Nick Pearigen – Jun 07

My father got me interested in diving when I was 15 years old. Once certified, I quickly became hooked and eventually became an instructor.  Having been diving for over 14 years now, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel throughout the Caribbean and dive the South Eastern U.S. for some unforgettable diving.  My certifications include: Open Water Instructor, CPROX Instructor, Nitrox diver, Dolphin Rebreather diver & Limited Visibility diver.  I’ve more recently gotten into underwater photography and underwater video, with a few lucky shots to my name.  The thing that I enjoy the most about diving is the ability to escape the fastpaced world that we live in today.  Being underwater allows me to truly relax and enjoy life.  Some of the things that I have seen and experiencedunderwater have changed how I look at life.  I have looked over walls that drop over 5,000 feet; seen logger head turtles mate; swam with sharks and watched them feed; explored wrecks; hovered over reefs to watch its inhabitants play, the list goes on and on.  I have also had the honor of meeting Jean-Michel Cousteau, whose advise to me was to teach people to stay off of the reefs.  As memorable as these experiences have been for me, none would have been possible had I not taken the steps needed to become a certified open water diver.  So do your part and start your experiences today with your local dive facility.

Fill the Frame

Figure 1
Figure 1

Fill the frame refers to the idea of having your subject take up all or nearly all the space in the frame. Doing this makes an image bolder, simpler, cleaner and less complicated for the viewer. As an added bonus, images of potentially dangerous or scary critters that look “too close” can have an added momentary startle or “wow” effect. The “that’s closer than I’d get” response. They don’t have to look for the subject, it’s right there in their face. The idea is to cut the clutter out of the picture. That is, eliminate the extra “stuff” around or near the subject that doesn’t help present the image you want to show. Figure 1, Spotted Moray, is the usual view that divers see when looking at a moray. But, this photo has too much distracting clutter. Figure 2 is the same dive, same moray, same camera and lens, I just moved over a little, turned the camera vertical and got closer with the Nikon 60mm micro lens.

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Cave Diving Records

Largest Underwater Caves (Total Surveyed Passage)

  • Sistema Ox Bel Ha, Tulum Mexico: 134, 048 meters with a maximum depth of 110 feet
  • Sistema Sac Actun, Akumal, Mexico: 61,941 meters with a maximum depth of 82 feet
  • Sistema Nohoch Nah Chich, Akumal, Mexico: 61,143 meters with a maximum depth of 235 feet
  • Cenote Dos Ojos, Akumal, Mexico: 56,6971 meters with a maximum depth of 391 feet
  • Leon Sinks Cave System, Florida: 30, 480 meters with a maximum depth of 240 feet
  • Wakulla Springs Cave System, Florida: 42,100 feet with a maximum depth of 300 feet

Deepest Underwater Caves

  • Zacaton, Mexico: 1,148 feet deep, Jim Bowden
  • Fontain de Vauluse, France: 1,033 feet deep
  • Boesmangat, South Africa: 1,016 feet deep

Deepest cave dive by a Woman
In October 2004, Verna van Schaik from Gauteng, South Africa set a world deep diving record by diving to a depth of 725 feet (221 m) at Boesmansgat cave.

Longest Solo Swimming Dive into a Cave

Sheck Exley, 1989, Chips Hole cave system, Florida, solo swimming penetration of 10,444 feet
Longest Solo Scooter/DPV Dive into a Cave
Gilberto Menezes (Brazilian), September 20, 2004, Bananeira Cave, state of Bahia in Central Brazil, Solo scooter/DPV penetration of 6,400 meters (21,000 feet) in the upstream sump of the cave system. The dive lasted 11 hours 23 minutes and was stopped in going passage. The Bananeira sump starts 400 m inside the cave and comprises a narrow passage 3 m wide and 2 m high in average with a silty floor. Although the water is warm (c. 25 ºC), visibility is never more than 3 m being only 1.5 m during the 2004 dives. The underwater passage is generally shallow in the first 3,500 m (25 m maximum depth) becoming gradually deeper until a short loop at around 6,000 m penetration brings the depth to 50 m. The dive was stopped in the ascending portion of the loop at 20 m depth. In his longest push two Submerge Inc. UV-42 scooters (specially adapted with 65-amph @ 24-volts NiMH batteries enabling a total range of about 10,000 m per scooter!) were used. The dive used conventional (open circuit) apparatus and a total of 33 tanks were either used or were in place at the sump during the longest dive. Trimix 25/50 was used from the surface to 25 m depth (up to 5,800 m penetration). Trimix 16/70 was used from 25 to 50 m in depth (from 5,800 m to 6,400 m penetration). Nitrox 70 was used for decompression from 12 m to 7 m in depth (3,000 m to 1,800 m penetration) and pure oxygen was used at 6 m depth (1,800 m penetration) and 3 m depth (1,500 m penetration).

