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Feature
Charles Davis

Thailand, “The Land of Smiles”, is a very popular tourist destination. It is on many backpackers and scuba divers bucket list of where to go. As a scuba diving destination it often ranks among the worlds best. That popularity over the last few years has not climbed as much over as in previous years mostly due to political protest. The first quarter of the year saw tourism number drop as protest in Bangkok became more prevalent and violent. I had a trip planned to Thailand last January, however it was postponed. The Philippine government had issued an emergency travel advisory focusing on a series of planned protest. As a result many travelers canceled their plans during that week.  My flight from Manila was canceled as the airline I was booked on canceled the entire weeks flights. A few years ago protester crippled Asian travel and industry as they forced the shut down of Bangkok airport. Bangkok acts as one of the biggest transportation hubs, people and cargo in the world. In May, a military coup took over the government and the country is under martial law. Tourism arrivals became almost non existent for a few months.

The question really is how dangerous is Thailand for the tourist. Thailand has the 15th highest violent crime rate in the world with almost 16% of the population owning guns. Violent crimes against tourist however are lower than the locals in the same area. Those that do involved tourist, illegal drug use, excessive alcohol consumption and prostitution are significant factors in about 75% of the cases. An Australian report a few years ago, showed Thailand third in the rate of violent crimes against its citizens behind Malaysia and the United States, the UK was number 6 on the list. An Canadian report from last year had Mexico and Jamaica leading the list of violent locations. Thailand did not make the top ten list but the U.K. did. The violent crime rates against tourist are going up across the globe, cruise lines have changed ports in Mexico and the Caribbean due to crimes targeting cruise ship tourist.  Criminals target tourist everywhere. Security guards at the Louvre Museum went on strike last year demanding more police action against pick pockets and snatch and run attacks. For myself, I feel safe when I visit Thailand but I do keep aware of those items around me. It is mostly keeping situational awareness. That is no different from visiting New York, London or Las Vegas. I think Las Vegas makes me the most nervous.

Paige Dellit

Paige Dellit

I always felt safe in Thailand and had no problems. In fact i felt a lot safer than some other countries ive visited. You should just use the usual common sense in regards to safety that you would at home, such as dont go wandering about alone at night!

News
Charles Davis

Underwater treasure hunters have been around since the times of the first ships being lost, from salvage divers to seekers of sunken treasure. Mel Fisher, in his search for the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, the Santa Margarita, and the 1715 Shipwreck Fleet is often credited with being a pioneer for bringing scientific methods and archaeological protocols to the scuba diver. Around the world, local and international laws now often require new shipwreck finds to be subject to evaluation using archaeological protocols. Some knowledge is helpful.

Marine Archaeology is an interesting field of study for many scientists. A marine archaeological “dig” can be an exciting adventure of a careful search to uncover the past. Many historical ship wrecks and sunken cities around the world are being carefully examined. While many a diver has dreamed and even succeed in finding a new wreck it is often very important to known what to do with the wreck after you find it. Generally, as scuba divers, we are often excluded from diving historical wrecks so as not to destroy historical artifacts and information. Marine Archeological as an avocation or a hobby has been difficult to pursue in the past as the professionals often did not want amateurs to interfere.

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Carla Gomez

I would love to get more into this area as wrecks are my favorite dives

Feature
Charles Davis

World War Two saw the “failed” projected renewed. The War Time Shipping Administration contracting five contractors to build 104 vessels. Some of these were powered ships but most were barges. These barges were very similar to the ships and were ocean going but had no means of propulsion and carried a crew of three. My fist concrete ship dive was on one of that 104, a B7-A2  type barge (375 foot long, 56 foot beam, 5,410gross tons, 22 built) located in 30 meters of water. I have not been able to positively identify the wreck but I am certain it is YON-146 an unnamed vessel sunk in July 1957.  The second concrete wreck I dove was similar, the M/V WIT Concrete, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

After WWII, concrete boat building disappeared again. In the late 1960s and early 1970s they made a small comeback. This time as pleasure crafts. Boat building companies and hobbyist were creating ferrocement boats again. By the late 1970s the trend died away as cheaper easier to use materials came into being.  There is a boat building website that has an interesting article in greater detail concerning some of the earliest usage of concrete ships. The article includes a photograph of the S.S. Selma under construction. The Selma, another of the WWI ships, is located off Galveston Texas and is the official flagship of the Texas “Army”.

If you have dived a ferrocement ship, make a comment and lets us know about the ship and your dive.

