photo: Scott Cassell
Anyone who has strapped on a SCUBA tank and plunged underwater knows the toll it can take on you. After just an hour underwater, divers often emerge both ravenous and in dire need of a nap.
This weekend, diver Scott Cassell will attempt to push his body to its compressed-air breathing limits. Starting at 4 a.m. on Saturday, his plan is to SCUBA dive from Catalina Island to Los Angeles, a distance of 30 miles.
Cassell will hover between 20 and 30 feet deep during the swim, according to a site designed by Luminox, one of his sponsors. He expects the dive to take between 15 and 20 hours.
The goal is not just to break a world record. Cassell — an environmental activist who also works as a Counterterrorism Combat Dive Instructor to the Special Ops community and is a diving medical technician, among other qualifications — wants to draw attention to the plight of sharks.
Explained a press release about his upcoming dive:
In fact, Cassell will be attempting to entice sharks to visit him during the dive with help from an acoustic shark attractor, which emits noises that sound like struggling fish. The idea is to get a sense of how many sharks actually remain in the area.
Risks, according to Cassell's Kickstarter page, include "hypothermia, decompression sickness, equipment failure, extraordinary currents, physical exhaustion, swimming through a known great-white strike zone for an extended period, or an attack by Humboldt squid." A fence will be towed underneath him to prevent sharks from attacking from below.
To survive for so long underwater, Cassell will be using a computer-controlled Mixed Gas Rebreather, according to the Undersea Voyager Project. Every few hours, he'll stand inside a small dive bell that contains a small air pocket, where he'll be able to breathe, eat and drink coffee while changing tanks at a depth of 20 feet.