Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

scuba monkey rescue breathing accident article

Sometimes, sadly, things can go wrong.


Social media is and always has been a double-edged sword. It can be used to spread good ideas, spark discussion and facilitate friendships. It can also be used for trolling, posting an infinite number of ‘cats falling over’ videos or inciting racism and hate. It led Stephen Fry to leave Twitter due to the a constant barrage of bile and vitriol he was receiving. You pay your money, you take your choice.


Scuba diving posts and videos are becoming more prevalent over the internet. Most of this driven by the affordability of technology. Every budding diver now buys an underwater camera before they hone their dive skills. This, again, is driven by social media.


That means that sometimes horror diving videos are posted on the internet. Is that a good or a bad thing? Is it better to show these things so people can learn from them? Or is it an invasion of privacy for those involved? Can we justify restricting these scuba accident videos when you’re only a couple of clicks away from road accident footage? How should it be monitored or policed? That’s a whole debate to be had.


Rescue Breaths


However, for the purposes of this article I thought I’d give my comment on one video that went viral and appeared to spark a lot of interest – eventually arriving on my desk. Just to be clear, this is simply my feedback and risk management advice as an Instructor that has spent over 10 years in pretty most diving environments. This isn’t an endorsement or comment from any training agency.


The video you’re about to watch took place in 2012 and is of an ‘Advanced Training Dive’ in South Africa. It’s what appears to be four divers; two students (Waseem and Doug), who we assume to be a Divemaster/Divemaster Trainee (called Niki “who keeps everyone calm”) and an Instructor.


The video is around 7 minutes long, so grab a coffee, sit back, relax and take a look:



Now, what was wrong with this dive? Well, pretty much everything. Ok. Firstly, it’s lucky that everyone survived (as far as I’m aware) injury free. That’s good. I’m pleased. Now let’s look at the negatives or, at least the things that stand out to me as issues.


Before we even enter the water, why was the student (the cameraman, who I believe is called Doug – student 2) even filming in the first place?? Cameras are a distraction even with experienced divers on a simple dive, never mind a student on their first deeper dive. Even if Doug had the camera strapped to his forehead or wrist with one of those straps it still, psychologically, leads divers to consider the footage they’ll be getting first and their safety second. It’s like driving a car round a series of cones while on a mobile phone: neither your driving or your conversation is at it’s best! It subconsciously effects their decision making. Had it been my class I would have had a polite conversation with the diver and explained that this was ‘…a training dive and full attention is required. Perhaps, if all goes to plan, the camera can come in on subsequent dives.’ The camera would have remained on the boat.


Taking the overall picture of the dive, ask yourself as an observer – do these two students look ready for the deep dive? Does the dive site and the conditions appear conducive to the skill and comfort level of the two divers? One of the tell-tale signs of a novice divers is ‘wafting’: the bad technique of waving hands and arms around in the water as the diver has inadequate control and skill. These two guys are flailing around like they’re dancing the Charleston or auditioning for a production of Riverdance. Had they been adequately pre-assessed, a Peak Performance Buoyancy course instead of a Deep Adventure dive may have been a preferable choice at this stage in their diving. They lack control and it’s this lack of control that acts as trigger for the series of events that follow.


Yes, telling someone that perhaps they need to polish their skills before progressing to the next level of their training is a difficult conversation to have, but a necessary one. As dive professionals, that’s what we’re paid to do – give professional advice and use good judgement. No, some customers may not like it. But that’s the job. Although some recreational divers may believe otherwise, Instructors know some things they don’t.


While we’re on the basics, we’ll give the instructor the benefit of the doubt and assume that the dive has been planned correctly with depth and time considerations. We’ll also assume that buddy checks were completed, but who is buddied with who exactly? To be at this stage in their diving the divers must be qualified divers. This means they should be aware of the buddy system and that it is their responsibility – the students – to stick together. Under some training agencies they would have signed their agreement to this. Doug and Waseem should have been together from beginning to end of dive, no more than a handful of fin kicks away from each other and, preferably on their first deep dive, right next to each other. This is a failing on both their parts.


Next is the descent. This is a wreck dive. Look at 0:44. There is a shot line leading down from the surface. And this is the first ‘deep dive’ these guys have done. Again, we’re back to good judgement. There’s a line, make use of it! There may be water movement, anxiety issues or ear problems with the students. Plus, as someone who coaches instructor candidates, I always emphasise control criteria on training dives. The instructor should have briefed the dive accordingly and positioned himself so that each diver is next to the line before decending. Then, and only then, the group should leave the surface in formation: the instructor leading the group to set the pace and assess conditions. The two student ‘buddies’ behind communicating with each other, staying level and adjusting buoyancy to descend slowly and not exceeding the instructor’s pace. The DM should have been just above the students – sandwiching them – and able to monitor their comfort, safety and progress. And ALL should have been grasping the line in their RIGHT hand and (initially) descending feet first before leveling off and easing into a nice controlled diving position as they progress away from the surface.


