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Scuba Diving - May 2018

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THE GREAT
WRECKS
OF THE
GREAT LAKES
WHAT IT’S LIKE
TO HAVE
YOUR REG
FALL APART
CARIBBEAN
CLASSIC WITH
A TWIST:
TOBAGO
UNCOVER
HIDDEN
LIGHTROOM
TOOLS
SCUBA
P 48
P 28
D
I
HEART OF
DARKNESS
ENTER ANOTHER
DIMENSION WHEN
YOU DIVE MEXICO’S
SACRED CENOTES
P 68
SCUBADIVING.COM
MAY 2018
V
P 56
I
P 32
N
G
12 NEW
OPEN-HEEL
FINS
TESTED
P 41
AGGRESSOR FLEET® WORLDWIDE SCUBA
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info@aggressor.com · www.aggressor.com
CONTENTS
M AY 2 0 1 8
09
ASCEND
Floridians go on
the offensive to
fight the lionfish
invasion — and it’s
working; a diveindustry vet shares
his passion with
the next generation; a closer look
at the curious case
of Eleuthera’s
saltwater ponds.
25
TRAIN
When you should
go DIY and perform
gear maintenance
yourself, and when
you should leave
it to the pros; how
to strengthen
your shots by incorporating your
buddy; uncovering hidden Lightroom features;
when renting gear
goes wrong.
Nutrient-rich currents
bless the Caribbean island
of Tobago with colorful
reefs — both of the coral
and artificial variety.
48
56
DREAMS FROM THE DEEP
AGAINST THE FLOW
Inspiration awaits among the thousands of shipwrecks
perfectly preserved by the cold waters of the Great
Lakes. Photographer Becky Kagan Schott brings the
wrecks to life with a fresh perspective.
You’ll find the island of Tobago in the far reaches of
the Caribbean Sea, but its color, biodiversity and allaround excellence resemble a dive destination
typically found half a world away.
63
TRAVEL
Relish the beauty
of Indonesia off the
beaten path in the
Derawan Islands;
go deep at the best
destinations for
advanced divers;
see the sights in
Portland; go big
or go home on the
Kona coast of
Hawaii Island.
COVER Early-morning sun rays welcome a diver to Taj Mahal cenote in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Photo by Joel Penner
4 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
ANDREW SALLMON
41
SCUBAL AB
Our team of divers
put 12 new openheel fins to the
test; see which
models got a leg up
on the competition
and earned Testers
Choice and Best
Buy awards.
SUMMER
ONLY N CAYMAN
TOPSIDE TO-DO LIST
TAKE LEARNING TO NEW DEPTHS.
Bon Vivant Cooking Classes
Interactive culinary class for kids,
featuring local ingredients and recipes
geared towards healthier options.
The Brasserie Culinary Tours
Get creative in the kitchen with freshlycaught fish and organic fruits, vegetables
and herbs straight from their garden.
Ambassadors in the Kitchen
at The Ritz-Carlton
An epicurean adventure for budding chefs,
creating local delicacies from ingredients
they pick themselves.
There is no better place to teach your kids to dive than the warm, crystal-clear waters of the Cayman Islands. Inspire your kids
with an action-packed adventure they’ll never forget. And, while you’re here get a taste of our world-renowned cuisine. We’ve even
prepared kid-friendly menus and arranged an exciting array of hands-on cooking classes. Book your summer vacation today.
STAY THREE NIGHTS AND GET THE FOURTH NIGHT FREE
onlyincayman.com
Only valid at participating properties on new bookings made by June 30 for travel June 1 - Sep 7, 2018. Blackout dates may apply. See website for complete rules and restrictions.
t
T A L K
PATRICIA WUEST joined Scuba Diving
in October 1992 and has served as
assistant, managing and senior editor.
A diver for more than 25 years, she
was named editor-in-chief in 2013.
THE ARTIST AT WORK
scubadiving.com ∂ edit@scubadiving.com
EDITORIAL
Editor-in-Chief Patricia Wuest
Deputy Editor Mary Frances Emmons
Managing Editor Andy Zunz
ScubaLab Director Roger Roy
Digital Editor Becca Hurley
Assistant Editor Robby Myers
Copy Chief Cindy Martin
How moody lighting, exquisite composition and a desire to
reveal a ship’s history combine to make unforgettable images
CONTRIBUTORS
Floyd Devine, Eric Douglas, Brent Durand, Shane
Gross, Nicole Halgerson, Jennifer Idol, Eric Michael,
Brooke Morton, Erin Quigley, Allison Vitsky Sallmon, Andy
Sallmon, Steve Sanford, Becky Kagan Schott, Terry Ward
W
ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Art Director Monica Rodriguez
Staff Photographer Jon Whittle
hen photographer Becky Kagan Schott dives a shipwreck — especially one
that is a casualty of war, weather or plain bad luck — she sees more than an
interesting underwater subject; she immediately connects to its story and that
of its crew. “I feel like I’m going back in time and able to see a piece of history in
front of my own eyes,” she says. “I feel fortunate to be able to share their forgotten stories.” What amazes us most is Schott’s ability to capture the essence of a
particular ship, often in a single, indelibly rendered photo. Case in point: her photos
of several historic wrecks in three of the Great Lakes (page 48). “Some of them are
truly ghost ships,” she says. “Many of them are really deep and remote, and the
water is really cold with tough conditions. I like to push myself to capture a shot
unlike anyone has seen before. Then I like to go back and change the mood using
different types of lighting. In the end I feel a connection with each wreck; I hope it
comes through in my photography so the viewer connects as well.”
BY PATRICIA WUEST
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
SALES
Vice President, Managing Director Glenn Sandridge
glenn.sandridge@bonniercorp.com
Associate Publisher Jeff Mondle
760-419-5898; jeff.mondle@bonniercorp.com
Associate Publisher David Benz
850-261-1355; david.benz@bonniercorp.com
Territory Manager Linda Sue Dingel
407-913-4945; lindasue.dingel@bonniercorp.com
Detroit Advertising Director Jeff Roberge
Advertising Sales Manager Lauren Brown
407-571-4914; lauren.brown@bonniercorp.com
BONNIER MEDIA
Executive Vice President Gregory Gatto
Editorial Director Shawn Bean
Creative Director Dave Weaver
Editorial Operations Director Stephanie Pancratz
Copy Chief Cindy Martin
Group Marketing Director Haley Bischof
Senior Marketing Manager Kelly Sheldon
Marketing Coordinator Annie Darby
Production Director Rina Viray Murray
Associate Production Director Kelly Weekley
Production Manager Stephanie Northcutt
Chairman Tomas Franzén
Head of Business Area, Magazines Lars Dahmén
Chief Executive Officer Eric Zinczenko
Chief Financial Officer Joachim Jaginder
Chief Operating Officer David Ritchie
Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Burnham Murphy
Chief Digital Revenue Officer Sean Holzman
VP, Integrated Sales John Graney
VP, Digital Operations David Butler
VP, Public Relations Perri Dorset
General Counsel Jeremy Thompson
Human Resources Director Kim Putman
«?»
All contents copyright 2018 Bonnier Corporation. No use may be
made of materials contained herein without express written
consent. For inquiries, please contact us at Bonnier Corporation,
460 N. Orlando Ave., Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789.
Publications Mail Agreement Number: 40612608
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P.O. Box 25542, London ON N6C 6B2 Canada
Printed in the USA
Retail single copy sales: ProCirc Retail Solutions Group,
Tony DiBisceglie
For reprints, email reprints@bonniercorp.com.
tone for the issue, and must speak to newsstand buyers who might not know anything about
the magazine. This month, after deciding to feature a cenote, our staff narrowed our final
choices to the two stunning images above, only to discover that each is by J. Penner — the shot
at left is from Jennifer Penner, and the one on the right is by her husband and business partner, Joel Penner. (The underwater duo also runs multimedia agency Newmediasoup.) What’s
it like to compete with your best buddy? “We don’t really compete — we model for each other
all the time and consider the images a 50/50 effort,” says Jennifer, “so it’s a win either way.”
For customer service and subscription questions, such as
renewals, address changes, email, billing and account status,
go to: scubadiving.com/cs. You can also call 800-666-0016
or 515-237-3697, or write to Scuba Diving, P.O. Box 6364,
Harlan, IA 51593-1864.
Scuba Diving (ISSN 1553-7919) is published 10 times per year (J/F, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, S/O, Nov and Dec) by Bonnier Corp., 460 N. Orlando Ave., Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789. Vol. 27, No. 4, May 2018. Periodicals postage paid in Winter Park, FL, and additional offices. Subscription
rate for one year (10 issues): U.S. $21.97; Canada $30.97; all other foreign countries, $39.97. U.S. funds only. Contents copyright 2018 by Bonnier Corp. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Scuba Diving, P.O. 6364, Harlan, IA 51593-1864. CANADA POST: Publications Mail Agreement Number:
40612608. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: IMEX, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. For subscription questions, email: SCDcustserv@ cdsfulfillment.com.
6 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
FROM LEFT: JENNIFER PENNER; JOEL PENNER
COVERS ARE HARD Choosing a cover is both difficult and exciting. It’s the page that sets the
Occasionally, we make portions of our subscriber list available to
carefully screened companies that offer products and services we
think might be of interest to you. If you do not want to receive these
offers, please advise us at 515-237-3697.
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The kind of grunt work nobody minds.
Boring and monotonous might describe some activities,
but diving and snorkeling Islamorada certainly isn’t
one of them. It’s all thanks to a fascinating variety
of shallow coral reefs, mini walls, shipwrecks and
sea life. Nice work if you can get it.
fla-keys.com/islamorada 1.800.322.5397
ASCEND
M AY 2 0 1 8
OUT OF
THE BLUE:
DISCOVER
THE WORLD
BELOW
a
10
FIGHT LIKE
A LION
16
SLEEPY SEAL
20
A NEW VIEW OF
THE BAHAMAS
ULI KUNZ
“
Off the coast of Utvorda, Norway, a canopy of kelp lords over a playground
for creative underwater photographers who aren’t afraid to don a drysuit
and brave the cold. Dozens of little skerry islands provide sheltered dive
sites — this canyon extends for about 100 yards until it narrows at the end.
It’s youth who
can make a
difference to
future generations. But it will
take our government and
governments
around the
world insisting
on more marine-science
education.”
SEA HERO:
WAYNE HASSON
PAGE 13
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 9
D
a
E
N
815
A
S
C
Largest number of
lionfish culled in one
day by a single derby
team, in Jacksonville, Florida
21,092 Number of lionfish
removed in all
REEF derbies since 2009
52,000
Pounds of lionfish
sold in Whole Foods’
Florida stores
since 2016
2,583
Largest number of
lionfish culled in a
single-day derby,
in Jacksonville,
Florida
52%
Average reduction in lionfish over
74 square miles
during a singleday derby
Attempts to address the lionfish invasion — now encroaching as far as South America — by “teaching”
predators to consume them have ranged from misguided to dangerous. But there is an underwater animal
making a difference: divers. Through removal events like REEF’s 2018 Lionfish Derby Series presented by
Whole Foods Market — with seven derbies across Florida, including June 8-10 in Miami — divers are helping
to hold the line and generating demand for the tasty white flesh, which in turn drives commercial incentive
to remove the fish and offer it to consumers. Find derbies, recipes and more at reef.org/lionfish.
10 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
PANTHER MEDIA GMBH/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
TAKE IT AND BAKE IT
Divers are bringing up invasive lionfish by the ton — the rest is up to you
Seiko is an official partner of
PADI and Project AWARE.
YEAR CERTIFIED
1969
AGE WHEN CERTIFIED
20
C E R T I F I C AT I O N L E V E L
SSI Instructor
Certifier; PADI,
SDI, TDI and NAUI
Instructor
WORDS TO LIVE BY
“I live to dive
and enjoy being
underwater wherever
I am.”
Sea Hero
WAYNE HASSON
Uniting kids and adults to foster tomorrow’s ocean stewards
COURTESY WAYNE HASSON
NC
O
ATION INNOVAT
I ON
ERV
I ON
Q: Why is it important to introduce
young people to the oceans?
A: It’s youth who can make a difference
Q: OFY sponsors travel to Cuba’s
Gardens of the Queen — why Cuba?
A: Gardens of the Queen is a prime
NS
LORAT
Q: Oceans for Youth Foundation is
about to hit 20 years. How did it start?
A: Oceans for Youth began with the SASY,
or “Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth” [a
modified scuba unit that allows users
to breathe from a continuous air supply
while floating on the surface] device. I invented it and received a patent that was
licensed to Scubapro, Aqua Lung and
others. Within the first few years, there
were hundreds of SASYs used in resorts,
dive shops and even at Disney parks.
to future generations. But it takes more
than a handful of dive shops, instructors
and training agencies. It will take our government and governments around the
world insisting on more marine-science
education in public and private schools to
enable young people to really understand
the importance of protecting our oceans.
Oceans for Youth does not exclude
adults — it has always been our mission
to engage adults to educate youth about
aquatic life. From the start, we solicited
volunteers to go into schools and show
kids programs that we provided, many
of which were donated by the Ocean
Futures Society founded by Jean-Michel
Cousteau, who sits on the Oceans for
Youth advisory committee.
EXP
ayne Hasson, president of Aggressor Fleet, is legendary as the man
who invented liveaboard diving as we
know it today. He’s come a long way since
teaching himself to dive at 17 with equipment from Sears, Roebuck — “admittedly,
I was not very good at this,” he says with
a laugh. What hasn’t changed is Hasson’s
childlike wonder at all things ocean, and
his passion for introducing kids and
adults to that world through the Oceans
for Youth Foundation, a network of thousands of volunteers who bring ocean education to student and civic groups. For
his drive to share and protect the underwater realm, Hasson is our May Sea Hero.
EDUCATIO
W
People of action, devoted to
protecting the planet’s oceans
and marine life through
conservation, technology or
by simply helping others. If
you spot a Sea Hero, join Scuba
Diving, Seiko and the 2018
Sea Heroes program by nominating him or her at
scubadiving .com/seaheroes
ASCE N D
a
example of what our oceans would
look like today if only we were allowed
to protect them as Cuba has so far.
Cuba managed to do this by simply not
allowing any outsiders to come into their
waters and take their marine resources.
They established marine protection programs early on, with very little in the way
of financial resources, protecting and
keeping this 75-mile stretch of flora and
fauna healthy. Divers who do the Oceans
for Youth program leave with a sense of
respect; hopefully many will tell others
— including younger generations — that
they witnessed life underwater the way it
should be everywhere.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you see
in marine conservation?
