28 October 2005

Medical considerations for child and adolescent scuba divers

Worldwide, more than 1000 scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) diving injuries per year requiring hyperbaric recompression are documented. Approximately 80 to 90 fatalities per year are reported in North America.

On average, there were 16 diving injuries requiring hyperbaric recompression therapy in scuba divers aged 19 years and younger in North America between 1988 and 2002. The youngest injured diver was 11 years old, and the youngest fatality was 14 years old during this time period.

In the year 2000, certifying recreational scuba diving organizations lowered the minimum age to 8 from age 12 years for participation in the sport. We report a case of a highly trained adolescent scuba diver who, despite having advanced diving certifications, had 2 separate episodes of diving-related injuries requiring hyperbaric recompression therapy.

A discussion of medical considerations in the care of the child and adolescent scuba diver is included.

Source: highwire.stanford.edu
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Medical considerations for child and adolescent scuba divers

Mares Introduces: SHE DIVES! Inspired by Women - Designed by Women - Dedicated to Women

Mares Introduces: SHE DIVES! Inspired by Women - Designed by Women - Dedicated to WomenMares announces the introduction of a new collection of diving products specifically designed for women. SHE DIVES offers a complete range of products for the women's segment of the market.

Mares assembled an international team of women divers/designers to create a collection of products that are both better to dive with and beautiful to look at. SHE DIVES utilizes materials and designs that accommodate the many possibilities of a woman's figure. SHE DIVES allows women to dive more comfortably and more fashionably.

"We have listened to the many requests/demands from female consumers and dive shop owners," states Phil Mintz, Director of Sales and Marketing, Mares Diving Division of Head USA. "They consistently tell us that most diving equipment is designed for men, by men. SHE DIVES makes perfect sense considering the large percentage of female divers throughout the world."

Debbie Knight of KNIGHT DIVER AQUATIC CENTER, Edgewood Maryland states "Finally a manufacturer is catering to the woman diver."

The SHE DIVES Collection contains Suits, BC, Fins, Rash Guards, Masks and Snorkels. Additional products will be added later in 2006. The Mares District Sales Managers are out in the market place presenting the SHE DIVES collection now, for both Preview and Spring 2006 delivery.

HEAD USA is part of the HEAD NV Group, which is based in the Netherlands and listed on the New York and Vienna Stock exchanges. The HEAD NV Group is a worldwide sporting goods company that manufactures and markets products under the HEAD brand (racquet and winter sports), Penn (world's #1 tennis ball and racquet ball brand), and Tyrolia (wintersports bindings), in addition to the three diving brands (Mares, Dacor and Sporasub).

HEAD NV's Chairman is Johan Eliasch. The telephone number for the Diving Division is 203 855 0631; fax 203 866 9573; website www.mares.com. For HEAD USA information, log onto www.head.com.

Source: www.sportdiver.com
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Mares Introduces: SHE DIVES! Inspired by Women - Designed by Women - Dedicated to Women

New from PADI: The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving

PADI's Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving has just been revised and updated for release this month.

A core reference material for many dive industry professionals, the Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving has everything you've ever wanted to know about recreational scuba diving and more.

The updated edition includes:
  • The latest on dive computers and decompression theory
  • Essentials on scuba equipment care and maintenance
  • Fun facts for all water enthusiasts
  • The latest information about the aquatic world
  • Hundreds of color images and illustrations

    Beginning November 2005, the Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving can help you win a free trip for two to a PADI Diving Society event. From November 2005 to November 2006, PADI will host an online trivia contest with questions based on information found in the Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving.

    Source: www.sportdiver.com
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    New from PADI: The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving

  • Peter Hughes diving extends to the Maldives

    Peter Hughes Diving has just completed Ocean Dancer, a luxury cruiser which will be cruising the Maldives Islands.

    Ocean Dancer will be competing against other luxury liveaboards currently operating in Maldives, such as the Manthiri, Sultans of the Seas boats and other 8-10 cabin boats. The Ocean Dancer holds accommodation for 16 guests, all in air-conditioned cabins with ensuite bathrooms.

    Check the Peter Hughes website for more details.

    Source: www.deeperblue.net
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    Peter Hughes diving extends to the Maldives

    Become a wreck diver this November and receive a free gift from PADI

    Whether you dive on the Wreck of the '64 Impala or in the Graveyard of the Atlantic, a PADI Wreck Diver certification gives you the knowledge and skills to explore your favorite wreck with safety and ease.

    It appears as a mysterious shadow looming in the distance. As you get closer, ghostly details emerge -- a railing, a tail fin or a porthole. As your imagination puts the pieces together, the story of a sunken vessel takes shape. As you draw nearer, you see that the broken vessel has taken on a new life. The paint job has been replaced by a coating of colorful anemones and coral. An eel makes its home in the remains of an engine, while a spotted drum hides out under the bow.

    Wrecks have long been an irresistible attraction for divers, and there's a lot to love about them. In addition to making a great fish habitat, wrecks are fun to explore and offer great photo opportunities. A wreck dive is also a unique way to learn about local history, or at the very least hear a good tall tale from your divemaster.

    The four-dive, two-day course covers the planning, procedures, techniques and hazards of wreck diving. Not only will you practice using lights, penetration lines, reels and other special equipment, you'll also learn what to do in limited visibility and in emergency situations. A Wreck Diver specialty certification also counts toward one of the five specialty certifications required for the Master Scuba Diver rating.

    To enroll in a PADI Wreck Diver specialty course, you must hold at least a PADI Adventure Diver certification (or qualifying certification from another organization). During the month of November, PADI Diving Society members receive a super-absorbent microfiber towel from McNett as a free gift for enrolling in a Wreck Diver specialty course.

    Additional information about the Specialty of the Month free gift program is available online or from your local dive center. You can also contact your local PADI dive center or resort for more information on enrolling in a Wreck Diver specialty course.

    Source: www.sportdiver.com
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    Become a wreck diver this November and receive a free gift from PADI

    USA: Dive for Dreams event to include diver marathons

    Scuba Friends, a local dive club located in Johnson County, Kansas, will host Dive for Dreams at 8 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6 at Roeland Park Aquatic Center, 4843 Rosewood Drive.

    For the second year, Dive for Dreams will raise funds for The Dream Factory and Camp Quality, both volunteer-based non-profit organizations. The all-day event includes various activities for divers and non-divers alike, such as first-time scuba diving, underwater games, skill practices and new equipment testing...

    Last year's Dive for Dreams attracted over 100 people and raised $17,000. Two marathons will also take place during the eight hour event. A marathon relay team is made up of four divers taking turns diving. Each diver receives two hours of time in the water and must raise a minimum of $150 in pledges.

    The individual marathon diver event is for the most advanced and extreme divers, according to event organizer Pam Bertrand. These divers will spend the entire eight hours underwater. They are allowed 10-minute breaks every hour to refill air tanks, and for food and water, and restroom breaks. Each of these divers must raise at least $500 in pledges.

    Scuba divers can pledge $25 or sell $50 in raffle tickets to spend 45 minutes underwater. Non-divers can pledge $25 or sell $50 in raffle tickets to spend 20 to 30 minutes with a certified dive instructor. The fee includes oxygen. All proceeds go to charity.

    Source: www.divenews.com
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    USA: Dive for Dreams event to include diver marathons

    Belize: Divemaster deflects blame for scuba divers death

    The survivors of a disaster at sea off the coast of southern Belize continue to recuperate from the traumatic experience.

    All three of the SCUBA divers have now been released from the hospital and are under private medical care at a local hotel. We understand tonight that as soon as they are well enough to tell their story, they will be sharing details of the tragedy with the public.

    For his part, owner/operator of Advance Diving in Placencia, Vance Cabral declined an on camera interview with News Five, informing us he has retained legal counsel. But for the record, Cabral maintains that the events of Saturday, October twenty-second was not a diving accident.

    According to Cabral, several snorkellers stayed with him on Silk Caye, while divemaster Henry "Bee Bee" Tucker took four SCUBA divers to a site near Gladden Spit.

    But halfway to the site, Cabral says the boat experienced engine problems. He insists that he could see the vessel clearly from the caye and that it was anchored.

    Why the boat later started to drift is still unclear tonight, but Cabral reiterates Tucker's claims that he told the divers to wait in the boat until help came.

    Furthermore, Cabral is adamant that it was the decision of the four divers to get into the water dressed in their SCUBA gear and swim back to the caye. As we reported earlier this week, Tucker stayed on board, drifting for more than twenty hours until he neared Northeast Caye on the Glover's Reef atoll.

    From there he jumped off and swam approximately three miles to the caye. Tonight police officials told News Five tonight that a full investigation has been launched into the incident.

    Source: www.channel5belize.com
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    Belize: Divemaster deflects blame for scuba divers death

    Scuba Club Cozumel to reopen Nov. 15 after minimal Wilma damage

    Despite being buffeted by Hurricane Wilma's winds for over 50 hours, Scuba Club Cozumel sustained minimal damage and expects to reopen Nov. 15.

    The hotel had broken windows in many rooms and water damage in eight rooms, but they have already begun replacing windows and, fortunately, the rooms are mostly waterproof.

    The upstairs dining area came through the storm fine; however, the downstairs restaurant needs repairs. And finally, divers will be happy to hear that six of their seven boats made it through the storm without a problem.

    Eighty-seven guests rode out the storm at Scuba Club Cozumel and are currently waiting for the airport to reopen so they can return home.

    Source: www.sportdiver.com
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    Scuba Club Cozumel to reopen Nov. 15 after minimal Wilma damage

    Belize: Diving accident that killed U.S. woman apparently caused by boat malfunction

    An American woman died and three companions spent three days floating in stormy Caribbean off Belize after their weekend diving trip went awry, officials said Wednesday.

