Category Archives: Ocean Health

Scuba Shack Radio #19 – 11-17-19



In this episode we discuss our time at DEMA, clothing made from recycled plastic, and another installment of Your Next Dive – Little Cayman.

Our three days at DEMA was packed. We had a chance to meet with all of our partners, look at new products, research various travel options, talk with organizations involved in ocean health and sustainability and meet some interesting people in the dive community. We talked to Autumn Blum –  founder of Stream2Sea, Bob Denton – the inventor of Sink the Stink, Cathryn Castle Garcia – executive editor of Dive Training Magazine, and Stuart Cove. We also had a nice chat with Zale Parry of Sea Hunt fame.

Clothing made from recycled plastic sounds like a great idea. On one hand it is taking plastic out of the ocean but at the same time may be putting it back in a different way. Turns out that synthetic fibers shed when being washed and produce microfibers that can’t be filtered out in our treatment plants. There are two different types of fabrics that are being made that if washed properly will result in positive outcomes. The two fibers are Repreve and Econyl. Some options to reduce microfibers include hand washing, using Cora balls, Guppyfriend washing bags, or a Lint LUV-R washing machine filter.

If you’ve never been to Little Cayman – get there. If you’ve been there before I am pretty sure you’ll want to get back there soon. The Little Cayman Beach Resort is a top-notch resort with great rooms, a fantastic all-inclusive dining facility and large pool and bar area. You can also relax in a beach-side hammock. The onsite dive operation – Reef Divers run 4 – 46 foot Newton dive boats that accommodate up to 20 divers. They are truly valet diving that get you to Bloody Bay Wall quickly. The diving on Bloody Bay Wall is some of the best I’ve encountered.


Scuba Shack Radio #18 – 11-3-19



In this episode we discuss the Halcyon Traveler BC, the Keeling Curve, and some more of our diving history with the salvage of the submarine S-51 in 1925/26.

The Halcyon Traveler BC is a great light weight BC with the control and stability of the backplate and wing configuration. The Traveler BC is a 30 pound lift capacity wing and weighs in at just about 7 pounds – half the weight of the Infinity BC with a stainless steel backplate and tank adapter. The nylon backplate has four weight pouches that can hold up to 12 pounds total. You can also add the Halcyon active control ballast pockets on the waist band or the trim tab pockets on the tank bands. The Halcyon Traveler BC is fantastic for dive travel to warm water destinations.

The Keeling Curve is a graph of the accumulated CO2 in our atmosphere from 1958 to the present. It is named for the scientist Charles David Keeling. It has been described as one of the most important works of the 20th century. It shows the rise from 315 parts per million (PPM) in 1958 to 406 PPM in 2018. This dramatic increase is alarming. The Keeling Curve also shows the seasonal variation of CO2. Until the mid 20th century scientist thought the ocean would easily absorb the excess CO2. Now we know that isn’t happening.

The book “On the Bottom” by Commander Edward Ellsberg is the story of the salvage of the submarine S-51 that sank after colliding with a steamer in 1925. The book tells an incredible story of our diving history. Working at a depth of 132 feet, the divers needed to secure the submarine inside and outside and then rig it for lifting. The salvage operation required a great deal of innovation and ingenuity along with unbelievable courage.


Scuba Shack Radio #17 – 10-19-19



In this episode we discuss Project Aware and the PADI Specialty, Marine Protected Areas, and another installment of Sea Hunt – It’s Still Alive

It is called Project Aware because it started in 1989 as a project with PADI to support ocean conservation. AWARE stands for Aquatic World Awareness, Responsibility and Education. Project Aware focused on 10 ways that divers can protect the underwater environment. These 10 ways have evolved into the 10 tips for divers to protect the ocean planet. In 1992 it officially became a separate entity called the Project Aware Foundation. Listen for more information on Project Aware and the PADI specialty or go to https://www.projectaware.org/

Marine Protected Areas are any area of the marine environment that has been reserved by federal, state, territorial, tribal or local laws or regulations to provide lasting protection for part or all of the natural and cultural resources therein. MPA came into being with Presidential executive order 13158 signed by President Clinton on May 26, 2000. MPA are managed by the Commerce Department under the direction of NOAA. The executive order supports another law called the National Marine Sanctuary Act first passed in 1972. You can read more about marine protected areas on the NOAA site at https://marineprotectedareas.noaa.gov/

