A Question of Balance :: 7:30pm 12th Sep 2017
Gearing up for exploration with the URG: Colin Piper first learnt to dive with the URG in 1966. When he first joined the URG, diving gear was quite basic: a wetsuit (not necessarily warm and well fitting) fins, a mask, a snorkel, a knife, a lead belt, an air tank and a regulator. Over time, equipment embraced the open-circuit SCUBA design devised in 1943 by Jacques Cousteau and Émile Gagnan that featured a twin hose set-up (one hose for inhale, the other for exhale) with the air coming from a back-strapped tank. In Australia Ted Eldred developed a single hose regulator, the Porpoise (released in 1952) and single hose gear is used by 99% of divers today.
Colin stopped diving regularly for ten years in the 1970s. More recently he has been involved with the URG in several research projects. These include Commonweath funded baseline studies of the benthic and fish life in the North Harbour Aquatic Reserve
Another project with marine archaeologists involved diving in the south-west arm of Port Hacking looking for 30,000 year old Aboriginal rock shelves. Findings included some potential sites which archaeologists presented to an archaeology conference in 2007 at Sydney University. Such work is important as it teamed competent divers with experienced archaeologists who have little or no experience in diving and thereby achieving far more than archaeologists alone could.