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February 2015 Edition

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In This Issue:

Time Is Slipping Away

The clock is counting down and we are nearing the last chance to renew at a reduced rate.Renew before March 31, 2015 and your membership fee is only $35 for a year of discounts and diving news. After March 31, your annual membership renewal fee is $45.

Your membership includes periodic eNews emails about club activities as well as electronic access to The Mouthpiece monthly newsletter. You may pay by check or online. Go to http://activedivers.org/Membership-Renewal.html to renew your membership online. To pay by check, mail a check made out to "Active Divers Association"  with the appropriate amount to:

Dr. Dan Baeza
Membership Chairman
Active Divers Association
7592 Parkview Way
Coral Springs, FL 33065

Be sure to include your snail-mail and email addresses.

 

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Save the Date: Saturday, March 21st

ADA Season Kickoff and BBQ Party Event

--by Rachel Davis

Join your ADA buddies on Saturday, March 21st at John U Lloyd State Park Jetty Pavilion, located at 6503 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, FL 33004. The fun goes from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Come for a free beach dive or swim/snorkel during the event.

New this year ADA will host its first annual Dive Gear Swap 'n' Shop! Bring all your gently used dive gear including wet suits, accessories, and scuba-related paraphernalia to sell and swap amongst your buddies. It’s like a great garage sale just for divers!

At 12:00 noon we’ll fire up the grill for hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, and all the fixin’s. BBQ is $10 for members who RSVP, free barbecue for new members that join that day at the $35 early booking rate.

Also new this year is our dive Buddy Special: Bring a new member who joins ADA at the event and you dive free with your buddy on his/her first ADA dive!

At 1:00 we will have our guest speaker from Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative. Amanda R. Costaregni is a Graduate Research Assistant from the GIS and Spatial Ecology Lab of Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center. Her graduate thesis project is based on an online socioeconomic survey looking at how local residents and guests use the reefs in the southeast Florida region. The survey is being conducted as part of a local initiative for our area, known as Our Florida Reefs. Hosted by the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI), this planning process brings together the community of local residents, reef users, business owners, visitors and the broader public in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties to develop management recommendations that can become part of a comprehensive management strategy to ensure healthy coral reefs in the future. Click here to take the survey: http://ofr-coastal-use.point97.io/respond/register/ofr-mapping

The Kickoff event will conclude with a raffle of fabulous dive-related prizes. Make plans now to join us on March 21st.

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My Favorite Dive

--by Roy D. Wasson

Since I started diving more than 35 years ago, I have dove a wide variety of marine environments.  From deep fresh water sinks, to lava tubes in the crystal-clear Pacific around Hawaii, to shallow Caribbean lagoons, I have had the pleasure of experiencing many diverse and exotic underwater environments, but my favorite dive has always been, and remains, a coral reef practically in our own backyard.

My favorite dive is Looe Key, a reef located off of Big Pine Key in our own Florida Keys.  The reef is named after the British warship HMS Looe, which grounded on the shallow reef (hence its name as a “key”) in 1744 during a little known war between Britain and Spain known as the “War of Jenkins Ear.”

Looe Key is a “groove and spur reef,” about 200 yards wide and 800 yards long, with fingers of reef and sandy bottom in between. The water clarity is excellent most of the time.  The reef rises up from depths of more than 50 feet on the ocean side, to shallow enough for snorkelers to enjoy.  Although it was even more of a favorite of mine during the Seventies when spearfishing was excellent there, the area became a National Marine Sanctuary in 1981 to protect the more than 150 species of fish including yellowtail, angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, sergeant majors, sharks, and moray eel. Corals on the reef include staghorn, elkhorn, star, brain, and fire corals.

In 1998, a special diving attraction was added to this area. About 3 miles west of Looe Key, lies the Adolphus Busch, sunk in 110 feet of water as an artificial reef. This 210 foot long ship was well prepared for experienced advanced divers with large holes cut for swimming through. Large Goliath Grouper, some weighing as much as 400 pounds, live on the wreck and can be seen on many dives.

