This motley crew battle such dangers as sharks, pirates, potential shipwrecks and epic storms to mine for diamonds under the sea. Fearless Captain John and his tough nautical crew put everything on the line to battle the treacherous seas of South Africa -- and sometimes each other:
DIAMOND DIVER: Out in that South African sea, there were sharks, underwater avalanches, poachers, deadly storms and in general, Poseidon's wrath -- those waves were monstrous, getting up to 50-60 feet at times. Of course there was the danger of the boat sinking (believe me, in the rickety wooden boat we were in, that was a real possibility) and injury. I put my diving career on the line; it's easy to get hurt in those unpredictable seas out there. If I got hurt, my career would be over.
COED: What's the hairiest situation you've been in?
DIAMOND DIVER: Once, I was digging at the bottom of the sea and got trapped in what felt like quicksand. Also, the suction nozzle wasn't the greatest the first time out and it was tough trying to make sure my equipment and myself didn't get sucked in down there. You're down there for up to an hour at a time -- the deeper you go, the more dangerous it is. You really had to be careful, because just one small cut was enough blood to attract sharks.
COED: Do you think diamonds are so valuable because of the dangers attached to obtaining them? Why are they more prized than saffron extract in Persia?
DIAMOND DIVER: Yes, I'm sure that's a factor. It's a dangerous journey going out to South Africa and braving those rough seas. We were lucky enough to get through one deadly storm, but a neighboring boat didn't make it. They lost four men that day. People lose their lives over these diamonds -- these diamonds have to at least be somewhat close to being worth that.
DIAMOND DIVER: My first dive was in the Gulf of Mexico and it was a major test for me. I had to dive to 150 feet in zero visibility and the sea swells were huge, which made the boat move -- thus moving the equipment along with it. I had to go down there and place an 8x20 foot slab of concrete that I couldn't see, onto a crane I also couldn't see. In situations like that, you really need a good sense of direction because you can't see what's above you or around you.
DIAMOND DIVER: The chance for riches, the rush of it, the excitement and the adventure. I'm an adrenaline junkie. I love doing what most people don't get the chance to do!
Read the entire interview at COED Magazine
Photos courtesy of Spike TV
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