A: Finding many more men and women
who think alike and believe in saving what
we still have left of our environment, people who will take the time to talk to our
youth about the importance of aquatic
life for the future of our planet. Overfishing is the most critical issue today,
followed by the pollution we put into our
“I’m just a big kid myself,” says
Hasson, seen here (center left)
with local children in Fiji.
waters that ends up harming or actually
killing our natural resources.
Q: What’s been your most satisfying
moment with Oceans for Youth
Foundation?
A: The day the dive industry first said
yes to lowering the age to become certified [to 10 for junior open-water divers].
I became a NAUI Instructor in
1971 and have taught thousands to dive, and even today
enjoy sharing any bit of knowledge I have about our sport
and the environment we must
all work to protect. To be able
to go into schools and give
presentations that excite our
youth and inspire them to take a look underwater is a pleasure I have had so often
in my life, along with ever so many smiles,
laughs and hugs.
Q: How can divers help?
A: Use your own powers of persuasion
to encourage our youth to take a look
underwater.
Each Sea Hero featured in Scuba Diving receives a Seiko Prospex Automatic SRPC07 watch worth
$525. For our December issue, judges will select a Sea Hero of the Year, who receives a $5,000 cash
award from Seiko to further his or her work. Nominate a sea hero at scubadiving.com/seaheroes.
Live in the Moment.
Salt Life team members, Sarah Jarrett and Peter Miller
diving in the latest SLX UVapor performance clothing.
See more at saltlife.com
CORAL SPOTTER
ACROPORA CERVICORNIS
(STAGHORN CORAL)
Sharpen your ID skills for the
most intriguing coral species
BY NICOLE HELGASON
NICOLE HELGASON. OPPOSITE: COURTESY WAYNE HASSON
Q Acropora cervicornis grows into
cylindrical branches
with a large corallite at the tip of
each branch. This
is called the axial
corallite and is a key
feature that distinguishes Acropora
from other corals.
If you can identify a
single large corallite at the tip of a
branch, you found
an Acropora.
Q Pointed branches
of Acropora cervicornis rise from the
reef like antlers, and
its common name
is the staghorn
coral. As the colony
grows, the staghorn
branches create a
three-dimensional
lattice where baby
fish can easily hide
and avoid larger
predators.
Q As a staghorn
coral reaches
toward the sun,
the tissue from its
lower branches dies
off as new tissue
is growing up. The
structure of the
older branches
below remains and
becomes a fortress
for juvenile fish. In
a healthy, mature
staghorn reef, the
top 12 inches or so
of the reef is living
coral tissue, but
below is a labyrinth
of branches several
generations deep.
Q Acropora cervicornis is the only
Caribbean species
that grows into
sturdy branches
capable of creating
a complex network
of habitat. But while
the branches are
strong, they can be
damaged by heavy
anchors, storms or
even a diver’s stray
fin kick.
Q Colonies can
grow quite large,
with branches up
to 6 feet in length
with a diameter up
to 3 inches. Healthy
stands of staghorn
coral can contain
hundreds of colonies that grow into
fields. This coral
prefers the upper
sun-drenched
limits of the reef.
Your Buddies
love the summer!
Time for Summer Holidays and there is no better way than spending
them on Bonaire! Diving, relaxing, with the whole family or friends;
there is something to do for everyone!
Quickly visit www.buddydive.com/summer
to check our specials and to book.
International reservations: +599 717 5080
Call Toll Free US/Canada 1-866-GO-BUDDY
WWW.BUDDYDIVE.COM/SUMMER
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 15
ASCE N D
a
16 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
DAYDREAMER
A quest for the cutest photo
subject in the world might just
lead you to a group of small
islands off England’s Northumberland Coast. The Farne
Islands are home to the largest colony of gray seals in the
U.K. and a popular dive spot
for that very reason. Around
November, the seal pups are
at the age to be especially
playful, tugging on fins, nibbling on dive hoods, posing for
photo after photo, and sometimes drifting into thought.
PHOTO BY ELLEN CUYLAERTS
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 17
EMERGING ARTIST:
RODNEY BURSIEL
A G E 47 L O C AT I O N Wimberley, Texas L AT E S T A C H I E V E M E N T First Place, Wide-Angle,
2016 and 2017 “Through Your Lens” Photo Contest
Q What advice would you give to
photographers entering contests?
A Be original. If you see a shot that just
won and you have something similar, I
probably wouldn’t enter that one. It’s already won. Find something that’s never
been seen or shot in a particular way. And
definitely don’t get discouraged, because
it’s easy to do. I’ve entered the same shot
in different contests and won first place
in one and didn’t even make it past the
first round in the other.
Q What’s your shooting specialty, and
where’s your favorite place to do it?
A I love shooting big animals, especially
the ones with big teeth. If you look at
my portrait work, it is very similar to my
underwater shots. I like to shoot dark and
moody. I even set up my strobes similar to
my studio strobes. They are on long arms,
up high, pointing down and in toward my
subject. Kind of goes against everything
they say in lighting underwater — but
what are rules for? My favorite time of
day is late afternoon, when the sun is low
on the horizon. I can get the dark water
behind the subject and the great colors
of the sun breaking the surface. I probably haven’t found my favorite place yet.
There are so many amazing places I’ve
been to and many more to be explored.
Right now, my favorite trips are Tonga
and Guadalupe Island. I love photographing the humpbacks and great whites. My
wish list grows daily.
YOUR SHOT Talented shooters such as Bursiel make our “Through Your Lens” contest special
— and many become contributors to this magazine. Our 2018 contest offers prizes including
cash, trips and gear to winners in four categories: Wide-Angle, Macro, Conceptual and Compact
Camera. Enter up to five images for free through May 31 at scubadiving.com/photocontest.
18 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
RODNEY BURSIEL
Q What drew you to underwater
photography?
A I have been shooting the Austin music
scene professionally for about 12 years.
Through my music photography, I met
Donavon Frankenreiter, a professional
surfer and musician. I traveled with
Donavon shooting surf photography,
which led me back to scuba and shooting
the underwater world.
The Islands of Hawaii
DON’T
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THIS
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as the colorful reef fish search for a cozy place to sleep, garden eels
rhythmically dance in the sand or a green sea turtle swims by to
say good night. After a surface interval with a beautiful sunset,
you descend into darkness and in the beam of your light watch the
night life come alive. Observe in awe as Manta Rays glide in from the
darkness to feed on the microscopic plankton attracted to your light.
It’s a wonderful way to spend the evening and enjoy Kona’s night
life at its best! Jack’s also offers a unique perspective for snorkelers
on the afternoon/night charter as well as a dedicated charter for
snorkelers only several nights a week. 808-329-7585
dive@jacksdivinglocker.com
www.jacksdivinglocker.com
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Hoku located at 1223 Front Street in Lahaina, GoPro Dealer and
Underwater Camera systems for sale.
Full service dive shop specializing in SCUBA tours and
Certification Courses. We are located on the south shore of
Kauai. We offer 2 dive charters 365 days a year while also
running seasonal trips to the Forbidden Island of Niihau.
Hawaii’s finest diving with Kona’s most experienced crew.
Providing exceptional nightly Manta Ray dive and snorkel
trips, world renowned Black Water charters, as well as daytime
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808-742-9303
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808-464-6587
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KAUAI
OAHU
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Dive Oahu
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808-922-DIVE
DiveOahu.com
SHANE GROSS
ASCE N D
a
Seeing three lined seahorses so
close is rare — even at Sweetings
Pond, site of the highest known
density of seahorses on Earth.
20 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
OUT OF
THE BLUE
E L E U T H E R A’ S P O N D S
ARE HOME TO FASCIN AT I N G C R E AT U R E S
— BUT CAN THEY
SURVIVE WITHOUT
PROTECTION?
BY SHANE GROSS
Q
Queens Road stretches the
entire length of the long,
skinny Bahamian Out Island
of Eleuthera. Palm trees
line the way for portions of
the 110-mile stretch, while
craggy rocks separate the
road from the Atlantic Ocean
for others.
But along that route, the
island hides 200 inland ponds
and blue holes. These oftignored bodies of water host
some of the most uncommon marine ecosystems in
the world, but that won’t last
for long if they continue to
go unprotected. In many of
the ponds, visibility is limited, and it’s easy to see they
have been used as dumping
grounds — old refrigerators
and car parts protrude from
the surface. Other ponds and
blue holes, however, are home
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 21
ASCE N D
a
to crystal-clear water and
amazing densities of unique
marine life.
The ponds and blue holes
formed as the sea level rose
and fell over hundreds of thousands of years. When the sea
level was high, reefs formed,
and as it lowered, the reefs
became islands. But like most
reefs, they were full of holes,
caves, cracks and crevasses.
All the ponds are connected to
the ocean through small tunnels — much too tight for a
scuba diver — but the ponds
do rise and fall with the tides.
And, in some places, you can
see water being sucked out or
22 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
boiling in the openings.
One pond has the highest
known density of seahorses
on Earth. They have been cut
off from the ocean for so long,
they are morphologically distinct from those of the same
species found in the ocean.
It wasn’t until 2016 that researchers found out they are
Hippocampus erectus, lined
seahorses. Just imagine what
this pond could teach us about
evolution.
One ultraclear blue hole is
home to lucifuga, an almostblind, eellike cave fish. Some
ponds have so many yet-tobe-described red cave shrimp
that you can’t find a square
foot of seabed without one.
One fisherman, decades
ago, began transporting sea
turtles from the ocean and
putting them into “his” pond.
They have recently been seen
mating and laying eggs at the
edge of the pond. Residents
filled the famed Ocean Hole
with snapper, porkfish, blue
tangs and other tropical fish,
and now the fish don’t even
look like the ones in the ocean.
They ate all the natural prey
and now depend on humans
for much of their diet. Legend has it the Ocean Hole was
explored by none other than
Jacques Cousteau, and he
couldn’t find the bottom, even
with a submersible. None of
the ponds or blue holes enjoys
any protection today. There
are scientists and conservation organizations working to
change that, but it’s not easy.
Right now, the Bahamas
government is looking to protect 20 percent of Bahamian
waters by 2020 — a wonderful goal, but how do the ponds
and blue holes fit in? Maybe
they don’t, and that could
lead to more ponds being lost
to development and invasive
species or being turned into
dumping grounds.
SHANE GROSS (4). OPPOSITE: ISTOCKPHOTO
Clockwise, from top left: Due to their regenerative claws, crabs provide a sustainable fishery; yet-to-be-described cave
shrimp en masse; a researcher tags a seahorse at Sweetings Pond; cave diving on Eleuthera has grown in popularity.
HOPE FLOATS
#OceanOptimism offers an uplifting alternative to negative news cycles
BY MARY FRANCES EMMONS
N
o news is good news.”
It’s a phrase that acknowledges
that what we call news is often perceived to be bad. A recent study found
that a quarter of Australian children
exposed to negative stories about the
environment were so troubled that they
believed the world would come to an end
in their lifetime.
When it comes to news about our
oceans, that negative effect can be even
more pronounced. But what if we all
agreed to think differently about what’s
happening in our watery world?
That’s the idea behind #Ocean
Optimism, a Twitter campaign started in
2014 by individuals from the Smithsonian
Institution, the Zoological Society of
London and the Monterey Bay Aquarium
as a way to report “progress in solving marine-conservation challenges.” It has
since reached an estimated 74 million
Twitter users and has spread throughout
all social-media platforms.
Users like the World Wildlife Fund share
#OceanOptimism stories such as the return of sea grass to the Chesapeake Bay
for the first time since the 1970s; Sylvia
Earle’s Mission Blue shared the story
that National Geographic would award
$450,000 in prizes for ideas to help enforce the security of marine-protected
areas. The Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal
shared a CNN story about the world’s first
plastic-free supermarket aisle.
Optimism goes hand in hand with hope,
and nobody understands that better
than Earle, the ocean’s optimist-in-chief.
Mission Blue promotes a network of
global “Hope Spots,” marine-protected
areas that now number nearly 100. “If we
can get enough people sharing this message of caring for the oceans, imagine,”
Earle says. “Imagine!”
“If you give up hope, what is there?” asks
Drew Richardson, CEO of PADI, the largest dive-certification agency in the
world, which is partnered with Mission
Blue. “Hope is the anchor to the soul.”
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Photo: David Benz ©
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 23
TRAIN
M AY
2 0 18
TIPS TO
IMPROVE
YOUR
SAFETY,
SKILLS AND
BOTTOM
TIME
t
26
THE WAY OF
THE DIY
28
WHEN YOUR REG
FALLS APART
32
HIDDEN GEMS IN
LIGHTROOM
SHAWN HEINRICHS
“
Anyone who’s ever taken a camera underwater knows what it feels like to
capture a great animal encounter that just doesn’t resonate. What’s missing? A diver. Adding humans to your images adds scale — and believability to
your size claims. Why not practice on your buddy? Learn more on page 30.
There’s a lot we
still don’t know,
such as why
a diver with
hundreds of
dives can develop DCI from
a single dive
when another
diver might do
dozens of similar dives without a problem.”
LESSONS FOR LIFE
PAGE 34
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 25
t
and all of a sudden you blow an O-ring on
your high-pressure gauge — you have a
serious problem that can ruin your day.”
“When a diver gets to know their gear
by cleaning and checking it routinely,
they’ll have a better understanding of
how it works,” says certified repair technician Kenny Menendez of Scuba World
in Orlando, Florida. “This should lead the
diver to customize their gear to fit them
better and help them resolve underwater
issues faster and more safely.”
“As I developed as a diver, I naturally
felt that servicing my own gear would be
the right thing to do,” says Justin Maly, a
marine engineer and manager of Scuba
St. Lucia at Anse Chastanet Resort. “It’s
important to have a basic knowledge of
the way dive gear works, because with
knowledge comes empowerment and
confidence. And you’ll save a little money.”
For those who are less than mechanically inclined or flat-out intimidated by
the idea of self-servicing dive gear, we
asked these professionals for their best
advice for taking control of your own kit.
DI V E
HACKS
TRA I N
ERIC MICHAEL is a former
editor-in-chief of both Scuba Diving
and Sport Diver magazines, a veteran
ScubaLab test-team diver, and author
of Dive Hacks since 2015.
DO IT YOURSELF
Why divers should know how to maintain their own gear —
and what to leave to the pros
BY ERIC MICHAEL
N
o time is the right time for an
equipment malfunction. We divers
are so dependent upon our gear that it
only makes sense that we all should know
how to properly maintain it and repair
simple breakdowns. Unfortunately, that’s
most often not the case.
Dive gear is complicated, mechanical
and often computerized (not to mention
expensive), so many divers shy away
from even the most routine maintenance
— beyond the obligatory après-dive
rinse-and-pack. Taking the time to get to
know your equipment by thoroughly reading manuals, researching trusted sources
26 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
online, and asking dive professionals the
right questions can help you build a base
of knowledge that can lead to safer dives
and fewer expensive repairs or replacements. And it’s an important step in
becoming a complete diver.
