Category Archives: News

My PADI Interview: Chris Azab, PADI Course Director & Elite Instructor

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Chris Azab, a highly experienced PADI Course Director and Tec Deep/Trimix Instructor, has been diving “a long time”. With an impressive 11,000+ dives in her logbook, she’s no stranger to the PADI Professional lifestyle, conducting Instructor Development Courses in the Netherlands and Egypt and teaching in her mother tongue of […]

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Long Beach Scuba Show – June 4-5

Infographic_V3 copyFor 29 years, the Scuba Show has been connecting Southern Californians with the spirit, magic and adventure of diving. A great event for anyone who has ever considered taking up the water sport, the Scuba Show is the ideal place to get information and to get started. Throughout the weekend, attendees will have access to hundreds of enthusiastic scuba diving experts and the passionate diving community – all who are excited to share their knowledge and stories.

 
Also perfect for experienced divers, the Scuba show will feature dozens of seminars, clinics, workshops and classes on various entertaining, specialized or educational topics such as history, underwater photography, seafood preparation, marine conservation and more.
 
Over 10,000 people are expected to attend and interact with 300+ exhibitors, vendors and diving experts from around the world at the Scuba Show. Attendees can learn how to become scuba certified, browse hundreds of diving products and learn about the hottest diving destinations. Scuba Show activities include live cooking demonstrations, interactive art, a film festival, themed photo booths, a new products showcase, a virtual reality diving experience and its popular Saturday night party at the Aquarium of the Pacific. In addition, over $40,000 in door prizes will be given away!
 
“Southern California is home to one of the strongest markets of scuba divers in North America,” said Scuba Show producer, Mark Young. “It always pleasure to see this very special and very passionate community of divers come together every year to share their experiences and knowledge.”
 
The 2016 Scuba Show will take place on Saturday, June 4, from 10 AM to 6 PM, and Sunday, June 5, from 10 AM to 5 PM at the Long Beach Convention Center, located at 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802. Discounted tickets are available online at scubashow.com/attendees/tickets and full price tickets will be sold at the door. Single day tickets range from $10 (exhibit hall) to $30 (exhibits plus seminars), and two day passes are $59 (includes exhibit hall and seminars). For more information, please visit www.scubashow.com.

Since 1987, Scuba Show is the largest consumer scuba diving show in the country and the most anticipated diving event of the year. The Scuba Show’s goal is to bring together and support the local dive community and to fuel passion, inspiration and love of nature in the strongest market of divers in North America.

Breakthrough Rebreather Technology Announced

The "holy grail of diving" has been released at this year TekDiveUSA show in Miami. Seen above with their new M28 computer

The “holy grail of diving” has been released at this year TekDiveUSA show in Miami.

Text by Jill Heinerth

Ask a rebreather diver what drives their rebreather and they will undoubtedly tell you, the oxygen sensors. These annually disposable devices are critical to creating a safe breathing loop and yet when not functioning properly can reduce a $10,000 investment in life support to a useless hulk of unusable equipment. Oxygen sensors are a crucial component, informing the rebreather control systems about the partial pressure of oxygen within the breathing loop. They notify the electronics package when solenoid should fire and send more life giving oxygen into a diver’s breathing loop and alert the computer system when too much oxygen could cause a toxicity seizure that might result in drowning.

Oxygen sensors are galvanic fuel cells that were originally devised for applications within the medical and automotive industry. Inside these relatively inexpensive devices, a chemical reaction is produced when the potassium hydroxide in the cell comes into contact with oxygen. This creates an electric current between a lead anode and gold-plated cathode through a load resistance. The current produced is proportional to the concentration (partial pressure) of oxygen present on the cell’s membrane.

The problem with using galvanic oxygen sensors within diving applications is that we treat them to very harsh conditions. They get exposed to great ranges in temperature, mechanical shock from transportation and they slowly degrade in a way that causes them fail from the top down in a rather unpredictable fashion. Worse yet, we calibrate oxygen sensors in pure oxygen at ambient pressure and then ask them provide reliable data at partial pressures up to 1.6 and beyond while getting wet inside a diver’s CCR. The distrust in electro-galvanic sensors is so great, that we put three or more in a rebreather so that voting logic can help to validate their readings or inform the diver when an abort is necessary.

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After 5 years of extensive R&D testing and design iterations, Poseidon Diving Systems AB of Sweden announced a revolution to the diving industry. They released the first solid state oxygen sensor at the TekDiveUSA Show in Miami in late April. This long-awaited breakthrough will undoubtedly change the diving industry by dramatically increasing the safety of rebreathers. This factory-calibrated sensor provides an accurate and highly reliable digital output, meaning that it can be permanently installed in a rebreather. There will be no need for user calibration. They will not expire and will provide a dependable reading under the unique conditions of the diving environment.

The solid state sensor uses special luminescent dyes, which are excited with red light. This oxygen dependent glow is detected in the range of near infrared light (NIR). Optical filters read the colour pigments on the membrane and with the help of a temperature sensor, reliably translate that information into a reading on the diver’s handset. Compared to today’s galvanic oxygen sensors, these new solid state sensors show unsurpassed shelf life, operational life time and calibration stability. “The diving community has waited for many years for a sensor like this and the Solid State Sensor is considered as one of the ‘holy grails’ of diving,” says Jonas Brandt CEO, Poseidon Diving Systems AB.

