The DIVING talks 2021 group of speakers will bring to the table exciting and new content to share and discuss with the international diving community. This list will be updated periodically.

Ahmed Gabr

Ahmed Gabr has an extraordinary story that no one else on this ocean planet can tell. It is a story that deepens the understanding of man in the underwater world and how he explored that unknown deepest space.

On 18 September 2014, Ahmed Gabr marked the diving history when he used open-circuit scuba to dive to the depth of 332.35 metres in record time, 12 minutes! Solo, in the pitch-dark cold water and crushing pressure, he met the challenge, but the celebrations would have to wait; surviving the 13+ hour journey back up to our world involved following his strict decompression schedule of graduated stops and breathing from 92 mixed gas tanks.

The rest of us mere mortals watching were left astonished and wondering… “How did he do it? Why did he do it?” and “what type of person does this?” Authenticity is what makes Ahmed Gabr exceptional, and backed by his training as a Special Forces Officer, Combat Diver and Technical Diving Instructor, he was already a strong performer in individual and team contexts. Ahmed understood that this high-stakes mission required an effective team that would harness the expertise and talents of diverse people, generating the synergy necessary to challenge the previous long-standing record achieved in 2005.

Andrew Marriott

Andrew is a long time diver, photographer and writer. Originally from the USA, he has since lived across the Pacific, Asia, and Europe. While living on the island of Guam he devoted himself full time to the ocean, helping many new divers fall in love with the water while working as an instructor and enthusiastic underwater photographer. After much encouragement from his friends and students, he devoted himself full time to taking and sharing his images and writing about diving.

It took time and patience, but within a few years his photos and writing were appearing in dive and travel magazines around the world. To date he has written around 100 articles, four books, and had his photos and videos used in various media outlets on a regular basis. Along with the publishing work came invitations to speak at major dive shows across Asia, Europe, and North America. To this day Andrew is a regular speaker at major dive events; having spoken at many shows from Beijing to Singapore to the United States, and pretty much everywhere in between.

The next logical step for him was to start a media production and publishing company that focused on diving and adventure travel. Fata Morgana Media was born in 2016 and it currently has six titles in publication and thirteen more in production. The writers and photographers for these books are from around the world and feature the most recognizable names in the business. Currently he lives in Germany with his awesome wife Dalice and two daughters Elly and EJ “Doomy”.

Armando Ribeiro

Diver since 1999, specialized in underwater photography and video, has won several national and international awards.

The taste for deep dives, unexplored wrecks and caves, lead Armando Ribeiro to create the 1st team of technical divers that use closed circuit rebreathers (CCR) in Portugal. Created in 2004/2005 the In-Silence Dive Team has as main objectives the development of CCR diving, the exploration off deep shipwrecks and caves on the Portuguese coast and the participation in international diving expeditions. Armando quickly became one of the first serious advanced expedition divers in Portugal, taking part in numerous adventures with some of the world’s best technical divers.

His most recent project aims to explore, obtain cave’s cartography and capture in video the biggest springs in Portugal. This exciting adventure was recently renewed by the discovery of new galleries that open the door to new challenges due to the greater depts and distance that can be achieved. The expeditions and projects impact, through the publication of articles in diving magazines and the national and international public projection of their videos, had a strong recognition in the national diving community, being already a reference in all expos and events related to technical diving.

Belen Andres

Belen is a GUE instructor since 2017, and a passionate technical and cave diver for more than 10 years. Her passions are exploring the underwater world, especially the rarest and remote sites, together with the documentation in all aspects: imagery, survey, topography and mapping and science. Belen has dived all around the world, in all five continents, including caving above the arctic circle.

She is also a member of GUE Training council, shaping the future of technical and cave diving, Belen contributes the several diving publications in Spain and the USA, and belongs to several cave diving exploration groups.

When she is not underwater, she spends her time designing launch vehicles, satellites and underwater communications systems.


Cristina Zenato

A professional diver since 1994, Cristina is an ocean and cave explorer, a shark expert, a speaker, writer and conservationist. Among her qualifications, she is a Course Director, an advanced cave diving instructor and a mixed gas and rebreather instructor and she shares her time between teaching at professional and technical levels, working with sharks, exploring and mapping underwater cave systems and education.

Cristina is known for her special relationship with her local sharks and her passion for promoting the protection of all sharks in the world.

Her current projects include shark photogrammetry and identification of sharks’ mating and birth areas, creating interactive and 3D cave maps, photography and videography of these uncharted areas in the Bahamas.

