Sea Star Rave

I had dived in Makako Bay, Hawai’i, many times over many years without seeing a single knobby sea star. The first time I encountered one, however, it wasn’t just one, but more than a hundred of them together. They were all gone a day later, and I haven’t seen one since. 

sea stars

The Cryptic Patch

After getting my dive certification in 1992, I was instantaneously addicted. Being young, obsessed, and convinced of my immortality, I was not the most conservative diver, but I had no issues with decompression sickness (DCS) for my first decade of diving.

an example of the general appearance of skin bends

Spearfishing Safety

The decision to sustainably harvest marine life can spark vigorous discussions among divers. Regardless of your views, there are benefits to understanding the equipment, procedures, and dangers associated with spearfishing.

There is no catch and release when spearfishing.

Guardians of Malpelo

Colombia has some of the strictest illegal fishing laws in the world, but people still need to stand up and enforce them. Erika Lopez has taken on the role of guardian of Malpelo, an island 314 miles (506 kilometers) west of Colombia.

This whale shark is feeding on the spawn of jacks at dusk.

Photography for Magazine Assignments

Having their work showcased in a print magazine is one of the greatest satisfactions for underwater photographers.

A school of orange scalefin anthias swarm above colonies of fire corals

Richard Smith

In the opening chapter of The World Beneath: The Life and Times of Unknown Sea Creatures and Coral Reefs, his acclaimed combination coffee table book and coral reef reference guide, Richard Smith, PhD, recalls his six months of shore diving and research in 2007 at the Wakatobi reefs in Indonesia.

Diver and whale shark

Breastfeeding and Diving

I am about two and a half months postpartum with no complications and have received clearance from my physician and a dive specialist to resume diving.

mother nursing son

Understanding Dive Equipment Regulations

Most divers know their scuba cylinders need a visual inspection every year and a hydrostatic test every five years (referred to as a requalification or a hydro). The actual regulations for cylinders and other dive equipment, however, are less clear.

Regulations help prevent cylinder incidents and protect you and others from harm.

Clarify Hand Signals Before Diving

Divers spend much of their time underwater with a select group of buddies — the ones we trust to get us through the dive and surface with fresh experiences and stories to tell. Newly certified divers have had limited interactions underwater, having dived only with classmates, instructors, and assistant instructors during their classes.

Reviewing hand signals predive increases group safety and decreases mental loading.

Diving with a PFO

To clear up any confusion divers may have about patent foramen ovale (PFO), I will share how I explain the condition to patients. 

A surgical solution is a PFO closure, as Dr. Doug Ebersole is performing here.