Poseidon paired their announcement with the release of their new M28 computer. This wrist-mounted platform offers a robust new graphical interface that feels like the cockpit of an airplane, but more importantly provides the diver with a way to view maps, surface GPS tracking and photos through its 32 GB memory. Coupled with the new solid state sensor, it can be attached to the breathing loop of many rebreathers and provide reliable oxygen readout. Both technologies will be integrated into Poseidon’s current and future life support systems, but the good news is that it appears that the M28 will be available in June 2016 with the sensors following later in the year.

For more information visit Poseidon.

Snorkeling Vs Scuba Diving

This infographic aims to compare snorkeling with scuba diving and looks at the history behind the two activities and the differences in terms of equipment and required training. It also provides a handy guide for the best practices (do’s and don’t’s) in order to stay safe when carrying out the activities. Lastly it explores the […]

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7 Tips for Giving Outstanding Customer Service to a Challenging Customer

Remain Calm and pleasant –  Don’t take the conversation personally no matter what the customer says or how they say it.  Remember, they are not mad at “you” but rather upset with the situation. Inquire –  Own the problem and ask the customer what the problem may be.  “My name is Bob.  Tell me what seems […]

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OzTek 2017 – Dive Conference and Exhibition

Produced by divers for divers, the OZTeK Conference and Dive Exhibition offers unique insights into the entire world of underwater adventure by encouraging a better understanding of all diving has to offer. OZTeK represents a broad spread of diving interests – reflected by the Speaker and Exhibitor list – including many of the most prominent […]

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Retraction: Shearwater NERD pricing

DIVER magazine would like to announce an amendment to our current Gear Guide issue. Our pricing of the Shearwater NERD (page 24 of Volume 41, Issue 1) should be CAD$2,500, and not $950 as printed. This is an editorial mistake by us, we put it down to a mixture of pre-Christmas excitement, narcosis, and generally being stunned that such a cool piece of dive gear exists. We apologize to those divers that thought they were getting the best Christmas bargain ever, but still suggest you buy one anyway.

NERD_assembly_small

Shearwater NERD
CAD$2,500
‘Near Eye Remote Display’ – an innovative hands-free computer from the fine people who bought you the hugely popular Petrel 2. A tech diving computer mounted on a rebreather mouthpiece, keeping critical info in your line of site, thanks to a micro LCD display and magnifying lens. Unobtrusive, intuitive and the possibly the future of dive computers.
www.shearwater.com

50 fascinating facts about the ocean

With over 72% of the world’s surface taken up by ocean, there is a huge amount of ocean still to be discovered. Only 5% of the world’s Oceans have been explored and even though it is such a small amount, given how much surface area these oceans cover, we already know so much. Did you know that the world’s oceans are not flat? Due to gravity, underwater mountain ranges and winds, this can affect the sea levels around the world. Divein.com has created an amazing infographic which contains 50 mind-blowing pieces of information that you may or may not know already. Take a look to find out more about the world’s oceans and what lies beneath…

50 fascinating facts about the ocean

50 fascinating facts about the ocean – Graphic by the team at DIVE.in

Rewriting the history books with the Diving Almanac

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The Diving Almanac is the ultimate authority on diving exploits and history, but what’s the story behind the stories? By Jeffrey Gallant

I was dreaming of overnight success… Reality struck at my first DEMA Show where I met veteran publisher Rick Stratton who looked me straight in the eye and said: “No matter how well it goes, DO NOT quit your day job!” In retrospect, it was good advice.

It was 2004, when after more than a decade of writing for DIVER, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be fun to write my own book!” I had briefly pondered starting my own magazine but DIVER was establishing itself as a continental powerhouse and I didn’t have the means or the chutzpah to compete on Phil’s turf. It finally hit me while I was writing a story on freediving records. What was missing was a repository of information where divers could instantly access a reliable compendium of diving records, diving history and the people who made it all happen. After months of planning to lay the groundwork, and buoyed by my youthful spirit of invincibility, I went on sabbatical to write the first almanac and records book for divers.

The Diving Almanac in glorious print, 2007

The Diving Almanac in glorious print, 2007

Despite my background as a writer, teacher, and researcher, I quickly realised what a daunting task it would be. At the time, there was very little information available on the web so much of what I uncovered came from my extensive book collection. I sifted through thousands of pages of often-conflicting stories to compile a history of the accomplishments and milestones of the diving community.