In 2019 she founded the nonprofit People of the Water www.pownonprofit.org organized to widen the conduction and distribution of training, education, research, and studies relating to water, ocean and environmental issues, affecting both the people and the animals of said environments. After twenty-sevens years in this career she is still diving and pushing the boundaries of our knowledge. Cristina has been inducted in the Women Divers Hall of Fame, the Explorers Club, the Ocean Artists Society and she is a Platinum Pro 5000 recipient.

Gonçalo Calado

From December 2018, I’m the Vice-Rector for research and internationalization at Lusofona University in Lisbon.

I’m a Professor of Ecology and Marine Biology. I am mostly a marine biologist with 25 years of professional experience. I have obtained in September 2001 my PhD in biology from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Since then, I have coordinated or worked on several international research projects in marine biology. I’ve also authored or co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed papers, mostly on marine biology issues.
In June 2011, I finished my duties as an advisor to the former Portuguese Secretary of State for Humberto Delgado Rosa’s Environment. I was a member of his cabinet since May 2009, where I was responsible for marine, fisheries and conservation issues.

In 2012, I also became a SCUBA diver instructor.

From 2013 to 2017, I was a programme manager at Gulbenkian Oceans Initiative (GOI), a five-year program of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation with a vision of protection, conservation and good management of the oceans and marine ecosystems towards an ecosystem services’ approach.

Jeff Lindsay

Growing up on the shores of Great Lakes fostered a natural curiosity of the unexplored for Jeff Lindsay; learning to dive in 1990 lead to a lifelong desire to visit and photograph the unknown and forgotten.

With an almost limitless number of shipwrecks nearby, a natural progression into technical diving was required for the more remote and deeper locations; photography was a way for him to bring the experience to individuals who were not able to visit these challenging sites.

He’s been invited on numerous expeditions as team photographer and his biggest thrill is visiting a wreck or cave and capturing some, small part of its essence in a photograph

Jill Heinerth

JILL HEINERTH is an underwater explorer, writer, photographer, speaker, and filmmaker.

A pioneer of technical rebreather diving, she has led expeditions into icebergs in Antarctica, volcanic lava tubes and submerged caves around the world.

Jill is the first Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Her book, INTO THE PLANET, has been lauded by the Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, and the New York Times. Jill is a Fellow of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, Underwater Academy of Arts and Sciences, Women Divers Hall of Fame, National Speleological Society, and the Explorers Club which awarded her with the William Beebe Award.

José Pinto

José Pinto is a researcher and assistant professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto. He has a degree in Computer Science from the Faculty of Sciences and a Master in Computer Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering (both from the University of Porto).

He started investigating underwater robotics in 2005 when he joined FEUP’s Laboratory of Underwater Systems and Technology (LSTS). At LSTS, he helped develop all the software to support autonomous underwater and aerial vehicles.

He has extensive experience in operating aerial, surface and submarine robots. At the moment, he is responsible for onboard autonomy and coordination of multiple robots.

Laurent Miroult

Laurent Miroult is a Belgian radiologist living in Belgium and working in France.

He has been diving since 1996 and is actively cave diving since 2014. Passionate for underwater photography he mostly focuses on pictures of underwater caves from all over the world. He has certifications from different agencies.

You can visit his non commercial website which presents a huge number of his pictures: www.cavediving.pictures.


Marcus Blatchford

I learnt to dive in 2008 with my local club. Photography & diving have gone hand in hand – I acquired my first underwater camera during the course! I have always tried to set my sights high and quickly moved from recreational to tek diving, then onto CCR. In 2015 I qualified as a HSE Scuba commercial diver.

In 2016 I was introduced to photogrammetry – something that completely changed my direction and drive. Starting with attractions in my local quarries, I then moved onto shipwrecks scanning many in the waters around Malta. I then turned my focus from not only small attractions in quarries but to the entire site – both above and below the water level. The Vobster Photogrammetry Project is ongoing and pushing the technology we have to hand to the limits.

In 2019 I joined Pete Mesley’s Lust4Rust in a project to scan and model all of the wrecks of Truk Lagoon. This idea is being rolled out across the world to create a database of our favourite wrecks – which all have a limited lifespan – so they may be kept forever.

Marissa Eckert

Marissa Eckert is a passionate full time technical diving Instructor and dive shop owner, specializing in cave, rebreather, sidemount, and photography, with a wealth of experience and knowledge in both open circuit and rebreather diving.

