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What's Happening at Discovery Diving

Get all the latest info from our Instructors and Staff on our SCUBA Classes, Charters, Equipment and Special Events.

Back to Nursery School: Spending a day in Coral Restoration Foundation's Nursery

SCUBA Board News 

Many of you who know me, know that I love to volunteer. I simply love to give of my time and it's even sweeter when I get to combine volunteerism with Scuba! So, when I was asked by Ashley to help out on a nursery dive for the Coral Restoration Foundation, I dove at the chance. Everyone was talking how cold the water was, so I brought my 3 mil shorty. After all, it's the Keys, so how chilly could it get? Sure we were bringing lunch and planning on three dives, so I brought a light vest too... you know, just in case. Luckily the water was 77oF so I didn't need anything but a bathing suit. I love living in the Keys!

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5 Tips to Safely Dive a Shipwreck

5 Tips to Safely Dive a Shipwreck

Do you know your wreck-diving basics? 
If not, read on (and remember that penetrating a wreck is a whole different ballgame, and requires advanced training).

1. Follow the mooring line. Start your dive by surface swimming or pulling yourself along a tag line to the mooring before making your descent. The mooring is your shortest, safest path between the dive boat and the wreck.

2. Remember where you started. On a large wreck with multiple moorings, it can be easy to finish your dive at the wrong boat. Once you descend, take note of your location. Are you at the bow or stern? Port or starboard? Are there unique features like a crane or a winch that you’ll notice on the way back?

3. Use the current. Start your dive against the flow. If possible, keep to the leeward side, where the superstructure of the ship will provide some protection. For the return swim, you can explore the exposed side of the wreck, drifting with the current for an easy ride back.

4. Plan your dive. Always start your wreck dive at the deepest part of your dive plan. Follow the rule of thirds: Use one-third of your air (or bottom time) swimming out, a third coming back, and keep a third in reserve.

5. Gear up. Wear a full-length wetsuit when wreck diving to protect against sharp or rusted metal and other objects. Standard gear should include a dive computer, a knife and an underwater flashlight.

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Planning To Fail

Planning To Fail

Henry's heart was pounding hard. His air supply was dangerously low, and he knew the three divers inside the wreck must have even less air because their dive was deeper and they were working as they penetrated the wreck. He swam a short way inside, hoping to find some sign of his friends. Finding no trace of them, he became even more anxious. Finally, in desperation, he ascended to the surface, where he blew his whistle to alert the dive boat crew that there was a problem 130 feet below. The captain immediately sprang into action, taking the steps necessary to get a rescue attempt started.

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Great Whites

Great Whites

The Great White, on the other hand, is known to be an aggressive predator and has an extremely muscular body, capable of chasing down some of the fastest swimmers in the ocean.  Reaching lengths of up to 20 feet (6 m) and weights of several tons, the Great White’s body is perfectly adapted to a life of predation.

Great White Sharks are known to be highly migratory, with individuals making long migrations every year.  In the eastern Pacific Ocean, Great Whites regularly migrate between Mexico and Hawaii.  In other ocean basins, individuals may migrate even longer distances.  Like in many highly migratory species, the very largest individuals are female.  Great Whites mate via internal fertilization and give live birth to a small number of large young (over three feet/one meter).  Though they give live birth, Great Whites do not connect to their young through a placenta.  Instead, during the gestation period, the mother provides her young with unfertilized eggs that they actively eat for nourishment.  After they are born, young Great Whites are already natural predators, and they eat coastal fishes.  As they grow, their preferred prey also gets larger, and the largest, mature individuals prefer to eat marine mammals, like seals and sea lions.  Great Whites are known to take very deep dives, probably to feed on slow-moving fishes and squids in the cold waters of the deep sea.  Though almost all fishes are cold blooded, Great Whites have a specialized blood vessel structure – called a countercurrent exchanger – that allows them to maintain a body temperature that is higher than the surrounding water.  This adaptation provides them with a major advantage when hunting in cold water by allowing them to move more quickly and intelligently.  It is also particularly advantageous when hunting warm-blooded marine mammals that might otherwise have too much energy for Great Whites to successfully capture them.

