Mafia Island Marine Park has some of the highest marine biodiversity on the planet. There are all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures to be seen - one of my favourites is the flying gurnard! This is a seriously cool fish.
It’s easy to prevent ear barotrauma if you follow the proper precautions and procedures. Here we aim to help divers learn more about these injuries, and how to keep them from happening.
Everyone knows that you aren’t supposed to dive with a cold — it’s one of the tenets stressed most heavily during entry-level training. But it’s a rule that divers often ignore — or try to bypass — by using decongestants because sometimes we just can’t resist getting in the water. I used to be one of the guilty parties until my actions caught up with me; I suffered a barotrauma of the middle ear as a result.
An ear barotrauma is an injury to the ear caused by abrupt changes in pressure, and can be brought on by several circumstances, as well as by diving with a cold. Barotraumas come in several different forms, and together constitute the most common scuba-diving injuries. Middle-ear barotrauma alone affects 30 percent of first-time divers and 10 percent of experienced divers. Injuries of this kind can be incredibly serious, even resulting in permanent hearing loss, and as I discovered, can be excruciatingly painful. I was lucky — my injury was mild, and healed after just two weeks; some cases of barotrauma keep divers out of the water for many months. It’s easy to prevent ear barotrauma if you follow the proper precautions and procedures. Here we aim to help divers learn more about these injuries, and how to keep them from happening.
Why Does Barotrauma Occur?In order to understand ear barotrauma, it’s important to first understand the anatomy of the human ear. Our ears are comprised of three sections: the outer ear and two internal sections known as the middle and inner ear. The part of the ear that we see is called the auricle, which channels sound (and during a dive, water) into the ear. The ear hole opens into a canal, at the end of which is the eardrum. Also known as the tympanic membrane, the eardrum separates the outer ear from the middle ear, a section filled with air that contains the three tiny bones that conduct sound, the ossicles. Importantly for understanding barotrauma, the middle ear is connected to the back of the throat by the Eustachian tubes. When we equalize during a descent, air passes along these tubes to balance the pressure inside the middle ear with the ambient pressure acting on the other (outer) side of the eardrum. The middle ear is separated at its other end from the inner ear by two exceptionally thin membranes known as the round window and the oval window. If these membranes become perforated, fluid can leak from the inner ear into the middle ear, causing considerable damage.
Preventing BarotraumaAccording to Boyle’s Law, as ambient pressure increases, a gas-filled volume in contact with that pressure decreases, and vice versa. This is the physical law relating to ear barotrauma, which occurs when increasing ambient pressure on the descent (or decreasing ambient pressure on the ascent) causes the volume of the gas-filled spaces in the ear to either contract or expand. As the spaces change, the sensitive tissues that make up the ear are distorted, eventually causing them to become damaged. In order to prevent injury, it’s important that the gas spaces inside the ear are kept equalized, i.e., at an equal pressure to the water entering the outer ear. A pressure difference of just 2 psi is sufficient to cause significant discomfort, while a difference of 5 psi is enough to cause the eardrum to rupture. A barotrauma can occur at any depth, but because the greatest pressure change per foot occurs in shallow water, a diver is most susceptible to this kind of injury in the first 14 feet of a descent from the surface. This explains why we are taught to equalize early and often, and because ambient pressure continues to change as we descend, we need to equalize every few feet to prevent a pressure imbalance.
The Dangers of DecongestantAlthough these injuries are most common on the descent, it is also possible for them to occur on ascent, particularly if a diver has taken decongestion medication that has subsequently worn off. As we ascend and the ambient pressure decreases, the gas in the middle ear expands. If the Eustachian tubes have become blocked due to congestion, this expanding air cannot escape and the membranes at either end of the middle ear compartment are liable to distort or even rupture as a result. This situation, known as a reverse block, is how I suffered middle-ear barotrauma. It was incredibly scary: already at depth, I had no choice but to surface eventually. I tried delaying my ascent, descending a few feet and giving the trapped air time to escape, but ultimately I was forced by air and no-decompression limits to ascend despite knowing that doing so would cause an injury. The resulting barotrauma was undoubtedly the worst pain I have ever experienced (including multiple broken bones), and converted me in the space of one dive from a reckless congestion diver to one with a healthy respect for the rules.
Other common causes of ear barotrauma include ineffective equalization techniques, the failure to equalize either at all or frequently enough, and equalizations that are too forceful. Unfortunately, some divers have naturally tight Eustachian tubes that may prevent them from equalizing effectively. In those cases, individuals should seek medical advice as to whether or not they are able to dive.
There are several different types of ear barotrauma:
Source: www.scubadiverlife.com By: Jessica Vyvyan-Robinson
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The 8th annual, 2015 Blue Wild Ocean Adventure and Marine Art Expo is set to take place at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center from February 21 to 22.
