Op'eds and commentaries

Beware of the Corner Cutters

Beware of corner cutters. Underwater photo by Peter Symes
Know that cheaper prices always involve corner cutting of some sort. Sometimes you can see it and it just involves the level of comfort or service. Sometimes you cannot see it and it may be prejudicial to your safety.

There are thousands of dive centres, resorts and liveaboards all over the world. Some are very good and provide excellent, safe and highly professional service. Others are not so good and are best avoided.

The Dawn of Understanding: Blue Water, White Death – 50 Years On

Great white shark. Photo by Elias Levy (Flickr Commons / CC BY 2.0)
Great white shark. Photo by Elias Levy (Flickr Commons / CC BY 2.0)

Recently, I was part of an online panel discussing the history of scuba diving. One of my fellow panellists mentioned the film Blue Water, White Death as having been a watershed as far as awareness of the need to protect large marine animals was concerned.

Beaches and butterflies

This summer I went back to the beach where I spent most of my summers as a kid. It is my happy place. The beach is clean, the sand is white, and the ocean is generally lovely—and there are rarely many people. 

There are small children with red buckets and blue shovels, building sandcastles or trying to catch small shrimp or tiny crabs in the shallows. The older ones joyfully play in the waves. Meanwhile, their grandparents enjoy a leisurely swim or just bobbing about.

Ten Commandments of Tech Diving Ops, Part II

Cave diver. Photo by Andrey Bizyukin.
Cave diver. Photo by Andrey Bizyukin.

In part one of this series, which appeared in issue #103, I suggested a few commandments to consider in order to ensure, as far as possible, that your technical dives are safe and successful. These were: First commandment: Prepare paperwork; Second commandment: Nominate a supervisor; Third commandment: Deploy safety divers. In this sequel, I deliver a few more tablets of stone.

Ten Commandments of Tech Diving Ops, Part I

An excellent strategy to guard against complacency and protect you and your dive team from becoming too casual about your diving is to establish set operational procedures for all your technical dives.

Today, technical diving is well into its fourth decade. We now have better tools, technology and systems than we did in the past and we know far more about which methods, decompression strategies and gear configurations work well and which do not.

The Folly of Depth Records

As the international diving community has recently come to witness, a scandal surrounding Ahmed Gabr’s world record for deepest scuba dive has surfaced. Was it faked? Some accusers, who have opted to remain anonymous for reasons I shall not comment on at this point, have alleged that his record dive was faked, and to that end, have presented to the public a quite comprehensive compilation of evidence in support of their case. The documentation was compelling, but the jury is still out.