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In Memoriam: Martin Cridge

The InDepth team joins the scuba community in mourning the sudden loss of Martin Cridge, one of Truk Lagoon’s most popular dive guides and captains, who was also the author of InDepth’s “Wreck in Depth” feature sponsored by Dirty Dozen Expeditions. The 52-year old Cridge, captain of the Truk Master liveaboard died unexpectedly on Friday, 18 June, 2021 while in the Marshall Islands. Here are statements from Dirty Dozen Expeditions and Master Liveaboards, which were released on their websites.

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by Aron Arngrimsson and Steve Jones
Photos courtesy of Dirty Dozen Expeditions and Steve Jones

It is with a sense of great sadness, shock, and a heavy heart that we announced the untimely passing of a beloved partner, father, and the co-founder of DDE, Captain Martin Cridge. He passed away on Friday 18 June 2021 in Majuro, Marshall Islands.⁠ This news was very unexpected, leaving friends, family, and all the people across the globe that care about him shocked to the core.⁠

Martin made an immense impact on the diving industry over his long and iconic career and his memory shall live on in our hearts. As we all take time to soak up the news, we have been commemorating our great friend, colleague, and diver, Captain Martin Cridge. Loved by many, join us as we dive deep into the kind and moving words shared by people all over the globe.

Master Liveaboards wrote: “There are very few people that knew more or were more passionate about the wrecks and the diving in Chuuk and Bikini. Anyone who dived with him will have felt his infectious enthusiasm. Everyone who dealt directly with him at Master Liveaboards and The Dirty Dozen felt it too. Martin was pivotal in us developing Bikini Atoll as a destination for Master Liveaboards as well as building the reputation of Truk Master as a highly respected technical diving operation. Not only this but he was instrumental in the set-up and success of The Dirty Dozen Expeditions in Truk and Bikini.”

The news also brought a flood of tributes from luminaries of the scuba diving world, expressing their appreciation for the good times shared and his great wealth of knowledge. 

The wrecks of Truk Lagoon: the Heian Maru.

Aron Arngrimsson (Owner, Dirty Dozen Expeditions)

The diving industry has lost one of its brightest and his family and friends have lost a father, partner, son, and a friend. Martin changed my life and career drastically for the better by being instrumental in coming up with the Dirty Dozen Expeditions. He thought of the name while sharing a cold beer on deck after a hard week on the boat, and he was involved until his last day. During the years we spent together on the Truk Master, on countless expeditions in Truk Lagoon, Bikini Atoll, and beyond, he was never shy about sharing and passing along  his vast knowledge about wreck-diving, wreck photography, history, and all the things that made a difference between a customer having a good trip, to having an unforgettable trip.

Some of the most memorable dives of my career were when Martin and I sneaked off the boat together exploring on long rebreather dives. Martin’s strong personality was a force to be reckoned with on deck, which commanded his crew’s respect, but deep inside they knew him to be a good and kind soul. After I left the boat and started Dirty Dozen full time, we stayed in touch nearly every single day and further grew our friendship. We shared many more breathtaking adventures through Dirty Dozen which were an outlet for both of us to share our passion to the limit. Martin was a great skipper, outstanding trip leader, incredible wreck photographer, and a dear friend which we lost way too soon, and he will be more than missed. Let us all remember his dry sense of humor, his resolve, and his kindness. He will be with me on every dive in Truk and Bikini in spirit and is forever a part of Dirty Dozen’s legacy.

Until next time, skipper.

Steve Jones

Earlier this year, when I was reminiscing with Martin about his favourite Truk Lagoon wrecks, I couldn’t imagine that within months I’d be penning words of remembrance about him. Martin’s untimely passing is particularly poignant because he leaves behind his young son Tyke and his partner Elaine, a devastating loss for them. There was simply so much life left for him to live and so much life that he was a part of. 

Martin was an instantly likeable character whose knowledge and enthusiasm rubbed off on those around him. He was in his element underwater and was a talented photographer in his own right, therefore his input and guidance were invaluable to me as we navigated through the labyrinths inside the wrecks of Truk. I spent some of the most enjoyable hours of my diving career here with him.  In deep water and far inside wrecks that I was unfamiliar with, it was the implicit trust I had in him that enabled the creation of each image—a team effort like no other.  

