Speak of the Spiny Devilfish

The spiny devilfish (Inimicus didactylus) is a member of the family Scorpaenidae, which also contains the venomous lionfish, stonefish, and scorpionfish. These fish conceal glandular venom-producing daggers within their dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins. Divers — especially underwater photographers who may focus on one creature while others sidle up under their legs — must be aware of these animals’ subtle defense maneuvers.

Red Spiny Devilfish

Melissa Ilardo

Melissa Ilardo, PhD, is passionate about working in the distinct field of genetic analyses on individuals, primarily in Indigenous populations who have adapted to unique lifestyles or environments.

Ilardo with community members from the Bajau village

Learning to Thrive in Extreme Environments

My phone’s alarm filled the air, but I was already awake. It was the day I had eagerly anticipated since first learning about the Florida International University (FIU) Introduction to Saturation Diving: Aquarius Operations and Benefits to Science course — the emergency simulation.

Gray snappers and schoolmaster snappers school beneath the moon pool on Aquarius Reef Base.

DCS in Papua New Guinea

I was diving with my wife, Kristy Hiltz, in remote Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea. We had taken all the necessary precautions and dived according to our computers. On what turned out to be our last dive, we sat on a rock ledge at 70 feet for 15 to 20 minutes and then made a slow ascent, completing a full safety stop.

Kristy Hiltz, McNab’s wife, scuba diving with sea turtle.

Florida Panhandle: Down the Emerald Coast

Following the white sand beaches and emerald waters along the Florida Panhandle leads to a diverse set of wrecks and artifacts ranging from oversized sculptures to the largest purpose-sunk wreck in the U.S. This area of Florida is known as the Emerald Coast, and the visibility in this part of the Gulf of Mexico is superior to that along the Louisiana and Texas coastlines.

Artist Vince Tatum’s SWARA Skull was installed in the Underwater Museum of Art in 2018.

Under the Jetties in the Southern Australia Seas

It is early June, the onset of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and an army has just reached its destination. It has marched from the ocean’s depths into the shallows, amassing among the pilings at Blairgowrie Pier in Port Phillip Bay, south of Melbourne, Australia. 

Rapid Bay Jetty is a great dive site where one has a good chance of seeing leafy seadragons and other fascinating marine life.

No Gym Equipment, No Problem

A home gym isn’t necessary to work out at home. You can do this exercise program using readily available furniture and complete it in one session or spread the exercises throughout the day.

leg scissors

Hachijō-jima’s Sea of Exquisite Fishes

On our first trip to Hachijō-jima in 2015, we were in the company of friends on a mission to photograph a scientifically undocumented pygmy seahorse the size of a pumpkin seed. Even after a concerted four-day search, the tiny target eluded our efforts until a single seahorse miraculously materialized in the last minutes of the last dive on the last day.

Spawning Japanese island blennies (Helcogramma nesion)

TRAVEL SMARTER: Be Prepared with a Go Bag

There has been much discussion in the dive industry about incidents and accidents that require emergency exits from liveaboards. While we understand emergencies are possible, we will continue to travel on liveaboards, so we should be prepared for the unexpected.

Go bag