Posts By john

Guide to PADI Divemaster: Equipment Exchange Test

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Guest blog post written by Candice Landau

Scuba diving is a sport. No doubt about it. To anyone who wants to argue, do an hour-long dive and tell me how you feel just half an hour later. Chances are you’ll be famished and ready for a nap.

The reason we’re not all beacons of fitness is that we don’t do it every day. Unlike a runner who gets to put on shoes and run whenever the urge strikes, diving requires a little more time and planning, nevermind access to a good dive spot.

Still, there are some things that make it easier: the ability to stay calm under pressure, and relative physical fitness.

Enter the divemaster equipment exchange.

The equipment exchange portion of divemaster training is the test that measures your ability to stay calm underwater, to solve problems underwater, and just generally to keep your stuff together.

Equipment exchange is one of the skill tests that I have heard a lot of people struggle with. This is because it task-loads a diver and requires they figure out their problems underwater.

The exchange includes switching fins, mask, snorkel and BCD with your buddy, all while buddy breathing off of one regulator.

When I did my test, I got lucky. Not only did I have no idea that I was doing it, but I got to watch a buddy pair go before me.

The first thing our instructor told us was that we were going to practice buddy breathing on the surface. We were told to share one regulator between ourselves, and each take a couple of breaths from it. Simple, right?

Next we were to do it underwater.

Also, simple.

By now we had all guessed where this was heading–the equipment exchange–and we waited to have it demonstrated for us, just as the divemaster skills had been demonstrated.

Not so.

Instead, our instructor told us that we would be doing the equipment exchange. He said we’d have a couple of minutes to discuss with our buddy on the surface before we were to descend and perform it. He said that there was no time limit and that the only goal was to successfully exchange equipment.

I hopped out the pool and grabbed a weight belt knowing that as soon as I took my BC off I’d be floating to the surface.

Once back in I watched the pair who would be going first discuss their plan. They talked about whose BCD they’d be using to buddy breathe from; how they’d remove equipment; and who’d be breathing from the regulator during equipment removal. They also talked about switching the mask over, which I hadn’t even thought of, and which, to my mind, was the hard part.

To be perfectly honest I couldn’t process their plan. It all sounded so convoluted and complex. And, as it was their first time, it would probably not work out as planned. Still, I silently chided myself for being slow on the uptake. Before everyone descended I announced that I wouldn’t be discussing the exchange before performing it, that I’d need to just do it to figure it out. Trial and error, my modus operandi.

All I knew was that I had the ability to keep calm underwater; to do things slowly; and that like anything else, divemaster is about practice. If I screwed up the first time, I would have another chance to do it again.

Only vaguely comforted, I descended with my instructor and my fellow Divemaster candidates who would be performing the exchange.

As predicted, it rapidly went to pieces. They did the exchange too quickly and as a result got out of breath. Even out of breath they didn’t stop themselves to calm down. Things got messy. Fins floated up, buoyancy was lost, and there wasn’t much communication. When it came time to remove their BCDs, one of the pair got tangled up and was so out of breath that he darted for the surface.

Now in scuba diving, we all know that the place to solve problems is not on the surface. It’s wherever you are. Bolting for the surface is the best way to give yourself a lung expansion injury and yes, even in 12 feet of water. Not something any of us want.

When the divemaster candidate bolted, our instructor moved rapidly. He shoved his spare regulator in his mouth and stopped him. I immediately saw why we had not been told to practice the exchange on our own. There was still an element of risk involved.

We all ascended and the buddy pair had an opportunity to debrief.

They tried one more time, this time getting further along but still not finishing due to similar problems; going too fast, and losing buoyancy control due to breath holding.

In case you’ve forgotten, the most important rule in scuba diving is never hold your breath. Thus, when we’re doing equipment exchange, even though we’re on a flat bottom, you still have to obey the rule. Hold your breath and you’ll buoy up like a balloon.

I was up next.

Because there were only three of us divemaster candidates in the pool that night, my friend Ben had to do it again with me. I repeated what I had said earlier that night to him, that I just needed to figure it out once we were down.

Ben seems to work in much the same way as I do, throwing himself into whatever interests him, and solving things from a creative rather than purely logic-based approach.

