World's Longest Scuba Dive

Posted by Rick Hartley 4 years ago

This strikes us as a good idea for a good cause. Divers in Ireland are going to attempt a dive in October of 2012 of over 12 hours to reclaim the Guinness World Record for "Longest Open Saltwater SCUBA Dive (cold water)". The team set the record in October of 2009 with a time of 11 hours and 42 minutes. The record was broken by a Maltese team in February.

The team will be raising money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Hand in Hand a children's cancer charity in Ireland.

You can see details on the World's Longest Scuba Dive website.

The website has a link to iDonate.ie where you can show your support.

Why Does My Mask Fog Up?

Posted by Rick Hartley 4 years ago

During a recent dive trip the conversation on the boat turned to fog and masks. There were a few divers onboard that had not been versed in some of the tricks and suffered through a dive of flooding and clearing their masks trying to keep them fog free.

The general consensus is that 'contaminants' lead to more mask fogging. I thought I'd put a couple of the tips that I have found most helpful here for fog-free dives. Since I use (and love) a TUSA Visualator I contacted them to see if they had any advice on the subject. They were kind enough to respond and I have included some of their comments and advice below.

Clean a New Mask with Toothpaste

If you search on the interwebs you will find that this is a very common piece of advice. There is the opinion that there is a 'film' or 'separation agent' on the glass when it is new that makes it more prone to fogging. The nice people at TUSA* confirmed that this is indeed the case and "during the production process silicone film can form on the glass lenses which can cause increased fogging when new". They also confirmed that the best way to prepare a new mask is cleaning it off with a mildly abrasive toothpaste (think white stuff not gel toothpaste or something very gentle like SoftScrub). There are a few mask models out there that are shipped with anti-fog pre-applied. If you have one of those it is probably best to not scrub it off.

50 / 50 Water and Baby Shampoo is Amazing

For pre-dive cleaning, many rely on expensive anti-fogging agents or take the complete opposite approach and use 'spit'. I have found that a quick scrub and rinse with simple baby shampoo mixture works better than either of these methods. And, as for spit, it makes bacteria and other nasties more likely in the hard to reach cracks and crevices of your mask. This starts a negative cycle trying to keep the mask clean and free from contaminants.

TUSA confirms this opinion and says, "...over time oils and contaminants can build up on the lenses causing a layer on top of the lens that will increase fogging". They agree that "mild liquid soap or detergent" will be helpful in removing these contaminants and helping to provide a clean surface for for professional anti-fog solutions (which they recommend) to adhere to. They also agree that "Spit, although widely used, does not act as an appropriate anti-fog".

In my personal experience, cleaning my mask this way before every dive has been all that is required to keep it fog free. I have not found it necessary to use any professional anti-fog solutions.

Buy yourself a travel sized bottle and combine about half water and half baby shampoo. Squirt this miracle mixture in your mask and clean it with your finger and rinse prior to every dive. It has the benefit that any residue will not irritate your eyes (and it smells nice).

Check Your Breathing

If you try these methods and your mask is still fogging, try a friend's mask that has not been troublesome. If the previously fog free mask has a problem when you are using it...stop breathing out from your nose when you exhale. This is a more common problem than you might think.

These two tips have worked very well for me and provided me with a lot of crystal clear dives. I hope it works just as well for you.

*they point out that their comments are only recommendations based on dive and product experience, it is only meant as reference material. It does not supersede or alter their standard product warnings and warranties.

Shark Fin Soup - Off the Menu

Posted by Rick Hartley 5 years ago

Special thanks to the Melbourne field office for passing along some good news in the fight against shark fin soup from an article in The Age titled Shark fin off the menu.

The article explains that the Peninsula Hotel Group, one of Asia's leading chains, will no longer be serving shark fin soup at any of its hotels. The group took this action "in recognition of the threat facing the global shark population and in line with the company's sustainability vision."

