Blog | a New Life in the Sea

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Since 2008, this Blog has been a communications priority providing shorts, op-eds, and bramblings that communicate our evolution to ‘a new life in the sea’.

Browse recent posts to the right or navigate through our major themes below.

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Primary Themes from our Blog

Making waves, in Compost!

Yesterday, our local news featured a piece about Stop & Shop’s regional compost facility in Assonet, MA. This is such an amazing facility, and hopefully becomes a model of efficiency for other large companies: http://turnto10.com/news/local/stop-shop-facility-turns-food-into-energy Some might ask how in the world this seems to excite me? Well, environmental advocacy aside, I’ve been up close and personal with this place – being one of three to dive in! I’ve done some cool projects, but this one stood out, at least within the last few years…not only was it cool, but it was hot at the same time… A stand pipe located in the digestion tank had been compromised at a joint adjacent to where the pipe penetrated the tank walls through a flange. As much as divers are the last people many want to call in these circumstances, it was somewhat emergent, and so there we were. This posed a...
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Is Genesis History? | a Review

On the rare occasion that I get some tube time, I tend to shy away from the reality tv that seems to have plagued even the highest echelon of American society and culture and go for some real grit…typically along the lines of Ancient Aliens or the like. During tonight’s Netflix browsing session I stumbled upon “Is Genesis History?”, a relatively new documentary film that probes the deep question of how to interpret the Biblical book of Genesis. I’m no Biblical scholar, nor would I say deeply religious, but being one who is constantly in search of better understanding our humanity through personal experience and interaction with the natural world, it is hard to ignore the Old Testament as a body of work that challenges our fundamental existence. Genesis of course is best recognized for guiding us through the 7-day plan of creation which vastly contradicts scientific theories of evolution....
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the new 60 for 60 in diving

This past week I made a dive that I hadn’t made in some time – 60 [feet] for 60 [minutes]. This is one of those marks within diving space that is well-recognized given the US Navy dive table’s no decompression limit at 60 feet…you guessed it – 60 minutes. The depth isn’t a challenge, even for the modestly trained sport diver. However, the challenge is that the time at depth places air consumption right on the edge of the dive being capable of being conducted with a single cylinder. At that edge also lies the potential to enter required decompression. Knowing all of this, and considering the planned dive was anticipated as an arduous one, I carried two cylinders. Again, not too out of the ordinary, though I elected to dive them in a sidemount configuration – this is gaining popularity within the sport diving community since having been established...
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don’t drink and drive; and don’t drug and dive

I am always amazed at the pace of progress, particularly in diving, where it seems a 10-20 year cycle is in play for better understanding new technologies, new techniques, and their implications on human factors. A recent article from the Divers Alert Network about pseudoephedrine and diving illustrates this point quite well… http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/Pseudoephedrine_Enriched-Air_Diving Rewind twenty years, and it was rather commonplace for an openwater dive instructor to suggest that over the counter decongestants were a suitable remedy for a student diver who was having difficulty equalizing in shallow water. Between the cold water in your ears, a tightly fitting hood, and the newly experienced effects of pressure, even in the shallows, equalization poses problems for many new divers. A little Sudafed, and you’re good to go, right? I was among those with equalization problems from the beginning. It was just a foreign concept, and I had some trouble making air...
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diving in the background

This week was one of those weeks – a marathon stretch of hard mud diving every day which equated to just shy of 30 hours underwater within a 5 day stretch, with one day including a 7 hour dive. I’ve had lots of weeks like this, for better or worse, and they always manage to bring forward some of the harsh realities of the trade, while leaving the glamour of diving hidden in the background. So, what the heck was I doing for 30 hours down there? Well, I was being part underwater engineer, part underwater carpenter, and part underwater trash man. We were tasked with installing several thousands of pounds of foam flotation to a new concrete floating dock to make it more level and sit just a wee bit higher. That meant lots of repetitive exercises in displacement, careful rigging, and attention paid to diver positioning so as to...
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the ups and downs of mooring work

Tis the season – water is still cold, brisk morning starts, and a glimpse of spring come afternoon – and the long days out on the water have kicked off. This time of year is a big focus on one thing…mooring work. What is mooring work? Well, for those landlubber readers, a mooring itself is the permanent anchor set out on the water where folks will tie up a boat that stays on the water for some period of time. Its anatomy consists of some type of heavy bottom tackle, most often a ‘mushroom’ anchor, though at time concrete blocks, or helical screws hydraulically driven into the bottom; a shot of heavy ‘bottom chain’, which rests on the bottom and rarely moves unless there is a major tide or storm; a shot of ‘top chain’ which is a lighter gauge than the bottom chain and as the name suggests, it...
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recollections from the bottom up

When the phone rings, it could be just about anything… I’ve answered calls that have resulted in gearing up and on a flight to Central America within 2 days, headed offshore on a rickety fishing boat within 2 hours, and asked to review a major construction project that is 2 years out. You never know what might come up next. The important thing is being ready to jump – always remaining in a state of readiness to say ‘yes’. The first time you say ‘no’, your name goes to the bottom of the pile and it could be quite some time before the phone rings again. So, that makes things interesting. While those of us living the life aquatic are always sculpting, crafting, and maneuvering for the next big project, it’s often the little stuff that keeps the doors open, keeps us proficient, and keeps us ready. When the phone...
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Leaving our Shores – the Baby Steps

Among the earliest of lessons taught in diving is recognizing and mitigating the pathway of stress leading to anxiety which can lead to panic. There are physical, physiological, and psychological factors that can impact this dangerous pathway; and so we are given the basic tool and skill sets to protect the human from these factors. As dive training progresses, so do the challenges in that the tools and skills become more complex, with demanding dives allowing for less and less margin for error. Over time, many of these tools and skills become ‘standardized’ and it becomes easier for the next guy or gal, while others continue trek forward with finding new limits of the tools and skills, and then adapting them for the next step. That is exploration, and is inherent in human nature. Thinking about exploration in this context – making progress – doesn’t have to be isolated to...
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the smells and the sounds of a day welding in the mud

As hard as the days can be, the entire experience of a days worth of diving in the mud is nothing short of value packed. And after a hard days work, the level of appreciation for having the opportunity is always elevated. This past week’s activities: wet welding. I’ve written about underwater welding a few times, but figure its worth elaborating upon a bit given that it’s fresh, and as I sit here to write I am still suffering in the aftermath. I’ll start by saying that welding is not my strong suit, but it is one of the things I enjoy the most about commercial diving. There are so many subtleties to the process in that it requires a very slow hand, patience, focus, grace and at the same time is incredibly harsh on the body. Here in inland diving territory, we call it ‘mud diving’ because in most...
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oh wait, we [divers] all need weight!

Among my numerous hobby ventures has been fabricating weight harnesses for divers. Having produced a batch recently, the topic is fresh on my mind, so I figured I would share some of the ins and outs of the design and my own philosophies on correct weighting for divers. For starters, we all need to wear weight to aid in our being properly ballasted for any given dive. Short of wearing nothing but a bathing suit in the tropics and probably avoiding the need for any substantial weight, each and every diver requires at least some adjustment to help us break the surface. From day 1, we learn about ideal trim and buoyancy, and that a conscientious diver should aim to be neutral in the water. This is the perfect case for learning, but in practice it is not always ideal. For a working diver in particular, it may be advantageous...
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