Explorers Connect

Dive N60 - summer solstice simultaneous dive of the northern 60th parallel

Join a TeamJames Hipkiss

I thought I would take this opportunity to update you all on the progress of DiveN60 as a lot has been happening in the last few months. There are still a couple of spots each on the Alaska (total cost ~1600 Inc. UK flights), Norway (total cost ~700 Inc. UK flights) and Shetlands (total cost ~700 Inc. travel from London) trips for diving 17 to 21 June this year. Get in touch with me here if interested. Since Paul Rose and I first discussed DiveN60 (less than six months ago!) it has somewhat taken on a life of its own and become much bigger than I could have imagined, although I think Paul always thinks enormous ;-) DiveN60 has now become, not just a celebration of 60 years of British diving and a fundraiser for Help for Heroes/Marine Conservation Society, but a global citizen science project that will leave a legacy for our children, in terms of teaching resource for schools.

This means that we will now run the diving on the 60th parallel over a number of summer solstices (this year is the first of many) and the BBC and Channel 4 have expressed an interest in filming next years diving and science experiments. It also means we are able to deliver a legacy teaching aid that can be aligned with the National Curriculum and teacher lesson plans (not something that can be achieved in six months!). So this year there will be three dive trips on the summer solstice to Alaska, Norway and the Shetlands (yes, the logistics of diving some remote locations, like the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia, on our planet takes more than six months to resolve!). They will each carry out simple citizen science experiments that will be fed into the website being designed for the children. There are still a couple of spots available to dive on each of these trips, so please get in touch with me if you would like to join us diving this year.

The three teams are fundraising for Battleback (Help for Heroes) and the Marine Conservation Society. We have a joint target of 10,000 so please go to: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/dive_n60 and donate some money to these two charities. Who will be the first to donate? In slightly slower time, a website is being built and data recording equipment is being deployed to a variety of locations on the 60th parallel, supported by IPL, Rolex, the Open University and the Royal Geographical Society. This will align with Key Stage 3 and 4 of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics part of the National Curriculum. A teaching training pack will be delivered to all UK Secondary schools at the beginning of the next academic year (so teachers can plan their involvement during the teaching year). Paul Rose is in discussions with both the BBC and Channel 4 to make a documentary on citizen science on the 60th parallel. We are liaising with NASA to obtain images of the dive sites from Space on the summer solstices as the satellites make a pass. The science experiments that will be undertaken include... Space: Our science team has excellent links with the International Space Station (ISS), UK Space Agency, NASA and the European Space Agency.

We are working on an ISS live link to our project that will include opportunities for students to be in direct contact with the astronauts along with collaboration on our data collection and our joint visual impact. Depending on the ISS training schedules we may also have one of the ISS astronauts join us. Upper atmosphere: We will launch near-space balloons, which travel to 18 miles high and for the first time will be transmitting live images and high speed data (usually the data and film is collected after the balloon is recovered). But not being short of ambition we are working hard on developing new ways to transmit everything live. The balloons will carry a video camera, an infrared camera to record sea-surface temperatures, GPS and weather instruments. This simultaneous launch will be a world's first and will provide valuable ground-truthing to existing science work such as providing accurate information for the new algorithm for sea surface temperature measurements. The visual images themselves will be a stunning snapshot of the planet at 60 degrees north at summer solstice. Surface: We are now working on deploying automatic weather stations, tide gauges and air samplers at each DiveN60 location. The surface experiments will remain in situ after DiveN60 and will continue to transmit essential data for many years. We will deploy Secchi disks to measure phytoplankton. The surface science projects will also be filmed and the data transmitted live. Sea: On our dives we will deploy Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth devices (CTD's) - a classic and very valuable measure of salinity, temperature and depth. We will also carry plankton nets, water sampling equipment and of course video cameras. Our dives will be filmed and transmitted live, and if we keep up this level of ambition we might also be able to transmit the dive video live too!

The science projects are all being developed now and will provide a very valuable data set for schools, universities, and the general public. A global citizen science project that captures the energy of a beautiful, world's first, snapshot of the planet at summer solstice. The science team includes: * Dr Helen Jane Fraser at The Open University * Graeme Lawrie at Sevenoaks School * Dr Richard Kirby at Plymouth University * The Royal Geographical Society The DiveN60 website will be updated with all these details, above, shortly. DiveN60 is a world's first dive project of its type and by making use of our dive logistics to deploy valuable science projects we have built in a beautiful and essential legacy package. Along with the science data, the visual impact will be a stunning way to help audiences and students focus on global issues and contribute to mass audience participation science. It's a wonderful way to celebrate the summer solstice and certainly beats dancing naked around Stonehenge! Please do support us in anyway you can by (1) coming diving with us this year (2) donating to charity through our fundraiser page or (3) spreading the word to friends who you think might want to get involved/donate. Dan -- SCUBA divers are sought to take part in a highly ambitious global adventure to mark the 60th anniversary of a London club.

