Bioluminescence and Night Diving

A few days ago, I had the chance to guide several night dives. For most of the divers, THE HIGHLIGHT of night diving is bioluminescence. It exerts an incredible effect in people. Usually, when I take people night diving, one of the general comments is: “WOW, this was one of the best experiences of my life”. Many of them often ask: why don’t you film this? My answer always is: because I can’t.

In this video recorded during Mission Blue Voyage (Galapagos 2010), bioluminescence is actually shown in film. Edith Widder (specialist in bioluminescence) also explains the mechanism that creates this amazing phenomenon.

For those of us that cannot get hold of a WASP, (or not just yet J), night diving and bioluminescence is just one of those few things that has to be experienced in order to be understood. And when we do have the chance to do that, we have spiritual experiences and joy arises. 

So, my word of advice: whenever you have the opportunity to go diving at night do it; start with your lamps on and experience restricted visibility diving, turn your lights off and play with your hands, that is psychedelic diving; then just sit underwater and observe all the things that happen in the dark, this is night diving!

Jorge A. Mahauad


EuroTek - October 2010

I have just received a message from the Tec Rec Blog in my feed reader. It is about the Euro Tek, an event I described a few months ago. This message is intended to all the people interested in it so I will just post it as it is. I might be attending this year, not sure yet J
Jorge A. Mahauad

The EUROTEK organising team are proud to announce that a date has been set for the second Eurotek advanced diving conference of the 16th & 17th of October 2010. We are pleased to confirm we will be holding the event at the same location, the International Convention Centre in Birmingham England.
see venue.

Speakers & Seminars
Popular speakers from the 2008 show as well as new and exciting speakers are being confirmed and we guarantee you will get to see some of the most knowledgeable speakers in advanced diving as well as some interesting expedition presentations. This year we have technical divers from all over Europe that have been engaged in deep wreck diving as well as some serious long distance cave diving projects. We have a wealth of cave diving talks from all corners of the world and we know for sure that the wreck diving talks we have lined up are going to be rich in photography!

The industry’s manufactures of advanced diving equipment and technology have snapped up almost all the available exhibitor space and we still have six months before the doors open. All the main European rebreather manufacturers will be there with their units on display and will be ready to update you on what’s new since our last event back in 2008.

Tickets will go on sale soon and notification of this will be on the website and circulate! d in this news update mail should you choose to remain as a subscriber.

Gala Dinner & Awards evening 
The Gala dinner and technical diver awards evening was a huge sell out at the 2008 event and again will be staged at the venue under the same format as before. Some fantastic prizes will be up for grabs donated by exhibitors as well as the prestigious awards, films and of course not forgetting the light entertainment. Again as tickets go on sale you will have a chance to snap up one of those limited numbered places or a table for your club or group.

The Eurotek organising team are divers themselves and are in gratitude to our main sponsors who help in getting this event off the ground. Our main five sponsors are Divelife.co.uk – AP Diving – Fourth Element – Silent Planet & Sunnto. More information about these can be seen on the Eurotek website along with our other sponsor!

Listen out soon for regular Eurotek Podcasts in the build up to the event. We will be talking to many of our speakers and exhibitors and we may invite one or two delegates into the studio as well. We’ll also be talking to some leading technical divers and asking them what they have planned for this year and getting the run down on how they tackle some of these big expedition dives. You’ll be able to download the casts and listen to them on your ipods. Listen to Eurotek as we talk TEK! 


Recommended video from the Northeast Rebreather Workshop 2010

I am always interested in the future of diving. For being able to create a future in diving it is important to know the past. Here is a video recorded on the Northeast Rebreather Workshop 2010 (Organized by Michael Lombardi of Ocean Opportunity). 

If you are interested in underwater habitats, submersible systems and other edge cutting technologies for underwater habitat and exploration this is one of the videos to watch. If you enjoy this, you can find more videos at oceanopportunitie's YouTube channel.

Jorge A. Mahauad


Richard Pyle on Deep Underwater Exploration

Richard Pyle is one of the pioneers in using technical diving as a tool for underwater exploration. This very prominent member of the underwater community studies deep coral reefs in the range between the 60 and 150 meters and he has discovered hundreds of new species. 

On his proceedings to discover new underwater life, Richard developed many techniques (mainly in decompression and rebreather technologies) that are the basis of today’s technical diving.

