All posts by scuba-shack-radio

Scuba Shack Radio #9 – 7-7-19

In this episode we discuss why buying a regulator from your local dive shop matters, bamboo and global warming, and the World Recreational Scuba Training Council

Regulators are a critical piece of your dive gear and represent a significant investment. As we all know, there are a lot of options for purchasing online. Why not buy your regulator online? Well for one thing, brand new regulators are shipped in a box and not assembled. Unless you are comfortable and capable of properly assembling your new regulator, you are taking a risk. When you buy from your local dive shop, the regulator will be properly assembled and more importantly tested to ensure the adjustments are proper. Don’t leave it to chance. Your local dive shop can compete on price plus adds the value of personalized service.

Bamboo is technically a grass that can be an important cog in the climate change battle. With its incredible ability to sequester carbon along with its compressive and tensile strength it is one of the most versatile plants on earth. Bamboo can be used to replace high emission material like cotton, plastic, steel, aluminum and concrete. Bamboo grows readily on degraded or abandoned land and if we increase our acreage by 37 million, this plant can take 7.22 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere. The links below provide more detail.

The World Recreational Scuba Training Council or WRSTC is dedicated to world-wide safety of recreational scuba. They produce the minimum standards for training agencies. There are four different components. RTSC for the US, RTSC Europe, RTSC Canada and RTSC Japan. RTSC US is based out of Stuart FL and has 9 member training agencies. PADI is one of those agencies. They publish their standards on their website. It might make for some interesting reading.

Scuba Shack Radio #8 – 6-23-19

In this episode we discuss deep diving, cleaning stations and Sea Hunt – It’s still alive – the final show “Round Up”

What is deep diving? According to many training organizations it is any dive below 60 feet. Why? There is a section in Alex Brylske’s book “The Complete Diver” titled Deep Diving Re-examined. Dr. Brylske talks about what he considers deep diving – the range between 80 and 130 feet or as he describes it the forgotten 50 feet. He also discusses things to consider before venturing deeper than 60 feet, specifically experience and training. As for training PADI has a great Deep Diver specialty course that consists of 4 deep dives and you must have the experience of either PADI Adventure or Advanced Diver with 20 logged dives to participate. Stay safe with experience and training and minimize the risks.

Observing a cleaning station on a coral reef is fascinating. Cleaning stations are a classic example of symbiotic mutualism. The cleaner and the client both benefit. There is a two-part article in the winter and spring editions of Alert Diver magazine from Divers Alert Network by Anna and Ned Deloach on cleaning stations titled “Pest Control”. They discuss some interesting elements of the Bluestreak cleaner wrasse and the Pederson cleaner shrimp. Here are some other links that have more information on cleaning stations.

The final episode of Sea Hunt titled “Round Up” aired on September 23, 1961. The new underwater sequences were filmed in Nassau. Mike had 2 jobs in this episode. One was to recover floating bombs from a wreck and then blow up the ship. The second job was to recover and disarm a torpedo that was fired into an underwater pipe at a hydroelectric plant. The first job was really a repeat of an earlier episode with a new twist. On the second job Mike finds the diver who sent the torpedo into the pipe and wrestles him to the surface. The diver is a young Jack Nickelson who says “How many times to I got to tell you there ain’t no bomb”. Well there was. Mike saves the day and closes the show by saying see you next week, but now we know that wouldn’t happen. The series is over after four years and 155 shows.

Scuba Shack Radio #7 – 6-8-19

In this episode we review some new Osprey Dive Bags, Climate Change – the book and introduce a recurring segment called “Sea Hunt – It’s alive”

Going someplace great to dive means that we have to get our scuba gear there in a tough and durable bag. There are many great bags out there and we recently brought in some new dive bags from Osprey. Two of the bags that I think are really awesome are the Transporter Wheeled Duffel 90 and the Shuttle 130L/36. First they are super lightweight. On my scale the Wheeled Duffel came in at 7.9 pounds and the Shuttle was 9.6 pounds. My current dive bag is 12 pounds empty. I then packed my Apeks XTX 50, RK3 fins, 3 mm wetsuit, Light and Motion Solo, boots and Halcyon Eclipse 30 with the backplate and two masks . I still had some room in the duffel and had all kinds of space in the shuttle for packing another 9 pounds of stuff. All-in-all, the Osprey bags are incredible and I will surely have one when we hit Little Cayman and the Philippines later this year.