Ben and I began buddy breathing. We did it for a while to get used to one another’s rhythm, making sure we were making the “z” sound to let out a tiny stream of bubbles. Then, we began exchanging equipment. It went really smoothly until we got to the mask. The second we hit that point, I couldn’t even fathom what to do.

After a couple of incomprehensible hand signals at one another I took a leap of faith. I took off my mask and handed it to Ben, trusting he’d know what to do. 10 seconds later I received an unfamiliar mask in my own hand. I put it on, and just as I was clearing it with the remaining air in my lungs, the regulator was handed to me. Excellent timing. Our instructor swooped in and gave us high fives, then signaled us to ascend. We broke the surface laughing and giddy.

Because Ben had done it three times now, I got to repeat the exchange with the other DMC. This time, I knew what to do. As soon as things began to speed up, I stopped exchanging equipment with him, and had him focus on just breathing with me. We got back to a nice, slow pace. When he lost his buoyancy, I grabbed his BC and held him down and we went back to the breathing again. When we switched BCs I had to help him get mine on as it was too small. At last we were at the mask exchange stage. Once again, I whipped mine off. This time, when I was handed the mask, I waited to clear it. No sense in getting rid of all my remaining air prematurely. The regulator followed shortly thereafter. And, hey presto, we were done!

When we surfaced, our instructor sat back on his own BC, a huge grin plastered on his face.

“Congratulations,” he said, “You passed.”

None of us even knew we’d been taking the test. We just figured we’d been practicing. We all whooped.


Although the last two exchanges had gone well, we had all learned or re-learned a lot. I’d been reminded of the importance of doing things slowly, and of breathing deeply, and I’d had it demonstrated first-hand, how quickly things can spiral out of control when you don’t. I also learned the importance of having a buddy you can trust. The fact of diving is that at some point, something will go wrong. Ideally, however, you will be diving with someone who has the ability to keep calm and problem-solve underwater. Just as my buddies figured out what to do with the mask, I had to trust them to do it.

My tips for the Divemaster Equipment Exchange

No doubt, if you ask around, you’ll receive plenty of advice on how to get through the equipment exchange. I know I did. Most of it went over my head. So, I won’t bog you down with too much advice. I’ll just share a few tidbits that you’ve likely picked up anyway reading this article and that will hopefully be second-nature to you anyway if you’re serious about diving.

  1. Don’t overthink it. This is probably obvious if you read the whole article, but it’s true. The idea behind the skill is to test your ability to solve problems underwater and stay calm. So, why not do that? Use it as an opportunity to do just that. It is after all just practice.
  2. Focus on breathing slowly. For that matter, focus on doing everything slowly. None of it is timed, which means you can take as long as you want. Trust me, things get a lot harder when you start breathing fast.
  3. Double check if you need to wear a weight belt. If you don’t, even if you do manage to get your buddy’s BCD on quickly, if your buddy doesn’t have integrated weights and you do, then you might end up with some buoyancy trouble. Keep it simple.

And that’s it. That’s all my advice. Keep your own equipment on. Don’t exchange it before you start. Don’t practice before hand. Do it when you know you can perform the exchange safely with someone experienced watching. And most of all, don’t over analyze. This is a learning opportunity, and a whole bag of fun!

Interested in becoming a PADI Divemaster? Learn more here.

Underwater World Records

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Have you ever wondered how deep a (properly-trained) diver could go? Or how far someone could swim in one breath? Read on to learn about some of the most amazing achievements in diving.

Longest Underwater Swim on One Breath – Male (2016)

In 2016, Venezuelan and PADI AmbassaDiver Carlos Coste set the record for the world’s longest open water swim on one breath. Using fins, Coste swam 580 feet (177 meters) in three minutes and five seconds, breaking his previous record-setting distance of 492 feet (50 meters) set in 2010. View the record-setting event from Kralendijk, Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles:

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Longest Underwater Swim on One Breath – Female (2016)
The longest open water swim on one breath (using fins) by a female is 505 feet (154 meters). Marina Kazankova set the record in Bonaire on 9 September 2016. She was reportedly dressed as a mermaid.