July brings the annual Underwater Music Festival to Looe Key.  Speakers on the bottoms of dive boats broadcast jazz, rock, and Jimmy Buffet sounds audible to divers for six hours during the festival.  But even in the natural silence of the rest of the year, Looe Key remains as my favorite dive.

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My Scariest Shark Dive

--by Lon Von Lintel

Location: Emerald Reef, Miami

Date: July, 1978

Several friends, my son Chris, and I were diving the reefs three miles east of Key Biscayne.  We were on my boat and were attempting to anchor in about 30 feet of water.  But the recent heavy thunderstorms had pushed cloudy bay water out onto the reefs.  This is not unusual and the cloudy water typically blankets only the top ten to fifteen feet of the water column.  I dropped anchor on my favorite spot, but was unable to visually confirm that I hit it. So to make sure, I jumped in with just my mask and snorkel and swam out to check.  Meanwhile, Chris, an excellent swimmer at age six, was swimming and splashing around at the stern of our boat. Satisfied we were anchored where I wanted, I snorkeled back toward the boat. About half way back, I saw a shape between me and the boat, at the outer range of the 8-10 foot visibility.  It lay motionless,just under the surface.  As it slowly drifted  toward me, I recognized th  broad head and the steely eyes of the Great Hammerhead Shark. I didn't move, it didn't move, but the waves were inching us closer together. Now it was about 8 feet from me, eye to eye.  Should the worst happen and it attack, my only defense was to kick with by bare feet.  Now it was about six  feet away, and I slo-o-o-o-owly coiled my legs, positioned my feet, and readied for the unthinkable, a shark attack.  But as the video in my head was playing out the unleashing of my preemptive strike at 4 feet, I saw the beast twitch, and then quickly turn as if it had detected something, or someone, more delicious.  Chris? No doubt. it was headed for the boat.  No doubt, Chris was attracting its attention. No doubt, I was terrorized.  No doubt, this was the most frighting nightmare of my life!!  I launched my head above water and screamed "GET CHRIS OUT, GET CHRIS OUT!!"  My buddies back on the boat scrambled and snatched Chris out of the water.  Now, although the worst in my mind was over, I still had to face the possibility, more likely the probability, that the shark was circling the boat, waiting for me. Being in the water with sharks is usually something I enjoy, but not in these circumstances.  Poor visibility, being trapped on the surface snorkling, and an unpredictable shark with a bad reputation made it considerably less enjoyable. I don't know how big the shark was and don't care,  but it was no baby .I was able to get aboard without further incident, safe, but a bit wobbly. We never saw it again, but did move to another spot.

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Underwater Photography - Why Take Photos?
--by Dan Baeza

This is the first in a series of articles about taking underwater photos and videos. Over the next several newsletters, we will explore the history of photography, technical aspects of digital photography and video, what features are important when purchasing a camera and underwater housing, photo composition, editing software, the limits when taking underwater photos and videos, and lighting.

So, why take photos? I have been asked that question from time to time. "Doesn't it distract you from the dive?" Yeah, sometimes. So, why do it? In a word, focus. When you are diving, cruising along the reef, there are myriad distractions. You are taking in so much real estate, that you can often miss the fine detail that can enhance a pleasurable dive.

Another reason to take photos or video is to preserve the moment. Although we like to think that our memories are excellent and unrelenting, most of us, myself included, can barely remember what we've eaten for dinner the night before, much less what we saw on a dive six months ago. The camera in your hands helps focus your attention to the immediate area. Of course, care should be taken to periodically scan the area ahead and behind you, and remain aware of your surroundings.

Yet another reason for recording the scene is to be able to go back and review the detail that might otherwise have been missed when you are just swimming through an area. I often find  interesting stuff in my photos long after I've left the scene. Perhaps it was an interesting marking on a scrawled filefish, or the undulating fin on the squid in the photo on the left, or maybe the color was different from my original recollection.

