Hunter Pratt: Follow my Journey to Open Circuit Technical Diving

Like many people, in my youth I was fascinated by space.

The mystery, the magnitude, and the beauty, it has always calmed me down and brought peace to my soul. Space tourism is now on the horizon but still no more attainable for the average person. Have you seen what they expect to charge for a trip to the heavens? It’s just as astronomical as their ships will go. Later in high school I turned my sites to a more attainable wonderland, the ocean. The ocean shares a lot of the same mysteries as space, but within the budget of a dedicated 17-year-old high school senior. I earned my first certification with Scuba Tiger in Jacksonville, Florida, only weeks after becoming interested in the thought of diving. I spent the summer after I graduated high school working my way across the big springs of Florida enjoying my new hobby. A short time later adulthood came knocking and I joined the military. My fins and wet suit got hung; my other gear packed into totes in my closet and diving was put on hold for almost 4 years.

In addition to the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment that are instilled within when serving your country in the military, most of those that serve also develop a great appreciation for our history. In my quest for knowledge I eventually discovered and fell in love ships; the romance, the mystique of how these graceful works of engineering tamed the wild frontier of the ocean. These magnificent creations moved our people, our culture and our goods; the drama of their adventures and for many, their demises.

Now living in North Carolina I have learned there are thousands of wrecks littering the ocean floor just off the coast. Many of these wrecks are within diving range and can be penetrated and explored. Naturally I started to get this hunger to visit them. After all, I’m a diver, and so the dive gear came out of the closet. One of my buddies, a cave diver, took a look at my gear and gave me the grim news. My gear was not adequate for my end goal and would require an overhaul.

Words like “DIR” and “Hogarthian” started being introduced into my vocabulary and it was suggested I make my first gear change to a back plate and wing style BCD.

After a few refresher dives it reignited the passion for diving and I realized that the idea of penetrating wrecks was actually within my grasp, so I instantly set to work. Now that I had a new direction to go with for my gear it was time to expand my skills and knowledge. I started making new friends, experienced friends, who would help guide me through the process and feed my desire to progress as a diver with my new goals in mind.

Being eager to share my experience and seek additional advice I have become very active in some Facebook groups related to diving. Through these groups I have made several good contacts and met a few armchair divers who always have an opinion about everything. Through one of these contacts I was approached and asked if I would be interested in teaming up with Team Exploration Divers to write about my journey from the basic certified Open Water diver into technical diving.

I will cover the training I take, the gear I select, and how or why I did such in order to help convey information to other divers who may be interested in progressing down the same road.

If this describes something you are interested in please join me on my journey so that I may help level your learning curve.

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