From our regular columnists

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.

Indonesia's Komodo Island

July 19, 2016 - 12:37
The story is found: 
on page 10

It was one of those diving vacations where the weather was perfect, the seas were calm, the sun was shining, and the waters were warmer than expected, with good visibility and plenty of life. The boat was beautiful, the crew was fantastic, the food was amazing, the coffee hot and the beer cold. And the diving location was like no other. Let me take you to Komodo.

(I will warn you in advance: This story is about one of “those” trips. It might make you green with envy, but it will definitely make you wish you were there, and will probably have you planning your next dive trip to take place in this magical spot.)

To Shark Dive or Not to Shark Dive

June 21, 2016 - 15:05
The story is found: 
on page 61

It was seven in the morning and my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. The dive guide was giving me a slightly more thorough dive briefing than normal. I wasn’t supposed to wear anything colorful or shiny, and black gloves and a hood were required. Also covered in black neoprene, he was putting on chainmail gloves and told me he’d have a pole with him. He said it was more for the potato cods though, not the sharks.

Taking a giant stride off the back on the boat, the chill of the water snapped me out of my early-morning haze. Below me, the sharks were already there; at least ten were circling below the boat.

Choose Wisely: How to Spot a Good Dive Instructor

June 20, 2016 - 15:56
The story is found: 
on page 48

This issue's column is taken from a chapter in my new book Scuba Fundamental—Start Diving the Right Way, which aims to help people prepare for scuba diving, understand how the process works and make the right choices once they start.

The chapter “Choose Wisely” is a guide to making probably the most important decision of all: selecting the right instructor. I thought the topic might be interesting for current divers too and not only so you can advise friends who are thinking of learning to dive.

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