The Longest Dive – 50 hours Beneath the Surface
By Shaff Naeem
Others might spend that one weekend in February going skiing, suntanning at the beach, enjoying a good movie and a cup of tea or spending time with the family. I am going to spend it underwater. The entire weekend? Pretty much.
People who know me know my sense for adventures and challenges. It all started when I sneaked away from home to go diving, without my mum knowing obviously. I probably inherited that gene that pulled me to the water from my dad, who was a captain on big cargo ships. The adventure continued in the military, where I became a Navy Clearance Diver and worked my way up to being an instructor for the Maldivian Coast Guard, Special Forces and the Marines. That was fun!
But I wanted to do more. After the event “Dive 48”, where we dove in teams for 48 hours to collect scientific data about the reef and to raise awareness for the fragile underwater environment, I knew that there must be more to come. In 2019 I planned to do a dive for 24 consecutive hours on my own, but for reasons out of my control, it didn’t come to fruition. Did I forget about that idea? Definitely not!
It so came that the Maldivian government has announced that 2022 will be celebrated for 50 years of tourism in Maldives. That’s when I had the idea – “why not extend those 24 hours a little bit and make it 50 hours?”. I had many talks with friends from the tech diving community. Was it doable? What does it take to make it a success? What equipment is needed? Eventually “Ocean 6/50” was born, a dive for 50 hours at 6 metres.
Being a Maldivian and a diver for over 27 years, I am extremely worried about the marine world. It is a fact that us humans are dependent from a healthy ocean ecosystem. And it is in our hands to do something against the so far destructive behaviour of our species. With the event “Ocean 6/50” I want to create awareness – locally and internationally. Travelling from one local island to the other, my team and I want to teach the local community about the importance of taking good care of the environment by involving the community in beach clean ups, conducting workshops for kids at the local schools and introducing them to snorkelling and scuba diving, until we reach the final destination in South Male atoll, where the 50-hour dive will happen. The best thing is that each and every one can join me, either by going diving at your own local dive site or by joining me through social media – you can even play a game against me or have a conversation with me during my dive.
This dive won’t be possible without the support and help from my friends in the tech diving community, and with the support from the dive equipment industry.
“Ocean 6/50” shall not end there! My ultimate goal is to make it an organisation that helps Maldivian underprivileged youth, who dream to start a career in diving or marine science. We want to provide them with the material, knowledge and finance they need to come closer to their goal and to build their future.
The Ocean 6:50 event is set to take place at the Kuda Giri dive-site in South Male Atoll from 25-27 February, 2022
Shaff is an ex-military dive instructor and recreational Instructor Trainer with more than 25 years of experience in the diving industry. Explorer and extreme diver, Shaff is also an award winning underwater photographer.