The Blue Desert Conundrum

Where we encounter marine megafauna, we see only a tiny slice of their habitats and lives, which rarely includes feeding. These animals may travel thousands of feet vertically or migrate a few thousand miles horizontally to meet their nutritional needs. Some of them — sperm whales, for example — must do both: descend to depths of up to a mile or more to feast on aggregations of squid and roam across large swaths of the Pacific to avoid depleting their food resources in any one area.

Air and a Spare

No matter which alternate air source you choose, learn to calculate your air consumption and regularly practice emergency procedures. There are many ways to configure each type of redundant breathing-gas supply, but make sure your setup matches your training, gear arrangement and dive objectives. If a naysayer thinks your equipment choice is unnecessary, let them know that the difference between a fatal accident and an embarrassing incident could come down to a breath or two. Any redundancy is better than none.

Galápagos

The seven days in the Galápagos went by too quickly, and I was ready to come back before I had even left. The Galápagos National Park and the tour operators greatly respect the destination, and conservation is their primary goal. Even with all the protections in place, the fishing industry, climate change and ocean health pressure the archipelago. Every tourist dollar that goes into the Galápagos adds persuasive emphasis that this is a place that deserves ongoing and stringent protection.

Tonga’s Gentle Giants

Humpback whales feed in polar waters during the summer and then migrate to tropical or subtropical waters to breed during winter. Various locations offer seasonal whale-watching, but swimming with them is legal in only a few places — Tonga is one of them. Every year its warm and sheltered waters provide a nursery for the whales, which gather there between July and October after a long migration from Antarctica.

Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds You

With adverse events, there is almost always a cascade in four phases: the trigger, the disabling agent, the disabling injury and the cause of death. Individually, each event is avoidable. Recognizing one at the time of occurrence is an opportunity to react and attempt to mitigate the risk before it becomes a problem. In root cause analysis of adverse events, the most significant factors are the lack of recognition and failure to react to the event.

Calling the Dive

Calling a dive is not as easy as just giving the thumbs-up signal. There are steps to follow after the signal to cancel a dive. The dive briefing should cover these procedures, and the greater the dive’s potential risk, the more attention to detail the procedures and briefing should have to make calling the dive happen as safely as possible.

Photography in the Plimsoll Interface

Underwater photographers sometimes refer to the narrow water zone where a subject splits the surface as the Plimsoll interface. Opportunities abound here for dynamic shots achieved by angling the camera above or below the waterline. The dedicated and creative underwater photographer can capture traditional over-under split shots with a standard straight meniscus and dramatic reflections from below of the subject, the sunlight or both as part of a modified split shot or a fully underwater picture.

DAN DISPATCH: DAN Summer Research Internship

More than 100 interns over 20 years have participated in DAN’s internship programs, working with established mentors in research, risk mitigation or medicine to gain knowledge and valuable professional experience while contributing to DAN operations. This year five interns traveled to Durham, North Carolina, to participate in the program.

Sound in the Silence

Audible cues and signals can get your buddy’s attention, signal a group of divers or indicate a problem you can help address. Even though we may dive to escape the noise of everyday life, we need to pay attention to the sounds around us. Doing so could make your dive even more special because your buddy got your attention to see something remarkable — or you may even save a life.

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