    Abigail Brinkman, 28, of Columbus, Ind., was found floating dead south of Belize on Monday. John Bain, 50, of Racine, Wis., was treated for hypothermia and a jellyfish sting and released from hospital, said Marco Prouty, an official with the U.S. Embassy in Belize.

    The two other survivors, Nancy Masters, 38, of Portland, Ore., and Japanese citizen Yutaka Maeda, 34, were in good condition.

    The four were part of a 12-member dive trip that left South Silk Caye on the south of the tiny Central American nation Saturday morning despite a small craft warning and rough seas in the wake of Hurricane Wilma.

    After the boat began having problems, most of the expedition apparently got off at an island while the four continued on the ill-fated trip.

    "There were reports the anchor broke, the engine stopped, and the radio wasn't working," said Prouty. Belizean authorities were investigating the ordeal.

    The four divers then made a failed attempt to swim to a nearby island from the drifting, motorless boat.

    According to local officials and media reports, the four were found floating in the same general area, but not together. All were wearing diving flotation devices, and all apparently had wetsuits which conserve body heat except Brinkman. Authorities didn't provide a cause of death.

    Bain was pulled from the water by a recreational boater, while the other two survivors were picked up by a Belize Defense Forces boat, which also recovered Brinkman's body.

    Bain told The Associated Press that the divers tried to swim to land after their boat began drifting but could not make it. For some time, he stayed with the other male diver, but the two became separated.

    On Monday, as night approached, he said he was depressed about spending another night adrift at sea.

    "I was becoming resigned to another night, and didn't know, really, if I could make it," Bain said Tuesday. "Shortly thereafter, a catamaran pulled up and rescued me."

    Source: abcnews.go.com
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    Belize: Diving accident that killed U.S. woman apparently caused by boat malfunction

    Florida Keys to reopen to visitors on Friday

    The Florida Keys are slated to reopen to visitors Friday, after tourists were evacuated more than a week ago due to Hurricane Wilma.

    Keys government officials conferred with representatives of the tourism industry Wednesday to make the decision.

    Visitors who have reservations should check with lodging facilities in advance, prior to traveling to the Keys, to ensure operational status. Landscaping at some resorts has been significantly impacted and some attractions and ancillary visitor offerings may need more time before they can service visitors.

    Hurricane Wilma passed over the island chain Monday morning. Although, Wilma's winds left little structural damage, several residential regions were hit hard by storm surge, emergency management officials said.

    Although flooding has receded in affected areas, many residents are busy cleaning up their homes and trying to get their personal lives back together. The hardest hit areas seem to be in a number of residential neighborhoods from Marathon through Key West.

    Federal Emergency Management Agency officials. as well as other relief workers, are arriving in the Keys to provide assistance.

    Fortunately, officials say many Keys hotels and visitor facilities have quickly recovered and are opening for business, something that is pertinent to the area's tourism-based economy. Tourism interests have already lost an estimated $40 million in sales since the visitor evacuation, according to Florida state sales tax figures.

    "While we understand there is devastation in some areas, we must ensure our employees here are able to earn a paycheck," said Joy Smatt, chair of the Florida Keys and Key West Lodging Association. "And we still have areas of the Keys that look much like they did before Wilma."

    Although there is still evidence of hurricane damage, such as downed trees and other debris, tremendous progress has been made to restore infrastructure.

  • The Overseas Highway from mainland South Florida is open and traffic is flowing without obstructions. There is fuel, but it is limited in some areas of the Keys and very limited in areas of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Fuel supplies are expected to improve as electricity is restored to power gas station pumps in those counties.

  • There has been tremendous progress with restoration of electricity in the Keys. The Florida Keys Electric Cooperative, that services the Upper and Middle Keys, is reporting about 28,000 of 31,000 of their customers that have been restored as of Wednesday afternoon, according to CEO Tim Planer. Keys Energy Services spokeswoman Lynne Tejeda estimates almost 26,000 of the company's 28,000 accounts in the Lower Keys and Key West are now with power.

  • All three major Florida Keys hospitals are open.

  • Florida Keys Marathon Airport is open to general aviation during daylight hours only and Key West International Airport is expected to resume commercial air service Friday, said airport director Peter Horton.

  • One of three piers at the Key West Cruise Port is damaged, but the other two survived. Cruise ships are expected to begin returning to Key West next Tuesday.

  • Curfews, in effect in the Keys since the storm, have been discontinued according to law enforcement officials.

  • A precautionary boil-water order, in effect since Wilma's passage, is expected to be lifted Friday, according to officials with the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority.

    "We've made cleanup of Duval Street and other primary tourist areas in Key West a priority," said Key West City Manager Julio Avael. "We are doing our best to take care of the needs of our residents who have suffered, while maintaining the economic lifeblood of our community."

    Some hotels in the Upper Keys are making special rates available to hurricane-affected residents in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Proof of residency is required. For information, contact the Key Largo and Islamorada Chambers of Commerce respectively at 1-800-822-1088 and 1-800-FAB-KEYS.

    Key West Fantasy Fest organizers have announced the new dates for the 2005 event that was postponed due to Wilma. The event is scheduled for Dec. 7-10 and its theme has been slightly adapted to now be called "Wilma's Freaks, Geeks & Goddesses."

    For more information on the Keys, call 1-800-FLA-KEYS or visit www.fla-keys.com where a more detailed destination status is to be posted.

    Source: www.divenewswire.com
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    Florida Keys to reopen to visitors on Friday

  • Disorientation seen in mass Australia whale deaths

    The death of about 110 stranded whales in the southern Australian state of Tasmania was probably caused by the animals becoming disoriented in confusing coastal waters, officials said on Thursday.

    The long-finned pilot whales died after two separate strandings on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Marion Bay area, on the southeastern coast of the island state.

    Mark Pharaoh, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service official in charge of the incident, said the most likely reason for the stranding was the complex topography of the area.

    "It's a very common area for strandings," Pharaoh told Reuters by telephone from Marion Bay.

    "The most common belief here is that, since these strandings are so regular, it's basically difficult country for a whale to navigate in," he said.

    Pharaoh said the whales were stranded in a large bay with frequently changing water depths, sandy spits and rocky outcrops, as well as a narrow opening to the ocean.

    "I think they got themselves all disoriented about what's going on," he said.

    Pharaoh said teams of wildlife officials and volunteers had managed to save about 19 whales. The 110 dead whales had been buried, he added.

    Weather patterns, environmental change and military and industrial underwater seismic testing have all been blamed for whale strandings.

    Last week, a coalition of environmental groups sued the U.S. Navy over the use of sonar, saying that the ear-splitting sounds can cause mass whale and dolphin strandings and internal bleeding.

    Tasmania's Green Party has called for a national summit on whale strandings, and for the national government to provide more information on the use of sonar by the navy.

    The Australian Department of Defense denied two of its minesweepers that had used short-range, high-frequency sonar in the area could have contributed to the latest stranding.

    It said the ships used sonar just south of Marion Bay as part of a search for the anchor from a Dutch vessel that sank more than 360 years ago, but that it was after the strandings appeared to have begun.

    Meanwhile, the oil industry said its seismic testing was unlikely to be responsible for the strandings, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) reported.

    Mark McCallum, from the Australian Petroleum Producers and Exploration Association, told the ABC the closest activity it had at the moment was between Tasmania and Victoria, about 440 km (275 miles) from Marion Bay.

    In November 2004, 115 long-finned pilot whales and bottle-nosed dolphins died in two separate strandings off Tasmania, prompting the Australian government to establish a national database on strandings.

    Source: today.reuters.co.uk/news
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    Disorientation seen in mass Australia whale deaths

    South Africa: Salmon farm threatens Gansbaai ecosystem

    In a twist of fate a new threat to the unique marine ecosystem of Dyer Island and Gansbaai has been approved by Marine and Coastal Management authorities.

    The South African government was one of the first in the world to offer protection to species like the Great white shark, Southern right whales and many more, yet it has chosen to proceed with plans to install a fish farm in an area famed for its populations of these, and several more, protected species.

    Gansbaai, with Dyer Island lying 5 miles offshore, is an ocean paradise. It is the world's number one Great white shark hotspot, as well as home to seasonal visitors like the Southern right, Humpback and Bryde's whale, not to mention host to Bottlenose, Common and Hump-backed dolphins.

    A breeding population of endemic African penguins live on Dyer Island, and share the Island with some of the world's rarest sea birds, like the African Black oystercatcher and the Roseate tern. Every species mentioned here, plus many more, are fully, and internationally, protected.

    However, without a healthy ecosystem and food sources, these species cannot thrive. Instead of aiming toward making this area a Marine Protected Area as it should be, the SA Government has chosen to take another route and develop the area commercially, to the detriment of the resident species.

    Salmon Salar Sea Farming, a Norwegian company, has combined with local businessman Bertie Rumsouer to create SA's first marine fish farming project. This is intended to be the first of many as a way of curbing the unemployment problem in South Africa. The project was quietly in development for some years before the green light was given by Marine and Coastal Management in 2001. It was not until 2005 that pens were hurriedly erected and placed about 1km offshore from Kleinbaai (Gansbaai). The pens are 20m in diameter and approximately 20m deep. They have a predator net surrounding them. Within weeks a reported 5000 Norwegian Salmon were placed in the awaiting pens. The companies involved claim that the salmon is for local consumption, although this is highly unlikely.

    The position of the pens, as well as the imported salmon species, make for an ecological disaster waiting to happen. Having any sort of permanent nets or ropes in Gansbaai waters is a horrific idea to start off with. Southern right whales with their newborn calves are numerous here, the danger to them becoming entangled and drowning is huge. That goes for the other species of whale and dolphin found here.

