Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal couple may include scuba diving in honeymoon plans

In the spirit of the day, a little royal/diving news:
LONDON (AP) — In real estate, it's location, location, location. For royal honeymooners, it's privacy, privacy, privacy.
Once they are man and wife, Prince William and Kate Middleton may combine the two by honeymooning at the queen's 50,000-acre Balmoral estate in Scotland, a family holding so vast that the couple could relax without worrying about their every movement being tracked by long-lensed paparazzi.
They would likely combine a stay in Scotland, a beautiful spot but with iffy weather, with a visit to a reliably sunny locale, royal experts believe.
"I think privacy will be the most important thing after all that they will have gone through," said Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine. "Maybe a week in the sun and a week in Scotland, which is a traditional royal honeymoon venue. They can do their own thing up there."
William and Middleton are somewhat limited by the prince's military commitments. He is a Royal Air Force helicopter search and rescue pilot with two weeks' leave available, so he will have to be back at the base in Wales fairly quickly.
His parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, spent several months honeymooning, combining a two-week Mediterranean cruise on the Royal Yacht Britannia (since decommissioned) with an extended visit to Balmoral in Scotland.
Little said William and Middleton seem to enjoy the active, outdoor lifestyle available in Balmoral, one of the queen's favorite estates.
He said photographers who might be tempted to come onto the estate to photograph the couple with a telephoto lens would likely be warned off in advance by the Press Complaints Commission, which would be expected to warn editors that intrusions on the couple's privacy will not be tolerated.
Prince William's press office has refused to provide any details about the honeymoon destination, although William has dropped several tantalizing hints about possible destinations.
On a recent trip to Australia, the prince told cheering crowds that it was possible he and Middleton would return for a honeymoon in Cairns so they could scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef.
Some believe the couple will return to the retreat in the mountains of Kenya where William proposed to Middleton last October, noting that when he signed the guestbook he said he hoped they would be able to come back soon.
Others find meaning in the wedding guest list, which includes several people — including a bartender and a yoga instructor — from the private Caribbean island of Mustique, a favored royal hideaway where the late Princess Margaret kept a house for many years.
Other island retreats, including Mauritius and the Seychelles, are also seen as contenders, as is mega-businessman Richard Branson's private island in the British Virgin Islands.
A final clue may have come from Middleton herself. She was photographed nine days before the wedding making some last minute clothing purchases on the chic King's Road in central London.
The booty reportedly included two bikinis, indicating a "fun in the sun" destination might be in the offing.
But that does little to clarify matters, since she would probably need the bathing suits at all of the mentioned destinations — except for Scotland, where romance is made out of haze, mist and fog.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Judge says Lake Erie shipwreck belongs to state