Using the right hand to hold the line serves multiple purposes:


  1. It allows the student divers to stop their descent should they encounter ear problems.
  2. It allows the Instructor below to act as a barrier to prevent the students exceeding a safe decent/ascent rate.
  3. It allows the students to make buoyancy adjustments, equalise and communicate via hand signals with each other with their left arm – where all buoyancy adjustment takes place – while simultaneously monitoring their depth on their dive computers – which should be mounted on their RIGHT wrists for that reason.
  4. The knock on effect of taking these steps is that it may increase student diver control and decrease student diver anxiety mid-water.


Then, finally, when all four divers together arrive at the wreck below the group can then make a final adjustment for neutral buoyancy and check their buddy(s) are ok before releasing their grip on the line and beginning the dive proper.


So what actually happened? 0:46 student 1 decides to (wrongly) duck dive head first from the surface and head deeper at an alarming rate leaving the rest of the group. Was Student 1 crazy? Had he lost control? Had he not listened to the briefing? Let’s leave to one side these questions. The fact remains he has irresponsibly abandoned his buddy and shot off on his own. By 1:17 he’s several metres below the group, on his own, with the Instructor appearing to be chasing after him as quickly as his ears allow.


Taking students on their first deep dive can be a very focusing experience. One good rule of thumb as an Instructor is to always position yourself so that you or your DM can make immediate physical contact with your students – you need to be in a position to assist your students if required. However, regardless of what the instructor had briefed, Student 1 had taken it upon himself to ignore his group and head down on his own. It is at this point, for me, the dive would have also taken a different course.


Presented with this situation, the Instructor has essentially two ‘safer’ options, again depending on his professional judgement. One, he signals to his DM to stay with Student 2 and that they should (together) surface while the Instructor apprehends Student 1 and aborts the dive. Or, two, he signals to the DM to stay with Student 1 and slowly follow down on the line while he, the instructor, apprehends Student 1, checks he’s ok, and waits for DM and Student 2 at the bottom of the line for 1 minute. Then, if DM and student 2 do not appear, abort and begin a safe ascent up the line together.


What happens, in contrast, is Student 1 is on his own, being chased by the Instructor. The DM (for some reason) has abandoned Student 2, who is mid-water. This leaves Student 2, by 1:30 into the footage mid-water, with a burst ear, breathing like he’s Sepp Blatter in a FIFA investigation room – out of control and teetering on the brink of panic. And ALL are too far away from their one control point, the shot line, except the DM who is on the line with her back to Student 2.


2:19, Student 1 finally realises “Hey, I have a buddy!” and flaps over to his side. Finally, at 2:30, on the wreck, Student 2 signals to Student 1 he has a problem. Good. He’s communicating. This is the first positive thing so far. However, sadly, both Student 1 and 2 have insufficient skill or focus to maintain their buoyancy. They’re both so busy ‘wafting’ that Student 1 knocks Student 2’s reg out of his mouth at 2:43. It’s not clear where Instructor and DM are at this point.


Between 2:50 and 3:00 things start to take a turn for the worse. Without looking at their computers which, ominously, neither seems to do – Student 2 either goes up (which seems more likely based on later events) or, alternatively, Student 1 begins going down. Either way, neither has the presence of mind to take the line and stop, think and breathe.


At 3:10 the Instructor appears in shot. He’s waving his finger at Student 2. This would seem to indicate that Student 2 has ascended and is close to group separation at best, rapid ascent at worst. The Instructor appears to gain control of Student 2 and by 3:33 Student 2 is on the deck of the wreck again and his breathing rate is restored to something more normal. The Instructor, to his credit, is at this point trying to get his group together, despite his students’ best efforts. At 3:50 he identifies the DM and Student 1 away from the site in the deeper water and tries to gather the divers in the same place to regain control. And, just when you think he’s finally, FINALLY, got things almost resembling a proper Deep Adventure Dive class, Student 2 begins to go up AGAIN! And, again at the same time, the DM turns her back on Student 1 who has lost control of his buoyancy in the deeper water behind her. At 4:12 the Instructor appears to make the decision to cut his losses and abort the dive. He signals Student 2 that the group will be going up.


4:24 and Student 1 grabs the DM’s alternate air source and is in active panic. I would assume that, due to excessive negative buoyancy, rapid breathing and dead air space combined, Student 1 has begin to feel overexerted and air-starved and jumped to the conclusion it’s a regulator problem. The DM and Instructor are trying to calm Student 1. Meanwhile Student 2 watches and continues to film while they begin the ascent.


The DM turns to Student 2 at 4:51 and, rather than instruct him to calm down and stay with her, she gives a shrug and a ‘What’s going on?’ signal. They begin an ascent, mid-water. Ascent rate unknown.


OK, so at this point there has been a whole catalogue of cock-ups. Some from the Instructor and DM, some from the Students. The group has become anxious and is having to abort. They are mid-water and away from the line. Options are running out.


