About the Founder - Background and CV


I am including this personal background information so that visitors to the site can have a little insight into my past is and how it has  and ultimately resulted in me creating this site. It is intended to show the visitor that I am at least to some degree qualified to offer the products available.

My name is Gletwyn Rubidge, I was borne in the small Karoo town of Graaff Reinet in 1969. The Karoo is part of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. I spent my childhood on a farm having all the fun you boys should. Exploring the farm with a rifle slung over the shoulder and the pet dogs for company was an integral part of this free childhood.

My passions as a teenager included chemistry, making fireworks, motor biking, athletics, rugby, and last, but not least snorkeling in rivers, dams and the shallows of the sea. Being far inland there was little oceanic contact but we did have a swimming pool at home. Below is an excerpt from my divebook describing our prototype childhood diving apparatus:

At the age of 10 my twin brother and I, on our Karoo farm Wonderdal, set about making our first underwater breathing apparatus. We had two tubes sealed into a collapsible five litre animal dose bottle – one was short and used to breathe from the “aqualung” while the other was some six meters long. A the far end of the longer tube, on terra firma, was our air compressor - the gardener with a hand pump. A canvass rucksack filled with river stones served as a weightbelt and we took turns to stroll leisurely around the bottom of our swimming pool while the other twin ensured the efficient operation of the sweating "compressor". Throwing pebbles into the pool to try and depth charge the diver was an antidote for boredom an envy of the diver.

There were grand schemes that my twin brother and I had which included plans for the making our own mini submarine to use in the nearby Van Rynervelds Pass Dam. Fortunately for our wellbeing these schemes never got off the drawing board.

In 1989 after following my passion for chemistry and completing a diploma in analytical chemistry in the city of Port Elizabeth(South Africa) I took up an offer to go spearfishing with some fellow students. It was tremendously exciting one chap got a good sized fish and a small shark(bronze whaler) circled us for half a minute! That was my first shark encounter. Little did I know what lay ahead! Anyway to make a long story a bit shorter I soon had some surprising success and got a good sized fish myself - I ate on that fish every night for a week!.  I was hooked on the diving thing and being a student I could not afford scuba gear. The ocean was fascinating and soon after finding employment I bought a small inflatable boat an spend as much time out at sea as was possible, exploring and learning to freedive. It was like going out on the farm with the dogs and a gun on my shoulder. Getting the boat really boosted my ability to dive as I had access to deeper reefs with their fascinating corals, and invertebrate growths and bigger fish. I wanted to buy a camera but rather got a depth sounder as it would allow faster discovery of new areas. I was fast accumulating great dive sites and myself (and friends that spearfished too) were thoroughly enjoying looking for great reefs with caves, holes, wrecks etc. Within two years of starting freediving I was comfortable to freedive to depths of 30 meters.

Obviously so much time  spent in the sea meant many encounters with the permanent inhabitants of the ocean. This included many species of sharks(great whites included), whales, seals, turtles, fish, birds est. I learned to read the attitude of sharks, and fish. 

I have a personality trait that can be advantageous but also a menace. I like top optimize things, be it a sprint race, the loudness of the bang of a fire cracker, etc. Obviously, I decided that for freediving I had to maximize my breathhold and the depth to which I dived. Regular three-hour sessions in the gym, were part of the training I set out for myself. Training with weights while holding my breath were the warm-up to my pool sessions. I managed to do breathholds of up to 5 min and 15 seconds but that freaked out the gym staff as they thought I had drowned. Soon after this two spearfishermen I knew drowned doing breathholds in a pool and I got a bit spooked as I trained on my own. I started taking it easy in the pool and pushed the weight training harder. I then turned to the sea and again on my own did a few freedived deeper than 40 meters and these really were easy after the gym training. In those early years my attitude to safety was pathetic. I just did not concern myself with safety. A little later I did a freedive to over 50 m with a Fanus on the boat. I also made my own sled for pulling me down but it was rather difficult to use with currents and winds.

Spearfishing trips also changed and since I had a digital camera to photograph fish and sharks the chumming* began - this brought a whole new dimension into freediving as the critters attended us closely for the food. After some undesirably close attention from a massive great white we slowed up a bit on the chumming.

In 2003 I got married and two kids later safety was a big issue to me.

Some deaths in the family made me realize that I had to record my experiences such that my kids would know me in event of an early departure. In December 2005 I wrote "Pinnacle and Wall Dives of Port Elizabeth - Memoirs of a Freediver". In the book I record over a hundred dive sites in the Port Elizabeth Area. Though I found most of the divesites described credit must be given to fishermen and other divers who also contributed. 

I have lectured analytical chemistry since 1991 and have been involved in chemistry research since 1995.  I also studied further and eventually obtained a doctorate degree in chemistry in 2003. I specialized in optimizing effluent treatment.

In 2002 I wrote the curriculum outline for my spearfishing course, but never got around to completing the course until I had complete my doctorate degree. In 2005 and 2006 I completed the courses and have outlined the mentorship programs.


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