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
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
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)