“Climate Change – What everyone needs to know” written by Dr. Joseph Romm is an important read if you are concerned about what we are doing to the planet. The NY Times Magazine calls it “The best single-source primer on the state of climate change”. Dr Romm takes you through the basics of climate science, extreme weather, projected impacts, avoiding the worst, politics and policy, the role of clean energy and climate change and you. I particularly found his discussion on the challenging aspects associated with transportation enlightening. We need to find a way to curb our use of petroleum-based transportation.

In this new recurring feature I will be reviewing an episode of Sea Hunt. Sea Hunt was a television program that ran from 1958 to 1961 (four season) with 155 shows. It featured Lloyd Bridges as ex-navy frogman Mike Nelson. The show was filmed at Marine Land of the Pacific, Catalina Island, Paradise Cove Malibu, Silver Springs FL, Cypress Garden FL, Tarpon Springs FL, Nassau and Grand Bahamas. We are big fans of the show and hope you will enjoy our reviews on future episodes of Scuba Shack Radio.


Scuba Shack Radio #6 – 5-26-19

In this episode we discuss wet suits, The Ocean Foundation, and the History of Diving Museum

One of the questions we often get at the shop is what thickness of wet suit should I buy. Our answer is it depends. It depends on where, when and how you dive. A 3 mm wet suit gives you a lot of mobility and lessens the weight that you need to carry. A 3 mm wet suit might be the best option for water temperatures at 77 degrees of above. You might choose a 5 mm wet suit if water temperatures are below 77 degrees. If you aren’t sure, the 5 mm wet suit might be the most versatile option.

The Ocean Foundation is a unique community with a mission to support, strengthen and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of oceans environments around the world. They have spent $48 M over the last 13 years on marine conservation. They also sponsor a program called Seagrass Grow – a program for carbon offsets. Here are couple of links to the Ocean Foundation and the Seagrass Grow program.

The History of Diving Museum is located in Islamorada, FL. It was founded by Drs. Joe and Sally Bauer in 2000, opened to the public part-time in 2005 and finally full time in 2006. It is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting artifacts, antiques, books, documents, photos and oral history relative to the history of diving. The museum also is home to The Bauer Diving History Research Library.

Scuba Shack Radio #5 – 5-12-19

In this episode we review a couple of dry suit vests, talk about plastic and chemical pollution and discuss the merits of a dry bag.

The Thermalution Yellow Grade is a battery powered heated vest using two lithium polymer batteries housed in a sleeveless rash guard type vest. It uses a wireless transmitter on the back of the vest controlled by a small controller you wear on your forearm. It has three settings, rated to 300 feet, can be worn wet or dry and has an advertised heating time of 180 – 240 minutes.

The Fourth Element X-Core vest is also sleeveless and is made from post-consumer waste (like plastic bottles or ghost fishing nets) which is part of their Ocean Positive series. It is engineered to retain the body’s own heat. It is described as their answer to the electronically heated vest.

The Thermalution vest heats on your back and not the chest. It does heat up fast and you can definitely feel the different settings. When diving wet, the warmth was felt at shallower depths but when taken deep the warming effect was pretty negligible. The X-Core vest lived up to its description. It really warmed the core and stayed warm the whole dive. The X-Core line also comes with leggings. For price and performance the X-core is the best choice.

Plastic in the ocean by itself is a problem but it also causes additional concerns. A recent blog post on Ocean Conservancy describes how the plastic in the ocean also absorbs chemicals and then transports them great distances thus creating  more pollution around the globe. There is nothing good about plastic getting into our water system. Here is a link to the blog post.

