Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific

You know how you feel when you've just finished a really good book and want to tell everyone you know about it? That is how I feel about THE SEX LIVES OF CANNIBALS. During the first few chapters I was laughing out loud so much and reading passages to my husband so often that he mentioned he wouldn't even have to read the book. However since he formerly lived in the Marshall Islands, this book hits home to him and he could hardly wait until I was done to grab it from my hands.

Maarten and Sylvia have no idea what they're getting themselves into when Sylvia agrees to a two-year contact to work on Tarawa, a remote island in the equatorial Pacific islands also known as Kiribas (The Gilbert Islands).

This was LOL funny in so many places! Maarten's turn of a phrase is so clever that he makes one laugh in the face of a nearly intolerable situation living on this remote island - part of which is so crowded it rivals Hong Kong in population density. The 20th century wasn't kind to these islanders. Their unique culture juxtaposed with the creations of the 20th century is very nearly ruining their culture. But Troost is able to find nearly everything funny (even though one wonders if he felt it was that funny at the moment) including the bowel habits of the natives. On the back of the book in Maarten's brief bio, it is revealed that he and is wife are living in California. One can only hope that he is becoming the writer for a sit-com. He makes other authors of humor/travel memoir seem dull in comparison. If I would compare him to anyone it would be Erma Bombeck-the way he is able to find hilarity in even the most mundane things.

This book deserves to be a bestseller and hopefully by word of mouth it will be.

underwater.com.au | Article | Incredible Fiji

Incredible Fiji

Contributed by Scuba Diver Australasia
Dive Fiji, Scuba Diver AustralasiaStory & Photographs Michael Aw

Blue Lagoon, Castaway, Savage Islands, Anacondas ... names that evoke impressions of aquamarine water, waving coconut palms, white sand beaches, secret gardens, hidden lakes, swift rivers, waterfalls, high mountains and raw adventure. In reality they are titles of Hollywood movies and they were filmed in Fiji. The familiar links between all these movies are obvious – Fiji is a remote outpost, white sand beaches and boats are essential aspects of life. In fact, the boat 'The Bloody Mary' which features in Anacondas has been transformed into a fully-fitted bar at the Lagoon Resort Hotel in Pacific Harbour!

Cast across the expanse of the South Pacific Ocean, the Fiji archipelago comprises 322 islands surrounded by lush coral reefs, warm azure waters and abundant marine life. For avid scuba divers, surfers, sky divers and the sun worshippers who simply wish to day dream beneath coconut palms, Fiji is the destination of dreams but watch out for those falling coconuts, they are the islands number one killer! Wonder if Fijian law provides life sentencing for felonious coconut palms?"

Monday, 30 July 2007

Fiji and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Dive by Abigail Smigel on DeeperBlue.net - Fanatical About FreeDiving, Scuba Diving, Spearfishing & Technical D

Fiji and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Dive by Abigail Smigel on DeeperBlue.net
Fanatical About FreeDiving, Scuba Diving, Spearfishing & Technical Diving

2 November 2006 By Abigail Smigel

When determining your next scuba trip destination, there are several factors to keep in mind. One, does the location provide ample underwater scenery and critters to be worth countless hours of travel to your destination of choice? Two, is the destination affordable enough not to refinance the home for the fourth time? Three, are there activities above water that can be enjoyed while off-gasing? And four, does any of this really matter as long as you're getting out of the hustle and bustle of the nine-to-five and entering the hustle and bustle of a coral reef? If the answer to all of these questions is 'No,' and for that matter, if the answer to any of them is 'No,' then stop reading right now. Find yourself an online Sudoku magazine to entertain yourself. If the answer is 'Yes,' then you are probably envisioning a past or potential future trip to Fiji."

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Diveaway Fiji - Scuba diving on the Coral Coast: Diving in your later years……

Diveaway Fiji - Scuba diving on the Coral Coast: Diving in your later years……

Today I had a great experience! I took Helen and her daughter on a PADI Discover Scuba Dive! Helen is a 72 year old lady who suffers from post viral fatigue syndrome. We had to make a few adjustments of our dive plan, rather than doing a backwards roll entry into the water we made a slow shore start, and then during the dive we would swim a few meters then stop kneel down and look at the fish and coral."

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Climate Change: 25 Things You Can Do - Gaiam Community

Climate Change: 25 Things You Can Do - Gaiam Community

An action-inspiring excerpt from “Stop Global Warming: The Solution Is You!” by “An Inconvenient Truth” producer Laurie David.

:: By Laurie David

Start with one thing and convince one other person to do it, too. Start with your friends and family. Then reach out to people who don’t agree with you. Talk to that relative you always fight with at Thanksgiving dinner. (In my house, we barely make it past the soup course before the debates begin.)

1. Bring your own reusable cup to Starbucks.

2. Forward an article to ten people and then they forward it to their ten friends, the next thing you know you’ll have seriously helped to get the word out and influenced public opinion along the way. Just because something is printed in the newspaper doesn’t mean anyone sees it. Often, really critical articles are buried inside the paper."

Read the full list :

Climate Change: 25 Things You Can Do - Gaiam Community

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Egypt Stops Reef Fish Exports

Egypt have cancelled a decree which allowed companies to collect reef fish and export them to Europe and other markets .

According to the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), the previous decision had a devastating effect on nature and on the coral reef condition in the whole area. HEPCA launched a huge campaign against this decision and lobbied with other agencies, enthusiastic individuals, and major media representatives.

