GUE Conference Speakers

2017
SPEAKERS

Mike Barnette
Jon Bernot
Dorota Czerny
David Doolette
Kirill Egorov
Christine Grosart
Joe Hoyt
Jarrod Jablonski
John Kendall

Todd Kincaid
Richard Lundgren
Sam Meacham
Alberto Nava
Andy Pitkin
Charlie Roberson
Matt Vinzant
William Winram


Here is a first look at some of the talented presenters who will be featured at this year's conference. Presentations will take place Saturday, October 28 at the University of Florida Reitz Union, 686 Museum Rd, Gainesville, FL 32611. Workshops will take place Sunday, October 29 at various locations in and around High Springs.

Mike Barnette

The Britannic

Diving one of the world's most spectacular and challenging wrecks

An accomplished diver, author, and photographer, Michael Barnette has been actively researching and exploring shipwrecks for almost 25 years, resulting in the identification of more than 40 shipwrecks. In 1996, he founded the Association of Underwater Explorers, a coalition of divers dedicated to the research, exploration, documentation, and preservation of submerged cultural resources. He has dived on numerous historic shipwrecks, including the ironclad U.S.S. Monitor, the liner Andrea Doria, the Great White Fleet battleship U.S.S. Virginia, and the H.M.H.S. Britannic, sister ship of the fabled R.M.S. Titanic. In 2009, Barnette was elected as a fellow to the Explorers Club. Barnette has published three books on Florida shipwreck and maritime history, the most recent being the definitive Encyclopedia of Florida Shipwrecks, Volume I: Atlantic Coast. Michael is employed as a marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and lives with his wife in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Jon Bernot

Long-Range Cave Exploration in the Suwannee River Basin

Join Karst Underwater Research (KUR) divers Charlie Roberson and Jon Bernot for a discussion of their ongoing exploration of the Falmouth-Cathedral and Lineater cave systems. These twin but so far unconnected cave systems have lived up to their challenging reputations and world-record history. In 2016, Jon and Charlie set a new world record for penetration in an underwater cave at 8,208 m/26,930 ft in the Falmouth-Cathedral system. This year, the team has focused its exploration efforts on Lineater, where the penetration is currently 7,065 mi/21,194 ft. The long distances and often poor conditions in these systems present unique logistical challenges for exploration.

Jon Bernot started diving in the lakes in Oklahoma as a teenager and became a scuba instructor in 2005 while attending the University of Oklahoma. After serving as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, he purchased his first dive operation in coastal North Carolina and later moved to North Florida. With a strong background in wreck and cave diving, he is currently the owner and training director of Cave Country Dive Shop in High Springs, Florida. Before that, he was a service and product manager for Dive Rite. His experiences have allowed him to learn about the industry from the unique perspectives of an instructor, owner of a retail facility, and as part of a major manufacturer. He has certified nearly a thousand students from the open water through technical instructor levels and is an IT with IANTD. In addition to a B.A. in Political Science, he holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management. He currently teaches courses on the O2ptima, KISS, Fathom, and JJ CCRs. He still loves teaching after ten years as an instructor, but is also an avid explorer, and his favorite type of dive is always a deep cave dive.

Dorota Czerny

Movement Mechanics & Posture Workshop

Achieve effortless trim and effective propulsion techniques by building awareness of how your body moves through proper functional anatomy and body posture.

Dorota I. Czerny has been involved in the dive industry since 1999, when she first became a scuba instructor. What started as a mere fascination with the underwater world developed into a profession when, in 2001, she decided to quit teaching at Silesian University and begin working in Egypt. Over the next 10 years, she not only gained the experience of several thousand dives but also developed into a skilled dive educator and dive operations manager. Her constant striving for excellence brought her to GUE in 2005, and since then has been committed to the development of the organization and its training at the highest level. Within GUE, Dorota is an Instructor Evaluator and a Recreational and Technical instructor; she holds a Master's degree in Political and Social Sciences, as well as a degree in Journalism.

David Doolette

The Helium Penalty

A review of the evidence concerning decompression obligations for dives using helium mixtures, from the first heliox dives in the 1930s through to recent experiments.

Dr. David Doolette began scuba diving in 1979 and was introduced to sinkholes and caves of Australia in 1984. During this time he alternated between studying for his B.Sc. and working as a dive instructor, and he developed an interest in diving physiology. He planned and conducted among the first technical dives in Australia in 1993. Since being awarded his Ph.D. in 1995, he has conducted full time research into decompression physiology, first at the University of Adelaide, and since 2005 at the U.S. Navy Experimental Diving Unit. He has published widely in the scientific and military technical literature, and produces military decompression procedures. He has lectured widely on topics related to decompression theory and technical diving. He has been a member of the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society since 1987, received their 2003 Oceaneering International Award, and is a member of their Diving Committee. He has been a member of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine since 1990 where he was the Education Officer for five years. He is a member of the Cave Diving Association of Australia, the Australian Speleological Federation Cave Diving Group, Global Underwater Explorers, the Mexico Cave Exploration Project, and the Woodville Karst Plain Project, and is an avid underwater cave explorer.