Marissa is a full time active instructor in North Central Florida who loves to stay busy. When not teaching she enjoys traveling all over the world, exploring new places, hiking thru the jungle, and doing challenging new dives that help her grow and learn as a diver. What really motivates Marissa is the desire to show people this amazing world. Whether that’s thru caves, wrecks, ocean diving, deep diving, rebreather diving, sidemount diving, or photography. Marissa’s major passions are teaching and photography.

Marissa is certified on multiple rebreathers and can teach the SM Liberty, the X-CCR, the SF2, the KISS Sidekick, and the KISS sidewinder. She’s got tons of hours on rebreathers and 1000s of cave dives. She loves to teach, whether it’s a cavern class or a cave dpv class, she loves helping people get a glimpse into this amazing underwater world.

Mark Powell

Mark Powell is one of the UK’s best known technical diving instructors. He has been involved in diving since the mid 1980s, has been teaching since 1993, and holds the rank of technical instructor-trainer for TDI.

Mark’s true passion is wreck diving and it is his exploration of deeper wrecks that led him into technical diving. Mark has served on the National Executive of the SAA, as well as being its technical diving advisor. He currently represents TDI/SDI at British Safety Diving group meetings and he is also a member of the BSI committees defining standards for diver training and diving equipment.

He also writes a monthly column in Sports Diver, which covers all aspects of technical diving. Mark is the author of the best-selling book Deco for Divers, which allows the average diver to fully understand the principles behind this fascinating and critical aspect of diving.

Martyn Farr

Martyn is world renowned as a caver and cave diver. He is responsible for the discovery of miles of cave passage in many countries and is internationally acclaimed for his prolific writing and stunning photography. Caving from the age of ten and discovering new caves by the age of 16, Martyn remains as passionate as ever.

Age has not diminished his enthusiasm or powers of endurance. In the years 2012 – 2015 he explored well over three kilometres of new cave in South Island, New Zealand extending Old Cottage Cave to Sump 9. These were solo undertakings which amazingly he managed to video. He has also undertaken the classic traverse of Harwood’s Hole, Ironstone and Nettlebed Caves in New Zealand. Other areas explored include the remote Nullarbor Plain of Western Australia. Many original explorations have been achieved in Ireland and Wales. He retired from Instructional diving in 2019 but caving and photographic assignments are conducted on a weekly basis.

Martyn began cave diving in 1971 and by 1981 had established a world record for an underwater cave penetration in the Bahamas. In the UK he is particularly renowned for his exploration in Wookey Hole – 1977 and 1982 – and the first traverse of Llangattock Mountain in Wales in 1986. Many expeditions have been made worldwide, to such places as Iran, Mexico, Borneo, China, Dominican Republic, Japan, Spain, the Canary Islands, the Ballearics, Greece, Turkey, Brazil, Australia, Russia and most recently Vietnam.

Martyn is Internationally recognised as a cave and cave diving author and photographer, with his work appearing in many calendars, magazines and books. He has helped produce many films and programmes for television and radio and has taken any number of celebrities underground, perhaps the most famous being HRH Prince Harry and Prince William. Martyn is an exceptional ambassador for the sports of caving and cave diving.

Michael Santos

First-Lieutenant Michael Santos has a degree in Physical Education and Sport from the Setúbal Polytechnic Institute and a Postgraduation in Sport Management.

Joined the Navy on a contract basis in September 2000, having attended the Basic Officers Course at the Naval School. In September 2009, having attended the Naval School Complementary Course for Officers, he became part of the Navy permanent staff. In September 2019, he participated in the promotion course to Senior Officer at the Military Institute University.

For about five years, he has been Head of the Maritime Rescue Service of the Instituto de Socorro a Náufragos, where generally coordinates the Lifeboat Stations and the Maritime Rescue Device.
He is responsible for elaborating technical guidelines regarding the lifeboat crew operation, preparing studies and defining technical/ operational requirements related to the rescue equipment and means of rescue and, carrying out training and evaluation and training of the lifeboat crew.

He counts with three Medals of Naval Cross, Medal of Exemplary Behavior Grade Copper and several praises at the military level.

Natalie Gibb

Natalie L Gibb’s passion in life is underwater cave exploration and conservation.

With her exploration partner Vincent Rouquette-Cathala, she has led her team to discover over 20 previously unknown cave systems in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, mapping more than 80 kilometers of cave passageways.