Deepest Pool (2014)
When “Deep Joy” Y-40 opened in 2014, it surpassed Nemo 33 as the world’s deepest diving pool. Located in the Hotel Terme Millepini in Padua, Italy, Y-40 is 131 feet (40 meters) deep. It includes underwater caves, platforms at various depths, and a viewing tunnel for non-divers. In 2017, freediver Guillaume Néry performed a single breath-hold dive to the very bottom of the pool.

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Deepest Scuba Dive – Male (2014)
PADI® Instructor Ahmed Gabr holds the world record for deepest scuba dive. Gabr trained for four years before the attempt, which culminated in a dive to 1090 feet (332 meters). “I wanted to satisfy my curiosity of how deep the human body can go, I was researching in books and on the internet but still never had the absolute answer so I figured out the best way to find the answer is to try it myself,” said Gabr.

The descent took 14 minutes, but Gabr’s return trip took just under 14 hours. He added, “I had a baby oceanic white tip shark as company for 6 hours, I think he wanted to say congratulations.”

The previous world record was set in 2005, Nuno Gomes of South Africa dove to 1044 feet (318 meters).

Read an interview with Ahmed Gabr on PADI’s Tec Rec blog.

Deepest Dive Female Freshwater (2004) and Saltwater (2015)
Verna van Schaik (South Africa) holds the world record for deepest female scuba dive. In 2004, she dived to 725 feet (221 meters) in a freshwater cave in South Africa. Her descent took approximately 12 minutes, while the ascent took five hours and 22 minutes.

PADI OWSI Ina Dimitrova set the female world record for deepest saltwater scuba dive in 2015. She descended to 659 feet (201 meters) in five minutes and forty seconds. Her return trip took approximately five hours.

Longest Underwater Live Broadcast (2017)
The world’s longest live broadcast underwater took place in May 2017 at The Atlantis Hotel aquarium. According to Gulf News, the English-language radio station Channel 4 broadcast underwater for nearly five and a half hours.

Scuba Diving in 115 Countries (2013)

PADI Pro Karin Sinniger dove her way into the record books in February 2013 alongside an ocean-swimming elephant. Her underwater experience took place in India, the 115th country where she had logged a dive.

PADI Pro Karin Sinniger

Most Days Living Underwater (2014)

Roane State biology professor Bruce Cantrell and adjunct professor Jessica Fain lived underwater for 73 days and two hours in Jules’ Undersea Lodge. This set the world record for living in a fixed underwater habitat. During their stay, the scientists hosted a series of weekly videos called Classroom Under the Sea (view the episode archives on YouTube).

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Longest Chain of Divers in North America (2017)
Dixie Divers, a PADI Five Star IDC Center, holds the North American record for the longest underwater chain of scuba divers (240) and in 2018, they’re going for a world record attempt.

Each year, Dixie Divers hosts a massive underwater clean up event. In 2017, more than 500 divers and topside volunteers participated. The world record attempt will take place 16 June 2018 after the annual clean up. The dive shop hopes more than 400 divers will get involved. If you’re interested in participating, follow Dixie Divers on Facebook or sign up for their email newsletter to get event details as the date approaches.

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Further Reading:
For some more unusual (and totally unverified) world records, check out for videos like:

Most bricks karate chopped underwater
Rubix cube solved in fastest time underwater
Most catches juggling three balls underwater

One wonders how many challengers there were for these records?

To extend your personal records for depth or time spent underwater, contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort and ask about the Deep Diver and Enriched Air Diver specialties. If you’re keen to break Karin Singer’s record for scuba diving in 100+ countries, ask your local PADI dive shop about their upcoming dive trips.

Divers see silver lining as Cayman’s Kittiwake topples; ‘Gonna be like a whole new dive site’

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Grand Cayman’s most famous and photogenic shipwreck, the USS Kittiwake, was toppled on its side as the island felt the impact of a glancing blow from Hurricane Nate at the weekend.

Though the storm passed almost 300 miles from Cayman, it brought rolling southern swells that were enough to snap the ship’s anchor chains, leaving the 251-foot-long, 2,200-ton vessel on its side.

The site was understood to be closed to tourists Monday as divers from Divetech assessed the damage.

