From our regular columnists

Let's Talk About Underwater Communications Systems

September 01, 2017 - 18:31
The story is found: 
on page 58

In 1977, a year after I got certified, Soundwave Systems launched the “Wetphone,” a voice-activated underwater communications device that promised to revolutionize sports diving, making it a “silent world” no more. I added it to my wish list along with a Watergill At-Pac, the forerunner of modern-day wings, and an SAS drysuit. Soundwave filed for bankruptcy a few years later.

Today—nearly 40 years later—communication systems have become standard kit for commercial, military, law enforcement, public safety, aquarium and scientific divers and videographers, but they remain a niche product for recreational and technical divers.

The Future of Scuba Diving in a Flat World – Part II

July 18, 2017 - 13:19
The story is found: 
on page 62

At the end of my article in the previous issue, I referred to the fact that developing technologies, expanding markets and customers with different backgrounds and expectations have presented diver training agencies with challenges as well as opportunities. One major challenge has been to adapt training programmes to a changing world, while endeavouring to maintain the structures and paradigms that have been in place for over 50 years.

— This is the second piece in a two-part article, adapted from a chapter in my book, Scuba Professional – Insights into Sport Diver Training and Operations.

Pushing the Altitude: The Quest to Document the SS Tahoe

June 27, 2017 - 11:53
The story is found: 
on page 69

June 2017 — Fifty-six-year-old explorer Martin McClellan is determined to revisit the SS Tahoe to conduct an extensive photogrammetric survey of the wreck. The 169ft (52m)-long 19th century steamship, which was scuttled in 1940, rests intact on a steep underwater slope at a maximum depth of 470ffw (144mfw) beneath Glenbrook Bay in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA.

McClellan was the first to dive the Tahoe with Brian Morris under the banner of his organization New Millennium Dive Expeditions (NMDE) in 2002, and has conducted 10 open-circuit dives on the wreck over the last 15 years.

Aircraft Wrecks of Papua New Guinea

June 08, 2017 - 15:29
The story is found: 
on page 6

World War II came to the Australian territory of Papua New Guinea in January 1942 when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Rabaul in New Britain, followed shortly after by the taking of Kavieng in New Ireland. The invasion turned Papua New Guinea into a major theatre of war in the battle for the Pacific, and there were many brutal encounters between the invading Japanese and the defending Allied forces.

Conditions were often appalling and the fighting was incredibly fierce, with many young lives lost on both sides. To this day, relics of those battles are part of the fabric of Papua New Guinea.

Risk-Taking in Diving: Is it Worth it?

May 26, 2017 - 15:01
The story is found: 
on page 55

Diving is a sport which has an inherent risk of death or serious injury due to the aquatic environment in which the activity takes place. These risks are not just limited to drowning or decompression sickness, but many other issues like entanglement, injuries from the flora and fauna, or trauma.

It is this balance of risks that is often hard to understand when something goes wrong and a diver is killed, injured or has a really “scary” moment. We often forget that there are ever-present, low probability, high consequence risks whenever we go diving.

The Future of Scuba Diving in a Flat World – Part 1

May 20, 2017 - 14:04
The story is found: 
on page 52

In 2005, Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman wrote his book, The World Is Flat, describing the epoch-defining effects of technological globalisation in the early 21st century. He explained his use of the word “flat” as meaning “equalising.” That is, equalising power, knowledge, opportunity and the ability to connect, compete and collaborate.

— This is the first in a two-part article, adapted from a chapter in my book Scuba Professional: Insights into Sport Diver Training and Operations. Part two will be featured in the next issue.

Diving Coastal British Columbia

May 18, 2017 - 14:09
The story is found: 
on page 29

Referred to as the Salish Sea by local aboriginal people, the coastal inland waters stretching from Puget Sound to Johnstone Strait provide a vast and diverse area for scuba divers to explore. Not only are these temperate, nutrient-rich waters teeming with colorful marine critters of all sizes, visitors can enjoy underwater activities like photography, shipwrecks, deep walls and drift diving.

British Columbia (BC), located just above the US state of Washington, on the northwestern coast of North America, provides all of this and more, along with countless topside activities like fishing, skiing, hiking and great wildlife viewing.

Diving the Azores

May 18, 2017 - 14:06
The story is found: 
on page 43

Like the tips of icebergs, the islands of the Azores archipelago are just the visible peaks of a remarkable chain of underwater mountains that rank among some of the highest in the world.

The Azores Platform is some 2,000m below the ocean surface, but the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is grounded on to the seabed another 2,000m below that, while the tip of Pico (the tallest island of the archipelago) is 2,350m above sea level, making the mountain that is Pico about 6,500m high in total eleva

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.

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