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Light and Motion Launches Game-Changing Companion Lights for GoPro Action Cameras on Kickstarter

Light and Motion Launches Game-Changing Companion Lights for GoPro Action Cameras on Kickstarter
The ultimate action camera accessory, the Sidekick is small, low profile and – at 123 grams – weighs less than the GoPro. Its factory-sealed design and clean simple mount allows Sidekick to seamlessly integrate with any GoPro set-up and go wherever a GoPro goes, including 200 feet underwater. Adjustable spot and flood modes give users the flexibility to control the amount of light to create the perfect POV footage. 

 

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3 Tips for Nailing Nudibranch Shots

3 Tips for Nailing Nudibranch Shots
nvertebrate life, so the best way to find them is to lookfor their food, which tends to be richest in areas of current. Their large, brightly colored egg ribbons are normally the first clue that they’re nearby. But be warned: Nudibranch photography is highly addictive; once you begin, the quest for tiny treasure can easily take over your diving.
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Drillers Help Make New Antarctic Discoveries

Using a hot-water drill and an underwater robotic vehicle designed, built and operated by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering team, scientists have made new discoveries about Antarctica's geology and biology.

In addition to new observations about how Antarctica's ice sheets are affected by rising temperatures, the expedition also uncovered a unique ecosystem of fish and invertebrates living in an estuary deep beneath the Antarctic ice.

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2014 ScubaLab Best Buy: Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer

You won’t find any color LED display here, or air integration, or four-gas switching. So what do you get with the Leonardo? As it turns out, exactly what it promises: a simple design aimed at new divers “or those who just want to dive.” The nearly 2-inch-wide screen has an uncluttered display that’s easy to read, with large characters and no head-scratching abbreviations. The dive screen displays current depth, NDL, max depth, dive time, battery level and temperature, while the alternate shows gas mix, PO2 setting and conservatism factor. There are audible and screen warnings for deep and safety stops (although no safety-stop timer) and for approaching deco. An ascent-rate indicator uses an ascending stack of arrows to get the point across, and there’s an oxygen-toxicity bar graph and alarm. The one-button menu navigation is simple — press to toggle or advance; hold to enter menus or select. Since it moves in only one direction, you sometimes have to do a fair bit of pressing, but even the newest diver won’t get lost in the menu. You can program nitrox up to 50 percent, PO2 from 1.2 to 1.6, altitude, and three levels of conservatism (in our chamber dives, the Leonardo was among the most conservative in this batch). The Leonardo might be too basic for some divers, and we wish it had a safety-stop timer and a stronger backlight. But it delivers what it promises at a modest price for new divers or those who want simplicity. The Cressi Leonardo is our Best Buy in this category
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Buoyancy Calculator: How to Figure Out How Much Lead You Need

It’s the bane of all divers. We want to go down, but the inherent buoyancy in our wetsuits, our BCs, our lungs and our fat cells are all conspiring to keep that from happening. 

To overcome the force of buoyancy you have to counterbalance it with ballast weight. The question is, how much? While the answer is different for every diver, the goal is the same: carry enough weight to enable you to function efficiently and safely at all depths, and not an ounce more. 

Divers are generally taught to define this as being neutrally buoyant at 15 feet deep while wearing an empty BC and carrying a nearly empty tank. But how do you get there? There’s the basic ballpark method--carry 10 percent of your body weight in lead. Or there’s the surface float method—in full scuba gear, load enough weight to enable you to float with the water at eye level (some would say at the hairline). 

But rather than just blindly piling on the lead, why not break it down to find out why you need to carry the weight you do, and what specifically you are counterbalancing. By deconstructing your buoyancy status, you know exactly where your counterweight needs are greatest, and that might reveal ways to reduce the amount of weight you ultimately have to carry.

Click Continue Reading to read how:

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Turning Passion into Purpose

from Undercurrent magazine 

I’VE BEEN CAPTIVATED BY THE OCEAN SINCE EARLY ADOLESCENT YEARS.