Jason Washington, of Ambassador Divers, snorkeled the site on Sunday to get a preliminary look at the impact. He found it tilted on its side, with the port side rail in the sand.

He said the site would have to be closed to divers while the damage was assessed. But he believes it will soon be reopened and may even be a more appealing prospect for divers because of the damage.

“The silver lining to this cloud is we effectively have a brand new dive site. Divers, photographers and videographers have come from all over the world to photograph the Kittiwake and now they have a reason to come back. The lighting is different, the angles are different; for a photographer, it is a completely different site.”

Christian Black, an international photographer who has done multiple underwater shoots in Cayman, including at the Kittiwake, echoed those sentiments, commenting on Facebook, “Wow! Can’t wait to go back and photograph her again. Gonna be like a whole new dive site.”

Rough seas brought by the passage of Hurricane Nate also damaged the West Bay dock. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

Other divers expressed concern that the damage would impact the accessibility of the site, particularly for beginner divers and snorkelers.

Cayman Islands-based underwater photographer Ellen Cuylaerts said the new position of the wreck could mean that divers needed more training and experience to go inside.

“We have been spoiled for many years with this easy and shallow dive,” she said. “Almost every time you entered, you could see light and the risk of vertigo was almost nil.

“The upside is it will grow even more beautiful and, thinking about animal behavior, more animals might find shelter in dark nooks. My only big concern is that the reef close by will be severely damaged if she keeps moving.”

Mr. Washington said the shell of the ship was intact and he believes it will still be possible for divers to swim through the interior of the former U.S. Navy submarine rescue vessel.

He said professional divers likely would check for debris that needed to be cleared before the site could be reopened to recreational divers.

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association, which manages the attraction, did not respond to requests for comment.

Dock damaged

The Kittiwake was not the only victim in the West Bay area of Hurricane Nate. High seas also tore apart the West Bay dock on Northwest Point Road.

Planks of wood that had been loosened and cast adrift during the stormy weather, and which had been gathered by residents and passersby, were piled up beside the dock Monday morning.

The dock is closed until it can be repaired.

Borneo: Underwater cleanup collects 34 kgs of ‘ghost nets’

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Aziz Idris

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN) – Poni Divers recently kicked off its first underwater cleanup at North Pelong, in conjunction with the Golden Jubilee Celebration of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s accession to the Throne.

Twenty-four divers, three snorkellers and three boat staff – comprising officers and staff from Brunei Tourism, the Department of Fisheries, the Poni Dive Club and Poni Divers – participated in the cleanup to mark World Sustainability Day as well as World Tourism Day, which coincides with the sustainability theme for 2017, while tying in with the recent launching of the Brunei Tourism Diving Packages.

The event began with a safety briefing led by Wong Thye Sing, the Managing Director of Poni Divers, who explained that the underwater cleanup initiative was inspired by a recent free-diving trip to Pelong, where a ghost net was discovered.

The participants removed several ghost nets weighing 34 kilogrammes.

Ghost nets are defined as those discarded and dumped in the ocean after fishing, which continue to trap and kill marine life as well as damage underwater habitats and coral reefs. Globally, tonnes of non-biodegradable nets and lines get lost each year and continue to ‘ghost fish’ for years, accounting for 10 per cent of the world’s marine litter.

The divers worked in teams of twos and threes after being briefed by Wong on the correct method to remove and cut away the nets without damaging the corals and marine life.

Present as the guest of honour at the closing ceremony at the Poni Divers premises on Serasa Beach was Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali, the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism.

Poni Divers is initiating a nationwide outreach programme to increase awareness of marine conservation through visits to schools, workshops, presentations, and various projects that highlight the issues and threats that face our oceans.

The diving centre also plans to launch a Coral Propagation Programme along with several other initiatives to promote a more socially and environmentally responsible mindset among the younger generation.

“Poni Divers is looking to put marine conservation at the forefront of our business, as we expand our operations. We plan to introduce sustainable fishing practises to local fisherman and educate the public about the importance of marine conservation, and implement changes with real results,” said Wong.

He added that one of the key factors for a successful programme is to engage and involve local stakeholders at the grassroots level, “because it brings together a whole range of stakeholders, and because it is solution-based, to protect Brunei’s environment, whether on land or in water.”

