Know Thy Scuba Gear

Scuba divers should know their gear inside and out, as if their lives depend on it. Spoiler alert: it does!

This photo depicts an equipment problem that I have actually seen quite a few times. It is a small, non-serious (in the tropics) air leak. The simple fix is to replace an o-ring, and failure to do so results in a diver wondering why he or she is consuming so much air.

The problem is complacency. Most of the non-professional divers I see are on vacation. The dive center assembles their gear and then the gear waits for them on the boat. They put it on and perform no checks whatsoever.

Yes, it is good to be able to trust the dive center. However, people make mistakes. The person ultimately responsible for your own safety is you.

I rent my gear, but I assemble it myself. I check every release, I check both regulators, and I make sure I can deflate my Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) from every position.

Because I do this, I potentially saved four dives. Twice I had air leaking out of my gauge, and twice I had air leaking from my first stage (the problem pictured above). In all four scenarios, I was able to replace the faulty equipment before leaving the dive center. Perhaps there would’ve been spares on the boats, but that still could’ve unnecessarily delayed the dives.

So I highly recommend that every scuba diver, whether on vacation or not, get to know — and check — your gear so that you can guarantee yourself a safe and fun experience.

What’s Freediving Like?

Feel like you are in the water with him as Guillaume NĂ©ry vividly describes what it is like to set a 123-meter (403.5-foot) national freediving record.

If you don’t understand French, be sure to turn on subtitles!

Expect three things:

1. You will feel what it is like to freedive to 123 meters. Relax completely during the freefall, then feel the pressure increase on your body as you descend further and further together. Feel like a speck of cosmic dust at the bottom, then get narced up on your ascent. Finally, celebrate together when you see the white card. He’s THAT descriptive.

2. You will learn freediving strategy. He will lead you through packing that last breath before your descent to taking your first breath upon surfacing. Never look up, focus on the rope, and never panic. Begin exhaling at 5 meters so you can inhale as soon as you surface, then complete the exit protocol for the judges. This video is a masterclass!

3. You will learn the science of freediving. He talks about the diving reflex, vasoconstriction, and some of the physiological similarities between humans and marine mammals.

Of particular note, from 6:00-6:20 he describes a “pulmonary erection.”

He also talks a little bit about the history of freediving and the importance of his team.

His conclusion shifts to non-competitive freediving. He showcases the elegance and beauty of freediving and describes how it releases stress and eases body pains (although scuba diving does that, too). While freediving, you can interact with marine life in a way that you simply cannot do while making bubbles. All in all, freediving comes across as an almost-spiritual experience.

I have wanted to try freediving ever since I found out about it. Now, I really, really want to try it.

I would like to thank Reddit user Seebaer1986 ( for recommending this video to me.

Delusions of Grandeur

I was recently looking to buy an income-producing property, and stumbled upon a newly-constructed resort. It immediately captured my attention. Imagine living at your own resort, waking up to this view, throwing on some scuba gear from your own dive shop, and diving your own marine sanctuary.

The left side of my brain couldn’t shake the imagery. We could offer water sports. We could offer island tours. We could live a relatively luxurious lifestyle.

Sadly, the right side of my brain put up a fight.

The area is away from the main tourist areas. That might be a positive to tourists who want to explore a less-crowded paradise. But, that introduces a lot of risk into such a major investment. I know of no other resorts in the area.

Plus, the resort was not yet operational. What rates could we charge? How much income could the property potentially generate? We had no realistic numbers to work with.

I was confident that I could manage it and market it. I could identify our staffing needs. But, the unknown market ended up being too great a question market.

I still imagine it, though.

Protecting Marine Protected Areas

I was in my city’s environmental office the other day and spotted a table covered with marine animals. Obviously, marine life belongs in the ocean, not on a table in a government office allegedly tasked with protecting them. So, I had to ask about it.

I was very pleased to hear that everything on this table had been confiscated, and that the perpetrators had been prosecuted.

I suggested that they publicize the heck out of this to discourage other would-be perpetrators.

Seinfeld’s Marine Biologist

Have you seen the Seinfeld episode in which George Costanza pretended to be a marine biologist?

Kramer tried driving golf balls into the ocean, but only managed one long shot. Spoiler alert: it ended up in a whale’s blowhole. The whale beached, and George, under pressure to continue his charade, ends up saving the whale.

So, there I was in relatively shallow water. It was toward the end of a dive, and we were heading back to the pier. Suddenly, there it was.

I saw this golf ball on the ocean floor.

When I find strange objects underwater, I wonder how the heck they got there. In the case of a golf ball, I can’t help but think of this Seinfeld episode….

Will Work For Air

I saw this tweeted; it was presumably meant as a joke. I retweeted it because I actually mean it!

For more great original content like this image, visit, like on Facebook, follow on Twitter and Instagram, and read the reviews on TripAdvisor.

