From our regular columnists

Air Supply Emergencies

April 08, 2017 - 20:59
The story is found: 
on page 73

What do you do when it all runs out?

In the last Scuba Confidential column, I took a long, hard look at the buddy system and solo diving. Whatever you may feel about the issues, there are definite benefits—both tangible and intangible—to diving with someone else. We are human beings, after all.

Treasures of Tasmania

February 22, 2017 - 15:02
The story is found: 
on page 35

There is an island at the bottom of the Earth playfully referred to as the end of the world, or the edge of the world, and if I did not know better, I could picture this to be true. Standing at the edge of some of the steepest cliffs in Australia on the Tasman Peninsula of southeastern Tasmania, I looked out over the steep, jagged coastline and the steel blue Southern Ocean.

The previous day, I was at the other end of these cliffs and 10m underwater, getting my first glimpse of weedy seadragons, a unique and strangely beautiful marine organism endemic to southern Australia.

Maldives: The Central Atolls

January 16, 2017 - 15:46
The story is found: 
on page 16

I was not planning to go on the night dive. It was the first night of the trip and I was a little tired, I already had my camera batteries charging and was all settled in with a book for the night after a fabulous first day of diving with turtles, sharks and tons of fish. But Fernando, our dive guide, told me I had to go.

The dive site was Alimatha Pier at Vaavu Atoll. We did our giant strides into the black water and were immediately greeted with a ripping current. They said to bring reef hooks if you had them (which I did not), so after getting to the bottom, I found a rock to hold on to.

You are on your own! A hard look at the buddy system

January 16, 2017 - 13:44
The story is found: 
on page 52

In this issue, Simon Pridmore takes a look at the buddy system and concludes that on many occasions your buddy is not your friend, and you would be much better off assuming that this will be the case and preparing yourself, always, to assume full responsibility for your diving.

The buddy system, as it was originally conceived, was a procedure whereby two confident divers operate as independent members of a two-person team—with their shared equipment, experience and gas supply—making the team stronger and safer than its individual members acting alone.

The Wild Side of Hawaii

December 08, 2016 - 16:00
The story is found: 
on page 20

The idea of Hawaii conjures up images of blue water, white sand, palm trees and soft breezes. One pictures a calm, easy-going, relaxing sort of place where one can recover from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But if one looks hard enough, there is adventure to be found beyond the sun-soaked beaches and mai tai cocktails, and so I went in search of them on both ends of the island chain that make up the Hawaiian archipelago.

The main Hawaiian Islands, which make up this US state, consist of eight islands stretching from the easternmost island of Hawaii, to the westernmost island of Ni’ihau, with Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai in-between (east to west).

It's Not Beasting

October 17, 2016 - 17:11
The story is found: 
on page 65

In the 1950s, in the early days of recreational scuba diver training, many of the instructors were retired military who would use words like “beasting” to describe the harsh regime they meted out to their students to ensure they met their exacting standards for diver certification.

Much was made of dropout and failure rates, as if the quality of an instructor resided not in how many students passed the course but how many failed. This kind of mindset was unlikely to build a successful commercial industry and, in the early 1960s, scuba diver training attitudes changed.

Critters of the Muck

September 21, 2016 - 14:14
The story is found: 
on page 19

You just have to do it to understand it. Until you have experienced it, the name itself does not stir the emotions as much as the other types of diving. Once you have experienced the treasure hunt for yourself, you will be hooked. Marketing specialists would agree that it is probably misnamed and they have even tried to rename it, but nothing has stuck the same way as the coined term “muck diving.”

So, what is muck diving? The term can be used to describe several types of diving but usually involves diving in areas you wouldn’t initially think about diving in.

No Dive Centre is an Island

August 30, 2016 - 16:23
The story is found: 
on page 60

Over the years, many people have come into the scuba diving industry driven by a dream. This dream is to find a small, sunny corner of the world where the reefs are healthy and where they might set up a little dive resort.

The resort would be built by village craftsmen and designed to leave as small an ecological footprint as possible. Materials would be sourced locally, without destruction of either reef or forest.

Lesser Antilles: Dominica

August 24, 2016 - 15:23
The story is found: 
on page 26

“Not the Dominican Republic, Dominica,” I corrected my friends for the umpteenth time regarding my upcoming trip. Then again, it was easy to understand how the gaffe had come about. While the former is home to sprawling resorts and package tourism, the latter is a tropical gem in the Lesser Antilles which is a far cry from its similarly-named Caribbean cousin.

Make no bones about it—there is no quick and easy way to get there. Despite being in the same hemisphere as my home in Toronto, getting to Dominica proved to be a full-day expedition. Arriving at the airport at 5:30 a.m.

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