DEPTH Blog

The most useful snippets from our authors, all in one place. DEPTH discusses topics of diving, equipment and environment, physics and physiology, technique and technology, and hyperbarics.

John serves as the National Science Foundation, U.S. Antarctic Program Diving Safety Officer and he recently completed a research project evaluating the use of rebreathers in Antarctica for the scientific diving program.

His diving has taken him to many areas of the world, including both poles and tropical areas in between.

He spent fifteen seasons in the Antarctic doing research dives through ice that was ten feet thick, in water temperatures of 28.6ºF, and air temperatures as low as -60ºF, not for the faint-hearted!

John's books include: 

cold water diving 3dCold Water Diving: A Guide to Ice Diving, 2nd Edition

 Cold water and ice diving can be extremely challenging and require planning, preparation, training, and safety. This book by John Heine, a scientific diving safety officer and an experienced ice diver for more than 25 years, has detailed the requirements for safe and comfortable ice diving.

This book covers cold water and ice-diving environments; training; equipment; thermal protection; evaluating, preparing, and planning dives; and safety and emergency procedures.

scientific diving techniquesScientific Diving Techniques, 2nd Edition

This updated and revised second edition of John Heine's Scientific Diving Techniques covers the details of research methods underwater. scientific diving techniquesIncluded are general scientific diving guidelines, an overview of aquatic habits and ecosystems, specialized diving equipment and procedures, locating and marking study sites, archaeology, measuring physical and biological factors, underwater experimentation and underwater photographing and videography for the scientist. There are over 500 references to original scientific techniques. Also included are training exercises to aid Diving Safety Officers in training scientific divers.

The 2 Ways to Enter An Ice Dive

While it is approaching summer here in the northern hemisphere, down in Antarctica it is close to winter, where temperatures plummet to -50 degrees and darkness prevails for months. Scientists rarely dive under these conditions, but it has occurred in the past.

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Under the Ice in Antarctica

NSF Polar Programs Diving Safety Officer prepares for a dive on the Poseidon Se7en rebreather under the ice in Antarctica. Wearing a dry suit with heated undergarments and dry gloves keeps the divers warm (enough) to do their work in the -1.8C water.

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Working in a Blue Water Environment

Scientific divers often work in remote areas, and sometimes far offshore.

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Researching the Use of Rebreathers Under the Ice

John Heine, author of Cold Water Diving: A Guide to Ice Diving, travels to places such as Antarctica (pictured below) to oversee scientific diving through the U.S. Antarctic Program of the National Science Foundation. In the photo belog he is researching the use of rebreathers under the ice, as well as various new strategies to stay warm with the use of active (electric) heated undergarments.

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This is What Scientific Diving Looks Like

In the below image a scientific diver works in a deep kelp bed in central California.  She is measuring the percent cover of various marine algae as a part of her Master’s thesis.

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A Glimpse Under the Ice

Have you ever wondered what it looks like under the ice, looking torward the surface...? 

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