A diver find a sunken Japanese submarine with a lethal nerve gas agent seeping out. That is what season 2 episode 15 of Sea Hunt is all about. “Nerve Gas” premiered on April 12, 1959. Mike and his dive buddy Stan – an LAPD police officer who is a judo expert are dispatched to help a diver who started freaking out after finding a submarine. While trying to revive the diver (Leonard Nimoy), Mike also becomes effected. Turns out the problem is nerve gas leaking from a sunken Japanese submarine. Mike and Stan have to seal up the leaking submarine – but not without problems. Listen to hear more about all the action in “Nerve Gas”


Episode 16 – 10-6-19



In this episode we discuss DEMA, the latest IPCC Climate Change report, and introduce a new segment called Your Next Dive – first up Maui

DEMA is the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association with the mission of bringing business together to grow the diving industry. DEMA has more than 1400 member businesses. They have a number of strategic goals and objectives along with tactical goals. You can read more about DEMA at their website https://www.dema.org. One of their tactical goals is to put on an annual trade show. That is the DEMA Show and brings together over 9000 buyers, vendors and dive professionals with a focus on education, products, services and networking. DEMA Show has been ongoing since 1997.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published their latest Summary for Policy Makers on September 25, 2019 titled “The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate”. The report was created by 65+ drafting and contributing authors from around the globe. The ocean and cryosphere comprise over 80% of the world. The findings are dramatic. You can download a copy of the report from the IPCC website. https://www.ipcc.ch

Your Next Dive takes you to Maui. If you are going to Maui and staying on West Maui our pick for dive operators is Lahanai divers. They run two 42 foot Newton dive boats that are comfortable, roomy and ride nice. You can dive multiple islands with Lahaina divers – Lanai, Molokini, Molokai, and Maui. In the winter (February timeframe) water temperatures are between 75 and 77 degrees F. Dive sites on Lanai include First and Second Cathedral, Mempachi Cave, Sargent Major, and Monolith. Molokini includes inside the crater as well as the backwall. You can also dive the wreck of the Carthaginian or Mala Wharf.


Scuba Shack Radio #13 – 9/1/19



In this episode we discuss Nitrox, whales and ocean noise, and where did the term SCUBA come from (you might be surprised)

Enriched Air Nitrox is one of PADI’s most popular classes. Why – longer no decompression limits, especially on repetitive dives. With a combination of electronic learning, classroom lecture, use of the dive computer and practical application, you are ready to manage the risks associated with Nitrox, mainly oxygen toxicity and have more fun. Nitrox is an essential class for all scuba divers.

The ocean is a noisy place and getting louder all the time. Whether it is from shipping, seismic testing or sonar, the noise is doing great harm to the ocean inhabitants, especially whales and dolphins. You can check out a couple of web sites – https://us.whales.org or http://wildwhales.org. The film titled – Sonic Sea is a powerful documentary on this serious threat. You can order it on Vimeo.

Where did the term SCUBA come from? It wasn’t Jacque Cousteau. It was coined in a paper written by Dr. Christian J Lambertsen and Walter A Hahn in 1952. The report is titled “On Using Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus”. It was written for the National Academy of Sciences National Resource Council as Publication 274. Dr Lambertsen was also the inventor of the Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit (LARU) – a very early rebreather.


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.

https://www.oceanfdn.org/

https://www.oceanfdn.org/calculator

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.

https://www.divingmuseum.org/


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. https://oceanconservancy.org/blog/2019/04/23/plastic-pollution-chemical-pollution/

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. https://www.sunsethouse.com/

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. https://www.drawdown.org/ 

 

 


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 – https://tula.org. 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.

https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/citizen-science-comes-of-age/

https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/hey-beacher-leave-those-fish-alone/

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. 

https://www.plasticbank.com/sc-johnson-partners-with-plastic-bank-in-indonesia/#.XKZ5qZhKiM8

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. https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/tires-emerging-threat-our-waterways-our-seafood-and-ourselves

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. http://www.aqualung.com/us/scuba-diving-gear/reveal

If you are thinking about a quick getaway for some diving in the U.S., you should consider Key Largo.   https://fla-keys.com/key-largo/a-dive-wonderland/