28 Apr 2007

Coalition Aims To Build Nation's First Successful Artificial Surf Reef

April 23, 2007 — By Noaki Schwartz, Associated Press

VENTURA, Calif. -- Californians have created plenty of surf spots by accident with harbor jetties, power plant outflows and even drainage pipes. Creating one on purpose is proving more difficult.

In Ventura County, engineers want to build the nation's first successful artificial "surf reef" at a site known as Oil Piers, an accidentally created surfing hot spot that disappeared when a pier was demolished in 1998.

Surfers hope the project will revive the waves at what had been one of the most reliable surf spots on a strikingly picturesque stretch of the Southern California coast.

Environmentalists say the reef is needed to stop massive erosion eating away at the beach.

"It was the only place that when the wind really, really blew, you could still surf," recalled Gary Ross, who heads Stanley's Reef Foundation, a nonprofit group pushing for the project.

"Besides that, it was kind of a cool spot -- a little bit of a bohemian spot with a young group of surfers," he said.

The $4 million project is being proposed by BEACON, or Beach Erosion and Clean Ocean Nourishment, a coalition comprising Santa Barbara and Ventura city and county officials.

Under the plan, the Army Corps of Engineers would use 700,000 pounds of synthetic tubes filled with water and sand to build a submerged reef at just the right angle to create waves. It would be 50 feet wide and 140 feet long.

Organizers hope Congress will pave the way for the project next year by passing the Water Resources Development Act, which would allow the corps to undertake work on the nation's coastlines, rivers and harbors.

The coalition is seeking funding through a federal appropriations bill for innovative beach protection projects.

Erosion has become a key issue along the California coast as rising sea levels threaten low-lying neighborhoods. The reef would protect the beach along Oil Piers by forcing the waves to break farther offshore, dissipating the energy of the water before it hits land.

But creating waves is a tricky business.

In 2000, the Surfrider Foundation, a group representing the nation's surfing community, spent $300,000 to build Pratte's Reef with bags of sand in El Segundo, near Los Angeles.

The reef never created a single wave. Surfers quipped that no one would even know it was there unless they had a mask and snorkel and dove down to see it. Many surfers continued to ride the quirky waves created by a nearby drainage pipe.

Several reefs have been built in Australia and New Zealand that successfully eased erosion and helped produce waves, said Shaw Mead, an environmental scientist and director at New Zealand-based ASR Ltd.

The company specializes in surf reefs and pools and has been contracted to design the proposed Ventura County project and another one in New Jersey.

"There is no generic reef shape. Each must be designed for the specific environment," Mead said.

The stretch of coastline near Oil Piers features a flat terrace that engineers believe can serve as a stable base for the heavy reef.

The waves disappeared nine years ago when oil production stopped and Mobil Exploration and Producing U.S. Inc. removed the pier that had been built in the 1930s.

Surfers said then that the waves were caused by a sand bar against the pier, even though studies showed otherwise.

Judging from the exposed boulders that separate the beach from coastal Highway 101, up to 8 feet of sand have slipped away since the pier was removed.

The concept of an artificial reef remains controversial in some surfing circles.

Chad Nelson with the Surfrider Foundation worries that successful reef projects could create a sense of complacency about coastal erosion and lead to more development along the shoreline.

But like any surfer, he also feels the lure of a good wave.

"It's every surfer's dream to build the perfect wave in their backyard," he said.

Source: Associated Press

26 Apr 2007

Sharks - fact or fiction

The more you know about sharks hopefully the more you will understand and respect them. For most of us what we know about sharks is based on myth and superstition. Here are a few interesting facts for you to chew on.

  • Sharks have been around for over 400 million years
  • Sharks live in every ocean of the world from the Arctic to the Antarctic.
  • The average life span of a shark is around 25 years, but some have been known to live to 100
  • The biggest shark is the Whale Shark, it can be up to 50 feet (15 m) in length. It is what is called a filter feeder, it sieves plankton in huge amounts to eat through its gills as it swims along
  • The dwarf lantern shark is the smallest shark at a size of around 15cm
Read more at this cool UK T-shirt company ZooZoo2...

