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Recent blog posts

In undersea exploration, you never know when you might witness a moment of unusual creature interaction

While conducting the an expedition in Puerto Rico, NOAA’s research vessel, Okeanos Explorer, performed exploratory dives with its remotely operated vehicles – Deep Discoverer and Seirios. Scientists from all over were able to watch via telepresence technology direct from their site.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

geographic cone snail

The geographic cone snail, Conus geographus, is native to tropical coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans. (Image: Cone Snail/YouTube)

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northern snakehead
Photo: Snapshot/NBC video

Even creepier than the catfish that hunts pigeons on land, is the toothy northern snakehead, a carnivorous fish that grows to at least three feet in length, can breathe air and can survive for up to four days out of water. It can survive for even longer periods in mud and moist environments. Oh, and it travels over land by wriggling its body along the ground.

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Posted by on in Wrecks
By: Gerri Miller
May 27, 2014, 12:10 p.m.
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SCUBA diving and snorkelling are amongst the fastest growing tourism sectors. The increasing numbers mean many more people are aware of the beauty and importance of the marine environment, but also puts a great strain on the coral. Not only is it damaged by inexperienced divers kicking it and pollution from boats and hotels, research also shows that coral is much more likely to become diseased in highly dived areas.

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Lionfish, genus Pterois, is very popular amongst those with aquariums, and this trade may have led to them being described as amongst some of the most aggressively invasive species on the planet. Lionfish are native to the Red Sea, Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean, most often found around corals, reefs and rocky surfaces down to about 50 m. They have quite a distinctive appearance with their red and white stripes, together with large spiky dorsal fin rays containing venom for defense against predators. They don’t appear to have many natural predators, but large Groupers and Moray eels have been observed feeding on them.

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from Undercurrent Magazine

The GoPro Hero range of action cameras is a marvelous addition to your dive gear bag. I first wrote about GoPro and its Hero3 model in the November 2013 issue of Undercurrent, but in its latest Hero 4 incarnation with its watertight housings, these little POV cameras have an application for almost any activity, especially risky activities that might destroy a more conventional camera. No wonder GoPros proved to be the most popular Christmas present of 2014.

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The Underwater Photography Guide is now accepting entries for the 5th annual Ocean Art competition. Prizes worth over $75000 are on offer in 15 categories giving underwater photographers of all levels a chance to win.

For the less experienced photographers there are novice, compact camera and mirror-less camera categories. Then there are the wide-angle, macro, marine life portraits and marine life behaviour. More unusually, this competition also features categories of supermacro, cold or temperate water and nudibranchs.

Award winning nudibranch photoPhoto: Salvatore Lanniello
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Imagine it’s your job to dive for scallops deep in the cold, murky waters off the Maine coast. It’s a hard job and one that fewer fisherman are doing.

Now imagine you have use of just one arm. That’s the case for James Sewell, who lost his right arm in a 2009 snowmobiling accident and resumed diving less than a year later, according to this New York Times video by Maine filmmakers Christoph Gelfand and Caroline Losneck.

“I’ve never been a person that likes for people to do stuff for me,” said Sewell, who also dives for urchins and fishes for bluefin tuna. “I like to do for myself.”

According to the Times, Sewell, 43, is one of only about 30 active scallop divers working on the Maine coast.

The video shows what that job is like for Sewell, who dives off his boat, the Sophie Elizabeth, out of Cushing.

“It’s just not a 9 to 5 job. Deep diving puts a lot of nitrogen into your blood. It’s hard on your joints. It’s hard on you,” Sewell says in the video. “Once you get to a certain age you’re not going to be able to keep doing it. I think about my family and the risks you take. Every day that you go down on bottom you have that chance of something fails or something happens — that might be the last time that you see them.”

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It turns out that blindfolding a shark or plugging its nose isn't enough to deter it from going after prey. When a shark gets hungry, it will use all the senses it has available to hunt down something to eat, a new study reveals.

