by Vikki Batten
After a 30 + hour journey from Sydney and only 18 hours at home (unpack, shopping, repack, brief sleep) I was back in airport again. Exhausted and jetlagged I nearly lost it with the security staff at Heathrow Terminal 5 when they announced that the plastic bag containing my liquids, which had travelled with me through 11 airports already, was “not regulation size”. I stayed calm and professional , took a VERY deep breath and repacked my liquids with (eventually) Krypton Factor-like precision to squeeze them all into the new shape bag!
By the time I reach Grand Cayman I was so zonked it wasn’t just that I didn’t know where I was or what time zone I was in, I was struggling to remember who I was and what I was there to do! The mini bus driver gave me a running commentary on Grand Cayman during the half hour drive to the hotel. I’m sure it was very interesting, but after the first few minutes I just stared into space and tried to look like I wasn’t asleep.
At the hotel I received a warm welcome from Ari, the owner, and found some of my colleagues waiting to help with bags etc. Georgia, a fellow PADI consultant and Mike Fowler from Silent Diving Systems had arrived earlier but kindly waited for me to arrive before eating dinner. Sitting in an outdoor restaurant, with a balmy evening breeze, overlooking the sea, eating a scrumptious meal – much more like it.
The following day Georgia, Mike and I spent the day assembling and testing rebreathers before the production team arrived. I also got to meet Nancy Easterbrook, the owner of Divetech where we were based and a recent addition to the coveted “Women’s Hall of Fame”. By evening the rest of the gang had arrived and not only had we covered the place in rebreathers, but we added just as much again in camera equipment!
On Friday it was down to business and we had a great day shooting video from both shore and a boat. The advantage of rebreathers showing itself in our ability to spend a couple of hours in the water at a time and really crack on with the shots we needed. Saturday was a “stills” day and we loaded up with bailout cylinders to shoot Tec 60 and 100 CCR shots.
That’s when our luck ran out! By Sunday the weather was very rough and there was no diving from the northern shore. The Divetech organizational machine slipped into a higher gear and before we knew it they had us loaded onto a truck and boat diving from a sheltered bay. The weather continued in the same vein all week, making logistics tougher and days longer but there were no Hollywood style tantrums (we’re divers after all) and we plugged on. After 8 days shooting it was all over and we started to pack up to go home. My flight was a little later than the rest of the group so I managed an hour sunbathing and relaxing with a pina colada before flying home.
Arriving home after 6 weeks travelling is always a double edged sword; I was very grateful to be home and looking forward to a few days off, but already missing the excitement and adventure. Then I looked in my calendar and realized – hey it’s only a few weeks until Rebreather forum 3.0 – yippee!
Vikki will be at Rebreather Forum 3.0 (May 18-20th www.rf30.org) If you are going I’d love to meet/catch up with you. I’m happy to help with questions about TecRec programs or have a chat about TecRec and your business, so why not drop me a line at Vikki.Batten@padi.com