July 2006

Cravin' caves
Daytona Beach news-journalonline.com ran on interesting feature on how some divers just crave diving caves. The story is primarily on breath-hold diving and its potential dangers, and the danger (but also thrills) of cave diving in general. [see feature on cave diving] -- Posted Monday, July 31, 2006 by chb

The exciting world of wreck diving
Diving to see wrecks, or just comng across one, is scary and fascinating. Myrtlebeachonline.com ran a feature on taking divers to a site that features tugboat and Navy A-7 fighter jet sunk 45 feet down in the early 1990s as artificial reefs. Larry Hilliard, owner of Nu Horizons Dive & Travel In Myrtle Beach, said his company takes three or four excursions a week, six to 53 miles from the coast. Nu Horizons' most popular trip, the Twin Cities Wreck, takes experienced divers about 38 miles out to a Dutch freighter, the Hebe, and the St. Cathan, a British submarine chaser. The ships collided during blackout conditions in 1942, sinking about 100 feet to their resting places a quarter-mile apart. [see feature including links to local dive/excursion shops] -- Posted Monday, July 31, 2006 by chb

Okinawa waters ideal for Scuba
The website of the U.S. Marines in Japan ran a nice feature on scuba diving on Okinawa. While most locations around the world require a boat to access diving areas, on Okinawa divers can usually drive to a location and begin an underwater adventure among coral reefs and abundant marine wildlife. One of the most popular places that is easy to access is Maeda Point that's brimming with Chromis, Clownfish, anemone, squid, eels and Lionfish, with the reef edge just 20 feet down. There's also Yonaguni Island, a diving hot spot near Okinawa. It is the westernmost island of Japan and has some archaeological significance. Ancient ruins lay underwater, and one stone structure measures 120 meters by 40 meters and 20-25 meters high. The ruins may have belonged to a civilization older than Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and China. Scientists believe the terraced pyramid structure dates back approximately 8,000 years, possibly making it the oldest man-made structure in existence. [see full report] -- Posted Friday, July 28, 2006 by chb

Scuba divers good about insurance coverage
The Guardian Unlimited reports on a study that shows an appalling number of people engaging in adventure activities without getting proper insurance coverage. 19% of people going on bicycling holidays did not take out insurance. 12% who go sailing and 11% who go horseriding likewise take the chance to be left uncovered in case of an accident. Scuba divers, however, are a responsible lot: only 3% planned scuba trips without proper insurance. -- Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 by chb

Scuba requires some fitness, but can be enjoyed by almost all
Florida's HeraldToday.com ran a feature that suggests that while scuba diving requires a degree of fitness, one does not have to be a trained athlete to enjoy the sport. Instead, a wide array of people, young and old, can easily do it as long as they stay within their comfort level and observe safety rules. Yet, being in good shape definitely helps should one need an emergency reserve when diving. [read feature] -- Posted Sunday, July 23, 2006 by chb

$995 for Caribbean Explorer II, Saba/Statia/St. Kitts! Oh my!
Promotional offers are a dime a dozen (and far less these days of spam). But one we got the other day sure caught our eye! The magic of the Northeastern Caribbean aboard a liveaboard dive yacht for less than $125 a day! Being on the Caribbean Explorer II in August for just US$995 for 8 days, destination Northeastern Caribbean. 7 nights accommodation, 8 days with three meals a day and between dive snacks, 5-1/2 days of terrific diving, up to 5 dives a day including weights and air, all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and port and immigration fees. We've been on this boat, and would go back in a heartbeat! [Check offer!] -- Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 by chb

9-year-old Scuba diver follows family tradition
Telegram.com, the online version of the Worcester Telegram&Gazette, ran a nice story of a nine-year-old scuba diver following his familiy's tradition of hunting for underwater treasure in the depths of local Lake Quinsigamond. Last week, the young diver was thrilled to find his own prize, a Polar Spring Co. bottle, which had likely lain 25 feet under the lake’s surface for a century. He plans to go back to look for more to add to his growing collection of antique bottles. See, Scuba can enrich lives even at a very young age! -- Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 by chb

ScubaDinerInfo.com releases list of 82 great diving places
ScubaDiverInfo.com co-founder Carol Cotton Walker has prepared a list of over 80 terrific scuba diving places she has visited during her many years of recreational and professional diving as an advanced NAUI-certified diver and instructor. Peruse it before you make your next diving travel plans!! [See list of 82 great diving places.] -- Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 by chb

