March 2018 – London Diving Chamber Lectures

Report on the London Diving Chamber lectures, March 2018, in aid of Scuba Trust Report by Charlie Taylor

This prestigious event, held at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington, is in its 19th year, and is a much needed fundraiser for the Scuba Trust, a non-profit charity created to promote scuba diving for those with disabilities.  Derek and I were the sole representatives of BUDC and, in an audience of 500 strong, we enjoyed an evening of escapism, adventure and education.

First up was Ahmed Gabr, a 42 year old Egyptian scuba diver who holds the Guinness world record for the deepest scuba dive. He has dived to an awe-inspiring depth of 332.35 metres. He is an ex-Egyptian army officer who earned a scholarship to attend the US Army Combat Diver course; he is now the only certified US Combat Diver in the Middle East.

The actual duration of this dive was 13 hours 50 minutes. He reached his maximum depth in just 14 minutes – that was when he reached the 335m marker. But due to currents that moved the rope, the judges decided to scratch 2.65m off his limit. Ascending from such a depth took 13 hours 36 minutes; the last 27m alone took him 7 hours to reach the surface.

It was a fascinating story that had many people shaking their heads in disbelief. According to Ahmed, the record-breaking enterprise cost around 60.000 euros.

 

The second speaker was Didier Noirot. He is an Emmy Award winning videographer and was Jacques Cousteau’s right-hand man for many years. He had a fine sense of humour and had a fund of stories about his dealings with the great man himself.

Since then, Didier has taken part in many famed archaeological documentaries, including the Blue Planet series. He has also co-directed documentaries and participated in many other expeditions since – perhaps one of the most famous being the Oceans movie by Jacques Perrin. We were treated to several extracts from films he has made, including clips from Blue Planet 2.

After many expeditions to both poles and, seemingly, everywhere else in between, Didier remains an active explorer and underwater film artist. He is currently working on a series about some of the most majestic creatures of the oceans – whales. Be sure to look out for Ocean Giants.

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