    The idea of having a pen full of fish in an area with such a high number of fish eating predators is like putting a sheep pen in the middle of the Kruger. The Salmon are packed densely, their waste, activity and smell will draw predators from all around, including Great white sharks, Cape fur seals, African penguins and cormorants. These fish eating birds can easily becoming entangled in the netting. Cape fur seals are highly intelligent and will make easy work of the netting by either finding a way in over the top or simply biting their way through.

    The salmon have no where to run, the seals will quickly learn that it is worth the effort. A Great white shark will not think twice about taking a dead salmon lying at the bottom of the pen, biting from the outside, taking a chunk of netting as it does. A shark will also feed on animals entangled in the netting, like seals, potentially becoming entangled themselves. One has to question what the farm owners will do with a white shark in their nets – will they make any attempt to set it free?

    The pens are anchored in a position open to the infamous Cape storms and high seas. Swell reaches 9m in the area in winter. Storms have already wreaked havoc on the pens this year, resulting in the loss of several hundred Norwegian salmon to the local ecosystem. Foreign species escapees, especially of a genetically modified species, pose a huge threat to a local ecosystem. The new arrivals compete for food and space with natural stocks, and are often able to reproduce much faster than wild fish.

    The farm owners claim that the Norwegian salmon cannot breed in the local waters. To that, all I can say is that earlier this year I joined about 20 local guesthouse owners and residents in their annual Rooikrans culling expedition in Gansbaai. If you don’t know what Rooikrans is, how about the last time you saw a Eucalyptus tree here in SA?

    Escapees create additional pressure and compete with local fish species like Yellowtail and Kabeljou for food. These local species are already at an all time low.

    The caged salmon are fed fish pellets, and it has been claimed that the farm is using growth hormones and antibiotics, amongst others, like other fish farms. These artificial chemicals, as well as food excesses and fish waste are being released freely into the surrounding underwater ecosystem. Bad luck for any sedentary animals that may be residing underneath the pens, this waste will simply smother the sea floor.

    When the current and sea conditions move it around, it is simply spread over the whole area. To pollute the sea bed in this manner will have knock-on effects all the way up the food chain.

    Fish kept in such densities become a breeding ground for parasites. Farmed fish are infamous for their parasite load. Studies have shown these parasites are passed on to wild fish that are simply utilising the same water column or even by them swimming past the pens. The same goes for diseases.

    The farm has so far lost all 5000 salmon originally placed in the pens. The death rate in the first few months was high, and storm damage allowed the rest to escape. The farm has already replaced those 5000 with new ones.

    No amount of media coverage has had any effect thus far, and several companies and individuals have been 'warned off' speaking up against the farm. No Environmental Impact report was ever done for the farm and plans were not made available to the public as they should have been. There is currently no monitoring being undertaken. Is something unsavoury afoot in Gansbaai. If not, why are these people allowed to destroy our ecosystem and threaten our marine life

    Source: www.sharklife.co.za
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    South Africa: Salmon farm threatens Gansbaai ecosystem

    Shark lovers unite with Project AWARE

    Project AWARE Foundation understands your fascination with sharks and introduces the first great white shark certification card.

    With a donation of $5 or more, you can receive a great white on the Project AWARE version of your PADI certification or replacement card.

    What's more, your donation helps support Project AWARE Foundation's efforts to conserve the rulers of the ocean.

    Visit us online for more information on Project AWARE's Protect the Sharks campaign or to order your great white replacement card today.

    Source: www.sportdiver.com
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    Shark lovers unite with Project AWARE

    Australia's marine park initiative rewarded at international conference

    The Federal Government has received both praise and a caution today for its role in managing the Great Barrier Reef.

    The World Wildlife Fund this morning presented the "Gift of the Earth" award to Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, in recognition of the Federal Government's decision to list a section of the Great Barrier Reef as a protected marine park.

    But the WWF's Director General designate, Jim Leape, has warned that the future of the reef is still precarious, and he's called on the Government to do more to protect it.

    Jim Leape spoke to our reporter, Alison Caldwell, in Melbourne this morning.

    JIM LEAPE: All around the world marine systems are in trouble. Coral reefs in particular are in decline and just last year, July 1st, 2004, Australia took a monumental step in changing the course for those systems.

    By adopting the zoning plan for the Great Barrier Marine Park, it set a new standard for how we take care of our marine resources and in doing so, set aside 11-million hectares, 33 per cent of the park, as an area that is to be conserved, and from which we would no longer... in which we would no longer allow fishing and other extractive activities.

    ALISON CALDWELL: There is still a good deal of fishing that goes on in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. What more can be done from a protection perspective? I mean, have we done enough as it is?

    JIM LEAPE: Well this was a very, very important step, and will make a huge difference for the protection of the resources of the park. In the longer term, it is also important that we address remaining fishing activities that are needlessly destructive, such as bottom trawling, and we hope that the Government will take those threats on some time soon.

    We need to learn how to strike a better balance between extraction of fish and the long-term conservation of the resources. And in fact, there is science to indicate that in the long run that's in the interests of everybody; that there will be more fish for the fishermen and there will be more, better protection of the natural resources if we act now and act in the way that the Marine Park Authority has.

    ALISON CALDWELL: Climate change is described as probably one of the greatest threats to coral reefs around the world, paralleling the damage done by the fishing industry. What kind of warnings do you have, or are you aware of, as regards climate change and the Great Barrier Reef?

    JIM LEAPE: Well, first, let me say it is now well established, scientifically, that climate change is perhaps the greatest threat, certainly one of the greatest threats facing not only coral reefs but all natural systems and humankind itself. And so certainly there is no higher imperative than that we act to address climate change and to begin to curb the emissions which are causing it.

    ALISON CALDWELL: So how? How can we stop it?

    JIM LEAPE: Well, in fact there are many things we can do, things that are economically as well as environmentally viable. There are great gains to be made in the efficiency with which we use energy resources, and there is great potential to shift away from the fuels that cause the emissions that cause global warming, to renewable energy sources that are much more benign and better for the planet in the long-term.

    ALISON CALDWELL: Could coral reefs really become a thing of the past because of climate change?

    JIM LEAPE: I think if we don't act now, both to protect reefs directly and to address climate change, we run the risk that we could lose them forever.

    ELEANOR HALL: And that's the new International Director General of the World Wildlife Fund, Jim Leape, speaking to Alison Caldwell in Melbourne.

    Source: www.abc.net.au
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    Australia's marine park initiative rewarded at international conference

    Bahamas scuba diving operations not affected by Hurricane Wilma

    The Bahamas Diving Association is pleased to announce that Hurricane Wilma Missed The Bahamas: All Operations up and running at 100%.

    Thankfully, Hurricane Wilma skirted the Northern Bahamas, and passed North of the island of Grand Bahamas.

    According to Neal Watson, President of the Bahamas Diving Association; "All our dive operators are up and running at 100%, thankfully, it was just a brush when it passed here."

    Mr. Watson continues; "The Islands of The Bahamas has been fortunate this year, as all the major systems have passed by, or were just tropical storms as they entered the country. However, South Florida was not nearly as lucky, many of our dive operations have U.S. reservation offices located in West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. These areas are without power, and many offices will be closed for several days. I would suggest divers traveling to the Bahamas check and confirm diving plans with our various members in The Bahamas."

    Storm updates and current information can be found on the official website for the Bahamas Diving Association: http://www.bahamasdiving.com.

    The Bahamas Diving Association is the official association of dive operators for the country, comprised of 35 resorts, dive operators and dive live boards within The Islands of The Bahamas.

    Source: www.divenewswire.com
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    Bahamas scuba diving operations not affected by Hurricane Wilma

    Salem scuba club stranded in Mexico after Hurricane Wilma

    Members of a Salem scuba club are stranded in Mexico after Hurricane Wilma struck during their annual diving trip.

    Scuba Outfitters in Salem sent 23 people to Cozumel on October 15 and just six days later, the region was pummeled by the hurricane.

    The group waited out the storm in a resort.

    Family and friends back in Oregon say the group told them the resort flooded and food and water were limited, but they are all alive and well.

    "The resort they're staying at is over 100 years old and has weathered many hurricanes, so they thought they were going to be safe," said Page Merrill, the mother of one of the stranded scuba divers.

    The scuba divers are still in Mexico. They are expected to return sometime this week.

    Source: www.katu.com
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    Salem scuba club stranded in Mexico after Hurricane Wilma

    27 October 2005

    Woman dies during Carribean scuba diving trip

    An Indiana woman died on a scuba diving trip off the coast of Belize in Central America.

    Abigail Brinkman, 28, a former 500 Festival princess from Columbus, was one of four people stranded for two days floating in the Caribbean. The others, including another Hoosier, survived the ordeal.

    The group of divers had been on a 20-foot boat off the coast of Belize on Saturday afternoon when the engine failed, Belize police said. Brinkman and another female and two male divers tried to swim the four miles to shore in choppy seas, while the boat's operator stayed aboard.

    A fishing vessel found the three survivors and Brinkman's body Monday. The survivors were hospitalized in Belize City.

    A friend of Brinkman's said she was a medical student at Indiana University in Indianapolis. She was in Belize as part of a tropical medicine internship, the family spokesman said.

    Indianapolis native John Bain, now of Racine, Wis., was one of the survivors. Mary Garrett, Indianapolis, Bain's mother, said she spoke to her son Tuesday. Bain, 50, a lawyer, suffered hypothermia and a jellyfish sting, she said.

    The other survivors were identified as American Nancy Masters, 38, and Yutaka Maeda, 34, Japan.

