There are two types of divers, those who have peed in their wetsuit and those that say they haven't, which one are you?
Anyway, I defy anyone who has been diving for more than a nanosecond not to have succumbed to this at some stage. So why does this happen particularly if you have 'been' before you went diving.
Well it is all down to your kindness, those bean-shaped organs that filter waste products from the blood and help regulate your blood pressure.
The body's total blood volume varies considerably with such factors as hydration and fluid losses through sweating, diarrhoea etc.
Various receptors therefore exist, that detect changes in blood volume and trigger compensatory mechanisms in order to help keep it as stable as possible.
When you are immersed in water, your peripheral blood vessels constrict in an attempt to minimise heat loss by moving blood away from the skin's surface and extremities, towards the warmer body core and vital organs. Although the total volume of blood in the body has not changed, the volume of blood through the body core (particularly the heart) increases. This causes stretching of the chambers of the heart, fooling the body into thinking it is fluid-overloaded; a chain of hormone releases is triggered, which results in an increase in the rate of using production in the kidneys ("diuresis") and an uncontrollable urge to pee.
So, what can you do to dampen down this response?
Stay warm by using a thicker wetsuit, or stay warm and dry by using a drysuit. Avoiding diuretic fluids such as tea and coffee a few hours before diving will reduce (but not eliminate) the urge to urinate underwater. You might assume that consuming less water before a dive will similarly reduce the need to pee, but this is not the case: the core blood volume will still increase, regardless of hydration level, and the dehydration will only serve to predispose the diver to dark, smelly wee and decompression sickness.
Finally, it's worth remembering that although not the most fragrant fluid in the world, urine is sterile - so not the health hazard it may seem to be, provided you give your wetsuit a good freshwater rinse at the earliest opportunity one it's been 'used'. Incidentally, because of urine's sterility, it is far safer to wee on your contact lenses then clean them with saliva, if you are ever caught short without lens solution.....
Thanks to Midland Diving Chamber for this... taken from the health section of the magazine you can pick up when you go for your regular medicals.
I am not sure when space started calling to me, but I do remember watching Xenon, Girl of the 21st century at 12 and thinking, I can make that happen. Fast forward 21 years and I still have that fascination with exploration, just now I am looking more at innerspace. I remember Andy Torbett’s 2019 Go Dive talk; to non-divers, we are all incredible aquanauts, we bring the underwater world to those that cannot see it themselves. That sits with me to this day reminding me why I teach.
Last night, the first private rocket was to take astronauts to the International Space Station. The first time US astronauts would be leaving from US soil since the last shuttle launched in 2011, something I was fortunate enough to watch. But this launch was called due to weather.
The thing is, when you are launching rockets with that acceleration and want to hit a certain position or target, you have a small launch window to make it work. It is partly why the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has been moved so many times, not just in date, but in launch site. Each launch has an optimal window, and weather does not always cooperate. Yesterday’s launch was an instantaneous launch, meaning they had to leave on time or they would not hit the space station.
If you watched the live stream last night, the weatherman said that they should be clear 12 minutes after T-0:00, but they chose to scrub the mission. It was less because of the cloud cover, but there was also a concern that an abort down range would mean recovery teams would need to go out and collect the capsule and astronauts, all while a tropical storm is brewing off the coast.
Why does this matter? Think about our own risk assessments in diving. In the UK, we have our own instantaneous launch, ropes off is ropes off because of tide considerations. In the last four years, I have had more boat trips in the UK be called off for weather than I think I have actually attended, but I respect the decision of the boat crew.
The truth is, we should be risk assessing every dive, should have our own countdown sequence and systems check. We build kit and test it, we look broadly at the weather and decide to leave the dock. As we are kitting up, doing buddy checks, and even taking that step off of the boat, we should be constantly evaluating our readiness. I have two memorable aborted dives in the same four years. In one case I chose to abort as me and my buddy were on the swim line, I still am not sure what it was, but I just was not happy and decided that dive was not for me that day. We were in Egypt, on a liveaboard that I paid a substantial amount of money for, but it was not worth it if my head was not in the game.
The other, Tracey and I were in Scapa Flow for the centenary, TWO YEARS of waiting and countless money spent on the trip and the preparations.
Due to a series of events, there were two dives where one of us just was not happy, and about twenty minutes into the dive decided it was not worth it to be there anymore.
My challenge to many of you, forget the price tag of a dive. NASA lost about $1.2 million for every scrubbed shuttle mission, there is no data yet on what the cost to scrub last night’s mission was. But there were two human lives immediately affected by the launch, and in a downrange abort, numerous rescuers would be at risk.
If you are not up to a dive for whatever reason, call it. Remember ANY diver for ANY reason can call ANY dive. There is always another day.
With Dive Rutland I have been lucky enough over the last few years to have visited some amazing countries and dived many stunning dive sites. I have dived on amazing wrecks, pristine reefs and met up with some wonderful people in the process. We all keep a record of our dives in our logbook, religiously logging the number of dives, the location, dive time, depths etc but how do you recall and recount what you have seen to family and friends on your return from the amazing trip, photographs and video of course.