No matter what your reason for taking photos or videos, you will find that they enhance and improve the quality of your dive.

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Conservation Project Contest
--by Roy Wasson

A couple of years ago the Active Divers Association sponsored a contest for our members to send in their favorite slogan to remind us of the need to conserve our natural resources, and/or promote good habits to live by.  The winner of each monthly contest was awarded a free dive.  That project got us to thinking about ways to conserve and protect the underwater environment.  This year’s contest seeks our members’ input about hands-on projects we can put into action.

As most, if not all, of our readers already know, the ADA is actively involved in conserving and rebuilding our reef system in the Keys in collaboration with the Coral Restoration Foundation.  We have two CRF dives coming up in the next dive season: one in June and one in September.  This year’s Conservation Project Contest asks our members to propose additional projects for our club to take on that protect and/or restore the marine environment.

Please participate in this contest by writing your proposal for a specific task our club can take on to make the undersea world we visit healthier, more beautiful, and more fun to experience.  Your ideas should be specific enough to allow our board of directors to vote to put them into action.  For example, if you know of a dive site that has trash littering the bottom, or a particular reef being overtaken by lionfish that should be eradicated, or another threat to our diving experience that should be addressed, please submit your proposal as to how and why the Active Divers Association should take action to address the issue.

If the ADA board selects your proposed conservation project for our club to put into action, yopu will win a free scuba trip during the 2015 dive season, and have the pleasure of seeing your idea actually undertaken by our club.

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My First Dive

--by John Davis

For years I had avoided the ocean.  Maybe I saw the movie Jaws too many times, or maybe the water was too cold in New Jersey. Who knows why I avoided it.  Until…… My wife Rachel (who is an Instructor) gently encouraged me to try diving. After many snorkeling trips to Key Largo that were sometimes difficult, I finally got the courage to put the regulator in my mouth and go for it! My first official dive took place on August 11, 2012 at the Blue Heron Bridge in West Palm Beach, FL.  It was a beautiful day. The water was a nice 81 degrees with little or no current.  The Bridge is amazing in that there is an incredible amount of sea life. I saw Centipedes, Barracudas, huge Star Fish among lots of Angel Fish and other creatures.  What a treat! The depth of this dive was not very exciting.  I believe I only reached 9 feet. But, what was amazing was that it got me excited about diving.  Since that first dive, I have logged over 158 dives, gone to 103 feet, dove on a Russian Destroyer, and received my Advanced Open Water. My log includes dives in Key Largo, Key West, Utila, Bahamas, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, St. Thomas, and Cozumel.  This year I look forward to Barbados and Belize.  Wow! In a short time, I’ve gone from someone who was scared of the water, to now loving traveling the world to dive! What a wondrous world of discovery still awaits!

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Continuing Education: PADI Speciality Courses
--by Rachel Davis, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer

What is the next step in training once a diver has completed Open Water? We have talked about Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver, but what if a diver wants to focus on a particular area of interest? What if you want to learn how to navigate underwater so you don’t lose the boat or learn how to dive deep wrecks safely? Want to be certified for Nitrox so you can extend your bottom times? Welcome to the wonderful world of PADI specialty courses, where students can deepen their diving knowledge in particular areas of interest.

Specialty courses require between 2-4 open water dives depending on the specialty, along with completion of knowledge reviews and in-water performance requirements. The most popular specialties are enriched air (nitrox), deep, underwater navigation, peak performance buoyancy, night, wreck, boat and drift. Several specialties focus on taking pictures and video such as underwater photographer, underwater videographer, and digital underwater photographer. Other specialties focus on marine life such as fish identification, underwater naturalist, Project AWARE and coral reef conservation. Equipment is the focus for such specialty courses as equipment specialist, multilevel (computers), diver propulsion vehicle, rebreathers and emergency oxygen provider. There are specialties that are not taught in our neck of the woods such as ice, dry suit and altitude diving. Rounding out the choices for specialty courses are cavern, search and recovery, and public safety diver

PADI instructors are also able to write their own specialty courses and submit to PADI for approval, such as CRF’s Coral Restoration Specialty which some ADA members took advantage of last year. Whatever your interests, there are PADI specialty courses tailored to you to help you continue your education and get the most out of your diving experience.