    Source: www.indystar.com
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    Woman dies during Carribean scuba diving trip

    More than 130 whales die on Tasmanian beach

    A third pod of whales stranded themselves on a remote Tasmanian beach on Wednesday even as wildlife officials and about 100 volunteers struggled to keep the earlier survivors afloat.

    More than 130 pilot whales had died in Marion Bay on the island in the preceding 24 hours. Only about 12 could be saved.

    Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Liz Wren said that most of the whales had died before rescuers reached them on Tuesday.

    Marion Bay is only 60km from Hobart, but is isolated and can be reached easily only by boat.

    Seven years ago, 204 pilot whales beached at Marion Bay and 110 died. Pilot whales - a type of dolphin - often beach in Marion Bay and on nearby shores.

    It is not known what causes them to beach.

    Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife officer Ingrid Albion told Australia's ABC Radio that only one whale needed to come ashore for the rest of a herd to follow.

    "They use sonar, so they can become confused when they come into sandy beaches," she said.

    "Only one of them has to get into trouble and make a wrong turn and they'll actually call the rest of the pod to them."

    Albion said records showed there had been 2 768 strandings up to October 2003.

    At least 250 of these had been in Marion Bay.

    "I always feel like crying when I go and look at them," Albion said.

    "I wish we could have saved them all."

    Source: www.iol.co.za
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    More than 130 whales die on Tasmanian beach

    Green group warns of threat to coral reefs

    Up to half of the world's coral reefs may disappear by 2045 unless urgent measures are taken to protect them against environmental hazards, particularly climate change, the World Conservation Union said.

    The Swiss-based organisation called for the establishment of more protected marine areas to shelter the coral reefs from commercial fishing and pollution, where they could become more resistant to a deadly process known as bleaching.

    "Twenty percent of the earth's coral reefs, arguably the richest of all marine ecosystems, have been effectively destroyed today," said Carl Gustaf Lundin, head of the agency's marine environment programme.

    "Another 30 percent will become seriously depleted if no action is taken within the next 20-40 years, with climate change being a major factor for their loss," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

    The group said in a report that many coral reefs die because of bleaching, caused by rising surface temperatures in seas and higher levels of sunlight due to climate change. As the temperature rises, the algae on which corals depend for food and colour die out, causing the coral to whiten, or "bleach".

    Prolonged bleaching eventually kills the coral.

    "Current predictions are that massive coral bleaching will become a regular event over the next 50 years," Lundin said.

    In its report, the agency recommended the establishment of global marine parks covering all important marine ecosystems including coral reefs. It said such parks could reduce the stress on coral reef ecosystems by reducing the impact of pollution and overfishing.

    Other key strategies include sustainable fisheries management and integrated coastal management, the report said.

    Source: www.iol.co.za
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    Green group warns of threat to coral reefs

    South Africa: Surfer says chumming brings sharks closer

    Shark victim Stiaan van Zyl believes shark cage-diving boats, which throw out bait to attract the predators, are partly to blame for his attack.

    Van Zyl, 20, of Brackenfell, who is in Groote Schuur Hospital after surgery to his foot where the shark bit him, said on Tuesday that the boats often operated just behind the breakline about 200 metres from shore.

    "For about the past two years they've been coming in close - not all the time, they come and go.

    "I heard their permit says they must stay around the islands, but they don't and no one checks up on them. If they come closer, the sharks come closer," he said.

    Van Zyl was attacked on Saturday while standing in chest-deep water at Uilenkraalsmond east of Gansbaai. He had one hand on his surfboard, facing out to sea waiting for a wave, when the shark attacked him from behind.

    After fighting off the shark he got to shore on his board and was flown to Groote Schuur.

    Van Zyl said he and his surfer friends had been wanting to do something about the cage diving boats coming close inshore for some time, but did not know how to go about it.

    "Now I've got an opportunity to get it out in the open. It's such a big industry and they've got such a lot of money, they can afford the best people so they've always got an answer.

    "I don't say they are to blame for all shark attacks, but because they come close inshore with their boats and their bait, the percentage of attacks is higher than if they were not there," Van Zyl said.

    Mariette Hopley, chair of the Great White Shark Protection Foundation, established by shark cage diving operators, said while it may appear from the shore that the shark boats come to just behind the breakline, they did not.

    Marine and Coastal Management's regulations stipulated the co-ordinates in which the operators could work, to keep them away from populated beaches, she said.

    Operators were allowed 25kg of shark bait a day to lure sharks to the boats, but were not allowed to feed them.

    "It has been proved that boat-based chumming does not stimulate sharks to associate food with humans," she said.

    Van Zyl will be discharged on Friday and will be on crutches for several weeks.

    Source: www.iol.co.za
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    South Africa: Surfer says chumming brings sharks closer

    Tasmania: Dozens more whales have beached

    Scores of pilot whales have died in the second mass stranding of the huge marine mammals in 24 hours on the Australian island state of Tasmania, officials said on Wednesday.

    Wildlife rangers said a pod of about 80 pilot whales beached themselves at Marion Bay late Tuesday, just hours after nearly 60 of the animals died in an earlier mass stranding in the same spot.

    "When we got here this morning there were about 70 dead whales scattered over a stretch of about a kilometre of beach," Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service spokesperson Liz Wren said.

    "We've been able to put eight back in the water, but I'm afraid the rest died," she told reporters by mobile phone from the beach. "It's really terrible."

    Dozens of volunteers and wildlife officials were involved in the rescue effort, she said.

    Pilot whales, which are actually a large species of dolphin that can grow up to six metres long, frequently beach themselves in a phenomenon that remains a mystery to scientists.

    Another Parks and Wildlife official, Ingrid Albion, said it appeared that one disorientated pilot whale in the first stranded group may have led the entire pod to a stranding.

    "Maybe they've come in close looking for food, maybe the tide's been a bit different," she said on Australia Broadcasting Corporation radio.

    "They use sonar so they can get confused when they come into sandy beaches," she said.

    "Only one of them has to get in trouble and make a wrong turn and they'll actually call the rest of the pod to them."

    On Tuesday, rescuers managed to push 10 of 67 stranded whales back out to sea.

    Tasmania's rugged coastline has one of the highest stranding rates in the world.

    Source: www.iol.co.za
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    Tasmania: Dozens more whales have beached

    South Africa: Researchers hope to lure great white sharks for tagging

    Shark researchers will use a tuna tail as bait in shallow water in Fish Hoek in Cape Town to get close enough to a Great White shark to tag it.

    No chumming will be done, and swimmers will be warned to get out of the water.

    The decision comes after a meeting between the Shark Working Group and groups that use Fish Hoek bay, including the National Sea Rescue Institute, surf lifesavers, kayakers, swimmers and the ratepayers' association.

    Shark group spokesperson Gregg Oelofse said: "There are social issues involved in attracting sharks so close to shore, which is why we held the meeting."

    Last summer, shark watchers posted on the mountainside recorded Great Whites cruising through shallow water at Fish Hoek and Muizenberg when the sea was packed with bathers.

    But the sharks were not acting aggressively and did not pay any attention to the bathers.

    There is now scientific speculation that these two bays could be among historical breeding sites of this top ocean predator.

    At Fish Hoek, huge Great Whites were recorded as swimming among the breakers less than 60m from the shore, while at the same time at Muizenberg, sharks were seen slightly further out - between 180m and 240m from the shore - in an area used by surfers and paddleskiers.

    Sightings at Fish Hoek ended abruptly on December 26, and at Muizenberg on January 18.

    Oelofse said they believed it was vital to tag one or two sharks to see if they were the ones that are regularly seen off Seal Island in winter.

    University of Cape Town researcher Alison Kock has tagged several Seal Island sharks with acoustic transmitters and is tracking their movements with sea-bottom monitors at strategic places around False Bay. They receive signals when any tagged shark passes within about 300m.

    But neither Kock nor researchers from the Marine and Coastal Management branch of the department of environmental affairs were 100 percent convinced the sharks found off Seal Island in winter were those spotted in sheltered bays in early summer, Oelofse said.

    When the attempt was made to tag a shark, there would be tight safety precautions, and officials on Fish Hoek beach, the catwalk between the beach and Sunny Cove, and at Glencairn beach to warn people.

    "If we're successful, we'll also go to the Muizenberg community to see whether they will also agree to having an 'inshore' shark tagged there, using bait to attract it."

    The tagging would be weather-dependent and would be attempted during calm seas and a light north-westerly wind.

    The researchers would attempt to put two tags on to the shark: an electronic acoustic tag that gives information to the bottom monitors, and a "pinger" tag that provides a VHF signal that can be used to track the animals directly.

    "These pinger tags last for about three months, and the idea would be to monitor the shark for some 24 to 36 hours immediately after the tagging, and then during the course of the next few months, weather permitting," Oelofse said.

    Source: www.iol.co.za
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    South Africa: Researchers hope to lure great white sharks for tagging

    Tasmania: Mass whale and dolphin beachings on Australian island

    Up to 60 whales and dolphins have been reported stranded on a remote beach in southern Australia, a wildlife official said on Tuesday.

    A fisherman spotted the animals swimming onto a beach near Marion Bay on the southern island state of Tasmania early on Tuesday, according to Liz Wren, a spokesperson for the state's parks and wildlife service.

    The beach where the whales were stranded is accessible only by boat, and officials were flying over the area to assess the situation, Wren said.

    She said it was not clear what species of whale was involved in the stranding.

    Wren also said it was not clear why the whales might have beached themselves, but that the area was a "hot spot for strandings in the past".

    Source: www.iol.co.za
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    Tasmania: Mass whale and dolphin beachings on Australian island

    25 October 2005

    Hurricane Wilma: 250 pulled to safety by divers

    Scuba diving teams in inflatable rafts pulled nearly 250 people from their flooded homes early on Monday after massive waves churned by Hurricane Wilma flooded the capital's Malecon coastal highway and adjacent neighbourhoods of old, crumbling buildings.