“Knowing basic maintenance gives
you confidence,” says Mike Ward, president of Dive Lab, a Panama City Beach,
Florida, gear testing and training facility
that handles breathing-machine performance testing for ScubaLab’s annual
regulator test. “Unlike your car running
out of gas, where you can pull over and
call a tow truck, when you are at 80 feet
GET SOME CONFIDENCE
Many divers resist the idea of gear
maintenance and repair out of simple
fear. However, avoiding proper upkeep
can lead to disappointment — or disaster.
Sometimes, you just have to dive in.
“Remember how nervous you were
when you did your open-water course?
That was just fear of the unknown,”
Maly says. “The same thing applies to
equipment repair. I recommend taking a
manufacturer’s course or a PADI equipment specialist course. Most any local
dive shop will be more than happy to
educate you on basic equipment repair.”
“Divers should at least attempt basic
cleaning and inspection for corrosion
and damage. Most manufacturers offer guides that explain regular user
maintenance, including how to do basic
disassembly,” says Ward. “Second-stage
regulators are a breeding ground for all
kinds of nasty bugs. If you cannot remove
the regulator cover and diaphragm, you
can’t clean, disinfect and dry it properly.”
“Sometimes your gear lives in the
closet for many months before you head
for that special island for the best vacation ever,” Maly says. “Proper service and
maintenance will help ensure that your
trip will be amazing. If there’s a question
if your dive gear will malfunction — don’t
dive it.”
GET AHEAD OF PROBLEMS
Every great dive begins with properly
functioning equipment. By performing
your own cleaning, inspection and routine
maintenance, you can prevent annoying
and sometimes dangerous malfunctions
before they happen.
“There are a lot of variables that are
out of our control while diving, such as
weather, temperature and current,” says
Menendez. “The condition of our gear is
very much in our control, and we should
all make sure it’s tiptop.”
“It’s very easy to skip cleaning and
disinfecting, but this is basic maintenance that really makes a difference in
performance and makes the gear last a
lot longer,” Ward says.
“Storing your gear properly should be
at the top of your list,” says Menendez.
“Keeping equipment inside the house will
prolong the life of your gear; air conditioning will prevent temperature fluctuations
and keep humidity low.”
COURTESY INNOVATIVE SCUBA CONCEPTS; COURTESY TRIDENT; COURTESY XS SCUBA. OPPOSITE: CARRIE GARCIA
“It’s important to have a
basic knowledge of the way
our dive gear works, because
with knowledge comes empowerment and confidence.”
“One of the most common problems I
see is sticky power-inflator buttons, which
can be a dangerous problem if it creates a
runaway ascent,” Maly says. “Always inspect your silicone — whether it’s your
mask, mouthpiece or hoses — because
the life span of silicone is greatly reduced
by exposure to heat and sunlight.”
GET THE RIGHT TOOLS
No dive kit is complete without tools.
Having the right tool can make the difference between the best dive of your life and
the salty aftertaste of your own tears.
“I strongly believe that every diver,
regardless of skill level, should have at
minimum a save-a-dive kit,” says Maly.
“There are many different companies
making these kits, and one day yours will
live up to its name, not to mention help a
fellow diver in need.”
Beyond the most basic components
of a good save-a-dive kit — O-rings, zip
ties, mask and fin straps, silicone lubricant, first-stage plugs, defog solution and
a scuba-specific multitool — some other
basic tools to consider are adjustable
wrenches, Allen wrenches, needle-nose
pliers,
cutting
snips,
tweezers,
nonabrasive brushes, and screwdrivers of assorted formats and sizes. An
air compressor or even a can of compressed air can be very useful, along with
a magnifying glass. And for divers with the
ambition and proper training, tools specific to your equipment are often available
for more-invasive procedures.
“An intermediate pressure gauge will
enable you to check the first stage to second stage pressure,” says Ward. “Brass
O-ring picks are good because brass will
not scratch the chrome surfaces of your
equipment when changing O-rings.”
GET THE RIGHT HELP
Some maintenance and repair, however,
is best left to the pros. Knowing when to
say when should be informed by honest
self-assessment and reflexive caution.
“Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations,” Ward says. “Unless you
are trained as a tech, leave the most difficult procedures to the professionals who
are certified and do it all the time.”
“Regulators, BCs, inflators and tank
valves need to be completely disassembled, cleaned and reassembled with new
parts on a regular basis,” says Menendez.
“Authorized techs have the appropriate
tools, parts and calibration equipment.”
“Make sure the person performing your
service has been trained by a factoryauthorized trainer,” says Ward. “And make
sure they can do a complete service such
as comparing the submersible pressure
gauge, pressure testing low-pressure
hoses, and giving you documentation.”
“Every equipment manufacturer has a
list of authorized technicians — it’s completely reasonable to ask a tech if they
are knowledgeable about your model,”
Menendez says. “Explain any concerns
so the technician can thoroughly diagnose any problems, and after the initial
test, ask to be contacted with an estimate so there are no surprises. Then, be
sure to test the equipment when picking
it up, and ask for any tips or advice that
pertains to your specific gear.”
“If you look around, you’re sure to
find an ‘equipment nerd’ like me at most
reputable dive shops,” says Maly. “Ask
if you can watch your gear being serviced. I personally love having my guests
watch me repair their gear and sharing
my knowledge.”
IN THE BAG
Tools to help you get
the job done right
I N N O VAT I V E S C U B A C O N C E P T S
S C U B A TA N K O - R I N G K I T W I T H
PICK KEYCHAIN
$14.99; innovativescuba.com
You’ll never be stuck without a
replacement O-ring, or a tool to extract
it, with this convenient keychain rig that
includes 12 various-size rubber rings and
a brass pick on the cap.
TRIDENT DELUXE DIVERS
TOOL KIT
$39.95; tridentdive.com
This tidy kit features a team of useful
devices — including pliers, wrenches,
sockets, Allen keys and more — in a zippered case that keeps everything where
it should be and helps prevent loss.
X S S C U B A B C WA S H O U T H O S E
$30; xsscuba.com
This handy hose adapter makes flushing
salt and other damaging materials from
your BC bladder easier and less messy
thanks to a smart design that fits inflators with standard male QD nipples.
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 27
What It’s Like
WHEN YOUR
REG FALLS APART
I
couldn’t resist a satisfied smile as I
looked over the ScubaLab test-team
divers scattered inside the cavern. Today,
we were testing regulators at Blue Grotto,
in Williston, Florida.
The most challenging testing would
be conducted in a narrow, horseshoeshaped tunnel that descends to 100
feet. The test divers were experienced,
and many had previously participated in
ScubaLab testing. The tunnel is not wide
enough for two divers to maneuver side
by side, so I hovered above my buddy as
she positioned herself in 65 feet of water
to run through our deepwater protocols.
My heart skipped a beat as a large mass
of bubbles suddenly flew up from below. I
knew something was wrong. In the gloom
of the tunnel, I could see she was breathing from her octo reg. We aborted the dive
and headed to the surface, where she told
me that the regulator’s second stage had
28 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
flown away from her, with the mouthpiece
still in her mouth. She was confused,
and fought the urge to bolt to the surface before her training kicked in and she
grabbed the octo. She was shaken by the
accident and her brief panic.
In the rush to send us the reg in time
for the tests, the manufacturer sent it
without a zip tie securing the secondstage mouthpiece. The experience drove
home an important lesson about thoroughly checking your equipment as part
of a predive check. In the excitement to
“get wet,” divers sometimes are careless
about examining regulators, hoses, inflators, dive computers and weight pockets.
It’s important not to get complacent.
Don’t assume manufacturers and diveshop technicians have ensured that your
equipment is safe to dive. Ultimately, you
are responsible for making sure your dive
equipment is ready for use.
STEVEN P. HUGHES
BY FLOYD DEVINE
EXPLORE
DEEPER
+
Take your skills to the next
Photo: Rick Sass
level with NAUI Worldwide, a
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BRENT DURAND is a professional
underwater photographer, writer
and workshop leader. View his
images on social media or at
brentdurand.com.
FROM THE MAKERS OF
THE MOST VERSATILE,
LIGHTEST WEIGHT,
ALUMINUM ARMS
ON THE MARKET
A MODEL BUDDY
Tips to incorporate your dive partner into your underwater photos
BY BRENT DURAND
MADE
IN USA
Lots
of GoPro
accessories
available!
Y
ou and your dive buddy make a great team — you keep each other safe and
share cool moments underwater. Once a camera appears, however, the focus
shifts to composing photo after photo, perhaps not paying as much attention to
your buddy as you should. So let’s get that dive buddy involved in the process. Not
only will you benefi t from more-interesting wide-angle images, but your buddy will
love sharing those underwater action shots with friends.
Interaction between a
diver and marine life will
enhance your shot.
B R AT I
C
I MAG I N G
TRA I N
t
23
EA
We make adapters
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The original arms
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Don’t be fooled by all
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NEW CLAMP
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Most parts are engraved with
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30 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
Incorporating a dive buddy can benefi t your photos in two ways. The first
is to show the interaction between a
diver and an element of the composition, such as marine life. The second is
to provide scale for the viewer, which
is why we often see divers in photos of
large shipwrecks.
The tips below will help make the
most of these photo opportunities
while also putting your buddy to work.
1 Discuss hand signals prior to your
dives. The goal is to be able to let your
buddy know that you would like him to
be a part of your shot, and then get
your buddy into the perfect position.
Single hand signals are best; stay away
from universal signs that have other
meanings, like a thumb pointed up. “Do
that again,” “stay put” and “look over
there” are common commands.
2 Work the angles.
Subtle differences in
the angle of your dive
buddy in relation to
the area she or he
is looking will make
a composition more
pleasing. Things to
consider include distance, horizontal or
vertical orientation,
and rotation with regard to the camera.
3 Engage with the subject. Your dive
buddy should not look directly at the
camera but instead look at the subject
of the scene. If your buddy is close and
the subject is right in front of the camera, have your buddy look just beyond
and to the side of the camera’s lens
so you catch her eyes without direct
contact, as in the image above.
4 Use a dive light. Divers who are
holding a light are often more interesting (even if logic tells you there’s no
need for a light in that situation).
5 Shoot portraits. This is where you
and your dive buddy can have fun, since
the goal is simply to document your
buddy enjoying the dive. Get close and
make sure to have strong eye contact.
PHOTO GEAR BAG
Compact cameras that will be
your new best bud
SEALIFE DC2000
$699;
sealife-cameras.com
Compact and versatile, the DC2000
is easy to carry and use on any dive. A
1-inch 20-megapixel sensor delivers
great image quality, while advanced
features like RAW formatting, manual
settings and custom white balance
open the door to unlimited creativity.
OLYMPUS TOUGH TG-5
FROM TOP: COURTESY SEALIFE; COURTESY OLYMPUS; COURTESY GOPRO. OPPOSITE: BRENT DURAND
$449.99 camera; $299.99
housing; getolympus.com
The TG-5 is built to withstand almost
everything you’ll encounter on a
dive trip, even without a housing. A
12-megapixel CMOS sensor and highspeed f/2 lens provide great low-light
performance, while Microscope
Modes deliver incredibly sharp macro.
GOPRO HERO6 BLACK
$399.99 camera; $49.99
housing; shop.gopro.com
Record the best moments of your
dives in 4K video with the HERO6. Try
1080p 240 fps super-slow motion
when diving with fast subjects such
as sharks.
Print Subscribers
Get FREE iPad® access!
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To Subscribe go to:
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Apple, the Apple Logo, and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and
other countries. iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 31
I MAG I N G
TRA I N
t
HIDDEN TREASURE
Five new Lightroom features you might have missed
HIDDEN FILTER FEATURES
Lesser-known keyboard shortcuts enable all kinds of extended functionality
for the already powerful Radial and
Graduated filters.
BY ERIN QUIGLEY
A
s Lightroom evolves, new functionality is added to what’s already a
stunningly deep piece of software. Showy
new features get lots of exposure, but
subtler components of an update may go
unheralded, quickly becoming “hidden”
features that only the most avid users
are hip to. In addition, common tools in
each module often have a “deep state” —
alternate views, keyboard shortcuts and
hiding-in-plain-sight functionality that
remain undiscovered by most users.
Fig. 1
2 To create multiples of the same filter,
Control-click (Mac) or right-click (PC),
and choose “Duplicate” from the ensuing contextual menu. Any effects applied
to the original filter will double up, but
you won’t see two separate pins unless
you nudge the duplicate filter’s edit pin to
reveal the original pin hidden beneath.
3 To automatically create a Radial filter
that fills the entire image, Command (Mac)
or Control (PC) double-click anywhere in
the image. This is a great starting point
for building a custom vignette.
LEVEL THE HORIZON
WITH THE STRAIGHTEN TOOL
Most Lightroom users have noticed the
Straighten tool icon in the Crop Overlay
panel without putting it into action. When
used correctly, the Straighten tool does
a fast and accurate job of leveling any
object or horizon.
drag to the opposite edge, releasing the
Straighten tool in order to set the other
endpoint. Lightroom will automatically
level the line between the two endpoints.
1 Click on the Straighten tool icon, mouse
into the image, and click on one edge
of the horizon to set an endpoint, then
2 The Straighten tool can be activated
temporarily from the Crop tool by holding down Command (Mac) or Control (PC).
32 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
1 With a Radial or Graduated filter active,
hit the apostrophe key (’) to invert or
uninvert a Radial filter, and to flip the
orientation of a Graduated filter.
Fig. 2
When using the new Color Range Masking feature, hold down Opt/Alt and drag the Amount
slider to see a black-and-white preview.
controls are found in the top-left corner
of the Filmstrip, where you can see two
buttons: “1” is for the main display, “2”
for the second display. When you click
the Second Window button, it brings up
a separate floating window that behaves
independently of your main screen.
1 Second Window is module-agnostic — it
doesn’t belong to any specific module, so
you can access the functionality of Grid,
Loupe, Compare and Survey Views from
anywhere in Lightroom.
ALTERNATE VIEWS
Lightroom’s Develop Module is chock-full
of keyboard shortcuts that reveal alternate views of the photo. Some display
edge detail, some display clipping, but all
are designed to help make more-specific
edits than are possible with just the
default views.
1 In the Basic panel, hold down the Opt/
Alt key while dragging the slider handle for
Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Whites or
Blacks to reveal a clipping preview that
helps to visualize clipping (loss of data)
from either bright or dark tones.
2 In the Sharpening tab of the Detail
panel, hold down the Opt/Alt key while
Fig. 4
MAKE DEVELOP MODULE
SLIDERS MORE RESPONSIVE
It’s difficult to make subtle changes
with sliders if the Develop Module panels are narrow. Widening the tool panels
stretches the slider bars.