Digital or Classroom – the best option for your dive theory

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Written by guest blogger Danielle Schofield

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and complete your PADI Open Water Diver course. Before you can explore the underwater world, your scuba journey must first begin on land – by learning the academics behind dive skills, scuba equipment and safety.

The theory portion of your PADI Open Water Diver course can be completed either in a classroom environment, or with digital learning (such as PADI eLearning online, or PADI Touch for tablets). We’ll take a look at both options to help you decide which is the best choice for you.

Digital learning

Although digital learning calls for a degree of self-discipline, it offers full flexibility in terms of when, where and how you complete your dive theory.

Anytime, anywhere: With 24/7 access, you can fit your studies around your own schedule, whether you prefer to tackle topics in short bite-size chunks or as longer sessions in one go. You can opt to learn from the comfort of your own home, a coffee shop or even en route to your scuba destination.

Save time on holiday: If you’re planning to learn to dive on holiday, by completing the theory portion of your course before a scuba trip, you’ll be able to get to the underwater action much sooner after you arrive at your chosen PADI Dive Center or Resort – without spending precious holiday days inside a classroom.

Learn at your own pace: With a rich mixture of content, videos, diagrams and interactive quizzes, PADI eLearning and PADI Touch adapt to suit your style and pace of learning. You’ll be able to study each chapter at your own pace, repeating any sections needed to help refresh and embed your understanding of each topic – without worrying that you’ll be ‘holding up the class’.

Dive Theory - Classroom

Classroom learning

Although classroom sessions will take place at a specific time and place, for many scuba students, the benefit of this environment is the early social interaction it brings.

Shared experiences: By working alongside fellow students on your scuba course, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a shared learning experience as well as meeting new friends. By the time you start your in-water lessons, you’ll have already started to build relationships with your new dive buddies.

The personal touch: Acecdotes and personal experiences shared by your PADI Instructor can help to bring lessons to life in a truly unique way, and you’ll likely find that discussions and questions asked by other students bring new and interesting perspectives to each topic.

Get instant feedback: Although you won’t necessarily be able to repeat each topic several times, one advantage of classroom learning is that your PADI Instructor – your source of diving expertise – is available right there and then to help answer any specific questions you have, and can guide you through trickier topics and concepts in more detail.

Which is the best option?

It’s not possible to say categorically whether digital or classroom is the best learning option; it’s a personal choice that depends on your personal circumstances and style of learning. However, in general:

Choose digital learning if you

  • Are self disciplined to complete your lessons
  • Don’t want to attend sessions at specific times or locations
  • Want to complete your dive theory before you travel
  • Enjoy learning at your own pace

Choose classroom learning if you

  • Need a bit of a nudge to start studying
  • Enjoy discussion and learning with other people
  • Like to have instant feedback to your questions
  • Want to meet your buddies before your practical lessons

What next?

Locate a PADI Dive Center or Resort to find out more about courses and availability, or sign up for a PADI Open Water Diver digital course to start learning today.

Baby Diver: Proposal to allow 10-year-olds to learn to scuba dive in Queensland

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Danish divers find severed head, other body parts of Swedish journalist Kim Wall

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Danish divers found the decapitated head, legs and clothes of a Swedish journalist who was killed after going on a trip with an inventor on his submarine, police said Saturday.

The body parts and clothing were found Friday in plastic bags with a knife and “heavy metal pieces” to make them sink near where the 30-year-old Kim Wall’s naked headless torso was found in August, Copenhagen police investigator Jens Moeller Jensen said.

Moeller Jensen said there were no fractures to Wall’s skull and he declined to comment on the discovery of the knife.

Peter Madsen, the 46-year-old Danish inventor who is in pre-trial detention on preliminary manslaughter charges, has said Wall died after being accidentally hit by a 70-kilogram (155-pound) hatch on the UC3 Nautillus submarine, after which he “buried” her at sea. But police have said 15 stab wounds were found on the torso found at sea off Copenhagen on Aug. 21. Her arms are still missing.

Wall’s cause of death hasn’t yet been established yet.

