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June 2017 Edition

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In This Issue:

Join us for the Premier ADA Weekend Getaway: Looe Key and Key West

--by Rachel Davis

One of the most exciting ADA weekends of the summer is coming up on July 22-23 when we journey down south to Key West!

The adventure begins the morning of Saturday, July 22nd when ADA makes its second annual visit to The Turtle Hospital in Marathon for the 9:00 a.m. tour. The Turtle Hospital's mission is to rescue, rehab, and release sick and injured sea turtles. We will learn about sea turtles and take a behind the scenes look at the hospital facilities and rehabilitation area. There are also educational exhibits about turtle conservation and how we can prevent illnesses and injuries to sea turtle populations. At the end of each program guests are invited to feed the permanent residents. The tour lasts 90 minutes and will be over in plenty of time to drive 20 miles south to Looe Key Resort and have lunch before the afternoon dive check-in.

At noon we meet at Looe Key Dive resort for our afternoon dive in the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, which is known for its abundant marine life and corals. Here you can stay on the premises at the Looe Key resort, a funky hotel, restaurant and dive shop that's quintessential Keys, complete with live music and good food under the tiki bar. Only 30 miles north of Key West, here you can stay for around $100 per night for a modest hotel room just steps from the dive boat. Call 305-872-2215 for information and reservations.

Sunday, July 23rd takes us once again to Lost Reef Adventures in Key West to dive the Vandenburg wreck. This is an amazing experience and a real wreck diver's dream. There is so much to see with this one of a kind 522' former military missile tracking ship which sits upright at 140', rising up within 50' of the surface. There are two signature satellite dishes, a swim through wheelhouse and numerous areas to explore on the super structure. It is one of the most amazing wrecks in the Keys and an experience not to be missed. We'll do the 8:00 a.m. dive in Key West so there's time left in the afternoon for sightseeing to visit the Hemingway House, ride the Conch Train or take a historic stroll down world famous Duval Street.

Book now so you don't miss out on joining us for the Looe Key/Key West weekend in July! The Turtle Hospital tour admission is $22 payable directly to the hospital upon arrival. To RSVP email Rachel at rachelhancock7@gmail.com or call 786-316-9852.

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6th Annual Scuba Skills Workshop

--by Lenora Bach

On May 13, 2017, the ADA met with the Scuba Skills and Tune Up group at A.D. Barnes pool. Twenty-one divers geared up and entered the pool with four ADA Safety Officers, including Dr. Dan Baeza, Mauricio (Mo) Smith, Daryl Johnson, and Lee Wood.   This was ADA's largest turn-out to date.

ADA members and prospective members were given the opportunity to review and refresh their diving skills.  Thank you to the Safety Officers who provided their expert guidance and welcome to ADA's newest members: Isfael Fernandez - MAST Senior High Student, Sergio Lopez - MAST Senior High Student, Lynn Perrine, Susan Roldan, Jorge Alfageme, Gustavo Alvor, Ana Duran, Hansel Outler, Ana Aparcio, Al Menendez, Osmon Murrillo, Maria Lantiqua, and David Linenfelser. Also in attendance were ADA members Helen Colby, Maureen Curtin, Bill Curtin, Evelyn Roisman, John Davis, Juliana Bach, Roger Bach, Lenora Bach, and Safety Officers Mo Smith, Lee Wood, Daryl Johnson, Lon Von Lintel, and Dr. Dan Baeza.

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Underwater Animal Encounters – Garden Eels

--by Mo Smith

One of my most captivating underwater experiences occurred during my Junior Open Water Diver certification.  At the time, my underwater experiences were extremely limited, so any new exposure was fascinating.  The encounter occurred during a morning dive on a sandy bottom near a small patch reef somewhere off Sombrero Key lighthouse.  Everything was new, exciting, and my youthful eyes could clearly see to distances that would challenge an eagle’s eyesight.  While diving on a patchy reef at some distance I spotted what I believed to be a sandy bottom full of thick grass, so thick that you could barely make out the floor consistency. Upon surfacing, I mentioned to my instructor about my observations, including that weird thick grass area that I had observed at a distance from the reef.  Through his laughter my instructor informed me that on the next dive he would take me to the grass patches.

