Vobster TEKCamp 2011 – Review


ive made my way back to the continent and have some time on my hands to write this final review on the TEKCamp. Unfortunatly halfway through the camp we had problems with the internet connection, thats why i wasnt able to continue my daily reviews.
However I think everyone at the camp enjoyed it very much, and the experience was new to everybody i think – even the instructors.

It turned out to be such a good atmosphere – smiling faces everywhere :).

Lets talk about the event itself :

My day always started at the campsite, which was included in the whole weeks price for very little extra money. A big flat field of a nearby farm offered the ideal conditions for everyone who is willing to sleep in a tent. If not there were several affordable BnBs around.

At about half seven every morning i made my way to the vobster quay facilities for a shower. After that there was some breakfast ranging from some free porridge to an egg and bacon bap – very english – i liked it.  🙂

Martin, the main organizer behind the event held his daily briefing about eight o’clock. Everybody got paired with instructors for the day and then it started straight away.

My workshops the week were :

Monday – Trim and Bouancy with Mark Powell

A fantastic workshop on the basics and essentials to everybody involved with technical diving. Lots of divers lost immense amounts of lead that day and all the cylinder bands went upwards quite a bit. 🙂

Two dives involving some task loading and some failures. It was really ideal to get aclimatised.

Tuesday – Line Laying and Stage Handling with Rich Walker (GUE).

I think i never before had so much fun with a piece of string before – an extensive dry practice really tuned us in for some line laying underwater. Everything went well and all the communications worked fantasticly, even though we had our eyes closed.

Here is a little video of the Line Laying Dry part.

The Stage handling was very useful aswell. Stage handling represents one of the most tricky skills in technical diving, the ultimate goal is to bring all these components together, trim+bouancy+stage handling+communications.

We started of in the water with only one stage and worked our way up to a 3 stage rotation while ascending.

Wednesday – Tech Rescue with Paul Toomer

A day diving with Paul is always a highlight, as ive been diving with Paul some times before i was really looking forward to this one. Todays Topic was Tech Rescue – quite a serious topic, which is often untouched in technical diving courses. Not today though – weve talked about loads of scenarios.

The beauty with Paul Toomer is that he is one of the few Instructors out there who are able to perform their teaching in such a humoristic but nevertheless wholehearted way.

In the water we covered various scenarious, starting from OOG situations over OOG-No-Mask ascents and we ended up simulating an unconscious diver we had to get through deco, really tricky.

The Conclusion on this one was that there is no right way, it is individually up to you and what you are willing to risk for the victim. What we learned the easy way, is that bringing an unconscious diver through decompression is one of the most difficult scenarios out there.

Thursday – Rebreather and Scooter Dives – Yaaayy

Obviously one of the most wanted workshops to do were the Rebreather and Scooter ones.

In the morning i was on the Sentinel-Expidition with Phil Short on a 75 min one-to-one Dive.

Phil started explaining how the machine works and guided me through the predive checks which of course every diver has to perform personally. After the 5 minute prebreathe we were about ready to go for a little skill circuit about bailout procedures.

Just after that i started to understand why people spend so much money on these units. No bubbles, warm damp air and very different No-Stop times.

The bouancy is in the beginning a bit tricky, but as soon as youre aware that your breath has no affect on your trim anymore youll get it eventually. Another big smile while getting out of the water.

Scooter diving with the WKPP diver John Kendall was also a unique experience.

After carrying out the suprisingly light Halcyon R16 Scooters we got an introduction on the little torpedos :P.

Also important aspects were : why scooter, what are the dangers in scooter diving…

In a nutshell … absolutely brilliant !!! As soon as it is affordable there will definatly be a scooter for me.

Its just unbelievable banter!!!

Friday : General Skills and Drills with Clare Pooley

Suddenly some sad faces were seen during breakfast as this was the last day diving, but they all disappeared after the morning briefing.

I was with the GUE and IANTD Instructor Clare Pooley. The aim of the days workshop was to do some more Tec – Rescue and to work on individual weaknesses. I identified my personal weakness throughout the week as task loading, but i think if instructors throw various problems at you at the same time everybody struggels eventually.

