Where does your diving take you?

The Thresher Shark Research & Conservation Project

In 2011 I’ll be returning to The Thresher Shark Research & Conservation Project for a six month stint as Science Officer. Helping out on an important scientific and community project with some of the greatest people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work with.

I spent the best three months of my life there in 2009. Diving every day, researching sharks and mantas, and helping a small island community—through the research and its application to conservation and within the local dive tourism industry, but also directly within the community, where the project provides jobs, helped construct housing and where TSRCP volunteers teach marine biology and conservation at the local school.

Life on the island was confronting at first. About 2 km square consisting of a couple of small villages and a few dive resorts (largely foreign owned, but where the island community gets 80% of its income), there is no permanent electricity and no fresh water. The island is powered by petrol generators prone to breakdown and drinking water is imported daily. A simple, largely subsistence lifestyle. I grew to love the island and its people.

History

TSRCP was started in 2005 by research scientists Simon P. Oliver and Alison J. Beckett to create a baseline of Monad Shoal in the Philippines—primarily concerned with Pelagic Thresher Shark (Alopias pelagicus) cleaning activity as well as the shoal’s coral coverage and general health.

Monad Shoal is about 8 km east of the southern beach of Malapascua Island in the Visayan Sea—an open water seamount with a relatively square dive profile around 21–24m that plunges to 250m, presenting a unique opportunity to observe and record these rarely studied oceanic sharks.

Both threshers and Manta Rays (Manta birostris) frequent the site, as well as a myriad of other pelagic and reef fish. Particularly the various species of cleaner fish that draw the oceanic wildlife to the shoal.

TSRCP is a significant source of environmental, ecological and behavioural research for Pelagic Thresher Sharks, providing research, education and conservation locally, regionally and internationally.

GUE Relationship

Through volunteer divers (including myself) TSRCP became aware of Global Underwater Explorers, a non-profit diver training agency focussed on research, conservation and exploration, whose training methods and techniques are uniquely suited to scientific research diving. In 2009 TSRCP became a GUE affiliated project and now provides all volunteer divers with basic training aimed at perfecting the buoyancy, trim and propulsion techniques necessary for a successful research diver.

Join Us

I encourage any divers out there to volunteer with the The Thresher Shark Research & Conservation Project. My three months there were amazing—peaceful, eye opening and life changing. The most fulfilling ‘work’ I’ve ever done. I can’t wait to be back in 2011.

Depth Gauge Now With More Air Depth

UPDATE: Air Depth and Depth Gauge are no longer available. Check out Gas Manager on the App Store.


I’ve submitted a new version of Depth Gauge to the App Store. Other than being recompiled for OS 2.x backward compatibility, this update brings an enhanced version of Air Depth EAD calculator. The Depth slider’s range is now tied to the MOD of the gas.

Version 1.1 of Air Depth has also been submitted. Other than recompilation for backward compatibility, this is a cosmetic update.

Finally

UPDATE: Depth Gauge is no longer available. Check out Gas Manager on the App Store.


Air Depth and Depth Gauge 1.0.1 have finally gone live on the App Store. The biggest change is that both now share a lot of code (in preparation for Depth Gauge 1.1), however the visible changes are:

  1. The Nitrogen slider’s visibility is controlled by a new setting: “Show Nitrogen %”.
  2. New gas icons replace the labels to the left of each slider.
  3. Localización española.

Depth Gauge 1.1 is almost ready for publishing. I’m just waiting on one last piece of localised text and for the resurrection of my MackBook Pro. The big change for 1.1 is the inclusion of Air Depth, allowing you to use both tools from the one application. The free version of Air Depth will of course still exist and could be considered a lite version of Depth Gauge.

Inconsistency Upsets Me

UPDATE: Air Depth and Depth Gauge are no longer available. Check out Gas Manager on the App Store.

UPDATE: I’ve seeded new versions of each app.


So today version 1.0.1 of Depth Gauge was rejected by Apple. Why? Because it contains a disabled slider control. A control disabled on purpose and for good reason. A control included and displayed to the user for good reason.

According to the rejection letter, Depth Gauge was rejected for two reasons. Firstly, it doesn’t do what it claims in the release notes. This is, of course, utterly wrong. It does exactly what it claims.

Secondly, apparently you aren’t allowed to disable or automatically update slider controls. Say what? No, the HIG doesn’t mention that. No, no other documents I can find mention that. Oh and the SDK explicitly supports both things. Which you’d expect, seeing as they’re useful features particularly in the way I’m using the controls.

By far the worst aspect of this is that version 1.0.1 has been in the queue for about three weeks, for only cosmetic changes. That’s right. This functionality was in the original version. It has already been approved.

So what’s a poor boy to do? Send a nicely worded, if mildly abrasive, email to Apple and in the meantime, try to come up with a work around that doesn’t confuse users.

Depth Gauge and Air Depth 1.0.1 in the Pipe

UPDATE: Depth Gauge is no longer available. Check out Gas Manager on the App Store.


New versions of Depth Gauge and Air Depth are in the publishing queue at the iPhone App Store.

New in this version:

  1. The Nitrogen slider’s visibility is controlled by a new setting: “Show Nitrogen %”.
  2. When visible, the Nitrogen slider is completely disabled and faded.
  3. New gas icons replace the labels to the left of each slider.
  4. Localización española

Depth Gauge Released

UPDATE: Depth Gauge is no longer available. Check out Gas Manager on the App Store.


Version 1.0 of Depth Gauge, an operating depth calculator for iPhone and iPod touch, has been released.

Aimed at technical divers, Depth Gauge calculates Minimum Operating Depth, Maximum Operating Depth, and Equivalent Narcosis Depth1 for a specified breathing gas mixture and maximum partial pressure of oxygen2.

Get Depth Gauge from the App Store.

  1. Supports both metric and imperial units.
  2. Depth Gauge is a useful tool for double checking gas requirements, but should not be used in lieu of your own calculations or to exceed the depth limits recommended by your dive association’s standards.

Air Depth Released

UPDATE: Air Depth is no longer available. Check out Gas Manager on the App Store.


Today marks the release of Air Depth, an equivalent air depth calculator and my first app for iPhone and iPod touch.

Aimed at divers using Nitrox gas mixes, Air Depth can be used to calculate the Equivalent Air Depth1 of your mix, allowing the use of air based tables for planning your dive.

Get Air Depth from the App Store.

  1. Supports both metric and imperial units.

I’ve finally built a website and removed the postit! note that occupied this space for the past seven years.