After a short surface interval, we prepared for our next dive.  The instructor went over the dive plan with the kids in the course and asked me to lead the group to the grassy patch after settling on the bottom.  I jumped in from the charter boat’s platform and may I say in perfect long stride form and began descending to the bottom with the class, followed by the instructor. Once on the bottom, the instructor pointed in the direction of the grass and directed me to lead.  To the children’s amazement, as we entered the grass it disappeared into small holes within the sandy floor. The young divers suddenly realized that this was not grass but some type of underwater animal. For a few moments, we were frozen, trying to decipher what we saw.  A thick wave of eels would disappear as we approached, and re-appear as we passed. The class spent the entire dive enjoying and playing with these fascinating Garden Eels.

I’m not sure if the eels understood the game or enjoyed the playfulness of the children, but I sure hope so, because the Junior Divers did, and I for one will never forget my first encounter with the spectacular Garden Eels.

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Hammerhead Sharks

--by Jerry Kosakowski

This is a shark I most want to observe. It seems so interesting and strange. But is it really? Well, besides the extraordinary placement of its eyes, it is a "normal" shark.. Those eyes so wide apart give it a distinctive silhouette, but the shark gets a better visual range from this configuration. There are sightings of them here in Florida, but I have never been so lucky. Now, I have seen many varieties of shark, but this is the one I want to observe (probably will swim by real fast).

Photo taken off the coast of Costa Rica - by Dan Baeza

The genus name is Sphyrna which is Greek for hammer. It seems the Greeks are always involved in the naming of things from the sea. Obviously, it took a long time to evolve like this and it is surprising to me there are no in-between sharks with these characteristics. Maybe there were but went extinct. However, there are nine species of hammerheads. They probably formed in their current configuration twenty million years ago. They are found in both shallow and deep water.

Hammerheads are able to get a sun tan if they remain in shallow water for a period of time. They are favored by fishermen for their fins, which is considered a delicacy in some places. But because there aren’t that many of them, they at risk for extinction. Darn, I may never be able to see one. The fishermen only want the fin so they slice it off and throw the shark back in the water, where it dies because it is unable to swim. Humm, we are causing the problem, as usual.

I know a lot of you have observed these sharks and believe me, I am jealous. Here’s hoping I see one this season. Maybe with you as my partner.

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Dawning of the Age of Aquarius—Part 3
(Aquarius Underwater Laboratory, That Is)

--by Roy D. Wasson

In June of 2016 eleven ADA divers had an amazing dive experience inside the Aquarius Underwater Laboratory, sixty feet below the surface and nine miles off Conch Key. First commissioned in 1988 and funded previously by NOAA, Aquarius has been a training facility for NASA astronauts and is a world leader in oceanographic research. Now part of the Florida International University Marine Education and Research Initiative, it operates as the world’s only full-time undersea research laboratory, dedicated to the study and preservation of marine ecosystems worldwide.

Our ADA mission aboard Aquarius allowed us to tour the exterior of the structure and supporting equipment outside, then enter the habitat from the underside, where we climbed stairs into the pressurized environment.  Once inside we took off our dive gear, had warm showers, and changed into street clothes to experience the living and working facilities where moon-walking astronaut Buzz Aldrin has trained.  Only about 1,600 divers have ever dove an Aquarius mission in the past 24 years, and the experience was unique.  The full story and pictures of our ADA mission can be seen in the archives of this newsletter, in the July, 2016 edition.

Those of us who were lucky enough to have participated in last year’s Aquarius mission decided that we should work on a program for ADA to support FIU’s work through the facility.  So the ADA board approved a proposal to fund two partial scholarships for FIU students studying marine sciences involving Aquarius:  one graduate level and one undergraduate.  We are now working to fund those scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year.  A committee chaired by ADA member David Goldberg is starting the process of planning those fundraising efforts.

