X-Ray Mag #63

Feature articles in this issue with stand-alone pdfs

Sergey Baykov   Sergey Baykov , Anna Loznevaya

On August 14 in Dahab this year, our team of three divers dived a distance of 10km in eight hours using rebreathers. The purpose of this experiment was a practical test of human capabilities and the performance of rebreathers on a long dive, while under the influence of physical activity.

Edited by Gunild Symes   Anne-Catherine Becker-Echivard

Merging humanity and animality in art is a device that can be traced back to the bestiary art and stories of the Medieval era, a time when mythical beasts combining animal and human characteristics were born and locked into our collective consciousness.1
French artist Anne-Catherine Becker-Echivard‘s surreal artworks give us hints of these undercurrents, as she creates meticulously detailed dioramas of humanity using actual fish heads for faces in compelling scenes that address issues from profound political controversy to bizarre and humorous expressions of daily life to the downright absurd.

Steve Lewis  

One might be forgiven for assuming that as a certified diver, one would understand the science and common-sense behind the basic guidelines governing our approach to decompression stress. After all, a good part of a diver’s initial training (and, hopefully, much of the curriculum for more complex programs), explained the vagaries of breathing compressed gas underwater. However, there seems to be a huge gap between the average diver’s approach to decompression stress, and that approach in a “perfect world”.

Kurt Amsler   Kurt Amsler

Coming full circle. It all started in the Med. It was here in the 1930’s and 40’s that the likes of Hans Hass, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Frederic Dumas and Phillip Tailliez pioneered scuba diving as we came to know it. Erstwhile the obvious choice for dive travelers once the Red Sea and even more exotic destinations became accessible to a wider audience, it fell somewhat out of favor. But now, it’s back on the map, the fish are back and so are the divers. Kurt Amsler gives us the lowdown on diving in what is now his backyard.

James Lapenta   Svetlana Murashkina

— Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Recreational Dive Rescuers

We are taught how to rescue other divers in emergency, but who prepares us for the aftermath and effects of witnessing a tragic event up close? Rescue attemtps do not always end well, and even when they do, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a very real possibility for those who have just been involved with a life or death situation in a recreational dive setting.

Anyone who has been on an airplane in the last five years knows the number of bags and weight limits keeps dwindling. This is very problematic for the traveling photographer. Add scuba gear and housings and the problem multiplies.

Anyone who has been on an airplane in the last five years knows the number of bags and weight limits keeps dwindling. This is very problematic for the traveling photographer. Add scuba gear and housings and the problem multiplies.

Simon Pridmore   Scott Bennett

— The Value of Assistants in Dive Operations

The other day I watched a dive instructor take two students out on a night dive for their Advanced Open Water Diver course. He prepared the gear, packed the truck, picked the students up, then unpacked everything at the beach, supervised the students as they set up their equipment, then gave a briefing. Everyone put their gear on and he tidied up the dressing area before leading them into the water.

Ila France Porcher   Ila France Porcher , Andy Murch , Dr Lynne Sneddon

It was Dr Lynne Sneddon, at the University of Liverpool, who proved scientifically that fish feel pain and suffer. Her team found 58 receptors located on the faces and heads of trout that responded to harmful stimuli. They resembled those found in other vertebrates, including humans. A detailed map was created of pain receptors in fishes' mouths and all over their bodies.

The experiment involved the injection of acetic acid, bee venom, or saline solution as a control, into the lips of trout, and those injected with the noxious substances responded with symptoms of pain, while the behaviour of the control group was unchanged. A morphine injection reduced these symptoms.

Larry Cohen and Olga Torrey   Larry Cohen and Olga Torrey
Mandarinfish, Pom Pom Island, Malaysia. Photo by Olga Torrey

Borneo is the third largest island in the world. It is the home to three countries—Indonesia to the south, Brunei and Malaysia in the north. The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak are located on the island. Our journey to Pom Pom Island took us to the Tawau airport in the state of Sabah. This was a two hour and 40 minute flight. We then had to take a van another hour to the port city of Semporna. This is the starting point for all dive resorts in Malaysia.

…The real reasons people don’t provide a higher level of detail are two fold: privacy and legal culpability” was the response recently when I posted a blog about the need to collect more detail when looking at diving incidents so that the community, the agencies and academia can understand WHY incidents happen.

Just knowing what happens is not enough to come up with strategies (personal or corporate) to prevent incidents from occurring in the future.

Charles Stirling   Charles Stirling

Most of us in Europe know of Tenerife, but many in North America won’t have heard of it. It’s one of those sunshine locations that isn’t too long a European flight for warmth, sun and reliable weather—easy to reach with economy airlines from many United Kingdom and European airports. It’s the largest of the Canary Islands, part of Spain, but off the coast of Africa on the same longitude as Western Sahara and Morocco.

Neal W. Pollock   Andrey Bizyukin

Thermal issues affect the comfort, performance and decompression stress experienced by divers. The impact varies with the timing, direction and magnitude of the thermal stress. Thermal protection can be provided by a variety of passive and active systems. Active systems should be used with particular care since they can markedly alter inert gas exchange and decompression risk.

For most of us, in order to see some of the best dive locations in the world we have to leave home and travel great distances by car, airplane or boat. Even with the prospect of incredible diving opportunities, right now—with scary diseases that may or may not be readily transmittable, civil and political unrest, economic instability, bad weather systems and much more that I only think about when I have to stay awake all night—travel might not be at the top of your must-do list.


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