From our regular columnists

Papua New Guinea: Manta Rays

February 01, 2016 - 17:44
The story is found: 
on page 72

From a distance, there is little to distinguish the small island of Gonu Bara Bara from the myriad of others in this part of southern Milne Bay Province; and few would guess that just off its northern beach is the best place in the whole of Papua New Guinea to see the magnificent reef manta ray—Manta alfredi.

Reef mantas had been known to patrol that beach for many years, but all attempts to try and interact with them were random at best—maybe you would see one or more, maybe you wouldn’t. Then, back in 2002, almost by accident, Craig de Wit discovered why the mantas were there.

Constructive Paranoia

January 12, 2016 - 15:36
The story is found: 
on page 51

— A Safety Strategy

A young ornithologist was on an expedition in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, leading a team of New Guineans. They climbed through the forest until they reached a level where they were to spend a few days studying birds.

Applying Non-Technical Skills

January 06, 2016 - 14:22
The story is found: 
on page 55

Two perfectly serviceable Boeing 747s crashed into each other on the runway killing 583 people in 1977. In another incident, the pilots shut down the wrong engine, and 47 people were killed when the aircraft crashed... But what has that got to do with diving?

In 1977, two Boeing 747s were on the runway at Los Rodeos Airport, Tenerife. The plane from KLM was lined up, ready to take off, while the plane from Pan-Am was taxiing down the runway towards the first, to exit, turn around and await the former’s departure.

Japanese Shipwrecks of Kwajalein Atoll

November 29, 2015 - 22:19
The story is found: 
on page 14

Look at a map of the Pacific Ocean and follow a line southwest of Hawaii. Right after crossing the International Date Line, but just before crossing the equator sits the Republic of the Marshall Islands. What could possibly be a map maker’s accidental green spots in the vast pool of blue representing the Pacific Ocean, many have never heard of these tiny islands which are home to fantastic underwater treasures.

The Marshall Islands consist of 29 atolls with a total land mass around 180 square kilometers (70 sq.

Honduras: Roatán

November 29, 2015 - 22:00
The story is found: 
on page 42

It is 7:30 in the morning and I’m on my personal veranda on a small hill looking out over green trees and beyond them to blue water and a bright orange sun emerging from it. My feet are up on the rail and there’s a cup of coffee in my hand. I snap a photo for Instagram—­­better­than­this. And the day’s diving hasn’t even started yet.

I am at Turquoise Bay Dive Resort and it embraces the meaning of tranquillo like no other. Sitting almost right at the center of the northern edge of Roatán, it’s a pleasure to escape the touristy hustle and bustle of the West End.

I Just Had It Serviced!

November 21, 2015 - 20:17
The story is found: 
on page 66

Andrew rolled off the tender boat into the exciting, fish-filled, current-strewn waters of northwest Papua, in the area known to divers as Raja Ampat. It was the first dive of a trip that he had been looking forward to for months. He deflated his BCD and descended. As he was rolling around onto his front to get his bearings, his world exploded.

Suddenly, he had no regulator in his mouth and he was surrounded by a thousand Jacuzzis-worth of bubbles. As he was only at a depth of 6m or so, he decided to ascend to the surface first and then see what had happened.

Solo Diving

November 15, 2015 - 03:53
The story is found: 
on page 0

I have a confession. I’ve gone solo diving before. (Mom, I’m sorry.) I’ve been a scuba instructor for eleven years, diving since I was 15, and have done over 4,000 dives, I believe sometimes I am more comfortable underwater than I am on land (seriously, fish can be much easier to get along with than people).

There is much controversy on this subject, and as my disclaimer, these are my personal thoughts and experiences directly related to my recent trip with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions (MBDE).

British Columbia's Wreck Trek

October 22, 2015 - 18:53
The story is found: 
on page 9

A reluctant winter clung to an early March morning while flakes of snow silently fell on eight fully suited divers as our open-skiff slowly motored across glassy-calm water to the first dive site. No one spoke a word.

I couldn’t help but notice the beauty of nature all around. Even through a light veil of surface fog, dark evergreens towered atop rocky shorelines of nearby islands, now bathed in the soft hues of dawn.

It's Not Always About the Cards

September 28, 2015 - 19:44
The story is found: 
on page 71

Diver training agencies are in the business of selling scuba classes and would like you to believe that the only way to develop your knowledge and skills is to sign up for one of their vast array of courses. While time spent with an instructor is indeed a very good way to improve your technique, you do have other options, a number of which I was reminded of recently.

The other week, I joined a dive liveaboard charter and two of the fellow guests were very new divers, with four and 24 lifetime dives, respectively. We were in Raja Ampat, where the diving is fabulous, the corals are lush and the fish life as plentiful as it is anywhere in the world.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef

September 17, 2015 - 18:30
The story is found: 
on page 20

If there was a place that inspired me to become a diver and invoked my passion and love for the ocean, it was Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). As a kid, I could spend hours watching television specials of this blue, fish-filled world that was so different from the Wisconsin farm town I grew up in.

While flying to Australia on my way to dive the GBR for a week with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions (MBDE), I was reading The Reef by Iain McCalman.