May 2007

Review: Diving with Sharks
Internationally acclaimed adventurer, explorer and diver Jack Jackson is a versatile man. He wrote the very useful "Complete Diving Manual" and also the superbly illustrated, large-format "Diving with Sharks and Other Adventure Dives." The book covers Jackson's firsthand experiences with all the great species of sharks, as well as other spectacular sealife. There are also sections on strong current diving, caves and caverns, and wrecks. The book contains excellent photograpy, diagrams, illustrations, and we highly recommend it. [Read review of Jack Jackson's Diving with Sharks] -- Posted Monday, May 21, 2007 by chb

Humpback whales in Sacramento, CA
We thought we'd have to travel far to see humpback whales, yet the whales came to us. A 40-ton humpback whale with a calf were first spotted by the Coast Guard on May 13 near Rio Vista, then meandered up the Sacramento river, with some detours and getting entangled in fishing lines in the process. Still by May 15, the whales were in the deepwater ship channel south of Sacramento, and the next day made it to the port of Sacramento. A similar incident had occurred in October of 1985 when a humpback made it to Sacramento but was safely guided back. Similar efforts to guide the whales, named Delta and Dawn, have not been successful so far. The remarkable photo shown appeared in the Sacramento Bee. -- Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 by chb

A handier underwater propulsion device?
The Pegasus Thruster is a very small underwater propulsion unit that weighs just 12 pounds on land, and about a negative five pounds underwater. It is mounted on the tank, and the battery can be replaced underwater, thus extending range. An initial one-propeller model is said to become available this summer, models with more power are planned for professional divers. The Pegasus Thruster is endorsed by the International Association for Handicapped Divers, prototypes have been used by the Miami-Dade Police Divers, and the Pegasus Thruster won second place in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge. Watch the Pegasus Thruster presentation for the Business Plan Challenge. [Read our view of the Pegasus Thruster] -- Posted Monday, May 14, 2007 by chb

Review: The waterproof Pentax Optio W30
Deepwater cases are cool, but they can be costly and are rather bulky. If you just snorkel or dive shallow reefs or rivers, a sleeker answer may be the Pentax Optio W30. It's a modern 7.1 megapixel digital camera that's rated at 10 feet. It has special underwater still image and VGA movie modes, digital image stabilization, and you can change settings in those modes. We tried it and it works great. See our detailed review of the Pentax Optio W30. -- Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 by chb

The Florida Keys DIVE ALIVE Initiative
During last year's two-day Spiny Lobster Sport Season, one of the most popular summer boating and diving events in the Florida Keys, five people died and numerous others were injured in what should have been preventable situations. Several Public Agencies came together to address this growing crisis. The result was the creation of the Florida Keys Safe Diving Initiative. The mission is straightforward: prevent unnecessary SCUBA diving and snorkeling deaths in the Florida Keys through aggressive coordinated multi-agency public outreach and education. Check the very informative DIVE ALIVE website. -- Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 by chb

Cayman coral reefs in trouble?
A Reuters news report paints a bleak picture of the Cayman Islands reef system, saying it has lost half of its hard corals over the past ten years, and that's despite powerful environmental laws. What exactly hurts the reefs is not entirely clear. Warmer waters may play a role, and anchors and chains from cruise ships have done a lot of damage. But the cruise ships themselves are necessary for the Cayman tourism industry which was in part responsible for the protective laws in the first place. -- Posted Sunday, May 6, 2007 by chb