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Rays: Stingray vs Manta Ray

-- by Carol Cox

A wide variety of rays inhabit our oceans, and even some bodies of fresh water. Rays are fish, and they are similar to sharks in that their bodies are supported with cartilage instead of bone. All rays have a flattened shape, with large, rounded pectoral fins fused to their bodies and heads. Most rays swim using their pectoral fins, either by waving them in an elegant, wave-like motion or by flapping them like a bird. Rays are either bottom feeders or filter feeders, rooting for crustaceans and mollusks buried in the sand, or using a sieve-like filter to strain plankton from the water.

Stingrays are probably the most recognized type of ray. They are most easily identified by their elongated, thin tails with barbed stings. Most stingray tails have venom glands, which inject an incredibly painful toxin when the sting is used. Thankfully, stingrays only sting out of self defense. A diver is unlikely to be stung by a stingray unless he causes the creature to feel threatened. Stingrays may also be identified by their characteristic diamond shape, and by the fact that they are frequently found half-buried in the sand rooting for food. Many rays spend the majority of their time on the sea floor; however some stingrays, such as spotted eagle rays, are more commonly observed free-swimming. Stingrays are oviviparous, meaning that their eggs develop and hatch inside the mother, who then gives birth to live young. These rays can be found in all parts of the world, even in fresh water. Commonly recognized species of stingrays include the southern stingray, the spotted eagle ray, and the blue spotted ray. Although they do not have stingers, manta rays are technically a type of stingray; they have simply lost their stings through the process of evolution.

Manta rays can be easily identified by their great size. The largest manta rays have a wing spans up to 25 feet and weigh as much as 3,000 pounds! Despite their great size, manta rays are not vicious predators. They usually filter feed and have large padded lobes on either side of their heads to direct food into their mouths. Manta rays are incredibly graceful underwater, and can move quite quickly with seemingly effortless movements of their pectoral fins. Manta rays even breech occasionally, leaping from the water and backflipping in the air.

--Excerpted from Natalie Gibb in 'About Sports'
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Diving Tips and Tricks - Avoid Post-Dive Headaches
-- by Carol Cox

Tips for avoiding post dive headaches

  • Relax! Loosen your jaw grip on your regulator
  • Loosen your mask strap to prevent "mask squeeze"
  • Breathe full, deep breathes – avoid "skip breathing"
  • Drink up! Keep hydrated before and after each dive
  • Clear your sinus cavities before entering the water, during descent and ascent.

If you do develop a headache, get plenty of fresh air, drink water and take a pain reliever. If your headache becomes severe or does not go away, seek medical attention immediately.

--Excerpted from Selene Yeager in Sport Diver magazine

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2014 Credits and Refunds

Members who have a dive credit from a dive(s) canceled by ADA will receive an automatic one year membership renewal and will receive a check for the difference. If you wish to receive a full refund with no automatic membership renewal, please call Lon at 305-251-4975

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Shore Diving in South Florida - Blue Heron Bridge
--by Jerry Kosakowski

Blue Heron Bridge is the site. It just made the number 1 dive site in the world. I’m wondering why. It’s nice but number 1 in the world, maybe for muck. It is nice and here are the facts. Take I-95 north to the Riviera Beach exit and head east. Turn into Phil Foster Park and you are there. If it’s a windy day, other divers will probably be there to get their fix of O2 since this is well protected, and it doesn’t matter how bad the conditions are. Consider that when you wonder why you are not diving due to heavy winds. Come here, it’s doable. You won’t need nitrogen here. It is very shallow, less than 15 feet. You can snorkel or dive.