The goal of the study was to figure out how sharks use their different senses together, rather than isolating one sense at a time. Researchers examined three species of sharks — blacktip, bonnethead and nurse sharks — in an artificial flow channel inside the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla.

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I am often told how adventurous, crazy or “brave” I am, and that I take big risks. I don’t take crazy risks, but I do take calculated ones, and participate in activities that may seem overly risky, but I make sure all precautions are taken. More people are killed in car accidents than in “adventure sports” accidents. I love nature, I love diving, but I am not reckless, far from it. My husband, Randy, and I took our young adult children, Wes and Ally, on our family dream trip to Guadalupe Island to cage dive with Great White Sharks, and we could not wait to get on the boat and into the water.

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At 9 foot long, not including the tail, tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) Harry Lindo is not exactly on the small side.  It’s not Harry’s size that is exciting scientists and shark enthusiasts, nor a photograph taken in 2009 by Ian Card showing a shark – suspected to be Harry, trying to eat a 150 lb juvenile tiger shark off the coast of Bermuda.  Between 2009 and 2012 researchers tagged 24 tiger sharks with satellite transmitters in the Challenger Bank, which lies just off Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean.  In study lead by James Lea (The Guy Harvey Research Institute, Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center) and team of international collaborators, those shark movements have been compiled and analysed.  Harry, it turns out, is one heck of an ocean wanderer.  In just over 3 years Harry swam over 44,000 kilometres – that’s more than the circumference of the Earth (just over 40,000 kilometres).  Harry’s track is the longest recorded for a tiger shark, and probably the longest ever published for any shark species.

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Sherwood TA 150722 ‐ 9000 Series 2nd Stage Upgrade KitTECHNICAL ADVISORYDATE: July 27, 2015SUBJECT: 9000 Series 2nd Stage Regulators – Upgrade KitChanges have been made to the 9000 Series 2nd Stage internal valve components to improve the performance of the Poppet, Seat, and Orifice. These changes address the possibility of an improper seal that may develop in the 2nd stage due to either an orifice damaging the seat, or tolerance deviations that may allow for slight misalignments of the poppet to the orifice. The changes to the components are as follows:1.       Orifice: The sealing edge is slightly more rounded so it is less likely to damage the seat;2.       Seat: Now made of a slightly higher durometer to increase toughness and has an improved fit into the Poppet;3.       Poppet: The ribs have been extended all the way to the seat to improve the alignment to the orifice;These new parts are contained in an Upgrade Kit that will be provided by Sherwood Scuba at no cost, but only for the Sherwood Octo (SR9902), Brut, Magnum, Oasis, and Blizzard 2nd Stage Regulators that were produced from June 2013 through December 2014.Eligible units must be within this serial number range: 13020401 – 14124477The serial number is found stamped into the 2nd Stage housing. Please do not confuse this number with the serial number marked on the 1st Stage Regulator. Sherwood TA 150722 ‐ 9000 Series 2nd Stage Upgrade KitIf you have a 2nd Stage unit within the above serial number range that is displaying a small leak you cannot solve through a normal service and is within its normal service period, contact your Sherwood Scuba Distributor for an Upgrade Kit and perform a standard service overhaul.The Upgrade Kit contains a new two‐color Mouthpiece with Tie Strap so that the 2nd Stage can be visually identified as upgraded. The Kit also contains a new Thrust Washer so that any upgraded 2nd Stage will be fully up to date.Only one Upgrade Kit will be supplied for each 2nd Stage regulator. All Parts will retain the same part numbers except for the new two‐color Mouthpiece. All 9000 Series 2nd Stage Regulators built after January 2015 already contain the new upgraded parts and therefore are not included in the eligible serial number ranges.These regulators will have the new two‐color Mouthpiece installed to easily identify them.If you have any questions regarding the Upgrade Kit, please contact your Regional Sherwood Scuba Distributor for assistance.