Well in this technological age there are many options for underwater video using a GoPro, Paralenz or even your smartphone in a waterproof case but these are limited to what detail they can capture and for this is where underwater camera’s come into their own. Most have the option to record video as well as take photographs but it is when you get down to the small and macro photography that things really change up a gear but don’t need to cost the earth to buy. Yes we have all seen the guys on the trip with camera rigs the size of a small car, with more arms than an octopus that light up the reef like a search & rescue helicopter and a dome on the front bigger than the O2 but you don’t need that to get good pictures that you can be proud of with a little practice and some polishing of your basic dive skills.
Now I love going to these amazing places, getting the pictures and video of whale sharks, Turtles, and Threshers, pictures of majestic wrecks rising from the sea bed with video as I explore through them but my true passion is the small critters and creatures that most divers swim past and don’t even see. The little multi -coloured nudibranch, the glass shrimps, spider crabs, harlequin shrimps, pygmy seahorse and much, much more. If you had actually stopped for a moment on the reef and looked carefully you would be surprised at what is there that you would not have otherwise seen. Diving is supposed to be relaxing and there is nothing more relaxing than moving slowly over the reef studying what is inhabiting the different corals, sponges and rocks with the added bonus that you will use less air than if you are racing around the reef.
Now there are things that you need to concentrate on to get those good pictures and the main one is buoyancy, if your buoyancy isn’t good then you wont have time to get that picture before your position changes and the subject of your picture is then out of focus. This is even more important if you are taking macro photo’s as the focal distance of your lens is much smaller. But the most important thing of all is that you do not want to be crashing into the reef with your knees, body or fins and smashing up the coral and destroying the one thing you are taking photo’s of. The answer to this is quite simple, sign up for the peak performance buoyancy speciality where you will learn to control your buoyancy better, so in turn will get better photos.
Other divers will appreciate this as well as you will not be kicking up sand or silt with your fins as you move away from taking your pictures, ruining the shot for the next photographer who is waiting patiently behind you. Streamline your dive profile by tucking away all of your dangling equipment, if you are going to be getting close to the reef it is no good having brilliant buoyancy if your equipment is hanging down and smashing into the reef so tidy it away in your BCD pockets, clip it up safely.
The next thing is get to know your camera, read the manual thoroughly and play with it out of the water. Get to know where all of the buttons are and what they do before you take it on that trip, if you have wet lenses for it (lenses that you can change underwater for wide angle or macro) get used to how to fit them and remove them, setting the white balance for different depths and different water conditions all take time to learn and for you to become accustomed to so that you can do the task swiftly without it distracting you for too long. Sign up for the Digital underwater photographer speciality or underwater videographer speciality because diving throws up challenges that you don’t get elsewhere with a camera so this is where you will learn how your digital camera works, pre and post dive camera care, surface checks before you dive, how depth has an effect on colour, lighting using internal flash and strobes, backscatter just to name a few things.
If you are a dive Rutland club member (or even if not you can still use the pool for a small cost) then talk to Tracey and arrange to come along on one of the Tuesday or Saturday pool sessions and get used to using your camera in the water otherwise that once in a lifetime picture wont get taken because you will still be playing around with your camera while everyone else is celebrating that amazing moment and the greatest picture they have ever taken but you won’t have seen it and won’t have the pictures either.
Anyone that accompanies us on any of our trips or visits the Dive Centre at Dive Rutland will find that there are a few staff members and club members who are keen photographers and videographers. Mark is the self-confessed video guru who loves his underwater video rig (seen his video of the club trip to the Philippines in 2019? and then underwater photography is the realm of Tracey, Rick and James and anyone who gets into conversation about nudibranch’s with Tracey will find that is her passion for photography, Tracey loves Nudi’s of all shapes, sizes and colours, put her in a house on poles above a reef full of Nudi’s with an endless supply of air, Nirvana, Valhalla, the promised land!
Written by Rick Smith
Nudibranchs are some of the hardest things to find on a dive, you have to move slowly and look very closely, but if you know what you are looking for and where to look you will find them. They range in size from 20mm – 600mm. The largest nudibranch ever recorded was a 52 cm Spanish Dancer, found in the Red Sea.
Nudibranch are sometimes called ‘sea slugs’, now while ALL nudibranchs are in fact ‘sea slugs’, not all sea slugs are nudibranchs.
Nudibranchs are related to snails; these colourful little creatures have ditched the homes they carry on their backs as they have evolved. Similar to land snails, nudibranchs also leave a slime trail, full of chemicals, which can warn other slugs of danger, or be used to find a mate.
Their name means ‘naked gills’ and describes the feathery gills and horns that most wear on their backs.
They are carnivores that slowly ply their range grazing on algae, sponges, anemones, corals, hydroids, barnacles, fish eggs and even other nudibranchs. But they are picky eaters. Individual species or families of nudibranchs may only eat one kind of prey
To identify prey, they have two highly sensitive tentacles, called rhinophores, located on top of their heads. To eat they use a radula, a toothed structure that they use to scrape their prey from the rocks they cling to; some suck out the prey after digesting its tissue with selected enzymes, rather like a wasp.
