Archive for September, 2012

Susan Cocking – 

One of Broward County’s popular scuba diving sites — the Ancient Mariner artificial reef — just got a little more interesting.

The 70-foot deep shipwreck off Deerfield Beach now is decorated with a large, colorful steel sculpture of a coral reef.

Members of the South Florida diving community deployed the underwater ornament Wednesday in honor of Ray McAllister, retired Florida Atlantic University professor and diving pioneer from Lighthouse Point, who died two weeks ago at 89.

The “reef art” sculpture was created in 2000 by David Whitman Alger to decorate the entrance of Tails Island Grill, a waterfront restaurant in Pompano Beach.

The restaurant closed several years ago and was set for demolition by the property’s new owner, Hunter Hospitalities LLC. Jeff Torode, operator of South Florida Diving Headquarters and a friend of McAllister, persuaded Hunter Hospitalities to donate the reef art to Broward County’s artificial reef program.

With permission from Broward County officials, Torode and fellow divers lowered the sculpture to the deck of the Ancient Mariner and secured it with a chain.

Then they held a short dedication ceremony.

Full article…

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Rebecca Quilliam – 

The great-great-great-granddaughter of the man who discovered the Ross Sea says the New Zealand Government is destroying her legacy by failing to protect one of the last intact marine ecosystems in the world.

British naval officer and polar explorer Sir James Clarke Ross discovered the sea in 1841.

There are tight regulations on fishing – including strict quota and reporting requirements on catch and bycatch – in Antarctica, which is still treated as an exploratory fishery.

But Ross’s great-great-great-granddaughter Philippa Ross said the delicate environment was being threatened by government policies.

Earlier this month the Government rejected a proposal from the United States for a marine reserve that would have offered greater protection than New Zealand wanted for the Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea.

New Zealand companies take a large proportion of the annual Ross Sea toothfish catch – last year they landed 730 tonnes with an export value of $20 million.

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Mariam Ibrahim – 

A retired RCMP officer drowned over the weekend while scuba diving with a friend at Twin Lakes campground, southwest of Pigeon Lake.

The pair entered Twin Lake around noon Saturday and the retired officer went missing around half an hour later, RCMP spokesman Staff Sgt. Shawn LeMay said.

His body was recovered late Sunday afternoon after crews spent the day searching.

The victim’s name was not released, but the Journal has confirmed his identity as Staff Sgt. Russell Gillespie, who worked at RCMP K Division offices in Edmonton before his recent retirement.

Gillespie’s friend, also an RCMP officer, called for help after Gillespie failed to resurface and efforts to find him were unsuccessful, LeMay said.

Breton RCMP responded to the scene immediately and the search was conducted throughout Saturday evening with the help of a Wetaskiwin RCMP search boat, the Rocky Mountain House search and rescue team and the northern Alberta Aquatic Rescue Society dive team.

Search crews were forced to stop at sundown on Saturday evening but resumed early Sunday morning. Gillespie’s body was discovered in the water later that afternoon, LeMay said.

“We were able to locate our friend and colleague shortly after 4 p.m. today,” he said.

Full article…

Zack Macdonald –

A group of wounded veterans went diving offshore as part therapy, part adventure, Saturday morning.

“They’re a really inspirational group,” said David E. Demarest, who went on Saturday’s dive.

“Many of them are missing limbs, but I didn’t hear one of them complain, and they’re more than capable scuba divers.”

Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS), based out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., is a nonprofit organization and a chapter of Disabled Sports USA.

It is designed to help improve the lives of injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. SUDS is separate from the Wounded Warrior Project as it deals specifically with teaching wounded veterans to scuba dive, and takes them on dive trips.

“We use scuba to facilitate their rehabilitation,” said John Thompson, president of SUDS. “Scuba is actually prescribed for their therapy.”

SUDS runs trips from Hawaii to Puerto Rico to Guantanamo Bay, and each year in September they stop through Panama City Beach.

The Atlanta Aquanauts host the annual Dive Fest Benefiting SUDS.

The program is free to veterans and donations pay for airfare, hotel and food.

A lot of Aquanauts dive members come and help raise money through a silent auction and other benefits, according to Thompson.

Full article…

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Emily Brennan –

“I’ve always been a water baby,” said Ashlan Gorse, an anchor for “E! News Now.”

But it wasn’t until she met her boyfriend, Philippe Cousteau Jr., a grandson of the oceanography legend Jacques Cousteau, that she took the plunge and learned how to scuba dive.

“To go in the water and stare at a shrimp for three minutes and not think about anything else in the world,” she said, “it’s just euphoric.”

Last month, she dove with great white sharks at Guadalupe Island off Mexico.

Even that she found peaceful. “I thought I’d be scared,” she said, “but there’s a real ease and calmness about them cruising around.”

Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with Ms. Gorse about her favorites spots and tips for scuba and shark diving.

Q. How did you learn how to scuba dive ?

A. I got my certification through PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). It’s recognized everywhere, so you can find classes at any gym or Y.M.C.A. The course work online takes about two weeks, and then I did a couple of lessons in the pool and one in the ocean. But you can also do them in a lake or a rock quarry.

Once you’re certified, you can go diving anywhere in the world.

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Sunrise Huang and Elizabeth Hsu – 

A large group of divers are set to launch a major clean-up of the seabed off the northeastern coast of Taiwan in line with the global campaign Clean Up the World, a keen scuba diver from New Taipei said Friday.

The clean-up, planned for the following day, was initiated by recreational divers such as himself who, like him, are fond of diving in the coastal area that is the convergence of the Kuroshio current and a cold current that comes up from the eastern Chinese coast, Lee Hsiang said.

The marine phenomenon has created many wave-cut benches, tidal ponds and trenches along the coast, creating a home for a wide diversity of marine life, he said.

The beautiful coastline, however, has in recent years become more and more polluted by garbage, he said.

While people can easily see the pollution on the seashore, the seabed beneath the waves is nevertheless often neglected, said Lee, an otolaryngologist who often dives in the area.

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Michael S. Schmidt and Thom Shanker –

For more than 24 hours last September, a Coast Guard helicopter and speedboat pursued drug traffickers and their contraband across the Caribbean Sea.

Finally they caught up with the improbable vessel, the latest innovation in the decades-old drug war.

It was a submarine. The low-slung, diesel-propelled vessel, painted a dark shade to blend with the water, was believed to be carrying several tons of cocaine.

But after the submersible’s crew scuttled the vessel and abandoned ship, the Coast Guard was able to salvage only two 66-pound bales of narcotics.

This is the new challenge faced by the United States and Latin American countries as narcotics organizations bankroll machine shops operating under cover of South America’s triple-canopy jungles to build diesel-powered submarines that would be the envy of all but a few nations.

After years of detecting these craft in the less-trafficked Pacific Ocean, officials have seen a spike in their use in the Caribbean over the last year. U.S. authorities have discovered at least three models of a new and sophisticated drug-trafficking submarine capable of traveling completely underwater from South America to the coast of the United States.

The vessel involved in the September chase was an older model that was only semi-submersible.

That model presents a silhouette above water barely larger than a kitchen table, but requires a snorkel to bring in air for the diesel engine, which has a range of about 3,000 miles.

The three newer, fully submersible vessels already captured were capable of hauling 10 tons of cocaine and, by surfacing at night to charge their batteries off the on-board diesel engine, could sail beneath the surface all the way from Ecuador to Los Angeles.

Full article…

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