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A 19th century schooner that lies at the bottom of Lake Erie belongs to New York state, not the salvagers who found it and want to raise and preserve it as a tourist attraction, a federal judge ruled.
The Abandoned Shipwrecks Act of 1987 gives ownership of vessels embedded in submerged state property to the state, U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara wrote in a decision that could derail the ambitious preservation plans.
Massachusetts-based Northeast Research LLC, which claimed title to the 80-foot wooden ship under maritime law before the state intervened, believes the vessel had a role in the War of 1812 and the Underground Railroad.
The group will appeal Arcara's ruling to a higher court, attorney Peter Hess said Wednesday. He said the case should have gone to trial.
"Northeast Research has spent over $1 million and five years ...  identifying and documenting (the ship)," Hess said. "The state of New York has done absolutely nothing."
The company, which operates in Dunkirk, west of Buffalo, envisions raising the well-preserved, two-masted schooner and displaying it in an ice-cold freshwater aquarium on Buffalo's waterfront. Divers have already recovered and documented artifacts, including American and Spanish coins, buttons, rings and other jewelry, that would be part of the display.
The state's general policy is to leave shipwrecks alone.
Arcara ruled the ship was clearly abandoned, since it sat for more than 150 years after it went down in 170 feet of freshwater off the western New York shore.
"What matters is not whether the schooner would have been located, but rather whether anyone even tried looking for it," the judge wrote in a decision dated last week.
The ship's identity is part of the dispute.
A state-hired expert said the presence of grain and hickory nuts in the cargo hold meant the vessel was likely "a nameless 1830s schooner that sank carrying grain," Arcara's ruling said.
Northeast divers believe the schooner is the historically important Caledonia, used in the fur trade in the early 1800s before being commandeered by the British military at the outbreak of the War of 1812 and then captured by the Americans a year later.
After the war, the Caledonia was sold to Pennsylvania merchants who renamed it the General Wayne and used it to ferry runaway slaves across Lake Erie to Canada, according to Northeast's court filings. It is believed to have sunk, fully intact, during a storm in the 1830s. There were no known survivors.
"It's somewhat perverse that the state ... would be fighting an effort by a privately funded entity to document and preserve New York history," Hess said.
He argued against claims the schooner was abandoned, saying Northeast found an heir to one of the General Wayne's owners, who assigned her rights to the ship to Northeast.
During a September court hearing, Assistant Attorney General David State said New York views the shipwreck as a cultural and historic asset and that its primary goal is to preserve and protect it.
The state suspended Northeast's permit to explore the ship in 2008, he said, after determining divers had mishandled human remains. Northeast, which first laid claim to the vessel in 2004, denies the allegation.
The state also said experts doubt the shipwreck group can pull off its plans to raise the schooner from its more than 175-year-old resting place without having it deteriorate.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gold found by Mel Fisher treasure divers in Florida Keys

For years, scuba divers have been joining Mel Fisher Treasure Hunting Expeditions to experience what it’s like to be a treasure diver. Last week, several lucky participants got a first-hand thrill of a lifetime as the team recovered a 2-pound solid gold bar and 20 more silver coins on the Atocha wrecksite over the weekend. Andy Matroci, Captain of the Magruder, said the gold bar is 12 inches long.
Remarkably, this bar is unmarked, leading to speculation that it was being smuggled as contraband aboard the ship. Many of the Atocha gold bars previously found were marked with karat stamps indicating the purity of the gold and Spanish royal tax stamps, indicating the 20% tax had been paid on the bar.
This is the second major find by Mel Fisher’s Treasures this year. Earlier this year, an impressive 4-foot-long gold chain was just found on the Atocha site. The 55 gold links are each about 3/4 of an inch long. Attached to the main chain is a gold cross, a gold medallion and a black bead. The cross and medallion have traces of black enamel on them. The cross is about 2 inches long, 1 and 1/2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick, with a Latin inscription around the edges. The medallion contains an image of the Virgin Mary on one side and a chalice on the other side.

Group reports finding shipwreck in Lake Michigan

This is about a month old, but in case you missed it ...

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — An organization that documents shipwrecks said it has found the wreck of a 60-foot, single-masted sloop in Lake Michigan that may date back to the 1830s while looking for remnants of a plane that crashed into the lake more than 60 years ago.
The wreck was found off southwestern Michigan in water about 250 feet deep between Saugatuck and South Haven, Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates announced this week. The discovery was made while working with author Clive Cussler and his sonar operator Ralph Wilbanks of the National Underwater & Marine Agency.
The group was searching for the remnants of Northwest Airlines Flight 2501, which crashed into the lake in 1950, killing 58 people.
"Sometimes, when you're looking for one thing, you come across another," shipwreck researcher Craig Rich told The Grand Rapids Press of the discovery.
The vessel sits upright and is in relatively good condition, Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates said. The sloop's construction and design are consistent with ships built in the 1820s and 1830s. Video of the wreck is expected to be shown April 16 at a social event in Holland.
"It's fascinating stuff," Cussler, who has worked with Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates to locate other wrecks, told the newspaper. "It's not the Titanic or anything like that. But it is rather historic just for the era in which it sank."
The ship likely was moving goods across the lake when it went down, Rich said, and it could be the oldest shipwreck discovered by Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates. Rich said the group hopes to identify the ship by the summer and begin researching its story. And the group plans to explore the wreck this year.
"If we can put a name to it, we'll figure out what the story is and, if not, it'll be a mystery wreck," he said.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It’s important your regulator receives an annual checkup

By Don Gardner
If you’re a seasonal diver, like me, now is the time to start thinking about having your regulator system checked out and/or serviced before setting out this spring.