Nudibranchs derive their colouring from the food they eat, which helps in camouflage, and some even retain the foul-tasting poisons of their prey and secrete them as a defence against predators.
Their most common activity is eating and they dedicate most of their time to it, with approximately 3 – 5 hours a day inactive
As hermaphrodites, nudibranchs have both male and female organs. To mate, two nudibranchs come together side-by-side and exchange sperm sacs through a tube, a process that can last from seconds to a whole day depending on the species. Either way, it is not a romantic affair - they will separate and go their own ways before laying 1 to 6 egg masses in anti-clockwise spirals, some containing up to two million at a time. As most nudibranchs do not live longer than a year, this number of eggs is essential.
Nudibranchs have a few predators and are at risk only from other nudibranchs, turtles, craps and us humans.
Lacking any physical defence mechanisms and being soft-bodied organisms, nudibranchs have become prime candidates for their uses in marine pharmacology and biotechnology (the application of biological knowledge and techniques to develop products or otherwise benefit humans.) Already it is estimated that 24% of marine natural products come from nudibranchs and their relatives, the sea hare, with particular focus at the moment for their uses in anti-cancer drugs. As well as being collected for Aquariums and to eat
In addition to us humans being a threat, many nudibranch species are becoming rare and more difficult to be found due to water pollution, degradation or loss of suitable marine habitats and biodiversity decline. If a nudibranchs only primarily feeds on one thing like tunicates (marine invertebrate animals) and the coral reefs where these live die or are devastated by man then the nudibranchs will also die out.
Our job as divers to protect and to educate, so take those pictures show everyone how pretty they are. There are so many more species to be discovered, let's not wipe their environments out before we find out they existed. Without them, the scenery changes and we can no longer benefit from their beauty and the products they help us produce.
We have been talking a lot about plastics, but they are not the only threat to the marine ecosystem. It is thought that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Humans are solely to blame. If it is not us putting the plastics in to the environment, it is the rate at which we remove fish from the ecosystem that have a detrimental impact.
There is a lot of information that supports a diet full of omega-3s and vitamin D, both of which are in abundance in fish. As a result, many people choose to include it as a regular part of their diet. Some people even opt for it to be their primary source of protein.
What impact does this have on our oceans? Not only is there a problem with the number of fish we remove, but there are detrimental impacts of some fishing methods; bycatch, ghost nets, other marine debris, and that is not even including the terrible practices that catastrophically impact shark populations.
What methods of fishing are there?
It is not just the methods that are there are there potential issues with the methods?
Pole and Line Fishing
Pole and line-pretty self-explanatory, it is what I think of when I think about fishing. Single catch, can throw back anything that I do not want, but risk catching and injuring the ‘wrong fish’
This method uses multiple lines often towed behind a boat, high risk of bycatch.
This method is the pulling of large nets or traps behind a boat, large amount of bycatch, risk of breaking or losing the net and creating marine debris to trap and suffocate marine mammals
Attached to surface buoys, this method catch fish gills as they swim through and can result in a large amount of bycatch. If they get too heavy, they sink and can trap marine mammals and damage the ocean floor, as bottom dwellers eat the catch, they become lighter and float again, the process repeats.
This is a similar process to gill nets but use overlapping mesh to catch the tails of fish as they swim through.
Due to the growth of the commercial fishing industry in the 1950s, we have switched away from organic materials in nets to synthetic materials. This means that gill nets and drift nets that get lost to the sea will continue they’re destructive pattern indefinitely. We refer to this as ghost gear. What is worse, some fishermen leave old nets as it is an easier way to deal with them.
The problem is not just nets but left fishing gear in general. This can be old style traps that do not have the rot-out mechanisms now required. As crabs go in, they cannot escape and will become the bait, making these self-baiting traps catch crabs for years. Discarded, lost fishing line can become deadly for many creatures including birds, marine mammals, and even divers!
Monofilament line is invisible on the surface, try seeing it underwater.
It is not only our intentional purchase and consumption of fish products, but the unfortunate impact that can have an impact of the fish stocks, and marine food web.
Such a dire picture, but what can YOU the consumer do to help?
The Marine Steward Council has published guidelines on what sustainable fishing looks like. We need to make sure that we are eating fish species at a rate that allows them to be replenished. They should be caught using methods that do not leave marine debris behind or risk damaging bycatch. First, choose fish that are sustainable themselves, the Marine Conservation society has published a list to help rating the sustainability of each fish. When buying fish, look for tuna with the dolphin safe seal, the MSC certified sustainable seafood label, or the RSPCA monitored freedom food label. Choose a variety of fish and reduce the popular fish as this leads to overfishing.
All of the environmental concerns facing our planet come down to human choice. Make better and more sustainable choices. Take your reusable containers to a sustainable fishmonger for a double win.
Why not come to one of our Project Aware Speciality courses, this one is a dry course and it doesn't matter if you are a diver or not it will allow you to learn more about what YOU can do and help you set a plan to make a difference
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE