From our regular columnists

Defensive Diving, Part 2

September 24, 2020 - 13:17
The story is found: 
on page 70

In Part I of this two-part series (), I made a correlation between scuba diving and driving a car, particularly in the context of learning how to anticipate and assess dangerous situations, make well-informed sensible decisions and stay safe—things that motorists tend to group together under the catch-all

I also outlined a defensive diving strategy involving how to use your dive computer.

Defensive Diving, Part 1

July 19, 2020 - 17:13
The story is found: 
on page 68

When we learn to scuba dive, we are given a little knowledge and taught some basic skills. We take a theory test and demonstrate that we can perform the skills and that’s it, we get a licence.

Subsequently, as we do more diving, we gradually improve our skills and we experience various problems. By achieving mastery of the skills and dealing with the issues we encounter, we acquire the ability to anticipate problems and to avoid or manage dangerous situations.

Southern New Britain: The Secret Place in Papua New Guinea

June 01, 2020 - 11:47
The story is found: 
on page 15

The southern coast of the large island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea is a truly remote location isolated from the northern coast by high, rugged mountain ranges with no real roads through them. There are no commercial airports here—only landing strips and old WWII airfields used for small-scale charter flights. Practically, the only way to get to the southern coast is by boat from Rabaul, on the eastern tip of New Britain.

It involves a long and usually overnight journey, which will take you down through the St George’s Channel, in-between New Britain and nearby New Ireland. The channel needs to be navigated with respect, as there are some fierce and complex currents flowing through it.

Going Pro, Part II: The Road from Instructor to Dive Professional

May 23, 2020 - 18:27
The story is found: 
on page 54

“Wait, wait,” you may say when you read the title of this column, “What are you talking about? Aren’t those two things the same? Isn’t a dive instructor by definition a scuba professional? And what do you mean by ‘Road’?”

A professional is someone who gets paid for plying a trade. At the point when you become a dive instructor, you may have done a lot of paying, that’s for sure, but it is unlikely that you will have seen any cash coming your way yet.

St Helena

April 26, 2020 - 11:51
The story is found: 
on page 42

Outside my window, the South Atlantic lay unbroken—an azure expanse of ocean below and sky above. Three hours after passing the Namibian coast, a lone patch of clouds appeared on the horizon. As we approached, I could just discern patches of green peering through. Atop a narrow ridge, a tiny strip of runway appeared, the sheer drops at each end plummeting to the sea.

Sitting in the South Atlantic 1,200 miles west of Southern Africa and 1,800 miles east of South America, St Helena is the dictionary definition of isolated. A mere speck 10 miles long and six miles wide, the island ascends 4,000m from the ocean floor to its highest point at 820m above sea level.

Going Pro – Part I: To Divemaster and Beyond

April 16, 2020 - 14:05
The story is found: 
on page 68

A thought that crosses the mind of many divers at some point in their diving lives is: “Do I have what it takes to be a full-time dive professional—or even just start a scuba side hustle?” The enticing concept that if you are a keen diver, you can turn your hobby into a career is one that commercial training agencies promote heavily because they make good money from instructor courses.

If you walk into a dive centre with more than a few dives under your belt and say you are thinking of “going pro,” nobody will turn you away. There is no assessment process, no enrolment interview, no talent spotting.

Samoa: Polynesian Diving in Upolu

April 06, 2020 - 10:03
The story is found: 
on page 22

Located in the Polynesian region of the South Pacific Ocean, the idyllic paradise of Samoa, which comprises the two main islands of Savai'i and Upolu and several smaller islands, is part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Brandi Mueller managed to venture to Upolu Island before the coronavirus pandemic forced countries to close borders and stay-at-home orders came into effect.

The small, nine-passenger, turboprop airplane violently shook us up and down like an amusement park ride. Out of the windows, all I could see were the gray clouds of the seemingly endless succession of storms that had been ravaging the area.

Comparing the Performance of First Aid Oxygen Delivery Systems

March 25, 2020 - 11:16
The story is found: 
on page 52

The diving community understands that oxygen administration is a first aid treatment priority for divers with suspected decompression illness. The goal is to deliver oxygen at the highest possible concentration, being mindful of oxygen supply limits. A variety of portable oxygen delivery systems have been designed for use in diving accidents.

Constant flow systems have flow meters with settings ranging from 0.5 to 25 liters per minute (L∙min-1). They are usually open-circuit, with expired gas released to the environment, but they can also be used with closed-circuit devices.

A Brick Can Do That!

February 16, 2020 - 21:01
The story is found: 
on page 46

On 11 May 1996, five people died near the summit of Mount Everest. Two were expedition leaders, one was a professional guide and two were their clients. The events were first recounted in the book Into Thin Air written by journalist Jon Krakauer, who was up there on the mountain that day.

The clients died mainly because the professionals persisted with attempting to reach the summit despite the fact that they had passed their turnaround time; that is, the point in the day at which an attempt on the summit would normally be aborted for safety reasons.

Land of the Sumps: Cave Exploration in the Cerro Rabón

December 14, 2019 - 16:15
The story is found: 
on page 73

What a resurgence! I first saw this amazing resurgence in 2017.

Together with Katie Graham and Gilly Elor, we made use of some spare time we had and took the scenic tour to Huautla along the slopes of the picturesque Santo Domingo Canyon, home to several of the world’s deepest and longest cave systems (Sistema Huautla, Sistema Cheve and possibly multiple larg