1 Move the cursor over the inside
edge of a panel. It will turn into a small
double-headed arrow icon.
2 In Loupe View, Second Window has
three modes — Normal, Live and Locked.
Normal mirrors the image that’s selected
in the grid of the Lightroom Library.
dragging the slider handle for Amount,
Radius, Detail or Masking to reveal various
grayscale versions of the photo’s edges
and texture.
Fig. 5
3 When using the new Color Range
Masking feature, hold down the Opt/Alt
key and drag on the Amount slider to see
a black-and-white preview of the mask.
Use the same shortcut on the Smoothness slider while using Luminance range
masking. This view makes masking much
more intuitive than while looking at the
red overlay!
2 While holding down Opt (Mac) or Alt
(PC), click and drag the edge of the panel inward to widen it. The sliders will be
much more responsive once they have
more room to play.
3 To adjust the sliders incrementally
using keyboard commands, click in the
slider’s numeric text box, and use the up
and down arrow keys on your keyboard
to increase or decrease the settings.
ERIN QUIGLEY
Fig. 3
SECOND WINDOW
You don’t have to have a second monitor
to get the benefit of a second display
window in Lightroom. Second Window
Live shows whatever image the mouse/
cursor is hovering over.
Locked shows the currently displayed
photo no matter what is selected in
the grid.
3 In Loupe View, the same magnifications
that exist in the Navigator of the Library
Module are accessible at the bottom right
corner of the Second Window, making it
possible to see two different magnifications simultaneously, even of multiple
images.
PRO TIP
Be adventurous! Experiment with unfamiliar tools to see how they apply to
underwater images. Most Lightroom
users barely scratch the surface of
Lightroom’s powerful “deep state.” For
more detailed information on the features mentioned above, check out these
tutorials: bit.ly/GoAskErin_Tutorials.
ERIN QUIGLEY is an Adobe ACEcertified consultant and awardwinning shooter. Goaskerin.com
provides tutorials and instruction
for underwater photographers.
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 33
t
LESSONS
FOR
LIFE
TRA I N
ERIC DOUGLAS has been a dive
instructor, medic, and author on
scuba safety and adventure. Visit
his website at booksbyeric.com.
An experienced diver delays getting help for sudden pain,
and loses out on his vacation dives
BY ERIC DOUGLAS
A
nthony and his wife opted to travel
light on vacation — because of
baggage-weight restrictions, he left his
dive gear at home. When he had a chance
to make a couple of dives, he borrowed
gear from a local shop. He knew he was
experienced enough to handle using unfamiliar gear, so that wasn’t a problem.
During the dive, Anthony noticed his
34 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
low-pressure inflator kept sticking,
filling his BC with air. When it came time
to return to the surface from nearly
100 feet, he felt himself ascending
much faster than he should be.
THE DIVER
At 63 years old, Anthony had been diving
for more than 30 years. He was an avid
THE DIVE
Anthony was diving with his wife from a
charter dive boat operated by a dive shop
near where they were staying. For their
first dive of the trip, he made a dive to 97
feet for 20 minutes. Throughout the dive,
he struggled with his buoyancy control
as his low-pressure inflator continuously added air to his BC. He constantly
floated upward, and then vented it right
back out to stay on the bottom. His wife
experienced no problems on the dive.
THE ACCIDENT
As Anthony and his wife ended their
ILLUSTRATION: CARLO GIAMBARRESI
THE WAITING GAME
diver and an instructor who didn’t take
any medications. He had logged more
than 2,000 dives.
dive, Anthony struggled to ascend at a
safe rate. He continuously vented his BC
as he surfaced but ended up setting off
the rapid-ascent-rate alarm on his dive
computer in the last 30 feet. He finally
got his ascent under control just before
he reached the surface. Other than triggering the alarm, he did not have any
problems on the dive and did not omit
any mandatory decompression. He did
not, however, make a safety stop.
Considering the gear problems,
Anthony decided not to make a second
dive that day. Two hours later, he noticed
his right shoulder hurt. On a scale of one
to 10, with 10 being the worst, he rated
it a six. Like a lot of vacationers, he had
other things to do and wasn’t convinced
the shoulder pain was dive-related. He
waited 48 hours to see if the pain would
resolve on its own.
When the pain didn’t go away, Anthony
contacted a diving physician near where
he was staying. He was diagnosed with
pain-only DCI and was treated with a
U.S. Navy Treatment Table 6. Following
that treatment, the pain in his shoulder
reduced to a four out of 10. The chamber gave Anthony two more treatments,
each one giving him additional relief, but
not completely eliminating his symptoms. He estimated he was at 80 percent of normal function. The physician
told him to wait 72 hours before flying
home, which he did.
Anthony noticed the pain in his shoulder got slightly worse on the flight back
to the United States, so he contacted
a physician experienced in diving medicine when he got home. He received
a fourth U.S. Navy Treatment Table 6,
which resolved most of the remaining
symptoms. All his residual symptoms
resolved after a month. Anthony
returned to diving, and two years later
reported no further problems.
ANALYSIS
There are two big lessons from this
incident: Don’t use faulty equipment,
and don’t delay treatment if you suspect
you have a problem.
When Anthony realized there was a
problem with his BC, he should have
returned to the dive boat and gotten
another BC or called the dive. His selfconfidence caused him to continue the
dive even though he struggled with
his equipment throughout, and even
though it caused him to make a rapid
ascent to the surface after his body had
a significant nitrogen-gas load. If he
had called the first dive, he might have
been able to make more dives later in
the week, rather than making a series
of expensive hyperbaric-chamber dives.
Diving scientists understand the
basic mechanism of decompression illness (DCI), but there is a lot about DCI
that they still are trying to understand,
such as why a diver with hundreds of
dives under his belt can develop symptoms from a single dive when another
diver might do dozens of similar dives
without a problem. There are many contributing factors, such as dive depth,
ascent rates, bottom times and the performance of a safety stop, along with
hydration and others.
Likely the biggest contributing factor
in this case was the rapid ascent caused
by the malfunctioning BC. The part of
by the formation of nitrogen bubbles.
Treatment in the hyperbaric chamber
serves two purposes. When used soon
after the dive, it helps return those
nitrogen bubbles back to solution and
allows the body to remove the excess
nitrogen normally. The second purpose
is to introduce high concentrations of
oxygen into the body tissues to speed
healing. By 48 hours or more postdive, Anthony’s body likely had already
reabsorbed the offending nitrogen
bubbles, and the damage they caused
was done. That made the job of the
hyperbaric treatments much harder.
Again, as with any sports-related
injury, medical treatment can do only
so much; the body must have sufficient
time to heal on its own. That explains
why, after the fourth treatment, Anthony’s doctors chose not to continue
treating him and why it took another
“There are two big lessons from this incident: Don’t use
faulty equipment, and don’t delay treatment if you suspect
you have a problem.”
the dive with the greatest degree of
pressure change is the last atmosphere/
33 feet to the surface. As a diver, the
pressure on your body is cut in half, going from two atmospheres ambient to
one. Since that was the part of the dive
where Anthony experienced his rapid
ascent, he should have been immediately suspicious of the shoulder pain
that he experienced two hours later.
For any diver, a recent history of
diving, along with the sudden onset of
otherwise unexplainable pain, should be
an immediate red flag that the problem
is dive-related. This is true even when
there isn’t an obvious problem during a
dive. In Anthony’s case, the rapid ascent
and struggle to maintain buoyancy control during the dive should have made
it obvious to him that the pain in his
shoulder was likely related to his diving.
If Anthony had sought treatment
sooner, instead of waiting 48 hours after he realized he was in pain, he would
have had greater success with symptom resolution. In other words, if he had
gone to the doctor sooner, the problem
might not have been as difficult to treat.
A diving injury is very similar to any
other sport injury. There is an insult
to body tissues, in this case caused
month for his body to heal completely.
Anthony was a dive instructor
and had probably experienced many
more-challenging dives, or days with
multiple dives working with students
combined with dozens of ascents while
students practiced emergency skills.
None of that made him immune to DCI,
but it might have made him less likely to
ask for help when symptoms presented
themselves. Denial is a big problem with
treatment for dive accidents. Divers ignore possible symptoms for any number
of reasons, from possible expense to
embarrassment to not wanting to miss
out on their vacation, but that delay only
makes things worse.
LESSONS FOR LIFE
Q Understand the signs and symptoms of
DCI, and seek treatment immediately if you
suspect you might have a dive injury.
Q Get training in diving emergency management, and learn when and how to
administer oxygen first aid when you
suspect a dive accident.
Q Don’t attempt to use faulty dive gear. If
your gear isn’t working correctly, call the
dive and get it fixed, or try again later.
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 35
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL ADVERTISING
t
ASK
DA N
TRA I N
can easily be mistaken for post-dive
exhaustion and seasickness. It can be
very difficult to discern whether a diver’s symptoms are a result of DCI, a long
stressful dive or an unrelated medical condition. Remember to plan for the
worst even while hoping for the best. If
a symptom could potentially be linked
with neurological DCI (or something
even more serious such as a cardiac
problem), assume the worst and respond
accordingly. The classic symptoms of
neurological DCI are:
Q
Q
Q
Q
Q
Q
Q
Q
Q
Q
Q
Confusion
Numbness
Loss of hearing
Paresthesia (a “pins-and-needles”
sensation)
Muscle weakness
Difficulty walking
Problems with physical coordination
or bladder control
Dizziness or vertigo
Nausea or vomiting
A dry cough or difficulty breathing
Chest pain behind the sternum
If you or another diver experiences any
of these symptoms, you should assume
the injury is serious, activate emergency
services, and begin your response or
evacuation accordingly.
ASK DAN
How can I learn to recognize and assist a diver with DCI?
BY DIVERS ALERT NETWORK
I’m a relatively new diver, and I’m worried
that I might not recognize when a buddy
is showing symptoms of decompression
illness. How can I be sure? And what
training do I need to be able to assist?
C
ases of decompression illness (DCI)
that involve neurological symptoms
thankfully are rare, but divers of all levels
should be aware of the signs and symptoms and know how to respond if they or
one of their buddies experiences a dive
injury. Whether you have the skills and
36 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
training to care for a diver yourself or you
want to be prepared to help until a more
experienced caregiver is available, learn
the basics of assessing post-dive symptoms. Articles like this one are no replacement for training, but they’re a good way
to build your awareness of the importance
of emergency-response skills.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The neurological symptoms of DCI are
easy to recognize on paper. In the real
world, confusion, dizziness and nausea
HOW DO I IDENTIFY THESE
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS IN THE
REAL WORLD?
Neurological examinations begin as conversations and progress to a series of
tests of physical ability and mental acuity.
It might be the case that an injured diver
is wholly unaware of his or her symptoms,
and you might have to identify them
yourself. An on-site assessment guide is
a useful tool to have in these situations.
You can create your own or use DAN’s
neurological assessment slate. The priorities are to determine quickly whether an
injury occurred, activate your emergency-response plan and local emergency
services, quickly assess the severity of
the injury (and thus the level of urgency
required) and, if appropriate, begin
conducting a neurological exam. As you
perform the exam, document everything.
Pertinent medical history, the dive profile,
time of onset and a list of symptoms are
critical pieces of information that can improve both the quality and speed of care
once the patient reaches qualified aid.
Ask how the diver feels and when each
symptom began. Go through a checklist of possible symptoms, but be careful
to pose questions in a way that does not
suggest symptoms that do not exist. Record the diver’s answers along with the
profile of the last dive, gases breathed
and any pertinent medical history.
Next you’ll want to assess the diver’s
mental awareness and physical condition. Identify whether the diver is alert
and oriented; if he or she has an impaired
level of consciousness, your priorities
shift to basic life support, monitoring the
airway and supporting breathing as necessary. If the diver is alert and oriented,
ask simple questions such as “What day
is today?” and “Where are we?” to identify possible confusion. In most situations,
this exam will be interrupted by the arrival of qualified medical care or the
next step in the evacuation. If time and
the diver’s condition allow, however, extend the exam to include assessment of
physical strength, the presence of any
numbness and ability to walk and balance.
The most important take-away is
that all divers should to be able to recognize the symptoms of a dive injury and
activate an emergency-response plan.
Whether your training and experience
equips you to call emergency-medical
services, help move an injured diver, perform a neurological evaluation or provide
medical care during the evacuation, your
assistance could dramatically improve
the outcome for an injured dive buddy.
For more information about responding
to dive injuries, visit dan.org.
FOR YOUR STUDENTS.
professional-level protection for you. So set the standard for your
students. Set the standard with DAN.
WHY CHOOSE DAN?
Coverage addresses real-world demands of instructors
and dive leaders
TRAIN LIKE YOU DIVE
Something that’s often lost in the
process of training and emergencyresponse planning is realistic practice.
Practicing CPR on mannequins in a
classroom, watching videos, reading
articles and discussing your emergency
plans are important, but effective response training involves frequent and
realistic simulations. Go through a full
simulation of a realistic emergency with
your dive buddies — you might realize
you can’t get to your emergency oxygen,
you don’t know where your first-aid kit
is, or the way you planned to transport a
diver from your favorite dive site isn’t as
quick as you thought it would be.
Low premiums help support dive professionals
DAN Members save even more on insurance premiums
Proceeds from DAN Liability Insurance are reinvested to
support dive safety initiatives
WHAT’S INCLUDED?
Global Coverage
Bodily Injury and Property Damage
Refusal to Train
Unlimited Defense Costs
Backed by Lloyds of London and Gen Re
Customize your plan by adding technical diving endorsement,
rebreather endorsement, equipment liability and excess liability coverage.
Learn more at
DAN.org/liability
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 37
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL ADVERTISING
GIVE THEM A WEEK THEY
WILL REMEMBER FOREVER
“Honey, I think we found
what we have been looking for!”
By Patti Snyder
In the spring of 2010, I sat at
my computer late one night,
searching for family vacations.
Sam was 5, and we recently had
adopted our son, Hunter, also 5,
from China. My husband, Andy,
and I were avid divers. While
Andy’s diving background was
drysuit diving in the cold ocean
off the coast of Scotland, I preferred warmer waters.
As avid cave divers together, we
loved diving the springs in Florida. Having kids meant that cave
diving was in the past for us.
While we enjoyed the beach
and boating, our passion has
always been scuba diving, so we
started searching for the perfect
family vacation.
Unfortunately, we thought, kids
and scuba diving would not go
together very well. As I sat at
my computer, hopeful, I entered
various words into the search
engines online: “family diving,”
“kids scuba diving,” “family
vacations.” Kids Sea Camp
popped right up, and I turned to
my husband and said, “Honey, I
think I found what we have been
looking for!”