As a result of the decision HEPCA have ceased legal actions against the Minister's old decree.

Further Reading: http://www.hepca.com/

Technical Diving in Depth by B. R. Wienke

A long-awaited and much-needed title has just been released by BPC. "Technical Diving in Depth" by Bruce R. Wienke is the most complete and comprehensive reference work published to date on technical diving.

It contains a mixture of technical topics, with each one self-contained and developed in relationship to diving. The topics span many disciplines and focus on a number of technical arenas.

Topics Include:
Thermodynamics, pressure and density, mechanics, gas kinetics, free and dissolved phase transfer, energy and matter interactions, nucleation and cavitation, bubbles and surfactants, oxygen dose, gas mixtures, buoyancy, gauges and tanks, compressors and regulators, maladies and drugs, statistics, risk and probability, binomial distributions, waves, transport, currents, geology, oceanography, geophysics, solar energy and radiation. References and Appendix are also included.

Targeted Audience:
Technical diver, commercial diver, diving instructor, underwater researcher, doctors, hyperbaric technicians, physiologist, physicist, chemist, mathematician, engineer or biologist.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Diving in Fiji

Diving in Fiji Blog by Richard

"Nudibranchs and Sea Snails by Helmut Debelius

A beautiful book containing over 1020 color photos, depicting gastropods from the West Coast of the US to the Red Sea to South Africa.

Half of the book is devoted to gastropods with shells and half of the book concerned with those without shells(nudibranchs) all live and in their natural habitat. There is nothing so brightly colored as a nudibranch and to see one 'swim' is pure joy. A must have for divers, aquarists and those who love nature."

Study Shows Southern Ocean Saturated with Carbon Dioxide

May 18, 2007 — By Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters

WASHINGTON -- The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is so loaded with carbon dioxide that it can barely absorb any more, so more of the gas will stay in the atmosphere to warm up the planet, scientists reported Thursday.

Human activity is the main culprit, said researcher Corinne Le Quere, who called the finding very alarming.

The phenomenon wasn't expected to be apparent for decades, Le Quere said in a telephone interview from the University of East Anglia in Britain.

"We thought we would be able to detect these only the second half of this century, say 2050 or so," she said. But data from 1981 through 2004 show the sink is already full of carbon dioxide. "So I find this really quite alarming."

The Southern Ocean is one of the world's biggest reservoirs of carbon, known as a carbon sink. When carbon is in a sink -- whether it's an ocean or a forest, both of which can lock up carbon dioxide -- it stays out of the atmosphere and does not contribute to global warming.

The new research, published in the latest edition of the journal Science, indicates that the Southern Ocean has been saturated with carbon dioxide at least since the 1980s.

This is significant because the Southern Ocean accounts for 15 percent of the global carbon sink, Le Quere said.


Increased winds over the last half-century are to blame for the change, Le Quere said. These winds blend the carbon dioxide throughout the Southern Ocean, mixing the naturally occurring carbon that usually stays deep down with the human-caused carbon.

When natural carbon is brought up to the surface by the winds, it is harder for the Southern Ocean to accommodate more human-generated carbon, which comes from factories, coal-fired power plants and petroleum-powered motor vehicle exhaust.

The winds themselves are caused by two separate human factors.

First, the human-spawned ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere over the Southern Ocean has created large changes in temperature throughout the atmosphere, Le Quere said.

Second, the uneven nature of global warming has produced higher temperatures in the northern parts of the world than in the south, which has also made the winds accelerate in the Southern Ocean.

"Since the beginning of the industrial revolution the world's oceans have absorbed about a quarter of the 500 gigatons (500 billion tons) of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by humans," Chris Rapley of the British Antarctic Survey said in a statement.

"The possibility that in a warmer world the Southern Ocean -- the strongest ocean sink -- is weakening is a cause for concern," Rapley said.

Another sign of warming in the Antarctic was reported Tuesday by NASA, which found vast areas of snow melted on the southern continent in 2005 in a process that may accelerate invisible melting deep beneath the surface.

Source: Reuters

Thursday, 19 July 2007

DAN Incident Report Now Available FREE to All Divers

Important industry report now made available to divers around the world as a public service by DAN.

A 34-year-old male freediver was attacked by a shark while spearfishing in Hawaii. He received a nonfatal bite to the shoulder while swimming back to shore towing a bag of fish. He was able to stand and strike the 12-foot (4-meter) shark with his speargun as it returned. He was assisted from the water by local residents. – From the 2006 DAN Annual Diving Report

Know someone who’s had a similar close call? Interested in reading about more incidents? Are you convinced that you can learn a great deal by reading about divers’ missteps?

The DAN Diving Report, compiled and published annually by
DAN Research, is now available to the public at no cost: Simply go to the DAN website and download it. Formerly available free to DAN Members only, the report is now posted where dive professionals, researchers, journalists and all scuba divers can view it with just a few clicks.

You can now view
DAN accident and fatality reports from 2001 to 2006. The Diving Report for 2007 is in progress, slated for release later this year.

The latest issue, The Annual Diving Report: 2006 Edition, presents information on Project Dive Exploration, scuba diving injuries and fatalities, based on data collections during 2004. Beginning with the 2005 report,
DAN has added sections on breath-hold diving, including summary data and thumbnail case reports.

Want More Info? The entire report is available free of charge.

To download it, go to:

When you need information,
DAN is here for you.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Vatu-i-ra - Bird Island - dive in Bligh Water, Fiji - scuba diving on deep walls and reefs.