At this point as an Instructor (if I was transported into his wetsuit) my initial duty of care is to ensure that Student 1, who is panicking, makes a safe ascent. Student 1 is not being rational and this is the priority – the danger point. I would then expect (and instruct) a good DM to take control of Student 2, who’s currently unattended but rational and (if possible) launch an SMB to alert any boat traffic that we’ll be ascending mid-water – possibly in boat traffic – and try to keep the whole group together.


5:30, we’re back on the surface. This, of course, means NO safety stops were made. No oxygen is provided but we’ll assume that the Instructor has assessed the whole group and asked about their well-being and any signs or symptoms of DCI and has O2 on standby.


The video ends with the rolling text that both students are ‘…soon going to be divemasters. But nothing you can learn from a text can prepare us for what took place that day!!. That’s where I disagree.


Everything that’s goes wrong here is discussed in all the training up to that point; whether that’s something as simple as maintain buoyancy and buddy contact. Or, alternatively, using an ascent/descent line for control and how to deal with vertigo. Both are studied within the Open Water training.


Or, from the perspective of a DM or Instructor, group control, assisting with student divers in training, control criteria and risk management are all studied within DM and Instructor training.


It’s easy, sat here with a cup of coffee watching the footage and with the benefit of hindsight, to be smart. The Instructor lost control in the opening seconds of the class and spent the rest of the dive chasing his tail. It snow-balled out of control from there. However, this is all stuff that has been presented in black in white earlier in their training and – had the training been followed – there are a several things that could and should have been done to prevent this even occurring in the first place:


  1. Pre-assess the student divers’ skill level. These two guys should not have been on a Deep Adventure Dive based on the evidence presented. Their skill level and general dive procedures were poor.
  2. Don’t allow students to take cameras on a training dive. Training dives are for training.
  3. Thoroughly brief the student divers on the dive plan and refresh them on the buddy system, which was disregarded here.
  4. Remind them about contingency procedures and what to do if there is a problem such as separation, ears, vertigo or disorientation.
  5. Thoroughly brief the DM (if Niki was a DM/DMT) that no student must be left unattended. Always be in a position to make contact and offer assistance. Don’t turn your back on the group unless necessary for minimal periods.
  6. Use the risk management tools at your disposal. In this case go up and down the shot line to maintain group control.
  7. Be clear with your students in the water. Give them clear signals and take control of the group.
  8. If unsure, abort the dive. Do it another day or at another site when they are ready.


None of the above is a personal criticism of the DM and Instructor in this video. I’m sure they’re nice people. And a large proportion of the blame for the cluster-f*ck you’ve just watched lies with the students – who seem to have abandoned the basic principles of recreational diving learned in training up to that point in search of their next qualification – or some good footage on their GoPro camera to post on Facebook or YouTube.


Professionals, help protect your students and yourself by briefing your DM to do their job. Put any risk management procedures in place that you can to help with diver safety. And brief your students to follow the plan. You can only do so much. But we have to do our best.


How do I feel about the footage having reviewed it again? Well, I hope that recreational divers or non-divers don’t view this as a ‘typical’ dive. Diving is a great sport. And, statistically, it’s very safe. Let’s keep it that way. Play it safe. Refresh before your next course, hone your skills and be ready to take the next step – don’t run before you can walk or you won’t be doing yourself or the group you dive with any favours.



‘Paradise’ is often used to describe tropical diving locations, however, the Maldives encapsulates every sense of the word.

Manta Ray Maldives

Mantas are visitors to The Maldives


A group of 1,200 islands located south west of India and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives hosts an abundance of diverse marine life and offers some of the best dive sites in the world. Whether it’s exploring the lagoons and shallow reefs or flowing through fast currents on challenging drift dives, the Maldives appeals to divers of all abilities. In fact its actual name has the word ‘dive’ in it!

The Maldives offers diving throughout its wet and hot seasons. Due to its location you can expect the air temperature to be between 26-32 degrees and the sea temperature remains at a very pleasant 25-30 degrees all year round.

For the best visibility underwater visit between December and April. During these months the weather is very hot and sea conditions are generally good.

The wet season in the Maldives runs from May to August. There is a higher likelihood of rain, high winds and storms during this time. Water visibility can be reduced down to around ten metres during the wet season, although high levels of Plankton increase the chance of spotting Whale Sharks and Manta Rays!

Here is a selection of some of the best places to dive in the Maldives!

The Kuredu Express.

Maximum depth 27 metres.

Better suited to confident and experienced divers, the Kuredu Express is an exhilarating dive site so called because of its fast currents! Situated in the Lhaviyani Atoll and only a ten minutes boat ride from the island of Kuredu, this famous site offers a great opportunity to dive with larger marine life.

