Speaker Presentation Previews

Theatre Presentations, Seminars and Workshops at OZTek2017 – listed alphabetically by presenter – will include:
(Speakers listed alphabetically by surname)      The Conference Schedule can be found here 

Michael Aw


In this session, Michael AW, a Fellow of the Explorer Club shares with you intimate moments from his adventures with orcas, leopard seals, crocodiles, Tiger sharks, Great whites, Southern right whale and the times he was thrown out of water by humpback and Brydes whales. For the first time, Michael shall reveal pictures of an undescribed specie of Dumbo octopus recently discovered in the deep Arctic Oc

Matt Carter

Maritime Archaeology and the Golden Frontier

Advances in technical diving equipment and image-based mapping software have recently opened up thousands of new shipwrecks for potential archaeological analysis.

Matt will discuss how the exploration and research of this new golden frontier will require unprecedented collaboration between maritime archaeologists and technical divers with the possibilities of such work only limited to the depths of our imaginations.

Tom Crisp

The Push for More...

Tom will be presenting on the process of how new NZ caves were found, from the humble beginnings to exploration projects that are still running today.

The talk showcases photos and videos of what the team found along the way as their research became more refined.

John Dalla-Zuanna

Mapping it

Development of cave mapping systems using unique survey techniques and equipment to produce 3D maps of (usually) extreme cave environments

Dr David Doolette

Helium Penalty

In the early 20th century, Haldane developed the earliest practical decompression algorithm, based on calculating and limiting tissue gas supersaturation. In the mid-20th century, researchers began developing models of tissue bubble formation, and the related decompression algorithms tend to skew decompression time to deeper stops than traditional algorithms. In the late 20th century, technical divers embraced 'deep stops' decompression schedules, initially in conjunction with increased overall decompression time. However, a theoretical promise of bubble decompression models is that a deeps stops schedule has less risk of decompression sickness and can be shorter than traditional shallow stops schedules. This talk will examine the scientific evidence for or against this idea from the earliest observations on the Torres Strait pearl divers to the latest experiments involving technical divers.

Deep stops - or not?

Breathing mixtures containing helium are used for deep dives, because helium is not narcotic and is less dense than nitrogen. In the late 1980s, pioneer technical divers adopted trimix (helium-nitrogen-oxygen) instead of heliox (helium-oxygen) for open-circuit deep diving. Trimix often contained a relatively low fraction of helium and high fraction of nitrogen, because these divers had limited infrastructure to mix helium into high-pressure scuba cylinders and helium is expensive. With adoption of closed-circuit rebreathers, technical divers are beginning to dive with higher fractions of helium, and even heliox. These divers find some popular decompression algorithms can prescribe a greater amount of decompression for a heliox bounce dive than for a corresponding bounce dive conducted breathing trimix or nitrox. Is this extra decompression really required? To answer that we will review the evidence, from the first heliox dives in the 1930s through to recent experiments.

Franck Gazzola

Franck Gazzola, expedition member with Under The Pole III, an incredible expedition heading around the world in May 2017 and a first timer at OZTek.

Franck will take us on an exciting journey to the Arctic, exploring the hidden side of the icebergs, under the northern lights. The Team of the innovative underwater expedition 'Under The Pole' have spent 18 months exploring the unknown in -1.7ºC water and reaching record depths of 112 metres under the sea ice. In this incredible journey under extreme latitudes where diving is synonymous of tremendous challenges, Franck will share the stories behind the photos, the technical and logistical hurdles.

Take a peak at Under The Pole III • 2017-2020s trailer: https://vimeo.com/187689127

Richard Harris

Advanced Technical Diving - The Issue of Closed Circuit Bailout

Richard Harris ponders the issue of carrying adequate bailout for CCR divers who are a long way down, or a long way from home. Is a second rebreather the answer? Richard will be talking about bailout options in exploration diving, in particular the role of redundant rebreathers - configuration, indications, problems and benefits, using examples of recent exploraiton in Chin, Thailand and a recent deep wreck project (Ventor 150msw) to illustrate.

Kieran Hatton

'Der Tag' - Jutland: Clash of the Dreadnoughts

Visiting the most famous of Naval battlefields 100 years on.

In 1916, between May 31st and June 1st, British and German fleets met off the Jutland Bank in the North Sea.

Never before (or since) had the world seen the mighty Dreadnoughts meet in what the German Navy referred to as 'Der Tag', The Day!

Today the wrecks of the Battle of Jutland sit in one of the most unpredictable and inaccessible areas of sea, consequently, they are infrequently dived.

In 2016 a team of UK divers set out to visit the wrecks to mark the 100th Anniversary of the battle and their demise.

As with many expeditions, the harder it is to organise and the less likelihood of success, the greater the reward if you succeed.

Dropping down the shotline to see the guns of HMS Invincible’s X turret emerge, was a potent reminder of why we do this!

Jill Heinerth

When the War Came to Canada

During WWII, the mines on Bell Island Newfoundland supplied iron ore that accounted for one-third of Canada's steel production. If Germany interrupted this flow of ore, even temporarily, the war effort could be seriously affected. On the night of September 4th, 1942, a German U-Boat brought the battle of the Atlantic to Canada’s shores. The story of the lost ships and men and their connection to the now submerged mine offers a fascinating look at Canadian history. Jill Heinerth will present stunning stills and compelling video footage of the Bell Island Mines and the war wrecks that defined the geography of Canada.

Caves of Cuba

Cave diving has been technically “illegal” in Cuba, but with international politics changing, Jill Heinerth was able to explore caves there with a team from National Geographic. Although other exploration has taken place on the island, it is virtually the tip of the iceberg of what is not yet explored. Cuba will be a new frontier for explorers and the caves will be certain to offer up interesting archaeology and cultural artefacts that teach us more about the earliest residents on the island nation.

Deborah Johnston

Slug Lake Exploration Project - Mammoth Cave, Jenolan Caves

Slug Lake' is likely to be the deepest cave dive in Australia, but the crazy SUSS divers have spent most of their time going sideways and UP in their quest for virgin cave passage"

Becky Kagan-Schott

Wreck of the Daniel J. Morell: 50 Years Underwater

On November 29, 1966, the S.S. Daniel J. Morrell was caught in a violent storm in North Americas Lake Huron. November storms have claimed thousands of ships over hundreds of years, many of them ironically making their last trip before the Great Lakes sent them into their cold, dark and deep graves. In the case of the Morell, 8 meter waves and 75mph winds whipped across her 183m hull splitting the massive steel freighter into two giant pieces. As the bow went down the stern kept powering its self along for 4 more miles before finally sinking. Of the 29 crew members only 1 man survived for 37 hours on a raft during the storm. Today the two pieces of wreckage sit in 63m of water preserved like a time capsule in the 4C temperatures. Visiting the wrecks is like diving in an underwater museum where things still appear as they were 50 years ago. Becky will show haunting imagery from outside and inside the shipwreck and some of the other fascinating wrecks in the same area from the 1700s to modern day.

Shooting Shipwrecks
- two different views

Underwater Photographers Becky Kagan Schott and Pete Mesley have travelled the world shooting shipwrecks.

They will take you on an underwater photographic tour and talk about each of their different techniques for photographing these wrecks and the unique ways they look at lighting, composition, and working with models - with some amazingly different results

Brian Kakuk

Mapping and Photo Grammetry Project of the Crystal Caves of Abaco Island in the Bahamas

In December of 2016, a group of explorers, cartographers, and 3D imagery specialists conducted a three week mapping project to produce baseline mapping data as well as 3D photo gametry of Dan’s and Ralph;s caves, located on Abaco Island in the Northern Bahamas. Collectively known as the Crystal Caves of Abaco, this lengthy underwater cave system boasts some of the most spectacular crystal formations found in any caves on earth, wet or dry. The team was led by Dr. Kenneth Broad from the University of Miami and Brian Kakuk, Director of the Bahamas Caves Research Foundation. Funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society, the team assembled traditional cave survey data to create an exploration grade map in digital format, as well as establishing a 3D virtual tour of one of the larger rooms in Dan’s Cave. This new technology will open the doors for conservationists, allowing them to take lawmakers and the general public on virtual tours of places previously reserved for highly trained divers.

Gareth Lock

Factors contributing to the use of checklists in rebreather diving.

Checklists, one form of a cognitive aid, have been shown to improve performance & safety in domains such as aviation and healthcare by reducing accidents and incidents, improving situational awareness, and reducing variance by operators. However, while checklists are produced by closed-circuit rebreather manufacturers and SCUBA diver training agencies, no study has taken place to determine the factors which improve or detract from their use. This study examined responses from more than 1000 rebreather divers to determine these factors and make recommendations to the community to improve their design, deployment and usage.

Rebreather Black Boxes? Should we / Shouldn't we?

