Diving Florida's Palm Beaches; Florida's Springs; Florida's Black Water Diving; Blue Sharks of Condor Banks; WWII wreck of the SS Seniority; British Columbia's Nanaimo; Helldiver warbird wreck mystery; Lamar Hires profile; Scuba Confidential: The Folly of Deep Air; Children and scuba diving; Symbiosis; Mysterious megamouth shark; Underwater Photo: Compiling portfolios; Emily Williams portfolio; Plus news and discoveries, equipment and training news, books and media, underwater photo and video equipment, shark tales, whale tales and much more...
Main features in this issue include:
Freediving with blue sharks is a dream come true for many divers. The irridescent blues of this slender and graceful creature make it seem to appear and vanish from another dimension as it moves through the shifting light of the ocean. It has long pectoral fins, which complement its narrow form, a pointed nose, and large eyes. Like other sharks, it is curious about divers, and will come close for a look.
The Azore Islands, located off Portugal in the North Atlantic Ocean, are convenient stop-overs for migrating oceanic sharks, and blue sharks congregate there in the summer months. Divers can rendezvous with them at the Condor Banks, located 35km off the island of Faial.
Is it safe? When are young too young? The topic of children and diving has been and will remain controversial and highly emotional. The following article intends to provide a review of current recommendations regarding medical issues and fitness as well as important considerations related to the involvement of children in underwater activities.
The participation of children in underwater activities is not something new. It started growing in the mid-1980s.
American artist Emily Williams creates delicate, intricate glass sculptures inspired by complex forms found in nature, including the sublime structures of corals and marine life as well as the dynamic shapes that water itself can take.
"I think corals are just some of the most beautiful things on earth. I am awe-inspired by the variety of different species. Even within each species, there are still so many variants!"
— Emily Williams
Florida has a secret—albeit not a very well-kept one: it is home to some of the most exquisite freshwater environments in the world. The vast network of springs and rivers located throughout the central and northern areas of the state offer bodies of water with unusual and colorful flora and fauna.
The Florida Springs are jewels. Overflowing with life, the springs offer refuge to a multitude of animals including reptiles, freshwater fish, migrating and resident populations of birds, and local Floridians.
As divers, we watch underwater documentaries from the BBC, National Geographic and other media with keen interest. Deep water explorations, or photos and video from exotic locales, hold us rapt. How many times have you wished you could sail on one of those research vessels, if only to catch a glimpse of a rarely seen species?
[ed.— Black water diving is essentially diving over the abyss in open water at night, often far from shore, with the black depths of the sea underneath, in order to observe small critters like zooplankton and invertebrates.]
When divers look to the horizon for destinations offering marine life of the large variety, they often look to such corners of the world like the Galapagos or Cocos Island, Isla Mujeres, Silver Banks, Tonga, Bahamas' Tiger Beach or Raja Ampat, to name a few.
It’s a funny thing about describing a dive destination you have visited versus one you dive all the time. The difficulty for me, is knowing where to begin when attempting to explain what there is to see here by my home in Palm Beach, Florida, to anyone who has never experienced it.
Of the numerous types of fighter planes used in WWII, the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver is an incredibility rare aircraft. There is only one remaining in the world that is still in flying condition. Finding one of these largely intact underwater is, to say the least, highly unusual. The first such underwater find was not made until January of 2010, when a scuba shop owner in Maui discovered a Helldiver resting in 50ft (15m) of water in Maalaea Bay.
Weather throughout mid-December had become unseasonably calm, generating no more than a moderate chop four miles offshore.
In 1979, Lamar Hires was 23, living in Jacksonville, on the east coast of the US state of Florida, and harboring a dream from his childhood. As a child, his family had taken him to the Florida Keys and he had subsequently grown up watching television shows such as Sea Hunt, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Flipper. The adventure of scuba excited him and he wanted to learn to dive.
Hires’ roommate at the time, Mike Chapman, also wanted to take up diving. They quickly buddied up and did their Basic IDEA (International Diving Educators Association) Scuba Diver qualification at the American Dive Center in Jacksonville.
The portfolio is the personal visual flagship of a photographer, and in some sense, the final step in presenting one’s own photographic work. Success and expressiveness of a portfolio depends on many factors. Rico Besserdich provides tips and suggestions on how to approach the difficult task of compiling a good portfolio.
Before it is possible to find the right solution, the question needs to be clearly understood. For that reason, the first step is to shed light on the question: What is a portfolio?
One of the best shipwrecks off the west coast of Scotland, the SS Seniority, has a tale to tell from her days as an Empire ship built during WWII in Great Britain.
During World War II, a number of merchant ships were drafted into the military service by the British government, specifically, the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). They were allocated to serve various shipping companies that were involved in the war effort.
Marine ecosystems are complex and dynamic places in which species interact in a myriad of ways: they both compete and cooperate for protection, shelter, food and various other resources. For certain species, these interactions may have negative effects (such as competition or predation) or positive ones (in the form of symbiotic relationships).
The word "symbiosis" literally means "living together". In biology, it refers to a close and usually obligatory association between two organisms of different species. While it is often assumed that this relationship is mutually beneficial, this, however, is not always the case.
Picture the scene: conditions are perfect, with flat seas and a clear blue sky. The atmosphere on the small boat is thick with testosterone and there is much whooping and hollering and backslapping as the six divers prepare their gear. The gauntlet has been thrown down. The challenge: to descend quickly down a reef wall to 90m on a single cylinder of air, collect a handful of sand and then come back to the surface.
The six divers enter the water together and all descend to 40m where the four “veterans” stop and watch the other two continue on down. At first, all they can see are two streams of bubbles, and then the two streams become one. Then the bubbles stop. They wait. Time passes.
I am often asked, “Where is the best place to photograph underwater critters in British Columbia?” Well, there is certainly no simple answer to this question and I usually end up replying something like this; “Unless there is a plankton bloom, bad weather or visibility is poor, there are no bad places to dive in BC, therefore you can see critters on every dive!”
This is especially true around Nanaimo, a popular hub destination on Vancouver Island that is easy to get to and can be frequented by divers on a year-round basis.