October 2019

MUD Club

Next Meeting: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Andrews University, Biology Amphitheater, Price Hall

Berrien Springs, MI

Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

(3rd Tuesday of every month except December)

October Meeting:

  1. Introduce Visitors.
  2. Present Specific Club Information

MUD Club Elections in November

President – VP – Treasurer – Secretary / Newsletter – Club Web Site Admin.

MB has been president for the last 5 years and is relinquishing the gravel. Richard C has been VP for years, Ric K has been Treasurer longer than anyone remembers and Mack the Newsletter/ Meeting Minutes keeper the same. Your help and participation are needed to keep the club going. Who will step up”?

  • Identify dive events upcoming or planned. (Dives & Road Trips) 

October 19: Archology Day 2019- 10 / 4:00 – Michigan History Center, Lansing, MI.

November 1 & 2: Lake Superior Marine Museum Association – Gales of November”

November 23:“Shipwrecks & Scuba” Dive Show, – Bay Area Divers in Sandusky Ohio

  • Identify & discuss diving-related news important to divers.

Kevin & Amy removed the Havana buoy ending the official Havana dive season 😊

  • Present any Show & Tell.
  •  Attendees speak about current diving experiences or lessons learned.
  • Open session.

September Meeting Highlights:

There were 15 present and one new member (Chris White) at the meeting. Items discussed or talked about include comments on the buoy projects, Q&A on the Lady Elgin & Harry Zych, lake diving performed on/ under (Lake 16, Lake Cora, PPL, Black River in South Haven and Haigh Quarry) and wrecks including the Havana, Ironsides, the J.D. Marshall and the Michigan City Breakwater. Also brought up the upcoming presentation on recovery of aircraft (possible submarine) from Lake Michigan by Taras Lyssenko and there were several comments on the “A quick guide to keeping your cool” and How Not to Be “That Guy” On a dive boat.  A few couples went to Town Hall pizza after the meeting.

Recent Diver Related Activities included:

9/14: Wolf’s Annual Flea market – Lots of interesting things to look at.

9/20: Wolf’s completed an Open Water scuba class in Lake Cora.

9/21: “2019 Niles Ecology Dive” was cancelled due to unsafe river conditions

9/28: BH Regional Airport-The Great Navy Birds of Lake Michigan.


We really appreciate ALL of you who are post about your dives on the “Mud Club” Face Book site. Other divers like to know where you dove, ease of access, the water temperature, thermocline level and visibility.  And especially what did you see or find😊

As of today 10-10 SW Michigan lake condition information is still available at-> https://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/ which takes you to UGLOS 45026 which is located off shore by the Cook Nuclear Plant and Waco Beach. Station 45168 is offshore of South Haven piers. They will soon be pulled!

For anyone looking for a dive or dive buddy, keep checking in and updating the MUD Club Facebook site for “Thirsty Thursday” dives. Also check “SASS Wednesday Night Dive Club” (Calendar at a Glance:  info@sassdive.com) or Hart City Scuba’s “Hump Day Dive Schedule” (http://www.hartcityscuba.com/hump-day-dive-schedule.html).  There is NO reason not to be getting wet and/or having a buddy diver.  It is October and the water is getting chiller BUT it’s not HARD yet!  Get Wet Soon!

Diver News:        Is Your Old (DIVE) Computer Still Safe?

How to determine whether it’s time for an update!

The algorithm, the mathematical calculation a dive computer uses to make real-time data measurements on time, depth and gas mix, cannot be seen behind the glass counter in the store, but it’s the most important thing to understand about your computer.

Just as the launch of a spacecraft is a spectacular thing to see, it’s the navigation algorithm that sees the crew safely to its destination and back again to Earth. The same can be said of your dive computer’s algorithm — it’s designed to keep you from getting hit with decompression sickness (DCS).

As we age, our bodies change, so it could be the dive computer you bought at age 55 may not have the more conservative algorithm suitable for you at age 70. So, how do you know if it’s time to retire that old computer? And how do you decide which is the right one to purchase next?

The First Questions to Ask

To evaluate your current dive computer, ask these questions: Can it be set for nitrox? Does it allow you to set degrees of caution? Does it tell you how long your air will last? Can you read and understand the display easily?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, dump that anachronism and get a modern, more suitable computer. Your tired eyes will also enjoy your new computer’s clearer display; many computers now have super-sharp dot matrix systems. If you choose one with an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) colored display, its main figures will change from green to amber if caution is required, and then to red if you’ve really outstayed your welcome. At night, and in poor visibility, such an illuminated display can be a godsend.

