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Absolutely Fascinating!

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posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 04:02 PM
Fascinating !!

Now, I don’t think there’s much of a conspiracy here, other than the fact that it must be a conspiracy to have a job that is as absolutely cool as this one. That, and the fact that it is so difficult to find comprehensive videos and documentation about it on the web. The danger factor for this job is just off the danger-meter scale (by an order of magnitude)! The job in question? Commercial closed bell saturation diving.

As a diver myself I’ve been fascinated with this line of work ever since I learned of it. The differences between the type of diving I (and most other recreational divers) do and saturation diving is like comparing walking down the sidewalk to walking on the Moon. Sure I’ve done some minor mixed gas (Nitrox) and re-breather type SCUBA diving, but that’s just puppy stuff compared to these guys.

Now, saturation diving itself has been around since the mid 60’s, but in the last couple decades saturation diving has matured into a completely different realm. For those unfamiliar, saturation diving is the practice of compressing divers down to near unimaginable depths (to a SCUBA diver) using Helium and other mixed gases and keeping them under compression for weeks at a time. The reason this practice is used is to preclude the need to decompress divers at the end of every dive, which at these depths takes literally days, weeks even. Consequently, commercial divers can stay compressed, or ‘at depth’, for the entire portion of their work. They literally live ‘at depth’ until their job is complete, or their rotation is up.

While I was stationed in Malaysia I knew a couple guys who were saturation divers for the oil companies. Some of the stories they told were just amazing. One of them had nearly been killed (which is insanely easy to do) in a spectacular decompression accident. It was some of the stories he told which made me want to know more. My principle interest is in dives below 200m (656 ft) and below, and particularly below 250m (850 ft).

Here is an example of diving at 278m (912 ft).

After even some brief research, one quickly realizes the logistics of saturation diving is a whole world onto its own. Even though the divers who do this return to the deck of a ship at the end of their shift each day, they might as well be in moon! Their life on-board the ship is a world apart from the rest of the crew members. The chilling part is, even though they’re on deck they’re still under pressure at working depth so they live in a pressurized dive support environment on deck until they return back to work at depth again tomorrow.

The costs to companies requiring these types of skills are staggering. Deep saturation diving contracts can run as high as $300,000 per DAY, and believe me, the divers are handsomely paid as well (many in excess of $200/hr while at depth…meaning 24x7 until they decompress).

Here’s another link. Just another day at work? Hardly!

I hope you will find this as fascinating as I do. Even more, I hope maybe even some ATS members know of someone who might be able to share some more information, or maybe even do it themselves.

All input is genuinely appreciated!

P.S. Moderators, if there’s a more appropriate place to put this where it will likely be a better fit I understand.

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 04:31 PM
Holy carp!

Just goes to show that robot's will never have the true think on your feet(flippers?) brains and dexterity of humans. But what a job! Never heard of these types of working conditions before, the myriad of little issues that must be overcome each day! Geeze, talk about earning your crust! Fascinating stuff! s&f

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 05:02 PM
Just to think...

You get hurt? Tough luck; another diver better be able to save you because to decompress would mean certain death. No doctor could be compressed fast enough to help. For this reason many of these divers are also certified EMTs (or have been through extensive EMT training).

You get seriously ill? Tough luck; the physiology of the human body is different when you're breathing nearly pure helium and little oxygen. Drugs work differently and little is known about their effects at depth. Better hope you pull through.

Claustrophobic? Heh, you're in BIG trouble.

Twice each day these divers have to transit from their living accommodations to the diving bell and back again. This is an insanely dangerous transition. In fact, this is where the friend I referred to was nearly killed when a seal on the airlock between the two blew out. It nearly squirted him out like a tube of toothpaste!

Keep in mind, in the two videos I posted they're working at 278m below the surface (912 ft). At that depth the pressure is almost 30 atmospheres (30x the pressure at the surface). So, to put it another way; the pressure at the seal is 441 psi !

Simple things like taking a shower? Well, guess what? The same water pressure required to take a shower at depth would literally cut a human body in half at the surface! (i.e. It would have to be greater than 440 psi, otherwise air would leak out and no water would come in). At depth it seems like a normal shower, but on the surface it would be like taking a shower from the worlds most powerful pressure washer!

Simple things like flushing a toilet involve pressure tanks, engineers and decompression.

The pressure is so great that it will make soda go completely flat inside the can.

The list just goes on and on. It really is pretty interesting.

edit on 2/6/2013 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 06:17 PM
I am ignorant of diving in general except I used to watch Jacque Cousteau and I understand the contributions he made to diving. I enjoyed learning about something so difficult and to me insane, as an occupation. Brave people to do this. I can see why, as a diver, it would interest you. Good thread

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 09:56 PM
Incidentally, all of these videos are filmed from Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV’s…mini robotic subs); they keep an eye on the divers. It’s an interesting relationship at the bottom of the sea. The danger is beyond extreme. These divers have balls the size of cannon balls. There are about 3 billion people on this planet (maybe more), but the point is; there are only about 100 people on Earth who can do what you see in these videos. Imagine that.

The ROV’s provide extra light; the environment these divers live in is pitch black. They also monitor the health of these divers. Anything is possible. No sunlight can make it this deep. It’s cold. They are truly alone. “Alone”, in a way that most of us will never understand.

Sure, it might look like just a simple commercial diving video, but it really, truly, is sooooo much more!

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 10:04 PM
So, just to add a little bit more conspiracy and intrigue to all of this.