She is a public speaker, author, photographer and videographer, and a member of the Woman Diver’s Hall of Fame. Natalie is co-owner of Under the Jungle, a cave diver training center in Mexico, and a TDI Full Cave Instructor.

Nuno Sá

A full-time cameraman since 2015, Nuno Sá was part of the team of the BBC series – Blue Planet 2, having been awarded in 2018 with a BAFTA award as well as a Panda award for your participation in this series. The following year he was the main cameraman for the documentary of the National Geographic Wild channel “Europe’s Wild Islands”, and on several high profile documentaries such as BBC “Animal with cameras”, NHK  “Islands of the Atlantic” and several others.

Between 2017 and 2019 he divided his time between participation as an underwater cinematographer for major international productions and the production of the first major series about the Sea of Portugal, the series “Sea, the last frontier” in partnership with Oceanário de Lisboa and Fundação Oceano Azul, that is currently being show on chanels RTP1 and RTP3.

Nuno Sá is also part of the Mares ambassador team.

Oscar Camacho

Born in 1965, Oscar is a Medical Director at the Hyperbaric Medical Unit in Hospital Pedro Hispano.

  • Senior Anesthesiologist, Emergency Medicine, Hyperbaric and Subaquatic Medicine;
  • Sports Medicine European Resuscitation Council Instructor;
  • DAN Europe Portugal Medical Director since 2009;
  • Invited Lecturer at University of Porto, Faculty of Medicine and Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences;
  • European Underwater Baromedical Society – Member at Large;
  • European Committee on Hyperbaric Medicine – Executive Board;
  • CMAS Medical Commission member.

Diving since 1983, more than 5000 lodged dives.

  • CMAS Instructor Level 3 DAN Instructor Traine;
  • TDI Instructor (Nitrox to Basic Trimix; Rebreather, Advanced Gas Blender)
  • PADI Assistant Instructor;
  • SSI Scuba Diving Instructor.

Paulo Costa

Paulo Costa took his scuba diving course in 1995 and started doing is own research on naval disasters shortly after, when he realized hardly anyone knew how to answer his questions about shipwrecks and their identities.

As a History graduate, he has since then focused his research on contemporary shipwrecks in Portuguese waters, mainly from the Age of Steam and both world wars. He is interested in the ships’ identification and history and how shipwrecks, as underwater cultural heritage, relate with memory, local and oral history, and the communities of users of the sea, like fishermen and scuba divers. He firmly believes that the research for shipwrecks, its study, preservation and dissemination of results must engage the local communities.

Certified as an open circuit trimix diver his interest in iron and steel shipwrecks has led him to dive in places like Scapa Flow, Gibraltar, Malta or Cyprus, among other spots.

At Diving talks 2021 he will present the result of his research about the first ship to sink in Portuguese waters due to the collision with a German mine in 1916, a shipwreck that today lays at the Lisbon’s harbour entrance, 80 meters deep.

Phil Short

Phil Short has been a professional diver for 30 years logging over 6000 dives with 3500+ hours on CCR.

Phil started as a dry caver and learnt to dive to further this pursuit becoming a British Cave Diving Group Qualified Diver. Phil’s passion is caves and specifically cave exploration, the highlight of which to date has been his part as a lead diver on Bill Stone’s USDCT project to the J2 Cave in Southern Mexico where he spent 45 days underground.

Professionally Phil works as DSO & DOM for several Institutions on Archeological Scientific Diving Projects including the B-24 Tulsamerican WWII Bomber, The Antikythera Mechanism Shipwreck and the 1495 Danish Kings ship Gribshunden.”

Phil is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).

Portuguese Navy Divers

Navy Divers are the operational component of the Portuguese Navy in the area of military diving and inactivation of explosive devices, through the use of highly specialized teams that operate in a wide range of missions, both in peacetime and in wartime.

The Group of Divers mission, through the Diving Department of the Subsurface Squadron, is to promote readiness, logistical and administrative support for the diving units, as well as to ensure, through the School of Divers, the training of the military.

The Diver Units are organized into three detachments, subdivided in organic teams, with a variable perimeter, depending on the complexity, geographical dispersion or the duration of the mission. These detachments are differentiated by operational employment.

Rob Neto

Rob Neto is an experienced cave diver, explorer, and surveyor.

