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April 2014 Edition

Bonaire Trip SOLD OUT!

Diver

 

The ADA trip to Bonaire planned for July 19 to July 26 is sold out.

This will be an awesome trip with interesting critters, great scenery, and plenty of boat and beach diving. For those signed up for the trip, the balance of $959 is due May 1, 2014, and should be sent to Jerry Kosakowski at 298 NW 83 Lane, Coral Springs, FL 33071-7439.Bonaire participants may also pay online at http://activedivers.org/Bonaire.html

Anyone interested in getting on the stand-by list, please contact Daryl Johnson at diverdaryl@bellsouth.net.

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Diving the Great Barrier Reef

After an 8-day cruise up and down the Australian coast from Sydney, we were eager to head to Cairns to dive the Great Barrier Reef on a liveaboard.  Tropical Cyclone Dylan decided to change all that.  The liveaboard was cancelled for the week, but there were a few day boats going out since the cyclone wasn’t due to make landfall until the next evening. The crew advised it would be “bouncy”.  Famous last words! Under a dark and rainy sky, we motored out to Hastings Reef on a 3-deck catamaran, wondering all the time, “What in the world are we doing here?”  I wasn’t going to leave Australia until I dived the Great Barrier Reef, that’s what!

The site was about 30 feet deep, had a mooring ball to descend on, and really wasn’t half bad. Although the waves were sometimes 3 to 5 feet, once we were on the bottom, it was pretty easy diving. Huge coral heads were everywhere and we followed the dive master around and through this gorgeous reef. The corals of the GBR are hard corals and the colors are amazing! It’s an underwater rock garden!

Right away, we found a large anemone with 3 anemonefish (sometimes called "clownfish") darting in and out. Then a large cuttlefish appeared, as well as numerous Pacific reef fish.  The water was warm (this was January, mid-summer in Australia), and the visibility was between 20 and 30 feet, good considering the surge and swells from the waves above.  We did 2 more dives at the same site, going in a different direction each time.  Again, the colors were amazing, even without ambient sunlight from above.  I was satisfied, I got my photos of anemone fish, the cuttlefish, a turtle, a stingray and numerous hard corals.  A few pictures are worth a thousand words, as they say.

The ride back to the pier was a real “hanger on ’er”. Bouncing up and down across 10-foot swells made me feel greener than a gourd, and totally sea sick.  I’ve worked on a dive boat and I’ve never felt like that before.  I found out first-hand that the old adage about curing sea sickness by hugging a palm tree is absolutely true!  We were on the first plane out the next morning but I can say that I dived the Great Barrier Reef! Was it worth it?  By all means, YES!

-- by Carol Cox

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Fish Identification Series

SHARK!

This month ADA introduces series of articles on fish Identification. We are starting with one you should have observed on many of your south Florida dives. I encounter them often diving from the shore.

I hope you are able to ID this vicious shark. It is the common nurse shark. No, the name did not come because they help other ocean animals. But it does make a sucking sound when hunting for food that sounds like a nursing baby. You usually spot then under a ledge sleeping. That’s because they are nocturnal hunters. Those little whiskers help them find food hiding in the sand. Their size ranges from 7 to 9 feet for a fully grown female and males are 1/3 this size. However, males weigh more, from 200 to 260 pounds, while females from range 165 to 230 pounds. They are abundant in Florida, especially the Keys because they like warm water.

If you were to see them in their natural habitat, there would be very little going on (sleeping). They usually dwell at the foot of the ocean floor, hovering above the sandy bottom. Groups of nurse sharks are also known to seek out reefs or caves, and these groups have been observed to be almost lying on top of each other. Though they go out at night to hunt, nurse sharks are creatures of habit. They return to certain resting sites, and they rarely migrate.

But staying in one place can have repercussions when it comes to mating, and some scientists have wondered how the nurse shark has avoided the dangers of inbreeding. It turns out that one way nurse sharks encourage genetic diversity is by having more than one male fertilize a litter. In 2002, a study showed that the DNA of 32 pups born to one mother yielded at least four possible fathers.

