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On 7th February 2014 a two line report was posted on the forum 'Rebreather World', advising of a Norwegian diving incident.
"Sadly, two divers died in the caves of Plura yesterday. They ran into problems at ~130m. Three team mates made it back to the surface and [sic] was taken to the chamber. The three divers are OK.

The Dive Plan

In the world of caving and cave-diving, physically discovering the link between different cave systems is a significant exploration achievement. Once linked, if the system is very challenging, it is quite possible that very few cavers / cave-divers, if any, will subsequently make the known through-trip.

In early 2014 five friends decided that they wanted to dive the Plura Cave through-trip. The plan was that two teams of rebreather divers - a buddy pair and a team of three - would enter at Plura, dive the system, and exit at Steinuglefåget.
The team would then overnight in a rented house near the Plura entrance, then dive the system in reverse the next day. The planned dive time was five hours, with a maximum planned depth of 129 mt / 423 ft. The team would carry bail-out gas and bailout rebreathers.
On the 6th February 2014 the first team made a hole in the ice at the Plura 'start site', whilst the second team drove to the Steinuflåget 'end site' to leave clothing and equipment. The second team then returned to Plura, and helped the first team finish kitting up. Once the first team were in the water, the second team prepared for their dive. They entered the water about two hours after the first team.

Changed Forever

Long story short, this story changed the lives of the five friends forever. One diver in the first team got stuck in a restriction in the cave at 110 mt / 360 ft and subsequently died.
The second team were unaware of the tragedy as they entered the water. Their first part of their dive was also uneventful, until the three divers came across the body of their friend. A second diver then died. The three surviving divers made it out of the system safely, but were all hospitalised with decompression sickness. They were subsequently interviewed by the Norwegian authorities, who promptly closed Plura cave.

Official Body Recovery

The Norwegian authorities planned an official recovery operation of the two bodies. They called in three renowned British cave explorers who specialise in rescue and recovery work in caves, to do the job. The team comprised of Rick Stanton, John Volanthen and Jason Mallinson.
The team accessed the cave from Steinuglefåget and surveyed the accident site.
""It was evident that it was going to be quite a protracted affair, lots of dives, down deep and cold - and that was really beyond our remit," stated Rick Stanton. "The only alternative was to perform the traverse from Plura all over again, and thus gain access to the victims from the other side."

The team deemed the process was too risky, and the Norwegian police called off the recovery. Plura Cave remained closed.

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Over-fishing is driving sharks to the brink of extinction. In fact, many populations have seen a decline of up to 80%. Healthy oceans depend on healthy shark populations because they keep the marine food change in balance. Sharks grow slowly and produce few young – meaning they are incredibly vulnerable. The saddest part? Many of the leading factors in the decrease of populations of sharks are caused by human activity.

Here are seven types of sharks we think are work getting to know (and help ensure they have a brighter future).

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The HMCS Saskatchewan is British Columbia's most successful artificial reef. The popularity of the Saskatchewan is apparent when you consider that well over 100,000 dives have been completed since she was sunk on June 14, 1997: more than all other B.C. artificial reefs put together!

Click On The Image To Watch A Video Of The Sinking!Hundreds of boats, including a ferry that B.C. Ferries and it's crew donated as a viewing platform, gathered just off the western side of Snake Island, a bird sanctuary and home to over 250 harbour seals, to watch the sinking. In just over 2 minutes the 366 foot Saskatchewan slipped below the surface and began its descent to the sandy bottom where it came to rest in 130 feet of water with a 6 degree list to the portside. The bow faces to the south and the stern to the north. The top of the mast is at 45 feet and the bulk of the vessel is between 80 and 100 feet.

B.C.'s Most Popular Reef!The approximate depth to some of the most popular and identifiable features are:

Radar Platform on main mast ..........45'
Bridge .......... 65'
Top of guns .......... 85'
Fore and aft decks ..........95'
Aft mortar bay .......... 105'
Keel at bottom .......... 130'

Look at all the diver access holes cut into the vessel. This creates lots of ambient light and a safe diving environment for you!

