an ancient phrase from cave diving lore, and other history


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Posted by CalAbDiver on August 21, 2001 at 11:29:56:

In Reply to: What is DIR???? nt posted by BadFish on August 21, 2001 at 08:22:14:

before most of you were born [not including MHK-Mike or seahunt-Mike, both of whom are really old bastards like myself], civilian scuba diving was called "sportdiving" and within that sportdiving community there was an elite group of crazies called "cave divers."

these guys were crazy, but they were good too. real good. you had to be good to be a cave diver and to live through your first cave dive. any single mistake could get you killed and could get anyone trying to rescue you killed too.

that danger and insanity of cave diving brought forth a phrase: "in cave diving you have to do it right the first time, because you dont get a second chance." Do It Right seems to have spawned into an entire diving philosophy now. DIR recently became the watch-word acronym for it.

to continue the historical thread, scuba diving did not even exist as we know it today until the French Navy set out to solve a huge problem it had: The Third Reich was in possession of France all the way up to the English Channel. To get it back, the French Navy had to disarm the beach fortifications and boobytraps. That led to the development of the demand-regulator invented in 1942. My mom and dad had not yet met that year. I was not yet born. Neither were MHK-Mike nor seahunt-Mike either. We are old bastards, but not that old however. My dad helped out with the liberation of France in those days.

After the "Second World War" as it was then called, French Naval Lt. Jacque Cousteau marketed his invention of the demand regulator and exported them from France to various places including Los Angeles. The L.A. County Freedivers jumped onto this new "aqualung" invention as an obvious assist for harvesting food from the Ocean.

There were no training agencies back in those days, no rules, no case law or liability insurance. There was only Cousteaus's own recommendation that went with the aqualung equipment: "Dont hold your breath while breathing on it." Hence, rule #1 in scuba was coined, by none other than Cousteau himself.

Somewhere on the East Coast, a cave diver must have realized the same thing that the California Freedivers had figured out too: that the aqualung could facilitate diving into caverns and caves as well. And now my story has come full circuit, and we are back to the present day.

And that is where DIR came from, the long version. NO, it has not been around forever. NO, it did not come from God. NO, you are not an embecile if you dont dive like a DIR diver. I dont.

/s/ Karl S.
California abalone freediver


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