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’.

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Primary Themes from our Blog

Before the Flood | a Review

Taking a short break from the intensity of Olympic curling, I thumbed through Netflix this weekend and was pleasantly surprised to find Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary “Before the Flood”. I’ll be honest that I’ve often viewed celebrity backed cause documentaries with some question as to the motive, but DiCaprio proved me wrong with this one…well done. His lifetime and heartfelt environmental advocacy showed through quite well, and he presented a very well unbiased representation of varying world views on climate change and its resulting impact. He also shed some light on the sense of urgency for us all – the stakeholders of our own planetary existence – to step up and take some responsibility for planetary management. Further, the film was centered around the UN’s Paris Accord, which has been touted as a successful step to engage countries around the globe with the critical discussion surrounding climate change, and come together...
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Don’t Sweat the Cold | X-Core Thermal Protection Review

I like to think I’ve aged well with diving. There have been some grueling periods where I know I wreaked havoc on myself physically and physiologically during arduous working dives, but in hindsight, I was always smart enough to take the little things into consideration that I had a hunch would help me prolong my ability to stay in the game. That said, I have some clear issues that have resulted from diving, despite playing it safe, and much of this comes from prolonged exposure to cold. The first problem is my hands. In a pseudo-arthritic/carpel-tunnel-esque way, I have ongoing problems with strength in my hands and wrists. I’ve had numerous long winter days out there on the water, working hard with my hands, which despite best efforts with changing into dry gloves were always wet, frost bitten, and swollen from becoming numbing cold. It’s an occupational hazard that can’t...
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Advantage of the Undersea Vantage Point

It’s always a matter of perspective. One person’s half full glass is half empty for someone else, and so that is our yin and our yang. This push and pull, good and evil, happiness and sadness, positive and negative is what keeps our wheels turning and humanity evolving. The notion that we might achieve some greater balance amidst the imbalance is always an ideal to strive for, but the reality is that we may never get there. On a global scale, this is scary, as our Blue Planet’s life cycles are very, very long – certainly outliving any single one of us, or even generations of us, and yet is is our very decisions and actions that have the ability to steer this cyclical nature over vast expanses of time. Astronaut Mark Kelly’s recent Op-Ed for CNN highlighted this well – noting the vast changes to our planet’s surface in just...
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The Gift of Giving, ’cause its a Cause

I struggle with the Christmas holiday, and have struggled for a significant portion of my adult life, and probably spend a solid month of every holiday season deep in thought about the how and why this is. I wouldn’t say its holiday depression per se, but rather a forced very careful, personal, and intimate reflection of the world around us. While I’m openly not deeply religious, I do believe in the fundamental spirit of Christianity and its root belief system in the Christmas holiday. Where things go wrong  for me for starts with “black Friday” and its resulting mayhem. Yes, this is the blackest day of the year. The fact that we live in a society that has so easily been manipulated by corporate greed driving us to spend frivolously at the expense of religious meaning is disgusting. We (broadly) have succeeded in losing sight of why we are here....
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Chapter 13 | Ascending from the Trenches

I was struck during a brief conversation with a colleague recently when we stumbled upon the topic that my professional track is viewed as a success by outsiders. Being immersed in my own moving and shaking every day, I’ve struggled to view successes versus failures or any broader perception as such, but rather just keep moving forward and attempting to make progress. Certainly, I’ve been beat up pretty good – 4, 5, or even 6 times now with various ventures gone bust for any variety of reasons; some within my control, and others not within my control. Taking that repeated beating, it can be very difficult to see this as a success, though on the other hand I suppose the fact that I’ve survived and still trek forward does speak to some success. While this post’s title alludes to a low many business owner’s never want to face, “Chapter 13...
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DPV Toolbox Finally Gets Wet

A few folks close in my circles have been asking, even prodding, when I expect to be back in the field exploring and studying the deep. Well, as I’ve come to appreciate over the years, there isn’t much sense going back “just because”. Certainly, we could have been out there annually or more often for the last several years doing what has become more or less routine stuff – yes, science has made its way deeper in to the mesophotic zone, but it remains fraught with limitations. Traversing this underwater space at depth and through blocks of productive time remains challenging as the tools in the toolbox remain primitive at best. The science community I was groomed from within are largely opportunists when it comes to underwater work. The tools of the trade, by necessity, are off the shelf and fairly inexpensive. Things like turkey basters, small syringes,  butter knives,...
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Lurking in the Shadows of September 11

Today will forever be one of those days where every American will reminisce a bit and contemplate where and how we are moving forward. In my case, today the dive supervisor reminded me that this was the 4th anniversary of Lyle passing away. Lyle Smith was the owner of Coastal Diving in Middletown, RI – the guy that gave me a chance to cut my teeth in commercial diving, and who I then worked with for a solid 15 years; or rather learned many life lessons with for 15 years while out there taking the sea head on day after day and learning how to make a living out on the water. Lyle left us the same way he lived – hitting it hard out there on the edge. And with many of those warm thoughts fresh on my mind, I slipped under the corner of the barge and slid...
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Boring worms aren’t that boring

Ahh, the glamour and high life promised to we commercial divers – international travel, becoming part of fabled sea stories, mega-buck paychecks –  boils down an inconvenient truth; boring worms aren’t (or at least shouldn’t) be that boring. For every one of those fabled sea stories that turns into a reality, there are at least a hundred mundane tales grounded in the reality that commercial diving ain’t all it’s cracked up to be… There are several routine tasks inshore divers face, and certainly routine conditions encountered while performing those tasks. Last week’s (and next week’s) work involved cutting several hundred timber piles just above the mudline to make the waterfront more aesthetically pleasing for a condo development. The piles we part of a previous pier and marine terminal, probably 75 years old or more, and presented a hazard to navigation and have been an eyesore for decades. It’s nice to...
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a diver’s life hangs in the balance

Acceptable risk. This is something that is widely variable from person to person, from diver to diver, and can ebb and flow based on the current state of affairs, and even day to day state of mind. Earlier this week, while conducting a fairly routine activity underwater – fully accepting the risk – I was left literally hanging in the balance…and there I was. To set the stage, we were out doing our routine mooring work. For those not in tune with mooring work, it means alot of diving in muddy harbors, lots of ups and downs, humping around heavy chain, breaking old rusty shackles in poor visibility, and generally breaking your back day after day. Why do it? Well, it’s some of the best dive training around – you dive long and hard, have to trouble shoot continuously, have to deal with rigging issues repeatedly, and are forced to...
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the ‘S’ word : Standards

Standards. We all hate to love them, and love to hate them; ‘standards’ are the cookie cutter codes of practice that everyone follows in some form or fashion – be it standards by which we educate, standards by which we are obligated to meet for occupational health and safety, or even standards of care offered by a medical professional. Not to be confused with actual laws, standards are generally a community consensus of practices or beliefs that set the precedent for codes of conduct. In cases where the precedent is pursued as law, then often times it becomes just that and in the US can be part of our Code of Federal Regulations. In diving lore, scientific diving in particular, standards are often a hotly debated topic, and with good reason. Almost 40 years ago the community set a precedent that diving in support of research or scientific tasks was...
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