Rick Davies from Bruno's Dive Shop

According to Rick Davies, instructor and trainer for Bruno’s Dive Shop, located on 21655 Vermander, Clinton Township, (586) 792-2040) the checkup is more important for seasonal divers than those who use their gear all the time. The dormant gear has a tendency to have its parts stick after months of inactivity.
“Particularly on an unbalanced second stage (the vast majority of regs), leaving it unused over the winter results in the rubber low pressure seat becoming stuck to the orifice it sits on,” Davies said. “A common symptom is that when you turn the reg on it is fine, but as soon as you take your first breath -- and the seat pulls away from the orifice, leaving bits of rubber
stuck to it -- you get a slight freeflow.”
Before we go any further, a quick pause to explain some of the terms used here. In general, the diving regulator is the piece of equipment that is attached to the air tank or cylinder that delivers gas (usually pressurized air) to the diver. The part attached to the tank, the first stage, is the first step in reducing the pressure of the gas in the tank on its way to the diver. The second stage further reduces the gas to ambient pressure and delivers it to the diver via the mouthpiece, or the power inflator for the BC (buoyancy compensator) or drysuit.
Freeflow, a situation in which the second stage is stuck open, causes the gas to flow out of the tank in a rapid fashion. Freeflow can be dealt with underwater if the diver has the proper training and a cool head, but at the very least it makes for a nervous situation and quickly ends a dive.
I was a little surprised to learn from Rick that it doesn’t matter where or how you store your dive gear, a stuck regulator can happen to anyone. A reg stored in cold weather is just as likely to have problems as a reg stored in warm weather. Regs used most often in saltwater are even more likely to develop problems.

An exploded view of the first stage of the regulator

In fact, brand-new regs can have freeflow problems because they can sit on the shelf for months prior to being sold. Reputable dive shops will service the brand-new regs before selling them to make sure they are working properly.
According to Davies, to service the reg, it is first dismantled and plastic parts are washed in soapy water. The metal components are soaked in an ultrasonic cleaner, once with an acidic solution, once with a base.
All parts are then rinsed and dried, o-rings, seats and seals are replaced and the entire unit is reassumbled.
Tests are then conducted on the first and second stages to make sure everything is working properly.
Do-it-yourselfers may be tempted to service their own equipment, but to me, that is taking a big risk. It’s only your life we are talking about. Davies agrees.
“I would not recommend anyone try this themselves,” Davies said. “Special tools and equipment is required. Procedures in many cases are very specific and must be followed to avoid damage.”
One final thought. The jury is still out in the dive community whether or not the reg needs to be serviced annually. All divers want their regulators to perform flawlessly, but because each diver treats his or her equipment differently, there is no set calendar. And as I said earlier, a reg that is used often will be less likely to stick and the diver who uses it will have a good feel for how the reg is performing.
But if the equipment is used only seasonally, the start of your diving season is always a good time to think about getting your regulator serviced.

Dive shop news: Free equipment configuration check

Ever wonder if the equipment configuration you have been using is really the best for the style diving you are performing?  Bring your gear to Sea-Side Dive Shop, located at 28612 Harper Ave. in St. Clair Shores on May 7 for a FREE review, from noon till 6pm.  Learn about the latest techniques and gear options. Call 586-772-7676 for more information.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Titanic exhibit now coming to Grand Rapids in 2013

GRAND RAPIDS — An exhibition focused on the Titanic that originally was to arrive at Grand Rapids Public Museum next year now will open there in February 2013.
The scheduling change is connected to last week's announcement that The Henry Ford in Dearborn will host "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" from March 2012 to September 2012.
Grand Rapids Public Museum announced last month it would open the exhibition of artifacts recovered from the shipwreck in November 2012. Now, it'll open three months after that.
The Grand Rapids Press says the exhibition includes 300 personal effects and parts of the ship recovered from the seabed surrounding Titanic since its discovery by divers in 1985.