In this video conference recorded in 2004, Pyle explains with great clarity the value of deep mixed gas technical diving for science and underwater exploration and exposes the way in which rebreathers support underwater explorers and their main advantages. The dangers and short chain of error in technical diving is reminded to us as well.

Pyle ends his talk with a great set of values and lessons learned along his prominent career. I must say I am most inspired by people like Richard Pyle. He is one of my examples and sketches very well the reason why I do what I do.

Jorge A. Mahauad


Detienen a pesquero con cien tiburones azules en Galápagos

A continuación un vínculo sobre la noticia. (Google News).
Foto: gooddive.com 

Underwater Communications

My studies in pre grade and post grade degrees were made in Communications; as a result, I have read, studied and attended a number of seminars. Subjects vary: active listening, effective communications, re phrasing techniques, are some of the names we give to the ability to understand each other.

When it comes to underwater communications it is amazing how such communicational techniques developed for effective human relations are applied.  I will not write more about this because that has already been done. 

If you want to learn more about effective communication techniques for the underwater realm I would suggest you got to the tec rec blog and read this article.


Celebrate Earth's Day by honoring the most of it: Oceans...

About a month ago, I had the chance to meet some of the few that were trusted for previewing and commenting on this production. I had the opportunity to make some underwater filming for them.

A few beers, a shared love for the oceans and quite intelligible mixture of French, Spanish and English ended up in a conversation that illustrated me on the amazing techniques used for this new documentary:

Some say that "Oceans", a production of Jacques Perrin y Jacques Cluzaud, is to documentary what AVATAR is to movies. The production of this documentary cost more than 50 million Euros; it involved four years of work and quite a lot of the material filmed is absolutely new, never recorded before. It is, of course, the most expensive documentary ever filmed and some 5000 new species were discovered during its production.

On a deeper analysis, Oceans present the relation between people and the sea. Human intellect had to develop special filming techniques to overcome extreme climate situations and still be able to film; also, new technology, such as special HD cameras, were developed to record all what is going on “in there”. On the other hand, the film exposes thousand of species that are currently endangered by humans and the way we use technology to relate with the Oceans.

I wish this natural history super production creates a higher awareness in its audience. That is all I want for now. Have the best Earth Day ever and give yourself some time to go to the movies. Together we can work to make next year’s even better; it is only a matter of choice.

Jorge A. Mahauad

Rebreather Friendly!!

Photo: Lucy Taylor

I have been working in making things rebreather friendly lately. It all started a few weeks ago with me going to dive my rebreather in Machalilla. After that, I have been serving some CCR divers in getting what they need to dive here; I have also worked with a few people on making the Galapagos Liveaboards CCR and I am in the middle of importing the biggest shipping of Sofnolime I've ever brought to Ecuador and the Galapagos.

So, in all this process I have put together a list. I just put it together; the “juice” came from rebreather world, there are a couple of nice threads about this there. It should not be that difficult to figure out this list if you know what a CCR is and what divers need.

Anyway, I just tought that it would be nice to have it published here. If you find anyhting missing please leave a comment. I will include it asap!

Enjoy :)
Jorge A. Mahauad


Rebreather World

Anyone who knows what a rebreather is and that has a search engine will know what rebreatherworld is to the web. No science in that.

If you haven’t been to rebreather world already, and for some strange reason you are reading this post, I urge you to get there. There is an amazing amount of information and opinions waiting for you. This is very important in a discipline in which hard rules are very few and where standard practices often bend to accommodate both the smart and the dumb; equally.

The only way to be on the safe side is to develop a good basis on what CCR’s are, how they work and what they can do to you. I think that in this process of creating a personal set of values for rebreather diving, we all learn one of the main lessons that closed circuits teach: humbleness.


A video compilation to raise awareness on the oceans:

I wrote a report earlier on Mission Blue. TED has just published on it's website a speech given by Mike deGruy, a very well known underwater cameraman.

Mike has spent decades looking intimately at the ocean. A consummate storyteller, he takes the stage at Mission Blue to share his awe and excitement -- and his fears -- about the blue heart of our planet.

Mike finished his talk with a reference to Sylvia Earle’s wish, which is probably the best I’ve ever heard. Here it is:

So, I think this choice is in order:

I have personally chosen to give my life to exploring the underwater world and spreading the word on loving  our oceans. My way to do it is teaching diving. I think that if more people, like Sylvia did back then, have the opportunity to experience the treasures that lay beneath the surface, they will have a chance to make their own choices.

