Diss U3A August Meeting

A heavy downpour of rain in Diss provided a fitting accompaniment at our August meeting where speaker Dennis Casey  gave a most interesting talk on the working life of a commercial deep sea diver.

For further information on Diss  U3A  please telephone 01379 642674 or visit our website.

The next meeting will be on 6th  Sept at the United Reformed Church commencing at 10.30am. The guest speaker will be Margaret Blanchard who will be giving a talk entitled “The Vanishing Giant Leatherback Turtle”.

The talk, entitled “Blowing Bubbles”  told  how Dennis in the early 1970’s opted for a change of career when he went to work as an engineer on an oil rig in Great Yarmouth. One day a shortage of manpower coupled with his ability to swim, set him on a career path he would follow for the next 25 years. Deep sea divers are the unseen heroes of the oil industry and the dangerous conditions faced by them below the sea are perhaps not always appreciated by the general public, as multi-national oil companies continue to search for new gas and oil fields beneath the sea bed.

In the middle of the North Sea the safety of the rigs and the lives of those working on them remain paramount, although underwater explosions are thankfully rare.  When accidents do happen the results are instant and can be catastrophic requiring immediate evacuation of the platform.

The divers who work underwater securing and maintaining the rigs work in some of the most dangerous and physically exhausting conditions with teams of men living in an underwater chamber for days on end, one twenty minute work period requiring a six hour period of rest.

After any deep sea dive the hours spent in a decompression chamber are imperative to expel nitrogen from the body, a result of breathing compressed air, which if not done properly can lead to the condition commonly known as  ‘the bends’,  nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream . Coping with the boredom of being submerged in a pressurised chamber for hours on end is tempered only by the knowledge of those who dive for a living that a few seconds too long underwater or a loss of concentration outside the safety chamber can be and often is fatal.

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