Alternative Dive Group (ADG) was formed in 2002 by a handful of divers in South Africa whom had grown tired of diving on the same old boring coral reefs over and over again. Because of their passion for technical diving they decided to form an inter-club (or inter-school if you like) group that dive in “alternative” locations. Members are situated from Cape Town throughout South Africa to Pretoria and are made up of people of all trades and walks of life.
The need for this group arose from the fact that technical divers in a club or school are normally found in relatively small numbers, especially in the past. Being a member of such a group as ADG gives one the opportunity to belong to your favorite club whilst also enjoying technical diving with members of other fraternities. More advantages are that technical divers get together and share experience, equipment and resources. This means that instructors in the group can present courses to members at a very small fee. Members visiting an area where other members reside can now do it at local costs and naturally have numerous advantages with regards to equipment-use etc. One example is that the Cape Town boys can fly up to the caves inland without bringing their big twinsets or Rebreathers with them and vice-versa.
This unique group consists of members who were certified by various agencies, meaning that there is no “politics” involved. ADG does not have a bank account, clubhouse or leader. Even though this sounds strange, it works well and all decisions are made democratically via email between members. Most of ADG’s members are also members or instructors at a scuba club or organization. New members are nominated by old members and if approved, are welcomed into the group on a small, private ceremony 😉 A good reputation and safety record is maintained by the current members who all place the interest of the group as a whole above their own.
ADG members have dived wrecks on the Kwazulu-Natal coast as well as in False Bay and the Atlantic side of the Western Cape. They frequently dive caves such as Wondergat, Wetsgat, Bobbejaansgat, Boesmansgat as well as Badgat. ADG dived Samada, an old abandoned diamond mine near Welkom in the Freestate which probably is the deepest dive yet in the dry Freestate at 83mfw. Members have done light work in 0 viz water in many dams as well as in some rivers. Because diving means fun to them, they dive anywhere they seem fit. (Not in sewerage water so far….) Some members have dived the Comoros Islands, Maldives, Red Sea, Mozambique as well as The Great Barrier Reef. Recently members of ADG dived Jesser Canyon in Sodwana Bay and encountered 5 Coelacanths under a ledge at 103msw.
ADG members love technical diving and the camaraderie in the group and they have a severe dislike in the “Gung Ho” or mean image of some technical divers. To ADG, technical diving is a sport that can be practiced with safety and without an air of importance…
Oh yes, we also dive coral reefs when we get distracted or really desperate 🙂