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Baltic Sea Divers Technical Conference 2009

Although it is the middle of a hot summer, my thoughts are slowly starting to wander towards late autumn, specifically the beginning of November. That’s when the event will take place, which every diver should have written in red in their calendar! 6-7 November is the weekend when you should forget that your favourite team
Published: August 17, 2010 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 20:56
Baltic Sea Divers Technical Conference 2009

Although it is the middle of a hot summer, my thoughts are slowly starting to wander towards late autumn, specifically the beginning of November. That’s when the event will take place, which every diver should have written in red in their calendar!

6-7 November is the weekend when you should forget that your favourite team is playing a match, your buddy has a birthday party and your in-laws are inviting you for dinner. This is when the fourth edition of the Baltic Technical Divers Conference – BalticTech 2010 – will take place.

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People who took part in the previous editions of this largest diving event in the country, probably do not need to be convinced or persuaded to participate in the next edition. However, for all those who are unfamiliar with the topic, I will try to bring it a little closer, reminding what treats served the organizers in 2009.

At the outset it should be noted that the whole event attracted a record number of 380 participants! Looking at the previous editions – 250 people in 2008 and 170 people in 2007, we can see how immensely popular Baltictech is in the diving world.

Undoubtedly, a large part of the credit for this goes to the organisers who, with every edition of the conference, show great enthusiasm, imagination and growing possibilities. Those of you who decided to come on 20-22 November 2009 to the conference organised in Cetniewo, could not feel disappointed in any respect. The list of 30 diving equipment exhibitors and 18 speakers had to be impressive.

The first day was designated as organisational and apart from Teppo Lallukka’s lecture “Diving at Ojamo Mine”, there was rather little going on. Guests had time to check in and get settled at the resort, have dinner, and after the lecture everyone could relax at a dive film screening.

First place Grand Prix Photo Baltictech 2009 divers24.pl
First place in the photographic competition – Wojciech Surdziel

The next, and at the same time the main day of the event, was a really big dose of information and impressions from the diving world. After breakfast and the official opening of the conference at 9.00 am, the organisers made sure that the gathered guests did not even have a moment to rest. They were started by Iwona Pomian from the Polish Maritime Museum and Janusz Gestwicki from Gdynia Maritime Office. They explained to all wreck diving enthusiasts in a simple and accessible way how to organise wreck diving on unknown vessels and how not to get into legal trouble because of it.

The next lecture was led by a guru in the topic of decompression algorithms – Bruce Wienke (the conference was also an opportunity to purchase his book “Diving above sea level”) The meeting with Bruce Wienke, although very interesting, left a lot of dissatisfaction among the listeners and after the lecture they were besieging his table in large numbers, taking advantage of the opportunity to ask questions.

Third on the list of speakers, Rasmus Lauritsen presented a comparison of several of the most popular closed circuit models and their use in deep diving.

At noon, Dr Mikołaj Wróbel began his lecture. As it later turned out, his lecture “Muscle, bone and joint injuries, and diving”, aroused the greatest interest, and the lecture itself was rated by the audience the highest of all taking place during the conference. You could see the great academic experience of the lecturer, who with a mixture of relevant, factual and interesting information, combined with a dose of humor, was able to attract the attention and interest of a large audience.

Baltictech 2009 photo contest 2nd place divers24.pl
Second place in the photographic competition – Leszek Legat

After Dr Wróbel’s speech, it was time for lunch and a more careful look at the equipment on offer from the exhibiting companies. In the meantime, participants could take part in workshops on underwater photography and more practical ones, e.g. on how to quickly repair a dry suit.

At 15:00 JP Bresser was scheduled to speak about the latest cave projects of the European Karst Plain Project. After him, the microphone was taken over by Dmitri Gorski, who spoke about diving in flooded mines and caves in Sweden, and finally moved on to the main course, which was a lecture on Baltic wrecks on Latvian territory.

Then the hosts and organisers of the Baltictech conference delivered their speeches. The first one to present to the audience was Sebastian Popek, who talked about a very interesting project – Graf Zeppelin 09.

Anders Nasman spoke about the exploration of the very interesting wreck of the 17th century sailing ship Seahorse. His presentation introducing the expedition to the wreck resting at a depth of 105 metres aroused great interest, as did the film material prepared for the occasion.

Using the example of an 18th century sailing shipwreck Krzysztof Wnorowski presented an uninteresting situation concerning wrecks located in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea. The wreck found in 2008 near the Hel coast was systematically stripped of subsequent elements until it was stripped of literally everything, thus adding to the sad picture of our waters, where the first thought for many is “what can we take from here?

The wreck of the 1914 steamer S/S Centric, lying at a depth of 108 metres in the waters surrounding the Åland Islands, was the subject of a presentation by Tomasz Stachura, for whom it was the deepest dive of his career.

After this presentation, a dinner break began, during which the organisers counted the votes for the best photo in the Grand Prix Photo competition. As many as 60 works were submitted to the competition and the fight for top places lasted until the very end. In the end, the highest position on the box was taken by Wojciech Surdziel, followed by Leszek Legat and Dariusz Zacharek.

Baltictech 2009 photo contest 3rd place divers24.pl
3rd place in photographic competition – Dariusz Zacharek

The highlight of the second day was a prize draw among all conference participants. The draw caused a lot of excitement and… hoots of laughter when it turned out, for example, that one reel manufacturer handed its product to a competing company. The closer we got to the end, the more the excitement grew, as the main prizes were two dive computers and a dry suit! We can safely say that it was a very successful end to an equally successful day. After the draw, the organisers invited everyone to the pub for a beer sponsored by them and a diving movie show.

The third day of the Baltichtech 2009 conference started with classes dedicated for all those who would like to start their adventure with technical diving. The workshop conducted by Krzysiek Wnorowski attracted a large group of interested divers. The course of the meeting turned out to be so interesting that it had to be extended by another hour, to at least partially satisfy all those who, despite the “hardships” of the previous day, decided to come early in the morning.

In parallel, Robert Klein gave his lecture on the first cave dives in Florida. This was another interesting history lesson and an opportunity to compare how diving has evolved over the years. The last speaker was Lex Schotema, who introduced all those interested to the diving Netherlands and the problems faced by local divers, as well as ways to deal with them.

The Grande Finale was an open panel on CCRs. A very lively discussion, extreme opinions and a whole lot of emotions – this is how the discussion on the use of closed and semi-closed circuits can be summarised in a nutshell. There is also no doubt how much interest there is in diving with rebreathers. By no means could the panel exhaust the topic, but it was certainly needed, just as there is a need for more such meetings treating and expanding the knowledge of diving with the use of CCRs.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation and sincere congratulations to the organisers. The enormous amount of work and time put into the preparation of the biggest event of this kind in Poland needs to be rewarded, and the best reward will certainly be your participation in the next edition of the BalticTech conference, which will be held on 6-7 November 2010 at the Gdynia Hotel.

The list of invited guests and planned attractions is impressive. The organisers themselves expect that this year’s edition will be the culmination of several years of hard work and experience gathering, but as they themselves announce, they do not intend to rest on their laurels. You are cordially invited!

Photo gallery of Baltictech 2009

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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