Monday, January 22, 2024

Episode 673 (1-22-24): Taking an Underwater Dive, Featuring "Scuba Dive" by Kat Mills

Click to listen to episode (4:33).

Sections below are the following:

Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 1-19-24.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 22, 2024.  This is a revised version of an episode from January 2016.

MUSIC – ~9 sec – instrumental.

In this episode, we use music by a Blacksburg, Va., singer-songwriter to help us dive underwater.  Have a listen for about 55 seconds.

MUSIC - ~54 sec – Lyrics:   “Endless water calls to you.  Falling backward into blue.  Lovers breathing, adapting, reaching, receiving.  Bubbles lifting, creatures sweeping into view; you’re an alien at sea.  Scuba dive; scuba dive.”

You’ve been listening to part of “Scuba Dive,” by Kat Mills, on the 2015 album “Silver.”  Ms. Mills’ lyrics use the challenges and thrills of underwater diving as metaphors for exploration and trust in human relationships.

While human interactions can be quite unpredictable, the main challenges of the underwater environment come from several predictable physical, chemical, and biological properties of deep water.  Water’s density affects vision and hearing underwater.  Buoyancy—resulting from the density of a submerged object compared to the density of the surrounding water—must be adjusted for moving up or down.  Movement is also affected by the frictional resistance of water, or drag.  Pressure from the weight of the water affects a diver’s lungs, sinuses, and ears, as well as the levels of oxygen, nitrogen, and other gases dissolved in the water and in one’s blood.  Temperature affects dissolved gases, too, along with presenting a body-heat challenge.  Divers can become partially dehydrated through breathing dehumidified compressed air.  And dangerous aquatic organisms may await.  Adapting to those challenges through underwater breathing devices, other equipment, training, and experience allows divers to enjoy the exhilaration of feeling weightless, seeing fascinating creatures, and exploring worlds most humans never see.

Add in some trust and overcoming of one’s fears, and people continue to fall backwards into endless blue water, literally and figuratively.

Thanks to Kat Mills for permission to use this episode’s music, and we close with about 30 more seconds of “Scuba Dive.”

MUSIC - ~30 sec – Lyrics: “Scuba dive.”


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close this episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 299, 1-18-16.

Scuba (also written SCUBA and S.C.U.B.A.) is an abbreviation for “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.”  For information on this abbreviation, see Underwater Kinetics, “What does SCUBA stand for?  Plus other diving acronyms,” December 19, 2019, online at

“Scuba Dive,” from the 2015 album “Silver,” is copyright by Kat Mills; used with permission.  More information about Kat Mills is available online at

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at


Diver among a school of fish in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Oct. 13, 2010.  Photo by G.P. Schmahl, sanctuary superintendent, courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuaries Media Library, accessed online at, 1-18-24.

Divers for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), location and date not identified.  Photo from NOAA, “NOAA Diving Program Training,” accessed online at, 1-18-24. 


Used for Audio

Dennis K. Graver, Scuba Diving - Second Edition, Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois, 1999.

For More Information Physical and Chemical Properties of Water

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Science School, “Water Properties Information by Topic,” online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Science” subject category.

Following are links to some other episodes on chemical or physical properties relevant to the underwater environment.

Buoyancy – Episode 483, 7-29-19.
Density – Episode 255, 3-2-15; Episode 483, 7-29-19 (in buoyancy).
Dissolved Oxygen – Episode 333, 9-12-16.
Water thermodynamics – Episode 610, 1-3-22.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2017 English SOLs

Reading Theme
5.4, 6.5, 7.4, 8.4, 8.5, 9.3, 9.4, 10.3, 10.4, 11.4 – Symbols, imagery, figurative language, and other literary devices.

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-3 plus 5: Matter
K.4 – Water is important in our daily lives and has properties.
1.3 – Objects are made from materials that can be described by their physical properties.
5.7 – Matter has properties and interactions.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
4.7 – The ocean environment.

Grade 6
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.

Life Science
LS.7 – Adaptations support an organism’s survival in an ecosystem.

Physical Science
PS.3 – Matter has properties and is conserved in chemical and physical processes.

Earth Science
ES.10 – Oceans are complex, dynamic systems subject to long- and short-term variations.

BIO.2 – Chemical and biochemical processes are essential for life.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.
Episode 606, 12-6-21 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.