The first PADI course on the Hollis Explorer Sport Rebreather was recently held in northern Florida. In attendance was John Conway, Rebreather Training Director for Hollis, Georgia Hausserman, PADI Technical Diving Division and Rebreather Advisory Team member, Kelly Rockwood, PADI Technical Diving Division member and Training Consultant, Steve Olfe, PADI Course Director and Dive Center owner and Mischa Hausserman, PADI IDC Staff Instructor.
The first day of the course was spent learning the technology behind the electronic control of the semi-closed rebreather, assembly and predive procedures as well as maintenance of the components. The next two days were spent in the water, where the units performed flawlessly while they and the divers were put through their paces.
The design of the Explorer appeals to the recreational diver because of its ease of use, integrated jacket-style BCD, back mounted counterlungs and use of EANx. The electronics guide the diver through the startup procedure with prompts to evacuate the loop, turn on the supply gas and prebreathe. The Explorer senses the negative loop test, analyzes the gas and performs a positive loop test. Setting up the rebreather and getting it ready to dive takes no more than about 10 – 15 minutes.
Diving the Explorer has the ease of diving an open circuit nitrox system with all the benefits and the feel of diving a closed circuit rebreather. The wrist-mounted computer displays current depth, elapsed dive time and remaining dive time based on the controlling resource (NDL, gas supply, filter time). For the more advanced rebreather diver, additional dive information including PO2 may be displayed with the push of a button.
Based on the planned dive the diver can select before or during the dive, whether they prefer a longer NDL but higher gas use or shorter NDL and less gas usage by adjusting the Dive Control Parameter (DCP). The electronics maintain a computer selected PO2 based on the depth, the percentage of oxygen in the supply gas(O2 must be between 32% and 40%) and the DCP setting selected by the user. Its as simple as using a single gas nitrox computer.
The Hollis Explorer is a Type R Rebreather and is on PADI’s Register of Rebreather Units. PADI Americas has Explorer Diver Courses scheduled in several US locations beginning in April. Times and locations are listed on the PADI Pros’ Site. PADI EMEA and Asia Pacific regions will announce course dates and locations soon.