Whilst most of us were preparing to start our Christmas celebrations a group of Russian divers were returning back from the Antartic after completing a record breaking dive into the caldera of an active volcano at Deception Island.
The Russian Divers – led by Dimitri Schiller – were part of the “Antarctica 100” expedition of the Russian Geographical Society. The whole project was created to develop safe deep diving methods in Antarctic conditions as well as to test the teams diving equipment.
The project’s objective was to develop relatively safe methods of deep diving in the Antarctic conditions to improve the effectiveness of underwater exploration. In addition, the team was testing Russian diving equipment.
On 10th December the team leader Dmitry Schiller dived 97m into the Antarctic waters near Deception Island, a ring-shaped caldera of a struck volcano.
“To begin with, passing the Drake Passage on a 16-meter ice class sailing yacht was not the most pleasant event in our lives”, says Schiller. “Almost all the time the yacht literally went at an angle of 35-40°. 24 hours a day. The team kept ice watches tracking ice blocks in the sea and dodging them. It was always snowy or rainy.”
“The weather gave us only one eight-hour window near the island of Deception. It was enough to carry out one dive. Or two rather: one deep dive to the depth of 97 meters and one to the depth of 45 meters.
“So without any estimations we started working. We planed to dive to the depth of 100 meters. However, the depth was only 97 meters. We reached the bottom.
“In short, it was very hard. Perhaps it was my most difficult mission for the last five years,”Schiller concluded.