The community of Nanaimo has wholeheartedly embraced The Saskatchewan. Our community's dedication to diving is evident throughout NanaimoOne of Jeff King's Great Murals! . Downtown, next to the Courthouse, the Weyerhaeuser building boasts one of Jeff King's, Nanaimo's renowned marine muralists', best murals. This large mural and it's amazing detail covers the entire side of the building. Make viewing this mural a part of your visit to Nanaimo.

Make Diving The Saskatchewan part of your travel plans this year! Have a look at the great value we offer in our Diving and Snorkeling packages!

Want to learn a bit more of the history of The Saskatchewan, read T.W. Paterson's article on the Noble past of The HMCS Saskatchewan:

HMCS SASKATCHEWAN HAD A NOBLE PAST

Looking Back Article by T.W. Paterson, Harbour City Star, February 13, 2001

"The bottom of the sea is a funny place for a piece of Canadian prairies, but there you have it since the sinking of HMCS Saskatchewan as an artificial reef, in 1997.

Our second Mackenzie class destroyer escort, she was commissioned at Esquimalt's Yarrows Ltd., Feb. 16, 1963. At 366 feet long, with a 42-foot beam and a displacement of 2,900 tons (fully loaded) she had a top speed of 28 knots and a complement of 230 officers and men.

Built when Canada's destroyers were internationally renowned as 'Cadillacs', Saskatchewan honoured the river of that name, rather than the province, and was the second ship of this name to serve the Royal Canadian Navy.HMCS Saskatchewan Emblem

Her ship's badge shows a sheaf of wheat imposed on a green field, with a wavy white and rad diagonal strip denoting a river. All colours are derived from the province of Saskatchewan's coat of arms.

Her predecessor was commissioned in the Royal Navy in 1935 as HMS Fortune, of the Fearless destroyer class. During the first 3½ years of the Second World War, she steamed more than 2000,000 miles (that's eight times around the world), participated in the Norwegian campaign and the occupation of Iceland, and shared in the sinking of the U-27, U-24 and the Vichy French submarine, Ajax.

While serving out of Malta in May 1941, she was badly damaged by bombs that required six months to repair.

In 1943, after two years with the Eastern Fleet, Fortune was renamed Saskatchewan and transferred to the RCN at London. She joined Escort Group C-3 after refit, trials and workups, for convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. Saskatchewan and her sisters escorted no fewer than 14 convoys in nine months until withdrawn in May, 1944 to begin special training off Londonderry, North Ireland in preparation for the invasion of Europe.

In June, she helped to patrol the English Channel "as part of a barrier" to prevent U-boats from attacking the invasion route to the Normandy beaches.

During an offensive patrol in the Bay of Biscay, the Canadian managed to destroy three enemy ships and complete further patrols in British waters before Saskatchewan was ordered back to Canada for refit in august, 1944. She spent the last five months of the war as an escort vessel, returned to Canada after V-E Day, and rounded out an outstanding career as a troop transport.

Paid off for disposal on Jan. 28, 1946, the weary destroyer was sold for scrap, leaving three hard-won battle honours: Atlantic - 1943-1944, Normandy - 1944, Biscay - 1944.

There's even more naval history behind Saskatchewan than this. The only naval engagement of the Riel Rebellion was fought on the South Saskatchewan River (Kisikatchewan - rapid river in Cree), in 1885. Government forces requisitioned the stern-wheel steamer Northcote, armed her with a Gatling gun and 50 soldiers, armour-plated here with planks and sandbags, and sent her against the rebels at Batoche.

But they riddled here in small arms crossfire and launched another riverboat into her path, damaging the Northcote and forcing her withdrawal.

In 1968, the latest HMCS Saskatchewan sustained extensive damage from striking a rock at the eastern entrance to Active Pass and again, two years later, off Roberts Bank. Both accidents resulted in courts martial and severe reprimands for her respective captains.

In 1997 HMCS Saskatchewan touched sea bottom for the last time, just three km from Nanaimo. She and several sister destroyers have been sunk as artificial reefs and tourist attractions for divers in recent years, with HMCS Cape Breton to soon follow."

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Source: Divers Alert Network (DAN)

Simply put, alcohol and diving are not compatible. Alcohol causes depression of the central nervous system, which impairs judgment and reduces reaction time and coordination. Often the individual is not even aware of the degree of impairment.

