Archive for August, 2012

Mail Tribune – 

Concerned about aquatic invasive species that have popped up in other lakes across the country, Crater Lake National Park officials have temporarily closed the lake’s pristine waters to scuba diving and other water gear uses.

The immediate closure will remain in effect until protocols are established to minimize the risk of contamination from invasive species that include quagga mussels and other species that could reduce the lake’s world-renown clarity and purity, officials said.

The protocols, which will require divers to take precautionary measures before diving into the lake, are expected to be in place before the beginning of the 2013 season.

“We have seen the devastation to ecosystems and economies caused by the inadvertent introduction of invasive species from Lake Mead to Lake Erie,” observed park superintendent Craig Ackerman.

“We want to prevent it from happening at Crater Lake rather than deal with the aftermath,” he added.

“The increasing popularity of the lake for scuba diving also increases the opportunities for divers and their gear to carry microscopic ‘hitchhikers’ into the water.”

Although the invasive species may be small, the damage caused by introducing them into the lake is enormous and often irreversible, he noted.

Full story…

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RT – 

A new species of fish discovered in Vietnam is only 2 centimeters long, but its tiny size is not the creature’s only unique trait.

This fish possesses sexual organs in an unusual place: Its head. Scientists do not yet understand the evolutionary origin of the unusual placement of the fish’s reproductive system.

One theory posits that a “bilaterally asymmetric organ” under the throat is “for holding or clasping onto females and fertilizing their eggs internally.”

The vast majority of fish species fertilize their eggs after they are laid.

The Phallostethus cuulong – the scientific name of the fish – has become the 22nd member of the Phallostethidae family, a group of small, slender and nearly transparent surface-swimming fish that live in the waters of southeast Asia.

The new species was first discovered near the Mekong River in July 2009 by Japanese scientist Koichi Shibukawa.

He managed to catch it in a net, and began researching it alongside colleagues from Vietnam’s Can Tho University.

The discovery of a ‘penis-headed’ fish came less than a month after a biologist in the Amazon uncovered a species of extremely rare caecilian – a legless amphibian – that was also shockingly phallic in shape.

Full story…

Krista Bryce –

Ed Singer of Nanaimo should have webbed feet and gills after spending more than four months of his life underwater for decades.

The avid scuba diver has spent a minimum of 139 days underwater every year during the past 30 years as a commercial and recreational diver in the waters off Vancouver Island.

An admiration for Jacques Cousteau and his underwater documentaries and photographs piqued Singer’s interest in the deep blue before he was a teenager.

At the age of 15, Singer started his diving career off the shores of Prince Rupert, where his dad worked as a commercial fishermen during the summers.

A neighbour took the teenager under his wing and introduced him to the world of commercial diving.

The sport would became his career and lifelong passion.

Singer, 45, has logged more than 5,000 commercial and recreational dives, including training thousands of scuba divers, recovering bodies and doing commercial contract work for several municipalities, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and B.C. Ferries.

Most of all, Singer has been instrumental in helping create Nanaimo’s underwater tourism industry, which attracts more than 10,000 divers every year.

Despite the fact Singer spends most of his working hours underwater, it’s still his favourite place to play.

“A lot of people burn themselves out, but that part hasn’t changed at all for me,” said Singer, owner of Sundown Diving.

Full story…

Louise Schwartzkoff –

Each July, when Crete’s resorts fill with visitors, tour buses congregate outside the island’s famous archaeological sites.

Sightseers mill about the ruins, taking photographs of crumbling stone and imagining events that took place thousands of years ago.

For those who care to look, the island also holds clues to a more recent past: the remains of a German dive bomber and a metal shipwreck off the west coast.

Crusty with rust and home to scores of fish, the vessel is a missing piece of Australian war history.

But until archaeologist Michael Bendon stumbled upon it, no one knew or cared. Bendon, who lives in Sydney, came to Crete to help excavate an ancient harbour city flattened by the Romans in 67BC.

The work was hot and dusty. He and his colleagues started at six every morning, working with picks, shovels and wheelbarrows, breaking for a swim after breakfast.

One morning as he paddled, Bendon noticed a wreck with a heavy loading ramp a few metres beneath the surface.

The vessel was at least 50 metres long – easy to spot in the clear shallows off Phalasarna.

But no one – not even the staff at a nearby museum – could tell him its name. It was a World War II vessel, they said. The rest was a mystery.

Full story…

Diane Ackerman – 

I’ve always loved scuba diving and the cell-tickling feel of being underwater, though it poses unique frustrations.

Alone, but with others, you may share the same sights and feelings, but you can’t communicate well.

There are few ways to convey joy, amazement or thrill. How many divers know American Sign Language ?

The vocabulary of scuba talk is small and inadequate, circling around the transactional analyst’s bywords, I’m O.K. Are you O.K.?

One can also signal: I’m in trouble, I’m low on air, I’m going to surface, Look at that, I’m cold, Danger over there, My ears haven’t pressurized, Stay where you are — but little more.

“Isn’t that fish on the rock face spending his whole life guarding a minute territory mind-blowing ?” is just as unsayable as “I’ve got to go to the toilet.”

Or “My throat feels parched from the wheeze of the regulator.”

Or “Those brown angelfish are hanging like flak in the water.”

I think some people may dive, in part, for the thick layers of quiet and the luxury of not having to converse.

Full story…

MSNBC – 

Kimberly Schmidt’s scuba diving necklace has been located.

No further information is available at this time as the investigation is still ongoing.

Spokane County Sheriff’s Department Press Release: Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives need the public’s help in locating a scuba diving necklace that belonged to Kimberly Schmidt.

40 year old Daniel Arteaga is currently in custody at the Spokane County Jail for the murder of Schmidt.

Detectives believe the necklace has been missing since about January 1, 2012.

This is a necklace Kimberly Schmidt wore all of the time and was very special to her.

Attached are photos of the scuba diver on the necklace.

Anyone that has seen this necklace, or has any information as to its whereabouts, is asked to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.

Please ask Crime Check to forward the information to Detective Drapeau.

SBS –

A leading climate change scientist is calling for investigations into novel ways, such as giant shadecloths, to protect and save the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia needs to investigate novel ways of protecting the Great Barrier Reef, such as giant shadecloths, a leading climate change scientist says.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute, says the time for saving the reef through global action on climate change may be running out.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday, Professor Hoegh-Guldberg calls for studies into solutions for damage done to the area.

Some of the professor’s more novel ideas include using very large shadecloths to protect coral from heat stress, using low-voltage electric currents to stimulate coral growth, and genetic engineering to help marine life cope.

Also canvassed is a plan to add base minerals to the waters around the reef to help offset higher levels of acidity, which harm the coral.

Full story…