Aviation use them, why not rebreather divers? Recent research paper demonstrating, through the discussion of a specific case study, there is considerable utility in data capture and post-event analysis to highlight where ‘human factors’ failures have occurred and identify areas for future improvement. The analysis can also identify areas where the failure couldn’t have had happened. Without such data in this particular case, it was very likely that the post-accident analysis would have concluded a solenoid failure which led to the death of the diver in question when, in fact, it was likely down to cognitive failures.

Rod Macdonald

HMS Hampshire - World Exclusive footage

An official war grave, the HMS Hampshire is under the 'Protection of Military Remains Act' and can only be visited with express permission from the British Secretary of Defence. Earlier this year, Rod Macdonald received singular permission to organise & lead a specialist dive team to visit and document this historically significant wreck.

For the first time, Macdonald, with expedition co-organiser and safety officer, Paul Haynes, will present the HMS Hampshire adventure at OZTek2017. This is your chance to share in the history, marvel at the sights and hear the amazing story. See exclusive footage, imagery and 3D grammetry along with the story of the operations undertaken by this elite technical team.

Paul Toomer

Expeditions R US!

The Myths and Misconceptions of expedition diving.

Paul Toomer, trainer, explorer and avid diver talks about the realities of expedition diving, how to get involved and the romance verses the reality … using details of expeditions he’s done, those he’s been invited on & those he’s led, Paul will take you on an expedition of your own with photos, anecdotes, funny & not so funny stories.

A presentation not to be missed.

Pete Mesley

Shooting Shipwrecks
- two different views

Underwater Photographers Becky Kagan Schott and Pete Mesley have travelled the world shooting shipwrecks.

They will take you on an underwater photographic tour and talk about each of their different techniques for photographing these wrecks and the unique ways they look at lighting, composition, and working with models - with some amazingly different results.

Barry McGill

Exploration & Discovery in the North Atlantic: A Tale of U-boats & Minefields

The waters off the North Atlantic Coast of Ireland were the scene of some of the most significant maritime losses during the First World War. The concentration of convoys coming from North America to the United Kingdom were a primary target for the German Navy, and in particular their submarines and mine fields. The struggle for control of this strategic area of water led to significant and tragic losses for both sides.

The presentation will focus on the search and discovery of two of these war losses which have recently been discovered and documented. One, an Armed Merchant Cruiser, HMS Viknor which was lost, with the only trace being the wreckage washing up along the entire North coast of Ireland. The second, a German U-boat UB-124, which was attacked and destroyed with the loss of all hands. UB-124, had attacked and sunk the second largest ship of the war, RMS Justicia just hours earlier.

Tragedy in the North Atlantic: the Fate of HMS Curacoa & HMS Hurst Castle

The Battle of the Atlantic was the dominating factor throughout the Second World War. “Never for one moment could we forget that everything happening elsewhere, on land, at sea or in the air depended ultimately on its outcome” - Winston Churchill

Let Barry take you on a visual tour of two, once forgotten, War ships, which were lost in time deep beneath the cold, dark blue unforgiving waters of the North Atlantic, while their brave crew members tried to protect the convoys off the North Atlantic Coast of Ireland.

Shannon Micallef

Belize Cave Exploration and Mapping, 2016

During 2016, extensive work was completed to extend the exploration of the underwater caves of Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Caye Chapel and the Chiquibul National Park

After many hours of searching silt filled holes in the cayes and jungle, five new caves were discovered and mapped

During these efforts, numerous archaeological finds were made and reported to the Government of Belize

An additional 2.42 kilometres of line has been installed and surveyed during 2016 in Giant Cave alone, under Caye Caulker, talking the total line length to 7.68 kilometres

Simon Mitchell

Don't be dense: the need to plan deep dives to optimise breathing

The use of underwater breathing apparatus (and rebreathers in particular) imposes a number of stresses on the respiratory system that frequently provoke an increase in body carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. An understanding this phenomena begins with appreciating that the amount of gas a diver moves in and out of the lungs (“lung ventilation”) is what determines CO2 removal from the body. With that in mind, the most important physiological mechanism leading to an increase in CO2 is a disturbance of the normal control of breathing which is responsible for subconsciously adjusting lung ventilation to keep the arterial CO2 (PaCO2) at a normal level. When the work of breathing increases during diving there is a tendency for this breathing control system to become insensitive to rising PaCO2. The diver therefore fails to increase ventilation sufficiently to bring CO2 levels down to normal. An elevated PaCO2 can cause unpleasant and dangerous symptoms, increase inert gas narcosis, and predispose to cerebral oxygen toxicity. It follows that strategies to mitigate the risk of CO2 retention in rebreather diving are important. These include minimising the work of breathing through appropriate rebreather design, taking account of respired gas density when planning rebreather dives, minimising physical exertion (particularly when deep), and meticulous attention to equipment preparation. Although the importance of gas density has long been acknowledged in diving, there have never been any objectively derived “limits” to guide practice. A 2016 publication by Gavin Anthony has changed that, and is likely to have important implications for diving practice and the way technical divers are trained moving into the future. These issues will be discussed in this presentation.

