July 2010

Full review: ContourHD 1080p with H2OV housing
Thanks to CMOS technology and microSD card storage, you can now do 1080p HD video in a camera that weighs less than an iPhone. We tested the ContourHD 1080p camcorder both in and outside of its extra-sturdy underwater H2OV housing (good to depths of 300 feet) and came away impressed. There's no onboard LCD, but you quickly get the hang of it, and the camera never gets in the way. [See full review of the ContourHD 1080p camcorder] -- Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010 by chb

Book review: Into the Deepest and Darkest, by Joseph Emmanuel
If you ever wonder about the preparation, logistics and operations of deep diving world record attempts, you'll love Joseph Emmanuel's new book "Into the Deepest and Darkest -- Deep Diving Adventures in South Africa and the Gulf of Aqaba." A support and safety diver to world record holders Nuno Gomes and Verna Van Schaik, the author describes dynamics, build-up, and circumstances in an easygoing, conversational tone. [See review of "Into the Deepest and Darkest"] -- Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2010 by chb

RIP Wes Skiles
Wes Skiles died while diving off West Palm Beach on Wednesday, July 21. He was conducting a routine filming dive when the accident occurred. No one else was injured. There are no further details regarding the accident at this time. The exact cause has not yet been determined and we are awaiting official reports. Wes has been a tireless advocate for springs, springsheds and the conservation and protection of Florida’s water resources. At the time of his death, he was excited about the upcoming issue of National Geographic Magazine, which features his photographs and the cover shot. [Read "Saying goodbye to Wes Skiles"] -- Posted Friday, July 23, 2010 by chb

Panasonic introduces much improved TS10 waterproof camera
Panasonic has released a follow-up to its initial rugged and waterproof camera. The new Lumix TS10 seems to have addressed almost all the issues we had in our detailed review of the Lumix TS1. The new TS10 is now freezeproof, its controls are easier to read, the tiny mode wheel has been replaced, the zoom is in a normal position, and the lens has been slightly moved so that your fingers are less likely to interfere. Oh, and the price has come way down (US$249 instead of the TS1's initial US$399). Way to go Panasonic! Now let's hope the TS2 will soon become the equally improved TS20! [See Panasonic Lumix TS10 product page] -- Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010 by chb

Blue Lake Tahoe, how much longer?
Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevadas has long been known for its blueness and exceptional clarity. Even four years ago, we still saw clear and mostly blue water. Sadly, things have been going downhill. The lake is still gorgeous and looks very blue, but as soon as you go under, it looks decidedly green. On a June 2010 dive at Meeks Bay, things looked murky green until we discovered blueness underneath. Whether this is due to the invasive Asian Clam (see report in Sacramento Bee) or some other phenomenon is unclear, but the visuals were dramatic as our picture to the right shows. -- Posted Monday, July 19, 2010 by chb

Lionfish now established in Roatan
ScubaDiverInfo.com spent ten days at CoCo View Resort on the Honduran island of Roatan and has found lionfish now firmly established there. Lionfish, native to the Indian Pacific region, are an invasive species along the south east coast of the US and the Caribbeans. Rapidly propagating and without natural enemy, the foot-long and longer lionfish is said to have a devastating impact on local sealife. Multi-colored and gorgeous to look at, lionfish look more like tropical birds and they are non-aggressive towards humans, but their rapid spread at almost all depths is cause for concern. We saw lionfish on virtually every dive, whereas in December of 2008 we had seen none. Local dive masters will spear them, and a Ph.D. student from the University of Alabama was on site to take cultures to further the understanding of lionfish. -- Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2010 by chb

Did the US Navy use scuba in 1945?
Did the US Navy use scuba towards the end of World War II? According to the 1951 movie "The Frogmen" it did, in its special Underwater Demolition Teams. The movie shows the use of UDTs to clear beaches of mines and to blow up docked enemy subs. It all makes for great footage and we recommend the movie for scuba history buffs, but scuba wasn't actually used in the US Navy until the early 1950s, and even then they probably would have used rebreathers for covert underwater missions. [See Watching "The Frogmen" (1951)] -- Posted Thursday, July 1, 2010 by chb