What Can You Do?
If shark fin soup is served near where you live head over to Shark Savers and look at their Say No to Shark Fin Soup Campaign for ideas and tools you can use to help today.

The Dive Sites of Shark Week

Posted by Rick Hartley 5 years ago

This week is Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. I have only watched a few of the episodes so far but from what I have seen the Man Bites Shark attitude has been tempered, even if by just a little. The shows are still sensational but I see more of the "sharks are not monsters" idea coming through.

While watching I had the idea to try and catalog the locations of some of the dives. This can be a little challenging as they do not often identify exactly where they are. But, I am going to try. This post is going to be a work in progress and I intend to keep updating it as I identify more sites.

Discovery's Shark Week Dive Sites

Seal Island - This is probably the most famous of all the Shark Week locations. Seal Island in False Bay near Cape Town, South Africa is the home of "Air Jaws" and the spectacular "polaris" attacks where Great Whites launch themselves out of the water hunting Cape Fur Seals that give the island its name.

Shark Alley - Not too far away from Seal Island, Shark Alley near Gansbaai, South Africa is another fantastic spot to see Great Whites.

Shark Junction - This site near Grand Bahama Island features hand feeding of Caribbean Reef Sharks. This was one of the original shark dive experiences and features in many documentaries and movies (including Open Water)

Tiger Beach - Very popular site for sharks. Features Tiger Sharks, Great Hammerheads, and Caribbean Reef Sharks.

Shark Arena - When you see a Stuart Cove boat on Discovery Channel it's a pretty good guess that they might be at this site or one of a few others popular for sharks they dive near Nassau. Caribbean Reef Sharks, Great Hammerheads, Lemon Sharks, and Tiger Sharks.

More soon..... If you know of a Shark Week dive location that is not listed please email us at support@diveseven.com.

Log In With Facebook

Posted by Rick Hartley 5 years ago

Today we added the capability to log into Dive Seven using your Facebook account. In the near future, we'll add support for you to publish updates to your Facebook wall when you log dives, IF you want to.

We know that the Facebook "Request for Permission" dialog when you login can be scary. Don't worry. You are our favorite people on the planet and we will do everything we can to keep your trust. Facebook wants you to be aware of what permissions you are granting to third-party sites like Dive Seven. We promise to not abuse those permissions and only need them to do cool things like add a status update about a dive to your wall when YOU ask us to.

Multiple Choices but One Account

Please note that as of right now, you will have to choose ONE way to log in to DiveSeven.com. In other words, if you create your account with Facebook then you will need to log in with Facebook. We do not support multiple authentication such as creating your account with an OpenID from Google and then logging in with Facebook. (For our early adopters in the alpha and beta groups that did not have the Facebook option, send us an email if a Facebook login interests you).

A Few Technical Details if You Are Still Feeling Unsure

So, do you know my Facebook password? My friend got hacked and.......

We've always believed in using trusted authorities such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook to verify that visitors to Dive Seven are who they say they are. The recent spate of website hacking attacks shows exactly why we feel this way -- we don't want your passwords and NO, WE DO NOT HAVE YOUR PASSWORDS! Instead, all we have in our database is a code from Google, Yahoo, Facebook, or another OpenID provider. For the technically curious, it looks something like this:

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AEtOawkzqjrHR67YDJ43Z8QppK3dcqr6j7_8V3w

So when you log into Dive Seven via a trusted service, we ask them 'Is this person who they say they are?' They send us this verification, and we take their word for it. So even if someone were to hack into Dive Seven and steal these codes, they wouldn't be very useful. This keeps your password in ONE single safe location with a large company with a large budget for security professionals. We think this is by far and away the best way. We realize it is can be worrying to "Allow" access to a site but in reality we think this is A LOT safer for you.

We hope this makes you feel a little better about clicking "Allow". If you have any questions or concerns please contact us as support@diveseven.com.

