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My heels were raw from swimming nearly a mile burdened with a heavy camera, a thick wetsuit and an annoying current. Zig-zagging back and forth along the contours of the deep reef compounded the misery. From time to time my safety diver and I exchanged brief glances and kept kicking. After an hour I had a migraine. I love diving, but this was too much.

The private charter I was on cost me a pretty penny, and it was starting to look like an expensive debacle. I'd recently had quite a few such flops, and my unrestrained optimism was taking a hit. Second thoughts flooded my conscience. What fool hires a boat and crew for a sawfish charter? I didn't know it at the time, but Adam, 20 feet to my right, was even more apprehensive. He had seen five of the critically endangered fish just two days earlier on the same reef and assured me that our chances of finding them again were excellent.

I had given up hope when suddenly, at the end of our underwater marathon, Adam's wild gesticulations jolted me. I followed his gaze, and 60 feet below us rested three massive smalltooth sawfish. They faced the current, with their saws (known as rostrums) slightly elevated. One had a ball of monofilament fishing line, which resembled a dirty little pompom, on the tip of its rostrum.

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Scuba equipment failure or malfunction is a relatively rare factor in diving-related accidents and fatalities. When it does occur, the most common and hazardous malfunctions involve regulators and buoyancy compensator (BC) power inflators.1 Thus, a recent report to DAN® of a regulator failure was not necessarily surprising, but the cause in this particular case turned out to be quite unusual.

Although the diver involved in the incident managed the situation very well, and no one was harmed, an inexperienced or nervous diver might not have been so fortunate. It was particularly strange that although the diver's cylinder was not empty, the gas flow had slowed and then ceased in a way that resembled an out-of-air situation. Closer examination of the equipment led to a puzzling discovery: A large amount of yellow crystallized material was blocking the inside of the braided second-stage regulator hose. The hose had been in use for a few years but showed no external abnormalities or signs of deterioration.

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Photogenic coral reefs and majestic kelp forests deservedly garner much of the dive industry's interest: They are beautiful, and they significantly contribute to marine diversity. Unfortunately, linked habitats such as sand and rubble slopes, seagrass beds, mangroves, rusting shipwrecks, piers and docks are habitually overlooked because they are perceived to lack traditional aesthetic value. As a result, many people do not fully appreciate these habitats' ecological importance.

Piers and docks in particular act as artificial reefs, harboring an abundance of shallow-water fish. While not intentionally designed to attract marine life, these partially underwater structures often serve as oases for both common and extraordinary organisms in locations that may otherwise amount to aquatic deserts. Even though the diversity of life under piers may seem to be relatively sparse when compared with healthy Pacific coral reefs, the sheer variety of animals, plants and microorganisms drawn to these man-made formations can be vast and the associated food web exceedingly complex.

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British Columbia (BC), located just above the US state of Washington, on the northwestern coast of North America, provides all of this and more, along with countless topside activities like fishing, skiing, hiking and great wildlife viewing. I have listed below a sample of some of these areas and what you might see when exploring them.

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The Indianapolis sank in 15 minutes on 30 July 1945, in the war’s final days. The ship was on its way to the Philippines when torpedoes from a Japanese submarine struck the ship. Of the 1,196 men on board, just 316 were rescued—the largest loss of life at sea in the history of the US Navy. Nearly 300 people went down with the ship, and of the 900 who abandoned ship, only 317 would survive after four to five days in the water suffering from exposure, dehydration, drowning and shark attacks. It took the Navy four days to realize that the vessel was missing.

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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.


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.