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October 2017 Edition

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In This Issue:

Free BBQ, Free Dive !! Prizes

--by Jerry Kosakowski

When: Saturday, Oct 14, 2017

Who: ADA members, prospective members, family and friends.

Where: Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park (formerly known as John U. Lloyd Beach State Park), Jetty Pavillion, 6503 N. Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, Florida 33004 1.5 miles north of Sheridan St. on A1A

Time: Park opens at 8:00 AM. Meet for beach dive at 9:00 AM, BBQ at noon.

MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN RAFFLE PRIZES. MUST RSVP TO WIN PRIZES.

Bring Your Dive gear for Sale or Swap!!

Call or email Lon at 305-251-4975 or lon@diverlon.com to sign up, deadline October 5th for RSVP. For beach diving, bring all your own gear and a dive flag if you have one. Bring lobster gear as this is a great lobster spot. Bring that license too, the FWC seem to find this as one of their favorite hang outs. Or if you made it to 65+, no license is needed. The reef is about 100 yards off shore. It’s a great surface swim out. That is your warning. Or dive in close and enjoy the reef. The pavilion has covered shelter, very nice bathroom, showers, and changing room. We will have the BBQ and raffle, rain or shine, unless a hurricane threatens. BBQ will include burgers, dogs, chicken, extras and all drinks. A small fee is charged to enter the park ($4 for single occupancy vehicles, $6 for 2-8 persons per vehicle), free parking at the pavilion. Non-ADA members and non-family members may attend but will be asked to contribute $10 for the BBQ. They may also dive, but are not part of the ADA dive group and not eligible for prizes

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Prices have dropped AGAIN!!!
$299 per person!!!
--by Daryl Johnson

The third annual ADA dive cruise departs on November 13, 2017 on the Crown Princess for 5 nights and six days and goes to Cozumel and Costa Maya for Caribbean diving at its best. It is really easy to do when no flying is involved to get to your destination, and the ship repositions overnight to the next dive location while you are dining, being entertained, watching “Movies under the Stars”, or simply enjoying the voyage. Dan and I have taken several of these and enjoyed outstanding days of diving, gourmet meals, and a terrific cruise experience. It’s also a great way to experience international diving for the first time.

Double occupancy prices vary according to cabin from as low as $299 per person for an interior cabin to $499 for a balcony (on sale as of this writing,) not including the dive excursions. This year we will be booking our dives with an outside vendor so the dive in Costa Maya is $99 and  $93 in Cozumel, per day, including all equipment rentals.  Final payment for the cruise is due September 14th, so if you book after that payment will be due in full at the time of booking. Oh, and by the way, prices are lower if you want to book more than two to a room (four maximum).  I did one dive cruise with two other divers in an interior cabin with no problems.

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Low Visibility?
--by Jerry Kosakowski

As divers, we strive for calm seas, warm waters, and 100-foot visability. Rarely do we get all three concurrently,but low visibility is probably the most taxing and dangerous of the three conditions. This is going to happen to you, unless of course, you just refuse the dive in advance. But, it can occur in a flash and there you are, hopefully not lost completely, and at least close to your buddy so contact can be made.

There lies the whole solution, staying in contact with your buddy. It can get so bad your buddy can almost be next to you and still not see him. Well, grab that dive flag rope and hold on. The diver with the flag is never lost. The others are....

This has happened to me quite a few times diving from shore. It usually has been windy the past few days, and although the water is a little better as far as calmness goes, the murkiness is very bad. For shore diving, there is the hope it clears up as you get further out, and maybe five feet of visibility is all there is going to be. Well, you may have to place this one as one of those training dives then. You won’t forget this lesson for a while.

Sometimes even on a boat dive this can’t be avoided, as the water just becomes a silt-out. Well, don’t despair. If you do get separated and and your attempts to locate anyone after one minute of searching haven’t been successful, surface and make contact with the boat. Give the appropriate "OK" signal if you are ok. They may be able to pair you up either with your partner, who also should have surfaced by now, or with another diver if your parter is back on the boat. You probably will not be alone, but if you are, you must abort the dive. Now the choice is either swimming on the surface or take a good compass heading and descend if the surface current is too strong. If the current is not bad, your best bet is to stay on the surface in an uncrowded area and make your way back to the boat if it is safe to do so.