The pretty reef, teeming with small lagoon fish, sits at five metres. Most divers prefer to casually drift off the sloping reef and drop down to a sandy channel at around twenty-five metres. It is here, past a corner and amongst some alcoves in the reef, where the action really begins!

It is wise to hold onto the rocks in an effort to maintain your position with the current whizzing past! Here you will see dozens of Grey Reef Sharks taking advantage of the small marine life (food!) flowing past in the deep water channel’s current. Napoleon Wrasse, Morays, Eagle Rays, Large Tuna and Stingrays are also regular sightings.


Kureda Express

Kureda Express


Okobe Thila.

Maximum depth 33 metres.

Okobe Thila, or Barracuda Giri as it is also known, is a unique dive site situated within the North Male Atoll.

The site is made up of three stunning coral covered pinnacles and divers have two choices as to how they explore the area depending on how strong the current is.

The first option is to drop down to the main reef at twelve metres via a shot line, then continue down the slope to 25 metres where small overhangs and caves harbour inquisitive Moray Eels.
The second option is to begin the dive by drifting on the current before gradually descending down the sloping reef and navigating the pinnacles.

A bright sandy slope reaches up to around five metres and divers can spend their safety stops amongst Gorgonian Sea fans, soft corals and Anenomes.

Divers are almost guaranteed to encounter some (very friendly!) Napoleon Wrasse, Lionfish, Anthias, Scorpionfish, schools of Oriental Sweetlips and Bannerfish. Big Eye Trevallies, Barracuda and Dog Tooth Tuna can often be seen hunting for smaller fish during dawn and dusk dives.


Kandooma Thila.

Maximum depth 30 metres.

Found in the South Male Atoll, this unusual pinnacle, shaped like a teardrop, exhibits a stunning amount of marine life.

This dive is best suited to divers of an advanced level due to the strong currents and a rapid negative entry is advisable. Stretching for three-hundred metres, the pinnacle plays host to Barracuda, Big Eye Trevally, Triggerfish and Grouper. At the west point is ‘Jack Corner’ where Dog Tooth Tuna, White-tip Sharks, Eagle Rays and Jack Fish are likely to buzz past.

Overhangs sit along most of the pinnacle and these provide some protection from the current. Many divers prefer to reverse into the strong current and ascend gradually to the top of the pinnacle around twenty metres where Grey Reef Sharks and Eagle are common sightings.

Kandumma Maldives

Kandumma below the surface – fish life is abundant.


Broken Rock.

Maximum depth 30 metres.

Divers in the South Ari Atoll can take advantage of this beautiful reef which offers a myriad of exotic marine creatures.

Just a twenty-five minute boat journey from the island of Vakarufalhi and divided into two parts by a rocky canyon (hence it’s name), this site displays acres of soft corals.

Scorpionfish, Moray Eels, Napoleon Wrasse and thousands of small reef fish bustle around the huge fan corals and Anenomes adorning the sides of the canyon. Schools of Bannerfish, Triggerfish, Pufferfish and Anthias are also attracted to the colourful reef.

Divers can expect to experience some strong currents whilst swimming through the canyon, although their hard work is likely to be rewarded by the company of some charismatic Green Turtles on their safety stop.

Oriental Sweetlips

Oriental Sweetlips hanging around the reef!


Hammerhead Point.

Maximum depth 30 metres.

Also known as Madivaru Corner this world famous dive site sits within the Rasdhoo Atoll.

Whilst it is only a five minute boat ride from Kuramathi island, Hammerhead Point is mostly favoured by livaboard divers hoping to catch sight of Hammerhead Sharks early in the morning.

The best way to navigate Hammerhead Point is to drop down and follow the reef’s ridge at around ten metres. Underneath the ridge is a series of coves and overhangs stretching to twenty-five metres, where scores of Surgeonfish, Moray Eels, Anthias and Triggerfish can be found.

The elusive Hammerhead Sharks, some up to four metres long, often appear around the outside corner of the ridge and are a breathtaking sight as they emerge from the blue abyss. Some fast currents can occur around this point, so be prepared to fin a bit harder whilst awaiting the arrival of the scallop-headed wonders!

Large schools of Black Snapper and curious Dog-Tooth Tuna are also frequently spotted here.

Hammerhead Maldives

Cross your fingers, you may stumble upon one of these!

Like what you hear? Want to dive the Maldives? Click here for deals on liveaboards!

Fantasy Fish Tale

Posted: October 26, 2015 in Culture, Media, Movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat…”

Last night, I had a strange experience. I was staying in Italy with very good friends. One of them had brought along his 10 year old son for the weekend who, being 10 years old, wasn’t quite as enthralled with the architecture and vistas on offer in the Italian countryside. In fact, like the majority of modern 10 year olds, any period of time away from his iPad connected to Minecraft, Angry Birds or the latest awful Transformers offering from movie director Anti-Christ Michael Bay was met with foot-stomping protestations of boredom that not even Italian ice-cream could suppress.