Vatu-i-ra - Bird Island - dive in Bligh Water, Fiji - scuba diving on deep walls and reefs.:

"Vatu-i-ra is a small, uninhabited island about 20km off the north east coast of Viti Levu in Fiji. It is also known as 'Bird Island' because of the huge population of seabirds on the island. There is a rocky hill and thick vegetation making it an interesting shore excursion.

There are also many dive sites near the island and along the Vatu-i-ra Channel including the following:
Bligh Ridge
Pacific Garden
See & Sea
Greg's Point
High 8
North and South Lighthouses"

Vatu-i-ra - Bird Island - dive in Bligh Water, Fiji - scuba diving on deep walls and reefs.:

Thursday, 12 July 2007

underwater.com.au | Directory | Fiji

underwater.com.au | Directory | Fiji:

"Fijian is a fusion of people and culture. A melting pot of Melanesians and Polynesians of people of the Indian sub-continent, the English and Europeans.

More Fiji info »"

underwater.com.au | Directory | Fiji

China Dive Expo 2007

2007 China Dive Exhibition will soon be held at 25th to 27th August, Beijing.

2007 China Dive Exhibition will soon be held at 25th to 27th August, Beijing. The organizer of CDEX recently revealed that just 2 months ahead of the show, more than 60 exhibitors have confirmed their continuous support with the expo.

90% of reserved booth has been sold out, sending a strong message to the world that CDEX has gradually gained reputation in the world’s diving industry by introducing China to the diving world while promoting diving to China.


Hot New Digital UW Camera Unveiled by Sea & Sea

SEA & SEA’s All New 10 Megapixel DX-1G Camera System Revolutionizes Digital Underwater Photography

LONG BEACH, CA – July 10, 2007

SEA&SEA introduces the world’s most advanced compact underwater digital camera system available to date. The new DX-1G housing and 1G camera features 10.01 effective megapixels from a high quality CCD sensor and a 24-72mm wide-angle-to-telephoto zoom lens for incredible versatility.

Building on the incredible success of the DX-5000G and DX-8000G, SEA&SEA set out to engineer and manufacture a more technologically advanced, yet user-friendly, underwater system that is ideal for any type of photographer – novice to professional. The DX-1G is the result - offering SLR functionality, performance and features without the bulk, hassle and weight of an SLR system."


Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Lonely Planet Diving and Snorkeling Fiji (Diving & Snorkeling)

Review from Amazon.com:

"Lonely Planet's diving guides usually come through, but this one stands out above the rest. Why? Fiji itself. The cover reads "Top Sites in the Soft-Coral Capital of the World," and one look at the mind-blowing color photos inside is all you'll need as a convincer. What an incredible dive destination, and what a beautiful book to take you there!"

Stop Distribution of Shark Fins Petition

Stop Distribution of Shark Fins

Dear Sirs.

On behalf of those undersigned concerned about our oceans and oceanic predators we are protesting Alibaba.com as the promotor of sellers, importers and exporters of SHARK FINS.

This action is taken in view of the fact that ALIBABA is one of the world's foremost web suppliers of dried SHARK FINS.

The practice of shark finning is causing huge incentive for the unsustainable and often illegal removal of shark populations world wide.
Removing sharks from the oceans will result in an ecological imbalance and is causing irreversible damage to the marine ecosytem.
Finning sharks and discarding the body is a brutal practice and is taking food from the mouths of poor nations who fish for sharks. The profiteering driven by the demand for shark fin soup is unconscionable, and any consumer of shark fin soup, without knowledge of the source of the shark fin is criminal by association.

It is for this reason that this Organization and its members will be taking the following actions:-

1) Global Boycott of the ALIBABA Company.

2) Global Boycott to any Importer or Exporter that deals with Alibaba.

3) Global Boycott to any shop, outlet or restaurant that offer shark fins.

4) Global Boycott of all known Shark Fin Suppliers.

We will also be spreading the word to all our contacts via the media and the Internet.

More information about Shark Finning can be seen at www.sharkmans-world.org/sos.htm and www.sharkstewards.com,
or see the film Sharks:Stewards of the Reef.

Yours respectfully

X-Ray Mag - International Dive Magazine. Subscription is free

Full protection for great white sharks in New Zealand

White pointer sharks will now be fully protected within the 200 nautical miles of water around New Zealand, and from fishing by New Zealand-flagged boats further afield.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter said despite the white pointer's reputation as a predator, it was vulnerable to fishing and becoming rarer throughout the world.

"These majestic animals occur naturally in low numbers and, without protection, could be pushed to the brink of extinction. The Wildlife Act provides a strong deterrent against targeting great whites with a $250,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment as a maximum penalty."
New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said the white pointer shark was not known to be targeted by commercial fishers but was occasionally taken as by-catch. "However, recreational fishers do occasionally target them because there is some demand for jaws and teeth as fishing trophies.

"No one wants to see an animal hunted to extinction for the sake of a jaw or a few teeth, or to be placed under pressure by accidental catch. Under these new regulations no fisher will be able to profit from taking a white pointer, and any fisher inadvertently catching one will have to return it to the sea, intact, and alive, if possible," Jim Anderton said.

The species will be further protected on the high seas by the Fisheries Act, under which New Zealand-flagged boats will be prohibited from taking white pointer sharks while fishing outside the EEZ.
However, it is still legal to use shark nets to protect swimmers around beaches in Dunedin, and fishers accidentally catching and killing white pointers will not be prosecuted, provided they register the death with authorities.

