Thursday, December 18, 2014

Now here's some news...

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael LombardiThis excites me and gives me hope for a future life aquatic - Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain just recently surfaced from a record-breaking 73 day stay underwater at Jules Undersea Lodge in the Florida Keys. The mission marked an ambitious effort to reach out, engage, and educate, all from an alien world that rests literally in our backyard. More on the project can be found here: https://www.roanestate.edu/classroomunderthesea/project.asp.

Interestingly, the project comes on the heels of Fabien Cousteau's recent Mission 31, a 31 day stay at the Aquarius Reef Base Habitat, also in the Florida Keys. The Cousteau project was lined with controversy within the professional community given claims to 'records' and the underlying motives and value in the project. Nevertheless, the effort did shed some new light on underwater living.

I've been partial to Bruce and Jessica's effort, coming in at a fraction of the cost of Mission 31, carried out in a very grassroots manner, and stands to substantiate that we all have the capacity to make a splash in ocean science and exploration in our own and very important ways. Congrats again Jessica and Bruce!


Are we at the cusp of another push in undersea habitation? Well, perhaps not necessarily. There are still numerous outstanding issues in saturation diving, not the least of which is human physiology and related health, both long and short term. There also remain questions of the of remaining at one single study site for any length of time, when today's scientist often wants to be mobile and versatile, responding quickly to new geographical interests. By contrast to permanent habitat are mobile sat systems used more typically in deep commercial diving. Both technologies come at an expense that is not sustainable for the masses.

There are indeed alternatives - we'll just have to keep fighting the uphill battle :)

In the meantime, 74 days anyone?

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Cultural Changes in Diving, a response

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael LombardiHaving just read Travis Detke's welcoming editorial in the recent Ocean News & Technology magazine (December 2014), I feel compelled to respond. The short is well written, and frankly hits the nail on the head in identifying the current state of the aquatic state.

Two points resonated most, where:

1. both the physics and physiology of diving have not changes.
2. performance pressure, today, includes safety awareness (moreso than in the past).

On the latter, generally I believe this to be a good thing, as emphasis on safety - namely protecting the human - is paramount to justify ongoing investment into human intervention, be it for industry, science, sport, or other. I have personally seen a few sides of this, having spent well over a decade working for small contractors where job performance is often pushed to the point of potentially compromising safety to achieve work objectives in short time frames (to increase profits); and more recently working for a larger corporation that prides itself on safe practices and pricing projects appropriately to include the safest means to perform.

As I've let's say 'matured' in my diving career, I've become more risk adverse, however am still deeply intrigued by working 'out on the edge'. With that inquisition comes a commitment to evaluate new practices, and in many cases develop or adopt new technology - all to, ultimately, improve safe human performance.

On the former point - of physics and physiology - indeed these have not changed, perhaps albeit ever so undetectably slow as we humans continue in our natural course of evolution. While we must surely make investments and cultural change to improve safe practices, we must be careful as to not box ourselves in with fear of the unknown. This doesn't speak to 'stunts' or 'extremism', rather logical deductive evolutions of advancement. This happens in all fields, and it should happen in diving as well.

This evolution comes back to the two fundamental challenges in diving, and deeper diving: we either need to evolve the human, or protect the human from the environment. By playing somewhere in between, we are subject to the mass of complications that we call the diving industry today. Generally, I think we've done a pretty good job with what we've got, but surely it can't hurt to continue to understand limitations (both perceived and real), and make sound investments to continue to nudge our little species towards its sustainable future - a new life in the sea.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Step aside Mr. Turkey, make room for Black Beans...

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael LombardiWell, it's that time of year yet again. As the holidays bring us all together to eat big and partake in the typical holiday camaraderie, it can prove to be a rather distracting period of time for the serial entrepreneur.

This Thanksgiving weekend, I kept my eye on the ball and managed to take advantage of some time at the shop, and then headed out for a dive today to evaluate a new piece of equipment I've been developing. Beautiful dive - visibility is clearing up here in Rhode Island, per usual, though with that comes the chilly water.


Anyway, per my usual Thanksgiving weekend Blogging endeavors, this is my once per year shameless plug for my book 'Black Beans, Mean Business'. This is the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone out there with aspirations to trek out into a new venture, or just cook up a good meal.

I am proud to say that we have now reached double digit sales. Help us march forward towards triple digits! This one is a real page turner folks. Get yours today!

Enjoy...

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