May your next dive have unlimited visibility!

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The Effects of Hurricane Irma on Key Largo Reefs

--by Rachel Davis

Hurricane Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key in the middle Keys at 9:10 a.m. the morning of Sunday, September 10th as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds. 78 miles to the north, 25 foot waves were reported at Molasses Reef off Key Largo. On Saturday, September 23rd, less than two weeks after the hurricane struck, 12 ADA divers made the trek out to Molasses Reef to survey the reefs post-Hurricane Irma onboard Rainbow Reef's Tropical Adventurer.

When we arrived, the most striking thing we noticed was the lack of boat traffic on the reef. White mooring balls dotted the landscape around the iconic Molasses Reef Tower from one end to the other, with no other boats in sight. The divemaster told us that many of the mooring balls were missing since the storm and most dive operators are not yet operational.

When we took the plunge onto the reef, the first thing we noticed is that the sand was gone. The 25 foot waves had apparently scooped up all the sand and placed it elsewhere. What was remaining was rubble rock from old buried coral skeletons, covered with a fine layer of green fuzzy algae that had grown over the past two weeks. The coarse white sand particles that made up the ground cover between the towering coral fingers was now replaced with a yellow-green bed of coral rocks. The towers of coral looked mostly fine with some sea fans and sponges missing. Atop the towers there was noticeable damage to stands of elkhorn. Fortunately, we did find a CRF staghorn coral transplant that survived the storm. In spite of the effects to coral there is still an abundance of marine life. Fish species of all kinds were represented with the characteristic large schools of yellowtails and grunts the Keys is famous for, plus we saw sharks, rays and numerous eels.

Hurricanes are natural phenomena, and coral reefs are part of the cycle of decline and renewal for the marine environment. This article from NOAA outlines the positive benefits hurricanes provide to reefs, as coral reefs have experienced these effects from hurricanes and survived for millions of years. Over time, Mother Nature will regenerate Molasses Reef and eventually restore it to the splendor that we all know and love.

For next month's newsletter, I will survey the deeper reefs (50 to 70 foot) of Boynton Beach and report on any damage there from Hurricane Irma.

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Big Critters!
--by Lon Von Lintel

My travels have taken me to dive locations offshore of every continent except Antarctica.  Along with the stunning colors of the Pacific, walls of the Caribbean, wrecks of Truk Lagoon, penguins of the Galapagos, schooling hammerheads of the Coco Islands, volcanic vents of Indonesia, cenotes of the Yucatan, blue holes of the Bahamas, and sea lions in the Sea of Cortez, the big animals I have dived with also include Minke whales of Australia.

We were aboard the Spoilsport on the Great Barrier Reef, anchored in a quiet lagoon, when one of the crew spotted a pod of Minke whales circling our boat.  They were very active, diving and breaching in zig-zag trails.  They somewhat resemble killer whales (a.k.a. orcas).  The visibility was limited, so they were a bit shy, but this was my first encounter with what I consider "big animals".  Wow!

Next on my list is the manta rays of Borneo.  They can grow to be giants with a wing span of 20 feet, although these were smaller at about 12 - 15 feet. During tide changes through the islands around Borneo, mantas congregate, swimming slowly against the currents.  The best shot of getting up close is when they break from feeding and hover at cleaning stations, a service provided by small reef fish.  I was able to crawl on the sandy bottom and inch my way to within a few feet of these giants!  Wow!

Of course, no list of big animals is complete without the whale shark. Off the west coast of Australia, Ningaloo reef is famous for its resident whale sharks.  Using a spotter plane, the dive operators direct their boats to intercept the sharks on their anticipated direction of travel.  It works. We were dropped off and then just waited.  Then a form appears, just on the edge of visibility.  It grows larger and then before you know it, it’s a whale shark.  The shark glides by, the boat circles, picks you up, and hurries ahead to the next drop zone.  Again and again, as long as you have strength, the boat drops you just ahead of these amazing animals.  Wow!