24 Apr 2007

Winter Jetaway to Fiji with Rainbow High Vacations

These guys dived with us last year and here's their review....

"For diving afficionados, Diveaway Fiji, the Resort’s on-site PADI dive center, offers a range of diving to suit everyone from experienced divers to complete beginners. All the dive sites are very close (the furthest a mere 10 minutes boat ride away), so you can choose to do one or two dives and be back for lunch. The great tropical diving includes walls, passages, swimthroughs, soft and hard corals, fans and caves.

Marine life is abundant and varied – Fiji has one of the largest ranges of tropical fish anywhere in the world, and sightings of turtles, rays and reef sharks are regular occurrences. For beginners, there is a free scuba lesson in the pool daily, where you are given enough training and skills to be able to go on a sea dive under the direct supervision of a PADI dive instructor. This 'Discover Scuba Dive' also counts towards your certification course."

See the full article at Rainbow High Vacations website

Humpback whales boast the longest mammal migration

NewScientist.com news service

It’s a long way to go for a warm bath. Each winter, humpback whales travel from the Antarctic to the northern tropics to find warm water in which to raise their young, researchers have discovered. The migration is the longest for any mammal ever recorded.

Kristin Rasmussen at Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Washington, US, and colleagues photographed the tails of humpbacks wintering off the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. From their individual tail patterns they identified seven of the same animals after they had returned to the Antarctic. One mother and calf made the 8300-kilometre (5160-mile) trip in 161 days.

Using satellite data, the team also recorded sea-surface temperatures for the sites where humpbacks spent the winter. “Wintering areas occur where waters with temperatures between 21°C and 28°C are found,” says Rasmussen. This supports the idea that the long migration saves the whales energy in the end.

Some researchers claim that the grey whale holds the record for longest mammalian migration – from Mexico to the Arctic, estimated at about 7600 km (4700 miles). “However, no individual grey whale has been documented travelling the full extent of their migratory range, and it's possible that no grey whales actually make the entire migration,” says Rasmussen. Only humpbacks have been documented making the full trip.

Rasmussen says that proposals to hunt humpbacks – such as Japan’s decision to catch 50 humpbacks each year as part of its “scientific” programme – makes it important to understand whale migration. “Whales don’t respect political boundaries,” she says. “Killing whales in one area could potentially impact their population half way around the world.”

Journal reference: Biology Letters (DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0067)

23 Apr 2007

Vitamins benefit divers' health

Vitamin doses can reduce ill-effects of scuba diving on divers' circulation, a study suggests.

The scientists from Croatia and Norway gave vitamins C and E, which work as antioxidants, to divers, the Journal of Physiology reported.

The vitamins stopped ill-effects of the dive on the cells lining blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure and other associated diving problems.

But diving experts said the vitamins would have a limited impact.

"The intervention showed a positive effect" said Ante Obad, lead researcher

The researchers, from the University of Split School of Medicine in Croatia and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology carried out the study on seven professional divers before a 30-minute, 30-metre dive.

They performed two dives 24 hours apart, with doses of vitamins C and E administered two hours before the second one.

Six of the divers took part in a second trial eight months later, in which some were given antioxidants while others received a dummy pill.

The team found that antioxidant treatment prevented endothelial dysfunction, which stops the cells lining blood vessels working properly, causing high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is relatively common in divers and can lead "

More at BBC...


Ocean "Conveyor Belt" Sustains Sea Life, Study Says

Ocean "Conveyor Belt" Sustains Sea Life, Study Says:

An estimated three-quarters of all marine life is maintained by a single ocean-circulation pattern in the Southern Hemisphere that pulls nutrient-rich waters from the deep ocean, brings them to the surface, and distributes them around the world.

'This is really something,' said Jorge Sarmiento, a professor of atmospheric and ocean sciences at Princeton University in New Jersey. Sarmiento made the discovery using sophisticated computer models."

22 Apr 2007


As divers, if we have been privileged enough to see a shark we know how beautiful they can be. If we have actually dived with one, we have been changed for life. They are kings of the deep and they need our help.

