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Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2001 16:47:43 +0000
From: Michael Williams <michael.williams@to*.co*.uk*>
To: Cavers List <cavers@aq*.co*>, TechDiver List <>
Subject: Re: Important Information!
Dear List,

Having read the aforementioned mail, I feel it's in my duty to write a 
response to this attack on Matt London, and offer my view and opinions on some 
of these accusations.

I worked for Matt London at Scubaworld for two seasons between November 1998 
and June 2000.  My work for him was mainly dive mastering and assisting in the 
Thai Cave Diving Project which involved the search for caves and water 
resurgence around Thailand.  The bulk of my cave diving experience was learnt 
from dives with Matt and others.  I also assisted in most of his cave diving 
courses where he taught students cavern and cave.  From what I saw, most of 
Benjis mail doesn't make any sense.

Matt WAS a GUE instructor when I was working out there.  He was certified to 
teach Cave and Tech level 1.  The sign above the shop was constructed whilst 
two GUE instructors from the States were visiting.  In DirQuest magazine vol 
1, no 2 shows an article describing the diving we were doing.

The shop was a basic paid up PADI dive centre.  Matt did not believe in paying 
PADI hundreds of dollars so he could be mentioned in their joke magazine as a 
'Five Star Resort' or 'Gold Member' or whatever.  This ill-felt feeling 
towards PADI was mutual among all of us, purely because we wanted to teach a 
more thorough O/W course, and couldn't under PADI because of its low standard 
of courses.

Benji talks of the shop not being DIR.  Well, every single open water and cave 
student at Scuba World were taught the DIR philosophy from day 1.  It was 
POLICY they were walked through every facet of the DIR rig, explained what 
each piece of equipment did and why it was different from the usual scuba 
rubbish.  The students were given extra material on DIR to read and answer 
questions on, given full training in the pool and the ocean in Halcyon BC's, 
Scubapro regs, Jetfins, one piece webbing backplates and AL tanks with 
wetsuits.  You tell me how many scuba training schools in Asia do that!

The 'home made' equipment that Benji was referring to was the stainless steel 
backplates manufactured in Thailand which are prohibitively expensive to ship 
in bulk from the US due to their weight.  I have one which has 450 dives and 
looks exactly the same as when I bought it.  The canisters were from EE and 
one flooded from time to time.  The springstraps were never sharp.  If mine 
were, I would have filed it down and wouldn't have gone whining and 
complaining about it on a list.

The Thai guys employed were NEVER allowed to fill bottles designated for deco 
or bottom mix.  That was done by myself of Matt London using partial pressure 
blending.  If I aimed to get a 50% deco bottle and it was more than 1% out, he 
make me repeat the process until it was spot on.  We were encouraged to learn 
about mixing which makes me wonder whether Benji bothered to learn anything at 
all.  He probably told the Thai guys to do it, who didn't know how anyway and 
then blamed them for the wrong mixes.
As for the EAN60-70 bottom or deco mixes, it's more of the same bollocks.

I was given a Full Cave ticket by Matt after fifty cave dives in all 
conditions; freshwater, saltwater, clear & low visibility, some restrictive, 
with stages and mixed gas.  I believe my training was the best I could have 
hoped for, and made me fully prepared for all types of overhead situations.  
He always spent time going over the fine details of training safety and 
equipment with us, which makes me question everything Benji has stated about 
his own training.

There are several questions that Benji clearly needs to be asked.  Firstly, if 
he was aware of the poor attitude that Matt had to safety, then why did he 
continue to dive and to take training from Scuba World?  Many of the points he 
makes would have to be recognised to be remembered, so why not walk away?  
Secondly, if he is trained by Matt and does not consider the training to be 
worthwhile then how can he call himself a technical diver?

What makes him an expert and how can he, in such a detailed and seemingly 
experienced way, criticise Matt London?  He says he regrets the experience.  
Does he regret taking the two 55lb Halcyon BCs and other gear which did not 
belong to him as well?

Clearly, I have good reason to be loyal to Matt, he has helped provide me with 
invaluable experience in cave diving, something that few people have the 
opportunity to do in a safe environment.  However, to make allegations without 
any evidence, that could damage or destroy someone's business, is way out of 

Yours sincerely,

Michael Williams, UK.

From: annouck.benji@t-*.de* (Annouck & Benji)
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 19:39:39
Subject: Important Information!


Dear people at cavediver !

This posting contains a few facts about Mr. Matthew London, and his diveshop 
"Scuba World" in Phuket, Thailand.
I was there from November 2000 until the end of February 2001. I feel it 
is my responsibility as a recreational instructor and technical diver to 
warn the international community about a few personally observed practices 
that are going on there.
1. The diveshop is advertising with a big GUE sign offering DIR training. 
That is unjustified, because Mr. London is not and has never been a GUE 
instructor, although he pretended to be such. None of the students of his 
fake GUE courses have ever received a certification card.
2. The diveshop is advertising to be a PADI facility. That is not true, 
the diveshop is not a PADI divecenter at ANY level and Mr. London is not 
a renewed PADI instructor.
3. The diveshop is advertising to offer DIR training. That is not true. 
Although Mr. London is using homemade "DIR" equipment, for example cave 
canisters that are very prone to flooding and spring finstraps with sharp 
edges, the attitude towards technical and overhead diver training can only 
be called hazardous and random.
	a. There are NO standardized gas mixtures, because the local filling boy 
(no blender certificate) who is in charge of filling deco and bottom mixes 
seemingly can't come up with the right blends. EAN60, EAN70 and other mixes 
are used by Mr. London for deco AND bottom gas.
	b. Routinely there are cavern students with 2x15 liter steel tanks and 
WETSUITS in a 40m deep spring with a visibility of 0.5 meters doing "line 
following while air sharing" scenarios in 5-7 meters of water. No redundant 
buoyancy was present or even recommended. This dive was the last dive in 
my NSS cavern course after some days of training in the pool and a freshwater 
lake. Mr. London told me, that now I was a cavern diver but I wouldn't 
get a certification because "we are going right through to full cave. I 
assign you a mapping project, that is going to be your full cave ticket.". 
I had never been in an overhead environment in my course.
	c. Mr. London accepted students with ca. 20 dives into a NSS cavern course 
which included the following exercise: Line following with eyes closed 
while not wearing a mask and surprise air sharing events. The student in 
question was not able to do this, and because Mr. London deemed this as 
the "crucial test" for safe cavern diving the student was not certified. 
The student got a scooter card and a 1/2 day nitrox course as compensation. 
ALL cavern courses that are "taught" at Scuba World utilize double tanks 
and cave canister lights; if you can't deal with that, you get an Advanced 
Nitrox card, because "there are the same skills anyway".
	d. After my own "cavern experience", again with NO certification, I was 
taken with another diver into a cave on Phi Phi islands, that Mr. London 
himself described as "dangerous and silty".
We ventured through a restriction far beyond the light zone until we reached 
the end of the cave, ca. 70-80 linear meters from open water. The other 
diver was not cave or cavern certified either.
After having done this one cave dive, I had to guide an experienced cave 
diver into the same system the next weekend. Mr. London told me to lie 
about my certification status if the visiting diver asked about it. I was 
told to tell him that I was a full cave diver. I regret having done that 

All the other various standard violations concerning PADI courses are of 
no concern in this post.

I hope to have helped with this open letter to make cavern and cave diving 
a safe sport for all of you.
I'm sure you all can draw your own conclusions of the above.


Benji Schaub

This letter is forwarded to TDI, NauiTec, GUE, and the cavediver and techdiver 
mailing lists.

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