There is a trail that has concrete reef modules and limestone boulders (recall the Boulders in Hollywood?). There is some odd garbage around also. It is a world that is filled with small creatures so don’t dive as I usually do, full speed ahead. Take your time and enjoy. Across the channel is Peanut Island. An interesting spot since it contains a nuclear bomb shelter built for JFK. His home is on that spit beyond the island, about three or four homes in. So you can see it was very convenient for him. This site is now open to the public after being closed for decades. Spend some time and make this trip an all day affair. Enjoy.

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Fish Identification Series - Bonito

--by Jerry Kosakowski
Pictures and information from Wikipedia

It is one you’ve seen. Got it on the tip of your tongue. Bonito. Atlantic bonito belong to a group which have the dorsal fins very near, or separated by a narrow interspace. Its body is completely scaled, with those scales in the pectoral fin area and the lateral line usually larger in size. Bonitos (fishes in the genus Sarda) differ from tuna by their compressed bodies, their lack of teeth on the roof of the mouth, and certain differences in coloration.

Bonito

Atlantic bonito share Atlantic waters with the striped bonito, Sarda orientalis (the Atlantic population of which is sometimes considered a separate species,Sarda velox). The striped bonito has been taken on the Atlantic coast as far north as Cape Cod. It is similar in its habits, but somewhat smaller than the more common Atlantic bonito. The Atlantic bonito can be distinguished from its relative by its dark oblique stripes on the back and with a maxillary only about half as long as the head, whereas the striped bonito has striping on its topside nearly horizontal and a maxillary more than half the length of the head.

Atlantic bonito grow up to 75 cm (30 in) and weigh 5-6 kg (10 to 12 lb) at this size. The world record, 18 lb and 4 oz, was caught in the Azores.

It is a strong swimmer. Normally, it travels in fairly large schools and is common offshore in the vicinity of New York City, where it is known as "skipjack" because of its habit of jumping from the water. (However, the name "skipjack" more commonly refers to the skipjack tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis.) The spawning season is June, and specimens 12-15 cm (5-6 in) long are taken in September off Long Island. Atlantic bonito eat mackerel, menhaden, alewives, silversides, sand lances, and other fishes, as well as squid and shark.

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Jellyfish Stinging in Slow Motion

This is a six minute YouTube video that describes and shows in microscopic detail the nematocysts firing when a jellyfish stings: http://youtu.be/7WJCnC5ebf4

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Most Sharks Seen on a Single Dive

--by Lon Von Lintel

 

Cocos Islands, Central America

November 1999

Estimated shark count: 300-400


My trip to these remote Pacific islands could easily qualify for many of my "most of" or "biggest ever" categories.  It certainly qualifies for Most Sharks.  The Cocos are world renowned for high concentrations of many species of schooling fish and mammals. The two most common are the whitetip and hammerheads.  I did see many hammerheads, but the whitetips stole the show.  During the day, whitetips, which are nocturnal hunters, usually slumber in caves or next to a rocky outcrops in small groups of 5-10.  They are easily approached which makes for some stunning up-close pics and videos.

Next Column >>

continued from previous column:


But it is rare to see them schooling in huge numbers.  On this day, however, I got lucky. After touring the reef and seeing the usual characters performing their routines, I looked out toward the deeper water. There they were, a school of whitetips, estimated to be about 200 by the dive guide.  They were stationary in the water column, gently finning to compensate for the 2-3 knot current. Needing to stay close to the reef for protection from the current, I dared not venture out and resigned myself to observing from afar.  But my total shark count, on this dive, with this school and the other dozens of hammerheads, silkies, and blacktips, was easily beyond 300.

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Have You Moved or Changed Email Addresses Lately?