Judge postpones scuba-diving death trial over layoffs

Here is an update on a story that shook the country eight years ago. Remember the guy who allegedly drowned his new wife while scuba diving during their honeymoon in Australia? I've always thought the guy was guilty as sin and that he had already been put away. Due to budget cuts in the couple's home state of Alabama, the trial hasn't even started yet! Here is the story:
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Budget cuts are delaying the trial of an Alabama man charged with killing his wife during a honeymoon diving trip to Australia in 2003 in one of the most visible signs yet of how spending reductions are beginning to affect the state.
The problem? A judge says there won't be enough bailiffs and other officers to provide security at the Jefferson County Courthouse for the case, which is being watched around the globe. At least 65 court workers are being laid off because of money shortages.
Gabe Watson is accused of killing his wife, Tina Thomas Watson, during a honeymoon trip to Australia just days after they were married in October, 2003. Tina Watson died while the couple was scuba diving over a century-old shipwreck on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb said delaying such a trial shows the dire financial circumstances facing Alabama courts.
"High-profile cases are financially taxing on the court system. You have to request a higher number of potential jurors and more security," Cobb said in an interview Friday.
She said it will be a struggle for Alabama's courts to keep their doors open for any trials if more money is not made available. Cobb said the situation could improve if the Legislature passes a pending bill that would allow state agencies to furlough employees without pay for short periods of time. She said that bill would save as many as 177 jobs and allow for more trials.
"Something has to get done. We can't have a civilized society without the court system," Cobb said.
Gabe Watson served 18 months in an Australian jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of Tina Watson. Alabama authorities charged him with capital murder, claiming he drowned her, while defense attorneys argue Tina Watson's death was an accident.
Tina Watson's father, Tommy Thomas, said he understood the reason for the postponement.
"But they are obviously delaying justice if they are delaying the trial," Thomas said.
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tommy Nail indefinitely delayed the trial during a meeting with lawyers Thursday. Originally set to start May 23, it could be rescheduled for late summer or early autumn if the Legislature makes more money available to courts.
Deputy Attorney General Don Valeska, who is leading the prosecution, said he was disappointed with the delay but understood the judge had no choice. He said he hoped the Legislature will provide more funds to the courts.
"We're going to have to find a way to fund the courts," Valeska said. He said he has informed witnesses in Australia that the start of the trial has been delayed.
"Most of them emailed us back and said they would be available when the trial is rescheduled, just to give them 30 days' notice," Valeska said. Despite the financial crunch facing the courts, Valeska said the attorney general's office has funds set aside to bring witnesses from Australia to Alabama for the trial.
Defense attorney Brett Bloomston did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment concerning the delay.
The presiding circuit judge in Jefferson County, Scott Vowell, said there will only be three bailiffs available for the eight judges who try criminal cases once the layoffs hit on May 1. He said it would take more than three bailiffs just to provide security for the Watson trial.
"We're in a very serious situation. We're going to do everything we can," Vowell said.
He said some emergency measures being considered include using volunteer auxiliary deputies to help provide security in some courtrooms and rearranging dockets.
To help the funding crunch, Cobb hopes the Legislature will pass a bill to raise the state tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack. It's currently 42.5 cents.
The sponsor of that bill, Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, said the bill was written for revenue to go to cancer research, public health and Medicaid, but she is willing to consider an amendment to direct some money to courts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Scuba divers gather 101 lbs of trash near Miami last weekend