 

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Simon Ager/Sea Shepherd Australia

Simon Ager/Sea Shepherd Australia

The captain of the MV Thunder didn’t go down with his ship. Instead, he stood cheering and applauding in a life raft as the 62-m fishing trawler sank beneath the glassy surface of the Atlantic, 200 km off the coast of Gabon. Then he and his crew of 40 meekly allowed themselves to be rescued by the boat that had been pursuing them for 110 days.

It was a bizarre finish to the world’s longest maritime pursuit, one that began in the icy waters off Antarctica last Dec. 17, and ended on April 6, practically on the equator, near the tiny islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, some 19,000 km away. Reports suggest that the captain of the Thunder—a notorious pirate fishing vessel that had changed its name and flag at least three times in recent years—deliberately scuttled his vessel, although he claims he was hit by a passing cargo ship. It makes little difference. The activists from the Sea Shepherd Society had made their point: that they were willing to go to the very ends of the Earth to protect the Patagonian toothfish.

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Since I’ve scuba dived as many times as I’ve bungee jumped in a leotard (not very many, if you’re wondering), I took a deep breath and tapped three regional experts for tips on where to go in Canada – starting with Russell Clark from the Dive Industry Association of British Columbia.

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A little more than 238 years ago, our forefathers used the best technology available to inspire colonial proto-Americans to revolt against the King of England. At that time, the “best” technology available was the printing press and the “best” social network required the use of “word of mouth” in Public Houses. Grog (small beer) was the lubricant that facilitated this communication and the rest, as they say, is history.

But while all this was going on, there were a bunch of entrepreneurs and a few startups that changed the world. In the 1770s, America was a relatively low tech, agrarian society, but as you can see from the list below, all that was about to change. So here, for your Independence Day reading pleasure, are the seven hottest tech trends circa 1776.

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A few years ago, Italian farmer Luca Gamberini began pondering what it would take to grow perfect garden vegetables. He already knew that plants need constant temperatures, as well as water, light, and protection from harmful external elements. But since it can be difficult to recreate these conditions outdoors all year long, or even at all, Gamberini needed an alternative that could provide a more stable growing environment.

His solution? Underwater greenhouses.

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You don’t usually find a wireless network whilst underwater, but that may change as researchers at the University at Buffalo are developing a deep-sea internet. They hope that this technological breakthrough will lead to improvements in tsunami detection, pollution monitoring and other activities.

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What makes your book different from other books about diving around the world?

There are two principals we have stuck to ever since the first edition. Right from the start, we asked other divers where they had been and where they were diving next. And then we focused on those places people actually want to go to and can afford to go to. Let’s face it, we would all love to dive the Antarctic, but few of us will win the lottery this week! The other thing is that we can say – hand on heart – that there is nothing in the book that we haven’t personally done. If we haven’t dived the country or a specific site, we don’t write about it or pass opinion. It makes the guide unique. Yes, it is personal to us and our experiences but at least readers know we have said it because we have done it!

Blue ringed octopus

Blue ringed octopus

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Posted by on in Wrecks

Popular diving locations tend to be centered around marine biodiversity hotspots. The unique landscapes of coral reefs and mass congregations of marine leviathans draw divers like prey to a frogfish lure. These same spots usually have a history of local livelihoods like fishing, and few locations exist where there is no conflict between these two industries.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are parts of the ocean where certain activities are restricted benefit both divers and fishers, creating a permanent pool of marine resources that then seed and replenish heavily used areas.

The term "Marine Protected Area" is an umbrella term, and may refer to a variety of regualations and restrictions. Unfortuantely, a misunderstanding of the rules and regulations that surround MPAs can lead to a volatile relationship between the diving industry and other local livelihoods using reefs and other ecosystems. Here we cover some useful tips that you can use to promote these fantastic resources for more collaborative efforts for protecting valuable marine life.

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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.