He has been diving and exploring caves for more than 15 years and was a dive instructor for over 10 years. His current focus in diving is cave exploration and mapping, as well as traveling around the world to experience caves everywhere. When not exploring Rob focuses on documenting underwater caves with video and as a photograph model. He has been cave diving in several countries and has ongoing exploration projects in the US, Mexico, and France, as well as assisting with a project in Italy.

He primarily dives sidemount configuration due to the nature of his dives but also dives SCRs and CCRs when appropriate. Rob is the author of Sidemount Diving – The Almost Comprehensive Guide, with a 2nd edition release in October 2020.

His parents were born and raised in the northern part of Portugal and he has visited the country several times and had the honor of being able to dive the caves there. Rob currently lives in Greenwood, Florida with his wife, three dogs, and three cats.

Rui Luis

Born in 1978, speleologist since 1992 and diver since 2001.

In 1992 he joined the team of cavers from AESDA – Association of Underground Studies and Environmental Defense, where he is responsible for the edition of the magazine Trogle and is currently chairman of the board. In Portugal it is known for having discovered, participated and explored the Algar do Bom Santo (most important Neolithic Necropolis), the Roman Mines of Valongo (largest roman mining complex), Algar Palopes (deeper cave in Portugal) among other projects related to archeology, paleontology and biospeleology.

He is a trainer in the technical area of caving and underground photographer.

He has published several articles and participated in national and international congresses of the specialty. In 2001 he started his dive training, currently being CCR Advanced Mixed Gas Diver, Full Cave Diver, photography and underwater archeology.

He is currently responsible for the cave diving department of Xplorasub – Association of Underwater Studies and co-responsible for the exploration of several Portuguese karstic springs.

Sabine Kerkau

Sabine Kerkau is a technical wreck and mine diver, Photographer and Videographer. She is member of the Women Divers Hall Of Fame Class of 2019. She has dived several hundred wrecks and mines at depths between 10 and 150m. She is part of the founding team of the “Baltic Sea Heritage Rescue Project” in Lithuania. This project is committed to wreck protection, wreck search, wreck identification and Ghost net salvage.

Sabine regularly reports on her projects in several Magazines, TV Productions and at international conferences.

Sami Paakkarinen

Sami Paakkarinen is a diver and professional instructor from Finland. Those who know him well would describe him as a dive enthusiast. Born in a city by the sea, he spent his early years by the water. During his younger years, he fell in love with the life above and beneath the water. Sami took his first scuba diving course as soon it was possible, in 1995; and ever since diving has been a way of life for him.

Sami is a technical, cave, and rebreather instructor based in Finland; but he regularly travels the world to teach. When Sami is not teaching, you can find him in some corner of the world seeking out new caves or wrecks. With his teams Divers of the Dark and Nordic Explorers, he has discovered many new wrecks in Baltic Sea and has participated in some of the most challenging cave explorations.

Sami Paakkarinen is also known for his work on the movies Dive Odyssey (2018) and Diving Into the Unknown (2016).

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Present your Talk

Have you achieved something remarkable underwater? Do you hold a dive under your belt, worth sharing with the diving community? Would you like to share it in the Talks?

Reach out to the DIVING talks 2021 Organizing Committee and explain why there should be a slot in the Talks, with your name in it.

We are interested in hearing from you

You are a technical diver or a recreational diver, maybe you are into the scientific approach or you thrill with the discovery of a new wreck.

We want to share all that!


DIVING TALKS 2021 will be held in 2021, October 8 to 10.


October 2021
12:00 – 18:00

Arrival, accreditation and set-up of displays


Welcome lunch

12:30 – 18:00

Side events; trials, diving activity


Exhibition Official opening

Detailed scheduling here.



Exhibition and visit to displays


Talks 1 to 8


Networking lunch


Talks 9 to 16


Cocktail & Congress dinner

Detailed scheduling here.



Exhibition and visit to displays and Talks 15 to 26


Closing Lunch & awards ceremony


Free Site visits

Detailed scheduling here.

The Organization kindly asks all Attendees to arrive in the morning of October 8 and travel back on, or after, the afternoon of October 10, so that they do not miss the final session and the awards ceremony for the best presentations of the Call for Presentations and other Talks awards.

Attendees will benefit from special conditions for accommodation on selected hotels close by the Congress venue.

Attendees wanting to arrive before October 8, or wishing to stay in Portugal after October 10, for visiting or a ‘stay and dive’ program, please reach out to our partner, Portugal Dive.