Spanning more than 80,000 square feet of exhibit space and featuring more than 130 exhibitors, inside and out, the interactive Expo will include exhibits, seminars, workshops and demonstrations covering freediving, scuba diving, spearfishing, lobstering, board sports, underwater photography, videography, and marine art.
New additions to this year’s event includean outdoor Adventure Zone featuring two large pools where guests can try out new water toys and take part in professional demonstrations including kayaking, stand up paddleboarding (SUP), and breath-hold techniques. Additional attractions include swimwear fashion shows and a display from Contender Boats.
Speakers include Emmy Award winning filmmaker Stan Waterman; outdoorsman and TV star Manny Puig, spearfishing champion and whale videographer Rob Torelli from Australia, shipwreck explorer Mike Barnette, and others. Marine artists including Carey Chen, Pascal Lecocq, Randall Scott, Steve Ozment, Craig Dietrich, Don Ray, K.C. Scott, displaying a huge selection of marine-themed artwork.
“We strive to offer great deals, the best speakers and workshops in the industry, and the right atmosphere for attendees to meet other watersport enthusiasts and have a great time,” said Sheri Daye, the event’s producer. “We’re entering our eighth year and this is our biggest and most exciting show yet.”
Admission is $23 at the door. Kids 12 and under are free. Admission includes entry to the Saturday night Blue Wild After Party at the Courtyard Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach where guests can mingle with industry experts, celebrities, and enjoy BBQ and happy hour specials.
Show hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Blue Wild After Party is from 7:30 to 11 p.m. For more information please visit TheBlueWild.com. Like The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure and Marine Art Expo on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheBlueWild.
Source: www.piersongrant.com/blog and Facebook
Speak whale to an actual whale
Immerse yourself in history
as a properly-trained wreck diver
(WreckDiving is a type of recreational diving where shipwrecks are explored. Although most wreck dive sites are at shipwrecks, there is an increasing trend to scuttle retired ships to create artificial reef sites. Wreck diving can also pertain to diving to crashed aircraft.
Finally try that jetpack you’ve always wanted
Hover like a genie
Perfect your buoyancy skills and hover like a zen master.
Walk a tightrope without fear of falling
(but watch out for barnacles)
Give yourself a halo
(and swim through it)
Water Ski upside down
(we recommend getting certified as an ice diver first)
Play catch with an broken egg
Sources: Wikipedia on Wreck Diving and www.padi.com/blog posted by Megan, PADI MSDT and diver for 10+ years, eMarketing executive for PADI Americas.
To some, scuba diving may seem like a pipe dream adventure, but thereâs no reason why it canât be a reality. Here are reasons why you should jump into the deep sea and act on your drive to dive.
7 Reasons You Need To Try Diving
By Scuba Diver Life
To some, scuba diving may seem like a pipe dream adventure, but there's no reason why it can't be a reality. Here are reasons why you should jump into the deep sea and act on your drive to dive.
Source: The Scuba DIving Daily By: Nadia Aly
The researchers also will be examining whether terrapin turtles, a declining species often accidentally drowned in crab pots, will bypass the traps based on the color of the entrance funnel.
Another, unrelated effort which NOAA and many others have been supporting for years is focused on fishing out the thousands of old salmon nets lost—sometimes decades ago—in Washington's Puget Sound. These plastic mesh nets sometimes remain drifting in the water column, while other times settling on the seafloor, where they also degrade the bottom habitat.
According to Joan Drinkwin of the Northwest Straits Foundation, the organization leading the effort, "They become traps for fish, diving birds, and mammals. Small fish will dart in and out of the mesh and predators will go after those fish and become captured in the nets. And as those animals get captured in the nets, they become bait for more scavengers."
You can watch a video about this ongoing project produced by NOAA-affiliate Oregon SeaGrant to learn more about both the problem and the solutions.
Thousands of miles away from the Pacific Northwest, ghost nets are also an issue for the otherwise vibrant coral reefs of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Every year for nearly two decades, NOAA has been removing the lost fishing nets which pile up on the atolls and small islands. This year, divers cleared away 57 tons of old fishing nets and plastic debris.
One particularly troubling "super net" found this year measured 28 feet by 7 feet and weighed 11.5 tons. It had crushed coral at Pearl and Hermes Atoll and was so massive that divers had to cut it into three sections to be towed individually back to the main NOAA ship. During this year's mission, divers also managed to free three protected green sea turtles which were trapped in various nets.
But the origins of this huge and regular flow of old fishing nets to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands remain a mystery. The islands lay hundreds of miles from any city but also within an area where oceanic and atmospheric forces converge to accumulate marine debris from all over the Pacific Ocean.
"You'll go out there to this remote place and pull tons of this stuff off a reef," comments Jim Potemra, an oceanographer at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, "that's like going to Antarctica and finding two tons of soda cans."
You can learn more about the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s efforts related to ghost fishing and why certain types of marine life may be more likely to get tangled up in discarded nets and other ocean trash.
