
It was a phenomenal opportunity for Joey and me to gear up and see if technical diving might be the next step in our scuba education.
Having no tech background, we both really enjoyed the Sidemount and DPV sessions, whereas the Re-breather was significantly more complex and out of our element. I can definitely see a Sidemount course in the near future.
On top of the Sidemount, DPV and Re-breather equipment trials, some of the other daily activities of TeK week included courses, training, workshops and diving with pros. While it would have been highly educational to listen in on some of the courses and training, this part was reserved for technical and not recreational divers.
TeK week also had the classic Windjammer dive which occurred on both Thursday and Friday morning.
The Windjammer is a wreck that sits in roughly 55 meters (180 feet) of water and is therefore restricted to technical divers. Divers are only allowed to visit the wreck if they have registered in advance, provided the correct paperwork and have an accompanying guide. Because we are not technical divers we sadly had to sit this one out.
After a long day of fun in the sun (or in this case underwater), each evening included one or two presentations.
From “Women Issues on Technical Diving” to “Maritime Archeology on Bonaire”, Buddy Dive had a line up of interesting experts ready to share their knowledge throughout the entire TeK week. It was a nice way for divers to unwind and relax in an educational setting.
As I’m sure many of you can attest, we are suckers for all things diving and when the opportunity arose to lightly participate in a technical diving event we were all in.
From trying the latest equipment on the market to the evening presentations which included a DAN doctor speaking about health and safety dive concerns for a female when diving, we thoroughly enjoyed our small glimpse into the world of technical diving.
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