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July 2012    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 27, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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from the July, 2012 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The last few months of stories have produced a good batch of opinions, suggestions and advice from Undercurrent subscribers, so we're including a few here to educate and entertain you.

Regarding Doc Vikingo's May story on whether divers should splurge on a VO2 Max test, Bill Schlegel (Jefferson City, MO), a clinical cardiologist for more than 30 years, agrees that the answer is no. "The use of the Bruce Protocol treadmill stress test as a standard for fitness to dive is well documented. There is no reason to do formal VO2 testing as part of a fitness-to-dive test on the average sport diver."

David Steinberg (Portland, OR) liked our June story "Why Divers Run Low on Gas" because it proved his method for not running low on gas is a good one. "I have been telling my fellow divers about a simple habit I've been using since I was certified, and after I ran out of gas on my first official openwater dive that year: 'If you can't estimate within 100 psi how much gas you have left, you are not checking often enough.' So just before I look at my gauge, I estimate how much there is. It doesn't take long before a diver will know approximately how much gas he should have without looking, then look and verify it. This does two things: The diver becomes much more aware of his gas usage, and checks his gauge more frequently."

Also in the June issue was "Why You Might Remove Your Regulator When You Shouldn't," in which we reprinted a section from the book Deep Survival that discusses research about divers who died with air in their tanks and perfectly functional regulators. Debra Cronenwett (Enfield, NH) related that to her own experience. "Thirty years ago, when I was a newbie diver, I heard a story about a diver whose first symptom of nitrogen narcosis was that he removed his regulator. Hearing this story may have saved my life, because shortly thereafter, I was at 90 feet on the last day of a week-long vacation and began to feel funny. (This was back in the day when one used dive tables only, not computers.) I had the thought that it was difficult to breathe through a regulator, and maybe I should remove it. This rang alarm bells in my head, and I immediately went to my buddy and made the universal sign for 'crazy' next to my head. He started to ascend with me hanging listlessly from his arm. I 'woke up' at around 80 feet and was able to help get us safely to the surface. So keep telling these stories -- it does help to hear them!"

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