    The communist-government's revolutionary armed forces were also using amphibious vehicles to rescue people whose homes were flooded by more than a metre of water when the ocean penetrated four large city blocks into Havana's coast.

    "We're amazed," resident Laura Gonzalez-Cueto said as she watched divers transporting small groups of people in the black inflatable rafts with outboard motors.

    "Since early today, the water has come all the way up to Linea and Paseo," said Gonzalez-Cueto, referring to a major thoroughfare four blocks from the coast now under more than 1m of water.

    Source: www.news24.com
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    Hurricane Wilma: 250 pulled to safety by divers

    New No-Limits freediving world record set

    On Sunday, October 2th Austrian Herbert Nitsch (35), in the Croatian town of Sibenik, set a new absolute world record in freediving to 172m in the discipline of No Limits.

    No Limits is the deepest discipline in FreeDiving and allows the athlete to use the equipment of his choice. In most cases this is a weighted sled, suspended on a rope, that drags the freediver into the deep. A lifting bag (balloon) brings him back to the surface.

    The depth of 172m (18 bars), which is 9 times the pressure within a car tyre. The lung of a freediver is being compressed to the size of prune.

    This record was recognised by AIDA and is now the official AIDA World Record for No Limits.

    This comes just weeks after the Belgian FreeDiver, Patrick Musimu, set a non-AIDA record of 209.6m. Patrick refused to let AIDA ratify his record and set the FreeDiving world alight with discussion on his tremendous dive.

    Source: www.deeperblue.net
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    New No-Limits freediving world record set

    Australia wins award for Barrier Reef plan

    Australia, a frequent target of criticism from environmentalists for refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, received the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) top accolade on Monday for its efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

    The fund, a leading international conservation group, bestowed its Gift to the Earth award on Australia for the 2004 implementation of a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning plan, which banned fishing in a third of the World Heritage-listed park.

    The fund said the zoning plan was a "pioneering development in marine conservation that sets the benchmark for marine protected area network establishment in Australia and around the world".

    "The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's most treasured natural wonders, and the Australian government has shown it is truly a world leader in marine conservation by implementing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning plan," said WWF official James Leape.

    The award was announced at the start of the inaugural meeting of the International Marine Protected Areas Congress in the Australian city of Geelong.

    The congress brought together several hundred experts in marine conservation from more than 60 countries.

    WWF said they hoped the Gift to the Earth award would inspire other countries to follow Australia's lead and establish similar marine protection areas.

    The Great Barrier Reef stretches over more than 345 000km2 off Australia's north-east coast and is home to 1 500 fish species.

    Considered the world's largest living organism, the network of coral reefs is the centerpiece of a multi-billion dollar annual tourism industry, attracting divers from around the world.

    The Australian plan, implemented in July 2004, increased the area of the park covered by a ban on all fishing and tight restrictions on other activities from 4,6 percent to 33 percent.

    However, the reef - which has been listed by the United Nations as a World Heritage site - remains under threat, notably from coral bleaching believed to be caused by rising sea temperatures linked to global warming.

    Australia's government has refused to sign the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which imposed reductions in the production of so-called greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, saying the pact would harm its economy.

    But it recently joined the United States, the other major holdout from the Kyoto deal, in a six-country pact on curbing greenhouse gases.

    Meanwhile a leading conservationist at this week's congress called for the creation of a global system of marine protected areas to prevent the world's ocean resources from being depleted.

    "We are talking about a network of marine protected areas that is defined from both an ecological and eco-system perspective as well as from the perspective of the users," said Achim Steiner, director-general of the World Conservation Union.

    "We now know that 15 of the world's 17 largest fisheries - where the world depends on its fish - are either at full exploitation level or in fact, declining," Steiner said on national radio.

    "We need countries like Australia, but in fact every one of the 200-odd nations around the world, to try and come to agreements on new forms of ocean governance that allow us to not leave the rest of the oceans simply to anyone's whim in terms of exploiting the resources," he said.

    "Marine issues are not national issues - yes, they require national action - but above all, they require nations to work together."

    Source: www.iol.co.za
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    Australia wins award for Barrier Reef plan

    Marine Conservation Organizations assess Indonesian coral reefs

    Three leading marine conservation organizations will complete an extensive survey next week along the west coast of Aceh Province, Indonesia, to determine the impact of last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami on the region's coral reefs...

    The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Reef Check and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) will carry out a two-week survey from October 17-31 of over 600 kilometers of Aceh's southwest coast to examine the damage to the coral reefs. The survey results will indicate how much of the coral reef structure was damaged by the December 2004 earthquake and tsunami and may provide some early insight into the natural recovery process including the success of corals to reproduce and grow.

    "The health of the coral reef ecosystem along the Sumatra coastline is vital to the well-being of the people of Indonesia who depend upon the rich resources of the sea. This survey will help us understand the extent of the damage to the coral reefs from the tsunami and therefore guide management decisions to assist their natural recovery," said Capt. Philip Renaud, USN (Ret.), Executive Director of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.

    "It is a notable accomplishment that three marine conservation organizations – the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Reef Check and The World Conservation Union – have joined forces to examine the extent of the earthquake and tsunami damage on the Sumatra marine ecosystem. This survey will stand as a model to show how environmental groups can and should work together to understand and preserve the marine ecosystem. It brings to life the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation's objective of conserving living oceans through the practice of Science Without Borders®," Capt. Renaud added.

    The survey outcomes will be incorporated into the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network's (GCRMN) "Post-Tsunami Status of Coral Reefs Report" – a special report in the "Status of Coral Reefs of the World" series, which provides the present state of coral reef health around the world. The complete status report will be released in early 2006.

    "It is extremely important to determine the status of the reefs in order to predict future food availability from the sea in this area," said Reef Check Director Gregor Hodgson, Ph.D., who will be coordinating the two-week expedition. "This disaster presents a great opportunity to reinforce the concepts of marine management in Indonesia and to ensure that sufficient reef areas are protected such that fish and shellfish can prosper and reproduce."

    Shipboard expedition participants include: British marine biologist Annelise Hagan, Ph.D., the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation Research Fellow at Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Sri Lankan marine biologist Nishan Perera of IUCN; Reef Check Indonesia ichthyologist Yunaldi, M.D.; dive instructor Cipto Gunawan; a diving medical doctor Onny M.D.; and two seasoned Aceh-based Reef Check scientists.

    The October survey will use rapid survey techniques called "manta tows" with detailed Reef Check Plus surveys carried out at regular intervals. A manta tow involves towing a diver behind a boat while they record observations regarding ecological condition on an underwater slate. The Reef Check survey is the only standard method used to survey the world's reefs.

    Initial surveys in the region conducted by Reef Check and other marine conservation organizations have revealed varying levels of reef damage, with some reefs being entirely uplifted out of the sea and destroyed.

    Source: www.divenews.com
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    Marine Conservation Organizations assess Indonesian coral reefs

    24 October 2005

    Surfer fights off great white shark during attack

    Surfer Christiaan "Stiaan" van Zyl, 20, of Brackenfell, was flown to Groote Schuur Hospital by helicopter on Saturday after being attacked by a shark in chest-deep water near Gansbaai.

    He underwent surgery to his right foot and doctors sewed his severed Achilles tendon together.

    Speaking from his hospital bed on Sunday, Van Zyl said: "It was a Great White, I saw it. I thought I was going to die."

    Van Zyl, an apprentice motor mechanic, was surfing alone at Uilenkraalsmond, the mouth of the Uilenkraals River east of Gansbaai, where his family have a holiday house. He was standing in chest-deep water holding onto his board, waiting for a wave when the shark attacked.

    "I was looking out to sea, maybe 50 metres from the shore when I felt it on my foot. It took me from behind.

    "He brought me up out of the water and was shaking me. It was a Great White, about two to three metres, not so big. I thought I was going to die, but still you fight. I hit it on its head with my elbow, I took everything I had and hit it, and it released me and I pushed it away. It happened so fast.

    "In all this my left hand was still holding on to my board so I pulled myself onto it and paddled back to shore on a wave. I checked behind me and saw my foot was open and all bloody.

    "When I got to the shore I tried to walk but my foot couldn't carry me. I dragged myself out on my arms and one knee. I waved to some people and they came running to help," Van Zyl said.

    They put him on his surfboard and carried him through the lagoon to the beach.

    "I was lying there and my mom came after someone phoned her.

    "I must have been in shock because I went all tight and prickly."

    The ambulance was called, as was the Skymed emergency helicopter.

    A nursing sister on the beach bound Van Zyl's foot to help stop the bleeding and he was taken to a local doctor who put him on a drip and stabilised him.

    Dr Cleeve Robertson, head of emergency medical services in the province, said because of the long distance from Cape Town, it was decided to use the Red Cross air mercy service helicopter to get Van Zyl to Groote Schuur.

    Van Zyl said he was given an epidural anaesthetic because he was so thirsty.

    "I was conscious during surgery, but was on my stomach so I couldn't see what they were doing. I just kept checking out the heart monitor."

    Van Zyl's mother, Marietjie, of Tokai, said her son was "very lucky" not to have lost a limb.

    "He has very bad bite marks and has lost some flesh, but he will be able to walk again," she said.

    She said she and her children had "almost grown up" at Gansbaai and knew the sea well.

    "In all that time I've never heard of a shark biting someone. It was a big shock. We think it's because of these (shark cage diving) boats here. We hear they feed the sharks. There's never been something like this here before," she said.

    Greg Oelofse of the Shark Working Group said yesterday he had not yet spoken to Van Zyl.