You are about to get on a dive boat and are carrying your backpack with valuable items when suddenly you drop it and it ends up in the water. The crew fish it out but oh no, what a mess. This can be avoided by carrying all the things you want to stay dry in a dry bag. Dry bags are relatively inexpensive and give you the peace of mind when getting on a boat because boats get wet.

Scuba Shack Radio #4 – 4-28-19

In this episode we discuss Sunset House in Grand Cayman, defogging a mask, and Project Drawdown.

Sunset House in Grand Cayman has been serving the dive community for over 60 years now. Let’s hope they keep up the good work. Sunset House’s rooms provide all the essential amenities you need to make you stay comfortable. Their boats are well maintained, convenient for diving and offer relatively short trips to some great reefs. Shore diving is spectacular with so much to see. Throw in My Bar and I rarely leave the grounds. Town is a short walk or complementary shuttle ride away. Keep up the good work Sunset House.

Defogging a mask is a relatively simple skill. Too often however we see that this skill was probably not explained very well. If the mask is properly cleaned then a drop or two of any defog solution will be enough so long as you don’t wash it off by rinsing too hard. We use Sea Drops from Gear Aid and it has served us well. Couple of drops, let it dry, quick rinse before entering the water and you will be all set. Simple but often not done correctly. We sometimes see people putting on the sea drops and then doing a heavy rinse essentially wiping out the benefit.  

Project Drawdown is described as the most comprehensive plan ever produced to reverse global warming. It is that point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begin to decline on a year-to-year basis. Project Drawdown was founded in 2014 by Paul Hawkins, author, entrepreneur and environmentalist. Check out the 100 Solution to reverse global warming. 



Scuba Shack Radio #3 – 4-14-19

In this episode we discuss a visit to REEF HQ in Key Largo, Hakai Magazine, an update on Plastic Bank

During our recent dive shop trip to Key Largo, we conducted a PADI Fish Identification course in conjunction with REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation).  Our visit to REEF included an introduction, lecture on the various fish encountered in the Florida Keys, and how to conduct a fish survey. The next morning we were off to do two surveys, diving with Horizon Divers. Our surveys were conducted on The Wreck of the Benwood and Sand Bottom Cave on Elbow Reef.

Hakai Magazine is an online magazine started in 2015 with a mission to explore science, society and the environment from a coastal perspective. Hakai Magazine is funded by Tula Foundation. You can find out more about Tula here – Hakai Magazine is fascinating with great articles and audio versions. Two articles in particular that are of interest (both audio and written) are “Citizen Science comes of age” and “Hey Beacher, leave those fish alone”. Here are links to both.

Plastic Bank is an organization that stops ocean plastic while reducing poverty. Essentially, they pay people to recycle plastic. The plastic is then recycled and sold as social plastic. You can get all the details regarding their work on their web site. Recently they announced a partnership with SC Johnson to open 8 recycling centers in Indonesia along with the first mobile recycling center.

In addition to Indonesia they also operate out of Haiti, and the Philippines.

Scuba Shack Radio Episode 2 – 3-30-19

In this episode we discuss car tires and micro-pollution, the Aqualung Reveal mask and diving in Key Largo.

According to the National Resource Defense Council as we drive we leave tiny flecks of tire behind. These little flecks are like microplastics that make it to our water ways. Unlike micro-beads this problem is much harder to address. Awareness is important and more studies need to be done. Here is a link to the article.

Fit and comfort are the most important features of a dive mask. We like the Aqualung Reveal mask for its fit and comfort. You can check out the features and see all the color combinations by following this link.

If you are thinking about a quick getaway for some diving in the U.S., you should consider Key Largo.


Scuba Shack Radio – Episode 1 – 3-17-19

Welcome to the first episode of Scuba Shack Radio – a bi-weekly podcast in support of our mission of empowering individuals to venture underwater and to advocate for ocean health and sustainability.

In this episode we discuss dive computers, growing coral in Bonaire, Beneath the Sea in New Jersey, and some discussion on ocean conservation.