Writing the manuscript was but the tip of the iceberg. For the neophyte that I was then, the world of self-publishing was like walking blindfolded through a mine-field. Digital publishing was still in its infancy so the printer was flabbergasted when I rendered the 500-page first edition to PDF from a single MS Word document. It was one of many lessons learned the hard way. Note to self: hire a graphic designer. I also learned first-hand how much preparation and work goes into tending a booth at trade shows and how exciting it was to meet many of the people that I had written about in the Who’s Who, including such icons as Hans and Lotte Hass and the ever-ravishing Zale Parry. I even traded books with Stan Waterman at the Florida Dive Show. On the next morning, he jokingly chastised me for keeping him up late because he “couldn’t put the book down.” Although all three print editions from 2007 to 2009 were highly praised, promoting the book was nonetheless difficult. Facebook was nowhere near as popular as today and magazine ads were simply too expensive for our fledgling company. Despite an all-out sales and distribution effort by Rosemary Lunn and Warren Miller, and the incessant work by my closest associate and mother, Patricia Hay, we could barely break even after three years. The economic slowdown and the emergence of digital publishing ultimately forced me to terminate the print edition. I took a breather to rethink the book and focus on my shark research career, which had been left aside for too long. The Diving Almanac, however, was still alive and very much in my mind, so I soon partnered with computer wiz Blaise Barrette to offer key chapters of the book online, namely the diving records and Who’s Who. The website was initially popular but after a few months, readers were writing in to express their disappointment in the format which did not allow them the enjoyment of browsing through the book.

Jeffrey Gallant at Beneath the Sea, New Jersey, 2006

Jeffrey Gallant at Beneath the Sea, New Jersey, 2006

Share the knowledge

By 2014, and with my science projects well underway, the Diving Almanac came back to the forefront once again. As a teacher and a scientist, I believe that knowledge is meant to be shared, hence the information that I had worked so hard to compile just had to be made available. I decided to offer the book as a totally free document that every diver could download to a computer or mobile device. I now do the graphic design and layout myself, many of the photos are my own, and there are no longer any cost-prohibitive printing and shipping fees. The free book is funded solely by adverts targeting a world audience, since our readership, scope and reach are now truly international.

While many people still love the feel of holding a book in their hands, the ebook combines the best features of a print book and website, such as browsing from page to page and using a search engine to instantly find specific information. The book’s three chapters, (1) Diving Records and Aquatic Superlatives, (2) Diving History, and (3) Who’s Who, are exclusive to the Diving Almanac, i.e., you won’t find most of this information in any other single publication or website, including the granddaddy of all record books, Guinness. The records chapter presently showcases over 600 feats and firsts by humans, machines and animals. The history chapter chronicles 6,000 years of underwater exploration, warfare and innovation, while the Who’s Who presents over 600 individual profiles from around our blue planet. All three chapters are rigorously crosschecked to ensure absolute coherence. If you are looking for the world’s deepest diver, fish or submersible, they’re all here.

Social media’s role

Social media has dramatically increased the visibility of the new digital edition. At the current rate, the Diving Almanac will have been downloaded 20,000 times by the end of its first publishing year in January. As a result of its popularity, many readers have informed me about new record attempts and past events that have received little or no recognition elsewhere. Alas, many of these claims come short on supporting evidence. Just because you can’t find a record during a Google search doesn’t mean it hasn’t already been done. In fact, lots of people would be surprised to know how many records set half a century ago aren’t available online… except in the Diving Almanac! Try to look up even the most obvious of records, such as the deepest dive by a human and you will obtain conflicting answers that are usually out of date. Making sure your record attempt is indeed novel should unquestionably be established before you solicit sponsors and make the announcement. When in doubt, consult the Diving Almanac or contact us and we will gladly establish the validity of your event or suggest variations to ensure it is indeed record-setting.

With Who’s Who Zale Parry at Beneath the Sea, New Jersey, 2009

With Who’s Who Zale Parry at Beneath the Sea, New Jersey, 2009

Name-dropper par excellence

So many of today’s leading divers owe their very lifestyle or career to the hard work and determination of long forgotten pioneers who made amazing discoveries and inventions without the knowledge and tools that we take for granted today. Dozens of these unsung heroes who died before the advent of the Internet have been brought back into the spotlight to take their rightful place alongside current day explorers and inventors in our one-of-a-kind Who’s Who.

The Diving Almanac’s Who’s Who includes world celebrities and locally-known champions from all parts of the world; people who have made a genuine effort to further the cause of underwater exploration and conservation out of the spotlight and with more limited means, but with no less of the passion that has driven the greatest and most famous of us all. Although it is the least-graphically illustrated chapter in the book, take the time to read through the Who’s Who and you will meet some extraordinary people of all stripes and walks of life, who just may inspire you to carry on where they left off. The profiles may be short, but every individual went through the same gamut of emotions, hardships, second-guessing and the euphoria of success. Reading their profiles is like taking a stroll through time, where you can see how far we have come as a community and how it all started long before the era of computers, digital cameras, crowdfunding or Facebook. The Who’s Who, which is entirely devoid of partisanship or industry affiliations, is proof that we can all make a difference no matter where and how often we dive.

Download and enjoy

The Diving Almanac celebrates the achievements of a unique group of people that share a passion for underwater adventure and discovery. The book is a stage and tribune for all divers, regardless of nationality or association, to share their sporting, scientific and technological endeavours, and to marvel at the incomparable feats of our sea-dwelling animal brethren that we so love to emulate. Whether you are a sport diver, a diving professional, or if you need to partake in occasional name-dropping, this is the book for you.

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