Last, but biggest, are the humpback whales of the Dominican Republic. They grow to 60 feet, and weigh 40 tons.  Taken by tender boats from the anchored mother ship, we searched in an area known as the Silver Banks.  During their active periods, there is no chance to get close.  We have to wait for their "siesta".   Finally, we spot two adults and a calf resting on the bottom at about 80'.  The adults can remain on the bottom for 20-40 minutes before they must surface to breath.  But the youngsters must surface more often.  We knew this and slipped into the water just above them, waiting for the calf.....  It stirred, paused, and then shot up toward us.  It was clearly curious and wanted to investigate.  And like most young animals, it was a bit clumsy, excitable, and lost control. I was not quick enough to avoid a collision and it banged my left side with its flipper.  My upper arm took the worst of the blow, but I felt no pain.  It wasn't unti later after my adrenaline wore off that I was reminded of my best up-close encounter.  Wow!!!

Here's wishing our members- calm seas, good visibility, warm water, and close-up encounters with big animals.

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REEF Fest Rescheduled
--by Lenora Bach

REEF Headquarters in Key Largo and much of the surrounding community are beginning to return to normal following temporary closure due to Hurricane Irma. Because of the storm it was necessary for REEF Fest to be postponed from its original September dates. We are excited to announce that we have rescheduled the event for December 7-10, 2017!

We appreciate your patience while we coordinated with event partners and sponsors to reschedule the event. We hope that you will be able to join us for the ocean-themed seminars, diving, eco-adventures, and evening social events planned during this annual celebration of marine conservation. Some specific details from the original schedule have been slightly modified.

Please visit www.REEF.org/REEFfest for more information or contact Events@REEF.org with any questions about the event.

REEF and the Florida Keys Community are excited to welcome you back to Key Largo for this exciting event. We look forward to seeing you December 7-10, 2017.

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To Snorkel or Not To Snorkel: That is the Question
--by Mo Smith

Within the last few years more and more dive certification agencies have elected to make it an option to wear a snorkel attached to your mask. Many agencies are suggesting carrying a snorkel somewhere within your dive gear. To my surprise even my hold out NAUI has recently made it optional to wear what until recently was considered a crucial intricate piece of dive equipment.

I realize that there are benefits and deficits in wearing a snorkel. For instance clearly some of the deficits are overhead environments like cave and wreck diving, both certifications understandably do not recommended wearing snorkels during these activities.  Police divers also refrain from using snorkels.  Snorkels get tangled within hair and become uncomfortable, can create drag in currents, and when not attached correctly can generate mask leak.


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Winter is Coming.... Prepare!
--by Dr. Dan Baeza, PhD, PE

As October rolls into November, it’s time to turn our attention to winter diving, South Florida style. Now, there are two types of divers, those who hang up their gear for the winter and wait for the summer season, and those that can’t wait for the changes in the water that accompany the cooler weather.

For divers who will be hanging up their equipment until mid-Spring, be sure to rinse off all equipment thoroughly. This includes the inside of your BCD to dissolve any rogue salt crystals that act like sandpaper to the BCD’s lining. Unscrew the manual inflator hose assembly, and hang the BCD upside-down for at least 24 hours to drain any excess water. Wash your wetsuit, preferably in the washing machine using a mild soap on the delicate setting. You can also use a commercial product like “Sink the Stink” in place of the soap to really get your wetsuit clean (…there are two classes of divers: those that urinate in their wetsuits, and those that lie about it.) Air dry the wetsuit away from the sun. Now is also a good time to take your regulator in for its annual servicing in advance of the upcoming season.


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Congratulations, Al
-- by Rachel Davis

Congratulations to ADA member Al Menendez for completing his PADI Advanced Open Water certification on September 23rd!

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Irma Battered, But Didn't Beat Underwater Lab
--from the Miami Herald, Thursday Sept 28, 2017

In the end, Irma was no match for the Aquarius, FIU's underwater lab off Key Largo.  The storm ripped the lab's 94,000 pound life support buoy from its moorings, blowing it about 14 miles away.  It bent the living quarters and damaged the wet porch, but the lab remained intact.  It is hoped the lab will be up and working in the spring.  The buoy is now in a Miami shipyard being refitted.  It is estimated the damage will be $500,000.  Supporters have already raised about $12,000 on the crowd-funding website youcaring.com.  ADA hopes to schedule another mission next year.

Watch our newsletter for future announcements.

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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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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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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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