Source: NOAA - Office or Response and Restoration
A Miami man who has been arrested multiple times for having undersized lobster tails is behind bars once again and could have a tough time getting out after his bond was set at $1.4 million.
Jorge Vargas, 59, was arrested Saturday after he was caught with more than 200 undersized lobster tails near Fiesta Key Marina, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said.
We know less about our deepest waters than we know about the surface of Mars. Hereâs what we do know about deep water diving.
10 Things You Didn't Know About Deep Water Diving
By Scuba Diver Life
We know less about our deepest waters than we know about the surface of Mars. Here's what we do know about deep water diving.
Source: www.scubadiverlife.com By: Nadia Aly
Mavericks. Waimea Bay. Pipeline. The names evoke images of pumping surf, the raw beauty of ocean swells exploding on solid reefs, and crowds gathered to watch in awe as expert surfers take on world-class waves.
These places are some of the most revered surf spots on Earth, but there's another thing they have in common, something that few people realize: They are all found within national marine sanctuaries.
Surfing's Hawaiian Roots
A deep spiritual connection to the ocean is ingrained in Hawaiian culture. One of the best-known expressions of this connection is through the sport of surfing, which can be traced back through Hawaiian ancestry to the art of he'e nalu, or "wave sliding." Dr. Carlos Andrade, director of the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, said Hawaiian royalty - men and women alike - were noted for their ability as surfers. In fact, Andrade said, the whole of the population celebrated the activity, with entire villages emptying to go surfing when the waves arose.
Over time, surfing has grown from its Hawaiian roots to become a global phenomenon. The art of wave sliding has evolved to include big wave charging, barrel riding, and spectacular aerial maneuvers. But while surfing has become a part of mainstream culture, for many surfers it's a way of life symbolized by the same link to the ocean felt by the sport's originators on the shores of Hawai'i.
"Surfing is one of the greatest gifts Hawai'i gave to the world," says Stuart Coleman, author of "Eddie Would Go," and the Hawai'i regional coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation.
Riding Waves in the Sanctuaries
Hawai'i may be the birthplace of surfing, but it is by no means the only place with great waves. National marine sanctuaries encompass some of the nation's most celebrated places for ocean recreation - surfing included. In fact, sanctuaries feature high-profile professional contests at some of the largest rideable waves in the world, from Mavericks in central California to the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of O'ahu.
The legendary "shoot-outs" between surfing champions Kelly Slater and Andy Irons at Pipeline, arguably the most famous wave on Earth, took place within the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, one of the most important humpback whale mating, calving and nursing grounds in the world.
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the largest marine sanctuary, is home to the powerful and massive waves of Mavericks, as well as more modest - but no less popular - breaks like Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, Calif. Countless other surf spots can be found throughout the coastal waters of the sanctuary system, supporting thriving recreational use and tourism.
Conservation: A Common Goal
"Conservation and surfing are like two sides of the same coin," said Dr. Marc Lammers, a cetacean biologist and assistant researcher at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology. "I don't know how you could be a surfer and not care about the marine environment. Surfers and sanctuaries pretty much care about the same thing: the wellbeing of the ocean."
Clean water, trash-free beaches and healthy ecosystems are just a few of the shared concerns that matter to the surfing community and sanctuary managers alike. Water quality, in particular, is an issue that presents opportunities for surfers and sanctuaries to work together.
"[Surfers] are indicators when it comes to water quality," said Coleman. "We're the first to experience it and the first to get sick." Sanctuary staff throughout the U.S. mainland and Pacific Islands are working with community members, agencies and organizations like the Surfrider Foundation on efforts to improve water quality and reduce marine debris.
Lammers, an avid surfer and former sanctuary advisory council member, said marine debris is an ever-present reminder of our impact on the ocean environment. "When you spend a lot of time on the water you start to notice that there's plastic bags everywhere and all kinds of debris," he explained.
Protecting the Waves
Surfers spend countless hours in the ocean connecting with nature, becoming immersed in their surroundings and soaking up an intimate knowledge of local coasts, beaches, and reefs. "Surfers are familiar with the wildness of the sea," said Dr. Michael McGinnis, a coastal California native, lifelong surfer, and professor of Environmental Policy and Governance at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. "Even though many of us were raised in suburban environments, it was the sea that taught us the first lessons of wildness, and why we need to protect wild places."
Indeed, surfers can bring valuable knowledge and experience to the cause of conserving and managing our national marine sanctuaries. They are welcome additions to sanctuary advisory councils, volunteer programs, and other organizations engaged in ocean conservation. "We spend so much time in the water we could be first responders," suggested Coleman.
"I think that the more you surf and just enjoy the ocean, the more appreciation you have for it," said Doug Cole, executive director of the North Shore Community Land Trust. "Sometimes you just have to get out there in it to remind yourself that - wow - this really is a special place, and we could do more to keep it special and help others in their work to keep it healthy."
Source: NOAA by: Joe Paulin & Mike Murray