Last Saturday, April 16, three teams from Underwater Unlimited dive center (UU) in Miami joined other scuba divers aboard RJ Diving Ventures for a day dedicated to cleaning up local waters.  The target? Man-made debris that didn’t belong in the ocean.
Photos from Underwater Unlimited divers cleanup“We were enthusiastic about supporting the pilot program organized by the states Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)” said Lisa Mongelia, UU trip coordinator.  “After traveling to the Florida Keys for other clean ups, it was nice to have one dedicated to our local waters. It was a perfect fit for divers wanting to join local Earth Day celebrations.  Over the last 6 weeks Miami held 35 events culminating with the Baynanza event Saturday. The reef clean up with RJ Diving Adventures, was part of a larger effort that brought 7,500 volunteers together donating their time, talent and resources.  In addition, RJ Diving offered a $10.00 discount on boat fees.” Mongelia is also known throughout the diving community as Lisa Mongy. An SSI Instructor, she is also a frequent contributor to
During the dive briefing, Jamie Monty of DEP mentioned the various departments and agency’s working together to improve our coastal waters.  She instructed participants on proper techniques when removing trash so that there was no further damage to the reef. Divers were provided with catch bags, cutting sheers, marker buoys and clip for their BCD, along with protective gloves for teams to use during the event.  If an item was too big or heavy the marker buoy was to be deployed and later using GPS coordinates, a specialty team would come out to handle the recovery.  Jamie also explained that we were going to be gathering data for comparisons on reefs with and without mooring buoys.
The UU buddy teams suited up, ran compass headings for search and recovery patterns then spread out along the reef looking for anything from the typical items found: monofilament line, ropes, bottles, cans and plastic bags to heavier items such as: anchors and abandoned lobster traps.  As expected, over the course of two dives participants found the typical garbage along with a few surprises: a boat chair, a metal frame, an illegal wire fish trap and a lost weight belt.
Group from Underwater UnlimitedUpon the completion of each dive, teams weighed their bags in addition to filling out detailed data sheets listing objects per reef location.  Preliminary estimates show that more than 100 pounds of trash and refuge was pulled from the water by divers. “While final statistics were not available when we got off the boat, it seemed that there was significantly less volume of rope found on the mooring buoy site.  If the data confirms that, it supports the proactive movement to install more mooring buoys in Miami,” Lisa added.
Monty and her co-workers said they were pleased at the success of the clean up and expect to continue them in the future.  The DEP is also launching a new Southeast Florida Marine Debris Reporting and Removal Program. The new program allows divers a way to go online to report debris which needs to be recovered.

Mongy said that Underwater Unlimited and it’s staff would be participating in more of these cleanup events in the future.

Mystery shipwreck unearthed in north Queensland

The discovery of a 19th-century shipwreck in north Queensland has highlighted the ever-present threat of tropical cyclones in the region.
The remnants of a 30-metre longboat have been unearthed at a beach on Hinchinbrook Island after Cyclone Yasi battered the state in February.
It is believed the wrecked vessel has been buried deep below the sand for more than 130 years.
Ironically, it was another cyclone which likely led to the wreckage being there in the first place.
Queensland government shipwreck expert Paddy Waterson said Cyclone Yasi had removed about 30 metres of sand from Ramsay Bay on Hinchinbrook Island exposing the top "two or three inches" of the old ship.
The wreck was discovered in late February by Ingham fisherman Phil Lowry.
Shipwreck experts in London and Melbourne have been contacted for advice on timber samples in a bid to narrow down which vessel has been discovered.
Three ships were wrecked in Ramsay Bay while trying to recover a load of cedar washed ashore from a ship called The Merchant, which was destroyed during a cyclone in March, 1878.
The logs were bought at a salvage auction by Townsville firm, Campbell and Thomas, who employed the three ships to bring in the cargo.
Unfortunately all three were lost in poor weather: the Harriet Armytage in 1879, the Charlotte Andrews in 1879 and the Belle in 1880.
To read more about this story, click here

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dive Shop notes:

DUI has sent out this recall notice regarding their weight and trim systems sold to dealers since July 2010.
DUI Weight & Trim System Owners:
DUI Weight & Trim Classic
DUI Weight & Trim II
Purchased since July 2010 with Gray Handles

DUI recently became aware of a problem with some DUI Weight & Trim Systems shipped after July 2010.  If the lanyard and/or cables are not the right length the weight pockets do not easily detach from the harness when the handle is pulled.  In the unlikely situation a handle is pulled in an emergency situation, this could prevent the weights from easily dropping as designed.