That night while the ‘grown-ups’ were having dinner we decided that to keep our nipper occupied we would stream a movie onto the TV. We went through a series of options. Would we serve up another Transformers-style CGI-fest like Avengers: Age of Ultron? Or Iron Man? Perhaps he’s nearly old enough for something slightly darker from Christopher Nolan’s excellent Batman series? Upon checking with the IMDB and rather excellent BBFC website we figured it may be just slightly beyond his maturity.

In the end, I recalled the movies that had impacted me at that age. What had stuck with me. What had stood the test of time. What, when I looked back to the young me, was burned into my memory as a landmark movie. Jaws, the 1975 classic, which has recently celebrated it’s 40th birthday, stood out as a big influence.

Regarded by many as the first summer-blockbuster-popcorn-movie, Jaws transcended it’s genre – as the best movies do – and became a cultural phenomenon. Like many of my generation, I can still remember this film being broadcast on TV when I was a child of that age. At first scared and watching from behind a cushion, as I grew the movie grew with me. Forgetting it’s lamentable sequels, I still love it today. And although it is not without flaws, without any hint of irony, will happily cite it as one of my favourite films.

So what’s great about it? Well, in many ways, it’s the first ‘family’ horror movie – if there is such a thing. Although only a PG rating in the UK originally (now reclassified to it’s 12A modern equivalent) there is something tense and shocking about it even today- whether it’s a 10-12 year old meeting the movie for the first time. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, granny watching it on boxing day while munching on a mince pie. It has the ability to captivate each generation.

Some of that brooding sense of threat that the movie has is a happy accident. Something serendipitous making the film greater than the sum of it’s parts. The rubber shark that they had lined up to play the title role (nicknamed ‘Bruce’) malfunctioned during production. It simply wouldn’t work. This had a few side effects.

Firstly, it meant that under pressure to complete the film under schedule, and with the studio breathing down his neck, Spielberg was forced to shoot large sections of the movie shark-less. This meant that legendary composer John Williams had to effectively become the shark. In fact, for the first half of the movie the shark is not seen. It’s heard in the form of John Williams’ cello. And a healthy does of Hitchcockian suggestion from Spielberg.

  • As with many good horror or sci-fi movies, Jaws has said to be allegorical for a bigger issue. Over the years Jaws has been said to be about variously; the Watergate scandal, the atom bomb, that the shark represents a sexual predator or serial killer, it’s a parable on the need for order in society, a morality tale, representing science (Hooper) vs. religion (Quint) in the face of the common man (Brody), the three aspects of the human psyche Parent (Quint), Adult (Hooper) and Child (Brody) engaging, the unreality and sanitisation of modern life and (inevitably for a film of this era) the dread of spreading communism.

Secondly, the three main protagonists in the movie; Quint, Brody and Hooper, famously clashed on set. Accounts vary as to why that may have been the case. Some say it was a deliberate ploy from hardened actor Robert Shaw to create tension on the set. Part of his plan. Others say that Shaw – known to enjoy a drink – simply didn’t get on with Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider. Whatever the reasons, the tension between the actors seems real and palpable.

Critics and academics have picked over the meaning of the film for decades since it’s release. What the film represents. The psychological representation of the three main characters. Why it effects people so profoundly. Why it has succeeded where other haunted house and monster movies have failed. Let’s face it, no-one is picking over the cultural significance of The Swarm, Piranha or Lake Placid which, essentially, try (and fail) to tread the same ground.


Whatever it’s draw – and I’m probably not smart enough to give a reasoned response – it still works. 40 years on in October 2015 I sat next to my friend’s son as he watched the movie and he was enthralled. He jumped as the ‘face’ appeared in the bottom of the wrecked fishing boat. He yelped as the ‘monster’ burst through the hull of the boat in the final act. The film works.

So what was strange? Well, across at the other end of the sofa were two other friends of mine. Mature, intelligent adults. They were scowling. Arms folded. They hated it. They said it was sh*t. When asked to elaborate the reasoning was that, a) it wouldn’t happen – in the real world the shark would have been dealt with in the opening act. No shark behaves like that, b) in the final act the actors laugh in relief at having survived the final ‘confrontation’ before hanging their heads at news of Quint and c) the violence is gratuitous – and the characters should have been sobbing for the tragedy that had just happened. This was a strange reaction.

Let’s be clear and put a couple of flags in the sand at the outset. These guys who objected to the film are not prissy or prudish people. They are progressive in their views and taste in film. In fact, earlier in the week we’d been discussing some of the more recent Lars Von Trier offerings – and you would struggle to get more controversial than that. They also usually have a profound understanding of art and what gives something impact.

“The purpose of art is to collide the intellectual and visceral together at the highest speed possible.” Penn Jillette

It therefore seemed odd to me that they would be so revolted by the movie for several reasons. Firstly and most importantly, this is a horror/fantasy movie. Somehow, in watching the film, they seemed to have blurred the line between fantasy and reality. The shark in Jaws is no more real than the bees in The Swarm, the crocodile in Lake Placid. Shark behaviour is well documented and the personal attacks on the Orca vessel or it’s crew bear about as much relationship to reality as the autonomous and sentient VW Beetle in the Herbie movies.

