From our regular columnists

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.

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.

What Does It Take to be a "Good Diver"? Part II

September 14, 2018 - 16:45
The story is found: 
on page 66

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 second of two articles designed to provoke discussion on the topic. In the first article in the previous issue of X-Ray Mag, I covered some of the more obvious characteristics. Here are a few more.

Graveyard of the Atlantic: Wrecks of North Carolina's Outer Banks

August 14, 2018 - 14:48
The story is found: 
on page 34

One of the problems with the proverbial bucket list is that whenever you tick a dive trip off the list, it seems that you add at least three more destinations to it. This is exactly what happened to me. I had never considered North Carolina as a dive destination, much less one of the top wreck diving locations in the world.

Wreck diving is one of my favorite types of diving because I love the history of how the wrecks came to be underwater, and North Carolina has plenty of that.

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.

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