All of my certifications, specialties, recognitions, and dives to date have been heavily discounted or even free. I wrote content for a website and for several social media platforms, and I also took photos and videos.

I’m a marketing professional with a complete set of tools. I’ve done everything from direct mail to media relations to print/TV/radio advertising to interviews to speeches to, of course, websites and social media.

My alter ego is as a developer. I began, as you may imagine, developing databases and systems for marketing companies. My clients have ranged from Fortune 100 companies down to local non-profit organizations.

So, if you have a dive center in my area, or where I’ll be moving next year, maybe we can make a deal?

What’s Scuba Diving Like?

Being a scuba diver is like being part submarine, part superhero, and part astronaut.

Why is scuba diving like being a human submarine? It’s all about position and movement.

First of all, we swim horizontally, like a submarine. Second, we adjust our depth using our lungs, much like a submarine adjusts its depth using ballast. Adding air to lungs/ballast causes positive buoyancy (movement toward the surface) and expelling air causes negative buoyancy (movement toward the seafloor). Third, divers and submarines are both propelled from the rear. Divers only use our fins to move, not our arms and hands.

Why is scuba diving like being a superhero? The answer is drift diving.

Swimming in the ocean is very different from swimming in a pool. On most dives, there will be at least a little current that allows you to swim a little easier in one direction and a little harder in the opposite direction. If the current is strong enough, you don’t have to propel yourself at all; you simply drift with the current.

Drift diving feels like flying. The seafloor acts as the ground below. In fact, I will usually thrust my arms out in front of me and strike my best Superman pose. You can relax as you “fly” over the “world” below.

Why is scuba diving like being an astronaut? Because the underwater world is in every way an alien world.

Much like in outer space, humans cannot survive underwater. We need to bring quite a bit of life support equipment with us, even for recreational diving. And our gear becomes more complex as we do such things as technical diving, wreck diving, and cave diving.

Unlike astronauts, we get to enter alien worlds. The “landscapes” look nothing like anything we can see up on the surface. The “world” becomes almost monochromatic as the water absorbs more and more frequencies of light.

And the lifeforms we encounter are completely new and strange. It is sad, quite frankly, Hollywood’s sheer lack of imagination compared to Mother Nature.

Before we start diving, we expect underwater “aliens” to be such things as fish and sharks. In reality, we see many things that look like plants but are, in fact, animals. I have even seen marine animals that look like rocks until they start moving! And, don’t get me started on bioluminescence….

If you have not tried scuba diving, I hope I have peaked your interest in at least giving it a try. A word of caution: once you start, it is very addictive!

Underwater Magic Trick

From left to right, these colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Don’t believe me? Shine a light on it!

Isn’t that incredible?

This was taken at almost 40 meters to show how much color we lose at that depth. Even with great visibility, we see so little without flashlights.

For readers who are unaware, colors (wavelengths of light) are absorbed by the water (I’m oversimplifying). Without flashlights, we lose the color red very quickly. The deeper we go, the more color we lose. Eventually everything seems greenish and bluish, and eventually everything seems only bluish.

This is why so many photos online and on social media are so greenish and bluish. The colors have to be added back in with lighting, camera filters, or computer software.

Scuba Divers are Clean

Have you ever noticed how frequently scuba diving professionals take showers?

1. They shower before pool sessions, like everyone should do before going swimming

2. They shower after pool sessions to wash off the chlorine

3. They shower before ocean dives, probably to help fit into wetsuits

4. They shower after ocean dives, to wash off the seawater

5. They shower, it seems, to change uniforms

6. They probably shower in the morning or at night like everyone else does

7. They shower some more

They really seem to shower a lot. I have been sitting at the dive center on many occasions, maybe waiting for a boat or something, and I couldn’t help but notice how everyone is always showering!

Scuba Diving Family

I saw this tweet from PADI, and it got me thinking about how groups of divers can become like families.

I think a part of it might be, simply, that you have groups of people who really enjoy doing the same thing. You spend a lot of time together before your dives, during your dives, and after your dives. Like close friends, you probably share a few adult beverages afterward. You become as much like family, over time, as you do with your closest friends.

However, I think there’s more to it than that.

You are not just friends, you are dive buddies. More so than with your land-based friends, you watch out for each others’ safety. You warn each other about dangerous marine life. You watch out for signs of distress. You are prepared to share your life-sustaining air supply, if needed.

The more I have trained, the more I associate scuba diving with being in the military. There are many similarities. And, like battle buddies, wingmen, or what have you, dive buddies are people who take our very lives into their own hands when bad stuff happens. You rely on them to be there when you need them, just like family.

In the military, you end up referring to many people as “brothers” and “sisters.” I can see how that can happen in scuba diving, as well.

Actually, because of an age disparity, I have already observed two divers refer to each other as “uncle” and “nephew” even though they are not on each others’ family trees….

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