In the final act, yes, the characters laugh in relief at their apparently miraculous survival against the odds. And then hang their heads as Brody confirms to Hooper that there has been an unfortunate event involving Quint. It’s a fleeting moment. But this a popcorn movie not intended or expected to be based in reality. It has no duty to explore the reality of the human condition. The film is a form of escapism to transport you from reality for 2 hours, not a therapy session.

In reality, of course, the protagonists of the action would be traumatised by events. Their reaction would be different, I’m sure, to that shown in the film. However, in movie world, their reaction is no more unrealistic than the whooping of Luke Skywalker – as thousands perish – as he destroys the death star. Or the grin of the cinema crowd as Indiana Jones casually shoots in cold blood the sword-carrying assassin in Raiders of The Lost Ark. Inevitably there is death and destruction in these type of action movies. But it’s dealt with in a very tongue-in-cheek, cartoon way. To worry about the morality of Hooper and Brody’s reaction to Quint’s demise is akin to getting caught up in the moral dilemma of what will become of the wives and children of the Nazi soldiers crushed under wheels of trucks in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Or the assassins and henchmen disposed of by James Bond during his last mission. Children are smart and understand that real-world situations are different to the fantasy and schlock of on-screen situations.

Jaws, for all it’s supposed gore or gratuitity, is surprisingly low on blood. We see one unattached leg. The ghostly face of a befallen fisherman poking out of the hull of a boat. And, a final act in which one of the main protagonists is swallowed with the inevitable tomato ketchup moment that ensues. That’s it. Compared with the body count and gruesome endings that some of James Bond or Indiana Jones’ adversaries meet, this is positively tame. The rest is suggestion. The rest is threat.

Perhaps the visceral reaction my friends had to Jaws is not a reaction to how bad it is. Perhaps it’s an adverse reaction because it’s a bit too close to reality for their tastes. Had it had a more ‘cartoon’ element, their reaction may have been different. However, great art, as Penn Jillette rightly said, “…is to collide the intellectual and visceral together at the highest speed possible.” This is how magic tricks work in his world. This is how a roller coaster works. Your visceral senses are telling you that hurtling down the track at great speed you are in danger. Your intellect tells you that you must be safe – thousands of people ride this roller coaster each year. If it was genuinely dangerous they wouldn’t be in business.

And that’s Jaws. A roller coaster. A 40 year-old roller coaster. Your senses tell you there is danger. That the shark will destroy them. That the characters you’re invested in are in mortal danger. Your intellect by contrast, tells you that sharks are neither that large nor able to board boats and destroy the crew. This is fantasy. A ride.

As the legendary horror director Wes Craven once said “”It’s like boot camp for the psyche. In real life, human beings are packaged in the flimsiest of packages, threatened by real and sometimes horrifying dangers, events like Columbine. But the narrative form puts these fears into a manageable series of events. It gives us a way of thinking rationally about our fears.”

For me, Jaws is the epitome of this. And, 40 years after it’s original release, it still had the power to thrill a 10 year old boy I know.


“ok, I admit it, it was me…”


In breaking news at the Scuba Monkey’s top-secret research labs (just south of Nangtong Supermarket, near the massage parlour on the road south from Ranong) it’s been revealed that Satan, Prince of Darkness, is the entity responsible for GoPro Hero cameras.

Long suspected to be the case by Scuba Diving Instructors, Divemasters and guides worldwide, this latest information confirms their deepest suspicions and fears.

The Dark Lord himself told The Scuba Monkey’s research team about his evil bidding in a telephone interview yesterday afternoon.



“There’s just too many humans in the world. Too many. Why can’t they stop rutting, just for a second? They’re not even my favourite primate. I like the Orangutans – that ‘Clyde‘ in the Clint Eastwood movies especially. And we need to sort out this food/air deal. Anyway, him upstairs – y’know him with the white flowing beard – commanded I do something about it. Said I was the demon for the job. After all, Satan’s the name, capturing souls is the game!”

“So, I appeared to (founder and CEO of GoPro) Nicholas Woodman in an apparition. You should have seen his little face!! I snuck into his bedroom at 4am and planted the idea in his brain. So, go easy on the guy – it’s not all his fault.”