A review of more than 15 studies on the effects of alcohol on performance found that alcohol was involved in roughly 50 percent of all accidents in people of drinking age. In Diving and Subaquatic Medicine (Edmonds C, et al., 2002), the authors report that alcohol is associated with up to 80 percent of all drownings in adult males.

It takes time for alcohol to be metabolized and its effects to wear off. M.W. Perrine and colleagues studied a group of experienced divers and the impact of alcohol consumption on their performance. Their investigation found that the ability to perform skills while scuba diving was significantly compromised at a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent, which can be reached by a 180-pound man who consumes two 12-ounce beers in one hour on an empty stomach. The study went on to state that even at a lower BAC, situational awareness and protective inhibitions may be reduced.

Recent alcohol intake (along with seasickness, traveler's diarrhea, excessive sweating, diuretic medications and air travel) is a potential cause of dehydration in divers. Dehydration, particularly when severe, is a potential risk factor for decompression sickness (DCS). Diving can also contribute to further fluid loss through breathing dry air and diuresis caused by both immersion and cold. Some symptoms of dehydration, such as fatigue or drowsiness, can even mimic DCS, leading to possible diagnostic confusion.

Alcohol ingestion may also enhance the effects of nitrogen narcosis. Elevated BAC, dehydration and nitrogen narcosis together may result in otherwise preventable accidents due to decreased problem-solving ability.

Many divers appreciate a cold beer, but drinking and diving can turn a safe activity into a nightmare for both the diver and all those impacted by a rescue or fatality. Think twice before combining alcohol and diving.

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WOODLAND PARK, N.J. — After several months delay, the ship that helped rescue seven people during The Perfect Storm is scheduled to be sunk off the New Jersey and Delaware coast next week, state officials said Tuesday evening.

The Coast Guard cutter Tamaroa will join other ships forming an artificial reef about 26 miles off Cape May at a ceremony Tuesday, barring bad weather, said Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Agency.

The 73-year-old ship, which also had a distinguished career in World War II, had been scheduled to be sunk late last year. It was delayed when lab tests confirming the ship was free from cancer-causing PCBs — a prerequisite before sinking — came in later than expected.

The sinking comes a few months after the 25th anniversary of storm, a confluence of three weather systems off the New England coast in October 1991 that generated 40-foot waves and wind gusts over 70 mph.

The Tamaroa’s crew helped save three people on a sailboat before rescuing four of five crewmen of an Air National Guard helicopter that had to be ditched in the ocean when it ran out of fuel during a similar rescue mission. The ship gained fame when its exploits were documented in Sebastian Junger's 1997 book, The Perfect Storm, and three years later in a film starring George Clooney.

News of the Tamaroa's sinking generated significant interest among former crew members. Many would rather see the ship used as a reef than demolished for scrap metal.

The ship already had a decorated history as the Navy's USS Zuni, towing crippled U.S. warships across the Pacific in World War II and aiding in the invasion of Iwo Jima. It was transferred to the Coast Guard shortly after the war and spent almost a half-century conducting search and rescue operations along the East Coast.

The Tamaroa was decommissioned in 1994. A decadelong effort by a group of veterans to restore the ship ended when its hull sprang a significant leak in 2012, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

The Tamaroa will join the Navy destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford 120 feet below the ocean's surface on the Del-Jersey-Land Reef, which is managed by Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.

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U/W Bike Race

eventsiconJoin us on July 4th for this annual event benefitting the Children's Mile of Hope.

Lionfish Tournament

eventsiconWe need your help to make Carteret County's 5th Annual "If you Can't Beat 'em, Eat 'em" Spearfishing Tournament a success! This Tournament is a joint effort between Discovery Diving and Eastern Carolina Artificial Reef Association (ECARA).

Treasure Hunt

eventsiconFood, prizes, diving, and fun! Proceeds benefit the Mile Hope Children's Cancer Fund and DAN's research in diving safety.

ECARA Event

2013Join us June 3rd, 2017 in support of the East Carolina Artificial Reef Association.  Click here for more info on this great event and how you can help to bring more Wrecks to the Graveyard of the Atlantic.