What I’ll always remember most about him, though, is his warmth, that sense of humour, and above everything else, just what a genuinely nice guy he was.

Jill Heinerth

Anyone that met Martin might call him a guru. He was a wealth of knowledge with raw diving talent. He had the heart of a generous humanitarian, and whether he was guiding divers or delivering supplies to a remote community, his home was the sea.

Pete Mesley

I always enjoyed catching up with Martin. We would meet up at the Sunset bar at Blue Lagoon In Truk and get caught up over a few beers or winesies. He could never understand why I asked the guys to put my bottle of wine in the fridge. We would joke and complain about the world and just enjoy spending some time together. He was a good soul, pure of heart, and he genuinely cared about people. Whenever I am at the Sunset bar, I will look over to the place where you used to sit and raise my (chilled) glass of red wine in your memory. You are what we call a GB (a Good Bast*rd). The world is a smaller place without you mate.

The wrecks of Truk Lagoon : Aikoku Maru

Richard Lundgren

A great loss of a kind soul and expert wreck diver. My heart goes out to the loved ones left behind.

Mark Powell

Martin was one of the nicest guys you could meet and a fantastic skipper.

Andrew Colderwood

There were so many fond memories from our trip with Martin to Bikini Atoll, but one that springs to mind was from an encounter with one of the region’s apex predators. Over a couple of days, we had started to be watched by first one and then up to three Tiger sharks. The largest of these came in closer and closer until on one dive it was getting VERY close. I was next to Martin on the Deco bar, he looked at my computer which said c40 minutes of stops to go and then he showed me his, which had a similar amount. Not a comfortable situation to be in! He paused momentarily and then calmly unclipped his bailout bottle as if getting it ready to use against said shark should things get dicey. When we got out, he calmly joked, “I wonder how that shark would get on with no teeth”, such was his sense of humour after an undeniably intense and unforgettable encounter.  

Perry Brandes

From the moment you stepped onboard, Martin’s passion and knowledge of these wrecks rubbed off on you. His smart banter and ability to walk through a whole section or room of a wreck from memory was awe inspiring. With a massive love for the location and of course the people, experiencing the Pacific the way Martin did can only be spoken by sailor’s wishes and diver’s dreams.

Pam Pelham

2017 was the first time I met Martin, 8000 miles from my home back in the UK. Turns out Martin hailed from over the hill in Huddersfield. Over the years we stayed in touch, swapping updates on family, diving trips and Huddersfield United (football club). Martin threatened to rush back to the UK if they got back into the premiership, but it wasn’t to be.

Martin, thanks for the fantastic trips, the help and advice… you will be missed.

Simon Smith

A diving superstar – an amazing man in so many ways who saved me from the dentist room in the silted out Saratoga then looked after me with the bends on the same Bikini trip
A truly amazing human a great loss
REST IN PEACE Martin

Dominick Macan

So tragic to lose such a pioneer and good man, and our hearts go out to his wife and family and those in his team who will miss him so much. RIP Martin

Byron Conroy

Martin was an incredible man. Such a generous man with both his time and knowledge. He will be greatly missed in our industry.

Keith Woolgar

He’ll be sorely missed, not only by family and friends, but by the wider diving community who encountered his experience and knowledge of Truk Lagoon! Not to mention the photography! May He Rest in Eternal Peace!!

Tanya Smith

Vale Martin Cridge, thank you for all you have done in the diving world and beyond. You will indeed be missed.

Mike Cunningham

RIP Martin, a great guy, diver, photographer, skipper, and family man. He will be missed. Thoughts with his family

Karl Kruger

Terrible news, great skipper, learnt his craft in the Royal Navy & a true professional… My thoughts with his family & friends, he’ll be sorely missed.. RIP Shipmate…

Bill Coltart

Terrible news. Martin was a competent skipper, a larger-than-life personality, and he will be missed during our future visits to Micronesia

Geoff Creighton

Such a shock. A truly brilliant and knowledgeable skipper, he will be missed.

Jesper Kjøller

What an absolute tragedy! So sad to hear that. He was a great guy. What a loss for his family, and all us that knew him.