Security is a great concern to our users and we take your accounts and your privacy very seriously.

Create your account now!

Rethinking the Shark

Posted by Rick Hartley 5 years ago
In keeping with the "toasters are much more dangerous than sharks" theme I came across this campaign called "Rethink the Shark" done by the AfriOceans Conservation Alliance a few years ago.

If you have landed here and are just trying to win a bar bet the answer is that yes, definitively, toasters and "small appliances" in general kill many multiples more people than sharks do. The International Shark Attack File maintained by the Florida Museum of Natural History reports 6 "unprovoked" shark attacks that resulted in deaths in 2010 globally. For 2005-2007, the Consumer Products Safety Commission reports an average of 42 deaths per year from electrocution in the "Consumer Products" category in the US alone.

Update: You can buy t-shirts and stickers with some great "Toaster Jaws" images from our friends at RedBubble.

Previous posts about Sharks and Toasters that you might like:
Stuff That Can Kill You (Probably Not a Shark)
Reality TV, Sharks & Toasters

Introducing the New Dive Seven

Posted by Rick Hartley 5 years ago

We are very pleased to announce the new Dive Seven. Our goal is (with your help) to make Dive Seven the very best place for you to log dives and share those logs with friends and dive buddies.

Seven Things To Do

  1. Take the Tour
    The tour will introduce you to the dive logging page, the search box, the Atlas (which includes Dive Sites from all seven continents), and an introduction to contributing helpful information about Dive Sites and Regions.

  2. Sign In
    Yep, you read that right. You do not have to "sign up" for a Dive Seven account, you just sign in using an account you have already. What sort of internets magic is this you ask? Well, it's called OpenID and we like it a lot. You can see a short introduction at the end of the tour Your next thought is "Hey, I don't want you to have the password to my gmail!!" That's the great part! We don't want it and we do not get it! We let the nice people at Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc. tell us if you are who you say you are, and hey, that's good enough for us.

  3. Search
    We think you will find the search box useful. You can search for Countries (Egypt, Australia, Bahamas), Regions (Dahab, New South Wales, Koh Tao), and Dive Sites (Blue Hole, SS Yongala, Big Brother). Where it gets really fun is if you are trying to find a Dive Site with a common name like Coral Garden (there are more than 40 around the world). You can type coral garden aus and you will see the 3 (for now) 'Coral Garden' sites that our users have entered in Australia. Want to find the Blue Hole in Dahab, Egypt? Something like blue hole egypt or blue hole dahab should get you to the right place.

  4. Log Some Dives
    Try logging some of your dives. Don't worry if you can't find all of the sites you've dived. You can add the Dive Site later.

  5. Add Some Information about Regions or Sites
    If you have some tips, opinions, or advice about a Dive Region then please add it to the page!! If you know the location of a Dive Site that is not in our Atlas, please add it! You can see some examples of contributing information on the tour.

  6. Tell Us About Bugs
    We're still testing and there are going to be links that are broken and things that just are not working like they are supposed to. If you find one of those thing, please let us know. You can send email to support@diveseven.com or you can click on the handy 'feedback & support' tab on the left side of your browser window.

  7. Tell Us What You Want
    What would you find useful to have on the site? Something missing from the logging page? Want to have 'Login with Facebook'? Want to use Twitter to share your dive logs? Anything you can think of, please let us know. You can enter any requests or ideas using the feedback & support tab or send us an email at support@diveseven.com.

We hope you like what we have done so far and we're anxious to hear what you think. We hope you enjoy the new Dive Seven!

Dahab Octopuses

Posted by Rick Hartley 6 years ago

Diving in Dahab, Egypt last week and got some very nice video of an octopus on a dive from Rick's Reef to Canyon. Shocked and thrilled to get another nice video the very next day at Gabr el Bint.