All of the Systems affected have GRAY fabric handles.  Systems with yellow plastic handles are NOT affected.

No incidents have been reported. 

If you have one of these Systems, stop using it immediately and call DUI at (800)325-8439 or e-mail to receive appropriate instructions. 

Systems shipped after April 20, 2011, with yellow handles or with gray handles AND a large silver stripe are not affected.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cold-water or warm-water diver? Let's tackle the question

Warm water or cold water diving. A question as old as time itself.
No, not really, but it is a topic that divers have debated back to the days of the AquaLung.
The debate normally begins centered around the toughness or how hardy one diver is compared to another. Cold water tough guys or gals talk about diving in water with near freezing temperatures while either ice diving or jumping in sometime after the spring thaw, while warm water divers simply shiver at the thought.
I suppose if someone put a speargun to my head, I would say I am a warm water diver. Typically I am in some tropical paradise, on vacation wearing a minimal amount of clothes with a cold drink in my hand when I am topside. When it comes to diving, the water is warm, visibility is outstanding and I see wildlife that I would only otherwise see in aquariums at home. I am warm and comfortable, wearing only a thin wetsuit and a minimum of weights. The biggest concern is how to avoid getting too sunburned.
On the other hand, cold water diving requires a thick wetsuit or a drysuit, lots of weights and limited visibility. There are no reefs, and quite often the only wildlife you see are invasive species. Even those who love cold water diving have to admit that, in terms of comfort, his or her choice comes in a distance second to a dip in the Caribbean.
Ah, but cold water diving, especially in the Great Lakes, has a great equalizer – the shipwreck.
Those who live in the Great Lakes basin have something the rest of the world can’t touch. The Great Lakes combined have more shipwrecks than any ocean in the world. There are more than 4,200 identified shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, and the true number is probably more than 5,000.
Each wreck is unique onto itself, a living history museum, with its own story to tell. To me, that is the great lure of cold water diving.
I’ve dove and touched wooden wrecks that sailed our waters prior to the Civil War. Some wrecks remain nearly intact, while others are scattered along the lake bottom. And most stay preserved for extremely long lengths of time because they sit in cold, fresh water. The same cannot be said for wrecks the lie in warm water locations with the corrosive properties of saltwater.
To me, there is always an eerie sense of mystery that comes with diving a wreck. I imagine how it got there, the sheer terror that must have overcome those onboard before the ship went down. Did they die? Were they saved? What was the story? There is also a feeling of being a member of an exclusive club. There are only a small percentage of people who will ever see this wreck – all that remains of dreams that were lost, hopes that were dashed, lives lost or businesses ruined.
That is the unique history that lies all around us who live in and around the state of Michigan. It is something that much of the dive world will never experience. And that is what keeps me coming back to the thick wetsuit and the heavy weights.
And the cold.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cold-water or warm-water diver?

Are you a cold-water diver or a warm-water diver? Are you both? Which do you prefer and why? I'll have my thoughts soon. ...