Mehdi Zinetti

Nobody can say “Aikoku” like Martin. RIP captain.

Antti Apunen

I will miss you, Martin. We have lost a friend and a great wreck diver. I will also miss your inspiring stories and common dives beneath the Pacific waves.  Rest in peace, my friend.

Didier B. Follain-Grisell

Indeed, shocking news! Martin was such a good guy! Quiet, extremely knowledgeable, great photographer, and of course Captain. He will be missed by all that knew him.

Joel Cprs DT

I’ll remember Martin in many positive ways—with a big smile and a great sense of humor, always great with a story. My condolences to your wonderful family. Rest in Peace Captain!

The wrecks of Truk Lagoon: : The Shinkoku Maru

Matt Jevon

So sad to hear this about Martin. 

I was lucky enough to be on the inaugural dirty dozen trip, and Martin was a huge part of making that special. Not just as skipper, but also he dived with us, took some awesome pictures, and showed us parts of the wreck only someone with his time in Truk could have got us to.

Marissa Eckert

I was lucky enough to get to know Martin when I was Truk, and I really enjoyed getting to do several CCR dives with him. We had some surreal moments in engine rooms and I’ll never forget our one dive at dusk on our rebreathers as sharks swam around us feeding. It was amazing. And he knew soooo much about the wrecks. He was so much fun to talk to. He will be sorely missed.

Clive Martin 

Unbelievable news, sorry to hear this. Thoughts go out to the family and God speed on returning you home to your loved ones. Thank you for your time with us in Cyprus

Kate & Matt Robinson

Terribly saddened that this has happened to such a genuinely nice guy. We enjoyed our time with him in Truk. His knowledge and passion for expedition diving was infectious. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.

Isabelle Dechamps 

Martin was part of the Master Liveaboards family. His knowledge and passion for wreck diving and WWII were contagious, and he will be missed. I will always remember a visit in the Philippines where we stumbled onto a small WWII museum and the stories and history of the US military presence in the Philippines and role in SEA he recounted. Thank you Martin.

Community

Creatively Exploring the Red Sea

Mix together strong coffee, GUE divers, err models, dancing, a liveaboard, and six-day photoshoot on the Red Sea and you would have the annual Creative Trip with the Red Sea Explorers. Sponsored by DAN Europe, Fourth Element, GUE and Halcyon Dive Systems. What might such a week-long, breathe-outside-the-box photoshoot—in the Red Sea!—look like? Here’s a snapshot.

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Header Photo by Julian Mühlenhaus

Each year, GUE makes a trip to the Red Sea, in Egypt, with the goal to drink coffee, go diving, and most importantly, capture photos and videos. Anyone from a GUE Recreational Diver Level 1 and up can join for a week-long adventure with multiple dives a day at some of the best dive sites in the world. With the global pandemic continuing to be a factor,  we thought we would miss the trip again this year, but we were able to follow travel guidelines and gather with friends old and new for a very successful trip. This year the Creative Trip was sponsored by Fourth Element, DAN Europe, Halcyon Dive Systems, Red Sea Explorers, and GUE.

Here are some of our captured moments and thoughts on the trip from photographers and models.

“Photography is not my day job anymore these days, so my personal goal was to practice my hobby. Essentially, I wanted to create a few beautiful images with the help of models who are comfortable in the water and disciplined in their approach to diving. I managed to do that, coming away with several dozen photos that I’m excited to add to my portfolio. Working together with the other photographers and filmmakers was an unexpected bonus, and the highlight of the trip for me. Somehow, between all the planning, diving, sorting, and editing of photos, we also found the time to  exchange ideas for new images, share lighting and editing techniques, and collectively level up our skills. It was an intense week, but I certainly learned a lot. I’ll be back next year if I can – I’ll just book another week of holiday afterwards to recover!