If so, please email or call us with your current information. you may send an email to: Dr. Dan Baeza, Membership Chair at dmbaeza@bellsouth.net. You can also call Dan at 954-260-8225 and leave a message with your new contact information.

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Newsletter Delivery

Want your newsletter delivered via snail-mail? Contact Carol Cox at ccox911@att.net and request a printed copy. Be sure to put "ADA Newsletter" in the subject.

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ADA T-Shirts For Sale

Show your pride in the best dive club anywhere! Sizes small, medium, large, xlarge, xxlarge. Some tank tops available also. All shirts are $10 each. CALL LON AT 305-251-4975 AND PLACE YOUR ORDER TODAY!. Lon will deliver it to you on your next dive

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ADA Guidelines and Policies

ADA RULES & REGULATIONS FOR ALL ADVANCED DIVES
(DEPTHS OVER 60’) ADA DIVERS MUST:

  1. Be current (dive activity within the previous 3 months).
  2. Have the approval of an ADA Safety Officer.
  3. Have a minimum of 25 logged dives.
  4. Carry an alternate air source (octopus), time keeping device and depth gauge

IMPORTANT WEATHER INFORMATION

Before departing for the dive site, confirm weather conditions with the designated Safety Officer. It is the responsibility of the member to call. Because of the large numbers of divers involved we are not able call you with weather information. For morning dives, call between 6 and 10 p.m. the night before the dive. For afternoon dives, call between 9 and 10 a.m. the morning of the dive

HOW TO MAKE DIVE RESERVATIONS

  1. Check this newsletter or the annual calendar for upcoming dives.
  2. Call Lon at (305) 251-4975 to make a reservation. Please do not leave requests on his answering machine, the trip may be full.
  3. We will hold your reservation for four (4) days from the date you call. If we do not receive payment within four days, your space may be given to other members. If you wish to confirm receipt, call Lon.
  4. Ask for details about the trip when you call. Otherwise, details will be given when you call for a weather check. (See “Important Weather Information”)
  5. Make your check payable to ACTIVE DIVERS ASSOCIATION, not to any individual, and mail to:
Jerry Kosakowski 
298 NW 83 Lane 
Coral Springs FL 33071-7439
You may also pay online via PayPal on the "Dive Schedule" page.

ADA GUIDELINES FOR COMPUTER ASSISTED DIVING

  1. Members using dive computers may extend their time 10 underwater minutes beyond the time allowed by the tables.
  2. Computer assisted dives must be well within the NO DECOMPRESSION LIMITS
  3. Members should understand and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  4. If a computer diver is buddyed with a diver using the tables, both must follow the tables.
  5. If a buddy-team is using dis-similar computers, both must follow the more conservative readings

ADA TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE

ADA has created a unique concept in local diving: NO FAULT INSURANCE!! For an additional $5.00, per person, per local dive trip, members can eliminate the worry of losing their dive fees because of an unforeseen change of plans. If, for any reason you are unable to attend a local dive for which you are scheduled and have paid the insurance, ADA will credit your dive fee to another date. The $5.00 insurance is  non-transferable and non-refundable. When you make a reservation, ask for dive trip cancellation insurance.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE SAFETY OFFICERS’ COMMITTEE

All members are reminded to read the “Rules & Guidelines for Diving Activities” you received with your membership package. Number 16 states, “All divers must be present for the pre-dive briefing”. If the diver is not present for the entire briefing, diving privileges may be revoked for that dive. Please plan to arrive on time - or better yet - a bit early. We thank you and appreciate your cooperation.

CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY FOR LOCAL DIVE TRIPS

Because of our contractual agreements with our service agents - dive shops and boat captains, we must notify them - usually seven days in advance - of the final number of spaces we are paying for. Thus, if our members cancel less than seven days in advance, we regret that NO REFUND OR CREDIT can be given, unless trip cancellation insurance has been purchased at the time of the dive trip payment (see next news article!)

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