Blog about Underwater Life and Scuba Diving

Disabled Diver Planning Dolphin Encounter

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Sometimes thirst for life and passion for adventure can make people do more than they can. Today’s post is about Trey Kaufman who aims to become the first quadriplegic to scuba dive with wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Our hero has been working with Norman McMilan and his ‘Free in the Sea’ Project, which helps those with disabilities to achieve ‘aquatic liberation.’ Norman says they have already done dolphin swim with paraplegics in the past but never with a quadriplegic.

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Together with Kaufman, Norman develops a seagoing wheelchair of sorts that will allow Kaufman to move in the warm Caribbean waters off Bimini at 4 to 6 knots with the help of his chin and sip-and-puff systems. His head will be about a foot deep in the water, thus allowing him to watch the dolphins swim. Kaufman also met with Fitzgerald, a paramedic from Boca Raton Fire-Rescue, who is helping him with the apparatus he will be using while swimming with dolphins, including the Ocean Technology Systems dive masks that will allow him to talk underwater.

The first trial was a success for Kaufman, who dived about a foot deep in a nine-foot deep pool at Fitzgerald’s home, realizing his goal of swimming with the dolphins by year’s end. Kaufman is sure that in the end, all the trials and tribulation are going to be well worth it. After all he is going to swim with the most intelligent creatures on earth!


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