News
Charles Davis

New Dive Console Will Locate Your Buddy

Imagine being a dive leader on a drift dive and being able to know where all the divers are at just a glance at your dive console.  A Swedish company by the name of Aqwary is making that a reality. Their pioneer product is to be the Smart Console a device that combines current scuba equipment technology and smart phone technology with a technique perfected in WWII hydrophones. Similar to many dive consoles on the market today, the Smart Console will give the diver his basic dive information: air pressure, depth, water temperature, compass and NDL. This device will display information on a 3.7 inch color screen similar to a smart phone. The Smart Console can hold dive data for hundreds of dives.

The device has a WIFI feature for above water communications. The WIFI feature will allow the diver to transfer the dive information to a computer or other WIFI device. The WIFI feature also allows the Smart Console to synch data to the Aqwary Cloud storage. The device is designed to be upgraded. New features will be added by apps, using the same method you find on smart phones. Because these are considered safety devices, upgrades and new apps can only be added from Aqwary. Today, Recreational divers have to rely on hand signals or writing messages on a slate to communicate underwater. While not planned as part of the initial release, the Smart Console will have an app for underwater communications similar to SMS on cell phones.  The Smart Console does come equipped with apps for a compass, mapviewer, buddy watch and a no decompression dive computer. Additional apps such as an advance dive computer and the message component will be available shortly. A dive boat app is expected to be released also that has additional safety features including a recall function.

Astrid Quiñónez Tovar

This does everything! Would be very useful but i think very expensve!

Feature
Charles Davis

The Most Frequent Trigger That Leads To A Dive Fatality:  An Out Of Air Situation

In the scope of evaluating risk, it was determined that 88% of diving accidents occur on the first dive of the day. While many divers only dive one time in a day, other divers dive more than twice so the frequency does balance out showing the first dive is more prone to accidents. The excitement of the dive can lead to more rapid use of air or failure to pay attention to details. What may seem strange at first glance is that new divers are not those most at risk. A significant factor is that they are still holding on to the procedures taught in training. The highest risk are those who have not been diving for a year or more and return to diving without a refresher. Many resorts “require” check out dives or refreshers if a diver has not been diving in over six months, however, it is just the diver's word on when they last dived.

There are some things you can do as a diver to help yourself avoid becoming a victim. 

• First is of course keep to the basics: check your gauges and your buddy frequently.

• Improve your air consumption, this will give you more reaction time if you are in a low on air or out of air situation.

• Recognize signs of panic in yourself and your buddy. If you can control panic rapidly you can turn the situation around.

• Learn solo diving skills. These skills can help if you get separated from a dive buddy and they boost your confidence in dealing with stress.

• Dive frequently and take refresher course or check out dives if you have not dived in 6 months.

• Practice basic skills if they have not been used in a while.

News
Megan Jungwi

Artificial reefs can benefit the ocean by creating new habitat for corals and reef fish. However, artificial reefs are only useful when they are done right. Fortunately, man-made reefs have come a long way since the disastrous tire reef of the 1970s. In fact, new ideas and technologies are making reef building easier and more effective than ever before.

• New Designs and Materials

A good artificial reef will be made from materials that are durable and attractive to coral larvae. Resource managers now recognize that certain materials are not suitable for reef building (i.e. rubber and rusty trains) while other materials can encourage coral growth. The Reef Ball Foundation uses a special concrete with a lower pH level and increased durability to encourage lasting artificial reefs. They also create structures with grainy surface textures and unique hole sizing to mimic what corals might find in nature.

Scarlett Noble

Ive helped on a artificial reef structure that used electricity. The 3D printing reefs sound very interesting!

Latest from the dive community

Rating 9/10

The chamber - bahamas

Grand Bahama14 Oct 2014 - 14 Oct 2014

Bahamian Reef sparks 4-5

Huge parrotfish fish - Bright blue and purple.

Got to hold a spider

seeking advice re grand cayman jan or feb

We're thinking of diving in Grand Cayman, though the water temps may only be around 78 degrees. Anyone been to Compass Point? Other options/advice, please let us know.

4

Morgan Bennett

0 votes

I have not stayed there.. a good friend of mind did and really rated it!

3

Desmond Metzler

0 votes

Not been to compass point but ive been to Grand Cayman and had a great trip

Diving February/March

Planning diving the Malidves in feb/Mar.

We would like to see Whalesharks and Mantas.

Is Ari Atoll the right place for that in that period?

And if so, do we chose east, west, north or south?

Hope you can help!

Thank you :-)

Showing 3 of 4 comments. Show all

Steve Newby

0 votes

Would love an answer to this question!\n\nI'm also going in March/April and was thinking of going to North East Ari Atoll... would I have a good chance of seeing Mantas/Whale sharks.\n\nWill only have three days diving time. : (

John Fry

John Fry

0 votes

Feb - Mar is a good time to be there for both Manta & Whalesharks.. Ari Atoll - go south - the water is generally higher in plankton at that time of year and that is what attracts the big filter feeders.