Kirill Egorov

Alternative CCR Configurations

The more adventurous the dive site, the more demanding it may be to our equipment. Adopting and adjusting your configuration is a key to enhancing your exploration limits.

Kirill Egorov graduated from Moscow State Pedagogical University as a teacher of Physics in 1999, and attended a course of archaeology at Moscow State University. These two specialties allowed him to participate in a multiple scientific research programs, including an archaeological and textile research project at the Moscow Kremlin Museums and Viking Age textile research at the Russian Natural and Historical Heritage Institute. After his first try-dive in 2000, Kirill was totally amazed with the underwater world, and made it his hobby first, and a profession later. He became a PADI recreational and technical instructor in 2003-2004 and joined GUE in 2005. Since that moment he has concentrated on two main passions: diving and teaching diving. Kirill is currently teaching for GUE at Cave 2 and Tech 2 levels and working on GUE training materials. He resides in High Springs, Florida which allows him to cave dive as much as possible while pursuing a new hobby, underwater photography.

Christine Grosart

Cave Exploration in Croatia
/Dry Caving Workshop

Christine is talking about her ongoing exploration project in a significant cave system in Croatia.
Plus, Christine will be running a drop-in clinic for dry caving skills, covering basic techniques through to technical skills, cylinder transportation, and navigation.

Christine Grosart is a cave diver and explorer with over a decade of experience in caves all over the world. She set the UK women’s record for cave diving depth in Wookey Hole Caves, and is an avid cave explorer in Croatia and France, where she holds the end of the end of the line in three different caves. She is a full-time registered paramedic and a caving instructor in her spare time, introducing people to dry caves and advancing their skills. She specializes in training cave divers in the techniques required to operate safely in the dry cave before they even get to the water. Christine enjoys cave photography, is GUE Tech 1 and Cave 1 certified, and has been a manager for Project Baseline South Wales Caves since 2010.

Joe Hoyt

The Future of Photogrammetry

The history and current applications of photogrammetry technology, including its use documenting Swedish wrecks and during the recent GUE collaboration with NOAA documenting U-576.

Joe Hoyt is a maritime archaeologist with NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. He specializes in archaeological recording of deep water shipwrecks. He has worked on several NOAA projects in the Thunder Bay, Florida Keys, and Monitor National Marine Sanctuaries since 2001. In 2004, he was awarded the North American Rolex Scholarship through the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society. He has worked on underwater archaeology projects in the Great Lakes, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and several inland rivers. Joe is also an avid underwater photographer and technical diver, and has crewed documentary expeditions on BBC's Planet Earth and PBS. Since 2008 Hoyt has been the PI on a multifaceted wide area investigation of WWII era shipwrecks lost off the coast of North Carolina. Survey methodologies employed for these assessments are designed to cover the need for sound archaeological recording as well as address concerns relating to the management and long term monitoring of cultural resources. Hoyt holds an MA in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology from East Carolina University.

Jarrod Jablonski

Keynote Speaker

Welcome and Conference Overview

Jarrod Jablonski is an avid explorer, researcher, author, and instructor who teaches and dives in oceans and caves around the world. Trained as a geologist, Jarrod is the founder and president of GUE and CEO of Halcyon and Extreme Exposure while remaining active in conservation, exploration, and filming projects worldwide. His explorations regularly place him in the most remote locations in the world, including several world record excursions at 300ft to cave penetrations in excess of 24,000feet/7km; these dives include bottom times of 12 hours with total immersions near 30 hours. Jarrod is also an author with dozens of publications, including three books and several forthcoming.

John Kendall

The Future of Photogrammetry
/ Hands-On Photogrammetry Workshop

The history and current applications of photogrammetry technology, including its use documenting Swedish wrecks and during the recent GUE collaboration with NOAA documenting U-576.

John Kendall is a GUE technical and cave instructor living in the UK. Since he was a small child, John has been fascinated by the underwater environment and the possibilities of adventure, and he is grateful to GUE for helping him to turn those childhood dreams into reality. As an instructor, John regularly travels around the world teaching GUE classes and helping to build local GUE communities. He is also the project manager for Project Baseline Malta. When not diving (which is rare), John is also a commercially qualified UAV pilot.