Aside from that feature, don’t be misled by the shiny perfunctory knobs and buttons offered by manufacturers as sales bait. You need to ask about the algorithm and understand its ability to return you safely to the surface. After all, what good is a clearly visible display if you don’t understand what it’s telling you? Buying a diving computer without having a perfunctory understanding of what it does is buying blind.

So, it’s worth understanding a little bit about the development of the algorithm and diving decompression tables.

A Short, Important History of How Your Computer Works

Way back in 1908, a Scottish physiologist named John Scott Haldane was commissioned by the British Royal Navy to prepare the first proper decompression table. He based this on extensive experimentation with DCS in goats, saturating them with nitrogen to depths of 165 feet. Since then, other physiologists have modified Haldane’s discoveries to try to theoretically improve things, but, by and large, they’re still using the same basic information.

In the 1960s, Albert Bühlmann, a professor at the University of Zurich, came up with a decompression algorithm for use in an early Uwatec computer, and since it’s now freely available in the public domain, most computer manufacturers use a modified version of that. (Look for the nomenclature “Bühlmann ZH-16” with varying suffixes in computer specs.)

Here in the U.S., Drs. Ray Rogers and Michael Powell designed the PADI recreational dive planner, and their work was then turned into the DSAT algorithm for no-deco-stop dives to a depth of less than 100 feet. This proved unsuitable for European divers, who habitually go deeper, so later American made computers came with dual-algorithms — DSAT and Pelagic+, a derivation of the ZH-16. It is important to know which of these algorithms your computer is set to.

There was a time when divers made a single dive or maybe two in a day, but the modern traveling diver now may make up to six dives in a day. With short surface intervals, an allowance should be made for residual nitrogen levels from previous dives.

The American physiologist Bruce Wienke came up with an algorithm considering asymptomatic microbubbles that may be present in a diver but will most likely be added to, making them larger and symptomatic, on a second dive. Many modern computer manufacturers have bought into Wienke’s work, most notably, Suunto, Cressi, Atomic and Mares. Some divers complain about the punitive deco stops mandated on subsequent dives, but that is the algorithm writer attempting to keep you safe from harm. Older divers, with less efficient hearts, lungs and circulatory systems, are more vulnerable to an otherwise unwarranted attack of DCS on repeat dives. Driven by the competition, other manufacturers, particularly Scubapro, have added adaptations to the ZH algorithm to account for these microbubbles.

The problem with all of this is that no algorithm writer can write one specifically tailored for you. It’s all based on hypothesis and Haldane’s original research from more than 100 years ago. Not enough divers get bent to provide enough data, so computer manufacturers tend to err on the side of safety, while insisting at the same time that none of their products can protect you from getting injured by DCS.

Then Dick Rutowski, formerly the deputy diving coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, proposed that leisure divers could be safer if they reduced the amount of nitrogen, they breathed by increasing the percentage of oxygen — i.e., breathing nitrox. At first, Rutkowski was pilloried for his suggestion, but now nitrox use is commonplace among recreational divers. It still amazes me that so many older divers cling to the use of air but remember that it’s nitrox 21 because it contains 21 percent oxygen.

Setting Your Computer Straight

Modern computers can all be set for nitrox, and if you are getting longer in the tooth, you should certainly breathe that. However, setting the computer to match the nitrox mix does not add safety, it merely increases your no-deco-stop diving time. If you want to add safety, either set a less oxygen-rich mix or add a level of caution, which most modern computers allow you to do.

You might set your computer to air (nitrox 21) when using nitrox 32 — always bearing in mind the maximum operating depth of the mix you are breathing. In this way, it calculates for a higher level of nitrogen absorption. Many divers just use the computer straight out of the box at its factory settings. Wrong!

It’s always worth reading the manual. For example, if you buy a Scubapro computer for its microbubble settings but leave it set at MB0, you are not allowing for any micro bubbles whatsoever. Set it at a micro-bubble setting (MB1 To MB3). Other dive computers allow you to set Safety Factors (SF) or Gradient Factors that, provided you follow your computer’s advice on the way up, decrease the calculated rate at which you off-gas the nitrogen that you’ve absorbed during the dive, making your ascent slower.

