Meet the Mules

Who are the Wet Mules? A bunch of nobodies really! Let's meet them...

Craig Challen (Webmule)
Craig Challen is a Perth Veterinarian. We reckon he is rich enough to burn a wet mule, and he certainly has Australia's best shed which includes several lathes and his own forklift. One of Australia's most accomplished deep cave and wreck divers his achievements include exploring the end of Australia's longest underwater cave (Cocklebiddy), Australasia's deepest underwater cave (the Pearse Resurgence) and being one of only a few to dive some of the country's deepest wartime wrecks.

Craig was the 2009 "Australasian Technical Diver of the Year"  But what the hell is he doing in that bathroom?



Richard Harris  (Harry)

Harry lives in Adelaide and is an anaesthetist, diving medicine physician and retrieval specialist. He could be rich enough to burn a wet mule if he didn't take half the year off to go diving and buy so many rebreathers. Harry's passion is for taking photos and capturing video whilst exploring caves. He'd like to make documentaries but everyone tells him not to give up his day job...sigh.

His main saving grace is that he once dived the "real man's rebreather", the Mk 15.5 (see side bar). Harris Adventure Tours (H.A.T.) are famous for their dive trips and camping holidays.




John Dalla-Zuanna (JDZ)

JDZ is so old, he taught most of us to cave dive! We think he might even be over 50! But the old mule still has a bit of kick in him yet and he brings a remarkable amount of common sense to the sometimes reckless enthusiasm of the mules. I'd hate to think how many dives he has done in caves and wrecks, teaching cave and open water diving to thousands of students. 

JDZ's special talent is building special items for exploration projects. Heating garments, long distance lithium scooter batteries, habitat seating and submersible disto surveying tools to name just a few. He can even build a decent spag bol but doesn't take kindly to interference in the kitchen!

He has dived the best Australasia has to offer, sometimes on some dubious brands of rebreathers! Would Liquivision be happy with this photo?

 

Ken Smith (Pingo, Capt Mannering, Zachary...)
Ken Smith is an enigma. And a mule. And a physicist with a planet size brain. Sometimes he thinks too much and takes all day to prepare for a dive. But that's OK if he's invented atomic powered mosquito repellant before breakfast. We won't let him get a rebreather because it would then take him 2 days to get ready for a dive. 
Ken travels the world with work and seems to manage a few cave dives in places like Florida, Mexico, the Bahamas and Germany whilst on route. He first visited Wookey around the same time Balcombe was diving and he has been caving ever since. 
Ken's famous radiolocation pingers have made him a cave diving celebrity.  We are lucky to own him. We hope the Yanks don't steal him.
Sorry about the railway line incident Ken.

 
Dave Bardi and Sandy Varin (Dave and Sandy)
They say they mate for life, and like the Blue Ducks of the Pearse Resurgence they are always seen together whether above or below the water. This quietly spoken Melbourne couple have achieved more in their technical diving careers than most, with deep dives on the east coast wrecks, discovering the bell on the Victoria near Lebanon at nearly 150m depth and dives to over 1
80m in the frigid New Zealand Pearse Resurgence. 

Sandy is unquestionably Australasia's Tech diving Queen (and received that award in 2011). If Dave was gay, he could be too. Undoubtedly the quiet achievers of        Australian technical diving.



Dave Hurst (Big Dave)

Dave is a Victorian cave and wreck diver who joined the team in the Pearse Resurgence in 2014. Dave dives a twin Megalodon and did some amazing dives including an exploration dive to 170m! Not too shabby for his first trip to NZ! In China in 2015, Dave knocked out a couple of dives to 213m on both sides of Daxing Spring thus cementing his place in the history of Chinese cave diving.  Not only is Dave a top diver, but he is quite a chef and his banana porridge is to die for! Thumbs up Dave!








Luke Nelson

If it needs fixing, if there is a job to be done, there is only one bloke you need...Luke is the skipper of the Western Australian charter boat Southern Image. He is a rebreather instructor and an accomplished diver. He spent more time underwater in the Pearse Resurgence in 2014 than the rest of the team working tirelesssly to support the exploration divers. Every team needs a Luke!

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