From our regular columnists

Preconditioning for Safer Scuba Diving

March 14, 2018 - 16:10
The story is found: 
on page 47

This column is adapted from a chapter in my book, Scuba Physiological – Think you know all about Scuba Medicine? Think Again! The chapters in this book were originally written by scientists in the field of decompression research as part of a three-year project called PHYPODE (Physiology of Decompression). My (self-appointed) task was to rewrite their sometimes-complex research in a form accessible to all divers.

One interesting aspect they addressed was the concept of preconditioning as it may apply to scuba diving safety.

The Perimeter of Ignorance

February 19, 2018 - 18:36
The story is found: 
on page 47

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "as our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it." In other words, in expanding our awareness, we just expose our ignorance. The more we come to know, the more we realise we do not know.

This makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Astrophysicist and cosmologist Neil Tyson has described what many people do in response; instead of searching further, they build a wall around what they know so they do not have to see the darkness beyond.

Scotland: Muck Diving at Home

January 17, 2018 - 18:43
The story is found: 
on page 25

Do we really need to go underwater at the other end of the world (and its challenges)? Lawson Wood poses this question while comparing the muck diving found in his home country of Scotland to that found in exotic locations in Asia and other regions of the world, renown for their muck diving sites.

“Muck diving” is now a recognised, broad term for (generally) close-up and macro or micro photography, often in terrible visibility, resulting in low light and backscatter problems in photographs; and some disorientation with depth, resulting in finding deep-water critters in much shallower water

Permanent Change: When Have We Learnt?

January 03, 2018 - 18:15
The story is found: 
on page 68

In a previous article, I discussed some of the various definitions of learning, and focused on the following definition: Learning is a permanent, observable change in behaviour. Specifically, the article explored the second part of the definition and the learning outcomes that can be used to pin down the observable change in behaviour, which we are looking for.

If our definition of learning assumes that learning involves a permanent change in behaviour, then how long is permanent? If a change occurs, but it disappears as soon as the student leaves the class, then did they learn? I think most people would say no.

Project Baseline: Facilitating Needed Underwater Science

October 09, 2017 - 13:08
The story is found: 
on page 86

Project Baseline’s team conducted over 100 video transects of coral reef and benthic habitats of the Great Astrolabe Reef in Fiji, one of the largest barrier reefs in the world, to compile baseline reports in order to effectively monitor the health of the reef.

Having completed two high-profile collaborative research projects in 2016—one with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) documenting the U-576 WWII German submarine at a depth of 721ft (220m) off North Carolina along the US East Coast, and the other working with the Nekton Ox

Northwest Bali: Underwater Gods & Conservation

October 01, 2017 - 20:56
The story is found: 
on page 16

Rarely do you come across someone who has a negative opinion about Bali. More often than not, you will find previous visitors raving about Bali as magical, some suggest it is spiritual, and others find it relaxing, or even full of adventure. It is a place I have come to love and enjoy returning too often.

After braving a few days among the masses in these areas, I headed northwest. The hair-raising, four-and-a-half-hour drive up and around two volcanoes showed me one reason why not many people make the trek this far from the airport.

Achieving Our Teaching Objectives

September 26, 2017 - 11:03
The story is found: 
on page 83

Diving instruction has standards, qualifications, materials, governing bodies and best practices. So why do we see such poor examples of diving practice? Why do so many new divers struggle with the basic skills? Why do tech divers forget some key techniques? Is it poor instruction or something else?

Why are students not learning this stuff in their scuba classes? The reality is that instructors do teach it, but the students are not learning it, or at least they are not putting what is taught into practice.

User Review: The Olympus Tough TG-5

September 11, 2017 - 01:17
The story is found: 
on page 86

I was sent recently a new small compact camera by Olympus to test on home grounds as opposed to taking it away to perfectly warm, perfectly clear, overseas destinations. Considering that most new compact cameras are aimed at a local market, it made sense to try this one out at home. The new little compact is the Olympus Tough TG-5.

This review is NOT a scientific test, nor is it a blow-by-blow account of how every setting works. This is a user review written after taking the camera into the water for the first time and exploring its capabilities as I went along on the dive.

The Incredible Australian Leafy Seadragon

September 08, 2017 - 12:24
The story is found: 
on page 57

Australia, the great brown land down under, is home to many iconic and often strange-looking creatures, both above and below the water. But few are as unique and visually spectacular as the leafy seadragon!

Known colloquially as “leafies”, they are also known by the common name Glauert's seadragon. Leafy seadragons are endemic to the southern and western coasts of Australia, but are particularly synonymous with South Australia, where they have been adopted as the state’s marine emblem.