Artificial Reefs: Reborn by Nature

Fred Stratton
Instructor and Technician

Perceptions persist that wreck diving is deep, cold, boring and bereft of color. In this two-part series we explore artificial reefs and wrecks. Artificial reefs are manmade structures purposefully planted on the seafloor to provide marine habitat, relieve pressure on natural reefs, and to provide playgrounds for divers.  Wrecks are ships or structures that met their fate through storms, collisions, sabotage or war at sea.
Bleaching, storms and overuse take their toll on reefs. Given time they will recover. However, building artificial reefs is an alternative method of providing more sea life habitat which creates underwater playgrounds. Think of an artificial reef as manmade substrate that Mother Nature populates with turtles, fish, molluscs, mammals, anemone and plants. These elements comprise ecosystems. These decommissioned objects are, in effect, reborn, taking on new life as the sea embraces them. 
What com…

The Wonder Breathing Gas - Trimix

Helium from a tidally shredded star being expelled from a black hole  Credit: NASA; S. Gezari, The Johns Hopkins University; and J. Guillochon, University of California, Santa Cruz Fred Stratton Instructor and Technician
TECHNICAL DIVING SERIES PART IV Most people think of the Goodyear blimp and party tricks when they think of helium. Commercial and technical divers embraced helium decades ago as a means to diminish  nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity beyond recreational depth. To trimix divers helium is a miracle gas that opens a vast realm of new adventures unattainable on air. 

Astronomers discovered helium by noting a yellow spectral line signature during a solar eclipse in 1868 and named it after Helios, Greek god of the sun. Helium is the second most abundant element in our universe after hydrogen although it is rare on Earth comprising only 0.0005% of planet's atmosphere. Helium is obtained primarily from underground deposits in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. 

Feeling Alive at 165'

Fred Stratton Instructor and Technician
TECHNICAL DIVING SERIES PART III Our February 2019 article on Tec 45 was part two in our technical diving series. Let's go deeper still in part three of our technical diving series with the Tec 50 course, which is also part three in the PADI Tec Deep Diver Program.

PADI TEC 50 COURSETec 50 takes you beyond your Tec 45 experience by introducing you to the first stages of full technical deep decompression diving. Certified Tec 50 divers are qualified to make multi-stop decompression dives using air, EANx and oxygen (O2) with up to two decompression gases such as  50% Nitrox and 100% O2.  You'll plan and execute four dives to a maximum depth of 165' (50 meters).
What You'll See Below with Tec Five-Oh
Last month we (virtually) dived the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS ORISKANY (CV-34) where she rests in 212' (65m) of water south of Pensacola, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. We limited ourselves to the flight deck a…

The Adventure 145'

Gas up! Doubles and deco bottles for a Tec 45  Course
Photo: PADI

Fred Stratton Instructor and Technician

Diving Deep is about AdventureDecompression stops simply are required safety stops. Both are performed in the same manner: stop and maintain a precise depth for a specific amount of time to clear your computer or to fulfill your analog dive plan based on a chosen decompression algorithm (e.g. RGMB, Buhlman ZHL-16c) and gradient factor.

Deco stops are a means to an end, the end being encounters with deep-dwelling flora and fauna and wrecks resting below recreational diving depth. Tech diving is cool...but that's not a good reason to become a tech diver. Satisfying your craving for adventure and  exploration is! 
PADI Tec 45We introduced you to decompression diving in the January 2019 Tec 40 article. The Tec 45 course is part two in the PADI Tec Deep Diver Program. Tec 45 involves more advanced planning using decompression tables and multi-gas computers to dive sa…

New Year, New Adventures

Fred Stratton
Instructor and Repair Technician

Close your eyes and remember the first time you breathed underwater. A brilliant, heart-pounding experience you wished would never end. Your recreational scuba certification enabled you to venture forth into a previously impenetrable world. The word recreation derives from the Latin word recrearemeaning create again or renew. I certainly feel refreshed and renewed during every dive. Do you?

Lost that Loving Feeling?Do you still feel the rush of anticipation before your dives and excitment when you descend? Perhaps you've been certified for a while and, although you still enjoy diving, you yearn for a new adventure.

Do any of the following apply to you?
- You've been wall diving to 130' and felt the lure of deeper dwelling flora and fauna. 

- You are Cavern certified and contemplate the next step - cave diving. 

- You aspire to dive deep WWII wrecks in Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon or Bikini Atoll but their depth is beyond …