I can still remember sitting in our family den glued to the TV watching ex-Navy frogman Mike Nelson surfacing to the Argonaut after tangling with dangerous villains underwater. “Sea Hunt” was both in­spirational and entertaining. Nelson’s underwater adventures were nothing short of “otherworldly.” Five or so years later my new weekly television highlight became “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.” Never missing an episode, I dreamed of someday meeting Jacques Cousteau and going on the Calypso. The former I did; the latter, alas, I did not.

Click Continue Reading on migrating from Diving to Serving

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Over two hundred interesting new species in 2014

Over two hundred interesting new species in 2014

In 2014, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences added a whopping 221 new plant and animal species to our family tree, enriching our understanding of Earth's complex web of life and strengthening our ability to make informed conservation decisions. The new species include 110 ants, 16 beetles, three spiders, 28 fishes, 24 sea slugs, two marine worms, 9 barnacles, two octocorals, 25 plants, one waterbear, and one tiny mammal. More than a dozen Academy scientists--along with several dozen international collaborators--described the discoveries. 

Proving that there are still plenty of places to explore and things to discover on Earth, the scientists made their finds over five continents and two oceans, ventured into remote caves and descended to the bottom of the sea, looked in their owns backyards (California) and on the other side of the world (Africa). Their results, published in 64 different scientific papers, help advance the Academy's research into two of the most important scientific questions of our time: "How did life evolve?" and "How will it persist?"

"Biodiversity scientists estimate that we have discovered less than 10% of species on the planet," says Dr. Meg Lowman, the Academy's Chief of Science and Sustainability. "Academy scientists tirelessly explore the unexplored regions of Earth--not only to discover new species, but also to uncover the importance of these species to the health of our natural systems. Our findings help to sustain the future of life for our children and grandchildren. Even in our own backyards," she adds, "new discoveries abound!"

Click Continue Reading for the new species found in 2014

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The Christmas Tree Ship

Christmas Tree Schooner by Charles Vickery. (Courtesy of the Clipper Ship Gallery, La Grange, IL)

On a drizzly, overcast day in late October 1971, Milwaukee scuba diver Gordon Kent Bellrichard was surveying with sonar the bottom of Lake Michigan's west coastal waters off of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Bellrichard was searching for the Vernon, a 177-foot, 700-ton steamer that had sunk with only one survivor in a storm in October 1887.

Local fishermen described an area to Bellrichard where their nets had snagged on previous occasions as a potential site to search. His sonar made a promising contact, and he descended to what appeared to be a well-preserved shipwreck resting in an upright position on the lake bed in 172 feet of water.

Upon reaching the wreck, his jury-rigged dive light promptly malfunctioned, leaving him blanketed in murky darkness. Without light, he surveyed the wreckage by feeling along its hull. Bellrichard quickly realized that he had not discovered the larger, propeller-drive Vernon, but the wreck of the elusive Rouse Simmons, a 205-ton, three-masted schooner that had disappeared beneath the waves in a winter gale in November 1912.

When Bellrichard surfaced, he lay in his boat and yelled for joy. His discovery ended a mystery that surrounded the fate of one of the most legendary ships, and its much-loved captain, to sail Lake Michigan's waters. For Bellrichard had discovered the grave of one of the most famous "Christmas tree ships" and its skipper, "Captain Santa."

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The very strange mystery of the merman

The very strange mystery of the merman

On the morning of May 9, 1868 the fishing boat Santa Monique emerged from the grey mists of the Atlantic and sighted her home port of Tomancha, a small fishing village between the cities of Bilbao and Gijon on the north coast of Spain. She was a day overdue. The rough seas of the Bay of Biscay had torn away part of her keel and the crew manned the pumps constantly to keep her afloat.

But her nets had remained intact and she had a passable catch of plaice and whiting. More important, she had caught something which was to make the ship and crew a legend along the north Spanish coast and spark off a controversy which exists to this day. For in the hold, securely tied inside a fishing net, was claimed to lie a creature which until then had only been found in legends and fables. Yet in the coming weeks at least 1,000 people testified that what Captain Tomas Cinoda had brought ashore from the Santa Monique was a living breathing merman…

Click Continue Reading for the complete story

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The ruins of an Argentine town drowned by saltwater

The town was destroyed almost 28 years ago.

