From our regular columnists

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.

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.

Australia: Victoria's Secret

August 22, 2017 - 17:36
The story is found: 
on page 41

“You can dive in Melbourne?” was the baffled response from a Queensland hotel concierge upon telling her I was heading to Victoria to dive. And this was from an Australian who WAS a diver! When overseas visitors think of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef immediately comes to mind. However, Australian diving is not just about coral. Along the continent’s southern coast is an undersea world far removed from the tropics.

Although a long-time tropical diver, trips to the Great Lakes, South Africa and Denmark have triggered my interest in temperate diving. Seeing new environments and species have amped up my enthusiasm, especially with regards to photography.

Australia: The Little Life on the Great Barrier Reef

July 28, 2017 - 12:33
The story is found: 
on page 53

There is nothing small about the Great Barrier Reef. It is not only the largest coral reef system on Earth, but probably the most well-known. You would be hard-pressed to find divers who do not have it on their dive wish lists. It is Earth’s largest living structure and reaches over 2,300km (1,400 miles) down the coast of Queensland, Australia.

Love and respect for this massive reef system goes back many years (possibly with the exception of Captain James Cook, who found himself run aground on it). It has been a marine park since 1975 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Scotland's Islands of Forth

July 24, 2017 - 11:34
The story is found: 
on page 14

The entrance to the Firth of Forth, an estuary in southeast Scotland, is guarded by a number of islands, the two largest and most popular for diving being the Isle of May or May Isle, 7km (4.5 miles) from Crail in Fife and the Bass Rock, or The Bass, located 2km (1.2 miles) offshore and 5km (3.1 miles) northeast of North Berwick in East Lothian.

Although May Isle is only 57 hectares, it has been a National Nature Reserve since 1956 and is internationally important for its seabird and seal colonies. This small island has over 200,000 breading seabirds, as well as over 90,000 puffins; the island is honeycombed with their burrows.

Oceanic Whitetip Sharks of Cat Island

July 18, 2017 - 13:29
The story is found: 
on page 33

Until quite recently, the Red Sea was generally considered as the best place to see and photograph oceanic whitetip sharks—typically in remote locations such as the Brother Islands and Elphinstone Reef in Egypt or the isolated reefs of southern Sudan.

Oceanic whitetip sharks are formidable animals that can reach almost 4m in length when fully mature and have a reputation to match their size, with Jacques Cousteau once describing them as "the most dangerous of all sharks." That said, they do not feature highly on the common shark-attack registe

Great Hammerhead Sharks of South Bimini

July 18, 2017 - 13:27
The story is found: 
on page 61

Like a fashion model up on the catwalk, great hammerhead sharks sashay into one’s field of vision, and, if they were human, you would probably say they have just “made an entrance”. Their strange mallet-like head, robust body girth and tall sickle-shaped dorsal fin make them well-nigh instantly recognisable, and most other sharks in the immediate area spot that too and give them a wide berth.

The great hammerhead shark has a unique and distinguished presence in the water, cautious but confident, and seemingly in control of its environment. As it approaches, its distinctive head sweeps from side to side, causing the rest of its body to move in an almost snake-like manner.

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