    "He apparently says it was definitely a Great White. I'm inclined to think it's unlikely as it would have taken his leg off.

    "I obviously cannot say for certain, but I think it's more likely to have been a bronze whaler or a ragged tooth shark," Oelofse said.

    Source: www.iol.co.za
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    Surfer fights off great white shark during attack

    Shark attack victim: Twice bitten but not shy to dive back in

    It is said that one of the most exclusive clubs in the world is reserved for survivors of shark attacks. If that's the case, Gabriel "Gabie" Botha must belong to the most exclusive club in the world - he has survived two shark attacks. And it is believed he is the only person alive to have done so.

    And what's even more remarkable is that the attacks took place off the same beach and in the same month, three years apart.

    Now 80 years old, Botha laughs as he recounts his ordeals, which both took place at Durban's Country Club Beach in March when he was aged 19 and 22.

    The fear of being eaten alive is said to be humans' biggest phobia, which explains the morbid fascination with, and fear of, lions, tigers and other large predators, including sharks.

    However Botha, popularly known to clubmates and friends as "The Dutchman", laughs off the shark attacks and to hear him tell it they were no more than minor setbacks in his incident-filled life.

    The first attack was in 1944, on March 26. That morning a visiting seaman, Ernest Booth, was attacked at North Beach at about 10am (he died from his wounds that night).

    Botha, on duty as a lifesaver at Country Club, and his colleagues were ordered to keep bathers out of the water. But at 5pm, with no sign of any shark activity, he and three others decided to get in a bit of bodysurfing after a long, boring day.

    Botha, with one of his companions on his beach side and the other two on the sea side, says he suddenly felt a bang on his thigh. Reaching down, he was horrified to discover that part of his upper leg was missing and says he could clearly feel the large hole in his thigh.

    He says it was almost painless - "a bit like a dog bite" - and swam "quickly" back to the beach. Fortunately for him the club had just been learning first aid, including pressure points, and his good friend Lou Johnson kept his thumbs on the correct places to help stem the loss of blood until they reached hospital.

    With World War 2 in progress, ambulances were in short supply and it took 40 minutes for one to arrive which, Botha points out, contributed to his recovery because it was found in later years that the correct procedure with trauma victims was to settle them before rushing them off to hospital.

    Johnson told Botha afterwards that he was pressing so hard on the pressure points that his thumbs felt like they were going to break, but stuck doggedly to his task.

    In hospital for three months, Botha was encased in a plaster cast from his chest to his ankle and couldn't move. Fortune smiled on him, however, as a military surgeon with experience of war wounds was on leave in the city and had the expertise to perform the necessary skin grafts.

    "The three skin graft sessions were terrible," says Botha. "Taking skin from my stomach to attach to the thigh was far more painful than the shark attack and the way the skin was ripped off had me screaming and crying in agony," he

    The medical staff treating him said he wouldn't walk properly again as two major muscles were ripped out by the shark. But the young physiotherapist looking after him was determined to prove them wrong.

    "She had a great attitude," said Botha admiringly. "Her response was: 'Rubbish - I'll fix you', and she did, with her treatment including a lot of cycling."

    The young would-be engineer had just enrolled at the University of Natal - the academic year started in March - and having missed two terms as he recovered, the university wouldn't take him back and he had to wait until the next year before resuming his studies.

    Meanwhile, declaring that "lightning won't strike twice", Botha was back in the water as soon as he was able, about six months after the attack. But, he says, he always swam alone - his friends and fellow-lifesavers refused to swim anywhere near him.

    Three years later, almost to the day, on March 8, and at the same beach, Country Club, Botha was out bodysurfing and, while treading water waiting for a wave, he was chatting to the same Lou Johnson who had used his thumbs so effectively after the first attack, who was on a paddleski.

    "Lou paddled off and suddenly I felt the bite on my right foot. I managed to shake it off and turned around - and was face-to-face with a 2m shark," said Botha.

    "I lashed out at it and screamed and shouted and struck out for the beach. The shark had another go, this time at my buttocks but luck was on my side. First, it didn't get in a good bite and second, a perfect wave came through which I managed to catch all the way to the beach - the others I had ridden that day had all dumped me."

    Botha couldn't help a laugh as he recalled the events on the beach. "I tried to stand up, but my foot was shattered and partly severed, practically falling apart. I waved to the lifesavers for help but, being a friendly bunch, they thought I was being nice and they waved back.

    "A couple were strolling along the beach and I asked them to get help. The man, however, passed out when he saw all the blood and collapsed in the water. I ended up having to hold up his head to save him!"

    The lifesavers finally came to his aid and in those days had a specially adapted bakkie to take a stretcher. With Botha on the stretcher on the back of the bakkie they raced off to Addington Hospital.

    "However," laughed Botha, "in their haste they didn't attach the stretcher securely to the bakkie and it, with me on board, flew off the back going around a bend near the hospital. I was left lying on the road until they came back for me - which fortunately didn't take too long."

    Botha says the foot was far more painful than the thigh because the nerves were damaged and it drove him crazy for years - and still does now and again.

    Lightning would never strike three times, said the amazing Botha, and he was back in the water - or rather, on it - before the large, heavy plaster cast holding his foot together was removed, an act that earned him a severe ticking-off from his horrified clubmates.

    "They were worried that if I fell off the ski I wouldn't be able to swim with the weight of it and would drown."

    Even more amazing, Botha went on to play rugby - at loosehead prop. Johnson, who was battling for players at his club, was instrumental in getting him to play and he only hung up his boots at the age of 45.

    "I was playing in a social game at Tungay Park and the scrum collapsed on my 'shark leg'. Any more damage to it would have been disastrous - the blood flow is not that good and healing is a problem - and after the match I, sensibly, decided it was time to call it a day," he says.

    As modest as he is affable, Botha's gruff response to his wife Frances's query as to whether he had mentioned his numerous awards was simple: "No one's interested in all that," he said.

    However, even he must feel a sense of pride at being presented with the State President's Award (twice) for services to lifesaving and the highest award bestowed on anyone in world lifesaving, The Order of the Grand Knight.

    Botha is an honorary life member of Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club, which he joined at the age of 16 and has served in every administrative function "except treasurer", he says with a laugh.

    He has also held every position in the national lifesaving body, has been secretary-treasurer of the world body and has fulfilled many other functions in the sport, too numerous for him to talk about.

    Although he enrolled at university again the year after the first attack, the pull of the sea was too great and he eventually dropped out. He went whaling "at the ice" and did other jobs before settling down to a career in pest control, finishing up as managing director of his company.

    He still swims in the sea. "Lightning won't strike three times," he laughs.

    But he still swims alone!

    Source: www.iol.co.za
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    Shark attack victim: Twice bitten but not shy to dive back in

    Shark attack near Gansbaai

    A swimmer was attacked by a shark near Gansbaai on Saturday, close to waters popular among shark cage diving operators.

    Shark cage diving is often blamed for attracting sharks as operators sometimes use chum, a mixture designed to draw the sharks. The waters off Gansbaai are known for their sharks.

    The man, whose name has not yet been released, suffered what is classified as a less serious bite on his lower leg with injuries to his foot and ankle as well as damage to some tendons. He was swimming off the coast of Uilenkraalsmond, between Gansbaai and Pearly Beach.

    Cleeve Robertson, of the Emergency Rescue Services, said the incident occurred close to Dyer Island, which has become extremely popular with shark cage diving operators because of the large population of sharks there. He said the shark must have been small.

    Source: www.iol.co.za
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    Shark attack near Gansbaai

    21 October 2005

    Scuba diving for individuals with disabilities

    Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) diving has become an increasingly popular recreational activity, enjoyed by millions of individuals. There has also been a growing interest in scuba diving in the disabled population for rehabilitation and recreation.

    This review discusses medical issues relevant to individuals with disabilities who wish to participate in scuba diving.

    In addition, specialized equipment, adaptations in techniques, and additional precautions will be presented.

    Scuba diving can be an enriching experience, potentially helping to improve self-image and quality of life.

    Knowledgeable healthcare professionals can help to guide their patients who are interested in scuba diving.

    Source: www.amjphysmedrehab.com
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    Scuba diving for individuals with disabilities

    Ocean Fest Dive & Adventure Sports Expo - April 21-23, 2006

    Ocean Fest 2006, scheduled for April 21, 22 and 23, 2006 will take place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This event is sponsored by the Greater Ft. Lauderdale-Chamber of Commerce, Inc. and produced by Neal Watson Productions, Inc.

    It will feature over 200 dive and adventure sports related exhibits under giant tents at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to the dive exhibits, there will be food vendors, beverage vendors, music, fashion shows, free seminars and thousands of dollars in prizes and raffles...

    In an effort to introduce the sport to new participants, there will be scuba introductory courses taught at the DEMA Pool. An underwater treasure hunt will be held on Saturday for dive boats, and again on Sunday for shore diving. Thousands of dollars in prizes will be given away. The main prize will be announced in the near future.

    Seminar topics include: Difficult Cases of Decompression Illness; Ships2reefs; Photographing Mr. Big; Cayman Islands, Below and Beyond; Dive & Explore Hottest Destinations w/ Aggressor Fleet Capt. Wayne Hasson; The Art of Resort Divemastering; Diving Dominica andd more! To learn more about this esciting event, visit: Oceanfest

    Source: www.divenews.com
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    Ocean Fest Dive & Adventure Sports Expo - April 21-23, 2006

    Australia: Fee plan angers scuba divers

    BYRON BAY scuba divers are unhappy they may have to pay a government fee for the right to pursue their sport.

    Bay dive operators say they will fight a NSW Government proposal to charge scuba divers a fee for the right to dive in State waters. It could cripple the industry, operators warn.