Here are some fun facts about octopuses:

  • They have a short lifespan. Some species only live 6 months.
  • The beak is the only hard part of their body.
  • They have three hearts.
  • In some countries octopuses are classified amongst animals where surgery cannot be performed on them without anesthesia. In the UK, octopuses are honorary vertebrates which gives them protections not normally given to invertebrates.
  • They are the only invertebrate shown to use tools (using discarded coconut shells as shelter).
  • An octopus can taste what it touches with its arms.

Rogue Shark in Sharm el-Sheikh

Posted by Rick Hartley 6 years ago
Oceanic_Whitetip_Telegraph.jpg
Oceanic Whitetip Shark (from the Telegraph article)

There have been five recent shark attacks on a three-mile section of beach in Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt leaving four people badly injured and one dead.

Adrian Blomfield of the Telegraph in the UK interviewed George Burgess, the curator of the International Shark Attack File about the attacks and wrote the best article I have seen to this point about them.

Mr. Burgess was able to determine, with the help of photographic evidence, that the same Oceanic Whitetip that attacked a Russian man on Nov 30 returned six days later to attack and kill Renate Sieffert, a German tourist.

The article goes on to point out that the only time in history that there has been solid evidence of multiple attacks by the same shark was in 1916 when a great white shark killed four people and injured a fifth off of the New Jersey coast. These attacks became the inspiration for Peter Benchley's Jaws.

So far, the theory that is gaining the most attention is that a ship carrying sheep in the Red Sea dumped carcasses into the water drawing the normally pelagic species closer to shore. After that source of food was gone, the sharks were unable to find tuna, their normal prey, probably because of overfishing.*

Blomfield separates himself from most other writers on the topic at the end of the article. He quotes Mr. Burgess as saying that Jaws set back the cause of shark conservation 20 years - but in reality they pose us little danger. In fact, sharks are the ones in real trouble, "With some species seeing their numbers fall by 99 per cent in 50 years, the king of the seas is facing a battle for its survival."

This is a tragic story with ties to the most famous shark movie of all time and the events that inspired it almost a century ago. Sadly, Blomfield is in the minority and the media attention that this story is getting will probably do a lot more harm than good. People will not be challenged to think about the very dire situation that sharks are in but rather focus on the simple primal story and recall the Jaws tagline: "You'll never go in the water again!".


* Well, that may be the most credible theory but the idea that is probably gaining the most attention, which Blomfield does not address, is that the attacks are the work of Israeli agents designed to disrupt the tourist industry in Egypt - complete with tales of GPS-implanted sharks. Surely this will progress to include "sharks with frickin' lasers".

Reality TV, Sharks & Toasters

Posted by Rick Hartley 6 years ago
Christine Brown _ Sister Wives _ TLC.jpg

I was reviewing the logs for the DiveSeven site and noticed an unusual jump in traffic for one of my first and favorite posts called "Stuff That Can Kill You (Probably Not a Shark)". It turns out that the post was referenced by a writer at the Columbus (Georgia) Ledger Enquirer covering the premiere of a reality show about polygamists in Utah called "Sister Wives".

Christine, one of the wives (I think she is second from the left in the shot above), apparently refused to use a toaster "because she believes toasters annually kill more people than sharks". Good for you Christine! You are correct (or at least pretty close). As the "Stuff That Can Kill You" post pointed out, the Consumer Product Safety Commission in their "GFCIs Fact Sheet" promoting the use of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters states that there are approximately 300 electrocutions that occur in and around the home (and I assume that this is a US only number). Technically this includes all of the ways to get electrocuted in the home but 'toasters' have caught on as the poster children for this stat. They even show up in the illustration that the CPSC uses.

As for sharks, the typical number of fatal attacks per year is substantially less than 300. The Global Shark Attack File reports just 5 fatal attacks so far in 2010 globally. This is fairly typical as there are usually between 5 and 10 fatal shark attacks around the world each year.

Who knew reality TV was the way to get the word out about sharks....? Thanks Christine.