Posted 15/6/2008 10:19 (#425) Subject: The Skandalopetra of the Mediterranean people. (By Dr D. Chatzimentor)
Breath-Hold Diving with Skandalopetra is the oldest and the only style of diving which for centuries, has been employed by the Mediterranean divers for deep and safe diving. The shape of skandalopetra and the ability to be controlled with the help of the robe, are interrelated with its high descent speed and the effortless ascent. The descent speed had to be fast and at the same time the diver had to be in control so he could easily equalise the pressure in the middle ear. It is a fact that many professional divers in the past were choosing the intentional rupture of their ear drums. Tragically our ancestors managed to find a way to make their daily job easier without having to worry about equalization. Similarly they were not bothered with the eventual tragic consequences of their practice which include deafness and vertigo problems. Figure out that: My friend Taurus can even smoke from his ears. And hey he is not even a smoker!
The great majority of divers at that time were seeking: 1. A fast but yet controllable speed of descent. 2. The ability to choose or correct the course to the bottom. 3. Longer bottom time. 4. Easy method of carrying the stone during the underwater work. 5. Maximum Ascent Speed. 6. To be sure that they would return to the boat.
The result of the experiments was that our ancestors end up with a more or the less flat rock shape, that was more like a bell. This hydrodynamic tunnel of history gave born to skandalopetra. As Mr. G Hilas was explaining during one of his presentations at kalymnos, this invention is aged back to Homer’s era. Nikolas has analyzed in a series of articles the shape and the handle of skandalopetra, the dive, how the diver is standing on it and finally how the assistant (Kolaouzieris) is bringing him back to the surface.
It is amazing how the old sponge divers of Kalymnos and the other islands of the eastern Aegean sea are mastering these techniques. It is similarly impressive that we have not add anything! All we do is copying them and give a little modernize explanation, this old “common secret”. It is nothing more than freediving with static apnoea which in turn maximises the bottom time. We are securely be linked with our boat and we ride skandalopetra. The stone, the horse, and the diver as an other version of jockey. This diving has no risk for life. Those who worked in past as sponge divers were pretty sure that they would going to be cold, would be very tired, sunburned but definitely and above all they knew that at they would be back home.
In our modern era, the scientific diving evolved with dramatic pace and resulted in the invention of many techniques and tools. This small bell-like piece of rock may appear simple. It is simple. It is also reliable. Time has not put its effects upon it. It is accurate. This piece of rock may give us the experience of the the sea around our bodies, inside our nostrils. You are always linked to the surface. It is all about a high dose of technique and a small amount of technology. Our ancestors have been doing this for centuries. It is waiting for you to explore!