Above and Beyond
by Phil Short, Fellow Explorers Club,
Fellow Royal Geographical Society.
In my 30 year career within various parts of the diving community I have had the privilege to work with many manufacturers and industry professionals, testing and using their equipment to the extreme and normally destroying it in the process through overuse and abuse in hostile environments. From the first test dive in a prototype Xerotherm I knew I had found a quality high performance product from a manufacturer that cared about the divers needs and listened to the divers feedback.
Then my already high opinion of Fourth Element was elevated into the stratosphere of excellence when they agreed to work with a specialist research company called Cupron to invent a new protective under garment for Bill Stone’s 2013 J2 cave project on which Marcin Gala and myself were privileged to be lead exploration divers and cavers and spend a total of 45 days over 12 kilometres into the earth.
Photo: Camp 3
Marcin Gala and Phil Short in Fourth Element J2 base layer at Camp 3 J2 over 10 horizontal and 1 vertical kilometres into the earth. Photo USDCT.
The J2 base layer was impregnated with copper and silver to prevent fungal and microbial infection in warm, damp and dirty environments and man! did it work!
The push team had a top and bottom for daily caving and a fresh top and bottom plus socks with individual toes and gloves for sleeping. In 45 days underground, the longest single trip being 21 days with Marcin and I alone beyond sump 2 we had zero skin irritations, infection or nail bed issues…. Fourth Element…. Above and beyond, thank you!
Photo: Sump 4
Marcin Gala, Phil Short and Nick Vieiro in Fourth Element J2 base layer beyond sump 2 at camp 4 in the J2 cave. Photo USDCT
Photo: “Phil after 21 days…”
A 65 kilogram ’slim’ Phil Short after 3 months on the mountain, 45 days of which under the Earth. Photo USDCT.
Phil Short has been a dive industry professional for over 20 years, during which time he has logged over 6000 dives with over 3000 hours on Closed Circuit Rebreathers. As an educator Phil has trained scientific groups, including US National Parks Service, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the Archeologists of the Chinese National Museum in Beijing, Search and Rescue Teams, such as the UK Police Strathclyde Underwater Search team, and Media teams from the BBC. Phil’s current projects include a Deep Wreck research project with Paul Toomer in Malta, a Deep Wreck research project in Israel, A Cave diving project with Kevin Gurr and Jill Heinerth in the Sahara (North Africa) and an ongoing Cave project with the British Cave Diving Group in Greece.
Read more about Phil’s J2 adventure in our Wetnotes Story > 1000 hours under the Earth