Perhaps there is a bit of a conspiracy spin on this subject. Some of you historians may know this…

There was a ultra secret US program at the height of the Cold War, called “Ivy Bells”, which was designed to tap senior Russian military undersea communications cables across eastern Russia (namely the Kamchatka Peninsula and beyond). A US submarine named the USS Parche located these cables in 400 ft of water in the Sea of Okhotsk in 1971.

When the books came out in the 90’s after Pelton (the mole) outed the whole program, we might have all wondered how it happened. Well…

Nuclear submarines don’t operate in 60’ of water, they need much more. The located cables were found in 400’ of water. It was none other than saturation divers who tapped those cable in 1971. It took years to figure out how to do it, but what you’re seeing is the end result. In 1971, saturation was still relatively new. The subs were secretly manufactured with decompression chambers.

It’s the stuff legends are made of. And…legends were indeed made.

This is the real deal.

edit...just imagine some of the stuff they can do now which we don't know about!!!!

edit on 2/6/2013 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 10:15 PM
Note: the reason the bell seems to bounce up and down in the video is because that's exactly what it is doing. The ROV is stable, but the diving bell is hooked to the ship 1,000 feet above. The ship rolls with the surface, the ROV is stable.

Even though there is a several thousand pound weight hooked to the bottom of the bell, it does't stablilize it much. When the divers come back up from the job to the bell they are coming up to a moving target. Their home, safety, is lurching up and down 10-20 feet in the sea swells from above. Hence the movement you see in the videos.

edit...the guys who tapped the Russian cables were only 1/3 as deep as these guys!

edit on 2/6/2013 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 17 2013 @ 10:45 PM
Well, I guess not too many are intested in this subject, but perhaps some facts might interest some.

As I've noted these divers are diving at 912' (278m) underwater, but did you notice that you see no bubbles? Did you wonder about that? When was the last time you went down to the flower shop and had a helium balloon filled up for your sweetheart? It was outrageously expensive wasn't it? The reason is, helium is in high demand for all sorts of things, and like gas / petrol, it's hugely expensive.

The Kirby Morgan commercial diving helmets these guys use are part of a system which costs tens of thousands of dollars a piece. They're custom fitted/built for each diver, and they buy their own. They actually recover the helium these divers are breathing. It is later scrubbed and re-used.

Did you notice how they carry their ambilical between their legs? Were that to be cut, even in the most tropical locales, they would freeze to death in minutes. It is not only their "air" (helium triox mix), but it also supplies the hot water which keeps them warm.

These videos look harmless enough, but what you don't see is the environment they work in is absolutely and utterly pitch black. What you're looking at is video filmed from a ROV (remotely operated (submersible) vehicle) with very powerful lights on it. At these depths they need to keep close tabs on the divers.

When this diver returns to the bell, he gets relieved by another diver who has been waiting inside the cramped bell (about the size of an outhouse) for upwards of four hours. He then gets to wait for his relief diver for the same amount of time. After an entire day, they will "return to the surface", but it's not that easy.

Before they leave the bottom they will seal the dive bell so it remains under pressure as they travel to the surface. If they failed to do this they would perish. Once above water, in the sealed bell, they mate the bell with a chamber on-board the ship which is at the same pressure as the bottom depth. From there, the divers move into their living quarters, only to be replaced by 2-3 more divers who repeat the same process over and over again (24x7) until the job is done.

After upwards of 2-3 three weeks at pressure they begin the decompression sequence which can take several days. Imagine living in 75 square feet for 3 weeks and spending 8 hours each day in an outhouse sized enclosure.

If all of that wasn't bad enough, should just one simple thing go wrong, you're on your own. In the video(s) you see the divers wearing tanks or backpacks. This might give the impression that were something to go wrong they could use these as an escape. In reality, the "bailout" bottles they wear will only keep them alive long enough to make it back to the diving bell (not the surface). Should the diving bell get separated from the ship (which has happened) the divers do have backup systems, but only for "air". It's pitch black and no heat, they just hope that someone will find them (notice how the bottles on the side of the bell say "SOS", there's a reason)...and the one documented time this has happened they were not found and perished.

Folks, I don't mean to be dramatic, but this is just one of the most amazing professions on earth!

Sorry for belaboring the point.

edit...notice how the ROV backs away and turns its lights off in the second video...see how dark it is? It's another world.

edit on 2/17/2013 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 10:04 PM
I reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I thought you guys might be interested in my new novel, Operation Ivy Bells, which tells the story in novel form of the initial Operation Ivy Bells incursions into the Sea of Okhotsk by the USS Halibut (not the Parche -- she was later). I was the Officer-in-Charge of one of the saturation diving teams. The players in the novel are compilations of the people I knew and worked with, and the events actually happened, for the most part, although I applied artistic license where I felt it was necessary. Get the details of this book at http:/

posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 10:55 PM
I think the $ 200 / a hour for those guys is very conservative very , some of the divers in the north sea are on crazy money but with the gasses they are using it lowers life expectancy greatly as does working in the oil industry ,welding /painting or ndt work .

A friend of mine just got back today he is a welding inspector and on $ 2000 a day and is not very dangerous in comparison those guys deserve much much more than $200 / hour

I was told a story years ago from a friend of mine about a diver he knew who could shut a door with his mind , he said all the concentration he had at his work made it possible - could be complete crap but you never know , as i have read strange things about tools going missing on submarines near the engines ?

Those are crazy depths that guys are working at as you will well know , indeed it is easier working on the moon

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