Stephen Fordyce is sometimes described as a mad professor and I can't help thinking that there is some truth in that. When it comes to listening to his explorations deep beneath the surface of the earth and then beneath the surface of the water therein. Scuba diving is a relatively niche sport, and within it there are many more niche areas and I think Stephen has found the pinnacle of niche as a 'sump diver.' Spending days lugging gear to remote locations, trekking into dry(ish) caves and creating base camps therein, to then explore kilometres of routes underwater certainly confirms that he's barking mad, but also justifies the recognition he rightly deserves as a fantastic explorer.
'Stephen has dived many caves around Australia and further afield - being a successful push diver at the pointy end of projects in Elk River Cave (Victoria), Growling Swallet and Niggly Caves (Tasmania), on the Nullarbor (WA) and West Timor (Indonesia). This culminated in receiving the 2019 OZTek Emerging Explorer Award.
Since then, Stephen was the push diver in a large team effort which connected Growling Swallet and Niggly Cave, setting a new record for the deepest (mostly dry) cave in Australia, as well as for several other significant Tasmanian push dives.
With a degree in Mechatronics Engineering and a professional background of designing industrial gas equipment, Stephen started TFM Engineering Australia, to combine his passions for 'making cool stuff' and technical diving, and now works full time designing and building technical diving equipment of all shapes and sizes.
Despite enduring the pandemic in the most locked-down city in the world (Melbourne), Stephen spent his lockdown time developing a system of water tracing equipment and much of the rest field-testing and exploring caves in Tasmania. (OzTek biography 2022)
Joining me on the show today, Stephen chats about some of his adventures including that fantastic latest achievement conducted with 8 equally barking mad explorer buddies