The Wildlife Act makes it illegal to hunt, kill or harm a white pointer shark within New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ - 200 nautical mile limit around New Zealand). It will also be illegal in New Zealand to possess or trade in any part of a white pointer shark. As well, New Zealand is a signatory to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and has an obligation to prohibit the taking of white pointer sharks.

KLTV 7 Tyler-Longview-Jacksonville, TX: Extremely Rare And Beautiful Pink Dolphin Spotted

KLTV 7 Tyler-Longview-Jacksonville, TX: Extremely Rare And Beautiful Pink Dolphin Spotted: "

This extremely rare and beautiful 'pink dolphin' was spotted and photographed by Capt. Erik Rue of Calcasieu Charter Service on June 24th, 2007 during a charter fishing trip on Calcasieu Lake south of Lake Charles, LA.

It appears to be an uncanny freak of nature, an albino dolphin, with reddish eyes and glossy pink skin. It is small in comparison to the others it is traveling with and appears to be a youngster traveling with mama. After spotting the beautiful mammal cruising with a pod of four other dolphins, Rue and his guests Randy and Peyton Smith and Greg and Sam Elias of Monroe, LA idled nearby while watching and photographing the unusual sight for more than an hour."

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Scuba Diving in Fiji, including Beqa Lagoon/Pacific Harbor, Kadavu, Laucala, Nananu-I Ra, Taveuni and Matangi -- an Undercurrent Insider Report

Scuba Diving in Fiji, including Beqa Lagoon/Pacific Harbor, Kadavu, Laucala, Nananu-I Ra, Taveuni and Matangi

an Undercurrent Insider Report:

The Consumer Newsletter for Serious Divers Since 1975

Overview of Fiji

For left coasters, it takes about the same amount of time to get to Fiji as it does to the Caribbean: 10 hours nonstop from L.A. Prices are comparable and air packages can include New Zealand/Australia extensions at little extra cost. Fijians are polite, friendly, modest, and religious, so watch your language, and wear nonrevealing clothes to town.

Wetsuits are staples year round; currents add coolness and in some places they’re vigorous, so carry surface signaling devices.

The weather can be stormy June through September; short, heavy showers are possible any afternoon year-round, especially around Beqa Lagoon. The year-round average temperature is 80 or above; nights average 69 degrees in winter."

Villages protect marine areas - Fiji Times Online

Villages protect marine areas - Fiji Times Online:

"Villages protect marine areas

Monday, July 09, 2007

Nakawaga fishermen caught two boats full of trevally within a few hours.
THE people of the Nabekavu, Dreketi, Macuata, Sasa and Mali have, in the past two years, implemented set actions for the use of their i qoliqoli (fishing ground) .

They have successfully set aside nine areas, totalling 117 square kilometres within the i qoliqoli as tabu (marine protected area), for the purpose of restocking the i qoliqoli.

The people of the Qoliqoli Cokovata are talking about larger fish caught near the shore as in the past and different types that had not been seen in recent years are surfacing again.

'This week we went out fishing everyday and came back with a full catch compared to few years ago when we would go out one day and have a good catch and the next three to four days we would hardly catch anything,' said Emosi Baya, one of the qoliqoli committee members from Nakawaga, Mali Island."

Villages protect marine areas

The Shark Dive: Getting there...... but still a lot to do !!!

The Shark Dive: Getting there...... but still a lot to do !!!

Want to learn holding your breath for minutes on time?

Look no further than omniscient and dashing Stuart Gow of Resort Support !!!

All you need is
a) Stuart
b) a towel
c) a suitable venue (read: BAR)
and you're in for the -chilling- experience of a lifetime!


UAE Environmental & Agricultural Information Centre

A very worrying report from a Fisheries expert far, far away! If they know about it, why don;'t we do something about it?



UAE Environmental & Agricultural Information Centre

Shark Finning

Prepared By:
Ahmad A. AL-Janahi
Thomas Cherian
Marine Resources Research Centre

Sharks were not regarded as an important species among edible species and hence they were not targeted for commercial scale fishing in the past. Quite recently sharks gained importance as a commercial species since their fins and cartilages became commodities high in demand in international markets.

Large scale commercial exploitation of this species during recent years led to drastic decline in shark populations globally. Data available on shark fishing and finning are only scanty to arrive at any substantial assessment of this issue. However, available information on shark species recorded from Northwestern Atlantic indicated a decline of more than 50% in shark stock during the past 8 to 15 years period. Industrialized fishing contributed to about 80% reduction in community biomass within 15 years of the start of exploitation. Shark finning is against the guiding principles and aims of the UN–FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) International Action Plan for the conservation of sharks....

Fiji Islands

Many of the Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Chinese and Korean vessels intrude into Fijian waters for shark fishing. These vessels bring in quite a lot of shark fins to Fiji island from where they are re-exported to Chinese and Hong Kong markets. The Fiji market is bustling with hectic business deals since a profit margin of about 80% is reported in some of these transactions."

UAE Environmental & Agricultural Information Centre

Monday, 9 July 2007

Found: The clearest ocean waters on Earth

As clear as the clearest lakes on the planet, salty as ocean waters, and roughly the size of the Mediterranean – this, say researchers, is the clearest and most lifeless patch of ocean in the world. And it is in the middle of the Pacific.