A STRANGE GHOST town that spent 25 years under water is coming up for air again in the Argentine farmlands, southwest of Buenos Aires.

Epecuen was once a bustling lakeside resort where 1,500 residents served 20,000 tourists every season. During Argentina’s golden age, the same trains that carried grain to the outside world brought visitors from the capital to relax in Epecuen’s saltwater baths and spas.

Click Continue Reading for more about the strange event and additional pictures

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Ghost Ship Discovered off Hawaii

Ghost Ship Discovered off Hawaii

Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have announced the discovery of an intact “ghost ship” in 2,000 feet of water nearly 20 miles off the coast of Oʻahu.

Sitting upright, its solitary mast still standing and the ship’s wheel still in place, the hulk of the former cable ship Dickenson, later the USS Kailua, was found on the seabed last year on a maritime heritage submersible mission. On the mission were the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory’s (HURL's) Terry Kerby, and Drs. James Delgado and Hans Van Tilburg of the maritime heritage program in NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

“It is always a thrill when you are closing in on a large sonar target with the Pisces submersible and you don’t know what big piece of history is going to come looming out of the dark,” said Kerby, HURL submersible pilot. “One of our first views of the USS Kailua was the classic helms wheel on the fantail. The ship was surprisingly intact for a vessel that was sunk with a torpedo. The upper deck structures from the bow to the stern were well-preserved and showed no sign of torpedo damage.”

Click Continue Reading for the whole article

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Some Hot Wristed Diver Action

Diving tends to throw me into improbable situations. For example, I have found myself hiking down the federal highway in Mexico in a dripping wetsuit. I have smuggled more than thirty pounds of dive gear through airport security in a very large handbag (an attempt to bypass weight restrictions on luggage), and cut a hole in a frozen lake so that I could jump in. By far the most comical situation began when I got a bit tipsy and went to the corner store to buy lubricant for my drysuit seals.

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Should You Dive Solo?

Should You Dive Solo?

What Is Solo Diving?

Solo diving refers to self-reliant scuba diving without a buddy. Solo diving was once considered a form of technical scuba diving, but is slowly becoming an acceptable practice for responsible and experienced recreational divers.

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Flounders - Facts and Information for Scuba Divers

Flounders - Facts and Information for Scuba Divers

A pair of rounded eyes poked out of the sand. One eye pointed directly at my dive group while the other focused in the opposite direction. I couldn't believe my luck! My dive group was making its way between two coral heads, and I had just spotted a peacock flounder buried beneath the sand. I called my dive group to a halt, and then slowly finned my way closer to the flounder so as not to frighten it away.Dive guides across the globe know that flounders can be some of the most difficult creatures to spot, but with their unusual body shape, interesting life cycle, and superior camouflage skills, they are also among the most rewarding animals to find. Realizing that it had been seen, the flounder took off across the sand like a flying carpet, then buried itself up to its eyeballs in the sand once again. Back on the boat, I explained to my divers why flounders are so special.

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4 Types of Freediving Training That You Can Do At Home

Freediving-Ascent.jpg -
Get more out of your freediving sessions by training at home. 

Freediving, like all sports, requires training to improve. Most freedivers do not have easy access to freediving sites on a daily basis, but fortunately there are several techniques that freedivers can use to train their bodies and minds from the comfort of home – no water required. This article discusses breath hold training to improve a freediver's tolerance to carbon dioxide and low oxygen, but keep in mind that there are also techniques to improve freediving with muscular, cardiovascular, and mental training.

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21 Rebreather Components That Every CCR Diver Should Understand

21 Rebreather Components That Every CCR Diver Should Understand

Rebreather diving is a heavily equipment-dependent sport. Divers who chose to pursue it should be intimately familiar with their rebreather diving equipment. While every rebreather is a little different, it is possible to learn about the components that are common to most rebreather diving equipment.  Learn about the basic parts of a Closed Circuit Rebreather (CCR) using this diagram from the ISC Megalodon CCR. This article can be used in conjunction with the glossary of rebreather diving terms for those unfamiliar with some of the technical language. If you are unfamiliar with rebreather diving, first take a look at Rebreather Diving Basics: What Are Rebreathers and How Do They Work? 

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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 6th 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 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.