I read everything I found about
Kids Sea Camp and its founder,
Margo Peyton. If you Google
either of those phrases, there
are pages of great stories and
information, and it’s all positive.
I called the next day, and
Margo answered the phone.
We spoke at length as I had
many concerns because Hunter
couldn’t swim and he couldn’t
speak English, and Sam, who has
ADHD, is not one to sit through
E GSYVWI1E]FI MX[EW WIP½WLSR
our part, but I just knew we had
to go.
Margo assured me it would all
803 - 419 - 2556
work out, and we booked our
½VWXSJQER]XVMTWXS&YHH](MZI
MR&SREMVIJSV.YRI
At this point, Hunter was not
too enamored with the ocean as
LMW½VWX[EXIVIZIRXSGGYVVIH EX
home, when he fell in the pool
and sank to the bottom.This
soon was remedied with swim
lessons, and by spring, he had
donned a wetsuit and was playing in the waves in St. Augustine,
Florida.
;LIR[I EVVMZIH EX&YHH]
Dive, we were apprehensive.
What was I thinking going
off diving while my two
5-year-old kids were left
with the Kids Sea Camp
staff? My fears were allayed
when I watched the kids feeding
FIEYXMJYP TEVVSX½WLSJJXLI HSGO
They were laughing and having
XLIXMQI SJXLIMVPMJI&]XLI IRH
of the week, these two 5-year-
W W W. FA M I LY D I V E R S . C O M
olds were making new friends,
PIEVRMRK EFSYX½WLERH IZIR
managed giant strides off the
dock in SASY gear.They loved
their instructors and learned
how to set up and use their gear.
We have never looked back.
Over the past eight years, all of
our family vacations have been
with Kids Sea Camp.There were
challenges along the way.The
hardest part for Sam was comTPIXMRKXLI FSSO[SVOJSVLMW .V
3TIR;EXIVGPEWW&YX]SYTYX
Sam in a wetsuit and scuba gear
and the little diver in him takes
right over. Sam and Hunter love
zero gravity, and that little kid
that once sank to the bottom of
the pool is now a varsity swimmer and triathlete.They want to
experience life to the fullest, and
nothing holds them back.
We have taken them diving at
/MHW7IE'EQT&SREMVI+VERH
Hunter through
the years
Cayman, Roatan, Utila, St. Lucia, St.VinGIRXERHGSQMRKYTXLMWQSRXL&IPM^I
ERHXLIRSYV½VWXPMZIEFSEVH/MHW7IE
Camp in Socorro Islands is planned for
this December.
Some of those KSC places have seen
our faces more than once. Each time we
go, we reconnect with families we have
met before and meet new ones. We have
watched as our kids (and other families’
kids) have transitioned from SASY to
7IEPWXS .3;XS%3;HMZIVW;I EVI
all divers and watching our kids become
divers is a bond we get to share. I am
really the lucky one. I have three men in
my life that share my passion for the sea.
Not all of the places Margo researches for Kids Sea Camp pass her muster,
because it takes a special family-friendly
place, a special family-friendly PADI dive
instructor and a special local family-owned
operation for her to feel safe entrusting
“her kids” in the underwater world.
Margo is a PADI instructor whose
whole life is dedicated to keeping kids
safe while teaching them about the
SGIER%PP SJXLIVIWSVXW EVI4%(-½ZI
star dive centers.
Then there are the extras that are
included, like private boats, kids dive gear,
private instructors and even Margo and
Tom.There are other things to do, like
zip-lining, chocolate tasting, spas, jungle
FMOMRKFIEGLZSPPI]FEPP½VI HERGIVWWYR
set cruises and cultural excursions.
Kids Sea Camp is more than just diving.
Learning underwater sign language (yes,
there is a useful course on that), learning
to use Sealife cameras, learning about
coral reef restoration and understanding our impact and role as responsible
divers.
Then there is the tradition of family poetry writing. Inspired by the Sealife camera prizes, Andy sets out to write about
this magical journey at each destination,
the highlights of the week, the precious
moments captured in the smiles on our
sons’ faces each day.
There is overwhelming joy expressed in
And when Andy reads his poems he is
as is the entire group.
You see, it was wreck diving off the
us together 28 years ago, and it’s Kids
Sea Camp that rekindles that with the
FAMILY DIVE
ADVENTURES
Sam through
the years
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL ADVERTISING
BOAT SPECS
LENGTH: 135 feet
BEAM: 28 feet
PASSENGER-TO-CREW
RATIO: 22:16
NUMBER OF STATEROOMS: 11
CONTACT INFO:
aggressor.com,
800-348-2628
NEED TO KNOW
DIVE SEASON:
year-round
WATER TEMPERATURE:
80 – 86 F
TRAVEL TIP: There are
Maldives Aggressor II
This luxury yacht offers multiple action-packed itineraries in the Indian Ocean
no dress requirements while on board
Maldives Aggressor
II, but when on land,
modest clothing and
covered shoulders are
recommended. Guests
are not permitted to
bring alcohol into the
country from other
airport gateways, but
local beer and wine
are included during
the charter.
B y B rooke Mor to n
he Maldives, an island nation southwest
of India, is best known for abundant
pelagic life, from whale sharks and oceanic mantas to Napoleon wrasse and hammerheads. Many of the dives are in channels connecting an inner atoll lagoon to the
ocean. The incoming and outgoing tides attract legions of hunters eager to take advantage of a surge that pushes a buffet of life in
their direction. The opportunists include
big schools of barracuda, giant trevally
jacks, snappers and more. Beyond the rush
and the big stuff, these islands are home to
reefs teeming with the tiny — macro life
such as nudibranchs and ghost pipefish are
daily finds in this Indian Ocean outpost.
Altogether, this destination contains
1,190 islands, far more than any vessel could
visit in a week. Because of this, Maldives Aggressor II splits its time between three areas
and a total of eight itineraries.
In the area known as “Best of the Maldives,” which includes North Male, South
Male, North Ari Atoll, South Ari Atoll, Rasd-
40 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
Enjoy spacious comfort aboard Maldives
Aggressor II while exploring the islands of
the Maldives — and keep your snorkel gear
ready for encounters with whale sharks.
hoo and beyond, guests can choose between
three separate itineraries that focus on different islands within the region. Highlights
of this area include drift dives alongside
sharks, and dives on wrecks and pinnacles.
Diving in the “Southern Hemisphere”
area is largely devoted to channel diving.
Here, the rewards are many: oceanic mantas, whitetip reef sharks, gray reef sharks,
and Napoleon wrasse, as well as massive
schools of tunas and jacks.
The third area, referred to as “Far South”
and “Deep South,” is visited in February and
March, and targets some exceptional spots,
like Whaleshark Point, and a night dive at
Alimatha House Reef, where stingrays and
jacks feed in an action-packed frenzy that
makes for adrenaline-filled viewing.
AGGRESSOR
T
HEADTO-HEAD
TESTING
FAST FOOTWORK
We tested 12 new recreational and technical open-heel fins
AQUA LUNG
PHAZER
PRICE $199 CONTACT aqualung.com
Most fins are made of a mix of materials: hard
and soft, plastic and rubber. But what’s unusual is the way the Phazer combines them
in the side rails, where you can see the wavy
line created by the stiffer plastic surrounded
by softer, rubbery material. Aqua Lung calls
it a “wave rib”; in the water its effect is a noticeable snap with each stroke — “like they're
spring-loaded,” as one test diver described
it. The steeply angled blade has a wide, soft
pocket to scoop lots of water and a big vent
at the toe to keep it moving smoothly without overpowering the legs. That earned the
Phazer a very good score for power, and for
efficiency in all kicking styles. The bungee
strap, with a wide, contoured heel pad and a
jumbo finger loop, helped it take a very good
score for overall comfort and excellent scores
for easy donning and doffing. In very tough
competition, it was selected among the favorites of more test divers than any other
fin in its category. The Phazer is our Testers
Choice for open-heel rec fins.
COMFORT AND FIT
EXCELLENT
POOR
POWER VS. STRESS
POOR
EXCELLENT
HOW WE SCORE
The bar graphs
with each review
show the fins’
combined testdiver scores for
overall comfort
and fit and for
power versus
stress.
The scoring is:
1=poor
2=fair
3=good
4=very good
5=excellent
ROGER ROY
has been a diver for
more than 35 years
and ScubaLab director since 2013.
Before that he was
a reporter for the
Orlando Sentinel
newspaper for 28
years, in positions
including foreign
correspondent and
investigations editor. He first learned
to dive while working as a firefighter
to join the department’s search-andrescue team.
HOW WE TEST
We tested fins at
Alexander Springs
Recreation Area
in central Florida.
Test divers used
underwater slates
to record comments and rate
each fin from 5
(excellent) to 1
(poor) in the following categories:
Ease of Donning
Both in and out
of the water, how
easy is the fin to
put on?
Adjusting for Fit
If straps and
buckles are
adjustable, how
effective and easy
to use are they?
Are they intuitive
or complicated
to operate?
Fit and Comfort
How comfortable
and secure is the
fin on the foot?
Does it slip/slide/
pinch, etc., during
hard kicking?
Stability
Do the fins track
Cont’d on pg. 43 >>
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 41
REC DIVING FINS
s
BY ROGER ROY AND ROBBY MYERS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JON WHITTLE
REC DIVING FINS
S C U B A L A B
s
ATOMIC AQUATICS
CRESSI
IST SPORTS
X1 BLADEFIN
THOR
FP01 SUMI
PRICE $119.95 CONTACT atomicaquatics.com
PRICE $179.95; $189.95 with EBS straps
CONTACT cressi.com
PRICE $100 CONTACT istsports.com
Call us geeks, but we’re fascinated by
how engineers try to solve the puzzle of
making fins with power, stability, comfort, etc., and the X1 is a great example.
The blades aren’t particularly wide or
long (just over 24 inches in medium), and
the side rails are barely an inch high. But
the X1’s rails have curved cross sections,
which stiffen the blade for power, and at
the tip they have vertical winglets for stability. Test divers rated the X1 very good
for both power and stability. “Sports car
performance,” noted one tester. But individual scores varied quite a bit, with divers who prefer stiffer fins rating it excellent, while those who want a bit more give
in the blade scoring it good. The adjustable straps were likewise a split between
those who didn’t care for the quick-release buckles and those who loved them.
With a big, soft-centered blade set at
a pronounced angle, the Thor scoops up a
fair amount of water with each kick, but
the triangular vents along the side of the
blade help keep things moving without
stress on the legs. That earned the Thor
a very good score for efficiency in the
flutter kick, where divers noted its ability to maintain a good turn of speed with
relatively little effort. Our test fins had
adjustable straps that performed well
enough, but the Thor is available with the
EBS bungee strap we’ve used (and liked
very much) on other Cressi fins. As with
some of the other new fins in our test, the
Thor was available at test time in limited
sizes, but those who could wear it rated it
very good for comfort and fit. “Nice, solid fin,” was a typical test-diver comment.
The Sumi’s very pliable blade had more
than one test diver noting that it felt
something like a split fin, with the same
pros and cons — little leg stress but quite
a bit of kicking required. That split opinions on its effectiveness, between divers
who wanted more oomph (“like riding a
bicycle in low gear”) and those who liked
the low effort (“surprisingly powerful”),
but it ended up with an overall score of
good for power. Even with fast kicking,
the six vertical ribs on the blade top kept
it tracking straight enough to earn a very
good score for stability, and the supple,
relatively light blade worked well for surface swimming, where it was scored very
good. Though we didn’t have a full range
of sizes, the Sumi’s foot pocket, softest
by far in our test, helped it fit most divers,
who rated it good for comfort.
COMFORT AND FIT
COMFORT AND FIT
COMFORT AND FIT
EXCELLENT
POOR
POOR
42 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
EXCELLENT
POOR
POWER VS. STRESS
EXCELLENT
POOR
EXCELLENT
POOR
POWER VS. STRESS
POWER VS. STRESS
EXCELLENT
POOR
EXCELLENT
>> Cont’d from pg. 41
straight? Do they
have a tendency
to wobble, slice
side to side, or
strike each other
while kicking?
Power vs. Stress
Your perception
of the propulsion produced
during the kick
cycle relative to
the amount of
effort you put into
the kick.
Flutter Kick
The ease, efficiency and
stability of the
fin in flutter kick.
BOTTOM RIGHT: JERAMY RICE
Frog Kick
The ease, efficiency and
stability of the fin
in frog kick.
Other Kick Styles
The comfort,
efficiency and
stability of the fin
in dolphin, scissor
or other kick style.
MARES
MARES
EXCITE
EXCITE PRO
PRICE $170 CONTACT mares.com
PRICE $170 CONTACT mares.com
The Excite and Excite Pro appear identical, with long blades (26 inches overall
in medium), soft channels running the
length of the blade, and side rails more
than 2 inches thick. But Mares says these
twins are fraternal: The Excite “optimized
for low fatigue,” while the Pro maximizes thrust. Out of the water, the Excite’s
blade felt just slightly more flexible. But it
was enough to matter because while the
two Excites had nearly identical overall
combined scores of very good, test divers noted differences in performance.
Both were rated very good for power, but
the Excite took higher scores for alternate kicking styles (dolphin in particular)
and for stability. Divers noted the way it
tracked straight when kicking hard, and
praised it, as one diver noted, for being
“nice and easy on my calves.”
While sharing the same overall design
and dimensions as the Excite, the Excite
Pro feels a bit firmer, and that gave it the
edge when it came to frog kicking, where
it was rated very good for the way a quick
flick of its long blade set it gliding along.
Also like the Excite, the Pro has a bungee strap with a wide, soft heel pad and
a nonslip surface and big finger loop that
divers found just about perfect, rating it
excellent for ease of slipping it on and off.
The strap worked very well with the foot
pocket, which is firm on the bottom for
good support and soft along the top and
sides for comfort, providing power without binding or chafing. “Lots of power
and acceleration,” noted one test diver,
who was among the multiple divers who
chose the Excite Pro as one of their
favorites in the category.
COMFORT AND FIT
COMFORT AND FIT
EXCELLENT
POOR
POOR
Maneuverability
How well do the
Surface
Swimming
While on the surface on scuba or
snorkel, how efficiently do the fins
propel you relative
to the effort?
Ease of
Removing Fins
How easily can
you remove the
fins, in and out
of the water?
Are the straps or
buckles easy to
grasp? Is it unusually difficult
to slide your boot
out of open-heel
pockets?
Fins also were
evaluated for
weight, buoyancy
characteristics,
construction/
durability, and the
effectiveness of
nonslip material
on the bottom.
Fins in the technical category
were evaluated
by divers using
both wetsuits
and drysuits.