    The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has released a discussion paper proposing scuba divers be charged fees to dive in NSW as part of the Government's grey nurse shark recovery program.

    In the paper, the DPI acknowledges fishing poses the biggest threat to the protected species, but also claims scuba diving may have potential negative impacts, including disturbance from anchoring, flash photography and repeated visits to the shark's habitat.

    With fewer than 500 grey nurse sharks remaining in NSW waters, the fee proceeds would be used to offset the cost of conservation projects.

    "Money raised will go directly to research and other projects aimed at protecting the grey nurse shark," the department says.

    Byron Bay dive operators say they are already complying with tight regulations governing the shark's habitat, and imposing a fee would do little for conservation aims.

    Operators say a fee may kill off the region’s thriving dive tourism industry, estimated to inject $3 million a year into Byron Bay’s economy.

    "We are adamantly opposed to this," said Rob Dalton, own- er/operator of the Byron Bay Dive Centre.

    "Dive operators will pay the price through decreased visitation."

    Mr Dalton fears the fee will deter visitors from choosing Byron Bay as a dive centre.

    "I've had divers tell me already that if this fee is introduced they will rethink diving at Byron and head to south-east Queensland instead, or the Sunshine Coast."

    Mr Dalton has been diving for 30 years, a pastime he started as an environmental science student.

    He takes issue with claims by the DPI that divers upset the grey nurse population in Byron Bay.

    "Very few divers come to Byron specifically to view grey nurse sharks," he said.

    "Our busiest season is during summer, and grey nurse sharks are not around then.

    "We're happy to work with the Government and conservation groups to resolve any impacts and we already do that, we comply with all regulations."

    Mr Dalton says there has been little consultation with the industry, particularly Byron Bay dive centres.

    "I've had one informal call from the department back in May and we spoke for 15 minutes," Mr Dalton said.

    "This plan could really affect the local tourism economy and yet there’s been no real consultation with stakeholders."

    The NSW Department of Primary Industries is calling for submissions on the discussion paper.

    Comments must be received by December 1 and can be made online at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

    Source: www.northernstar.com.au
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    Australia: Fee plan angers scuba divers

    Australia: Shark alert at popular beach

    LIFEGUARDS closed two beaches early today after a 3m shark approached a boat training just off-shore.

    About 100 swimmers were evacuated from the water after the North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving crew spotted the shark 200m off the popular Perth beach just before 7am.

    Surf Life Saving Western Australia operations manager Grant Trew said the five lifesavers on board were shaken but returned to shore safely to raise the alarm.

    "The shark approached the boat and it hung around for a while then left without incident," Mr Trew said. "Eyewitnesses said it looked like a bronze whaler."

    North Cottesloe and Cottesloe beaches were closed while a plane conducting whale surveys nearby scanned the coast for any further sign of the shark.

    The all-clear was announced about 8.30am but lifeguards remained on alert in case the shark came back.

    Mr Trew said each sighting was taken very seriously and there was an effective drill for the situation carried out in conjunction with the Department of Fisheries and the Water Police.

    He said it was rare to have a confirmed shark sighting so close to shore. It was more usual to see sharks while fishing several kilometres out.

    In November 2000, Perth businessman Ken Crew was killed by a 4m white pointer shark while finishing his morning swim in waist-high water at Cottesloe beach.

    Source: www.thesundaymail.news.com.au
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    Australia: Shark alert at popular beach

    Are sharks switching prey to humans?

    A prominent South Australian marine biologist says a rise in the number of shark attacks on humans over the past 80 years could indicate sharks are starting to see humans as a food source.

    Scoresby Shepherd is studying shark attacks in Australia and California.

    Dr Shepherd says where attacks used to happen once every 30 to 40 years, they are now happening at least once a year.

    He says a reason for this may be a decline in the shark's natural prey, such as tuna.

    "It's a well-known biological phenomenon which is called prey switching," Dr Shepherd said.

    "An animal which is a generalist predator, as we know the shark is, it eats a wide range of prey.

    "It eats what is available."

    But CSIRO research scientist Barry Bruce is not convinced by that theory.

    "For a start, white sharks are pretty cosmopolitan, so it is not as if they feed on one particular sort of prey and if something happens to that prey they kind of swim around the ocean going, 'well, what'll we eat now?'" he said.

    Australia ranks second behind the United States for the number of shark attacks.

    According to the Australian Shark Attack Register compiled by the Taronga and Western Plains Zoo, 60 people have been killed by sharks in the past 50 years.

    While last year's statistics were slightly up, they are in line with the average of 1.2 fatalities per year.

    Mr Bruce says one explanation for the spike in attacks is that more sharks have been spotted close to shore in recent times, a phenomena he describes as not unusual, but not understood all the same.

    "There's strong signals in good years and bad years for seeing white sharks and at the moment, we're in a good year," he said.

    "The issue is why. It's not to do with population and size. It's to do with distribution, it's to do with where they are.

    "What we don't know is what drives those differences in distribution. It's not something that's just suddenly happening in the environment, because you can go back … for example, if you go back to the late 1980s, there was an incredibly poor year for seeing white sharks in these island areas of dangerous reach to the point where people were so concerned that they thought the species would go extinct.

    "All it was was a shift in the distribution because two years later we saw just as many white sharks as people had seen like a decade before."

    Mr Bruce says the last decade since white sharks became a protected species has not been long enough for their numbers to rise significantly. Females only begin to breed once they grow to five metres long, and only produce a small number of offspring in their lifetimes.

    For now, scientists do agree on one thing – too little is known about sharks to know with any certainty why they attack humans, but it can always be guaranteed that they will continue to do so.

    Source: www.abc.net.au
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    Are sharks switching prey to humans?

    Whodunit: Who created the neoprene wetsuit?

    Who created the neoprene wetsuit? That's long been a sore point among the two entrepreneurs and a professor who each claim to be the inventor.

    AT 77, Bob Meistrell leads deep-sea diving expeditions to Catalina Island and remains at the helm of Body Glove International, the multimillion-dollar Redondo Beach surf company he co-founded with his twin brother Bill half a century ago.

    Jack O'Neill, 82, is a bit landlocked these days after turns as a wartime pilot, surfing legend and driving force behind Santa Cruz-based O'Neill Inc., one of the surf industry's most recognized brands.

    Age forced Hugh Bradner, an 89-year-old UC Berkeley physics professor and Manhattan Project scientist, to mothball his scuba tanks a few years ago and downshift to a quiet and modest life in La Jolla.

    These three Californians share more than Social Security checks. Each claims to be the father of the neoprene wetsuit, an invention that debuted in the early 1950s and revolutionized surfing and deep-sea diving.

    "That's got to be the longest-standing argument in surfing," says Matt Warshaw, a San Francisco-based surf historian.

    Argument hardly covers it. Mystery is more like it, a whodunit built on 50 years of boasting and recalling the successes of men who are all vying for the same crown. Each declares he's the sole inventor, dismissing the others as mere marketers.

    "We developed the surf suit. I just know we did it," O'Neill says from his oceanfront home in Santa Cruz.

    Meistrell, in constant motion inside the dining cabin of the company's 72-foot yacht, is similarly certain and direct. "I believe we did it first. And everyone copied us," he says.

    O'Neill and Meistrell have locked horns in the wetsuit business and threatened lawsuits for decades. Each revels in his insistence that the other is wrong.

    Bradner, the lone non-multimillionaire of the bunch, stakes his claim with professorial precision.

    "The only invention I claim in this is the neoprene wetsuit," he says. "If somebody has documentation that precedes mine, I'd like to hear about it."

    Oiled sweaters
    EARLY surfers and divers routinely immersed themselves in 45-degree seas with nothing more than a swimsuit, oil-soaked wool sweaters or long underwear.

    "We'd dive to 200-foot depths without wetsuits," says Jim Stewart, the former head of the underwater program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. O'Neill and others experimented for a time with vests made from polyvinylchloride, or PVC. Though the vests offered some protection, they absorbed water, making them more like lead suits than wetsuits.

    Then came the real thing. As the name suggests, wetsuits aren't waterproof. They work by providing an insulating layer between skin and outside air and water. Neoprene, which emerged from World War II military research on various rubbers and plastics, remains the essential material — lightweight, flexible, comfortable and durable — that most effectively keeps surfers and divers toasty even in 40-degree water.

    Walk along any California beach on a winter morning and you'll see as many wetsuits as there are surfers. Ditto for divers. To this day, early surfers tend to credit O'Neill and occasionally the Meistrells; divers tend to pick the Meistrells and, once in a while, Bradner. For Body Glove and especially O'Neill Inc., the claim is an important piece of corporate lore. Each company traces its roots to the early 1950s surf and dive shop that became a mega-business with wetsuits as its core product — and founders as inventors are a key part of its image.

    The O'Neill website seamlessly connects Jack O'Neill's rambunctious and colorful personality by backing up his tale of being the inventor of the wetsuit and discovering neoprene in a eureka moment.

    "If you were one of Jack O'Neill's children, founder of O'Neill Inc. and wetsuit inventor," reads a passage on the O'Neill company website, "you might very well listen as he told ice-cold horror stories that drove him to develop our trusty neoprene armor."

    The O'Neill site displays grainy photos to reinforce the impression of its patriarch as a cross between Capt. Nemo and Thomas Edison. Then the website continues with an even more startling revelation.

    "Jack finally struck gold with neoprene, which he discovered carpeting the aisle of a DC-3 passenger plane." But that's unlikely, according to Frank Thompson, curator of the Prairie Aviation Museum in Bloomington, Ill., who says rubber was not used for carpeting, carpet lining or padding on a DC-3 or almost any passenger airplane for a simple reason: It's not fire retardant.

