Archive for March, 2013

Law Zhi Tian –

The fighting in the Malaysian state of Sabah has not deterred some Singapore divers from heading there.

This is despite the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) last week advising travellers going to eastern Sabah to “monitor developments through the local news and avoid the troubled spots such as Lahad Datu, Kunak and Semporna”.

Director of travel agency Amazing Borneo Travel and Events, Mr Kenji Yeo, 32, said none of his customers has cancelled a trip to Sipadan Island.

Six of them are heading there at the end of this month. The popular dive site is three to four hours from the military action taking place in Lahad Datu and the surrounding areas, which has seen 56 Filipino insurgents and nine Malaysians killed.

Mr Yeo said that although his customers are “definitely worried and concerned” about the situation in Sabah and have e-mailed him or called him up, most do not regard it as serious enough to call off their trip.

“Most ask me whether it’s safe enough to go and I will usually tell them to check the Sabah Tourism Board’s website.

If they ask me for my personal choice, I tell them that I would go, but it’s their choice.”

Full article…



Bill Thompson –

For a few years at the end of the Eisenhower administration Hollywood legend Lloyd Bridges used the once gin-clear output of Silver Springs as the set for a TV show based on a scuba diver.

Over 155 episodes of the adventure series “Sea Hunt” — more than 100 of which were filmed at Silver Springs — Bridges portrayed Mike Nelson, a one-time Navy frogman who in the space of 30 minutes, as the online version of Skin Diver magazine once noted, “got into trouble, got out of trouble, rescued a damsel, caught the bad guys and neatly wrapped things up with a safety message.”

Now that Silver Springs is slated to become a state park, and enticing ecotourists is viewed as a must, a drive is on to open up the waterway to the ranks of contemporary Mike Nelsons.

This week the County Commission directed County Administrator Lee Niblock to research what steps are necessary to allow scuba divers to return to the springs — who, except under certain circumstances, have been banned for a generation.

Some commissioners see the financial sense in doing so.

Full article…


Kelley Vick – 

Australia’s Environment Minister, Tony Burke, gave his approval yesterday for development of a $600 million resort on Great Keppel Island, a rugged island just off the coast of Queensland boasting 17 white sandy beaches with some of the highest cover of hard coral reefs on Australia’s famed Great Barrier Reef.

The planned resort consists of a 250-room hotel, 750 Villas, 600 apartments, a 250-berth marina, and a golf course designed by Greg Norman.

This is the third attempt for developer Tower Holdings to get plans green-lighted by the government — the first two included an even larger-scale resort and were denied due to environmental concerns (original plans reportedly included three hotels with 700 rooms).

“In considering this proposal I have taken into account the likely impacts on matters protected under national environment law, including measures to ensure the ongoing protection of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr. Burke said in a statement, explaining the Australian federal government has imposed 96 conditions on the Great Keppel development’s approval.

“The conditions I have imposed will ensure that the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef is not diminished by this development.”

Full story…


Hydro International –

HMS Enterprise, a multi-role survey vessel – hydrographic oceanographic (SVHO) of the British Royal Navy, has recently produced a series of stunning images of a Grand Canyon-style ocean floor hidden deep under the Red Sea.

The vessel used her surveying equipment to reveal the natural wonder during her nine-month mission to improve understanding of the waters east of Suez.

Discovering the 250-meter-deep canyon after leaving the Egyptian port of Safaga, the ship used her sophisticated multibeam echo sounder to create the 3D images, allowing the ocean floor to be seen for the first time.

Commanding Officer of HMS Enterprise, Commander Derek Rae, commented these features could be the result of ancient rivers scouring through the rock strata before the Red Sea flooded millennia ago.

Some may be far younger – and still in the process of being created by underwater currents driven by the winds and tidal streams as they flow through this area of the Red Sea, carving their way through the soft sediment and being diverted by harder bed rock.

Or there is always the possibility that they are a combination of the two.

It is almost certain that this is the closest that humans will ever get to gaze upon these truly impressive sights hundreds of meters beneath the surface.

Full story…