Please sign the following petition to stop the SENSELESS killing of sharks and this distribution of shark fin products.

Shark specialists estimate that 100 million sharks are killed for their fins, annually.

90% of all shark species are already wiped out due to our total disregard for these majestic animals and the greed of a small number of countries that see no reason to stop a barbaric act where 99% of the animal is discarded back into the oceans as waste after their fins have been brutally hacked off.

YOU can help. Go to The Petition Site and sign up!


18 Apr 2007

Humpbacks in Fiji

Humpback whale spotted by the Tui TaiGreat write up from Gavin at Dive The World Blog cos we're seeing humpbacks along the Coral Coast as well...

"Over the last few months, guests on the Tui Tai Adventure Cruises have been treated on several occasions to the sight of humpback whales around the boat. They have even been able to dive in and swim with the whales! In 2003, the government of Fiji declared a 360km "exclusive economic zone" around the Koro Sea a whale sanctuary ensuring free passage for whales through Fiji's waters. Humpbacks migrate every winter from Antarctica to the South Pacific to mate and give birth.

Back in the 19th century, thousands of whales were killed around Fiji, and indeed the town of Levuka was founded as a whaling station. It seems that thanks to whaling regulations and now the declaration of this special zone, visitors to Fiji have the chance to see whales again."

DAN Becomes NAUI’s Official Dive Accident Insurance Provider

DAN and NAUI are pleased to announce their alliance to work together for the greater good of diver safety. Effective immediately, DAN is the official dive accident insurance provider for NAUI Worldwide. NAUI has discontinued its Dive & Travel Insurance Program and is endorsing the Membership and Dive Accident Insurance programs offered by DAN.

Divers currently carrying NAUI’s Dive & Travel Insurance will be notified of the change as their policies come due for renewal, and they will be offered the opportunity to join DAN. In addition, NAUI dive centers and instructors will be provided materials on DAN and its programs, including the DAN Student Membership Program...

“DAN has always been dedicated solely to divers and diver safety,” says Dan Orr, President and CEO of Divers Alert Network, “and our record certainly speaks for itself. Yet no matter how much we’ve been able to contribute in the past, we are always looking for ways to provide more. When we first developed the idea of working directly with the training agencies, it was with the intent to increase the network of resources for divers, as well as the commitment of the dive industry to safety practices. We are delighted NAUI has made this public commitment with us, and we are proud to call them our ally in this continuing directive.”

Founded in 1959, NAUI Worldwide is the second-largest diver certifying organization in the world, whose members offer a full range of training programs from Skin Diver through Instructor Course Director, with dozens of specialty courses including Nitrox and Technical diving. Tens of thousands of NAUI member instructors, dive businesses, resorts, and service centers are located in countries throughout the world.

Divers Alert Network (DAN) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit medical and research organization dedicated to the safety and health of recreational scuba divers and is associated with Duke University Medical Center. Founded in 1980, DAN has served as a lifeline for the scuba industry by operating the only 24-hour diving emergency hotline, a lifesaving service for injured divers. Additionally, DAN operates a diving medical information hotline, conducts vital diving medical research, and develops and provides a number of first-aid and continuing education programs for everyone from beginning divers to medical professionals.

Source: http://www.naui.org

17 Apr 2007

Week in Photos: Croc Bites Off Hand, Easter Fertility Ritual, Chinese Cherry Blossoms, More

Okay so I know this isn't about diving or Fiji, but how can you not link to this!

National Geographic, is more graphic than ever before!

Week in Photos: Croc Bites Off Hand, Easter Fertility Ritual, Chinese Cherry Blossoms, More

Kaohsiung, Taiwan, April 11, 2007

Armed and dangerous, a Nile crocodile prowls the Kaohsiung zoo (top). Veterinarian Chang Po-yu was reaching through iron bars to remove tranquilizer darts before treating the 440-pound (200-kilogram) reptile when the inadequately sedated animal bit the vet's forearm off."

But for the vet, it wasn't quite a farewell to arm.

