Pure Inspiration Plymouth England 2000
This was an annual event for Martin Parker of AP Diving to host an Inspiration CCR diving get together. Martin and Nicki were very gracious hosts and gave me a factory tour, and made sure that this lost yank was taken care of with best Britt hospitality. I was fortunate to have Penny Glover whom I've met previously at Zero Gravity in Cayman as a guide. She introduced me to several suave Italian ccr instructors including a less grey Aldo, who i bumped into years later at a P2 instructor cross over....
Nautilus Explorer Vancouver BC 2002-2004
Thanks to Dave Hancock (Ideations Dive Alert) who was a fellow Inspiration diver in Seattle, I joined an annual Rebreather Tech Live Aboard in Vancouver. It was an amazing event, in a still small rebreather world so most of the who's who was on these trips. It was where i met several key people, great connections, and saw Dr. Greg Grant do a live Hypoxia demo in front of 12 of us rebreather divers. It was an eye opening experience. I was still active diving the Inspo Classic, but the avalanche of rebreather purchases was soon to follow.
CCR Cave in HIgh Springs Florida 2001
I was still very active diving my Inspo Classic in 2001 when I went to N. Florida to finish my O.C "Intro Cave" to now CCR Cave. It was the first official IANTD CCR Cave Course taught by Uncle Tom, and Mark Meadows. I met my classmate for first time and akded him what rebreather he was diving? Oh, I then say "what is a Meg?" The class was joined by Will Smithers, Del Motts, Jim Lockwood, and few other Good O'l Boys.... we all carried Al40's for our bailout to swim the Hinkle restriction!
Zero Gravity Grand Cayman - Sunset House 2002 -2004
I joined the second year of this annual Rebreather and Tech week in Grand Cayman at Sunset House. It was Canuks Reg and Erika who pioneered CCR diving in Grand Cayman as they overcame the CWSA ban on Nitrox to prove they could offer safe tech tourism on the island. Along with the Nautilus Explorer CCR week in Vancouver BC, and Pure Inspiration Plymouth UK, this was the premier Rebreather event in the world! I was fortunate to meet many great people and went on to travel with many of them to great ccr destinations. I met Penny Glover here and she guided me at Pure Insipiration, then I invited here to join me in Cocos Isle for HH sharks the following year. Sadly she passed away just after the Coocos trip. I also me a guy with a unique "rectangular head" and he was diving some strange BCD/Harness with his OC tanks side mounted??? So why was this tech diving guy who was taking pictures of all the CCR divers, not diving a CCR himself? So I invited him to take photos of our Cocos HH shark trip, and in return I told him i would training him on Inspiration CCR. Yep, its "Curt-Bob".
CCR Cave trip to Bahamas with Tom Mount on Ocean Explorer
In 2002 I joined Uncle Tom for an adventure diving Blue Holes, and one inland cave (Stargate) in Bahamas. It was great trip with sidemount cave diving pioneer John Buxton, along with friend Jim Holt, roomate Alex from Greece, Bruce Partridge. On this trip we took a 15 ft wave very hard and the boat slapped down, and with it John Buxton who got up with a black eye and bruise on half his face. His concern was if his mask wasould seal? Tough old bastard was only guy on boat to make every dive on the 12 hour tidal schedule! Great guy, great sense of humor.
Isle of Cocos Hammerhead Shark CCR Expedition 2004 ADM photo shoot
In early years I was working aggressively to provide divers with quality rebreather adventures around the globe. These were tough years as the resources were not in place, so we either had to ship cylinders, sorb in advance or go to a location where CCR divers have already frequented. Fortunately Cocos was established as a CCR destination thanks to the efforts of uw filmmaker Howard Hall who had shot many Nat Geo documentary films there. It was on a tune up dive on bay and island of Manulita where we circled the island to see a CCR diver wearing a Mk15 and pushing a camera the size of a coffee table? Humm, that could only be Howard Hall and as I swam by and looked into his eyes I could see it was Howard. Now I am guessing, but I would say that Howard was thinking "who is this arse clown mucking up my $$$ photo shoot" . The rest of the week we were sent to designated sites away from the film maker. This was my first ( of two ) trips to Cocos and many of the Inspo divers were my new CCR students. My favorite site was "Alcyon" and we saw hundreds of HH sharks on every site, plus Galapagos, Black Tip, White Tip, etc... On my second trip in 2013 there were no sharks, but miles after mile of long line fish gear with steel leaders to catch sharks?
ITruk Lagoon - Chuuk
By 2004 I had run several trips to Truk and I was ready to do a CCR exclusive trip. I started a year early by shipping a container of Sorb, 3 Liter oxygen/diluent cylinders, Stage Bottles, and Helium cylinders.
Curt-Bob Bowen was invited as guest of my dive center to do a CCR Photo shoot