Carbon dioxide in rebreathers: new targeted research to answer your questions.

In the presentation yesterday we discussed the tendency for diving to disturb the control of breathing so that the diver fails to ventilate the lungs sufficiently to keep body CO2 levels normal. A second potential cause of high CO2 levels specific to rebreather diving is the failure of the rebreather to remove exhaled CO2 from the re-inspired gas. If the diver is inhaling CO2 then removal of CO2 from the body by breathing is much less efficient and body levels can rise. It follows that there is much interest in the efficiency of CO2 absorbent materials and optimal use of so-called CO2 scrubbers in rebreathers. We have recently conducted several studies to inform debates on related issues that have arisen over recent years. In the first study we compared the CO2 scrubbing performance of spherasorb, a scrubbing material manufactured primarily for use in medical applications but which is sometimes used by rebreather divers, to that of Sofnolime 797, a scrubbing material manufactured primarily for use in diving rebreathers. In the second study we compared the performance of sofnolime 797 to that of Extendair canisters (preformed non-granular CO2 scrubbing cartridges) in a rebreather designed to use both scrubbing modalities. In the third study we investigated the effect of storage strategy on the performance of partly used CO2 scrubber canisters on subsequent dives. Specifically, we compared the effect of storing partly used canisters unprotected (exposed to environmental air) vs sealed in an airtight container on subsequent scrubbing performance. We studied two storage periods (overnight and 30 days). In this session we will recap some basic CO2 physiology and the importance of maintaining normal CO2 levels during diving. We will then present the results of these three studies.

Bruce Partridge

Design Considerations for Dive Computers

Shearwater has become a significant player in the world of dive computers and rebreather control systems. Bruce will present the history of Shearwater from its beginnings to the present. He will follow the path from the early experimentation with CCR 2000 and KISS rebreathers through EN 14143 certification, to the current widespread use of Shearwater rebreather control systems.

This presentation will cover a lot of the history of Shearwater with the industry forces that have shaped today’s industry from one person’s perspective.

Andrew Pitkin

The Mysterious Sinking of HMCS Athabaskan

In 1944 a Canadian Tribal-class destroyer sank in 87m a few miles off the coast of Normandy, France, while chasing a German E-boat. It was Canada's biggest naval loss of WWII, with only half of her 256-man crew surviving. Eyewitnesses agreed that the ship had been struck by a torpedo, but then a second explosion followed – allegedly a 'friendly fire' strike by a British MTB. A multinational group of divers explored the wreck for the first time hoping to uncover evidence of what had really happened to the 'Unlucky Lady'.

Paul Raymaekers


Everyone thinks scrubbers are simple BUT turns out that may not be correct. Come along and find out exactly how and why scubbers do what they do and are critical to rebreathers.

Ben Reymenants

Hong Song Cave - pushing for more

A joint presentation with Ben Reymenants and Craig Challen about their recent successful push is on its way.

Liz Rogers

Interactive Seminar on Photographic Lighting Techniques

Come along for a hands on experience with off camera lighting to get the best from your photos.

In a dark room with half a dozen strobes on hand and a camera hooked up to the big screen, we’ll experiment with:

  • directing your dive buddy
  • dealing with bad vis
  • lighting spaces large and small

Perfect for new camera owners, budding underwater supermodels and all those who like to take expensive camera gear on their dives.

Mark Ryan

TSS Coramba:
The Ship the Sea Swallowed

On the 30th November 1934 the Coramba sank in a fierce gale off Phillip Island on the approach to Western Port.