Katja Jacobsen

0 votes

Perfekt! Thanks :)

The best place to dive in Costa Rica

I'm going to Costa Rica from Dec.22-Jan.6. I've never been there before, but I hear amazing things. I'm an avid diver. I have over 2,500 dives, mostly in Thailand, Indonesia and the Maldives. I've also done a little diving in Cozumel and Belize. I desperately want to go to Cocos Island, but I just can't afford it. One of my dreams is to see huge schools of hammerhead sharks. Another is to dive with Whales and Dolphins. A couple of years ago I went to Lembeh Straits and saw some amazing critters, including the flamboyant cuttlefish, mimic octopus, blue ringed octopus, seahorses and a ton of frogfish, etc. I absolutely adore critters. But I also love the big stuff.

Since I can't make it to Cocos, where else in Costa Rica would even remotely compare? I've heard that Cano Island is supposed to be quite good. I've also read about the Catalina Islands and Bat Island. Of these places (or others in Costa Rica), where would be the best place to dive and see a mixture of large fish and small, bizarre critters?

1

Palmira Trentino

1 vote

Maybe check out Playas del Cocos or Cano Island.. they both can be good for clear water/great diving and also for seeing seeing some of the big animals.

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Edward Callahan

0 votes

Playas is awesome! :)

Rating 7/10

Hurghada, Egypt

Hurghada9 Sep 2014 - 16 Sep 2014

I started my scuba journey in Hurghada with the Funny Divers team. We completed our OW referral and then had 3 days diving with 2 dives per day.

Funny Divers were fabulous from the first contact to picking us up at the hotel to dropping us off at the end of the day. The boat was spacious and not over crowded. Each dive the visibility was fantastic, marine and coral life in abundance. We also saw huge Nepoleon fish, plenty of Morays in all sizes, Lion fish, Scorpian Fish, Crocodile fish, Clown fish with their little babies, Blue spotted rays and also two sea walkermen.

Being my first proper trip out at sea as a qualified diver it was fantastic. The FunnyDivers team were fabulous, friendly and very helpful.

Looking forward to a return to Egypt in the coming years that's for sure.

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Jaromíra Tomanová

Congratulations on the OW - a even bigger world is open to you now! :)

Rating 10/10

Diving Les Escoumins, Canada.

Les Escoumins29 Aug 2014 - 2 Sep 2014

It is one of the best areas to dive in the north-east of the Canada. Marine Park is perfectly design for divers. You'll find an ample parking lot with an attendant ($7.80 a day per diver), large (complimentary) plastic carts to get your gears from the car to the benches or in the case of the "West Cric" dive-site very close to entrance to the water. Shower, lockers and large basin with fresh water right on the premisses.

By the way, there are three entrances located not too far from each other, but underwater it is one large area. You can enter at West Cric and 10 minutes later get out at the East Cric. Or proceed to the Anemone Bay.

Water's temperature, depending on the season and depth, can fluctuate between -3 to +7'C, so dry-suit is highly recommended.

Underwater life is plentiful and in large quantities. As soon as you submerge, you'll find "forests" of frilled anemones, plumose anemone, northern red anemone, and scarlet psolus. Also one can find an atlantic wolf fish, all kind of nudibranchs, sunstars of many color varieties, arctic sunstars, smooth sunstars, spiny lump suckers, fields of pink to red soft corals, polar sea-stars and much, much more.

Between dives you can observe as minke whales, belugas, dolphins and other pelagic animals resurfacing for to take a breath. One can also take a short trip for watch whales or, if you are a “Lord of The Ring” fan, you can drive an hour and get to the fjord of Saguenay. Scenery is breathtaking.

I truly believe that if you decide to visit Saguenay-Saint Laurent Marine Park, it will instantly become one your favorite places to visit and dive.

2014.08.31.East Crick Les Escoumins. Canada 4 2014.08.31.East Crick Les Escoumins. Canada 5 2014.09.01.Le Natakam Les Escoumins. Canada 3 2014.09.03.Le Natakam. Les Escoumins. Canada 3 2014.09.03.Marine Park Les Escoumins Canada 3
Showing 3 of 9 comments. Show all
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Randy Chacko

The last photo is really good - but I have to say that the first is an awesome shot. Fanatic colors and the dark background really shows the subject matter off.

2012.10.17.Taveuni Fiji..76

Timur Kholodenko

Elli, sorry for the late respond, but yes, star is big, at least a foot and a half.

2012.10.17.Taveuni Fiji..76

Timur Kholodenko

Randy, thank you for your comment, I like black background too, event somethinms one have to black it out in post production (to hide backscatter ;)

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