Dive N60 will take place on the summer solstice, June 21, with dives organised in six different seas along the northern 60th parallel of the planet. Scuba divers in six locations, Alaska, Russia, Greenland, Norway, Canada and the Shetland Islands, will at the same time enter the water and face the striking challenges which each sea has to offer including brash ice and hungry killer whales. The project is the brainchild of Dan Klein, a keen sailor who has scuba dived for 25 years and is an active member of London No. 1 Branch, the first ever branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC). BSAC is the UK national governing body of the sport and was founded back in 1953. It now has more than 1,000 scuba diving clubs around the country as well as overseas. Both BSAC and London No. 1 are marking their Diamond Jubilee this year and, like the Queen, are determined it should be remembered for a long time to come. Dan, 41, who works in IT for Media, said: I did just wake up one morning and think this would be a really cool idea. The club had already been talking about diving up in the Shetlands because it is on the northern 60th parallel and so I thought why not take that a step forward and take our 60th anniversary around the planet.

Dan immediately texted explorer, broadcaster and friend, Paul Rose, to be sure his idea was a possibility. Dan said: When he texted back to say what a great idea and count me in, then I knew it wasnt bonkers! The aim of Dive N60 is to raise awareness of the worlds cold water seas and specifically the changing conditions of those on the northern 60th parallel, including our own British waters. It will also serve to celebrate the wonders of diving both as a recreational passion and as a proven therapy for the injured - particularly those in the military. It will take intrepid scuba divers to places off the beaten track and all participants will be asked to raise money for two charities Earthwatch and Help For Heroes. BSAC Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, who completed some of her first ever dives with London No.1, said: I am inspired but also astounded by the scale of the project which our first ever club has planned to mark our joint Diamond Jubilee.

They have the support of BSAC behind them and we have been offering all our experience and expertise to help with organising the N60 from a safety point of view. I am very proud of what they are setting out to achieve and it is testament to the dedicated and passionate volunteers which the London club has and who exist throughout our organisation. Dan said: We have a real desire with this project to transmit the wonders of the planet which people dont necessarily think about and will be diving places which people dont necessarily visit. Each location will present its own set of conditions.

In Canada and Russia, divers will be faced with brash ice but by the time you get to Greenland there will be no ice in the water. One of the very surprising things we also learnt after speaking to BSACs safety expert Jim Watson is that one of our number one risks for diving in those six locations on that day are orca whales. Plankton blooms move north as the seas warm up and it will have drifted into that area by then which means all the big wildlife is in town. If orcas are passing through, then we wont be diving but we simply wont know exactly what we will be facing until we get there. Dan is being supported on the project by club members Megan Peat and Emma Lawrence. Megan has taken on the role of project manager and is helping to organise the logistics of each dive in each location by making contact with local travel operators. Megan, 39, who works in banking, said: It is very exciting and it is a great opportunity for divers to be part of something which has never been done before. Hopefully it will raise some publicity for our club and some money for good causes at the same time. When I first heard about the idea, my initial reaction was excitement but about five minutes later, I did also question what an earth I had let myself in for by agreeing to project manage Dive N60. One of the big challenges has been trying to find people to help us in terms of the expedition arrangers in each location.

We obviously need people we can trust to know what they are doing but we are almost set now. Megans fellow club member, Emma, is equally enthusiastic and said the project had created a real buzz in the club. Emma, 30, who also works in banking, said: We got together over pizza to decide what to do for our 60th anniversary and this was the idea which really captured peoples imaginations and made us all think wow, how great would that be? We do also have other events planned throughout the year but this will be the big one. Our club is really steeped in history and it just seemed the right thing to do to mark the occasion. Participant divers for the N60 must be either BSAC Sports Divers or PADI Rescue Divers with a drysuit qualification.

Organisers also say the logistics of diving in some of the locations where there is less human population will also be challenging. Each dive location will be a separate expedition with overall responsibility for the logistics and safety taken by experienced and local tour operators. The cost of the trip will vary according to the location, ranging from 700 to 8,000, and all participants will be targeting 1,000 of fundraising towards the two chosen charities. It is expected most expeditions will be a week long, starting on June 16. Interested divers can find out more and register for their preferred dive locations at www.diven60.org To find out more about London No.1 branch, which meets every Tuesday evening at Seymour Leisure Centre in Marylebone go to www.londondiver.com