Longest Cave Penetration Dives (scooter/DPV and swim)


  • Gilberto Menezes, September 20, 2004, Upstream sump of Bananeira cave, state of Bahia in Central Brazil, 21,000-foot penetration scooter/DPV dive at a maximum depth of 164 feet
  • WKPP divers, 2000, Wakulla Springs cave system, Florida, 19,000-foot penetration scooter/DPV dive at a maximum depth of 300 feet


  • Sheck Exley, 1989, Chips Hole cave system, Florida, 10,444-foot solo penetration swim dive

Longest Cave Traverse (distance from one cave entrance to another)
WKPP divers, May 29, 1999, Leon Sinks Cave System from Big Dismal to Cheryl Sink, Leon County, Florida, 14,000-foot scooter/DPV traverse at a maximum depth of 220 feet
If there are records you would like us to add to this list, please contact us with the details.

Scuba Diving Records

Longest Dives
Longest Underwater scuba submergence in a controlled environment
The continuous duration record-with no breaks-for remaining underwater using a breathing apparatus is 220 hours by Singapore adventurer Khoo Siow Chiow on December 25, 2005.
Longest Open Freshwater scuba dive
Jerry Hall (USA) spent 71 hours, 39 minutes and 40 seconds underwater on August 6-9, 2002 in South Holston Lake, Bristol Tennessee, USA. Using scuba gear for his dive, Hall spent most of the time reclining on a wooden platform suspended by cables underwater.
Longest Saltwater scuba dive
On December 2004, Johan Beukes spent 82.5 hours underwater in the uShaka Marine World Aquarium in South Africa.
Deepest Dives
Deepest open circuit scuba dive
Pascal Bernabé (Ralf Tech/WR1 Team) on July 5, 2005 descended to 1,083 feet (330 m). The dive took place near Propriano, Corsica.
Deepest Rebreather dive
The late Dave Shaw on October 28, 2004 set the world record depth for a rebreather dive when he descended to 885 feet (270 m) using a modified Mk 15.5 rebreather at Boesmansgat, South Africa. This was also the deepest cave dive on a rebreather and the deepest altitude dive on a rebreather. The cave elevation is 5,085 feet (1,550 m).
Deepest wreck dive
On December 12, 2005, Leigh Cunningham and Mark Andrews set the deepest wreck dive on the MV Yolande at a depth of 205 meters (672 feet). They spent six minutes on the wreck and had a run time of 205 minutes. Mark Andrews and Leigh Cunningham are both Instructor trainers for the professional scuba association and teach a range of technical diving in the Red Sea.
Deepest woman wreck dive
On Mayday, 2007, local technical diver and instructor Nina Preisner set a new world record. At 13.40 local time, she became the deepest woman wreck diver on open circuit scuba, having glided comfortably down through the blue to settle on the bow of the Jolanda at a depth of 159 metres (529 feet). Carrying 6 tanks of various breathing gasses and accompanied by Oceans’ Deepest Angel, Neil Black, she spent 4 minutes on the sunken deck of the stricken vessel during a dive that lasted 157 minutes, most of which was spent decompressing.
Highest Dives (altitude diving)

In 2000, a Russian team (Andrei Andryushin, Denis Bakin and Maxim Gresko) set the unofficial world record for high altitude scuba diving at Lake Tilicho in the Anapurna range in Nepal. They dove at an altitude of 16,000+ feet.
In 2002, NASA planetary geologis Dr. Natalie Cabrol set the unofficial world record for high altitude free diving in the Licancábur volcanic lake in Chile/Bolivia. The lake is at 19,400 feet.
Other diving records
For a list of cave diving records, click here.
For a list of free diving records, click here.
If there are records you would like us to add to this list, please contact us with the details.