Jarrod Jablonski is an avid cave explorer, researcher and instructor, teaching and diving predominantly in the North Florida area. His diving excursions frequently take him to some of the most remote reaches of the planet to conduct research and exploratory projects. The diving associated with some of the cave expeditions has often resulted in world-record explorations involving long penetrations into flooded subterranean conduits more than 400 feet deep. These excursions have included dives to nearly three miles from an air source (18,000 feet) at a depth of 300 feet, resulting in several world record accomplishments.
Trained as a geologist, Jarrod has founded Global Underwater Explorers, an elite diver training agency that is also heavily involved in international research and exploration projects. Composed of educators, explorers and conservationists, this group not only conducts some of the world’s most comprehensive diving education, but also conducts projects for numerous local, state, federal and international governments. These efforts include expeditions to Turkey and Brazil, artifact recovery in internationally sensitive regions, and a comprehensive research and exploration effort with the Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) into the world’s longest cave system.
Jarrod is also the CEO of Extreme Exposure, a dive equipment company specializing in the manufacture and sale of diving equipment. Extreme Exposure is internationally recognized as the premiere organization for the production of “cutting edge” exploratory equipment, building specialized gear for recreational enthusiasts and leading explorers. Much of the equipment, from rebreathers to special lighting used on some of the world’s most extreme expeditions, was produced in-house by Extreme Exposure and their affiliate Halcyon Manufacturing.
Jarrod is well-respected and very active in the dive community and has served as the Training Director for the National Association of Cave Diving (NACD) and on the training committee for the National Speleological Society, Cave Diving Section (NSS-CDS), National Association of Cave Diving and the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers. He has also been a board member of both the NACD and the NSS-CDS. He has trained more than 1,500 divers while maintaining an active role as a cave explorer and researcher, collecting thousands of hours in caves around the world.
The Britannic/99 Expedition
The rediscovery of the Titanic has captivated the world, culminating in the explosion of interest generated by the success of the recent film. The tragic mystery surrounding the sinking of the Titanic becomes even more remarkable when examined with the fate of her larger and more enigmatic sister – the Britannic. While the Titanic’s story is known around the world, few have heard of the Britannic, the White Star ocean liner turned British hospital ship which went down in the waters off of the Greek island of Kea during WW I. Britannic 99 was staged over ten days with the goal of finally solving the long-standing question as to what actually sank the ship: a mine, a U-boat’s torpedo, or an internal explosion.
Global Underwater Explorers (GUE), in cooperation with The Greek Diving Center, began on-site organization of the project on 19 August, with the actual diving on the Britannic starting on the 21st. Access to the wreck is limited by the Greek government to only the most qualified organizations. Since its 1975 discovery by Jacques Cousteau, only three groups have been awarded permission to access the Britannic.
With a team drawing from GUE instructors, WKPP exploration and support divers and Baltic Sea Tech Divers, the group’s logistics called for a series of dives over 10 diving days. Twelve gas divers were further supplemented by support divers and were equipped with over 3 tons of gear, compressors and gas cylinders loaded onto 2 transport trucks. While uncooperative weather hampered the dive team’s schedule, a series of remarkable dives were made and dramatic video footage captured.