Seeing Red at 40 Meters (130 Feet)

One of my favorite dives was the last dive of my Deep Diving course. There wasn’t a wall at the dive site, so we swam out from the beach and headed straight out until we reached a depth of 40 meters.

Then I saw the color red.

As you can see above, this is what the color red looks like at 40 meters with a flashlight.

However, I did not have a flashlight with me.

Therefore, as you can see in the unlit image above, there is no way I saw the color red at a depth of 40 meters. That wavelength of light is absorbed by the water. Notwithstanding the impossibility of my observation, I nonetheless saw the color red at 40 meters.

I didn’t bring a camera on that dive, because I knew the available cameras would shut off at that depth. I also thought to show my instructor, but she was narced up and drifting away from me. I had no way to get her attention without sprinting over to her, which would’ve consumed alot of gas at that depth.

When we surfaced later, the first thing I told my instructor was that I had been so narced up I saw the color red at 40 meters. We both really enjoyed that dive actually. I then took the written test and completed my Deep Diving specialty.

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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.

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 scubaluis.com, 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….

Public Safety Diver?

When I started scuba diving, the path to becoming a professional seemed to be becoming an instructor. I now realize that this is not the only path.

I have started looking into becoming a public safety diver. This profession, or even if it just ends up bring a volunteer activity, combines scuba diving with a noble cause. This fits my personality quite well, actually.

I am still trying to learn all the requirements. So far, where I will be going, I will have to:

1. Take a Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) course at a local community college

2. Apply for an available Deputy Sheriff position at the County Sheriff’s office

3. Somehow volunteer for the dive team; I’m still waiting for more information on what to do after steps 1 and 2

I’m also still waiting to find out the general qualifications. The military has age limits to enlist, so I am hoping that is not the case to become a public safety diver.

Trying to Volunteer

I recently learned that my city’s Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Office (DRRMO) has a dive team. According to the city’s environmental office they do weekly cleanup dives.

I have confirmed that cleanup dives happen, although they do not seem to occur weekly. In fact, I can’t seem to find out when the next one will be. I have been messaging multiple people and I have visited the office twice, but so far to no avail.

I don’t know when the cleanup dives started, but there is great incentive these days to show environmental efforts because of the government’s shutdown of Boracay, perhaps the top travel destination in the Philippines. Other tourist destinations seem to have been implementing proactive measures to prevent enduring similar fates.

Basically, Boracay became an overdeveloped environmental disaster, with extremely high levels of fecal coliform in its waters. Everyone has been dumping their solid waste right into the water. Other areas have been testing high (including my area) but not quite as high as Boracay yet.

So, hopefully I’ll have some blog posts soon about my direct efforts to help the city. Volunteering for anything around here tends to be exercises in frustration, but I will persist. I have my favorite mesh bag, my scale, and my camera ready to go….

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