Sunday, 11 December 2016


What is EUROTEK?

Founded by Leigh Bishop and the late Carl Spencer after visiting OZTek in 2006, the idea for a similar event in Europe was created and launched in 2008 with the aid of Rosemary E Lunn (Roz).

Having just finished its fifth event, EUROTEK has gone from strength to strength, with 40 talks by 30 speakers, with any 4 talks running simultaneously.  The hardest decision was which ones to attend. 

The official list of talks including a summary of the talk and a link to the speakers’ bio can be found here.  The direct link to all the speakers’ bios can be found here. 

There was also over 40 exhibiters located within the entrance, the exhibitor hall and upstairs.  Companies including, but not limited to, AP Diving, Apeks, Otter Drysuits (2010 EUROTEK special award for outstanding contribution to the Industry), Santi, rEvo Rebreathers, Fourth Element (2012 EUROTEK award for outstanding contribution to the diving industry), Light Monkey, TEKCamp, IANTD (UK), CDG, SF2 CCR, Kent Tooling, Suex, Santi clothing, CCR Liberty, Protus CCR, Max Show (Miflex Hoses and Kubi dry gloves), Sea and Sea (including SDI/TDI), Human Factors Academy, GUE, Hugyfot, Divetech, Bonex, X-Ray Magazine, Ratio Computers, Dive Rite, Underworld Tulum, BSAC, IANTD and VMS which showcased new products without the hard sell.
Finally, there’s the awards and gala dinner, but more of that later.

Day One
Having attended in 2012 but missed 2014 due to working overseas, I knew EUROTEK 2016 wasn’t to be missed. Following the cave arrows, I arrived early to catch up with old friends, look and some of the exhibitors before the talks and collect my delegate bag.

The Zodiac System by Cristina Zenato
”The most dangerous cave Rob Palmer attempted to explore”. How was the Zodiac Connection made?
On this talk Christina discussed and beautifully illustrated with pictures, her exploration of the Zodiac System in Grand Bahama Island.  After an epic drive, boat and hike, usually solo, and always with sidemount (sometimes helmet and cylinders removed), she’s carrying on the work started by Rob Palmer joining 2 cave systems.  Surprisingly, upon completion she said, it was an anti-climax as there was no-one to celebrate with or take pictures.  As a tribute, her new lines are laid parallel to Rob’s.

At the gala dinner later that evening, Christina was awarded the EUROTEK 2016 Diver of the Conference Award.

Britannic 2016 Expedition by Leigh Bishop and Richie Kohler
Sunk one century ago in 1916, the iconic wreck meets modern technology.
This was an amazing presentation, and probably not scripted, but Leigh & Richie bounced off each other the whole time providing a humorous, enlightening, and tragic tale to Titanic’s sister ship which sank 100 years ago this year.

The talk started with the history of the ship and the origins of diving with Jacques Cousteau up to the present day.  There was a brief moment of Carl Spencer's last dive followed by a number of pictures taken by Leigh, from bow to stern.  Richie did a plug of his book and then followed video of the expedition, both in-water diver footage, and submersible footage of the divers.  The so called ‘million dollar’ dive.  Finally, Edoardo Pavia, TEKCamp 2016 guest diver, and an individual who has dived the Britannic on 5 separate expeditions was invited on stage and a preview of the trailer of the movie was played. 

Footage from the 2016 expedition shot and edited together by team member and 2014 Eurotek speaker Mike Barnette can be found here.  Alternatively, a BBC documentary “Titanic's Tragic Twin: The Britannic Disaster” can be found on the BBC iPlayer here. 

Diving Incident Investigation by Gavin Anthony
What do you need to know following a fatal diving incident?
Gavin started his presentation by explaining that everything here ‘should’ be common sense, however ‘shit happens’!  He then explained this presentation wasn’t covering incident management however reminded the audience of preserving life, getting assistance, and evacuation.  But what about the equipment?  What considerations should we consider?  It can be used to support life and assist in buoyancy firstly.  He then covered a number of areas:
· Use correct lifting handles to avoid further damage.
· Remember to ditch weight.
· Forensic principles:
1. Preservation. Don't lose or change. Preserve original state as long as possible.
2. Contamination. Including avoid connect to unknown system, ie. Attaching a new cylinder to see if worked.
3. Continuity. Chain of evidence. Who has been in possession/contact?
4. Consistency. Don't dismantle.
· Don't endanger yourself. Handle as little as possible.
· Guide 'local bobby' on equipment handling.
· Take photos.
· Record anything you feel is relevant including null findings.
· Once cylinder pressure recorded/photo close valve & note how many turns (preserve gas).
· Retain unused cylinders from same source.
· CCR. Close mouthpiece to preserve gas in loop & prevent contamination.
· Computer. Don't store wet.
· Dry suit. Wet or dry?
This was then followed by behind the scenes of what happens next and examples of visual inspections.  A very informative presentation.

At the gala dinner later that evening, Gavin was awarded the EUROTEK 2016 Outstanding Contribution to the Diving Industry Award.

During lunch there didn’t seem to be as much time to chat and visit stands as previous years but I was able to walk around and chat to friends and colleagues.  I did spend some time at the Apeks stand looking at the new MTX-R regulators.  They do look cool, although the matt black military version as sexy as………
Romania's Hidden Caves by Sami Paakkarinen
Leading European cave explorer reveals some secrets and hidden caves of Romania.
A funny and entertaining talk by Sami who explained how by combining dry and wet caving he’s hoping to join 2 systems together.  WARNING; don’t bring the children (explicit language).

