Leigh Bishop takes us on a deep-wreck dive to Britannic

It’s amazing – really amazing! Just when you think the magazine has just about published all the stories that a diver could experience in a lifetime, something else pops up and bowls you over!

When we published the magazine’s first edition Dec/Jan 1991, the term ‘tech diving’ was not a term divers used. Open circuit scuba diving was just about all there was except for commercial diving. Since that first edition the magazine has recorded the adventures of numerous divers. Our readers have also been on these adventures issue after issue!

Increasing numbers of recreational divers have taken up the challenge to use technologies that allow them to further develop their diving skills. They now have the tools to explore areas of the underwater world that recreational divers back in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s only dreamed of.

One of New Zealand’s diving ‘Mt Everests’ was to dive the wreck of RMS Niagara lying in 120 metres off the Hen and Chicken Islands off the North Island’s east coast.

Australian Dave Apperley and Welshman Tim Cashman made the first historic dive on 27th January 1999. Dave was using his modified rebreather and Tim was on open circuit mixed gas – technical diving had truly arrived in New Zealand!

33Tim returned to New Zealand bringing with him the well-known deep-wreck diver, Englishman Leigh Bishop. On Friday 30th March 2007, they and six Australian divers recovered the ship’s bell.

This was the first time that I met Leigh. He was passionate about diving but was wary about the dangers such deep dives presented. He wondered how long he would continue doing these extreme dives.

Turn to page 10 and read of his latest adventure – The Million Dollar Dive.

Just when I thought recreational divers had just about reached the limits that current diving equipment technology allowed them to explore deep wrecks, Leigh taps me on the shoulder and says, “Get a load of this lot!” Unbelievable! At over 100m deep, diving on the world’s largest shipwreck, the Hollywood underwater seascape has Leigh shaking his head in wonder – is this for real?

With divers embracing technology, I’m excited with the very real prospect that the magazine will bring you further amazing achievements and discoveries by divers in the future. You gotta love it!

Myself and the team at Dive New Zealand / Dive Pacific magazines: Lee Czerniak, sales and marketing/production; Sophie Fraser, production co-ordinator and editing; Mark Grogan, art director; and Petal Moran, accounts, wish to thank our advertisers, contributors and subscribers/readers for your continued support. Most appreciated.

We wish you all a happy, peaceful Christmas/holiday break and some amazing diving.

6