Lake Rawling quarry
The Richmond Times Dispatch alerts readers to Lake Rawlings in Brunswick County that many claim is "the clearest lake from Maine to Florida for scuba diving." It can even be seen in scenes from several movies. The lake was once a dry quarry mined for its granite rock, which was used in the construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and Interstate 85. Lake Rawlings was born in the 1950s when miners hit an aquifer. The bottom of the 20-acre lake is all rock, so the water doesn't stir mud and become murky. The lake also supports numerous varieties of fish, crayfish, snails and a special kind of algae that resembles coral. It is 65 feet deep at its deepest. The commercial lake offers divers huge boulders and granite walls with explorable niches and crevices, as well as "Wayne," a sunken school bus on a rock shelf in 20 feet of water, and two sunken boats. The lake opened in 1994 and now has as many as 100+ divers visit on nice days. [click for info on Lake Rawlings] -- Posted Monday, July 17, 2006 by chb

In praise of Catalina Island
NCTimes.com ran a feature on Catalina as a terrific destination for scuba divers and others as well: "Got that midsummer itch for sea breezes and island charm? You don't need a plane ticket to escape to the isles ---- just a free day and a ferry pass. Catalina Island, about 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach, makes for the perfect long day trip for mainlanders seeking to get away from it all. The island's got something for everyone, from boat rides and scuba-diving equipment rentals to hiking and horseback riding." Count us in! [see article] -- Posted Monday, July 17, 2006 by chb

Study: Scuba diving does not impair lung function
Reuters UK reports of a German study that found scuba divers not having an accelerated decline in lung function. The study, conducted at the University of Tuebingen, followed 468 military scuba divers and a comparison control group for an average of five years. The result was no difference between the divers and the non-diver control group. The investigators concluded that "in healthy males with normal lung function and an uneventful diving history, there are no long-term deleterious respiratory effects. This may be reassuring for millions of recreational divers worldwide." The study, did, however find a significantly more rapid decline in smokers than non-smokers. -- Posted Friday, July 14, 2006 by chb

Jamaica's designated marine parks
For years, governmental agencies and the Jamaican Association of Dive Operators, along with other have fought to protect their reefs and sealife. This has now resulted in three designated marine parks in Negril, Montego Bay and Port Antonio. This will mean an increased number of fish and other marine life just waiting for your visit! -- Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2006 by chb

Exchange vows scuba-style
Pensacola NewsJournal.com reports that the Pensacola Dive Company offers scuba-loving brides and grooms the opportunity to exchange vows under water at the world's largest artificial reef, the retired aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (shown above before it was sunk). The dive company's owner, Capt. Ron Beermunder, an experienced dive instructor, is also a notary public and an ordained minister, so he can conduct the ceremonies. For $1,200, couples can tie the knot on the navigation tower at a depth of 70-feet. The price also includes a four-person, two-tank dive charter. -- Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2006 by chb

Will Saudi Arabia become the next big dive attraction?
Saudi Arabia seems an unlikely scuba diving destination, and yet just that was discussed at a tourims conference held in Dubai. Up until now, Saudi Arabia was practically closed to Western tourists, and even with the planned opening of the country to tourism, there will be plenty of rules and restrictions that do not easily fit with Western ideas of fun and vacationing. Yet, tourism officials hope to lure scuba divers. With more than 1,000 miles of coast along the Red Sea and nearly 500 miles of beach along the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia has some of the world's most spectacular dive sites. "It is the last untouched tropical coral reef in the world, simply because of Saudi Arabian paranoia. And thank God for it," said Eric Mason, executive manager of Dream Divers in Saudi Arabia. [see report in Chicago Sun-Times] -- Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 by chb

Sunken aircraft carrier becomes scuba diving attraction
The decommissioned aircraft carrier Oriskany became the world's largest artificial reef when it was sunk on May 17, 24 miles southeast of Pensacola in the Gulf of Mexico. The goal was to turn the almost 900 foot ship, resting in 212 feet of water, into a magnet for divers worldwide. Across Pensacola, Fla., area dive shops are reporting out-of-control business and booked-solid charter trips, and divers fresh up from Oriskany visits are swearing that the Oriskany is a dive trip that trumps all others. [read Pensacola NewsJournal.com article] -- Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 by chb

