Op'eds and commentaries

DEMA Statement on the Current Ukraine Conflict

The action in Ukraine has already resulted in thousands of lives lost and uprooted more than a million people from their homes.

For the protection and safety of all, including the entire diving community in eastern Europe, we hope that this extremely volatile situation, and its threatening and unpredictable consequences, can soon be defused and resolved. As we continue to hope for peace, please be aware that the following organizations are asking for assistance to help alleviate a growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine:

This little fellah is trying to tell you something. Do you know what? That posture is a signal

The Search for Extraterrestial Intelligence

Every time I look up into the starry night sky, I cannot help but wonder what other worlds are out there and whether there is life among all those twinkling stars.  Are we alone in the universe?  

I guess I am just like most people—haven't we all reflected on this most fundamental existential question at some point?

The Barracuda Dive

Readers of my Scuba books often say how useful they find the stories I tell to illustrate key messages. The stories are all true. I wish I could say I made them up, but I am not that creative. Fortunately, life tends to be able to conjure up real situations that are far more instructive than those I could ever invent.

Making it despite hardship.
Making it despite of dire circumstances

We carry on

Over the holidays, as 2021 drew to a close, the media once again began to overflow with retrospections on the year that has gone by, and heads of state, prime ministers and royalty gave reflective New Year’s speeches on national radio and television.

As always, I heard or read the usual fair share of speeches, but this time, it made me pensive, and I began to ponder—just as a thought experiment—what I would have said if I had to give such a speech. To whom would my thoughts have gone? Whom would I have thanked and what hopes would I have expressed?

Beware of the Corner Cutters

Beware of corner cutters. Underwater photo by Peter Symes
Know that cheaper prices always involve corner cutting of some sort. Sometimes you can see it and it just involves the level of comfort or service. Sometimes you cannot see it and it may be prejudicial to your safety.

There are thousands of dive centres, resorts and liveaboards all over the world. Some are very good and provide excellent, safe and highly professional service. Others are not so good and are best avoided.

Beaches and butterflies

This summer I went back to the beach where I spent most of my summers as a kid. It is my happy place. The beach is clean, the sand is white, and the ocean is generally lovely—and there are rarely many people. 

There are small children with red buckets and blue shovels, building sandcastles or trying to catch small shrimp or tiny crabs in the shallows. The older ones joyfully play in the waves. Meanwhile, their grandparents enjoy a leisurely swim or just bobbing about.