How to use a compass underwater

Finding your way underwater, preventing getting lost, and not having to navigate with aids like coral heads and sand ripples makes carrying a compass on every dive extremely important. But carrying the compass is only half the battle; you also have to know how to use the compass. Using a compass underwater is different than on land. There are many influences underwater that can cause problems when trying to swim in a straight line or when returning to the boat.

Many people are intimidated by compasses and think they are difficult to use, but that isn’t true at all; they are actually very easy to use and anyone can learn.

A majority of the compasses on the market today are what is called needle direct compasses. The compass has a magnetic needle that points north and a bezel that can be rotated around the needle. The bezel is marked from 0 to 360 degrees in a clockwise direction. The compass also has a line on its face, known as a lubber line, which is used to ensure that the compass is pointed in the same direction that your are going.

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How to measure fish

There are two ways to measure a fish, Fork Length and Total Length. Fish regulated by fork length are measured from the tip of the jaw or tip of the snout with closed mouth to the center of the fork in the tail. Total Length Max is measured from the most forward point of the head, with the mouth closed, to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed.

For diagrams and more details, click here.

Tim Perrault

Tim Perrault began his diving career in August of 1997, has logged over 1300 dives, and is currently a PADI Master Instructor.

Along the way, Tim discovered underwater photography and the quest for the “best” picture amongst his diving companions. His first camera was a Nikonos 5. With persistence, and a lot of film developing, he found that he had a knack for capturing his subjects. It wasn’t long before he added underwater photography as part of his teaching curriculum.

In 2003, Tim went digital and switched to a Nikon D100 with a Light and Motion Titan housing. He is an active instructor, photographer, and diver in the Pacific Northwest. He has spent time diving all around the world, including Truk Lagoon, Palau, Galapagos, Indonesia, Tahiti, Mexico, and numerous Caribbean locations, photographing the underwater world. Tim enjoys the diving in his own backyard – Puget Sound and British Columbia – with it’s the rich marine life, but he does consider the Galapagos his favorite big “fish” destination, and Lembeh Strait, Indonesia best for “critters” of all kinds.

Tim lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and two children.

Steve May

Underwater photography is a natural when you love both diving and photography, but it didn’t quite start out that way. I started diving in 1970 while stationed in California in the Air Force. After about 10 years, I was getting bored with spearfishing and “look-see” diving and looking for something new to do. My Dad had made a housing for a Kodak point and shoot camera that used a flashcube. So my interest in underwater photography started with zero training, a small Plexiglas homemade housing, and a camera that had the dubious feature of using the on-camera flash for the first four shots. For the rest of the 24 exposures, it was all very blue natural light.

Now, twenty plus years after that introduction to underwater photography, I have better cameras, better housings, strobes, and a lot more training and experience over the years. I currently have a Nikon D70 (digital camera) in an Aquatica housing, as well as a Nikonos V and Nikon F4 (film camera) in an Aquatica housing, as well as a variety of lenses from the digital 10.5mm fisheye to the 105mm Macro. I use the Aquatica housings because they have a 300-foot depth rating, and that let’s me take the camera to the deep wrecks that are one of my favorite photo subjects. The history, mystique, and sea life surrounding each wreck is unique.

Diver at 1AXXX, Dry Tortugas

Horse-Eye Jacks, Long Cay, Belize

L Tower Goliath Grouper

Red Frogfish, Half Moon Cay, Belize

What’s so Technical About Technical Diving?

by Ron Carlo

CCR rebreathers and decompression diving fit the definition of technical diving

Good question. Or maybe this should be titled “Just What IS Technical Diving?” That’s what I’m going to discuss. Here’s what I’m going to touch on in hopes you’ll come away with a desire to pursue this exciting side of diving:

1. What technical diving is
2. What technical diving encompasses
3. Some equipment needs
4. Training options

Technical diving is often considered: 1) A discipline that utilizes special techniques, equipment, training, and skills to improve underwater performance and safety; 2); Any diving that involves deeper and longer exposures than traditional recreational standards; 3) Diving in an overhead environment of a wreck or a cave where the diver cannot freely ascend to the surface, 4) Akin to the spirit of rock climbing and wilderness trekking, where the motivation for tech diving is a personal challenge and a thrill of exploration; 5) Having more stuff than you can carry and couldn’t possibly ever pay for when you get the credit-card bill.

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