From our regular columnists

Utila - Jewel of Honduras

October 13, 2011 - 23:36
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The story is found: 
on page 27

“If you’ve been to South East Asia, don’t bother with the Caribbean” is a phrase I’ve encountered many times over the last decade. Having done virtually all of my diving in Asia-Pacific, the region’s legendary diversity tends to leave one a tad spoilt. When you’ve dived exclusively in the world’s biodiversity hotspot, it’s all-too-easy to assume that other areas will suffer by comparison.

Getting there proved somewhat easier than anticipated. I discovered a non-stop service to Roatan from my home in Toronto on Sunwing, a charter airline that just started flights this past winter.

Stingray City

October 13, 2011 - 23:36
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on page 32

Like it or hate it, Grand Cayman Island is still home to one of the most legendary animal encounters on the planet. Dubbed as the world’s greatest 12-foot dive, the region is located inside the northern barrier reef, which protects North Sound from the vagaries of wind and rough seas.

The stingray most commonly found in the Cayman Islands is the Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana) and the two locations where the stingrays congregate in the largest numbers are Stingray City, which is around 3-5 metres deep (10-17ft) and the Sandbar, a natural sandy plateau around only

Team Diving

October 13, 2011 - 23:36
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on page 52

Recreational diver training agencies have always encouraged divers to adopt the buddy system and always dive in buddy pairs. Diving in a group made up of more than two people has been described as undesirable, while most agencies explicitly ban solo diving.

This view must be balanced against the teachings of the technical diver training agencies who encourage divers to dive as a team and often cite three as the optimum team size.

False Killer Whales — Enchanting Cetaceans of Dominica

October 13, 2011 - 23:36
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on page 74

Once or twice in a rare Blue Moon, opportunity sometimes comes along and hits you on the head—or in my case, I was hit on the head—by a juvenile sperm whale.

Dominica is the youngest of the Caribbean islands and is flanked by Guadeloupe to the north and Martinique to the south, which are both French colonies. Inevitably, many of the locals speak a derivative of a French, Carib and West African creole known as Kwéyòl.

Port Hardy (British Columbia) aboard the Nautilus Swell

October 13, 2011 - 23:36
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on page 86

It wasn’t until Wayne and I were actually leaving Port Hardy aboard the new liveaboard dive boat, the Nautilus Swell, that I realized how much I missed this area of British Columbia. The beauty of a calm ocean at sunset with fresh air all around and the tranquility of stillness allowed the hustle and bustle of city life to simply melt away.

Al Spilde, a seasoned mariner for over 25 years and very familiar with this region, was our captain for the journey and predicted fair weather and good underwater visibility ahead.

Technical Diving Equipment

October 13, 2011 - 23:36
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on page 80

The equipment used by technical divers differs considerably from that used by recreational scuba divers. Even when it appears similar, the technical diver will usually either carry more equipment or configure it slightly differently.

Over the years, recreational diving has developed a standard set of equipment configuration. Despite different makes and models there is a consistent set of gear shared by the majority of recreational divers. Buoyancy control is usually provided by a jacket style buoyancy compensator (BCD). The diver’s main cylinder contains the majority of their breathing supply, which is delivered via a primary regulator. A spare regulator or octopus is usually carried to provide a source of air to the buddy, or in the case of a problem with the main regulator.

Guadaloupe's Great White Sharks

October 13, 2011 - 23:34
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on page 51

My first shark appeared head-on in the distance slowly swaying from side to side. With elegant grace and composure it continued towards the cage with mouth opened just enough to boast a healthy set of triangular teeth. Like the star of a grand performance, the shark held everyone in awe as it turned slightly just in front of the cage to examine an offering of tuna.

It was a huge 14ft (4m), 2,175-pound (987kg) female. Her body was sleek and muscular, capable of high speeds if necessary. She ignored the bait and gave the caged divers a once over then slowly swam away, never changing her pace.

Diving the hot spots of Vancouver Island

October 13, 2011 - 23:34
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on page 48

My dive buddy and I enter the cool clear water and descend down a mooring line to the deck of the 110-meter (366-ft) wreck Saskatchewan. The water is 8°C (47°F). I look up to see the rest of the group silhouetted in a light emerald hue arrive like slow motion skydivers.

Upon the railings and deck resides an outline of white plumose anemones, all varying in height. Small swimming scallops, curious juvenile rockfish, brittle stars, decorator crabs and colourful nudibranchs seem to occupy the rest of the deck structures.

Digital Camera Choice

October 13, 2011 - 23:34
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on page 86

So, where do we start? And what type of camera do we buy? Should we go for the DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex)—basically a digital version of the old single lens reflex (SLR) camera where you compose your photograph through the lens of the camera—or should we go for a compact point-and-shoot camera, which has live-view screening.

The other type of camera, which comes in two different versions, is the manufactured PHD cameras (Press Here Dummy). These are essentially point-and-shoot cameras with a large continuous viewing screen on the back, so you are actually composing your photograph by use of the movie screen.

Ambon

October 13, 2011 - 23:34
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The story is found: 
on page 35

“Have a great time, but keep your head down!” This was the response I received from a diving friend after announcing I was planning a visit to Ambon. At least he knew where it was; my announcement to friends in Toronto drew blank stares. When I mentioned the Spice Islands, a dawn of recognition crept into their eyes. It was a place they’d vaguely heard of but had no idea whatsoever as to their location.


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