I am heartbroken. Every story I read about the loss of Truth Aquatic's Conception leaves me crying.
I've been diving with Truth Aquatics since I was certified in the late 90s. When I was young they were the Cadillac of California's Live-Aboard fleet. My dive buddy, Bill, and I used to sit around debating if we would schlep all the way to Santa Barbara for the luxury of a several day live-aboard or just get on one of the cheaper, less lovingly cared for and less excellently staffed dive boats out of San Pedro or Oxnard.
Later, having moved to Northern California and found a new dive buddy, Sean, he and a number of friends of ours would meet up annually on a Truth Aquatics boat. Usually the Vision but whenever scheduling didn't work out, the Conception was her near-identical twin with only a few differences to make it funky. The week-long trip from Santa Barabara to Catalina Island, once a year, was something I longed for.
I have made many very dear friends diving with Truth Aquatics. You read about Marcus' work with Extra Life Gaming every year. Dan helps me maintain my BMW and my sanity. Former Boing Boing contributing weirdo Joel Johnson used to join me on those trips. Lisa, Sean, Gary, Dave, Adam, Eileen, Ken, Jamie, Eddie, Sal, Peter, Paddy, Carol. Wonderful people. Incredibly important experiences.
Truth Aquatics has the very best people in the business working to make sure I had the safest and then most enjoyable time I possibly could. Read the rest
An astonishing school of hammerhead sharks surprises divers at Darwin's Arch in the Galápagos Islands in this majestic video from the BBC's Mission Galápagos series. In an article at Wanderlust, Mission Galápagos host and animal biologist Liz Bonnin lists this adventure as one of her "most amazing wildlife experiences":
The hammerheads come from all different directions and gather, swim around each other in big circles in a wonderful sort of balletic association. At the very centre of this big mass of hammerheads are the oldest, most mature females. The younger sharks swim around them. When the males come in to mate, they’ve got to weave and wind their way through this mass of hammerheads, so only the strongest, fittest males will get to mate with the females in the centre.
We are only just beginning to understand the purpose of this mass congregation, so the more scientists dive down there, the more they’re understanding its importance. It’s a very special place, and a very important behaviour, that needs to be protected. The Galapagos is one of the last jewels of this blue planet of ours. It really needs extra protection of ours oceans to make sure that that doesn’t disappear for ever. It was extraordinary.
(via The Kid Should See This)
Read the rest
To keep my scuba face mask from fogging up I was taught to spit in it. You then wipe your saliva around and put on the mask. The very first time I was standing on the deck of a boat, waiting to jump 15 feet to the water and needed to spit in my mask, I found that nerves had dried me up! The best solution for defogging a mask I've found is 500 psi Mask Defogger.
When a mask is new, make sure to clean the inside surface of the glass with some toothpaste. It'll rub the chemicals the manufacturer put on the glass to make the machine processes less prone to breakage. If you don't those chemicals will cause the mask to fog a lot, regardless what you do, until use rinses them out.
Having done that, I rub a healthy amount of 500 psi inside my mask before my first dive, lightly rinse it out, and don the mask. One treatment tends to be good for several tanks of diving. Generally it will last all day and I may only need some more come night-dive time.
In the world of "just use some dish soap or shampoo," I'd say 500 psi reminds me most of Head and Shoulders. Those things work with varying degrees of success, as does spit, but why take a chance?
Nothing is worse than spending a few days getting to dive site and battling a fogging mask your first dive. Remember, you can flood your mask and clear it for temporary relief too! Read the rest
Jonas Pedersen captured the beauty and danger of cave diving in this haunting footage at El Toh. Read the rest
The future is here! US Navy frogmen will no longer fumble with clumsy underwater dive computers, or GPS. I'm pretty sure AquaLung will acquire the US Navy to get ahold of this technology, and will be marketing it at local dive shops soon.
Via the Tech Times:
Read the rest
Professional divers could use any help they can get to make their work easier and more streamlined.
The Navy acknowledges their need: it has built an underwater head-up display (HUD) prototype that allows divers to check their location and tap into sonar data by looking straight ahead, thus eliminating the need for a smartwatch display.
The leader of the research team, Dennis Gallagher, says that "a capability similar to something from an Iron Man movie" is in store to those who will use the new helmet.
To put it shortly, all the relevant information can be viewed "within the helmet."
Surface sources, such as a ship, can send out information to the Divers Augmented Vision Display (DAVD). Future improvements to the device could bring sonar sensors mounted on the helmet, making it even easier to collect and display info.
Former US Navy frogman Mike Nelson (played by Lloyd Bridges) led a life of adventure in the 1958 to 1961 action-adventure television show Sea Hunt. The show inspired generations to explore beneath the sea. Last weekend a group of Sea Hunt reenactors took to the water in Florida to relive the dream.
Read the rest
Dude. When there's a shark hanging out, humans like you are supposed to go inside, not on top of, the cage. Read the rest
Nathaniel Stern straps modified document scanners to his body and then walks around, producing beautiful, glitched out art-images. Now he's taken his scanners to the bottom of the ocean. Read the rest
Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques, is planning to spend 31 days underwater, beating his grandfather's record by one day while also celebrating Jacques Cousteau's research. Read the rest
Scuba diver Jason Dmitri's encounter with a shark was caught on film, but he bears no grudge for the beast that tried to get a piece of him.
"The shark was acting in his natural environment," Dmitri wrote on his YouTube page. "I have no ill will toward him and will get back in the water and continue to protect the reef for future generations."
Diver wearing GoPro camera comes face-to-face with shark [Metro via Gawker] Read the rest
Perhaps it is just local pride, but nowhere I've been diving, nowhere in the world, compares with California. The abundance and variety of sea life you can encounter underwater from Carmel to Catalina is without compare. The cold water, however, takes some getting used to.
My solution for the last five years or so: the Whites Fusion Drysuit.
Read the rest
Wreck diver and videographer Adrian Smith has launched a Kickstarter project to fund an expedition to document the forgotten wrecks sunken by the Bikini Atoll atomic explosion in 1946.
For the last two months, Viennese artist Andreas Franke has had a new show of photographs on exhibition near Barbados. Thing is, you needed to SCUBA dive to see them. The photos hung on the hull of the Stabrokikita, a 365-foot Greek freighter that was deliberately sunk in 1978. Franke's photos of Rococo-inspired scenes are superimposed with underwater photographs, adding an atmospheric surreality to the final image. Seemingly, viewing these images 120 feet underwater would add to their dreaminess. This is the second series in Franke's "Sinking World" project. His first collection of images were displayed earlier this year on the USS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a massive military ship that in 2009 was sunk to the ocean floor and became the second largest artificial reef in the world. Those photos have since been recovered and displayed at The Studios of Key West art gallery. "The Sinking World" (via CNN) Read the rest