The wreck was originally reported as being located in December 1934 by the famous Standard Dress diver 'Johnno' Johnstone on request of the Coramba's insurance company. However the wreck was never dived and its actual location was not confirmed. It was thought to be near the east side of Seal Rocks, Phillip Island. In 1984 Des Williams authored the Book "The Ship the Sea Swallowed". This document contains details of the ships history and its sinking. Other resources used include The Board of Marine Inquiry into the sinking. Additional information was also gathered from the National Archives, personal interviews and Newspapers. After 8 years of searching the TSS Coramba was discovered by SOE on the 29th May 2011 approximately 10 nautical miles south of Seal Rocks, a long way from all other indicated positions. Whilst finding the ship answers the immediate mystery as to the location of the wreck, there are still many unanswered questions as to the ships final moments and why is it so far from its reported position

Alex Santos


Maritime disasters take life and property by the numbers. Take a peek at the peculiarities of wrecks of disasters at sea, and witness the challenges that divers must face in order to recover the unfortunate souls from deep inside her holds.

Tomek Stachura

Find the Eagle

Eagle (original name ORZEL ) is a Polish submarine which went missing in 1940 in the North Sea

So far we have organised three expeditions to find this important wreck. And although, Eagle has not yet been found, her story, along with the attempts to find her, are fascinating

Edd Stockdale

Thinking Deep.

University of Oxford research expedition. Honduras - First time CCR has been used for deep manned stereo video & ecological data collection at the depths we did. Establishment of the protocols the Nekton/ GUE guys used this year in Bermuda. I have been involved in Stereo Video research since 2011 and we spent 4 years developing protocols and funding to get the CCR system approached. So an overview of its development from then to what it is doing now.

Project Shadow:

Wreck Hunting Around the Seas of Malta. Looking at the exploration of wrecks around the coast of Malta that are being discovered and documented. Collaboration with the Uni of Malta intros to locate, document and promote the wreck diving in the region with a HUGE array of new possibilities

David Strike

The World's Deepest Dive

The background to the Royal Navy's early deep diving helium trials and the story of a diving depth record that has never been equalled.

Cautionary Tales for Tekkies (Gala Dinner)

A series of brief and frequently humorous anecdotes about personal diving mishaps, disasters and discoveries ... and the lessons learned.

Josh Thornton

Diving at altitude

Not all caves are created equal. Some include difficult approaches including snowmobiles, steep climbs, skiing and dealing with ice and snow inside the cave. This is all before the divers enter the water! Alpine cave diving includes logistical issues such as: climbing after diving, cold water equipment problems, vertical caving while hauling dive gear and high risk excursions with little to no chance of rescue. "

Michael Thornton

Diving at altitude

Not all caves are created equal. Some include difficult approaches including snowmobiles, steep climbs, skiing and dealing with ice and snow inside the cave. This is all before the divers enter the water! Alpine cave diving includes logistical issues such as: climbing after diving, cold water equipment problems, vertical caving while hauling dive gear and high risk excursions with little to no chance of rescue. "

Mike Torr

MV Rena Wreck: This wreck now has diver access since the lifting of the salvage exclusion zone

  • NZ's worst maritime disaster
  • 37,000 tonne container ship hit a reef 12NM off Tauranga in North Island
  • 2nd most expensive salvage operating in history
  • Legal battles continuing
  • Salvage completed in March 2016. April 2016 and the reef environment and remains of the ship opened to the public and divers
  • Ship is in 3 sections. The remains of the bow in 6 to 18 m. 120m of the stern section in 30 to 65m.
  • Presentation will cover history of the ship, the wreck, some salvage, and photo and video of the ship as it is today.

Vic Verlinden

Diving and photographing deep wrecks: presentation on photographing shipwrecks at depths beyond recreational diving.

The wrecks that are covered include warships, submarines and passenger ships at depths between 50 and 130 metres: U455 SUBMARINE, HMS VICTORIA, JUTLAND WRECKS, SS LEOPOLDVILLE, FOCKE WULF 58, SS DRUMMOND CASTLE, AMOCO MILFORD HAVEN, SUBMARINE PROTEE, NATAL, GRAF ZEPPELIN, ESPANA,

Diving and photographing in mines and caves:

Mines and caves located in Belgium, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Russia and France

Cristina Zenato

The Connection that didn't exist

On December 31st 2012 Cristina connected an inland cave with an ocean blue hole, rated by Rob Palmer as ""one of the most dangerous caves in the world. This is the story about the attempts; difficulties, failures and successes during Cristina's solitary quest for a connection she was told by many cave divers it didn't exist.

The business of shark conservation.

It is a presentation about how creating a business around shark diving has allowed me to donate lot of non profit work and give back without having to create a non profit or asking for donations, from the education of Bahamians for free to my cave exploration and hosting the Rolex Scholars. It also talks about how the Bahamas have recognized the value of live sharks for tourism and this has changed the way Bahamians approach sharks as a source of income