Going Down Under: AUSTRALIA: Tiger Sharks - Byron Bay - Bondi Beach - Ningaloo Reef - Tasmania Kent Group. Ecology: Stingrays. Stop the Killings. Diving with DIABETES. Discover SOLOMON Islands. Do it Right, writes Leigh Cunningham. Photography: Profile of ScubaZoo. Shopping for the Holiday: Stocking Stuffers. Portfolio: David Pilosof: "Somebody forgot his fins?"
Main features in this issue include:
Australia — the land ‘Down Under’ — renown for Uluru (the rock formerly know as Ayers), its red desserts and kangaroos. But the smallest continent on earth features one of the largest varieties of habitats ranging from tropical rainforest to old-growth temperate forests and alpine heaths—and that goes for underwater as well.
The koala in its gum tree is probably one of the best-known icons of the Australian wildlife, but there is also the incredible Spiny Ant-eater (Echidna) and the platypus who both lay eggs, but suckle their young.
Something I find surprising in the 21st century is the amount of divers that have had no formal training below 40 meters.
We can’t help it. Depth has been an allurement since humans first ventured into the underwater world. In 1943, soon after development of the first modern Aqua Lung, Frederic Dumas dived to 61.5 meters breathing compressed air. In 1947, Cousteau’s team (formed in 1943) made experimental compressed air scuba dives to 90 meters. A decade on, Andrea Doria dives become popular for the few at the cutting edge, in July 1956, Peter Gimbel and Dumas made the first dive to the sunken luxury liner, off the coast of New York.
A dark cloud developed ahead of me. Curious, I swam nearer to investigate. The cloud billowed getting bigger and darker. Inside flashes of silver struck like a highveld thunderstorm. The cloud undulated with tumultuous movement.
"Stingray kills television host"
The headlines soon spread all over the world when the famous Australian philanthropist and television host, “crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin, was recently killed by a stingray, also known as a whiptail stingray.
The ‘sting’, which gives these fishes their common name, is a modified dermal denticle mounted near the base of the tail, about one-third along its total length. The sting consists of a blade-like barb with serrations along both edges and a venom gland at the base. (see figure next page)
Diabetes ranks as one of the most controversial medical conditions affecting divers and has been the cause of heated debates worldwide for more than two decades.
In the mid-1970´s there was a diving accident in the UK. The diver in question developed a sudden onset of decompressions illness and died.