Swimming With Dolphins in Cabo San Lucas

In January, my wife Nina and I embarked upon a Panama Canal crossing. Flying out to Los Angeles on January 5 seemed like a good idea when we originally planned the trip last summer. However, we did not count on the BCS National Championship between the Auburn Tigers and our own Florida Seminoles being played in Pasadena the following day. The airport was mobbed! Nevertheless, we made our way to our pre-arranged transportation and on to the Port of Los Angeles. There we boarded the Island Princess cruise ship, our home for the next 14 days. The Island Princess is a beautiful ocean liner, 964.5 feet long and 105.5 feet wide, just barely small enough the traverse the Panama Canal. While the main attraction was the Canal Crossing, we would make several stops along the way, with planned excursions in most of the ports.

One excursion we were looking forward to was the Swimming with Dolphins experience we had arranged to take in Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico.

We arrived in Cabo early on January 8. The place is a tourist mecca, with every conceivable outdoor attraction one could imagine in a Pacific coastal town, including camel rides. The Cabo Dolphins facility was only a short walk from the pier. We changed into swimsuits and sat around in our outdoor “classroom”. After a brief overview of what to expect and an introduction to Dolphin physiology, we donned wetsuits, were assigned groups, and headed to the dolphin pool. The water was cool by Florida standards, but tolerable. Each group would be assigned a group leader/trainer and a dolphin. Our group leader, Raphael,  instructed us to wade out to the edge of the deep water and sit on a ten foot wide by eight inch deep “shelf” of water surrounding the main pool. He then signaled for our personal dolphin, Frieda, to come meet us.

With a flick of her tail, Frieda traversed the length of the pool and hopped up between us onto the shallow shelf. Frieda spent about 30 minutes with us, posing for pictures and meting out dolphin “kisses” (no tongues, please).  Afterwards, each of us in our group was treated to what I term the Polaris Missile Ride. We would hold onto one of Frieda’s pectoral fins and she would rapidly dive to the bottom of the pool, then like a rocket, shoot to the surface and deposit us on the shelf.

Following our up-close and personal visit with Frieda, the trainers gathered all the dolphins together and put them through their paces. What a show, jumping in unison, racing around the pool, and generally carrying on like….dolphins! For the finale, three dolphins lifted vertically out of the water and, balancing on their tails swam backwards before “waving” goodbye.

We saw many exciting sights on our Panama Canal crossing, but I think we’ll always fondly remember our dolphin encounter in Cabo San Lucas.

-- by Dan Baeza

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CRUISE 'N' DIVE - PART II

No sooner had I laid down my pen from last month’s cruise article, than in came the calls: You said, “It would be easy to pull off.” You said, “The logistics are practically done for you”. “So put up or shut up and tell us just how would it go down.”

Let’s start with an actual cruise I’m taking next month with Carnival Cruise Lines on the “Breeze”. It’s an eight-day cruise and includes such exotic diving ports of call as Grand Turk, La Romana (Dominican Republic), Curacao, and Aruba.  Not so shabby so far, but it gets even better: the price.  The bad news is, my wife Rosemary has a bit of an affection for gambling, but the good news is, that gets her on some interesting mailing lists. One such letter invited her on the above cruise for (are you sitting down?) $100, with an onboard credit of (you guessed it), $100.  We added me to the itinerary, upgraded to a balcony, paid port charges, taxes and fees of $176.80 and the total cost came to only $436.80.  Best of all, we still have our onboard credit, which, if I know Rosie, will go directly to feeding a One Armed Bandit!  While I can’t promise group rates like that for ADA, you get the idea that bargains are out there, and I’d be willing to bet some savvy ADA’er knows how to get them.

SCUBA SKILLS TUNE-UP EVENT

Save the date - Saturday, June 14

ADA is reaching out to the community to provide an opportunity for lapsed scuba divers to brush up on their skills in a relaxed, friendly environment. This is an opportunity for prospective ADA members to meet and get acquainted with the membership, learn about our dive trips and join ADA!

Date: Saturday, June 14, 9am to 2pm

Location: A. D. Barnes Park Pool, 3401 SW 72 Ave., Miami (Bird Road and 72nd Avenue), just east of the Palmetto Expressway

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Did you know….