We had a really good dive down to the wrecks in the quarry and had and individual time with the instructor.

A really successful dive and much appreciated among all divers.

Apart from the workshop there was loads more to do :

I cant mention everything … but some irishmen wrote a more detailed review about all the events.

Just an overview here : There were always  2 lunch talks between the dives and food and there also was an evening presentation in the farmhouse near the campsite.

Just a few examples of what i liked the most : 

Paul Toomer : Intro to Tech – Talk : Why do we do tech, best ways to get involved, risks and how to get experience.

Kevin Gurr ( Yesyes “the Kevin Gurr” ) : Rebreather Myths – A very interesting talk about the way he got involved in rebreather diving and what is behind the “Myths” of Rebreather diving ( failures ).

Howard Payne : Diving and Surviving , Diving related dangers from a new angle.

Richard Stevenson : Wreck Expeditions, what you need, what the difficulties are.

Martin Robson : Cave Diving Expeditions and special decompression procedures

Martin Robson : Analyzing Gas, Calibrate ?, CO Analyzer.

Phil Short : Cave Diving. An absolutely stunning presentation about early Cave Diving which was back then more related to Caving than Diving. Projects in Russia he was involved in lately and how crazy you actually have to be to do this stuff. An incredible talk from one greatest survivalists of our time.

Richard Walker : Wreck Diving in Norway , some very spectacular wrecks in crystal clear cosy 5°C water :). These wrecks are definatly on my list for the next few years .

There were also loads of manufacturers who offered their new equipment to try out : Just to mention some Brands :

Suunto, Hollis, Halcyon, VR-Technology, O’Three, Fourth Element and many more.

The whole staff team from Vobster Diving was always very helpful and did all in all an awesome job.

The gas-fills were very cheap (compared to germany) and im very thankful as a student that all the food was delicious and affordable.

I probably could go on and on and on and on…. but i think i would just spoil the fun for you for next year.

If any german diver is interested i would suggest to share a ride to the island to reduce costs.

It was so worth the whole roadtrip i made and i will try as hard as i can to come back last year.

Any questions just use the contact form.

PS: HA nearly forgot the little compilation i made about the week : Enjoy !!


Posted on August 17, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Fabulous! Thanks for posting, Richard 🙂

  2. Awesome report mate! Was great to meet you and i hope we can get together next year for some more madness!

    “Some Irishman” 🙂

  3. Very interesting!
    I have first time heard about this type of event.
    How much did it cost for a person to participate in it?
    Did you pay one time and could take part in any activities or you paid some money and then paid additional money for any activity you choose?
    For example, rebreather introdive – as I understand, 75 min one-to-one introdive with Phil Short can cost more tnan 100 euro.

    What is the main result for you from participating in that Tekcamp?
    Did you get new ideas or new directions in diving?
    For example, take some courses (cave, rebreather, etc., DIR-style Tek) in future?

    • Thank you for commenting.

      It cost this year 300 Pounds to get in … which was a real bargain.

      Exactly- you pay up in front and then get put into your programm, next year youll have several options though.

      Definatly the Rebreather tryout dive with phil was pheonmenal – and normally divers like him dont do tryout dives for “beginners”. A real one time chance for me.

      My main result is that I learned a lot, different agencys, different instructors but essentially showing me various ways to dive. There is no only right way ( even if our trimix-toting amigos from florida say else ).

      New directions … yes motivated by various talks on expedition diving i plan to go this route, and exploring is the real heart of diving in my opinion. There will be an first expedition on the Fu Shan Hai coming up spring next year.

      Rebreather is something that interests me a lot – but at the moment it would be more of a toy than a tool, so i think i will stay open circuit for a bit longer.

      All my courses ive done so far were DIR orientated and i intend to stay in this direction.
      I still consider myself a stroke even though my equipment is pretty straight DIR, but in several terms especially in decompression procedures and standardized gasses i disagree.


  1. Pingback: Smiles all around as TEKCamp 2011 kicks off « The Underwater Marketing Company Blog

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