From our regular columnists

The Loch Etive Spurdogs

July 29, 2018 - 13:35
The story is found: 
on page 74

Over a number of years, the actions of fishermen and sea anglers have attracted the attention of marine scientists at the Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory who quickly became aware of these fishers catching spurdogs in the Loch Etive area near Oban on the west coast of Scotland.

Glen Coe and Glen Etive cradle Loch Etive all the way to the western shores of Scotland and was used as a through-road by our ancestors.

What Does It Take to Be a “Good Diver?” — Part One

July 27, 2018 - 18:41
The story is found: 
on page 59

You are chatting with a diving friend and the conversation turns to mutual acquaintances. “Do you know Bob and Carol?” your friend asks. “Oh yes, good divers!” you reply. We will usually refer to someone as a good diver when they are not around. We will rarely say it to their face. And it is something that we all rather hope people say about us behind our backs.

This is the first of two articles aiming to provoke discussion on the topic. Suffice it to say, before I go any further, being a good diver does not just come down to amassing a wallet full of cards and a garage full of cool kit.

Fluoroscent Photography Underwater

July 25, 2018 - 12:32
The story is found: 
on page 53

On a night dive in the Philippines several years ago, I had an opportunity to do a "fluoro" night dive. Atlantis Dive Resort rented blue underwater flashlights and yellow filter shields that went over divers' masks. Geared up, I set off into the night. The blue light was very dim and the dive was much darker than a normal night dive.

I suddenly felt like I was in a neon video game with the underwater world transforming into vibrant greens, reds and yellows. A bright, glowing light snaked across the sand, and on closer inspection, it was an eel that was vivid green.

Saba: Pristine Gem in the Caribbean

July 25, 2018 - 12:06
The story is found: 
on page 33

I loved Saba before I arrived. Throughout my dive travels, I had occasionally heard about this mythical island of which not many knew. Tales of a small dormant volcanic island with healthy reefs, hiking trails crisscrossing its eight square kilometers, and excellent food.

Being in the general vicinity of Saba and having a little free time, I decided to finally make my way to this island, which has lingered in my diving dreams. Officially a special municipality of the Netherlands, Saba is part of the Leeward Islands and Lesser Antilles with St.

The Evolution of Dive Planning

June 12, 2018 - 14:01
The story is found: 
on page 76

“Plan the dive and dive the plan” has long been the mantra employed in all areas of diving. Technical divers in particular spend more time planning their dives than many recreational divers. This is due to a number of factors, including increased risks, greater depths, high gas usage at depth, increased decompression obligations, increased oxygen toxicity loading and a host of other reasons.

In the early days of technical diving, there were no PC planning tools or dive computers suitable for technical dive planning. The only option for planning a dive was to look up a decompression schedule using pre-generated tables.

PFO: Not the “Hole” Story

June 08, 2018 - 17:05
The story is found: 
on page 62

Researchers took a close look at PFO and arterial bubbles and reached some quite startling conclusions. Most divers know that many people have a PFO and that having a PFO makes you more susceptible to decompression sickness (DCS), but that is far from being the “hole” story, (forgive the pun).

The Scuba Confidential column in this issue is again adapted from my book, Scuba Physiological: Think you know all about Scuba Medicine?

Japanese Giant Salamanders

April 07, 2018 - 11:42
The story is found: 
on page 66

The Japanese giant salamander is a quite unique, if rather mysterious, creature that lives in rivers across western and southwestern Japan.

As both its common and Latin names (Andrias japonicus) suggest, it is an endemic species of Japan that is both protected under federal legislation and formally nominated as a special natural monument because of its cultural and educational significance.

Drones & Underwater Photography

April 07, 2018 - 11:40
The story is found: 
on page 91

One of the things I learned quickly when first writing for X-Ray Mag was that it is often the images there were not taken underwater that can make an article about a specific location really stand out. As was pointed out to me, one ornate ghost pipefish looks pretty much the same as another. As proud as you may be of the images from your last trip, are they that much different from those of the one before?

Maybe yes, maybe no… does it even matter? Well, I think it really does if you are trying to get your stuff published or even just “liked” on social media. People enjoy context around the images they like. Building that up by showing more about the destination is a great way to engage.

Preconditioning for Safer Scuba Diving

March 14, 2018 - 16:10
The story is found: 
on page 47

This column is adapted from a chapter in my book, Scuba Physiological – Think you know all about Scuba Medicine? Think Again! The chapters in this book were originally written by scientists in the field of decompression research as part of a three-year project called PHYPODE (Physiology of Decompression). My (self-appointed) task was to rewrite their sometimes-complex research in a form accessible to all divers.

One interesting aspect they addressed was the concept of preconditioning as it may apply to scuba diving safety.

The Perimeter of Ignorance

February 19, 2018 - 18:36
The story is found: 
on page 47

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "as our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it." In other words, in expanding our awareness, we just expose our ignorance. The more we come to know, the more we realise we do not know.

This makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Astrophysicist and cosmologist Neil Tyson has described what many people do in response; instead of searching further, they build a wall around what they know so they do not have to see the darkness beyond.

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