….sponges are not plants, but primitive marine invertebrate.  There are many types of sponges, the most common found in the Caribbean are  tube sponges, barrel sponges, red tree sponges  and the common brown sponge that you use for bathing.  A tube or barrel sponge, which look just like the name implies, can grow to over six feet tall.  It’s not unusual to see a purple tube sponge or a large brown barrel sponge in the waters off the Florida coast.  They are officially known as ‘porifera’ which means ‘pore bearer’.  They have no organs or true tissue but are composed of cells that make up chambers and canals that connect to open pores on their surface.  Sponges are filter feeders, drawing water in through tiny pores, then expelling it through a central opening after extracting the nutrients.  Sponges are able to regrow back to their original form when damaged by currents, fish, turtles, or human harvesters.  Turtles are especially fond of eating sponges, as they give the turtle what can be described as a euphoric effect.  Many divers have had the experience of watching a turtle eating a piece of sponge without appearing to notice the diver or its surroundings.  They swim off rather disoriented when they have had their fill.  The next time you see a turtle nibbling on a sponge, watch how wobbly it seems as it swims up to the surface for a breath of air.

--by Carol Cox

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Dolphin "Asks" Diver For Help

This is an amazing video: http://www.wimp.com/dolphinhelp/

While scuba diving at Garden Eel Cove in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Keller Laros encounters a distressed bottlenosed dolphin. Signaling the dolphin to him, the brilliant creature cooperates, seeming to understand that Keller is helping.

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CREDITS, REFUNDS, AND RENEWALS

Members who have a credit from 2013, (refund due from a canceled dive) will be automatically renewed for 2014, and a check for the difference will be mailed to the address of record. If you wish to have the entire amount refunded to you, with no automatic renewal, please call Lon at 305-251-4975. All single-year memberships expired Dec. 31, 2013 and must be renewed for 2014.


JOIN THE FEW.....THE PROUD.... THE ADA SAFETY OFFICERS!!!

Calling all Dive Masters, Assistant Instructors, and Instructors. On each and every ADA dive there is supervision provided by an ADA Safety Officer. The Safety Officer's job is to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all ADA divers. It is a big job, with little or no thanks, but very rewarding for those of us who have accepted the challenge. You too can be a part of this elite fraternity.

The process of becoming an ADA Safety Officer begins with an orientation session conducted by the Safety Officers Committee where all your questions can be answered.

T-shirt back

Following orientation, there is a period of on-the-dive observations, as well as an apprenticeship under the supervision of an ADA Safety Officer. Thereafter, the Safety Officer Committee evaluates its observations and based on a positive outcome, you are awarded the coveted ADA Safety Officers T-shirt.

Are you up to the challenge? Want to give something back to ADA? Call Lon at 305-251-4975 for more information.

NEW FOR 2014 - Rainbow Reef Dive Center

Rainbow Reef Dive Center, located in the heart of Key Largo, offers dive locations not previously available to ADA. New sites include Franch twist, xmas cave, sand cave, amphitheater, north star, benwood wreck, sand island and more.

Rainbow Reef has three custom built boats to accommodate our groups. On the ADA dive calendar page, "Key Largo" indicates we are visiting Rainbow Reef. First dive April 26, pm.

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Islamorada Deep Reef/wall Dives

This year for the first time, ADA has scheduled advanced dives ( >60 feet) to the deep reef and wall dives near Sombrero Light house. Depths range from 75 to 100 feet. Watch for details in future newsletters.

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Newsletter Delivery

Want your newsletter delivered via snail-mail? Contact Carol Cox at cox911@att.net and request a printed copy. Be sure to put "ADA Newsletter" in the subject line.

Shore Diving in South Florida

The Boulders

The Boulders is located just south of Dania Beach. Just take North Ocean Drive south from Dania Beach Boulevard along the intercoastal, and turn left at Perry Street. Park, gear up and go straight out. There ais a large group of boulders located near the shore, here a few years ago. They are spread out parallel along the shore.

There is a lot of sand surrounding this area, so it must be a calm day and hopefully, for the past one or two days as well, or visibility will be limited. It is very close to shore. Sometimes there is a buoy on them, but often it is missing. Since they have been down for a few years,various corals that are starting to grow on the rocks.

There is a wide variety of fish life that call the area home as well as lobster, but it is so shallow, even the free divers can reach them with ease. I find the location fascinating and the people I have gone with also seem to like it. It’s an easy swim from shore and offers a variety of sights. Try it and give me your feedback.

--by Jerry Kosakowski

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

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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