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

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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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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