From our regular columnists

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.

Choosing a BCD: Solutions for the Slight

April 04, 2019 - 11:42
The story is found: 
on page 0

In 2014, off the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand, a diver on a discover scuba experience died when she became separated from her group and ran out of air. She was discovered on the surface, floating face down. The inquest found that the dive operation involved was to blame because they had failed to supervise her properly.

The chief health and safety inspector who conducted the investigation into the death was quoted as saying: "… the ill-fitted equipment compromised the victim's ability to try and breathe when her air supply ran out. It also meant she couldn't tell anyone she was in distress or get help.”

Revisiting Deep Air Diving

February 26, 2019 - 13:01
The story is found: 
on page 71

Today, the practice of “deep air” diving, and to a large extent, air diving itself has been related to the annals of sport diving history. Nitrox has become near ubiquitous as the diving gas of choice for shallow-water diving, and the trend, as pioneered by Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) is for divers to switch to helium mixes for dives beyond about 100ft/30m.

The situation was very different in the early 1990s, when mixed-gas diving was just beginning to gain traction following Dr Bill Stone’s successful 1987 Wakulla Springs Project—the first large-scale, mixed-gas expedition conducted by the who’s who of US deep cave diving.

Diver Error Highlights the Lethality within the System

February 16, 2019 - 15:07
The story is found: 
on page 64

Diving is not without risk—there is always a chance of death. There is always a latent or potential lethality within the “system”—where system is defined as the equipment, people and the physical, social or cultural environment. We cannot make diving 100 percent safe despite what anyone tells you. We can make things safer, but we cannot make diving safe.

Most of the time, it is the diver’s skills, knowledge and attitude that prevents those risks from being materialised and an injury or fatality from happening. However, when errors happen, the latent or hidden lethality within the system is exposed.

Selling Yourself Short: Your Skills Are Worth Nothing and You Work for Free

January 28, 2019 - 14:43
The story is found: 
on page 61

At some point, many keen divers entertain the notion of giving up their 9-to-5 job and following the dream of becoming a professional scuba diver, making a living from their hobby and combining work with passion. After all, the advertisements for instructor courses in the dive magazines make it sound easy. All you have to do is sign up, fork out the dough and take the plunge. What could possibly go wrong?

If you have a similar dream, then this is for you. If you find that this short story brings you down to earth with a bump, then that is only because your feet were off the ground to begin with.

Diving with Great White Sharks of Guadalupe Island

January 28, 2019 - 14:33
The story is found: 
on page 0

“You’re crazy; I don’t get in the water with bitey things!” The announcement of my impending great white shark trip drew a variety of such responses from horrified friends. The undisputed bad boys of the shark world, great whites are the largest of all predatory sharks, reaching lengths of up to 6m and weighing in at over 2,000kg.

The blatant sensationalism of the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" notwithstanding, the movie Jaws has not done the image of sharks, and great whites in particular, any favours. Unfortunately, perception overrides facts. “Sharks are dangerous and eat people,” say those who know better.

Timor-Leste: Off the Beaten Path

January 28, 2019 - 14:31
The story is found: 
on page 0

Admittedly, I knew almost nothing about Timor-Leste until I started seeing a lot of great images of the diving there on Instagram. I became curious and started following a local dive operator’s Instagram feed, watching them post daily photos of cuttlefish, nudibranchs, peacock mantis shrimp and beautiful reefscapes. Where was this place and how did I not know about it?

Other research on the internet did not give Timor-Leste’s dive secrets away. Located within the Coral Triangle, which contains the most marine biodiversity on the planet, it was boasted to be some of the most biodiverse and pristine diving left on earth—an untouched area and mostly not dived.

Innovations: Things to Thank Technical Divers For

December 11, 2018 - 15:01
The story is found: 
on page 68

We are all involved in the same great sport. Whether you are a recently qualified open water diver or an experienced diver who has travelled to the farthest oceans of the world, there is a bond that connects us. We are all divers.

In the automobile industry, technologies such as ABS braking, air bags and push-button ignition were originally developed for racing cars but have now found their way into family saloons.

Sand Tiger Sharks of North Carolina

December 10, 2018 - 18:21
The story is found: 
on page 41

There I was, off the coast of North Carolina at a depth of about 20m (60ft) when the shadowy shape of the WWII wreck Caribsea came into view—but it looked almost as if it was moving! Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a cloud of tiny bait fish completely covering the wreck. As they moved, the ship seemed to move with them; and then, out of the swarm, a massive, tank-like, gray silhouette emerged.

Sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) look mean but in reality, they are quite docile. As I watched, at least 12 sharks crisscrossed the Caribsea wreck; they almost seemed to be in a perfect state of Zen.