What started off as curiosity of the deep for Will Goodman and Simon Liddiard has led to some incredible sightings on the deep walls of Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia. Mola mola and thresher sharks have become regular sightings for the Technical Divers of Blue Marlin Dive in Gili Trawangan.
Mola mola or the oceanic sunfish are a deep discshaped species typically living below 300 metres and can be over four metres in height and width. Sharing the same depth habitat is the thresher shark, which is known for its elongated tail that is as long as its body, which it uses as a whip to stun prey.
These majestic creatures are very rare and endangered. To see them in their natural habitats is a once-ina- lifetime dream for many divers. However, technical divers on Gili Trawangan can occasionally see these two magnificent species at the relatively shallow depth of 60 metres.
More frequent sightings are at depths at or below 100 metres and for that, Specialist Advanced Trimix training is required. The objective of the Blue Marlin Tech Team, led by Simon Liddiard, is to send Will Goodman down to 300 metres in the hopes of setting a new CCR depth record, beating the 283 metres set by Krzysztof Starnawski in December 2011.
Simon competed in the first solo 150-metre CCR dive way back in 2003, using the Classic Inspiration rebreather. (The article covering this dive was published in the May 2004 issue of Mens Journal) CCRs were very basic in those days and the decompression took seven hours to complete. Today’s CCRs are far more advanced machines and this coupled with our increased understanding of decompression, using helium, allows the same 150-metre dive to be completed in under 2.5 hours!
Over the next eight months, Simon, Will and the team will train for the dive. The training will consist of two parts. The first is an intensive cardiovascular and strength-conditioning programme, ensuring all team divers achieve optimum fitness levels. This is critical to minimise the inherent physiological risks of deep diving, including decompression sickness and oxygen toxicity.
The second is a series of weekly deep dives, progressively increasing in depth. They plan to complete the 300-metre dive in February 2014. Asian Diver will be following the training each month, documenting the dives. Will and Simon will present the dive at ADEX 2014.
Aspiring technical divers who are interested in learning Trimix on either Open Circuit or CCR are invited to join in segments of the training. The diver showing the best mindset for deep diving will be invited to join the team and take part in the world record attempt.
Depending on the success and progress in training, it is hoped that the Blue Marlin will also be able to set a new overall men’s depth record later in the year. This will ensure a place for Will in the Guinness World of Records and replace Nuno Gomez’s 318-metre “deepest male scuba dive” achievements. Pascale Bernabe has also claimed the unofficial title of the deepest male scuba dive ever, with a 330-metre dive soon after the official record was set.
Will is often asked why he pushes himself, to which he replies, “Why wouldn’t I?” Simon and Will, along with their experienced support team, already have three successful record attempts under their belt and feel they are ready to take on the next challenge.
In 2010, the Blue Marlin crew with lots of help from expats on the island, managed to keep Will submerged for 48 hours 8 minutes and 17 seconds. Despite many global attempts over the past three years, they still hold the official Guinness World Record for the “longest open salt water scuba dive”.