From our regular columnists

The Evolution of Dive Planning

June 12, 2018 - 14:01
The story is found: 
on page 76

“Plan the dive and dive the plan” has long been the mantra employed in all areas of diving. Technical divers in particular spend more time planning their dives than many recreational divers. This is due to a number of factors, including increased risks, greater depths, high gas usage at depth, increased decompression obligations, increased oxygen toxicity loading and a host of other reasons.

In the early days of technical diving, there were no PC planning tools or dive computers suitable for technical dive planning. The only option for planning a dive was to look up a decompression schedule using pre-generated tables.

PFO: Not the “Hole” Story

June 08, 2018 - 17:05
The story is found: 
on page 62

Researchers took a close look at PFO and arterial bubbles and reached some quite startling conclusions. Most divers know that many people have a PFO and that having a PFO makes you more susceptible to decompression sickness (DCS), but that is far from being the “hole” story, (forgive the pun).

The Scuba Confidential column in this issue is again adapted from my book, Scuba Physiological: Think you know all about Scuba Medicine?

Japanese Giant Salamanders

April 07, 2018 - 11:42
The story is found: 
on page 66

The Japanese giant salamander is a quite unique, if rather mysterious, creature that lives in rivers across western and southwestern Japan.

As both its common and Latin names (Andrias japonicus) suggest, it is an endemic species of Japan that is both protected under federal legislation and formally nominated as a special natural monument because of its cultural and educational significance.

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.


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