This is your opportunity to support ADA’s effort to show our appreciation for those valuable research efforts by making a voluntary contribution to help fund those scholarships.  Look for a link on our website when renewing your ADA dues to allow you to add an amount for the scholarship fund, and keep watching for other programs we are looking into, such as a charitable auction of dive gear, trips, and other fun products and services.  We also welcome your tax-deductible checks to ADA designated for the Aquarius Scholarship Fund.

We also want ADA members’ response to the question whether we should plan another mission aboard Aquarius.  Last year’s full day mission cost each member $500, which included classroom training, use of professional dive gear, the boat trip out, lunch, and support by the FIU scientific crew.  If you would be interested in such a trip, please respond by email at roy@wassonandassociates.com to let me know.  If we get enough interest I will look into planning another Aquarius mission in the future.  For more information about Aquarius in general, check out its website: https://aquarius.fiu.edu/.

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Shark Week - Will You Watch?

--by Lon Von Lintel

Discovery Channel's Shark Week will air soon.  I have watched some in the past, but quickly became disturbed by the portrayal of sharks as killing machines devouring everything, including humans, in their path. Most of us divers know how important sharks are for the health of our reefs.  If you don't know, do some research.  We also know about shark finning decimating shark populations around the world.  We are also somewhat aware of what sells on TV and in the movies, blood, mayhem, gore, and death.  I have heard it said about TV newscasts- "if it bleeds, it leads". This all seems to be a part of our culture and we accept it, at least by default.  I have watched, learned from, and enjoyed documentaries in the past that inform and educate, rather than sensationalize and demonize sharks.


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Swimming After Eating: Fact and Fiction
--by Dr. Dan Baeza

You must wait an hour after eating before swimming,
or you’ll get cramps and drown!

What kid growing up has not heard a similar admonition as time seemed to standstill while waiting to go into the pool. What mother or father did not truly believe that if a full 60 minutes didn’t go by after the last morsel of a meal was consumed, the child entering the water would sink under the surface like a rock, without nary a ripple. Despite evidence to the contrary, we all secretly believed this would be the fate of any scofflaws.

Like most myths, there is always some basis in fact, and this one is no exception. But the application of some science to liberally applied pseudo-science places this myth into the “pants on fire” category. So, let’s briefly discuss the digestion process.


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Immortality
-- by Jerry Kosakowski

I hope you don’t get all excited and think humans can become immortal. Not at all, not yet, but if it does happen (please rush on this, as I am pretty old), it may be developed from the Turritopsis Dohrnii which is the only known immortal creature, Yes, it is a sea creature, specifically, a species of jellyfish.

The Turritopsis Dohrnii do this by reverting to a sexually immature stage, so maybe it isn’t all good. Well, first it propagates and then it becomes sexually immature. Sexual maturity could be a onetime thing for them (hmmmm, I have to think about this). Once it becomes sexually immature, it reverts back to its juvenile polyp state. Its tentacles retract, its body shrink, and it sinks to the ocean floor to start the cycle all over again.  Its body keeps transforming and repeating the process, always returning to the juvenile state.  So technically, unless it is eaten by another fish or contracts a deadly disease, it can live forever.

I am sure that scientists will figure some way to harness this process and apply it to humans. Or am I just hoping against that time clock?

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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 ActiveDiversInfo@gmail.com. You can also call Dan at 954-260-8225 and leave a message with your new contact information.

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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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Scuba Jokes

Three instructors from PADI, NAUI and SSI are with their students on a boat going to do a deep ocean dive. The boat starts to take on water and starts to sink. The PADI instructor tells his student set his compass to point for to shore and prepare for a long dive, The NAUI instructor tells his student to grab an additional tank for a long dive back to shore and the SSI instructor tells his student, for an extra $100.00 we can knock out your wreck diver certification….

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When in doubt, avoid wearing a dry suit after consuming a beer!

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People who look good while wearing a mask on are usually ugly without one.

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Newsletter Delivery Options

Want your newsletter delivered via snail-mail? Contact the webmaster and request a printed copy. Be sure to put "ADA Newsletter" in the subject.

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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 Lon at (305) 251-4975 or 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 or via email at lon@diverlon.com to make a reservation. If via email, you will receive a notification whether space is available. 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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