"Satellite images that track the amount of chlorophyll in ocean waters suggested that this was one of the most life-poor systems on Earth," explains Patrick Raimbault of the University of the Mediterranean, in Marseille, France (see image, right).

In October 2004, Raimbault and colleagues set out to study the remarkable patch of ocean water on a three month cruise – called BIOSOPE – that left from Tahiti in French Polynesia, passed by Easter Island and ended on the Chilean coast. Along the way, they sampled the water's chemistry, physics and biology.

Marc Tedetti, also from the University of the Mediterranean, was on the expedition to investigate the water's clarity. He was struck by the colour of the water, which he describes as closer to violet than to blue.

Beautiful but barren

Tedetti returned having found "unequivocally" the clearest ocean waters on the planet. "Some bodies of freshwater are equally clear, but only the purest freshwater," Tedetti told New Scientist. "For instance, researchers have found equivalent measurements in Lake Vanda in Antarctica, which is under ice, and is really extremely pure."

At the clearest point of the south-east Pacific, near to Easter Island, Tedetti found that UV rays could penetrate more than 100 metres below the surface.

This correlates with Raimbault's chlorophyll measurements, which suggest the patch contains roughly 10 times less chlorophyll that is found in most ocean waters. Raimbault says the patch of ocean is the least productive marine region known to man.

In a sense, the patch is isolated from the global river and ocean circulation, which explains its lack of life. Being far away from the coast it does not benefit from continental run-off, and the thermohaline circulation – the "global conveyer belt" – which ferries ocean waters around the world, also mostly runs along the continental shelves.

To compound things, this area of ocean does not benefit from seasonal variations which tend to bring nutrients up from the seabed.

Carbon rich

Elsewhere, winter temperatures cool surface waters, making them denser and causing them to sink and push deeper, nutrient-rich waters up to the surface. But the surface waters of the southeast Pacific are warm year-round, which means they tend to perpetually "float" on top of the deeper, colder waters.

In spite of this, the expedition found the clear water is able to support a food chain, which Raimbault suspects relies heavily on the organisms' ability to recycle nutrients. "As there is no supply, there cannot be any loss either," he says.

Raimbault made another surprising discovery: the patch of the ocean that is poorest in life appears to be extremely rich in dissolved organic carbon.

He is currently teasing apart data in an attempt to explain the apparent contradiction, but believes it may be that the limited availability of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus means the bacteria that would normally degrade the dissolved organic matter are not able to complete the task.

Journal reference: Geophysical Research Letters (DOI: 10.1029/2007GL029823)

Mysteries of the Deep Sea – The deep sea is one of the harshest habitats on Earth, but is home to many remarkable creatures. Learn more in our comprehensive special report.


Sunday, 8 July 2007

Ten Rules For Manta Encounters

Conservation Issues Mantas are such fascinating creatures that most divers want to approach them closely. We all feel the urge to interact. Mantas too may seek the company of humans. Although you may be tempted to participate in the manta's play, repeately touching them may cause them harm.

Some mantas will approach humans with much interest. Once they become familiar with divers, they will circle close for long periods (hour long encounters are not uncommon). They may approach the diver within arm's reach. Other manta with less human experience will be shy, show no interest and leave the area quickly.

For the maximum enjoyment of you and the other divers in the water and to protect mantas from injury, here are a few simple rules for these lucky encounters.
  1. Do not chase them. Once they have had time to decide to stay and play, you can then get closer to them slowing always allowing them to keep you within their vision.

  2. Enter the water carefully as not to scare them away.

  3. Divers may choose to remain near the bottom and snorkelers near the surface. The mantas can then choose to approach you.

  4. Generally if you stay still they will come closer. You may want to position yourself along the bottom or in front of a cleaning station. Again, this will depend on how friendly the mantas appear and how familiar they are with divers.

  5. Refrain from touching mantas even thought they may present their bellies for a rub. The oils in your hand will remove the natural protective layer that guards their skin from disease.
  1. They may be disturbed by bubbles, so avoid exhaling into the face of an approaching manta. Some manta may actually enjoy the bubbles on their undersides. Watch first to see which type of mantas they are.

  2. Friendly mantas are not generally bothered by flash photography or video. Observe their behavior before attempting to do close-up work with flash or video lights.

  3. Do not disturb them if they are engaged in feeding, cleaning or mating.

  4. Attempt direct eye contact with the mantas. They generally welcome a friendly connection.

  5. Do not ride the mantas. Mantas have been known to present themselves for riding. If you must, do not allow any part of your body or equipment to touch the manta. Use the remoras to hold on.

By following these simple rules, the time spent in the water with mantas will be enjoyable for you and the other divers. Scientists lack long-term knowledge of the harmful or beneficial effects of interaction with humans. Until we know more, it is best to let the mantas set the rules for encounters.

(Dr. Heidi Dewar contributed to these guidelines)

For more info see The Manta Network

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Reef Check - Reef Check News - Saving Reefs Worldwide

“Her Deepness” Sylvia Earle Signs Reef Check “International Declaration of Reef Rights”

Los Angeles, California and Princeville, Kauai – The International Declaration of Reef Rights was signed by internationally renowned marine scientist and National Geographic “Explorer-in-Residence” Dr. Sylvia Earle. The International Declaration of Reef Rights was created to raise awareness about the coral reef crisis, and thousands of people from over 90 countries worldwide have signed the declaration and pledge. Reef Check Foundation has declared a “call to action” urging every citizen of our planet to preserve our pristine coral reefs and to save damaged reefs globally.