Todd Kincaid

North Florida Nature Field Trip
/ Bluefields and U-576 /
Project Baseline /
Project Baseline Workshop

Join Dr. Kincaid on a full-day trip through the beauty of North Central Florida's wild spaces, including a hike into a sinkhole and canoeing on the Santa Fe River.
Plus, in a collaboration with the NOAA, GUE was the first to explore the WWII-era wrecks of the
Bluefields and U-576.
Project Baseline is GUE's flagship conservation initiative, spanning from grassroots documentation and cleanup efforts to global research projects.
Plus, this workshop will give you all the tools and information to get a PB project started in your area.

Dr. Todd Kincaid has been diving since 1979 and cave diving since 1987. He has explored and mapped underwater caves in Florida, Turkey, Mexico, and China and studied the role of caves in controlling groundwater flow patterns for M.S. and Ph.D. university degrees. He is currently working with a team of researchers and explorers with the Florida Geological Survey and GUE’s Woodville Karst Plain Project to understand karstic groundwater flow to Wakulla Spring in North Florida. That work has included detailed underwater cave mapping, quantitative groundwater tracing, hydraulic metering of discrete cave passages, and the numerical simulation of conduit/matrix groundwater flow. He is one of the original founders of GUE, currently serves as GUE’s Vice President, and also leads a small consulting company, GeoHydros, that specializes in geological and groundwater modeling. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the Hydrogeology Consortium and the Florida Springs Institute, both non-profit organizations dedicated to the protection of Florida’s springs.

Richard Lundgren

The Future of Photogrammetry
/ Hands-On Photogrammetry Workshop

The history and current applications of photogrammetry technology, including its use documenting Swedish wrecks and during the recent GUE collaboration with NOAA documenting U-576.

Richard Lundgren is the founder of Scandinavia’s Baltic Sea Divers and Ocean Discovery diving groups, and is a member of GUE’s Board of Directors. He has participated in numerous underwater expeditions worldwide and is one of Europe’s most experienced trimix divers. With more than 4000 dives to his credit, Richard Lundgren was a member of the GUE expeditions to dive the Britannic (sister ship of the ill-fated Titanic) in 1997 and 1999; has been involved in numerous projects to explore mines and caves in Sweden, Norway, and Finland. In 1997, in arctic conditions, he performed the longest cave dive ever carried out in Scandinavia. Richard’s other exploration work has included the 1999 filming of the famous submarine, M1, for the BBC; the side scan sonar surveys of the Spanish gold galleons off Florida’s Key West in 2000; and the search for the Admiral’s Fleet, an ongoing project that has already led to the discovery of more than 40 virgin wrecks perfectly preserved in the cold waters of the Swedish Baltic Sea.

Sam Meacham

Mexico Cave Exploration Project

This ongoing project boasts impressive progress documenting Mexico's gorgeous caves.

Sam Meacham is the Director of El Centro Investigador del Sistema Acuifero in Quintana Roo. An experienced cave diver, he remains committed to understanding the complex dynamics of the Yucatán Peninsula's karst aquifer, as well as the people affected by it. He has extensive experience leading cave diving expeditions in the region, the most significant of which is the ongoing exploration of Sistema Ox Bel Ha and the adjacent Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Sam earned a Master’s Degree in Science in Natural Resources in 2012 from the University of New Hampshire, and he has been a Fellow of the Explorers Club of New York since 2000, a NASA Space Grant Fellow, and a Best of Adventure Honoree in 2008’s National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Sam has appeared in documentary films for CNN International, The Discovery Channel, PBS, NHK, National Geographic, BBC and BBC’s Natural History Unit, including the critically acclaimed “Planet Earth” series.

Alberto Nava

Hoyo Negro /
Geotagging Workshop

Cave exploration and archaeology in the Yucatan
Plus, This workshop will present an easy way to geo-tag your underwater images with corresponding lat/long values so most image software will position them properly on Google Maps.

Alberto Nava, co-director and lead diver for the Hoyo Negro Project and a National Geographic Society grantee, is an underwater explorer and cartographer working on the caves of the Yucatán Peninsula. In 2007, while exploring a large section of the Sac Aktun Cave System (one of the longest on earth), his team discovered Hoyo Negro, a large, submerged pit that contains remains of animals and a human skeleton from the late Pleistocene. A native of Venezuela, Nava now lives in Monterey, CA, where he teaches technical diving for Global Underwater Explorers and works as a software engineer. He is also a visiting researcher at the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archeology (CISA3) at the University of California in San Diego.

Andy Pitkin

Weekie Wachee

A unique project much aligned with GUE principles, this documentation includes great video footage and a discussion of the need for specific configurations during certain dives.