Ocean acidification: Global warming's 'Evil Twin' threatens world's seas

QUEENSLAND, Australia — The rise in human emissions of carbon dioxide is driving fundamental and dangerous changes in the chemistry and ecosystems of the world's oceans, international marine scientists have warned.
"Ocean conditions are already more extreme than those experienced by marine organisms and ecosystems for millions of years," the researchers say in the latest issue of the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
"This emphasises the urgent need to adopt policies that drastically reduce CO2 emissions."
Ocean acidification, which the researchers call the 'evil twin of global warming', is caused when the CO2 emitted by human activity, mainly burning fossil fuels, dissolves into the oceans. It is happening independently of, but in combination with, global warming.
"Evidence gathered by scientists around the world over the last few years suggests that ocean acidification could represent an equal -- or perhaps even greater threat -- to the biology of our planet than global warming," co-author Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland says.
More than 30% of the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels, cement production, deforestation and other human activities goes straight into the oceans, turning them gradually more acidic.
"The resulting acidification will impact many forms of sea life, especially organisms whose shells or skeletons are made from calcium carbonate, like corals and shellfish. It may interfere with the reproduction of plankton species which are a vital part of the food web on which fish and all other sea life depend," he adds.
The scientists say there is now persuasive evidence that mass extinctions in past Earth history, like the "Great Dying" of 251 million years ago and another wipeout 55 million years ago, were accompanied by ocean acidification, which may have delivered the deathblow to many species that were unable to cope with it.

To read the rest of the story, click here

Angry British Columbia residents vow to fight artificial reef scuba tourism scheme

April 13, 2010

HOWE SOUND, British Columbia, Canada — Landowners on sleepy Gambier Island are threatening to use a constitutional challenge in their fight to keep an old naval wreck from being sunk as an artificial reef in the pristine waters of Howe Sound.
It's the latest skirmish in the battle over whether the two thousand ton Canadian helicopter destroyer HMCS Annapolis can be sunk in Halkett Bay -- a scuba divers' paradise that would be the wreck sunk closest to a big city in B.C.
"Nobody wants a lawsuit," said Andrew Strang, one of the landowners. "But we're a determined bunch."
The Annapolis is being cleaned of hydrocarbons and heavy machinery by a group of volunteers with the Artificial Reef Society of B.C.
They expect to pass an Environment Canada review in the next few months, which would give them permission to sink the vessel in Halkett Bay before the fall.
To read the rest of the story, click here.

I'm not a big fan of intentionally sinking ships for the purpose of making artificial reefs, but I understand why it is done. There are arguments to be made for both sides.

Dive shop news:

Sea-Side Dive Shop, located on Harper in St. Clair Shores, is now offering tri-mix airfills, effective April 23. With the proper certification you can get tri-mix, standard nitrox mixes, deco mixes and argon fills.
Sea-Side is also offering a fin clinic to help you improve your kicking efficiency.  A video camera will be used to help you visualize your current kick style so that it will be easier to make modifications.  Want to learn the frog kick? They can work on that, too.  In a 2-hour period they will show you how to be more efficient and how different fins can be used for different conditions.  The fee is $120 per person.
You must supply your own scuba equipment, but they will be providing a few different fin styles for you to try.  Call for available dates.  Limit of 2 divers per session. Call Sea-Side at 586-772-7676.

The Great Lakes Diver, the dive boat for Bruno's Dive Shop, located on Vermander in Clinton Township, is getting a new paint job this spring, and throughout April Bruno's is offering $15 off pre-booked charter tickets for the season. These can be purchased online via Bruno's Dive Shop at Or call Bruno's at 586-792-2040.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Welcome to Diver Down

Welcome to Diver Down, a new scuba diving blog that will appear on the Macomb Daily, Daily Tribune and Oakland Press web sites.
With the help of dive shops from around the tri-county area and in outstate Michigan, I hope to make this blog sort of a one-stop shopping place for those of us interested in this addicting hobby.
Dive shops will provide info about activities and sales going on at their shops, and I hope to provide information and insight into all things diving. We also hope to have guest columns, Q&A’s and anything else that might pop up while this blog develops
I would also love to have input from you, the readers. If you have any photos, video and stories about a recent dive trip, I would love to hear them. I am a frequent visitor to, and I love to read the stories provided by people on their recent dive trips. I get to live vicariously through their stories while I’m stuck in the cold in Michigan.
This blog will only go as far as the dive community pushes it. I look forward to seeing how we can make this a great supplement to what is already going on in dive community.