EXCELLENT
POOR
POWER VS. STRESS
Acceleration
How efficiently
do the fins allow
you to quickly
increase speed?
fins allow you to
get in and out
of tight locations, including
spinning, backing
up or reversing
direction?
POWER VS. STRESS
EXCELLENT
POOR
EXCELLENT
ScubaLab Director Roger Roy briefs the test team.
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 43
REC DIVING FINS
S C U B A L A B
s
SHERWOOD SCUBA
TUSA
PROPULSION S
TRITON PRO
HYFLEX VESNA
PRICE $89 CONTACT seacusa.com
PRICE $173 CONTACT sherwoodscuba.com
PRICE $159 CONTACT tusa.com
The Propulsion S strikes a fine balance
between performance, comfort and easy
kicking. The soft channels running up the
length of the blade keep it nice and flexy,
while the stiff side rails allow for good
power and acceleration. The Propulsion S
“glides without a ton of effort,” one test
diver commented. That said, the long
blade can take a little time to get up to
full speed. It scored very well for all styles
of kicking — including surface swimming
— and for overall comfort. While a couple of test divers wished for a slightly
snugger fit from the bungee strap, several noted how much they loved the big,
easy-to-grasp finger loop on the wide,
curved heel pad. Providing a nice mix of
all-around power and stability at a very
attractive price, the Seac Propulsion S is
our Best Buy.
The Triton Pro is an updated version
of the Triton, with a similar lightweight,
vented blade, but of a somewhat stiffer
material for enhanced power. It impressed test divers with performance
that was right up with the test winners,
earning the highest score for power, especially during long, hard flutter
kicking. Unfortunately, it was available
at test time in only a single size (large/
extra-large), which limited the number of testers who could get a secure,
comfortable fi t from its bungee strap.
But testers who were able to dive with it
praised the Triton Pro for its stability and
efficiency no matter the kicking style,
with its wide blade (nearly 10 inches
across) delivering power and versatility
that, as one tester summed up, made it a
“really solid, all-around fin.”
The Vesna is a carefree kicker that allows
for decent power with minimal exertion.
Its flexible design creates a soft kick that
scored very well for flutter and surface
swimming. The 24-inch blade (size medium) strugged a bit in hard acceleration
but proved adept at tight turns and even
backing up, earning the highest score for
maneuverability in its category. “A lightweight, manueuverable, friendly fin,” was
how one test diver summed it up. The
ergonomic strap took the top score for
adjustability, but test divers with smaller feet found the foot pocket to be a little roomy (even in a size small). The Vesna’s blade can easily be removed from
the foot pocket, making the lightweight
fin an attractive, travel-friendly option for those who frequent easy-diving
destinations.
COMFORT AND FIT
COMFORT AND FIT
COMFORT AND FIT
EXCELLENT
POOR
POOR
44 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
EXCELLENT
POOR
POWER VS. STRESS
EXCELLENT
POOR
EXCELLENT
POOR
POWER VS. STRESS
POWER VS. STRESS
EXCELLENT
POOR
EXCELLENT
RS
TEC DIVING FINS
8
APEKS
HOLLIS
ZEAGLE
RK3
F 1 LT
RECON
PRICE $160 CONTACT apeksdiving.com
PRICE $169.95 CONTACT hollis.com
PRICE $159.95 CONTACT zeagle.com
The rugged RK3 was designed with an
oversize foot pocket to accommodate
drysuit boots, but even our wetsuit-clad
divers were able to appreciate this tecoriented fin. We expected it to deliver
effective frog kicks, but surprisingly, it
also earned a perfect score for flutter
kicking. Its wide, somewhat stubby blade
(just over 21 inches in size large) allows
precise navigation in tight spots, earning
the highest marks for maneuverability in
its category, with easy backing and helicopter turns. While some wetsuit-clad
divers found the foot pocket roomy, the
fin stayed snug thanks to an effective
and ergonomic spring strap. A few divers
griped that the strap featured a solid tab
rather than a hole for their fingers, but
others found donning and doffing to be,
as one diver noted, “smooth as butter.”
At almost 3½ pounds apiece (size regular), the F1 LT was the heaviest fin in the
test, but though negatively buoyant it
felt nicely weighted in the water. It has a
generously sized, somewhat-boxy foot
pocket that worked well with both drysuit and wetsuit boots, earning very good
scores for comfort. The spring strap (adjustable with tools to two positions) has
a heavy-duty heel pad with a large finger loop that made for easy on and off.
With its weight, the fin struggled a bit on
the surface but was much happier once
submerged — and surprisingly versatile. “These are frog feet with a tolerance
for flutter,” one tester observed, and the
short, stiff blade with a trio of curved
vents provided a high degree of maneuverability. It was rated good for power by
all divers and very good by drysuit divers.
The Recon proved to be an effective kicker in every style, even taking top scores
for frog kick and surface swimming. Its
beefy side rails, with the addition of a pair
of supports integrated into the bottom of
the foot pocket, helped it earn the highest score for power in its category, and
prompted tester remarks such as “feels
like an extension of my foot.” The 21-inch
blade (size medium) was rated very good
for acceleration but just good for maneuverability. Donning and doffing were
effortless thanks to the large vertical
finger loop on the spring strap, which has
a nut-and-bolt two-position adjustment.
While most divers found the Recon’s
sizing a smidge large, it was rated very
good for comfort and fit. For outstanding
performance and versatility, the Zeagle
Recon is our Testers Choice for tec fins.
COMFORT AND FIT
COMFORT AND FIT
COMFORT AND FIT
EXCELLENT
POOR
POOR
EXCELLENT
POOR
POWER VS. STRESS
EXCELLENT
POOR
EXCELLENT
POOR
POWER VS. STRESS
POWER VS. STRESS
EXCELLENT
POOR
EXCELLENT
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 45
FIRST
LOOK
AT NEW
GEAR
BY
ROBBY MYERS
g
AQUA LUNG
MIKRON
PRICE $499 CONTACT aqualung.com
Lightweight and compact, the
Mikron is well-suited for traveling divers. The T-shaped first
stage has a balanced diaphragm,
and is equipped with two HP
and four LP ports. It features a
device that automatically closes
the first-stage inlet as the regulator is removed from the tank
valve to keep water out. And as
soon as you take it out of the
box, it’s compatible with EAN 40.
BIG BLUE
TL4800P
PRICE $479.99
CONTACT bigbluedivelights.com
This massive dive light packs
some serious firepower in its
four LEDs and can produce a
blinding 4,800-lumen beam
capable of illuminating the darkest of depths. The soda-can-size
light can be difficult to hold, so it
comes with a variety of mounting options, including a simple
wrist-strap, a lantern-style handle and a Goodman-style glove.
It features four power levels and
an SOS flash that is activated
using a single push-button.
SEAC
PRO 2000 BC
ROBBY MYERS is the
assistant gear editor
and a ScubaLab testteam diver. He has
been diving since 2014.
46 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
This jacket-style BC is tricked
out nicely, and it has plenty of
room for accessories with seven
anodized-aluminum D-rings, two
zippered pockets and one roll-up
cargo pocket. The Pro 2000’s air
cell has 45.6 pounds of buoyant
lift — in size large — and inflates
from the bottom to help maintain trim and provide stability. The comfortable, cushioned
back pad provides a nice buffer
between you and the tank. The
integrated-weight system has
its locking mechanism on the
outside, so in addition to hearing
it securely clicking into place,
you can see that your lead is
properly locked and loaded.
FROM TOP: BILL DOSTER; JON WHITTLE; BILL DOSTER
PRICE $589 CONTACT seacusa.com
DREAMS FROM THE
EMBA, LAKE MICHIGAN EMBA was a wooden, three-masted schooner-barge scuttled near Milwaukee in 1932. The 181-foot ship had been
converted into a self-unloading barge carrying coal on the Milwaukee River. The wreck is mostly intact, minus damage to the bow, and sits
upright at 170 feet. The stern is stunning and very ghostly as it sits on the bottom, frozen in time in the cold fresh water. The concept of this shot
was to make it appear as if it were a ghost ship sailing beneath the surface, and to show off its intact rudder.
48 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
DEEP
A P H O T O G R A P H E R F O L L O W S H E R PA S S I O N T O IM M O R TA L I Z E
T H E H I S T O R I C W R E C K S O F T HE G R E AT L A K E S , S H A R IN G T H E IR
G H O S T LY E S S E N C E IN WAY S N O O N E H A S S E E N B E F O R E
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 49
BY BECKY K AGAN SCHOT T
G
reat Lakes shipwrecks inspire me. The ships here have
been preserved in fresh, cold water for hundreds of years
— diving them is like turning back the hands of time. They’ve
become my biggest passion; my challenge is to capture their
image in a way no one has ever seen before. There are thousands of ships to dive here, from wooden schooners to steel
freighters, and each has a story — you can’t help but feel a
human connection when you listen to their powerful tales of
tragedy, heroism, mystery and survival. History comes alive
when I see a ship’s name painted on a stern, or cargo from
automobiles to train cars to shoes, or a 91-year-old box of
life preservers frozen in time. I’m most attracted to the
wooden schooners with masts still standing 90 feet tall, as
if they were sailing along the lake bed. Sometimes I have to
pull my camera away and look with my own eyes because it’s
hard to believe this is real. To peer through a doorway hundreds of feet deep at a wheel, tools, pictures still hanging on
walls, lightbulbs in lamps, and a bell still in place leaves me
in awe. What do I love most? Not every mystery here has yet
been uncovered — each year, new wrecks are found, fueling
my appetite to explore even farther.
JOHN J. AUDUBON, LAKE
HURON Rebreather diver
Kevin Bond illuminates the
broken wheel on the stern
of the John J. Audubon.
This two-masted brig
was only 148 feet long; it
sank in a collision with the
schooner Defiance in 1854.
The ship was transporting
railroad ties, which can be
seen around the wreck,
scattered like Pixy Stix.
The rudder and davits are
in place, but both masts lie
across the deck. It sits upright at 180 feet; visibility
is typically close to 80 feet.
50 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 51
GUNILDA, LAKE
SUPERIOR The parlor
room inside the yacht
Gunilda has been in the
dark for 106 years. This
shot was a team effort
to illuminate the skylight as if it were back
on the surface, with the
sun streaming in. Fine
details in the woodwork
can be seen, along with
a fireplace and clock.
When you peer in the
door, you can almost
see the card games that
would have been played
at that table in 1911.
The lack of mussels
in the lake keeps this
wreck looking like it
sank yesterday.
52 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 53
54 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
NORMAN, LAKE HURON
Norman was a bulk freighter
that sank in a collision on a
foggy May morning in 1895.
The steamer that hit it nearly
cut it in half, and the crew
on Norman began jumping
into the freezing water to
scramble into lifeboats. The
ship quickly sank in 200 feet
of water; today the stern
sits on its port side and the
bow is still upright, with its
anchor resting in the sand.
The wheelhouse can be seen
sitting in the sand on the port
side with a double wheel still
in place.
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 55
From left: The colorful
Maverick attracts fish
large and small off
the island’s Caribbean
coast; Tobago’s macro
life includes plenty of
expressive blennies.
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 56
AGAINST THE FLOW
Buzzing reefs splashed with color. Manta rays flying through the blue. Corals stacked on
corals. Sure, you’ll find Tobago in the southeastern corner of the Caribbean. But well-traveled
divers have come to expect this kind of color and biodiversity from much more exotic locales.
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALLISON VITSKY SALLMON AND ANDY SALLMON
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 57
“ALMOST
THERE,”
the driver says, as our van climbs the final hill
above Speyside. Instead of descending toward
the town and our resort, however, we abruptly
swing into a nightclub parking lot.
Sigh. After a full day’s flight followed by a
two-hour-long twisting, stomach-wrenching
drive along the Atlantic coast of Tobago, I am
far more likely to fall asleep on the bar than indulge in a local beer. I turn groggily toward our
enthusiastic driver, and he reassuringly says,
“Best view on the island.” OK, then — that, I can
handle. I grab my camera and follow as the bar
owner leads us past the club to his home. He
swings the door open to reveal a modest living
space with a major bonus: a gigantic porch with
a million-dollar view. Batteaux Bay, which holds
many of Tobago’s most famous dive sites, lies
before me, dotted with lush green islets.
I’m speechless. The scene resembles a
setting half a world away.
CURRENT EVENTS
Early the next morning, I board the boat, filled
with optimism. With a full night of sleep under
my belt, I am ready to enjoy the diving that this
island is famous for. Tobago’s reefs are bathed
in nutrients from the South Equatorial Current and the Guiana Current, which includes the
outflow of Venezuela’s Orinoco River, and they
are said to be unlike anything else in this hemisphere. Between the hearsay and the view from
the day before, it’s all I can do to remain in my
seat during the dive briefing. We’re headed for
Kelleston Drain, a coral garden adjacent to Little Tobago. As the divemaster scans the site,
he gestures toward a small rock with a distinct
wake on one side. “By the way,” he says, “there
might be a little current.”
During our descent, the ocean floor is shuttling past in a blur of red and yellow sponges
and orange cup corals. The blast of color and
life surrounding us is like nothing I’ve seen in the
Caribbean. I work to shoot the stunning display
in the current, watching with jealous annoyance
as a large hawksbill turtle putters lazily by.
Seahorses peeping from the fans, blennies
gaping from the coral, cowries crawling on
the sponges — there are incredible photo ops
everywhere I look. Too soon, the divemaster
gestures toward a huge brain coral in the
distance, said to be one of the largest in
the world. It’s coming rapidly closer, closer —
OK, it’s right under me — and I tuck behind it
for a few minutes to investigate the behemoth
before ascending.
It’s prophetic that I’ve seen a massive coral
on my first dive, as I soon realize that — thanks
to a one-two punch of calories and water movement — the marine life in Tobago tends to be
supersize. On a dive on Bookends, a twinned
Clockwise from top:
Southern sennets hover
in stiff current, awaiting
prey; colorful cowries
are abundant here;
Tobago’s sponge and
coral density is among
the Caribbean’s highest.
58 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
FOOD: WORLDWIDE PHOTO/ALAMY; DAVID HARE/ALAMY
TUCK IN: TOBAGO
One universal truth about
diving in the current: It
gives everyone an appetite.
Fortunately, Tobago has a
thriving local street-food
culture and is an outstanding place to be hungry. A
word of caution: You might
be eating with your hands,
so you should probably
avoid wearing your favorite
white T-shirt. Here are a
few of our favorite dishes.
gloriously messy Buss
Up Shut (translation:
“busted-up shirt”) is a
close relation: shredded
roti bread tossed with
curried meat and/or
vegetables.
ROTI: Flatbread wrapped
around curried meat
and/or vegetables. The
PHOLOURIE: Fritters
made from split-pea flour
spiced with cumin and
garlic — served hot with
chutney.