The detention of Madsen, who has denied manslaughter, expires Oct. 31 when a court will decide if he will continue to remain in custody ahead of a possible trial. He is also held on preliminary charges of the indecent handling of a corpse.

Police have said the submarine only sailed in Danish waters Aug. 10-11.

Police believe the pair didn’t know each other beforehand. Wall was working on a story about Madsen, who dreamed of launching a manned space mission. She was last seen alive Aug. 10 aboard the 40-ton, nearly 18 meter-long (60 foot-long) submarine as it left Copenhagen.

Chief Police investigator Jens Moeller makes a comment concerning the latest findings in connection with the Kim Wall murder case on Oct. 7, 2017.

The following day, Madsen was rescued from the sinking submarine without Wall at his side and was arrested the same day. Police believe he deliberately scuttled the vessel.

During their investigation, police have found videos on Madsen’s personal computer of women being tortured, decapitated and murdered. The videos were considered to be real, according to prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen.

Investigators believe Madsen killed Wall between Aug. 10 and 11, cut up the body and attached a belt with a pipe to the torso with the purpose of making it sink, officials said, adding that her head, arms and legs had been deliberately cut off after her death.

Marks on the dismembered torso indicated that someone had tried to press air out of the body so it wouldn’t float, police had said.

A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of Madsen is pending.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Craig O’Connell: From Fear of Sharks to Shark Week Host

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Scientist and Shark Week host Dr. Craig O’Connell was once afraid of sharks. But after facing his fears, he was inspired to learn more and educate the world about the true nature of this misunderstood animal.

Craig O'Connell shark scientist

“When I was younger, I thought diving with sharks would be a death sentence,” Craig said. “But after my first snorkeling experience, my world was flipped upside down.”

Craig earned his PADI Open Water Diver® certification at the age of 14 in Dutch Springs, USA and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2013. That same year, Craig and his wife, Dr. Nicole O’Connell, established the non-profit O’Seas Conservation Foundation (OCF).

O’Seas Conservation Foundation implements shark conservation strategies to preserve the delicate balance of the world’s oceans while integrating hands-on, field-based activities to inspire environmentally-conscious youth. Based in New York, OCF conducts field studies worldwide, but maintains a special focus on the shark, skate and ray fauna in their local waters. OCF is a two-time recipient of the PADI Grant for conservation work in Bimini and also their New York white shark nursery research. Craig described how OCF’s missions align with PADI’s Marine Animal Protection Pillar:

“Not only do we bring awareness by involving youth and the local community in all of our field research efforts, but we use our scientific findings to either a) implement new conservation engineering technologies or b) aid in the development of management regulations that will maximize species survival,” Craig said.

Craig O'Connell

Craig travels the world to study and protect sharks, and he works tirelessly to educate the public – especially young people – about the important role sharks play in the global ecosystem. His passion and charisma eventually landed him a gig with Shark Week, but his journey to get there wasn’t easy.

“During my freshman year of college, my Ecology professor told me I didn’t have a future in science,” Craig said. “Eventually, after endless amounts of work and hundreds of hours diving with sharks, it all came together and I hosted my first episode called ‘Shark Island’ where I got to investigate a recent surge of negative shark encounters that were occurring in Reunion Island.”

Craig says his experience on Shark Week was life-changing. He went on to host six additional Shark Week episodes and more are on the way. He credits passion, hard work and the support of family for his success.
“If I’d listened to [the professor], I wouldn’t have obtained my Ph.D., I wouldn’t have accomplished my dream of hosting a Shark Week episode, and I wouldn’t have this opportunity to be featured by PADI.  It’s important for young people to know that if they have a dream, they should never let someone tell them they can’t achieve it. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, so be persistent, understand you will occasionally fail (but use those failures as motivation to succeed in the future), and NEVER GIVE UP! “

In the next 12 months, OCF hopes to:

– Sponsor five 9th-12th grade students to attend Shark Camp at no charge.

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– Support the research of one M.Sc. and one Ph.D. student through use of OCF’s research vessel, equipment, and knowledge of Montauk’s waterways.

– Publish two papers highlighting recent scientific efforts in Montauk, NY.

– Maintain and study the white shark nursery in Montauk, NY so the population may progress towards a recovered status.

