X-Ray Mag #115

Feature articles in this issue with stand-alone pdfs

Yvonne Press   Yvonne Press , Audrey Cudel , Robin Cuesta
Cave diver. Photo by Audrey Cudel

It may be more than four years since the 2018 Thai cave rescue dominated headlines, but the recent movie and miniseries releases have generated highly emotional reactions once again. Are divers being put off cave diving, and why should any diver consider going underground? Yvonne Press takes a closer look, interviewing several divers and technical diving instructors for this report.

X-Ray Mag Contributors   X-Ray Mag Contributors
Risbecia tryoni nudibranch. Photo by Matthew Meier

Many marine creatures have defensive mechanisms—they may sting, have venom, sharp spines, warning colors, or bite. We asked our contributors what their favorite underwater photos of these bold and beautiful critters were, and they came back with a variety of subjects like colorful nudibranchs, cnidarians that sting, scorpionfish with sharp spines, sharks and even crocodiles with sharp teeth.

Peter Symes, Lelle Malmstöm   Peter Symes, Lelle Malmstöm and Andrey Bizyukin ,
Diver in Constantis wreck, Cyprus. Photo by Peter Symes

In the far corner of Europe, in the Levant and almost wedged in-between Asia Minor, the Middle East and Northern Africa and at the crossroads of the same, Cyprus offers a nourishing mix of varied diving, culture and cuisine. Lelle Malmström and Peter Symes went to check it out.

Simon Pridmore   Kyo Liu
Divers at Lavender Fields, Pengu, Taiwan. Photo by Kyo Liu

The Penghu Islands, an archipelago of 90 islands and small rocks in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, is a location of incredible landscapes with unique basalt columns and is home to some of Taiwan’s most beautiful beaches and marine protected areas, which offer some of the best diving in Taiwan. Simon Pridmore has the story.

Michael Rothschild, MD  
Diver equalizing. Photo: Torben Gregersen/Flickr/CC BY NC 2.0

Many people suffer from ear problems during and after diving. Technical rebreather diver and underwater photographer Dr Michael Rothschild is an ear, nose and throat specialist in New York City. In this series, he walks us through some of the common causes of dive-related ear problems, and how to treat and prevent them.

Steve Jones   Steve Jones
Diver on Le Polynesien. Photo by Steve Jones

The tiny Mediterranean country of Malta has seen more than its fair share of fighting throughout the ages, such is the significance of its location. Steve Jones explores the fascinating wrecks left by the World Wars.

Interview by G. Symes   Mariko Kusumoto
Detail of Sea Garden 1, by Mariko Kusumoto. Polyester and wood, 13.5 x 24in (right)

Originally from Japan, artist Mariko Kusumoto, now based in the United States, creates delicate, translucent, ethereal, textile sculptures and wearable art featuring colorful reef coral forms in beautiful compositions, which have been shown in Europe, Asia and the Americas. X-Ray Mag interviewed the artist to learn more about her creative process and perspectives.

Nigel Marsh   Nigel Marsh
Green moray. Photo by Nigel Marsh

Aside from sharks, moray eels are one of the most maligned and misunderstood of all marine animals. Thought by many to be highly dangerous because of their depiction in films and books, morays are not malicious monsters, but important predators of any healthy marine ecosystem. They are generally shy and docile if not harassed. Nigel Marsh shares insights about these animals.

Larry Cohen   Larry Cohen , Olga Torrey
Olga Torrey   Larry Cohen , Olga Torrey
Venturo Tug, New Jersey, USA. Photo by Larry Cohen

In Part One and Part Two of this series, we discussed US Northeast wrecks that sank because of collisions and war. There are also many structures that have purposely been sunk as artificial reefs off the New York and New Jersey coasts. Larry Cohen and Olga Torrey have the story.

Simon Pridmore  
Narcosis vortex. Photo-illustration image sources: Craig Hatfield/CC BY 2.0, TT/Pixabay

In his Scuba book series, Simon Pridmore often tells tales of diving close calls or near misses. He tries to identify the key factors and suggest what the divers might have done differently to pre-empt or better deal with what happened. All the stories are true. Some he witnessed, some were recounted by friends, and others just crossed his radar screen at some point to be filed away for future sharing. This is one of the latter.

Lelle Malmström   Lelle Malmström , Peter Symes
Ratio iX3M 2 Dive Computer. Photo by Lelle Malmström

There are many ways you can review a dive computer, but wearing it on your arm for one or two dives does not constitute a proper test—at least, not a meaningful one. This review is therefore based on the use of the unit over a six-month period, where around 65 dives were conducted in different locations and water conditions. Lelle Malmström puts the Ratio’s new dive computer iX3M 2 through its paces.

