From our regular columnists

Sidemount Tanks: Getting Them to Behave Themselves & Sit Where They Should

October 04, 2019 - 14:24
The story is found: 
on page 70

One of the least mysterious things about sidemount diving is how to rig a set of steel primary cylinders so they hang at diver’s sides as they are supposed to, rather than hanging pendulum-like below them. However, some still struggle to get it anywhere close to right. Perhaps this article will help.

There may be several variations on the basic theme, but I have found the simple way to rig steel cylinders to hang this way is to break the process of rigging them into a series of simple steps. Now, before explaining things in detail, there are a few assumptions that apply to this method.

Scapa Flow: WWI Wreck Legacy & Recent Discoveries

August 27, 2019 - 13:43
The story is found: 
on page 6

Separated from the northern coast of mainland Scotland by only the six-mile-wide channel of the Pentland Firth, Orkney has some 90 islands, only 18 of which are inhabited. In the southern region of the archipelago is the large area of sheltered water known as Scapa Flow. Scapa Flow was the base chosen by the British Admiralty as the home of the Grand Naval Fleet.

Graeme Spence, maritime surveyor to the Admiralty, said in 1812: “… the art of Man, aided by all the Dykes, Sea Walls or Break-Waters that could possibly be built could not have contained a better Roadstead than the peculiar situation and extent of the South Isles of Orkney have made Scapa Flow .

Clearing Mines in the Sava River of Bosnia

August 22, 2019 - 12:23
The story is found: 
on page 80

Landmines. They are some of the most insidious weapons mankind has ever created. Invisible, hard to destroy and waiting years for their opportunity to kill. Tens of millions are scattered around the world. In fact, Czech police divers and bomb disposal experts returned from another mission in Bosnia, where they were looking for war ammunition, especially landmines, in the rivers.

Mine-explosion victim statistics are appalling. According to last year’s report by a coalition of organizations known as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), landmines have killed more than 2,000 people in 2016 alone, injuring or crippling another 6.5 thousand.

Why Sidemount is My True DIR Diving Option

August 22, 2019 - 12:21
The story is found: 
on page 65

Doing something right has never been more important that being ready—and even eager—to change for the better. What was considered great a few years ago is not always great today. All we need is to find a better option, since what was right yesterday, may not be right anymore. Doing It Right (DIR) is about doing it better than it was done before. For me, that is the only right thing to do.

Ever since I can remember, two distinct parameters have pretty much ruled my entire learning life: common sense, and justifying anything that was being “fed” to me. These two “rules” basically determined my personal opinion on all things considered, whether it was diving or not.

New Ideas on Narcosis

August 04, 2019 - 22:25
The story is found: 
on page 52

Researchers have raised some eye-opening thoughts on nitrogen narcosis, showing that it is something that most divers THINK they understand but few actually do.

This issue’s column is adapted from a chapter in my book Scuba Physiological: Think you know all about Scuba Medicine?

Islas Mujeres: Swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico

July 24, 2019 - 11:43
The story is found: 
on page 31

Every year, as the summer heat descends on the Yucatan peninsula, an amazing phenom­enon takes place in the waters to the northeast of the small holiday island of Isla Mujeres. Local fishermen call it the Afuera (Mexican for “outside”), in reference to those deeper waters offshore from the tip of the Yucatan where, come July and August, the largest known gathering of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) takes place.

Long considered as solitary giants roaming the open oceans, aggregations of whale sharks seemed quite rare and, prior to the discovery of the Afuera, a large gathering was thought to comprise 15 to 20 whale sharks.

Ponza Rebreather Meeting 2019: Dive, Learn, Eat

June 15, 2019 - 16:36
The story is found: 
on page 68

Michael Menduno details the highlights of the various presentations given during the sixth biannual international Rebreather Meeting, which took place 1-5 May 2019 on Ponza Island in Italy.

1 May 2019 — Nearly three dozen rebreather aficionados made the biannual trek to Ponza, Italy—a picturesque island in the Tyrrhenian Sea about a three-hour journey from Rome—for the sixth International Rebreather Meeting organized by Andrea Donato, owner of Ponza Diving Center, and his partner, D

The Lone Wolf

May 21, 2019 - 16:37
The story is found: 
on page 50

The scene for this story is a liveaboard in Southeast Asia, which, on most of its itineraries, would offer guests four dives a day and imposed a 60-minute maximum dive time for each dive. Divers were also asked to stay together on a dive, and follow their guide. There were 12 divers and three guides, so each guide would usually be leading four divers.

On this particular trip, one of the divers, Brian, made it very clear that he did not like these policies. He would often swim some distance away from the group, complaining afterwards that their bubbles kept getting in his photographs.

Routine Matters

May 16, 2019 - 11:40
The story is found: 
on page 72

It was day seven of the liveaboard trip and the twentieth dive of Darren’s holiday. He joined his team in the tender boat and they sped off to the dive site. He donned his gear and ran through his usual pre-dive checks, while the guide dropped in to do a current check. It was only when the countdown began for all the divers to roll into the water together that Darren reached for the mask hanging around his neck… and it was not there.

He raised a hand to stop the countdown and searched around to see if he might have inadvertently taken it off and put it down on the bench next to him, but he could not see it. He had left it back on the liveaboard. When the countdown resumed, all his fellow divers went in without him.

Alphonse Atoll: Pristine Diving in the Seychelles' Outer Islands

May 13, 2019 - 13:55
The story is found: 
on page 21

There is just something that always feels right about getting on a small airplane for the final leg of travel to begin a dive trip. In my mind, it almost guarantees the destination is somewhere amazing—a place that is so special that the large jets used in mass transit cannot even get to it.

As we flew away from Mahé, a beautiful granitic island in its own right, it took about an hour to fly 400km (250 miles) southwest over blue seas before we began to descend on a small coral atoll, just a speck of palm trees and sand that steadily got larger as we approached.