Many computers can be operated in conjunction with a transmitter that plugs into your regulator first stage. If you think this sounds too complicated, let me offer you an appropriate analogy: There was a time when we only had a gas gauge to go by in our cars. Nowadays when you drive, which do you refer to first on the dashboard, the gas gauge or the “remaining miles left” indicator? It’s the same with gas-integrated computers. They tell you not only the pressure of gas in your tank, but how long it will last you at the depth you’re at considering the rate at which you’ve been breathing. Like the miles-left indicator, you’ll soon get used to watching the remaining airtime. Keep that longer than the remaining no-stop time and you shouldn’t get into trouble.

Modern diving computers can be adjusted to accommodate the fact that we are not as fit as we were. They now give better information regarding nitrogen absorption, especially considering that we now typically make repetitive dives, and that info is displayed in a much-improved way.

The mantra still applies: There are old divers and bold divers, but few old, bold divers. Be one of the latter by evaluating your current computer, and if it doesn’t meet the criteria I listed above, then be smart enough to know what facets are required in the new one you’ll buy — and understand how it works.  (Undercurrent Magazine- 2019)

Divers Corner:            CLUBS of TODAY

In 2019 many organizations and clubs have seen a sharp decline in membership over the past years. Clubs are losing members due to individuals getting older and not being physically as active as before and younger people are not joining or participating for various reasons.

Typically, clubs see around a +10% attrition at the end of each membership year – some people move away, some give up diving, some just feel membership is not for them and so on. Unfortunately, many clubs have not seen the +10% being replaced year on year and are now in a challenging position to stop the decline.

There can be many reasons why memberships are in decline up and down the country However, there are still successful clubs out there, so it is not all doom and gloom.

To retain members do we understand why people are leaving or not joining and are we trying to fix the problem of how do we get new members in?

Research has shown that a new club member makes their mind up within 9 weeks of joining a new club as to whether it is for them or not.

One reason someone joins a club is because they are invited. People don’t normally play alone, and most people have friends and work colleagues with similar interests. Is there an incentive for the person being invited and the person who has invited them?

Interesting facts:

Rotary: Membership was more than 400,000 in 1995. It’s 330,000 today. Only 10% of the members are under 40. Masons: They’ve lost three million members since the 1950s. Elks: Membership has declined by 50% since 1980. Shriners: Membership has dropped by 50% since 1990. 

Why? Reasons given include:

“We can’t get the young people to come. They’re too busy with their kids and their sports.”

Young, professional people will tell you cost is a major obstacle to participating. Not the club membership dues but the cost of equipment.

Some say it is the required commitment of time, not only for the monthly meetings but for events and or dives they sponsor.

Society is changing, the economy is changing. Years ago, you likely worked 9-5, took an hour break for lunch, and stayed at the same company for 30 years. No more

“Times have changed. We struggle to find free time.” Not only that, but parents are more involved with their kids’ activities, fathers are more involved in parenting.

People are more transient. Their ties to their communities and each other are not as strong as they once were.

Are Clubs just outdated?  Is the decline more indicative of cultural shifts?

It appears that the younger generation is much more closely tied to social media and the internet–where the social clubs don’t seem especially adept.

Younger people are fulfilling one of the main functions of socializing in a different way.

They are managing their relationships and feeling of being close to people through electronic technology. They probably don’t feel as much of a need to go and physically congregate in a place.

In the age of technology, where we move information at the speed of light, an informative event is not nearly as competitive or attractive an event to go to because we have information at our fingertips. It’s really got to be special. It must have something we just can’t get otherwise.

Groups that are more successful at getting attendance are groups where members are doing something such as building houses or where something is completed and then start another all while socializing. Remember, “You can’t get those benefits from looking at a screen.”

Electronic interface has replaced community-based enterprises and may have undermined the material and even physical basis for civic engagement.

The technological transformation of leisure. There is reason to believe that deep-seated technological trends are radically “privatizing” or “individualizing” our use of leisure time and thus disrupting many opportunities for social-capital formation.

Electronic technology enables individual tastes to be satisfied more fully, but at the cost of the positive social externalities associated with more primitive forms of entertainment.

(IE: meaning get outside an do it yourself rather than watch from the sidelines)

The new “virtual reality” helmets that we will soon don to be entertained in total isolation are merely the latest extension of this trend. Is technology thus driving a wedge between our individual interests and our collective interests?

With all that said do we just fade away or become a Phoenix. Your comments and thoughts are appreciated.


Each diver must know that they are responsible for:

their plan, their execution, their equipment and their safety!

Anyone can call a dive at any time

It is ALWAYS OK to say “NO!”

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