Laughing almost to the point of tears Satan said “I filled him full of a load of crap about how it ‘helps people capture and share their lives’ most meaningful experiences with others—to celebrate them together’…a ha-ha-ha-ha…”

“The reality is it’s a great way of culling the most shallow, self-centred, egotistical and narcissistic fleshlings for my evil kingdom. These f*ckwits are like lambs to the slaughter. First, I give them Facebook – the ultimate tool for the mentally ill who post ‘selfies’ under the misapprehension that anyone gives a sh*t. And then, my masterstroke, was as to create a simple to use, easy to buy, small box that takes 1080p footage with which they can stroke their egos and post on social networking sites. The poor buggers can’t help themselves! They’re like lemmings! Spending their whole life from behind a small box on a stick nearly killing themselves in the hope of becoming more popular, instead of actually having a life… I mean, what a great idea: Foolproof. Simple. Effective. Much like the camera. Add Scuba Diving Equipment and these idiots are like an accident waiting to happen and ‘boom’ – we cull the idiots and make some more space on the planet. Job done. The boss will be pleased. ”

Sam Worthington, 33, a PADI Instructor presently working in South East Asia confirmed Beelzebub’s account of human behaviour. Clutching his head in his hands he said “I deal with Scuba Divers on a daily basis. At best most holiday divers are average in the water. But, add a GoPro and…they behave like headless chickens. Swimming up, down, left, right….everywhere except with their buddy or the rest of the group. You can hear their computers screaming as they ascend like polaris missiles. Or beeping like a faulty doorbell as they blow through their 1.4 ppo2 using nitrox as they don’t have a scooby what depth they’re at…”

Shaking his head Sam added “Watching a novice dive with a GoPro is like watching a car-crash. Some of these people can barely dive without a camera. Then giving that same novice diver this evil piece of technology is like asking a new car driver to drive through central London while juggling bowling pins like Penn Jillette – doomed to failure. And, in the process, they kill most of the aquatic life in their path and risk the safety of the whole group. They’re like human wrecking balls. That Devil guy is not as daft as he looks y’know. I’ve seen a dozen incidents this year already watching some pituitary retard chasing a Whale Shark. And if I see one more of these knob-jockeys kick the coral I’ll kill them myself before they manage to kill themselves…”

Dorianne, 30, an Instructor in the Red Sea, said shaking her head “I once saw a customer – a daft traveller/trustafarian type with ‘ethnic tattoos’ and dreadlocks – shoot up towards the surface chasing footage of an Oceanic Whitetip with one of those death-box-on-a-sticks. Luckily, we managed to slow her down on her journey from 30m to 5m before she hit the surface – despite her kicking and punching. Her Suunto was beeping like morse-code machine having a seizure. When we got back on the boat she was more concerned with uploading her footage to improve her popularity and get ‘likes’ than being connected to the emergency oxygen. Idiot. She’s presently in a chamber just outside Hurghada taking ‘selfies’ of herself with the facility staff.”

Before departing Satan chuckled and said “Soon every diver will have one of these devices before they even finish their Open Water course or know how to hover, monitor their air and depth, or fin correctly. I love it when a plan comes together…business is booming down here in my Evil Kingdom!”

In breaking news at the Scuba Monkey’s top secret research facility (Asia-Pacific Branch, just south of Mars Bar on the main road from Phuket to Ranong, past the 7/11 on the right) shocking new research has linked owning and using a digital camera and housing with early-onset hearing loss.

Previous thought had theorised that hearing loss was linked to old age and/or long-term exposure to noise above accepted levels. However, recent findings indicate that being an underwater photographer can cause a form of selective hearing known as “happy snapper” or (in medical circles) “twat syndrome”. Technically speaking, scuba instructors refer to this as “completely ignoring the f*cking briefing and diving like a cock”.


“No…I own a camera so I didn’t hear a damn thing…”

On a recent visit to a marine park in the Indian Ocean, Dirk Pederfilesen, 48, a fat bloke from Copenhagen with an underwater camera, said “I think they said something about ‘respecting the marine park’ in the briefing? or not touching the wildlife? Something like that? I couldn’t quite hear it as I’m an enormous bell-end.” Chuckling he added “I was busy preparing my camera housing for the dive, where I proceeded to kick living hell out of the reef and create a blizzard of sand for anyone in the area. However, I did manage to get 442 pictures of a clown fish that no-one’s interested in seeing. Ever.”


International surplus of moray eel photos continues.

Plum Saw Wong, 23, an extremely pretty but totally incompetent female diver from Shanghai, said “Apparently we were told to during the briefing to not wear gloves as it’s a marine park rule and, also, to keep wearing our masks on the surface and keep our regulators in until we were safely back on the dive deck as there was lots of waves and it’s ‘good practice’. Naturally, as I own an expensive Nikon camera I didn’t hear a word of that. So, imagine my surprise as a smashed head-first into the boat’s ladder in the surge at the end of the dive. I couldn’t see what the hell was going on as I wasn’t wearing my mask. At the time I was busy trying to remove my ridiculous white fins while blinded by waves and…boom! into the ladder. If only I’d heard what was going on the briefing….” Making a ‘peace’ V-sign she grinned and added ” However, I did manage to scare the crap out of a cuttlefish by strobing it to within an inch of it’s life on the dive though so…happy! happy!”