The Declaration was signed in Kauai during the International Clean Oceans Conference co-sponsored by Reef Check, the world’s largest volunteer reef monitoring and conservation organization, and Kauai’s Save Our Seas at the Princeville Resort, on June 9, 2007. The signing was done on the tenth anniversary of the first Reef Check survey of the reef at Princeville. The conference included Opening Ceremonies with a traditional Hawaiian Blessing by Puna Dawson and Noomi Yokotake and a reading of the “International Declaration of Reef Rights” by Reef Check Executive Director Dr. Gregor Hodgson."

Reef Check - Reef Check News - Saving Reefs Worldwide

Responsible Tourism - the code

Responsible Tourism - the code

Responsible Tourism Code for the Pacific
Learn about the country
  • learn key words in the local language
  • be aware of religious and social customs
  • visit the visitors centre on arrival for local information
Know the appropriate cultural behaviour
  • respect the dignity and privacy of others – ask before taking photos
  • dress and behave respectfully especially in villages, religious and cultural areas
  • be careful giving gifts or money to children and beggars
Protect the coral
  • do not buy products made from coral, endangered plants or animals
  • do not stand on, touch or remove any items from the reef, including coral
Support local initiatives
  • purchase local products, arts, crafts
  • eat local rather than imported food
  • support local tour operators and stay in locally owned accommodation
Pay a fair price
  • 50 cents may not mean much to you, but it may be a meal for the vendor
  • pay a price that reflects what something is worth to you
Minimise environmental impact
  • dispose of rubbish carefully, recycle where possible, reuse your drink bottles, and say "No" to plastic bags
  • minimise water and power use
  • choose environmentally responsible tour operators
Think about your impact
  • remember you are a guest – don't do anything you wouldn't do at home
  • practise safe and responsible sex
  • make your trip a positive experience for both you and the people in the country you visit

stingray explosion

great wee shot from Alex at Diveaway!


Friday, 6 July 2007

MIDE 2007

MIDE 2007

"Malaysian International Dive Expo 2007 (MIDE ‘07) which is a consumer and trade exhibition event is held for the second year running in Malaysia to promote World-class diving destination. Its main target will be for the consumers to choose special dive packages which will be offered during this event.

This 3-day event’s objective, is to promote Malaysia and its region as diving heaven for the international and domestic divers directly and to boost the interest of the going-to-be divers.

It will also be a platform to create the awareness among the community and interest in the underwater world.

DATE : 6 - 8 JULY 2007
TIME : 10AM - 7 PM

Two Tanked Productions HD & SD Underwater Productions and video services

Fiji Adventure 2006

Here is the story in pictures and my photo log:

Two Tanked Productions HD & SD Underwater Productions and video services:

"Thursday 23rd of November:

After a fine Turkey Dinner with the family it was off to the Airport and a 10hr 45min. flight to Nadi Fiji from LAX. The flight, Air Pacific FJ 811 on a 747-400, was great and without incident except my coughing during the long night that saw us land a little after 5:00am Saturday 25th of November.

Here we boarded the bus for the three-hour trip to Pacific Harbor and 40min. ride to Beqa Lagoon Resort (Formally Marlin Bay Resort) one of the finest dive resorts in the world located on beautiful Beqa Island in Beqa Lagoon Fiji. This was my fifth trip to this Island and Resort and the same high standards still apply that made it the number one dive resort in the world in 2001.

The first day gets you there for lunch and your dive briefing and enough time to set up your gear and get in a shore dive if you feel like it. I used the time to set up my cameras and relax to gather my strength although getting stronger and feeling better by the day I was still not on my full game. That night saw the locals entertaining at the resort with a Bula Band and some good times at the bar and another great meal. I made arrangements with the management to have my HD camera brought down to the boat in the morning by a couple of the dive boys. Their new Australian Manager Markus"

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Fiji Scuba diving resources web directory - DivingIndex.com

Fiji Scuba diving resources web directory - DivingIndex.com

Cool directory of some more Fiji scuba spots etc


Scuba Diving in Fiji, including Beqa Lagoon/Pacific Harbor, Kadavu, Laucala, Nananu-I Ra, Taveuni and Matangi -- an Undercurrent Insider Report

"Fiji Scuba Diving Including Beqa Lagoon/Pacific Harbor, Kadavu, Laucala, Nananu-I Ra, Taveuni and Matangi

An Undercurrent Insider Report on Fiji Diving
The Consumer Newsletter for Serious Divers Since 1975

Overview of Fiji

For left coasters, it takes about the same amount of time to get to Fiji as it does to the Caribbean: 10 hours nonstop from L.A. Prices are comparable and air packages can include New Zealand/Australia extensions at little extra cost. Fijians are polite, friendly, modest, and religious, so watch your language, and wear nonrevealing clothes to town. Wetsuits are staples yearround; currents add coolness and in some places they’re vigorous, so carry surface signaling devices. In September 2004, American Dan Grenier, the former operator of Crystal Divers, disappeared with another diver while leading divers from Bamboo Reef Resort on Nananu-I-Ra The weather can be stormy June through September; short, heavy showers are possible any afternoon year-round, especially around Beqa Lagoon. The year-round average temperature is 80 or above; nights average 69 degrees in winter."

New UW Photography Group Announced

The "Scuba & Underwater Photographers Meetup Group" is the first of its kind to bring together scuba divers who are interested in learning how to take pictures underwater or to polish the skills and techniques they already know. The new Meetup group is open to all certified divers, photographers at all levels, and even divers who are not photographers but are just interested in dive travel with fun people to warm, tropical destinations.

