Category Archives: Scuba Equipment

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.


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 #14 – 9-8-19



In this episode we discuss scuba tank visual inspections, age and diving, Sea Hunt – the other pilot episode

We learn early on in our training that there are two different types of inspections for scuba tanks – hydrostatic (every 5 years) and the annual visual inspection. Only the hydrostatic test is mandated in the US by the US DOT. The visual inspection is a scuba industry standard. It all came about in the 1970s in response to a study conducted by the University of Rhode Island on behalf of the National Underwater Accident Data Center titled Investigation of scuba cylinder corrosion – phase 1. The findings were powerful enough for our industry to self-regulate on this critical safety inspection.

As we grow older, we are not able to do some of the same physical things that we did in our youth. Diving should not be one of those things. There is a chapter in The Complete Diver by Dr. Alex Brylske that discusses age and diving. There is some great info in this chapter along with the reference to a study published in 2003 that shows that age does not dramatically impact diving as long as we stay physically fit.

Mark of the Octopus was actually the first episode of Sea Hunt that was ever produced. It was a pilot episode used to try and sell the show to networks or syndicators. We are introduced again to Mike Nelson fresh out of the Navy, his boat, and the gadgets like an underwater TV camera. Mike is working again for Marine Land of the Pacific at the start of the show. When two divers go missing he is hired by a mining company to find them. One of the divers turns up dead with octopus like marks on his leg but Mike is skeptical and turns out he is right. Underwater fights, spear guns, regulator hose cuts, feeding eels, capturing porpoise, trying to catch a manta ray make this a must see episode.


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 #12 – 8-18-19



In this episode we talk about the Surface Marker Buoy, hyperbaric chambers and “The Terrible Hours”

Several years ago PADI introduced deploying a surface marker buoy as a key skill into their Open Water certification. A very important safety feature that every diver should understand and be able to execute in the real world. Sometimes you will need to deploy the SMB when on a drift dive or if you aren’t in the vicinity of the boat when you surface, you will want the boat to see you and come and pick you up. Always carry a SMB when diving in the ocean.

Sometimes divers experience decompression sickness where nitrogen comes out of our tissue too quickly. The hyperbaric chamber or recompression chamber is used to treat this problem by recreating the environment of the dive at depth and slowly bringing the diver up at a controlled rate. Treatment can last several hours to multiple days. You should always know the location of the closest hyperbaric chamber to where you are diving and don’t forget to purchase your dive accident insurance.

https://www.sportdiver.com/how-does-hyperbaric-chamber-work

The Terrible Hours is a book written by Peter Mass about the rescue and salvage of the USS Squalus, a submarine that sank off the coast of New Hampshire in 1939. The submarine was in about 240 feet of water and the rescue of 33 men from the vessel under the direction of then LCDR Charles “Suede” Mumson who was the pioneer of submarine escape and rescue. It is an incredible read and will definitely keep you riveted.


Scuba Shack Radio #10 – 7-21-19



In this episode we discuss boat bags, IUNC Red List,, and the movie that inspired Sea Hunt –  Underwater Warriors

Once you get to your dive destination and are ready to go to the dive boat you will want a boat bag to get all of your gear to and from the boat. Two options are the Akona Delux Mesh Duffel and the Akona Delux Mesh Backpack. Both bags are durable, pack nicely for your trip, and make hauling your gear to the boat practical.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC) Red List of threatened species is now over 100,000 species. Sadly, no species improved their status during the recent reporting period. Many turtles and sharks are on the endangered list. For more information, use the links below.

https://oceanconservancy.org/blog/2019/07/18/record-high-number-species-threat-extinction/

https://www.iucnredlist.org/

Underwater Warriors is the movie that inspired Sea Hunt. The movie was released in 1958 and was produced by Ivan Tors. It is based on the book by CDR Frances Fane – a pioneer with the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team. The movie traces the evolution of the UDT from swimmer, to rebreather diver, to open circuit aqualung diving. The movie stars Dan Daily and Ross Martin. Zale Parry of Sea Hunt fame is also featured.


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.

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.