Removing CO2 From Your Loop by Simon Mitchell and Nick Gant
Not all sorb is the same.  How does solid Extendair measure up against granular Sofnolime 797?
The first of 2 excellent talks presented by Simon and Nick.  Their aim at EUROTEK was to present 4 separate studies, 2 of which would be done today; Spherasorb v Sofnolime 797 and Granular Sofnolime 797 v ExtendAir Pre-packed Cartridges.  In his typical dry, funny, but serious style, Simon, with the assistance of Nick, presented their results.  Immediately they stated that the studies were not designed to test scrubber duration.  The results were laboratory based and did not reflect actual diving.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves however in simple terms:
1. 32% less duration in Spherasorb compared to Sofnolime 797.
2. 14% londer duration with ExtendAir compared to Sofnolime 797.
3. No difference in WOB.

This was definitely the most interesting and thought provoking presentation of the day.

Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony
This was the chance for everyone to get suited and booted and show themselves off.  Sat on the TDI table with my wife and a number of other TDI instructors we witnessed more banter between Leigh and Richie as well as some antics from GUE before eating and drinking in to the early hours. 


Not forgetting the awards and the amazing prize draw which thousands of pounds worth of prizes such as a Shearwater Perdix, an AP Diving CCR, a Suex DPV and a trip for 2 to Truk Lagoon with Lust for Rust.  The money raised from the prize draw will help fund future research which will be presented back at future EUROTEKs.

Day Two
The morning after the night before….

Documenting Bermuda’s reefs by Graham Blackmore
CCR & submersibles used for a GUE Project Baseline science project between 100 & 300m.
Graham explained how, with the use of 1000ft/300m rated $2400000 submersibles and a research vessel plus crew (at $60000 per day) were able to survey and document underwater reefs to create a ‘baseline’ so that future generations are able to monitor reef activity.  Costs aside, it was a very interesting talk showing how various agencies such as GUE and Nekton are working with Vrtul and Google to use technology to carry out the research.  32 GoPro’s in a ball to create 3D images anyone!

3D Photogrammetry by Kari Hyttinen
What is it?  What do you need to know to do it?  And when do you use it?  Secrets revealed!
This was a talk that really interested me as I had recently tried photo stitching for a project but had failed.  Karl started talking about his history, background and his early trials.

So what equipment do you need?  A camera, lights, computer, software, time and patience.  Stills or video? Stills create a better images as they’re a higher resolution but it takes longer to process.

He then covered examples of projects; wrecks, and amphora both above and below the water and how we can go diving with a purpose linking into the recent HMS Hampshire project last year followed by some very impressive cave and mine fly throughs.  Lastly he included examples where some of the models had moved from a 3D wire diagram to a 3D print.  Very interesting stuff.

Film Screening Diving Into The Unknown
Plura cave: Unconditional friendship and a life threatening mission.  Finnish divers conduct clandestine body recoveries.
Documentary movie premier screening introduced by Sami Paakkarinen.  Running time 82mins with English Subtitles

Words cannot explain this film.  It is a must watch for any diver.  Gripping, thought provoking, a true story of friendship and unity.

Sami intro’d the film and said thank you for the applause but it’s not his film.  As a standalone film he does admit that it is good, but he finds it hard for him to watch.  At the end of the film there was a standing ovation and not a single question was asked.

At the gala dinner the previous evening, writer/director Juan Reina was awarded the EUROTEK 2016 Media Award.

For more information, the film trailer can be found here and the film’s website is here. 

Decompression Induced Bubbles by Neal Pollock
The known and unknown implications of bubbles when it comes to DCI.
Similar to Kieran’s talk yesterday, I think the organisers under estimated the size of the room required for this presentation as the room was packed.  It’s hard for me to explain in detail Neal’s talk, but if you are interested in further knowledge, a similar talk he presented from the BSAC Diving Conference 2016 is here.  In summary however:
· Bubbles do not always not equal problem.
· VGE doesn't equal DCS.
· Treatment doesn't treat bubbles, it treats symptoms
· "I am very pro dive computers but I'm not pro believing them "
· He showed example doppler & ultrasound tests.
· He asked questions on gradient factors.  40/70 is Neils own computer settings.
· He believes in the future there should be base layers with sensors which can live feed to computer & adjust settings as required.
· Male v female. Is there a difference?  Yes, but males tend to make dumb decisions. Women never go "hey watch this....".

Intelligent Scrubbing by Simon Mitchell and Nick Gant
What happens when you dive sorb, store it and then dive it again?  How soon do you get CO2 breakthrough?
Linking back to yesterday’s talk, Simon and Nick presented the final 2 studies; How should a partial scrubber canister be stored? And different sorb monitor comparisons.  Like yesterday, the room was full.  Again I will let the pictures speak for themselves however in simple terms:
1. Open v sealed. Over 28 days sealed = extra 40 minutes duration.
2. Open v sealed. Overnight = no apparent loss.
3. AP Temp Stick, AP CO2 Monitors and rEvo Temp Stick all work.
As usual, either the conference is too short or there’s too much on.  Neither is a bad thing.  I saw some amazing presentations and there were others that I wished I could have seen such as Dive Pro Physical Fitness by Neal Pollock, Underwater Potholer by Duncan Price, The Life And Death Of Oxygen Sensors by John Lamb, The Deepest Ever! By Ahmed Gbar, Expedition Diver Medic by Mark Alexander.

There was also plenty of equipment to look at, and some of it was showcased here before anywhere else in the world. 

If you’re interested in EUROTEK 2018 the dates aren’t yet released however you can be one of the first to know by liking the EUROTEK Facebook page here.   

The boring bit!
All opinions expressed in my articles are my own and may differ to other instructor’s and agency guidelines; by no means are they wrong and I would not wish to disrepute any of them.  This article is for information only and should not replace proper training.

Safe diving!

Timothy Gort
BSAC, PADI & SDI/TDI diver training
l Mob: 07968148261 l Email: l

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