DOUBLES: A typical
breakfast street food,
consisting of two pieces
of fried flatbread filled
with curried chickpeas
and garnished with
chutney and tamarind
sauce.
ROCK CAKES: The
local version of a scone,
chock-full of grated
coconut and raisins.
COUCOU: A polenta-like
dish made with coconut
milk, pimento peppers
and okra.
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 59
set of rocks with a cut between, a pair of huge
tarpon voraciously patrols in the surf zone. Barrel sponges that I could easily curl into litter the
seafloor, and a thigh-size green moray swims
unafraid across the reef. Blackjack Hole — where
the water teems with baby fish so tiny, they almost look like particulate — also showcases the
astonishing benefits of Tobago’s unique, nutrient-rich current. Looking up, I see blackjacks
hunting among the aqua waves. Looking down, I
admire streams of snapper and wrasse weaving
past multihued sponges so torqued by current
that they’re a challenge to recognize.
Once I’m acclimated, my guide begins taking
me farther afield, at last getting me to the famous site I’ve been waiting for. The Sisters, a
cluster of tiny offshore islets renowned for
manta ray encounters, may well be Tobago’s
most famous dive site. Days before my arrival, a lucky group of divers was pestered by a
large manta for two successive dives, so as I
stride into the swell, I cockily ready my camera
and prepare to be equally hounded. I’m hounded, all right — by green and hawksbill turtles, by
my computer when I try to extend my dive as
long as possible — but there are no mantas to
be seen. Scorpionfish, octopuses and clusters
of huge lobsters are tucked into every spongeand coral-covered crevice, though, so I have
plenty to distract myself with until I ascend.
SPECIAL GUEST
The sheltered sites on the Caribbean side of
Tobago offer a respite from current, though
t he y ’r e no le s s
exciting. The MaverFrom left: The Maverick
is a haven for colorful
ick, a car ferry that
invertebrates and fish; a
was purpose-sunk
seahorse peeps out of its
in 1997, is awash in
coral-encrusted lair.
Indo-Pacific-caliber
hues, sponge and cup
corals clouded by a swirling school of sweepers.
And at nearby Mount Irvine, I’m marveling at
an array of nudibranchs, cowries and blennies
when I notice the guide gesturing wildly. I turn
and come face to face with the manta I’d hoped
for so fervently the day before. A 10-foot-wide
beauty, the first manta I’ve ever seen on this
side of the planet, inspects me carefully, circling slowly before tipping her wings in farewell.
Japanese Gardens is the ideal finale to my
visit. As I descend and drift along, the water
seems to be getting bluer and clearer by the
second. Sponge is layered upon sponge, with
tons of gorgonians in between, a riot of color
that passes by in a multiknot haze. The fish
here seem especially cocky, their motions bearing a slightly mocking Sunday-walk-in-the-park
appearance — schools of grunts weave indifferently around us, and angelfish flit lazily from
coral to coral.
The current speeds up, signaling that we are
approaching Kamikaze Cut, a narrow channel
lined by cup corals. We tuck in and whiz through
the passage, peering under the ledges on the
other side to discover a nurse shark resting in
the lee of the flow. As it dawns on me that I will
be resting soon as well, I feel a pang of sadness
and realize how much I have grown to love the
swift currents and riotous hues of Tobago.
NEED TO
KNOW
GETTING THERE Many
international carriers fly
into Trinidad, Tobago’s
sister island. From there,
it’s easy to catch a ferry
or board Caribbean Airlines “air bridge” service.
MORE TO EXPLORE
Our driver picks me up early on our departure
day, and I request a quick return trip to the
nightclub. I stand with him at the edge of the
balcony looking out at the deceptively placid
bay, my legs still twitching from daily workouts.
I tell him about my week and how stunned
I’ve been by the colors, the large marine creatures, the density of life. He smiles and says:
“Did I tell you? I was a divemaster here years
ago. I once found a forest of black coral not far
from here — a huge forest! — in just 20 meters
of water. There is so much here that is fed by
the current, so much that is undiscovered. You
should come back someday and just explore.”
I know I will.
WHEN TO GO The dry
season (December-June)
often brings the best viz.
Water temperatures generally stay in the low 80s
Fahrenheit.
WHAT YOU NEED Advanced certification is a
good idea for some of Tobago’s more challenging
sites. Bring or rent a surface marker buoy or other
surface signaling tool.
MUST SEE Fort King
George, which overlooks
the bustling town of Scarborough, was built by the
British in the 1770s and
offers a glimpse of Tobago’s history along with
sweeping ocean views.
MUST DO Attend Sunday
School. In Tobago, this
secular event consists of
a raucous Sunday night
beach party, complete
with music, refreshments
and jovial crowds. Held in
Buccoo, these weekly celebrations are at their best
around Easter.
MUST LISTEN The
Republic of Trinidad and
Tobago is the birthplace
of calypso music, which
you’ll hear blaring from
every moving vehicle
throughout your visit.
OPERATOR Blue Waters
Dive’N at Blue Waters Inn
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 61
TRANSFORM YOUR PHONE INTO
A TOOL FOR OCEAN PROTECTION
®
TRAVEL
M AY 2 0 1 8
THE
BEST
SPOTS
FOR SAVVY
DIVERS
t
64
ADVENTURE TIME
IN INDONESIA
70
THE CIT Y
OF ROSES
74
GO BIG ( ISL AND )
OR GO HOME
GREG LECOEUR
“
For those with great buoyancy control, a sharp eye and plenty of patience, photographing
Indonesia’s macro life is one of the best experiences in the world. Bizarre-looking critters such
as this mantis shrimp with its eggs abound at muck-diving mecca Lembeh Strait. But macro
treasures are just part of Indonesia’s allure for advanced divers. Learn more on page 68.
I have my
camera ready
to snap a
picture of a
whale shark
swimming
toward me just
as the shadow
of another one
passes overhead, like a
thundercloud
blotting out
the sun.”
INDO THE WILD
PAGE 74
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 63
LIVEAB OARD
T RAV E L
t
INDO THE WILD
The Derawan Islands are host to critters big and small — from schooling barracuda to
thousands of nonstinging jellies — and divers looking for something fresh
BY BECCA HURLEY
I
am below a bagan in the
middle of the Celebes Sea
with my dive buddies from
Raja Ampat Aggressor, where
four whale sharks have captivated us for more than
an hour. Not in a menacing
Hollywood way, but as if they
were a troupe of ballerinas
putting on a spellbinding
performance for an audience.
With no other reference
point than the Indonesian
fishing platform that floats
overhead in this little-known
corner of the western Pacific
Ocean, it’s difficult to stay in
64 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
place as I gravitate toward
the dancing whale sharks. I
want the perfect opportunity
to snap a photo. They rise
close to excited fishermen on
the platform, then glide below
the surface and swim just far
enough out of sight that you
wonder if they will return. And
then they reappear as quickly as they left, often taking
turns so there is always one
in sight.
I have my camera ready
to snap a picture of one of
the whale sharks s wimming
toward me just as the
shadow of another one
passes overhead, like a
thundercloud blotting out
the sun momentarily. The
visibility is maybe 30 or 40
feet, but it’s good enough to
see as many as four whale
sharks ahead of me. They are
here for an easy meal. The
local fishermen dump buckets of water off their bagan,
which leaves a sheen of fish
oils at the water’s surface
that these filter-feeders
can’t resist.
The best part — we’re the
only divers here.
5 REASONS TO
DIVE RAJA AMPAT
AGGRESSOR
1 The Deck The large sun
deck on Raja Ampat Aggressor is the perfect spot for
a post-dive nap or end-ofcruise dance party.
2 The Flicks This boat has
the most extensive movie
library I’ve encountered
aboard a liveaboard. If you
are ever in the mood for a
movie night in your cabin,
you’ll be sure to find something worthy. The crew
makes it easy for you to
play these movies in your
room by making the movies
accessible via USB.
3 The Options If you love this
boat and crew, or just love
diving Indonesia, Raja Ampat Aggressor offers three
different itineraries.
4 The Snacks You’ll never
go hungry! Oreos and always available snacks, plus
delicious locally inspired
cuisine, will keep you full
and happy. The best part:
Beer and wine are included
with dinner each night.
COURTESY AGGRESSOR (3). OPPOSITE: ANUAR PATJANE FLORIUK
5 The Crew Learn something
new after dinner with one
of the many informative
presentations given by
members of the crew. From
marine-life ID to underwater
photo tips, there is
something for everyone.
F OR MORE , GO T O
S C UB A DI V ING.C OM/
L I V E A B O A RD S
Raja Ampat Aggressor is 100 feet
long with a 21-foot beam. Opposite: A whale shark feeds in the
Celebes Sea.
It’s day three of our Celebes
Sea journey through Indonesia’s Derawan Islands, and
everyone’s bucket-list animal
encounter has been crossed
off. We’re all eager for more,
however, jokingly vowing to
mutiny if cruise director Urik
Comparini refuses to meet
our demand. He averts the
insurrection and kindly allows us to dive the site again.
So after one incredible dive
of nonstop whale-shark action, we grab a gourmet snack
in the Raja Ampat Aggressor
salon, and then suit up and
head back into the water for
another round of Rhincodon
typus ballet.
Many of us agree we could
have dived this site for the
remainder of the charter
and been perfectly happy.
The graceful moves of these
massive fish — reaching
lengths of 30 feet and greater — are unlike any animal I’ve
been in the presence of. Their
calm demeanor puts you at
ease as you observe their every move. I’ve snorkeled with
whale sharks off Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, but this was
my first time scuba diving
with the ocean’s biggest fish.
Other than the small bit
of current we experienced,
diving is unlike the typical
snorkeling experience where
you are trying to catch up to
a whale shark on the move.
Here in the Celebes, the whale
sharks are attracted to the
locals’ fishing platforms, so
it is much easier for divers
to stay put and let the whale
sharks come to you.
That evening, one fellow
American diver could not
stop gushing about the experience. “Awesome!” she
excitedly repeats again and
again.
Her facial expressions
reflect pure joy at dinner.
Photographer Anuar Patjane,
from Tehuacán, Mexico, pulls
out a bottle of agave-infused
mezcal that we share to
make a celebratory toast.
We crowd around him to look
at the photos in his camera’s LCD display. His specialty is black-and-white
photography, and his images
lend a sense of majesty to
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 65
LIVEAB OARD
T RAV E L
t
From top: A stingless jellyfish drifts through a lagoon in Kakaban;
blue-ringed octopuses are among the colorful macro life found in the
Derawan Islands. Opposite: Divers watch schooling barracuda buzz by.
the sharks, much like Ansel
Adams’ sweeping landscape
photographs of the American
West.
It’s rare to see whale sharks
in large groups, but in this
area of Talisayan — about 20
minutes by speedboat from
Derawan — there is a fairly large population. It’s comparable to the whale-shark
aggregations in Indonesia’s
famous Cenderawasih Bay,
but here, fewer divers equals
more quality time — and less
disruptive interaction — with
the sharks.
THE HITS
KEEP COMING
At this point in the trip, I’m
pretty certain that the whale
sharks will remain the highlight. But by the end of the
week, the vote among guests
is no longer unanimous.
Although I still heavily favored
an all whale-shark diving
itinerary, the Aggressor crew
introduced us to several
incredible encounters. Like
visiting the largest jellyfish
lagoon in the world, according
to Comparini. “Even larger
than Jellyfish Lake, made
The sun rays break
the surface of the
water and silhouette
the jellyfish blobs as
they float past, making for incredible
underwater-photo
opportunities.
famous in Palau,” he tells
us. And fortunately for the
jellyfish lagoon found in
Kakaban, it is still very much
full of jellyfish.
Being
surrounded
by
thousands of jellyfish is
surprisingly serene and eerily
quiet. The sun rays break the
surface of the water and silhouette the jellyfish blobs as
they float past, making for
incredible underwater-photo
opportunities.
The fun doesn’t stop
at the jellyfish lagoon:
High-adrenaline junkies will
find hundreds — maybe even
thousands — of schooling
barracuda at dive sites such
as the Channel. This drift dive
is in a shipping channel —
hence its name — and features strong currents (it’s not
recommended for beginners).
To hang with the ’cuda
gathered in the channel, you
hook into the reef; once you
66 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
ALEX TYRRELL (3)
unhook, the current can take
you on quite a ride.
UNCHARTED WATERS
The Derawan Islands lie farther north than the Raja Ampat region that this Aggressor
vessel is named for, but,
similar to Raja, you will find
gorgeous shallow reefs mixed
among the drift dives, whale
sharks and jellyfish lagoon.
Since Raja Ampat Aggressor
is the first Aggressor to operate in the area, there is still
much to discover about the
Derawan Islands. The archipelago is comprised of four
islands: Sangalaki, Kakaban,
Maratua and Derawan. At the
time of my visit in July 2017,
we were the second group
of divers to ever dive this
itinerary with Aggressor. When I asked my fellow
passengers what drew them
to this destination, they
almost overwhelmingly answered because it was
“something new.” Father
and son Serguei and Vladimir
Kazantsev from Moscow
picked Derawan over Palau
or Cocos. “We heard this
place has both macro and
big animals like sharks,” says
Kazantsev.
There is a certain thrill that
goes along with being one of
the first divers to embark on
a journey through a remote
area of the world.
If you prefer to dive moreiconic sites, stick to a Raja
Ampat itinerary. But if you
prefer to uncover the secrets
of a lesser-known region,
the Derawan Islands will
offer them in both large and
small ways.
NEED TO KNOW
When to Go Raja
Ampat Aggressor
sails the Derawan
Islands only during
the months of July
and August. Trips are
scheduled through
2020.
Travelers Tips Make
sure to let the domestic Indonesian
air carriers know
that you are traveling with scuba gear,
and in most cases,
they will waive the
fee for overweight
baggage.
Dive Conditions
As in most of the
Indo-Pacific, you
can expect warm
water temperatures
with an average of
about 82 degrees F
year-round. Overall
there is good visibility and mild currents,
although some sites
like the Channel near
Maratua can see
very strong currents.
Operator Raja
Ampat Aggressor
has been operating
as part of the
Aggressor Fleet
since 2015, but its
Derawan Islands
itinerary is new as of
June 2017.
Getting There
Since Raja Ampat
Aggressor departs
from the small
Indonesian town
of Tarakan, odds
are you will not be
able to get a direct flight unless
you are traveling
from somewhere
within Indonesia.
Popular stopover
routes for travelers
from the United
States and Europe
take you through
Bali, Jakarta or
Singapore, and onward on a separate
Indonesian carrier to
get you to and from
Tarakan. Aggressor’s
in-house travel
experts can also
assist with your
travel plans.