The Meetup Group is organizer is Bonnie Pelnar, who is a world-traveler, avid scuba diver and underwater photographer for over 20 years. She is the author of "The Digital Workflow For Underwater Photographers", part of a series of online courses about underwater photography available at www.TheUnderwaterPhotographer.com. She has presented to clubs and organizations around the world, sharing her passion for dive travel.

"There are so many people diving with digital cameras these days." notes Pelnar. "Even with the new technology, underwater photography is very difficult to perfect. Most digital cameras offer too many options, which complicates things even more. Many of these new photographers don't know where to begin. The Scuba & Underwater Photographers Meetup Group was formed to help organize those divers to let them know that help is out there and they can take good pictures even with a small, inexpensive camera.

Most of our workshops are free to the guests of those resorts and live-aboards that host the event. During the workshop guests have the opportunity to dive with other photographers who have experience using the camera equipment they use and can show them how to take better underwater pictures. We also recruit the support of manufacturers like Inon, who provide demo accessories. It works well for all involved and is a lot of fun for those who participate. Many of the attendees have become regulars."

Presentation topics include photo composition, film vs digital comparisons, digital manipulation, shooting and color correcting in the RAW file format, fixing images in Photoshop and Elements, and destination presentations from around the world.

Upcoming workshops include two excursions to Cozumel in August, Grenada in October, Galapagos in December 2007, Truk Lagoon in May of 2008 and Papua New Guinea in September of 2008.

There is no fee to become a member. You can join the Scuba & Underwater Photographers Meetup Group by going to http://scuba.meetup.com/132/

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Red and Pink Corals Get U.N. Trade Protection

June 14, 2007 - By Alister Doyle, Reuters

THE HAGUE -- Trade in red and pink corals prized as jewellery for 5,000
years will be restricted to try to help the species recover after drastic
over-exploitation, a U.N. wildlife conference agreed on Wednesday.

Countries at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
(CITES) voted 62 to 28 to start regulating export of corals, now harvested
mainly in the Mediterranean and Western Pacific in a business worth millions
of dollars.

"Regulation of trade is necessary to ensure they do not become threatened
with extinction," said Andrew Bruckner, a U.S. official who authored the
proposal at the June 3-15 talks. He said that current harvesting was
depleting stocks.

Necklaces made of the red and pink corals, collectively known as Corallium,
can cost up to $20,000. Many other species of coral are already protected by

"Corallium, the most valuable of the precious corals, has been fished for
over 5,000 years," the U.S. proposal said, adding that millions of items and
thousands of kilos (pounds) a year were traded internationally.

The decision, imposing restrictions on international trade, will take effect
in 18 months' time partly because of worries by southern European producers
that they would need time to adapt to new trade rules.

Over-harvesting and other threats including pollution, trawling of the
seabed by fishing vessels and global warming are among threats to the
corals, found from the tropics to temperate waters.

Conservationists hailed the decision.

"This is the best possible decision to start getting the trade in these
corals under some form of international control," said Ernie Cooper, a coral
trade expert from TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

Seaweb, a conservation group, also applauded the decision and said that raw
red coral sold for $100 to $900 per kg at auction. It said the Italian town
of Torre del Greco, a centre of the trade, made coral profits of $174
million in 1999 alone.

CITES is one part of a global drive to help protect species, and is
increasingly looking at commercial types such as corals, fish and timber
alongside efforts to safeguard iconic animals such as tigers and elephants.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

UK on alert for plastic duck invasion - earth - 02 July 2007 - New Scientist Environment

UK on alert for plastic duck invasion - earth - 02 July 2007 - New Scientist Environment:

Look out Britain! Here come the plastic ducks... What's left of 28,800 plastic bath toys that were lost at sea 15 years ago are headed for the western shores of the UK, according to a retired oceanographer who has been tracking them since the beginning of their epic voyage.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer had been looking for a way to test a computer model of ocean circulation – OSCURS – developed by his colleague, Jim Ingraham at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

He knew he had come across a rare opportunity to do just that when he heard that the plastic toys – ducks, frogs, beavers and turtles – had fallen off a cargo container in the north-western Pacific on 10 January 1992.

Since then, thousands of the durable, waterproof toys – many bleached and battered by their maritime travels – have been picked up on beaches around the Pacific. Using OSCURS, Ebbesmeyer has predicted their itinerary and each new sighting serves to confirm the model.

Atlantic bound

According to OSCURS, having circumvented the Pacific clockwise, some of the toys will be bound for the Artic Ocean, travelling over the North Pole and down along the US Eastern Seaboard.

"We are getting reports of ducks being washed up on America's eastern seaboard," said Ebbesmeyer on 26 June. "It is now inevitable that they will get caught up in the Atlantic currents and will turn up on English beaches."

He says Cornwall and southwest England "will probably get the first wave of them."

It is not the first time the bath toys have travelled this far. According to Ebbesmeyer's website Beachcombers' Alert, a duck arrived in Maine, US, in July 2003, and a frog made it to Scotland in August 2003.

Decades adrift

In January 2007, Ebbesmeyer and his colleagues published a summary of their flotsam-tracking since 1992 (EOS Transactions American Geophysical Union, vol 88, p 1). "How long might the toys continue orbiting?" they wrote. "A message in a bottle released in 1975 in the Gulf of Alaska recently was recovered near Prince William Sound on the south coast of Alaska."

