As we come out of our isolation, due to the pandemic, our minds or our partner’s minds turn to taking a holiday. For those not happy with simply sitting on a beach, colleagues gladly make suggestions. Scuba diving is great they say – the tranquility, the colourful fish, PADi accreditation etc. for when you can leave this emerald isle set in a silver sea.
What the colleagues don’t mention is the learning curve to get to the ‘attractions’ involves dressing up like Darth Vader! It should be remembered the first scuba diving suits were designed to help rescue miners after gas explosions or sudden surges in groundwater in the mid Nineteenth century. I refer to independent suits not the diving suits with a hosed air supply to a helmet, but suits which allow independent operation for even as little as 30 minutes at modest depths up to 10 meters.
The nature of diving and buoyancy mean scuba diving suits are heavy outside of the water as well as in it. Some will recall it took Jacques Cousteau to develop the Aqua-Lung nearly a century later but even then to go to deeper depths E. D Buie was developing a diving suit (US Patent No 2626602) whose main virtue was it was lighter. I am with Jacques Cousteau; it is more fun just in swimming trunks!