Kate Jonker   Kate Jonker
Prepare your camera carefully for a stress-free dive. Photo by Kate Jonker

The lack of proper O-ring care and preparation are two of the main causes of camera housing leaks. Underwater photo pro and photography instructor Kate Jonker offers advice and tips to help avoid these problems, keeping your housing (and hence, your camera) in good shape.


Other articles and news in this edition

Do we cherish the ocean enough to safeguard it for future generations? Do we believe in leaving behind a better world?

Balancing the joys of diving with the duty of safety.

Or rather, we miss someone of a similar calibre who inspired an entire generation to dream of diving, a figure whose documentaries would clear the streets, captivating viewers in front of their tellies around the world.

I give up; I can’t do it anymore. I cannot keep pretending or carrying on as if all is well in paradise.

DEMA show 2023 felt like a return to the “old normal" but is that a good thing?

From Flights to Fins: Making Sustainable Choices in a Travel-Dependent Industry

What counts as sentient? We can't know. I therefore do not take anything for granted but acknowledge that even the smallest and seemingly insignificant creature just might be capable of some degree of sentience.

Take courses that qualify you further than the dives you actually plan to conduct, so you have that extra buffer and an added layer of competence.

Risk mitigation and awareness are not about killing the excitement of diving but about making sure everyone always returns safely from a dive and does not suffer any injury.

Black sea bass (Centropristis striata) hovering over the reef. Georgia, Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

The National Marine Sanctuary Act was passed in 1972. Since then, the system has added 15 National Marine Sanctuaries and two National Marine Monuments.

The basking shark is a globally threatened species which faces a high risk of extinction

It is now illegal to hunt or injure a basking shark in Ireland.

Orcas at top speed

Footage shows pod of orcas killing a great white shark and devouring its liver.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) witnessed a rare event unfold as a large group of Bigg’s (transient) orcas and a pair of humpback whales harassed each other during a dramatic hours-long encounter in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Maybe you could do with losing some weight

Being able to hover, move smoothly and efficiently through the water and streamline your equipment is not just a matter of style and elegance but one of safety and protecting the environment

Due to the unique experience that artificial reefs such as shipwrecks are able to offer, they can be victims of their fame and suffer uncontrolled diving pressure.

Turtle on beach

The turtles in Florida are feeling the heat from rising temperatures caused by climate change.

The second Diving Talks conference was held in Troia, Portugal on 7-9 October 2022, featured a stellar line of presenters, and was another pleasant gathering of like-minded diving enthusiasts and ocean lovers.

Authorities are now limiting the number of visitors who get to visit Sipadan each day to 120.

Photograph of the former German submarine U-111 while undergoing tests by the U.S. Navy in 1919

The SM U-111 was one of five German U-boats from World War I that were sunk in U.S. waters and it's the last to be rediscovered.

The mahi-mahi were tagged before being released back into the ocean.

A study looks into how fish in the wild are affected after being exposed to crude oil.

Multibeam sonar image of the SS Mesaba lying on the sea bed in the Irish Sea.

The SS Mesaba, one of the vessels that sent iceberg warnings to the RMS Titanic, before the ocean-liner sank, has been identified lying in the Irish Sea.

A tagged fin whale

Researchers can now better track whale behaviour using a newly developed satellite tag.

Photo: Amir Yurman

An ancient shipwreck dating from the 7th or 8th century AD which was found off the shore of Israel and loaded with cargo from all over the Mediterranean suggests trading with the West continued even after the Islamic conquest of the Holy Land.

Corals on Flynn Reef, part of Australia's Great Barrier Reef

The reef fish communities in Australia have been affected by environmental changes.

An international team of divers, supported by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), Shipwreck Preservation Society of Newfoundland and Labrador (SPSNL), and Ocean Quest Adventures, has confirmed the discovery of a World War II-era B-24 Liberator Bomber.

Neon goby - Elacatinus oceanops

Within two hours of sunrise—that appeared to be the ideal time for neon goby embryos to hatch, according to a recent study.

We are pleased to announce that we will be holding Rebreather Forum 4 (RF4), Thursday through Saturday, 20-22 April 2023 at the old University of Malta campus in Valletta, Malta, sponsored by DAN Europe, DAN, PADI and Heritage Malta