    Body Glove takes a less direct — but no less sweeping — approach to its claim.

    "Like modern-day Einsteins for the ocean, the twins used their creativity and found a new insulating material called neoprene and invented the first practical wetsuit," its website says. Meistrell readily admits that his discovery of neoprene has as much to do with Bev Morgan as it does with him. Manhattan Beach native Morgan, 73 — a member of the diving hall of fame, a surfing pioneer and dive gear inventor — made wetsuits with the twins in the early days. It's Morgan who gets the credit for inventing the wetsuit in Warshaw's "Encyclopedia of Surfing."

    If O'Neill says he discovered neoprene on an airliner, how did the Meistrells and Morgan find out about it? It was from a report on wetsuits written in 1951 for the U.S. Navy and the National Research Council that was moldering on a library shelf at Scripps, according to Morgan.

    At the time, Morgan was living the life of a beach bum, often driving south to La Jolla to surf. Between swells, he read about diving, hanging out at the Scripps library. "A librarian knew I was into diving and surfing and she gave me this report about wetsuits," Morgan says.

    So who wrote the report?
    "Jack O'Neill didn't invent the wetsuit, the Meistrells didn't invent the wetsuit and I didn't invent the wetsuit," Morgan says plainly. "Hugh Bradner invented the wetsuit. [He] was the first to use neoprene, and came up with the whole concept."

    Carolyn Rainey, a research librarian at Scripps, backs Morgan's version. She mustered correspondence, research papers and conducted interviews for a scholarly article published in 1998 by Scripps called "Wetsuit Pursuit: Hugh Bradner's Development of the First Wetsuit." According to Rainey, Bradner clearly was the sole inventor. "He doesn't get the attention or notoriety he deserves," she says. "What he did was amazing and hardly anybody knows it because he's so modest."

    The first splash
    AS a physicist, Bradner specialized in materials. Fresh from working on developing the atomic bomb under the auspices of the Manhattan Project during the war years, he worked with the Navy.

    "I looked at underwater combat and began by figuring out what needed the most improvement," Bradner says. "That was a wetsuit."

    To this day, the wetsuit's basic concept is what Bradner came up with sometime in 1949: You don't have to stay dry to stay warm. From that discovery, his knowledge of materials led him to neoprene rubber.

    He constructed the first wetsuit in a UC Berkeley lab. It looked similar to today's models but was bulky, heavy and stiff. Bradner took the first plunge in a neoprene wetsuit in the winter of 1950 at Lake Tahoe.

    "I remember walking from shore and there was ice at the edge of the lake," he says. "I had to break it to get in. I splashed around."

    Bradner founded a wetsuit-making company that he called Edco to cash in on his invention. Though he sold a handful of his early models to the Navy and others, no one expressed much interest. Bradner never patented his wetsuit design.

    Edco went bust about the time the Meistrells started selling their Bradner-derived wetsuits out of Dive 'N Surf.

    "I got free wetsuits," Bradner says. "But I found out I wasn't much of a businessman. I didn't think there was a good market for them."

    Bradner couldn't have been more wrong. Today, O'Neill and Body Glove sell about half a billion dollars in goods a year, with wetsuits going for about $200 a pop.

    When presented with Bradner's evidence, Meistrell and O'Neill soften their stances.

    "Well, he [Bradner] did invent it," Meistrell says. "What we did was truly improve on it over the years."

    O'Neill doesn't concede quite so much. "I've talked to Hugh and I told him what I had done and how I got started," he says. "We didn't conclude anything."

    But for Bradner, it really wasn't about the money. "My concept is the basis for every subsequent design," he says with pride.

    And his design almost lifted him into the same company as John Glenn and his space capsule or the Wright Brothers and their plane.

    Almost. A few years ago a curator for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., called him, hoping to exhibit the original wetsuit.

    "They were all gone by then," Bradner says.

    Source: www.underwatertimes.com
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    Whodunit: Who created the neoprene wetsuit?

    Australia: Scuba divers find 150 year old shipwreck

    Deep sea divers have found what they believe to be one of Australia's oldest colonial era shipwrecks off the south-east Queensland coast.

    Brisbane-based Ian Eberhardt and Tweed Heads professional diver Kevin Denlay discovered the wreck late last month in 60 metre deep water about 60 km off Double Island Point.

    They recovered the ship's bronze bell and several bottles which Eberhardt said indicated the vessel, likely to be a timber cargo ship, could have sunk around 1860.

    "We have found bottles of an elixer called Townsend's sarsaparilla which we have learnt were only produced in Albany, New York, between 1820 and 1860," Eberhardt said.

    The pair have handed the items from the ship to maritime experts from the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville, who will painstakingly clean the coral covered bell to see if the vessel's name is engraved on it.

    "It would be good to see if we can get an identification and then we can check it on our database of ships," said the museum's senior curator of marine heritage, Peter Gesner.

    Eberhardt said he and Denlay found the wreck after a tip from local fishermen.

    They had been hoping to locate the steamship Dorrigo which foundered in that area in 1926 and has been much sought after as a potential tourist dive site.

    "We knew straight away it wasn't a steamship because there were no boilers but then we found these other items that indicated it was a much older vessel," Eberhardt said.

    Denlay, who took photos and video of the wreck, said they also found an anchor, cargo boxes and what appeared to be a toilet.

    "It's not a big or famous wreck but it's obviously something that's quite old - mid to late 1800s - so that in itself is of some significance," he said.

    "I would say it's the oldest wreck I've found or been involved in finding and I've found a lot of wrecks."

    Source: www.tvnz.co.nz
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    Australia: Scuba divers find 150 year old shipwreck

    USA: Scuba divers say sewage is killing coral reef

    State environmental regulators are investigating a pump that's dumping treated sewage into the Atlantic Ocean after recreational scuba divers said it was killing a coral reef.

    The group, Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, says a pipe from the South Central Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant is spewing nitrogen-rich sewage that's fueling algae blooms. The algae are fouling the Gulf Stream Reef, a popular diving spot off Boynton Beach a mile and a half away from the pipe, the divers say.

    The group has been collecting data on the material coming out of the pipe of the treatment plant, which is operated by the towns of Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Palm Beach County's environmental department say the group has built a compelling case.

    But plant director Robert Hagel said he's not convinced that the pipe's effluent is hurting the reef, noting that algae blooms have been reported on other reefs under Gulf Stream waters.

    County officials have told plant officials to begin monitoring water near the pipe and the reef and to try to think of a way to lower the amount of nitrogen being pumped into the ocean. Plant officials were also told to look into whether extending the pipe farther out into the ocean might ease the impact on the reef.

    The federal Clean Water Act requires sewage plants to demonstrate that their discharge doesn't degrade the water it goes into.

    Several pipes dump wastewater into the ocean off the Florida coast. Near the plant in question, other pipes operated by Boca Raton, Broward County and Hollywood flow into the sea.

    The Delray Beach-Boynton Beach plant has already reduced its effluent flowing into the Atlantic by diverting some to agricultural irrigation.

    Source: www.sptimes.com
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    USA: Scuba divers say sewage is killing coral reef

    Hawaii: Surfer fights off tiger shark

    The man is uninjured in an incident off Maui that officials believe involved a tiger shark. The shark punched out of the water, its nose hitting Clayton Sado's knee, its teeth driving into the 22-year-old's surfboard.

    In an instant, Sado was fighting to stay on the board. As the shark thrashed from side to side with the surfboard in its mouth, Sado hit the shark's nose and frantically tried to push it away.

    "I was just thinking, 'Don't tip me over. Don't tip me over,'" Sado said. "It was fighting very much."

    Then, the shark let go and slipped underwater.

    Sado said he had been surfing for about three hours Thursday afternoon off Honokowai on Maui when the close encounter happened. He yelled to a surfer buddy and two boys surfing nearby to get out of the water.

    Then, for about 15 grueling seconds, he waited nearly motionless on his board.

    "I waited for the courage to stick one hand in and paddle," he said in a telephone interview yesterday from his Kahului home.

    "When I got to shore, immediately I was just jumping around. I was jumping for joy just to be alive."

    Sado estimates the shark, which had a gray, rounded head, was about 8 feet long. John Naughton, a National Marine Fisheries Service biologist, said the animal was likely a tiger shark searching for turtles.

    Beaches in the area weren't closed because Sado didn't notify authorities right away about the incident, which happened about 6 p.m.

    His mother called authorities Friday, and the state is investigating. State Shark Task Force spokesman Randy Honebrink said he plans to fly to Maui this week to inspect Sado's surfboard.

    Sado had gotten in the water right after work Thursday.

    The shark went for his board when he was about 100 yards off the beach, just as he was starting to paddle back to shore to call it a day.

    Sado's 39-year-old surfing buddy was about 20 yards away and saw his friend flailing around in the water, but didn't know what to make of it.

    After the shark swam away, "he gave me that look like, 'what the hell just happened,'" Sado said.

    Sado said he's been surfing most of his life and has frequented Honokowai. On Thursday afternoon, the water was a bit murky, but not any more than usual.

    When he got home, his relatives were shocked to see Sado's shark-bitten surfboard. His mother wanted him to quit surfing.

    But Sado says he'll just quit Honokowai.

    "There are other surf breaks I can go," he said. "I just want to be respectful."

    This is the fourth close shark encounter on Maui this year.

    On June 18, a tiger shark "bumped" a Maui man while he was swimming in waters off Kamaole Beach Park.

    A month earlier, a 9-foot tiger shark bit a kayak about a half mile off Kihei. And on May 2, a shark bit a surfboard in 6-foot waters about 70 yards off Paia.

    Source: starbulletin.com
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    Hawaii: Surfer fights off tiger shark