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Posted by on in Wrecks

SCUBA Travel are pleased to release their annual list of the diving best-selling books and DVDs.

Most of the books are either diving area guides – to specific locations or dives around the world – or sea life guides. One breaks the trend though: Simon Pridmore’s Scuba Confidential. This tells readers how to be a better diver.

One DVD makes the list, showing the best diving locations in world.

Here are the top ten: figures in brackets show the previous year’s position.If positions change (and some are very close) this page will update with the new best-sellers.

As you can see, many books continue to be in the top ten year after year. Coral Reef Fishes: Indo-Pacific and Caribbean has not been out of the top ten since we started publishing the list in 2002! But then, it’s a great little book.

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The Okeanos is equipped with real-time broadband satellite communications that provide the ship with telepresence -- meaning the video and photos collected with underwater robots known as remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, are shared on the internet in real time. So scientists, teachers, students, and you can watch the dives as they happen. With the ship currently exploring Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, there’s no time like the present to tune in and check out the action.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

ear beer for scuba divers - © Getty Images

Grab an Medicine Bottle and Make Ear Beer on Your Next Trip.  © Getty Images

 

Updated October 22, 2015.

What's worse than losing a piece of dive gear, worse than a day of uncooperative weather? Getting an ear infection during a dive vacation. An ear infection can keep a diver unhappily grounded for days. Worse, it seems to be most common to get ear infections during dive vacations, when divers are exposed to foreign bacteria or have weakened immune systems caused by travel and exhaustion. I am not a doctor, so take this advise with a grain of salt, but divers have been brewing a home remedy to prevent ear infections for years, and it's called ear beer.

Divers can use ear beer as a preventive measure after any dive. Ear beer helps to prevent infections in two ways, it drys out the diver's ears, and it creates an acidic pH that kills off most types of bacteria that cause ear infections. This said, some environments are more likely to cause ear infections than others – and freshwater dives appear to be the worst. Freshwater dive environments seem to be more hospitable to bacteria, so definitely plan on using ear beer after dives in lakes, rivers, and freshwater caves.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

“But it's so difficult here! The water is only ten feet deep!” It seems that I hear this from about fifty percent of my cave diving students. We train basic cave skills in the open water area of cenotes, where the depth tends to max out at about fifteen feet and we do the skills hovering neutrally buoyant mid-water. The truth is, that pretty much every type of control is more difficult in shallow water, and that is precisely why shallow water makes for such an incredible practice environment – if you can control yourself in shallow water, you can control yourself anywhere.

So grab your fins and head out to the shallow end of the smallest pool you can find, here are five things that you can improve by practicing your diving skill in shallow water.

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Feeding sharks for the benefit of divers is becoming more and more common, but is controversial. New research suggests that feeding in areas with several different sharks, over time, leads to one species increasing in numbers at the expense of the others. Published in PLOS ONE(1), the study looked at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve feeding site in Fiji from 2003 to 2012.

Eight species of shark regularly visited the site in 2003: bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas), grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos), whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus), blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus), tawny nurse shark (Nebrius ferrugineus), silvertip shark (Carcharhinus albimarginatus), sicklefin lemon shark (Negaprion acutidens), and tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier). By 2012, there were more individual sharks visiting, but fewer species. The winner was the bull shark. The smaller tawny nurse shark, silvertip shark and sicklefin lemon shark became very rare visitors.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

A quarter of sharks, rays and chimaeras are threatened with extinction, according to a new study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Large, shallow-water species are at most risk.

The group found that only 23 percent of these fish is listed as “least concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Of the 1,041 known species, 25 are listed as critically endangered, 43 are endangered, and 113 are vulnerable to extinction. This is the worst reported status for any major vertebrate group except for amphibians.

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Posted by on in Wrecks
Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish are renown for their tremendous camouflage capabilities – changing the color and texture of their skin to match their surroundings. They have another weapon in their hide and seek armory though – electric cloaking.

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Posted by on in Wrecks
Bullethead Parrotfish, Chlorurus sordidusBullethead Parrotfish, Chlorurus sordidus

It is well known by SCUBA divers that many parrotfish and wrasse sleep soundly in mucous cocoons during the night. Until now the reason has not been known, but has been thought to be some sort of protection against predators. New research by scientists at the University of Queensland, Australia has found that the cocoons actually act as a kind of “mosquito net”.

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Great barracuda, Sphyraena barracudaGreat barracuda, Sphyraena barracuda

The Great barracuda is amongst the top predators in their environment and use very highly developed smell and vision senses to locate their prey. When attacking, the barracuda will charge at fast speed (approximately 12 ms-1) and ram their target. They then unleash the power of their jaws which allows them to slice through their prey, even those larger than the barracuda itself. The jaw of the barracuda is formed in such a way that the upper and lower jaws form ‘rows’ of teeth. The top jaw has smaller serrated teeth on the outside and larger canines on the inside, and the teeth of the lower jaw fit between them when the mouth is shut. When the jaw closes this acts like scissors and slices through prey with ease.

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Posted by on in Wrecks
The air around here is growing increasingly chilly and I think a nice, warm blanket to hide under is called for. All sorts of animals have lovely fur you can make one out of, but you have to do all the work yourself. Unacceptable! There is a very strange answer to this problem, so long as you can tolerate your blanket being soaking wet. The Blanket Octopus has come to tuck you in. I hope she's brought some hot chocolate along, too.