Andrew Pitkin learned to dive in 1992 in the cold, murky waters of the United Kingdom and started cave and technical diving in 1994. His first exposure to exploration was in 1995 when he was one of a team of divers who were the first to reach the bottom of the Great Blue Hole of Belize at 408 ft/123 m. Subsequently, he has been involved in numerous cave exploration projects in Belize, Mexico, and the USA. From 1996-2000 he was employed at the Royal Navy’s Institute of Naval Medicine, running a hyperbaric facility, treating decompression illness, and participating in research into outcomes after decompression illness, submarine escape, and testing of new military underwater breathing systems. He is one of a handful of civilians to be trained by the Royal Navy as a diving medical officer. He is currently on the faculty of the University of Florida College of Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology. His professional interests include pediatric cardiac anesthesia and medical education. Since moving to Florida in 2007, he has been involved with a number of cave exploration projects with Karst Underwater Research. His other underwater interests include cave videography, survey, and radiolocation.

Charlie Roberson

Long-Range Cave Exploration in the Suwannee River Basin

Join Karst Underwater Research (KUR) divers Charlie Roberson and Jon Bernot for a discussion of their ongoing exploration of the Falmouth-Cathedral and Lineater cave systems. These twin but so far unconnected cave systems have lived up to their challenging reputations and world-record history. In 2016, Jon and Charlie set a new world record for penetration in an underwater cave at 8,208 m/26,930 ft in the Falmouth-Cathedral system. This year, the team has focused its exploration efforts on Lineater, where the penetration is currently 7,065 mi/21,194 ft. The long distances and often poor conditions in these systems present unique logistical challenges for exploration.

Charlie Roberson learned to dive in 1991 while serving in the US Navy. His checkout dives were conducted in the springs of North Central Florida, giving Charlie his first glimpse of divers entering the area’s caves. Shortly thereafter, Charlie was shipped off to Guam, where he spent the next two years diving the wrecks and deep walls of the Western Pacific. After returning to the states, Charlie moved to Gainesville, Florida to pursue his dream of cave diving. He was fortunate to have great mentors and dive buddies during his formative years of cave diving. Years later, Charlie is still cave diving and, along with his regular dive buddy, Jon Bernot, currently holds the world record for penetration in an underwater cave at 26,930 ft / 8,208 m. Charlie is a Director of Karst Underwater Research (KUR). He has participated in KUR exploration and survey projects at Weeki Wachee/Twin Dees, Manatee Springs, M2 Blue, Suwannee Spring, Phantom Springs, Falmouth-Cathedral, and Lineater.

Matt Vinzant

Weekie Watchee

A unique project much aligned with GUE principles, this documentation includes great video footage and a discussion of the need for specific configurations during certain dives.

Matt Vinzant has been infatuated with springs and caves his entire life. Matt learned to dive in 1998 in central Florida and began his overhead training in 1999. Matt is passionate about caves, both flooded and dry. He enjoys all aspects of caving: sidemount, no-mount, deep, long-range, siphons, silty, sumps, vertical, and survey. He has actively participated in cave exploration throughout the southeastern United States and Mexico. Matt has a BS in Environmental Science from the University of South Florida and works for the Southwest Florida Water Management District implementing water conservation best management practices in agriculture. Matt became involved with exploration with Karst Underwater Research in 2011 and the Huautla Resurgence Project in 2017. If Matt is not underground, underwater, or ridge walking, he is modifying or building equipment to overcome the challenges of cave exploration.

William Winram

Freediving with Great Whites
/ Freediving Tips & Tricks
/ Breath Hold Workshop

A unique experience and a strong conservation mission shared through compelling footage; plus, learn how you can become a freediver too!

A life on, in and around the water has always been a part of William’s heritage. Born and raised in the Canadian Pacific Northwest in the early 1960s, he learned to freedive before he was ten years old. For the next ten years, he spent most of his time as a competitive swimmer with only occasional forays to the ocean. William is also an avid surfer and loves to swim with dolphins, whales, and sharks, the latter being his passion. He discovered freediving was a competitive sport in 2005, and quickly became part of the elite, earning several medals and setting many records. Later, he started lending his breath-hold diving skills to ocean conservation by photographing and placing tracking devices on large marine animals. In 2009, together with underwater photographer and freediving word-record holder Fred Buyle, he created Ocean Encounters, offering trips with breath-hold diving and an environmental focus. In 2012, William founded The Watermen Project, an NPO dedicated to ocean conservation and shark tagging expeditions around the globe. In 2013, he was named Ocean Ambassador for the Global Marine and Polar Programme of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). Today, William still competes at the international level in addition to underwater filming, teaching seminars, and coaching other freedivers. Back on land, Winram also gives presentations on shark behavior and conservation. He is the holder of two world records and one historic record.


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