Jorge A. Mahauad

2010 Annual CCR-model Poll

There is a nice Poll going on at rebreatherworld. It is about the CCR model RBW members use. If you want to know more about the most popular units click in the image below:

Teledyne announces that it will no longer manufacture O2 sensors for CC & SC Rebreathers

There is a lot of buzz going on in the rebreather community. Teledyne (one of the major O2 sensor manufacturer in the market) announced on april 2nd that they will no longer manufacture O2 sensors for CC & SC rebreathers.

This announcement has created great uncertainty and preoccupation in the rebreather diving community. Teledyne R22D and other models are broadly user by major CCR and SCR manufacturers. At this time, many rebreather manufacturers whose units use Teledyne O2 Sensors have failed to provide information and remedial support to their customers. According to scubamagazine.net "Ambient Pressure already has a replacement source they will be using when the existing TAI stock is depleted" but no communication has been issued for unit owners to this date. 

The press release issued by Teledyne follows:

To Whom it May Concern:

Effective April 2nd, 2010, Teledyne Analytical Instruments (TAI) shall no longer accept orders for oxygen sensors intended for use in the commercial, underwater closed circuit rebreather (CCR) and semi-closed rebreather (SCR) markets.

TAI shall continue to focus on the oxygen sensing opportunities within its core industrial, medical, automotive and above-water, diving-cylinder verification markets.
Any questions or concerns with regard to this decision should be sent tomailto:ask_tai@teledyne.com.
In the midst of a "frenzy" for new CCR models and the user of these machines for the purely recreational diving field, Teledyne announcement came as a bucket of cold water to those who already are CCR & SCR divers. It is logic to foreseen that this will affect those considering CCR diving as a technical diving progression or as a recreational diving upgrade and unit manufacturers. Apparently the market for rebreathers (eventhough it's suspected growth) is not atractive enough.

Ocean hope at Mission Blue: A collaboration experiment comes good

Last week was bussy for the Galapagos Islands. A Galapagos sea-voyage of 100 people (including Sylvia Earle, Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton, Glenn Close, Elizabeth Banks, Steve Case, Ted Waitt, Bill Joy, Jackson Browne, Damien Rice, Chevy Chase, Jean-Michel Cousteau and 30 of the world's leading marine scientists) turned into an epic event that may have significant impact on global efforts to save our oceans and put the islands in the top of the international media once again.

This really "once in a lifetime trip" happened because the individuals and organizations on board chose to abandon the obstacles that often engulf nonprofit work, and engage in a process of emergent collaboration that is worth appauding.

Eight separate initiatives were kickstarted, aided by $15m in commitments from the individuals on board. These included:

    * $1m to complete a package to protect the waters around Galapagos themselves
    * $1.1m to launch a plan to protect the 1m-square-mile Sargasso Sea and commitments to raise a further $2.5m to see the plan through to success
    * $350k to boost ocean exposure in schools
    * $3.25m to commence a campaign to end fishing subsidies
    * $10m to kickstart a new partnership to fund longer-term ocean projects

More at: TEDBlog


Technical Diving Glossary

I found this document today. It is a good compilation of terms and expressions about technical diving. It is quite complete and I recommend it to anyone thinking of going tec. This will be a very good start point so you can understand what people mean when you are researching on line.- Enjoy!



Galapagos on a CCR

I have been working on the Forums (mainly Scubaboard and Rebrearther World) in a few threads about CCR Dive trips to the Galapagos Islands. The posted information follows:

Galapagos liveaboard is the "ultimate" dive experience in the Galapagos and what you see has no comparison with anything in the world!!; on the other hand, diving from the inhabited islands is also very good (in terms of marine life) and definitely cheaper. This also gives you more flexibility in the activities on the islands. So different choices, not one "better" than the other. The Galapagos Islands are famous because of close encounters with big animals. This reputation was created mainly by divers in OC.
Just imagine what we can do on a CCR… Personally I think that if you want to boost your experience, THE way to go is a CCR trip. 
I am an independent freelance instructor working in the Galapagos and Ecuador mainland. I can organize and serve as a tour leader for you on CCR trips. CCR diving is NOT common practice here in the Islands. I am probably the only active CCR instructor in Ecuador and I'm just beginning to operate this kind of trips. I intend to change this but as CCR divers you know this requires preparation, patience, time and money.
I use established tour operators in the islands that are reputable. I have no affiliation with them, in employment nor in company share. My business is the satisfaction of the team diving with me and my personal branding. My main function is to make the tour operators "CCR friendly" by providing my own equipment, support and knowledge; this is the reason why you can expect the most objective and professional advice, planning and execution.
For CCR diving I provide O2 @ 200 bar, absorbent and technical support. The diluent we normally use for the dive profiles is air and I try not to go into long decompression schedules; average dive time is 90 min. More advanced technical diving can also be planned and executed. Everything is done under request and personallized to fit the team's needs. In any case, organizing a CCR trip will involve time, preparation and teamwork between you and me. A minimum number of divers also apply (number depends on the type of diving ej: liveaboard vs. daytrip)
You can find the threads and (hopefully) the reactions and further information at:

Scubaboard:               Forum Trips and Local Marketplace... Rebreathers
Scubaboard:               Forum South America
Rebreather World:      Forum: Rebreather Trips / Holidays /Expeditions
Rebreather World:      Forum: CCR Charters and Resorts

This post also have a poll. Please give me your feedback :)


CCR Test Expedition - Puerto Lopez, Manabí

En los últimos días he estado haciendo algunas pruebas sobre la operación de cursos de buceo con rebreather en Puerto Lopez, Manabí.

La preparación de la expedición para probar el equipo y la operación comenzó hace algunas semanas. Conseguí O2 de grado medicinal de un proveedor local y me entregó una botella de 10m2 de gas. El transporte de mi unidad, bomba booster, absorbente y demás se realizó por tierra. Resolver problemas y poner las cosas a punto tardó algunas horas.

Al momento, he realizado dos perfiles de 73 y 103 minutos. El primero lo realizamos en la isla de Salango y el segundo en la Isla de la Plata. Ambos perfiles fueron de no descompresión con una profundidad máxima de 27 y 30 metros respectivamente. Aire como diluyente.

En esta inmersión pude localizar un bajo del que me hablaron y del que me dieron referencias. Este es un sitio de buceo no explotado en la isla de Salango. Consta de un grupo de rocas entre los 18 y 30 metros de profundidad. Estas rocas están cubiertas de gorgonias (coral negro). 

El sitio es ideal para dictar cursos de buceo profundo sin descompresión y las primeras inmersiones del curso Tec 40 de PADI / DSAT o Extended Range de TDI en la zona de Salango. En general, los corales de la zona se encuentran en buen estado.

Fotos: Emiliano Saa

Cousteau and Gagnan enter U.S. Inventors Hall of Fame posthumously

Jacques-Yves Cousteau and co-inventor Emile Gagnan posthumously entered the U.S. Inventors Hall of Fame recently for their breathing regulator that become an integral part of their Aqua-Lung diving equipment.

Their invention changed our view of the oceans as it allowed divers to breathe and swim untethered underwater. Jacques and Emile invented the Aqua-Lung in 1943 and the U.S. Divers Company was the first company to manufacture the Aqua-Lung in the United States.

Of all of Cousteau's accomplishments, the Aqua-Lung is arguably the most profound. Cousteau was a very controversial personality for the underwater community. Personally, I think all controversy should be left aside to honor and tribute him and Gagnan, they were the fathers of all the open circuit diving, a milestone in our industry.


Ecuador and the Galapagos featured in TAME Magazine

ABORDO, the in flight magazine of TAME Airlines (the major flight carrier of passengers and cargo to the Galapagos Islands) features in March - April an article about diving in Ecuador. The article was written by Jorge A. Mahauad and illustrated with images taken by Mark Harding.


The UK creates the biggest marine reserve in the world!!

Foreign Secretary David Miliband announced the creation of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the British Indian Ocean Territory. This will include a “no-take” marine reserve where commercial fishing will be banned.

The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) consists of 55 tiny islands which sit in a quarter of a million square miles of the world’s cleanest seas.

Ver mapa más grande

This will be the biggest marine reserve in the world; followed by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Galapagos Islands Marine Reserve in Ecuador.

According some sites, this declaration is not welcomed by the inhabitants that were expelled from the archipelago 60 years ago. The area is rich in marine life and especially abundant in yellow fin tuna, turtles and crabs. On the other hand, Scientists also advise us that BIOT is likely to be key, both in research and geographical terms, to the repopulation of coral systems along the East Coast of Africa and hence to the recovery in marine food supply in sub-Saharan Africa.

Main Source: Chagos Conservation Trust