Blanket Octopus are 4 species of the genus Tremoctopus. They are found throughout the world's tropical and sub-tropical oceans, from the surface to moderate depths. I usually think of octopods crawling around on rocks and such but the Blanket Octopus is pelagic, living life out in the open ocean with no need for coasts or the sea floor at all.
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The vast open ocean presents an especially challenging environment for its inhabitants since there is nowhere for them to hide. Yet, nature has found a remarkable way for fish to hide from their predators using camouflage techniques. In a study published in the current issue of Science, researchers from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University and collaborators show that fish scales have evolved to not only reflect light, but to also scramble polarization. They identified the tissue structure that fish evolved to do this, which could be an analog to develop new materials to help hide objects in the water.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

Once you do your first ocean dive something inside of you changes. You form a connection to the ocean. You start to care about the sea and begin thinking about what you can do to protect it.

We all know some basic things that we can do to reduce our carbon footprint, for example, stop using single-use plastic and recycle as much as possible. But have you ever thought about sustainable shopping while travelling?

As ocean-loving scuba divers, we should not buy souvenirs from anyone exploiting ocean wildlife.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

Being a scuba diver is awesome. You breathe underwater, identify fish and experience weightlessness on every vacation. You have designated yourself as an ocean activist, and you’re well on your way to achieving Master Scuba Diver. Being the scuba diver in your group of friends is a big responsibility, but you handle it with grace and ease.

Did you know that as a scuba diver, you’ve developed skills that also make you rule at life? It’s true!

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Published by R. Cilveti, B. Osona, J.A. Peña, L. Moreno, O. Asensio, en representación del Grupo de Técnicas de la Sociedad Española de Neumología Pediátrica (the Spanish Society of Pediatric Pulmonology)

 

Abstract

The increase in recreational scuba diving in recent years, including children, involves risks and the possibility of accidents. While legislation, conditions and risks of scuba diving are well documented in adults, scientific evidence in scuba diving by children and adolescents is sparse and isolated. Furthermore, existing guidelines and recommendations for adults cannot be transferred directly to children.

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In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, artist David Dunleavy, puts finishing touches on a huge mural entitled "Dolphin Rodeo" at an Islamorada, Fla., marina. The 252-foot-wide by 33-foot-high artwork features two dolphin, also known as mahi-mahi, that are popular ocean gamefish caught off the Florida Keys and other regions of the world. It took the New Jersey artist a month to paint his 62nd larger-than-life SeaLife Mural. Andy Newman AP
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Posted by on in Wrecks

Valparaiso, CHILE—The Chilean government on Monday announced that it has created the largest marine reserve in the Americas by protecting an area hundreds of miles off its coast roughly the size of Italy.

The new area, called the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park, constitutes about eight percent of the ocean areas worldwide that have been declared off-limits to fishing and governed by no-take protections, says Russell Moffitt, a conservation analyst with the Marine Conservation Institute in Seattle, Washington.

The Pac-Man-shaped marine protected area (MPA) encompasses roughly 115,000 square miles (297,000 square kilometers) of ocean around San Ambrosio and San Felix islands. Together, they're known as the Desventuradas (or Unfortunate in Spanish) Islands, which are part of the underwater Nazca Ridge, which runs southwest from Peru to Easter Island. 

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One in four people have an opening between the left and right chambers of the heart – called a Patent foramen ovale or PFO. Normally this is not a problem, a flap covers the opening and generally remains closed because of greater pressure in the left chamber than the right. In scuba divers though, it is a worry.

After and whilst ascending from a dive, nitrogen bubbles are formed in the blood of a diver’s veins and carried back to the heart. In a diver with a PFO, the bubbles can pass to the left chamber of the heart and be carried in the arteries back around the body. If they get into the tissues then the diver might get decompression sickness (the bends), even when diving within the normal decompression limits.

One of the treatments for a PFO is to close it using a catheter based procedure. A catheter is a flexible hollow tube which can be used to move a closure-device in place in the heart. In a study available this week in the journal, JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, doctors report that closing a PFO in this way completely eliminates arterial bubbles after a dive. This compares to a control group where after an 18 m dive 32% of them had bubbles in their arteries, and after a 50 m dive 88% exhibited arterial bubbles. No difference was found in the presence of bubbles in veins in either groups.

The dives were simulated in a hyperbaric chamber: 34 divers “dived” to 18 m for 80 min, and 13 divers to 50 m for 20 min.

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Removal of large predators through fishing has been suggested to help the populations of smaller fish.

An international team of scientists tested this assumption and found that no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) benefited all major groups – higher carnivores like sharks and groupers, benthic carnivores that live near the bottom like butterflyfishes, planktivores and herbivores. Their biomass was 40-200% greater where large predators were left alone compared to open-access areas where fishing took place.

Masked ButterflyfishMasked Butterflyfish by Tim Nicholson
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Posted by on in Wrecks

Zippers How well a zipper keeps out the cold depends on its seals. some use double — or even triple — overlapping smooth-skin with a long or inter- locking internal flap. Generally, a waterproof chest or shoulder zip will be drier — though more restrictive and harder to don and doff— than a nonwaterproof vertical rear zip.

Diving Style If you always wear a hood, consider a suit with one that’s attached. If you need maximum insulation, look at the thickest suits. If mobility is important, choose a suit that uses thinner materials in the arms and legs.

Seals Today’s suits come with more seal types than color choices – smooth-skin o-rings, double smooth-skin zippered cuffs, single smooth- skin cuffs, internal gaskets, etc. Personal preference and perfect fit are the keys to finding the best type of seal for your suit.

Materials Manufacturers often have proprietary names for their suit materials; you’ll find that one neoprene might be a little stretchier, or another is a bit denser. the bigger differences are in how the materials are used, and how the suits are shaped and put together.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

You've made a significant investment in buying a new wetsuit. Do you know how to take care of it? Follow our tips to extend the life of your suit.

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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.