Warm water attracts basking shark along Cornish coast
itv reports that the warmer water along the Cornish coast is attracting basking sharks, also known as bone sharks. They are the second largest after the whale shark and can grow to 36 feet in length. However, the basking sharks only eat tiny marine animals and it is rare that they come so close to the shore, so swimmers and divers need not fear. Gaynor Bennett of Sea Fans Scuba School said: "In previous years they haven't come as close as this, literally 30 foot from the shore. ... They were very close to an excited crowd of people standing on the beach." Bone shark numbers are in decline due to low resilience and overfishing to meet demands for shark meat and organs.
-- Posted Friday, July 7, 2006 by chb

Dive Oregon Coast Aquarium's "Passages of the Deep!"
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is offering a class for intermediate scuba divers. "Marine Ecology for the Wet and Wild" provides a chance for divers to experience the aquarium's Passages of the Deep exhibit, home to hundreds of marine animals. The class will be Saturday, July 22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes a review of the 13 major groups of invertebrates inhabiting Northwest waters. [article and sign-up info] -- Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2006 by chb

High-altitude scuba in Lake Tahoe
According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Lake Tahoe is growing as a destination hotspot for high-altitude diving. It is a great place to explore clear waters, immense granite cliffs, various shipwrecks and aquatic life, area dive instructors say. Diving in the mountains is unique and and has additional rules and regulations. For example, a dive off Sand Harbor with an actual depth of 20 feet is really like a 56 foot dive. Depth accordances are made based on temperatures below 70 degrees and at altitudes above 1,000 feet. To check Tahoe Diving opportunities, peruse regional shops at www.sierradive.com, www.tropicalpenguinscuba.com, www.strictlyscuba.com or www.dolphinscuba.com. -- Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2006 by chb

Look. Don't touch or take.
CDNN reports that two scuba looters are going to jail for three and six months, respectively. US$5,000 and US$12,000 fines were also issued. The looters were found guilty of violating the Lagoon Monument Act, committing grand larceny, malicious mischief, and conversion of public property. The local assistant attorney general said, "The message is loot Palau's historic shipwreck and you go to jail." [see report]

-- Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2006 by chb

India: Scuba diving as a spiritual exercize
Cybernoon.com, the website of Bombay's Afternoon, reports on Indian diving center Lacadives, providing an interesting insight on how scuba is seen from the Indian perspective. "Scuba Diving is more of a spiritual exercise," says Seemant Saxena, a CMAS Dive Master at Kadmat (a dive center set up in 1995 on an island on the eastern coast of India), "Submerging yourself into water is like a cleansing act." [read report] -- Posted Monday, July 3, 2006 by chb

Upcoming "Mammoth Lake" in Texas to become scuba paradise
Intending to start a dive lake from scratch, Texan developers plan on creating a veritable scuba divers' paradise filled with all sorts of artifacts. The giant sand pit that will become 70-feet-deep Lake Mammoth (remains of mammoth and sabre-toothed tigers had been discovered in the pit) and contain such interesting things as an old F-5 Navy jet, a couple of antique firetrucks, a space shuttle lookalike, ship anchors, boats, etc. Sounds like fun! [see report] -- Posted Monday, July 3, 2006 by chb

A history of scuba diving
Euroweeklynews.com presents an interesting History of Scuba Diving. Did you know, for example, that a paper on decompression sickness was already published in 1908? -- Posted Monday, July 3, 2006 by chb

Rest forever at Atlantis Memorial Reef?
Kim Harwell, Special Contributor to the Dallas Morning News relates in a charming article entitled Say so: Sleep with the fishes how she discovered scuba, then became pregnant and could not dive, while just dying to get underwater. That's when she came across Atlantis Memorial Reef, an underwater burial site project off Key Biscayne, Fla., where cremated remains can rest in peace underwater in a "City of Eternity." Certainly not for everyone. but the idea holds appeal. -- Posted Monday, July 3, 2006 by chb

NYC sends scuba equipment for upstate flood help
A reminder that our wonderful sport of scuba diving also saves lives and helps in emergencies. Teams of New York City Fire and Police officers are assisting in rescue and recovery efforts in upstate areas hit hardest by flooding. Three dozen members of the fire department and as many as 30 members of the NYPD Special Operations Division were sent to Binghamton to support local law enforcement. The office of Emergency Management says police water rescue equipment is being sent, including two, 15-foot boats, scuba equipment, HazMat and decontamination equipment. -- Posted Monday, July 3, 2006 by chb