6 DAYS – 16 DIVES

Photo by Andrei Voinigescu
Photo by Andrei Voinigescu
Photo by Andrei Voinigescu
The Red Sea is an ideal setting for this kind of trip. Warm water, easy conditions for diving, and effortless logistics (thanks to Red Sea Explorers), which means the whole team can focus on the fun stuff – image-making. Great visibility makes for much more impactful wide-angle photos (my favorite). And the reefs, shipwrecks, and charismatic animals which were excellent subjects and backdrops for our talented models. There are so many great wrecks to explore, even in shallow water! Now that I’ve had the chance to visit some of them, on my next trip I’d definitely like to focus more on interior shots and creative lighting techniques to capture the mood of wreck exploration.” –Andrei Voinigescu, Florida, USA

5 Shipwreck Dives – 11 Reef Dives

Photo by Andrei Voinigescu
Photo by Andrei Voinigescu
“Before the trip I was buzzing, obviously, as there are not  many things that sound better than a week on a boat and diving in the Red Sea, but oh boy it delivered more than I could imagine. Before the trip, I was a bit anxious since it was my first Creative Trip. I had zero modeling experience underwater, or any for that matter, so all I had was my willingness to learn. Luckily, my anxieties were instantly cured, as working with these photographers and videographers was just incredible. The constant feedback, tips and tricks, as well as just sheer talent of these guys will quickly turn you into a top underwater model.
Photo by Andrei Voinigescu
Photo by Imad Farhat
Photo by Imad Farhat
Photo by Imad Farhat
Photo by Andrei Voinigescu
It’s  frustrating that a piece of paper cannot translate how amazing this experience was for me. Even now, writing all of this, I’m smiling and I feel this fuzzy warmth, as well as excitement for next year. I would also like to say a big, big thank you to every single one of you who was there and who made this trip so special. I hope to see you next year!” –Robert Zawrzel, Poland

4 Creators – 13 GUE Divers

Photo by Julian Mühlenhaus
Photo by Julian Mühlenhaus
Photo by Julian Mühlenhaus
“To date, I have been on four creative trips. None was like the one before. But there were a few things all of the trips had in common—a nice group of divers with a common goal, a certain level of diving experience, a lot of fun, and a lot of good pictures afterwards, even some really good ones. For me as a photographer who likes to take pictures of divers, I always hope to tell a small story with each picture.

Another great thing about the trip from a photographer’s point of view, especially this year where we had three photographers, was the opportunity to learn from others, sometimes during editing pictures and talking about editing possibilities and styles, sometimes only by seeing pictures that others took at the same dive site and getting more inspiration and ideas.
Photo by Julian Mühlenhaus
Photo by Julian Mühlenhaus
Photo by Imad Farhat
During the trips I have seen some of the wrecks multiple times (i.e. Giannis D, Thistlegorm). But  every trip with another dive team with another set of skills offers a totally different view of the wrecks. For me, for example, the dives where we were able to be inside the wrecks with more experienced divers allowed  the wrecks to appear totally different and opened up a lot more opportunities than before, especially the opportunities regarding lightning the interior.” –Julian  Mühlenhaus, Northern Germany

Over 10k Photos and Videos Taken

Photo by Julian Mühlenhaus
Photo by Julian Mühlenhaus

How to Become a Model on the Trip

To join the trip as a model, one needs to be certified with  a minimum of a GUE Recreational Diver Level 1. You also need to have mastered the following skills:

  •  Patience in order to wait for the photographer to position you where he wants and waiting for him to be ready.
  • Buoyancy in order to be where the creator wants you to be and adjust very very very minor buoyancy changes and body position to get THE shot.
  • Solid communication skills in order to understand what the creator tries to tell you to do.
  • Great awareness in order to know where you are in space, where the environment is in relation to you, where the other people in the modeling team are, taking care about team’s exposure and gas checks, taking care about good looks and proper gear placement of all team members.
  • An Understanding of what the creator wants, your position as a model, any light position if used, your “mood”. 
  • Great attention to detail in order to spot all minor inconsistencies on yours and your team’s equipment.


How to Become a Photographer on the Trip

If you’re a photographer and/or videographer, you can send your work to the trip organizer, GUE VP Dorota Czerny, who determines which creatives will be joining. The skills a photographer needs outside of the ability to use a camera are:

  • The ability to clearly express to the models—before and during the dive—the ideal image you’re seeking and the scene as you imagine it (as well as according to the sponsors’ requirements).

The dates for the 2022 Creative Trip will be 18-25 September.

Photo by Imad Farhat
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