Diving is a Big Part of Your Life If...

by Fred Stratton
Instructor, Technician

No matter your level and experience, all divers share a love of breathing blissfully buoyant in a state of underwater weightlessness. Recreational or technical, closed or open circuit, no stop or decompression doesn't matter. We are all kindred spirits devoted to adventure and exploration. Land lubbers passively watch Shark Week on TV. Divers seek close encounters with these toothy predators. Beachgoers relax on the sand during their holiday. Divers view the beach as an entry platform for shore diving.

I gave up skydiving after discovering scuba diving in 1987. After meeting the beautiful woman who later would  become my wife, I taught her to swim and then to scuba dive (of course). 
How has diving changed your life? Diving is a Big Part of your Life if...- You park your vehicles outside because your garage is filled with dive gear.
- Much of your wardrobe consists of exposure suits, undergarments and T-shirts emblazoned with …

Holiday Greetings to our Scuba Family


Wrecks: Great Diving from Mayhem

Fred Stratton
Instructor and Technician

This is part two of our series on underwater playgrounds. July's article Artificial Reefs: Reborn by Nature took us diving on manmade structures. This month we look at the mayhem Mother Nature, human error and war have visited upon mariners since ancient times. These disasters fascinate divers seeking adventure and a connection to the seafaring souls whose final voyage ended in tragedy.  
Successful companies have strong brand recognition. So too do world class wreck diving destinations. Whisper the words Scapa Flow, Bikini or Chuuk and wreck diving afficianados will tell animated first-hand stories or nod that they are on their bucket list. A story about one wreck often spills into tales of another. 
There's irony in ships that cost lives when sinking support so much life underwater. Wrecks rapidly become refuge for creatures great and small, from wide-angle sharks to macro lens nudibranchs.
Bikini Atoll, Marshall Island…

Artificial Reefs: Reborn by Nature

Fred Stratton
Instructor and Technician

Perceptions persist that wreck diving is deep, cold, boring and bereft of color. In this two-part series we explore artificial reefs and wrecks. Artificial reefs are manmade structures purposefully planted on the seafloor to provide marine habitat, relieve pressure on natural reefs, and to provide playgrounds for divers.  Wrecks are ships or structures that met their fate through storms, collisions, sabotage or war at sea.
Bleaching, storms and overuse take their toll on reefs. Given time they will recover. However, building artificial reefs is an alternative method of providing more sea life habitat which creates underwater playgrounds. Think of an artificial reef as manmade substrate that Mother Nature populates with turtles, fish, molluscs, mammals, anemone and plants. These elements comprise ecosystems. These decommissioned objects are, in effect, reborn, taking on new life as the sea embraces them. 
What com…

The Wonder Breathing Gas - Trimix

Helium from a tidally shredded star being expelled from a black hole  Credit: NASA; S. Gezari, The Johns Hopkins University; and J. Guillochon, University of California, Santa Cruz Fred Stratton Instructor and Technician
TECHNICAL DIVING SERIES PART IV Most people think of the Goodyear blimp and party tricks when they think of helium. Commercial and technical divers embraced helium decades ago as a means to diminish  nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity beyond recreational depth. To trimix divers helium is a miracle gas that opens a vast realm of new adventures unattainable on air. 

Astronomers discovered helium by noting a yellow spectral line signature during a solar eclipse in 1868 and named it after Helios, Greek god of the sun. Helium is the second most abundant element in our universe after hydrogen although it is rare on Earth comprising only 0.0005% of planet's atmosphere. Helium is obtained primarily from underground deposits in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. 

Feeling Alive at 165'

Fred Stratton Instructor and Technician
TECHNICAL DIVING SERIES PART III Our February 2019 article on Tec 45 was part two in our technical diving series. Let's go deeper still in part three of our technical diving series with the Tec 50 course, which is also part three in the PADI Tec Deep Diver Program.

PADI TEC 50 COURSETec 50 takes you beyond your Tec 45 experience by introducing you to the first stages of full technical deep decompression diving. Certified Tec 50 divers are qualified to make multi-stop decompression dives using air, EANx and oxygen (O2) with up to two decompression gases such as  50% Nitrox and 100% O2.  You'll plan and execute four dives to a maximum depth of 165' (50 meters).
What You'll See Below with Tec Five-Oh
Last month we (virtually) dived the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS ORISKANY (CV-34) where she rests in 212' (65m) of water south of Pensacola, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. We limited ourselves to the flight deck a…

The Adventure 145'

Gas up! Doubles and deco bottles for a Tec 45  Course
Photo: PADI

Fred Stratton Instructor and Technician

Diving Deep is about AdventureDecompression stops simply are required safety stops. Both are performed in the same manner: stop and maintain a precise depth for a specific amount of time to clear your computer or to fulfill your analog dive plan based on a chosen decompression algorithm (e.g. RGMB, Buhlman ZHL-16c) and gradient factor.
Deco stops are a means to an end, the end being encounters with deep-dwelling flora and fauna and wrecks resting below recreational diving depth. Tech diving is cool...but that's not a good reason to become a tech diver. Satisfying your craving for adventure and  exploration is! 
PADI Tec 45We introduced you to decompression diving in the January 2019 Tec 40 article. The Tec 45 course is part two in the PADI Tec Deep Diver Program. Tec 45 involves more advanced planning using decompression tables and multi-gas computers to dive sa…