Price Tag A twin
cabin starts at
$3,010 for a
seven-day cruise,
and a master cabin
with queen bed will
run you $3,325 for
the week.
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 67
READERS
CHOICE
T RAV E L
t
READERS
CHOICE
REGIONAL
WINNERS
CARIBBEAN/ATLANTIC
1. Mexico
2. Bonaire
3. Cayman Islands
4. Belize
5. Roatan
NORTH AMERICA
1. Florida Keys
2. California
3. North Carolina
4. Great Lakes
5. British Columbia
PACIFIC AND INDIAN
1. Indonesia
2. Hawaii
3. Palau
4. Maldives
5. Fiji
What is
Readers Choice?
More than 3,000
Scuba Diving readers rate their experiences in our annual
survey, scoring destinations in a variety
of categories. Winners are selected via
averaged scores.
Explore a dozen
more Readers
Choice categories
at scubadiving.com/
readerschoice.
READERS CHOICE:
BEST ADVANCED DIVING
The reward is well worth the challenge in these prime destinations
BY BROOKE MORTON
A
t first, the shift is natural: The more you dive, the more questions
you have about what lies deeper down, inside the wreck or
farther into the cavern. And many of the most memorable marinelife encounters require navigating heavy currents or tricky conditions.
Soon, finding underwater terrain to inspire that desire to go beyond
what you already know can sometimes prove challenging. In these
locales, not so. Adventure will find you no matter what.
68 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
MEXICO
NETWORK OF OPTIONS It’s amazing that
the limestone foundation of Mexico’s Riviera Maya naturally chiseled away to form
caverns and caves to accommodate every level of diver. Start with the wide-open
pools of cenotes. Then there are caves at
the opposite end of the spectrum, such
as the Pit, which allow those with full cave
diver and trimix certifications to put their
training to the test.
ISLAND IN THE STREAM Sure, it’s easy
to associate Cozumel with new divers
because it’s a destination where many
log their first open-ocean descents. But
those dives can be much deeper given that
Clockwise, from left: Mexico’s Riviera Maya
offers plenty for cavers; Indonesia’s Lembeh
Strait is a macro lover’s paradise; the Spiegel
Grove attracts divers from around the globe.
BEST DIVE RESORTS
READERS
CHOICE
WINNERS
The best operators,
resorts and liveaboards to get you
this experience
in these destinations, as chosen
by readers.
BEST DIVE OPERATORS
Scuba-Cozumel
Dive Center
Mexico
scubaclubcozumel
.com
Pro Dive Mexico
prodive
international.com
advanced-diver dreams. Schools of jacks,
tunas and snappers swell to shapes that
could fill football stadiums, and sightings
of hammerheads, giant manta rays and
whale sharks are also possible. Access
it all through Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort,
ranked a Readers Choice Best Dive Resort.
CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP: MEL CLARK; GREG LECOEUR; GUILLEN PHOTO LLC/ALAMY
FLORIDA KEYS
Cozumel’s wall bottoms out at 200 feet
and beyond in various places. Plus, with
that steady current, as well as splits and
tunnels cutting through the reef, there’s
plenty to amuse the advanced diver.
SHARK APPEAL Mexico’s appeal extends
beyond the Yucatan. With great white
sharks off Guadalupe Island, and
hammerhead, silky and tiger sharks
off the Revillagigedo Islands 370 miles
from Mexico’s Pacific coast, this country
delivers big thrills that test your cool
underwater — which is just how we like it.
SCHOOL’S IN SESSION The town of Cabo
Pulmo, found on the Sea of Cortez side
of the Baja Peninsula, is the stuff of
WRECK ROOMS The Vandy. The Spiegel.
The artificial reefs in the Keys, so famous
that most divers know them by their first
names, are a big deal for good reason. The
USS Spiegel Grove off Key Largo and Key
West’s USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg
both offer structure in shallow depths,
making them widely available to divers of
every skill level. But bottoming out at 130
and 140 feet and with 12 and four decks to
explore, respectively, they deliver enough
depth and penetration opportunity to
challenge every diver holding advancedwreck and mixed-gas certs.
Ocean Divers
Key Largo,
Florida Keys
oceandivers.com
Horizon Divers
Key Largo,
Florida Keys
horizondivers.com
Scuba Club Cozumel
Mexico
scubaclubcozumel
.com
Hotel Cozumel
Mexico
hotelcozumel.com
InterContinental
Presidente Cozumel
Resort & Spa
Cozumel, Mexico
presidentecozumel
.com
Cabo Pulmo
Beach Resort
Mexico
cabopulmo.com
Wakatobi
Dive Resort
Indonesia
wakatobi.com
BEST LIVEABOARDS
Rocio del Mar
rociodelmar
liveaboard.com
Arenui
thearenui.com
in the water column to cozy up to the frogfish, pipefish and nudibranchs. Because
you won’t enjoy the macro life if you can’t
comfortably hold yourself in a close-up,
sometimes inverted, viewing position.
LAND OF GIANTS The island of Komodo,
visited by liveaboards including Arenui, is
a hot spot for oceanic mantas that come
in to feed on plankton, gathering in groups
of 10, 20 or more. The only catch is that
this region experiences strong currents,
the kind that nudge at masks when faces
turn sideways. Tricky, yes, but completely doable for those with strong buoyancy
skills and drift-diving abilities.
THAT’S DEEP Nearshore deep waters are
the reason Key Largo is a hub for dive centers offering technical training. Oh, and a
slew of deep wrecks, including the Queen
of Nassau at 220 feet and the Vitric at 300,
gives students a varied classroom.
INDONESIA
READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP At its core,
Indonesia is about biodiversity, a richness
of species best appreciated by a trained
eye, and by those with enough body control
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 69
t
NEED TO KNOW
T RAV E L
JENNIFER IDOL is the first woman
to dive all 50 United States, author of
An American Immersion, and a PADI
AmbassaDiver. She’s also a member
of the Ocean Artists Society.
When to Go Summer and early fall provide the
warmest weather conditions with the least
amount of rain.
A N D
DI VE
Dive Conditions Drysuits are necessary for
comfortably diving the clear springs, but
7 mm wetsuits with hood and gloves can be
sufficient for charters.
DR I V E
Operators Pacific Watersports (pacificwater
sports.com), NW Scuba (nwscuballc.com),
Under Water Works (uwwscuba.com), and
Adventure Sports Scuba (adventuresports
scuba.com) rent equipment and lead charters.
100-plus feet — is waiting to be explored.
Within two hours of Portland, Little
Crater Lake sits on the Pacific Crest Trail
at an elevation of 3,300 feet, bubbling up
by the foot of Mount Hood. The spring is
best reached hiking down a short path
with a cart. Spring temperatures stay
consistently close to 43 degrees F. After
diving, warm up with some coffee in
downtown Portland.
BY JENNIFER IDOL
I
ndividuality rules in Portland, where
anyone can suit their interests with
everything from exotic coffee shops and
international food trucks to expansive
bookstores and outdoor adventure. Visitors to Portland can reap the benefits
of the clear spring waters surrounding
nearby Mount Hood and rich northwestern diving in Puget Sound.
Above: Oregon’s Clear Lake lives up to its
name with 100-plus feet of visibility.
Tacoma
5
Mount St. Helens
Portland
IF YOU HAVE ONE DAY
Connect with a local dive shop to find a
buddy, rent some gear, and head to Little
Crater Lake. Ideal for intermediate divers
comfortable in drysuits, some of the
clearest water in America — with viz at
70 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
84
5
5
Little Crater Lake
Clear Lake
84
84
IF YOU HAVE THREE DAYS
Fully experience the best of the
Northwest by driving just over two hours
north to Tacoma, Washington, where
a charter boat will chauffeur you to the
best sites in Puget Sound. Soak in the
stunning structure of Dalco Wall — which
starts at 35 feet and plummets beyond
110 feet — or enjoy some face time with
the critters hiding among the artificial
reef at KVI Tower, including nudibranchs,
plumose anemones, red Irish lords and,
if you’re lucky, wolf eels and giant Pacific
octopuses. But don’t let boat diving steal
all of your attention; save a day to see
Mount St. Helens — an hour and a half
from Portland — or enjoy the year-round
skiing and snowboarding in the region.
JENNIFER IDOL
PORTLAND
While the locals “Keep Portland Weird,” you can keep your dive gear
wet at these nearby gems
IF YOU HAVE TWO DAYS
Take the two-and-a-half hour drive
from Portland or rent an on-site cabin
at Clear Lake Resort. Either way, rise
early enough to start your day with a
shore dive and affordable paddle-boat
excursion at Clear Lake, a spring that was
created when lava flowed into the north
shore 3,000 years ago, preserving an underwater forest. After diving, hike on the
McKenzie River National Recreation Trail
to Tamolitch Blue Pool or head back to
the city to do some sightseeing at the
Oregon Zoo or downtown area. There, you
can head to popular Powell’s Books or try
the devilishly delicious Voodoo Doughnut.
m
MARKETPLACE
AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE
• Renowned Divers’ Resort
• PADI Diver Operator,
Ambergris Divers
• Perfect Location in town, yet
away from the hustle and bustle
• Includes all meals,
beverages and transfers
• Free Nitrox
• Tech diving available
• Nine spacious suites
BOOK NOW AND SAVE
US$100 per diver
www.sunbreeze.net
www.sunbreezesuites.com
Book Now
1-800-688-0191
SAVE TIME
Dive Deals
Cozumel
DIVE WITH MARTIN SCUBA
Dive your computer limits!
4 day/2-tank boat dive $255
• FREE Sherwood gear use
• Dive, Hotel & Condo pkgs.
MC & Visa accepted - No fees.
1-888-512-8747
STACEY@VACATIONCONNECTIONNRH.COM
Promote Your
Dive Deals!
Contact: LINDA SUE DINGEL
lindasue.dingel@bonniercorp.com
72 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
/7
24
CUSTOMER SERVICE
is only a click away!
Change Your Address
Check Your Account Status
Renew, Give a Gift or
Pay a Bill
Replace Missing Issues
Just log on to:
scubadiving.com/cs
DIVE THE CENOTES OF MEXICO
ff
Check o t List!
cke
your Bu
EXPERIENCE GUIDED DIVES: In Highly Decorated Cenotes
Open to All Levels of Certified Divers • Cave & Rebreather Diving
TRAINING: Cavern to Full Cave Certification • Sidemount • Rebreather • Tek
infoenjoydiving@gmail.com www.cavetrainingmexico.com
Photo ©HyunDuk Kim
DIVE WITH MARTIN SCUBA C
L
ISLAND’S FASTEST BOATS,
ISLAND’S BEST DIVE MASTERS!!
y 20+ years diving Cozumel!
y 4 day / 2-tank boat dives $255
y FREE use of Sherwood dive gear
y Group Rates y Hotel Packages
y 2-4 bedroom Condo rentals
Email Stacey for package rates
& knowledgeable service
] u t – No Fees
888-512-8747 | sburton@airmail.net | www.divewithmartin.com
VISIT US ONLINE AT: WWW.SCUBADIVING.COM
S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M MAY 2018 / 73
t
5
PERFECT
10
T RAV E L
HO’OKENA BEACH PARK
A day off diving isn’t so rough at this
stunning beachfront park that’s popular
with boogie boarders and perfect for
camping, with ocean views. Make time
for a snorkel session as spinner dolphins
often cruise the clear waters.
6
MILE MARKER 4
Kona’s underwater terrain slopes
down from the volcanoes, and shallow reef dives accessible right from the
shore abound. This spot 4 miles from
Kailua is a local favorite for seeing turtles
that frequent the lava tubes and coral
heads. Spinner dolphins and eagle rays
are known to frequent the bay here too.
7
DA POKE SHACK
Hawaii’s iconic grab-and-go food is
distilled to its essence at this wildly popular poke joint, where raw-fish salads
piled with jewel-hued tuna are spiked
with avocado, limu kohu (seaweed) and
Japanese spices.
BY TERRY WARD
GOLDEN ARCHES
The happy meal here is a feast for
your eyes! This favorite dive site gets
its name from the sand bottom and the
mostly yellow taape — blue-lined snapper — swarming the lava arches. Pods of
dolphins are often seen cruising past the
site, but don’t forget to look for triggerfish and white-mouth moray eels too.
1
3
9
2
4
10
PREDATOR WRECK
This former military landing craft was
purchased for use as a shark cage-diving
platform before it sank to its final resting
spot in 96 feet of water. Divers often spot
the Atlantis submarine circling the wreck
on its tours of the area; plastic skeletons
atop the Predator were placed to spook
the sub passengers.
HAWAII VOLCANOES
NATIONAL PARK
See the summit of majestic Kilauea
volcano — one of the most active in the
world — when you do the Crater Rim
Drive. The 11-mile route through this
incredible national park lets you visit a
caldera and drive through desert and
tropical rainforest landscapes.
DIVERS GUIDE
BLACK-WATER NIGHT DIVE
For something different, find yourself
suspended 50 feet down on a tether with
4,000 feet of wide-open water below you
during black-water night dives beyond
the reef. Wait it out in utter ocean calm
while the weird and wonderful creatures
of the deep — including translucent larval
fish and cephalopods — are illuminated in
the glow of your torch.
THE HIVE
There’s a good reason this pinnacle
frequented by liveaboards has a beerelated moniker. You won’t get stung,
but you’ll get swarmed by a cloud of hundreds of colorful chromis. Guides can
point out a cleaner shrimp station and
deftly camouflaged leaf scorpionfish.
AVERAGE WATER TEMP From 76 to 80 degrees F WHAT TO WEAR 3 mm in summer,
5 mm in winter AVERAGE VIZ From 60 to 100 feet WHEN TO GO Year-round OPERATORS Jack’s Diving
Locker, Kona Aggressor II, Kona Honu Divers
74 / MAY 2018 S C U B A D I V I N G . C O M
MANTA DIVE
Enormous mantas — some with
wingspans approaching 16 feet — swoop
and soar above you during this iconic
night dive in just 30 feet of water near
Garden Eel Cove. A bank of lights set in
the sand attracts the animals as divers settle in for what’s surely one of the
greatest shows in the ocean.
KONA COFFEE
LIVING HISTORY FARM
Stop by this historical homestead for
a souvenir of 100 percent Kona coffee
while getting a fascinating education on
the 1900s Japanese migration that first
brought coffee and macadamia farming
to the area.
TERRY WARD got certified in
Florida’s springs for a college course,
and has since dived everywhere from
Halmahera, Indonesia, to Norway’s
icy Svalbard archipelago.
MAP ILLUSTRATION: STUART HILL
KONA COAST
With lava flows as a backdrop, the Kona coast of Hawaii Island is known
for its primo visibility and thriving marine life
8
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