Op'eds and commentaries

What role does diving play in our lives and in our wellbeing? How important is it really?

Meet Maslow

It has already been way too long since we got wet and who knows how much longer it will be before we can go diving again, other than alone at a local dive site that may be open, if we are lucky.

The coronavirus outbreak is an eyeopener in so many ways. It is giving us lessons on what is important. When the pandemic hit in earnest, many of us suddenly found ourselves focused on more basic needs than usual. If not food and shelter, then at the least, safety and health, and the wellbeing of our loved ones, some of whom we were not permitted to visit.

Where are we heading?

Last week, our good colleague Stephan Wheelan wrote an excellent recap "The Day the Diving Stood Still" - Is the diving industry facing an existential threat from coronavirus?"  on his website, DeeperBlue. It is close to what I had originally intended to post here today, but Stephan beat me to it. Instead, let me expand a bit upon the matter.

Local diving recommencing

Local diving seems to be recommencing in some countries, depending on what local regulations permit. Supervised or guided dives at various local spots are now on the calendar again and off to at least a modest start. One Italian operator explained how he hands out masks for clients to wear aboard his dive boat and everyone is supposed to sit at least one metre apart.

Going Pro – Part I: To Divemaster and Beyond

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.

A good cup of coffee is always conducive for some straight thinking I find

Reassessing Our Priorities — and keeping a cool head

Who would have thought that the day would come when I would publicly state that there are more important things in life than diving. After all, the aquatic environment has been my passion and calling for as long as I can remember. I was that toddler on the beach collecting starfish and small crabs in my red bucket, the public swimming pool was my preferred playground after school, and I specialised in aquatic ecology for my master's degree, not to mention taking up diving early on and becoming an underwater photographer.

“... and the exits are located two at the front, two over the wings and two in the rear. Please take a look around you to locate the nearest exit, bearing in mind that the closest one may be behind you.”

Pay attention to briefings

The international dive community was shocked and grief-stricken when the news broke of the devastating fire that consumed the award-winning California-based liveaboard Conception and the 34 people who perished, including divers and crew members. The accident struck close to home, as many of us have taken dive trips on liveaboards at some point. Some among us had even been on that particular vessel.

A Brick Can Do That!

In scuba diving, going down and staying down are not the difficult bits (a brick can do that). Coming up again is the part that requires skill.

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.

A curious shark

The Year of the Shark 2019 Ends

What we see is that sharks are being targeted by international factory fleets around the world who trail millions upon millions of baited hooks through their realm, trawl the sea floors for rays, skates and other bottom dwellers to 4,000 metres, and slaughter them by the millions. Sharks are the only profitable prey remaining, now that ninety percent of the original (fish) fisheries are fished out.