Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving June 2019

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8 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
do the right thing

I once told a young journalist that if he got into the biz to change the world, he was going to be disappointed. But if he got into journalism to foster connections between people—connections that someday might change the world—he was in the right place. That moment came back to me when I learned from authors Allison and Chris Selman that their piece “Can Truk Lagoon Be Saved?” from our July 2017 issue (now on scuba diving.com) had led a reader to offer them an ex-New Zealand navy diving support vessel that someday might be part of that salvation. Nothing warms our hearts more than knowing we helped forge that connection. The wrecks of Truk Lagoon, Scapa Flow (“The Silent Fleet of Scapa Flow,” page 50) and other iconic sites from the…

4 min.
jim ritterhoff

YEAR DIVE CERTI FIED: 1987 AGE WHEN CERTI FIED: 21 DIVE CERTIFICATION LEVEL: Rescue Diver WORDS TO LIVE BY: “Any jackass can burn down a barn. It takes a leader to build one.” —C. William Ritterhoff, my father Force Blue is a dive program for veterans, but with an important twist, pairing scientists with combat-trained ex-military divers to create a model of cooperation in environmental activism that organizers hope will inspire the rest of us to get involved in their mission to protect coral reefs. For that, co-founder and executive director Jim Ritterhoff is our June issue Sea Hero. Q: What makes Force Blue different? A: We are comprised solely of militarytrained combat divers—which means we don’t actually have to teach anyone how to dive. Governments around the world have already done that job for us,…

4 min.
out of sight, out of mind

Sifting through archived images in his Rhode Island home, Brian Raymond stumbled upon a series of disturbing photographs. So much has changed since his days as a commercial fisherman; yet, as he scrolled through the images, a range of emotions came flooding back. Raymond was born into a family of fishermen—and for a while, it was all he knew. For the better part of a decade, he worked on a commercial fishing vessel off New England. Most days were spent at sea hunting squid. “Growing up in a fishing family, it was always about discovery and adventure on the water, but the reality of the industry is much different than the way I remembered it,” Raymond says. During his time as a fisherman, his boat regularly hauled in nontargeted species—also known as bycatch.…

1 min.
isopora palifera

▪ Isopora forms robust colonies with thick branches, and the entire colony is covered in smooth, rounded corallites. The branches can form in upright blades stretching to the surface, but you can also find thick branches that are horizontal or irregular in shape. This coral can also be encrusting, depending on its exposure to currents and waves. ▪ The top of each blade is normally a pale white when upright. But the pale color is no cause for alarm. This growing edge is just slowly acquiring its symbiotic zooxanthellae algae. ▪ Isopora corallites are quite similar to Pocilopora: small, bumpy and covering the coral branches. However, the big difference is in the size of the branches and the colony. Isopora corals have thick branches that can be 3 feet tall and 10…

6 min.
light in the tunnel

P erfect” is a shifting base line, especially when it comes to diving. Despite the challenges of raging current, bone-aching cold or snotty visibility, some among us can find the best in even the worst. Those silver-lining divers can be an envied bunch, enjoying the messiest of conditions like it was a screensaver fantasy. However, this relentless optimism isn’t necessarily an innate ability. Perspective is completely relative. And making the most of the marginal can be a learned skill. Just ask Glen Faith. “The first two years of my diving career, I didn’t know you could even see underwater,” says the former Illinois Secretary of State Police diver, who now owns and operates Mermet Springs, a popular quarry site and full-service scuba training facility in southern Illinois. “I thought a mask…

2 min.
to survive a rip current

So many rip currents aren’t a big deal—but the one I encountered that day in the Bahamas, if things had worked out differently, could have killed me. To have a rip, an offshore sandbar is required, plus long-period waves to provide a lot of power. I’ve been a scuba diver for years and haven’t had any problem with rips when diving. Normally I know to check conditions, including looking for rip, which appears as a channel of white water running perpendicular to shore. The day I got into trouble I was kitesurfing off the island of Eleuthera. The wind changed and dropped, stranding me in front of a 25-foot vertical cliff at the edge of the sea. This area had been a stone arch, which had long ago collapsed. But underneath the…