Diver kicking up sediment

Take that reef!!

Dermot McCraic, 31, from Dublin said “I was greasing the o-ring on my housing during the dive briefing so my hearing was impaired and I couldn’t hear the instructor advising us about potential strong currents and keeping buddy contact. So, I was shocked to find that I was blown away from the dive site like a tit in the wind when I completely ignored the group and buggered off on my own with my camera. If only I’d been able to listen to the briefing. Bloody camera. Nevermind. It only compromised the dive for the whole group as they had to surface and look for me – so it’s not like my actions effected anyone else. Oh…they did.”

Sarah McDonald, 43, an experienced instructor in the area, said “This kind of occurrence is becoming increasingly common as more and more complete idiots buy underwater cameras. Their hearing and ability to follow simple instructions takes a nose-dive. It’s a worrying trend. However, it does mean the world isn’t short of pictures of moray eels.”

For help and advice on camera-related-twatish behaviour contact the Scuba Monkey’s research team below.


In breaking Scuba Diving News, The Scuba Monkey can reveal that Instructor Bob McNobb, 43, from Gt Yarmouth, broke a new Scuba record when he drove his Scuba Diving Van loaded with equipment from the East Coast of England to Vobster Training Centre in Somerset without even once leaving the outside lane of the motorway – holding up miles of frustrated motorists.

Mr McNobb, armed with only a Mercedes Sprinter van, 3 Ginsters pasties, 2 ‘wild bean cafe’ coffees and 10 Lambert & Butler cigarettes, undertook the feat last weekend.

“It was tough. A real test of endurance staying out there in the wrong lane all that time. But I did it.” said Bob looking tired but relieved at the waterside. “I’ve been working up to this for months. Years. It started back in 2009 when I did a whole stretch of the A14 from Cambridge to Brampton Hut in the outside lane with a queue of angry motorists behind me. I was coaching my Divemaster Trainee, Steve, on how to drive like a proper scuba diving professional. I just built up my strength and endurance from there.”

Talking through his training regime, Bob said “The trick is to ensure you have enough junk food, caffeine and nicotine onboard before setting off. Preparation is key, you see. The rest is just hard work and perseverance.”

Mr McNobb’s record beats the previous champion Mike Twatty’s effort when he drove a Ford Transit from a dive centre near Watford to Guildenburgh Water near Peterborough upsetting 43 motorists and causing a multiple pile-up on the A1 northbound.


The Title-winning Vehicle

Mr Twatty said “Bob has a gift. It takes a real Pro to be able to unwrap a chicken tikka slice with one hand at 70mph while simulataneously lighting a fag with the other hand and weaving in front of an angry sales rep in a Renault Megane Diesel. Pure class. Credit to him. He’s a worthy champion.”

Asked if he had any “top tips” for up and coming diving professionals wanting to follow in his footsteps, Bob said “Concentrate on the basics and, as I said, ensure you have the right diet of pasties, coffee and fags. Steer clear of the Highway Code. And, personally, I find if I listen to Example, Chase and Status, Pendulum, or something equally banal, repetitive and mind-numbing, that helps to blott out the other drivers’ horns beeping and violent threats – allowing me to focus on dangling my right arm out of the window and tapping the bodywork in time with the music.”


Hamilton: “I beat you….urrgghhhh….you’re a spaz!!!” Vettel: “Ok, you win. Now stop pulling that face”

In breaking news today it was revealed that Lewis Hamilton thrashed Sebastian Vettel. Not in an F1 car. In the ‘Silliest Looking F1 Driver Championship’.

3 times Drivers Champion Vettel put in a sterling effort this season; repeatedly pointing his finger and even, to the shock of his many fans, having his hair highlighted like a commercial radio DJ or 3rd division footballer. But even that was not enough to stop Hamilton romping home to take the win and retain his crown. This was the first time the UK has had a back-to-back champion since the days of Nigel Mansell’s memorable moustache/eyebrows combo of the late ’80s and early ’90s

Clinching the points battle was Hamilton’s chin-strap tidy beard that looks like a snail has crawled from one side of his face to the other underneath his jaw, combed forward lego hair to cover his receding hairline, matching sparkly earrings and oversized skater-boy cap.

Team-mate Nico Rosberg said “Yes, I may have also won races this year, but when it comes to dressing like a complete tool I can’t compete. Lewis is a genius.”

Former team-mate Jenson Button said “Lewis is nudging 30 years old and still dressing like a 14 year old skater kid. And he makes looking silly seem so easy. I’ve tried everything – even growing a little fluffy beard – I just can’t get near him.”

Lewis confessed that taking fashion tips from ex-girfriend Nicole Scherzinger had helped him in his efforts to look like a complete dick-bag who’d drive a modded 1989 Honda Civic with an exhaust pipe so big you could fit your head up it.

Will Perkins, 21, who works in Halfords Parts Department and drives a slammed Nissan 200SX said “He looks awesome”.