Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands – “It’s like a big family reunion,” says Divetech owner Nancy Easterbrook of the 10th annual Inner Space, the world’s largest Rebreather event held in Grand Cayman May 24 – June 1, 2013. Divers from as far away as South Africa, Australia, the US and the UK, gathered in Grand Cayman to happily immerse themselves for a week in the silent diving culture they are all passionate about. Divetech staff warmly welcomed more than 70 enthusiasts to Cobalt Coast Dive Resort, many of them returning guests. Inner Space attracts big names in the dive business and the week’s events include lectures and presentations on safety, research and new technologies; equipment tryouts and demonstrations and social events.
Easterbrook organized the first Inner Space in 2004, and it attracted 19 divers interested in learning more and moving the industry forward. “I wanted to bring everyone together to share what’s happening with rebreathers because the technology is constantly changing and getting better,” she said. “Inner Space is about sharing information, meeting like minded divers and keeping up with the changes in the industry.”
Rebreathers efficiently replenish oxygen and recycle exhaled breaths, so no bubbles are released, making them silent. With no bubbles to scare them off, divers and underwater photographers experience better interaction with marine life. Rebreather technology also allows divers to go deeper and stay underwater longer.
“I have always had a great time at Inner Space, the diving is always amazing,” said Peter Sotis of Add Helium, who attended his 8th Inner Space. “The most enjoyable factor of this event is the camaraderie among everyone that attends. The collection of experienced divers to manufacturer’s experts creates this fun, educational environment that is hard to find.”
“I think the camaraderie in the rebreather community comes about because we are still relatively few in numbers, I imagine we are probably less than 1% of the diving population, but becoming a bigger piece of the pie all the time,” said Randy Thornton, owner of Dive Addicts Dive Shop in Draper, Utah who attended his 5th Inner Space. “Because the technology is still fairly young, we all are eager to interact and learn more from each other and it’s exciting to rub shoulders with newbies and old pros alike.”
Mike Fowler president of Silent Diving, the North American distributer for Ambient Pressure Diving, one of the largest rebreather manufacturers and an Inner Space sponsor agrees. “It is really great that the Closed Circuit Rebreather community is able to get together and share new products, information and procedures to make CCR diving a safer sport.”
Inner Space is also an opportunity to showcase all the new ‘toys’ in the industry. Over $1 million worth of rebreathers, accessories, computers, photo and video equipment and other equipment was on display around the resort for everyone to check out and enjoy. The latest rebreathers are lightweight, easy to transport and sophisticated, so the choices and options are many. In addition to scheduled boat dives Divetech offered excellent shore diving at two locations. “To be able to shore dive to any depth, from shallow to over 400 feet, is fantastic,” said Mike Fowler, “amazing fish life, visibility, water temperature and conditions.”
Although rebreathers require specialized training, Inner Space helps introduce silent diving to the rest of the recreational dive community. Randy Thornton said at their dive shop in Utah, they are seeing more converts among customers. “Once you have become proficient at CCR diving, there is little motivation to go back to open circuit!”
“Inner Space has become a mecca for Rebreather divers and manufactures,” said Mike Fowler. “It is the premier Rebreather event in the world.”
Divetech is the first and largest source of rebreather equipment, support and diving in Grand Cayman. Nancy Easterbrook says 15 percent of their dive business is rebreather related, but they are actively working to increase that, especially with Divetech’s Rebreather Experience, a half-day course that includes equipment instruction and a guided shallow shore dive.
“Divetech is the standard in what a ‘CCR friendly’ dive shop should be,” said Peter Sotis. “Educated, professional, dedicated staff make it easy and enjoyable to come and dive a rebreather. Coupled with one of the best dive locations in the world…its a wonder why everyone is not diving here more often.”
Inner Space 2013 closed out with a graduation, banquet celebration and incredible raffle and recognitions before everyone said their goodbyes until next year. Inner Space 2014 is almost sold out.