Op'eds and commentaries

Octopus
Other species also think and feel to some degree, even small critters

Respect for other life forms

Progressing age does not come with many positives except perhaps that one gains some perspective.

I live in the present and feel like the same usual me day to day, so I do not frequently think about the past. But, on occasion, something reminds me of how things used to be. Much to my own astonishment, it has already been 35 years since I started diving. When I look at old photographs, I usually have the same two initial reactions.

Underwater Photography: In Competition

Is it possible to compete in underwater photography? I find that question difficult to answer! What is a good picture? Is it an image of an unusual animal? Nice colours on a nudibranch? Capturing the incredible light on a wreck? An image in which I can see that there has been a lot of planning and work behind it? Or just an image of a diver, on some interesting dive site, where I get the feeling that I also want to dive there?

Peace

Penning these editorials is frequently a struggle.

Coming up with new topics or pressing matters to address can often be a real challenge. Sometimes I simply do not have anything new to add to what I have already said before, and on a few occasions, I suffer plainly from writer’s block.

But this time, I have struggled for a different reason.

DEMA Statement on the Current Ukraine Conflict

The action in Ukraine has already resulted in thousands of lives lost and uprooted more than a million people from their homes.

For the protection and safety of all, including the entire diving community in eastern Europe, we hope that this extremely volatile situation, and its threatening and unpredictable consequences, can soon be defused and resolved. As we continue to hope for peace, please be aware that the following organizations are asking for assistance to help alleviate a growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine:

This little fellah is trying to tell you something. Do you know what? That posture is a signal

The Search for Extraterrestial Intelligence

Every time I look up into the starry night sky, I cannot help but wonder what other worlds are out there and whether there is life among all those twinkling stars.  Are we alone in the universe?  

I guess I am just like most people—haven't we all reflected on this most fundamental existential question at some point?

The Barracuda Dive

Readers of my Scuba books often say how useful they find the stories I tell to illustrate key messages. The stories are all true. I wish I could say I made them up, but I am not that creative. Fortunately, life tends to be able to conjure up real situations that are far more instructive than those I could ever invent.

Making it despite hardship.
Making it despite of dire circumstances

We carry on

Over the holidays, as 2021 drew to a close, the media once again began to overflow with retrospections on the year that has gone by, and heads of state, prime ministers and royalty gave reflective New Year’s speeches on national radio and television.

As always, I heard or read the usual fair share of speeches, but this time, it made me pensive, and I began to ponder—just as a thought experiment—what I would have said if I had to give such a speech. To whom would my thoughts have gone? Whom would I have thanked and what hopes would I have expressed?

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.