The team say that the bottle's 31-year drift suggests that it circled the northern Pacific 10 times. The plastic toys that have stayed in the Pacific, they add, could complete 10 orbits by 2022.

Most of the toys have faded to white by now, and they are stamped with the brand-name: "The First Years". If you find one, you can help Curtis Ebbesmeyer in his research by emailing him.

Electric fields could give subs 'fish-like' sense - tech - 04 May 2007 - New Scientist Tech

Electric fields could give subs 'fish-like' sense - tech - 04 May 2007 - New Scientist Tech:

"Robotic and un-crewed submersibles could operate more effectively by mimicking the way some fish probe their surroundings with electric fields, say researchers.

Many marine and freshwater fish can sense electric fields, but some also generate their own weak fields over short ranges to help navigate, identify objects, and even communicate with other fish.

Malcolm MacIver and colleagues at Northwestern University in Chicago, US, studying the biomechanics of these 'weakly electric fish', have now come up with an artificial electric-field sensing system. They say it could ultimately give robot submersibles the same additional sensory capabilities.

'Currently, no vehicle is manoeuvrable enough to do work in tight quarters, such as coral reef monitoring, underwater structural inspection, or searching a submerged vessel,' MacIver told New Scientist. 'To do so requires not only a high amount of agility, but also being able to sense in all directions, so that you do not collide with nearby obstacles. Electro-location is perfect for this.'"

UNDERCURRENT Magazine Reveals Investigative Study on Diver Cert Numbers

Hard-hitting news story talks about diver certification numbers, industry statistics and more.

How Many Active Scuba Divers Are There?

This question’s been bandied about in chat rooms and bar rooms for years. Undercurrent, in its 32nd year of publishing, reports why no one has done the math, how the numbers have been artificially doubled and tripled, and what the most likely number really is.

We published our research in the May issue of Undercurrent, the private exclusive guide for serious divers, and you can read the revealing story at www.undercurrent.org

Waiter, There's a Shark Fin in My Soup!

June 08, 2007 — By Dr. Simon Cripps, WWF International

Hunted for food, medicine and souvenirs, sharks are in serious decline.

Love them or loathe them, as top predators, sharks play an important role in the marine ecosystem -- their decline is symbolic of all that's gone wrong in the oceans as a result of mismanagement and greed.

Millions of sharks are killed each year from overfishing and trade. Many die accidentally in fishing nets set for tuna and swordfish, while others are caught for their meat or just for their fins, which are used in traditional medicine or as an essential ingredient in shark fin soup, an expensive Asian delicacy.

Contrary to popular belief, shark fins have little nutritional value and may even be harmful to your health over the long term as fins have been found to contain high levels of mercury. Consumers may also be shocked to learn how the fin in their shark fin soup got their in the first place.

Destructive and wasteful fishing practices -- like shark finning, the cutting of a shark's fin and discarding the rest of the carcass back to sea -- are pushing several shark species to the brink of extinction. Some populations, including tiger and bull sharks, are down by 90 per cent. Less threatening sounding species, like spiny dogfish and porbeagle, caught for their meat and oil (and consumed mainly in the EU), are on the verge of collapse.

As delegates meet this week in The Hague to discuss regulating the international wildlife trade, WWF hopes to see these latter species get the protection they need. Listing these two species on CITES, the UN's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, would be a critical first step in ensuring their future protection and sustainable trade. There are, however, hundreds of other shark species that need similar attention.

Poor fisheries management is probably the main threat to sharks and to ocean life at large. Three-quarters of the world's commercial fish stocks are already over-exploited, fished right up to their limit or recovering from collapse. Scientists have recently discovered that 90 per cent of the big predatory fish, like sharks, are lost; stripped from our oceans by industrialized fishing vessels.

Although the fishing industry is well aware of the need to safeguard fish populations and the marine environment for the future -- their own future included -- they continue to plunder what's left of a dwindling resource.

Why? Because the incentive is there. Each year, taxpayers are forced to cough up US$15 billion in perverse government subsidies to keep many fishing fleets a float. Japan, the world's largest subsidizer, gives US$2-3 billion annually to its fishing industry. The United States spends nearly US$1 billion, while the EU forks out up to ∈1.4 billion. Russia, which once had the largest fishing fleet in the world, pays US$600 million annually to help scrap old ships and replace them with modern trawlers.

The flush of money is artificially allowing more fishing vessels to operate than the oceans can sustainably support.

Harmful fishing subsidies, which contribute to excess fishing capacity, overfishing and illegal fishing activities, need to be eliminated. The money should be redirected to fleet capacity reduction, the development of fish stock recovery plans, fish stock assessments, and where necessary, training fishermen for alternative employment.

Governments also need to strengthen bilateral and international fishing agreements. Given that many sharks move over wide areas and are fished by vessels across international boundaries, binding international measures are essential to their conservation.

On this World Ocean Day (8 June), there is an urgent need for national and regional management authorities to re-commit to shark conservation and the protection of our oceans. Improved fisheries management and innovation that leads to "smarter" fishing will be key in the fight to save our oceans.

Sharks were living well before the time of the dinosaurs, and have proved to be good survivors. But given current fishing trends and growing demand for their meat and by-products, they will need all the help they can get just to survive to the middle of this century.

Think about that the next time you see shark fin soup on the menu. You may want to consider ordering the consomme.

Dr Simon Cripps is Director of WWF's Global Marine Programme, based in Gland, Switzerland.