–  Continue surveying the sharks of Montauk, NY and utilize the findings to make educated management decisions for the future health of the local ecosystem.

– Craig is also working on becoming a PADI Divemaster.

O'Seas Conservation Foundation

PADI Divers, ocean-lovers and shark enthusiasts can support OCF’s efforts through donations. Funds raised support scholarships for kids to attend shark camp and implementing management strategies.

“I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world to investigate shark populations and the general health of local marine ecosystems. What I have seen has been eye opening,” Craig said. “It is an unfortunate reality that MANY humans are blinded by money and often will do anything to fatten their pockets.”

“But it isn’t all doom and gloom.  There are many individuals and organizations fighting the good fight and educating the world about the importance of sustainable harvest and maintaining the delicate balance that exists within our oceans (from corals to whales). I urge these individuals and organizations to continue their efforts because without them, I’m afraid the future of our planet looks very grim.”Craig O'Connell

Learn more about the O’Seas Conservation Foundation on their website: or connect with the foundation on social media:

Instagram: @TheSharkDoctor and @oseasfdn
Twitter: @TheSharkDoctor

Craig O'Connell

Ultimate Dive Sites in the Maldives

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The following was originally posted on

If you had the power to create your own islands, sea, and country, designed specifically for diving, it may well look a lot like the Maldives. With over 1000 coral islands sitting in the temperate and nutrient-rich Indian Ocean, the dive sites in the Maldives are truly paradise.

The Maldives, by its very geography and geology, supports a wash of marine life. From tuna to turtles and rays to wrasse, you’ll find it here. Mix this with the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean and you have one of the best diving spots on the planet.

Ultimate Dive Sites in the Maldives Reef

We take a look at some of the best dive sites in the Maldives

Kuredu Island, Lhaviyani Atoll – In addition to being considered one of the most popular resorts in the Maldives, Kuredu has some unmissable spots for diving. The island is surrounded by a coral reef that’s home to manta rays, reef sharks and turtles – to name but a few of its inhabitants.

Hurawalhi, Lhaviyani Atoll – This couples only retreat features the world’s largest under water restaurant made completely out of glass. This serious investment from hotel owners only goes to show how much they value the the waters that surround the island. Scuba diving on Hurawalhi is truly an experience. Whether you’re diving the house reef to spot sweetlips and snappers, or taking advantage of the regular excursions, you’re guaranteed one of the best dives of your life.

Fotteyo Kandu, Vaavu Atoll – Fotteyo Kandu absolutely had to make our top 5 list. With its dramatic overhangs, swim-throughs and caves this really is a remarkable place to dive. The channel is also home to a myriad of sea life. One would expect the usual Maldivian marine residents such as manta rays and coral groupers, but lucky divers will often glimpse a school or two of hammerhead sharks

Dhigurah Island, Ari Atoll – Home to the one of the longest beaches in the Maldives, Dhigaurah Island has become a diving hotspot. Set at the most southerly tip of the Ari Atoll, the waters that surround this island are perfect for the elusive whale shark. In fact over 200 whale shark sightings are reported off this coast each year. In addition to majestic whale sharks that call the area home, you may also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the beautiful sail fish.

Filitheyo Island, North Nilandhe Atoll – Filitheyo, based in the North Nilandhe Atoll features a beautiful channel running between coral islands, right at its front door. Just off the coast of Filitheyo, divers will find the Km Agro Mina Wreck, a wreck that was intentionally sunk as an artificial reef to promote coral growth. A myriad of marine life now inhabits this wreck and divers will welcome the easy penetration on this wreck.

Ultimate Dive Sites in the Maldives Whale Shark

There you have it, our top picks. The reality is the Maldives is a terrific spot for diving, across the entire country. There are many great reefs, islands and channels to dive in, these are just our favourite so far.

Lost your ring? Maine diver found it in Saco River

This post was originally published on this site

SACO RIVER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A local man found a ring while diving in the Saco River and he’s trying to get it back to its rightful owner.

Lou Christen said the ring is inscribed with the following names and a date “Rana – Saif” and the date “8-16-15.”


Check out these photos to see if you recognize the ring. Christen shared the details on his Facebook page.


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