After being shot at twice, but apparently unhit, the croc dropped the arm. After seven hours of surgery, doctors successfully reattached the appendage, shown at bottom on a smiling Chang on April 12.

The largest African crocodile species, the Nile croc may be threatened in some parts of its range, according to the World Conservation Union. The reptiles can reach 16 feet (5 meters) in length and are estimated to kill 200 people a year.

Tagged Animal "Army" to Help Map Ocean, Experts Say

Tagged Animal "Army" to Help Map Ocean, Experts Say:

John Roach
for National Geographic News
February 23, 2004

Equipped with high-tech data-collection tags, a veritable army of marine animals is being prepped to swarm the North Pacific Ocean on a reconnaissance mission of epic proportions. Their mandate is simple: Live a normal life.

The tags collect data on the behavior and environmental preferences of these animals, helping researchers create interactive, three-dimensional portraits of the inner workings of what may be Earth's last great unknown, the ocean."

International Year of the Reef 2008

Ten years ago 1997 was declared the International Year of the Reef (IYOR). This was in response to the increasing threats and loss of coral reefs and associated ecosystems, such as mangroves and sea grasses. IYOR was a global effort to increase awareness and understanding about coral reefs, and support related conservation, research and management efforts.

IYOR 97 proved to be very successful with: over 225 organizations in 50 countries and territories participating, over 700 articles in papers and magazines generated, hundreds of scientific surveys undertaken, and gave rise to new marine protected areas as well as numerous local and global coral reef conservation dedicated organisations.

Recognizing that ten years later there continues to be an urgent need to increase awareness and understanding of coral reefs, and to further conserve and manage valuable coral reef and associated ecosystems, the International Coral Reef Initiative designated 2008 as the International Year of the Reef (IYOR 2008).

International Year of the Reef 2008 (IYOR 2008) will:

  • Strengthen awareness about the ecological, economic, social and cultural value of coral reefs and associated ecosystems

  • Improve understanding of the critical threats to coral reefs and generate both practical and innovative solutions to reduce these threats

  • Generate urgent action at all levels to develop and implement effective management strategies for conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems.
See the full website here....

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15 Apr 2007

Fiji Diving Video on Youtube.com

Love island raindance

Weather still deeply ropey. Probably won't change till this TV crew leave - they brought it with them, just to show millions of people in the UK(well, ok, tens of people) that the weather in Fiji can be grotty whilst back in England they are experiencing a tropical heatwave. Buggers.

14 Apr 2007

The Community Conservation Network (CCN)

The Community Conservation Network (CCN) assists local communities and their partners to sustain vital ecosystems and resources by fostering relationships and building capacity that results in improved long-term conservation, management effectiveness, and human security.

CCN envisions a world where:

  • Stakeholders are engaged in active decision-making about their own resources
  • Resource owners and users are practicing sound resource management
  • Local individuals receive training to improve their skills as environmental stewards
  • Biodiversity is conserved for the long-term in many locations
  • Local livelihoods, food security, and natural resources are sustained
  • Communities are reflective and knowledgeable about their work and its impact.
We at Diveaway have supported this through the FLMMA Network in Fiji and specifically the ICM Project.

See more of their work worldwide here...

Top 25 Sexiest Beach in the World

According to the latest Forbes Traveller magazine, "Picking a favourite spot among the 300-plus islands that comprise the tropical paradise of Fiji is a little like trying to select which morsel of Godiva chocolate to start with after opening the box,".

"Thankfully, mother nature has intervened: A break in the reef along the southwest curve of the main island--at the horseshoe-shaped Natadola Beach--makes for some perfect body-surfing."

Natadola ranked alongside other stunning destinations such as Eleuthera in The Bahamas, Lover's Beach on the Baja Peninsula, and Australia’s Byron Bay.

The great thing is that Hideaway Resort is just 30 minutes from this truly stunning beach and we can help you organise a day trip to the beach. Just another reason why Hideaway is located so perfectly for your holiday.

Schwarzenegger in Washington: Make Environment Sexy

WASHINGTON -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told environmentalists Wednesday they needed to stop nagging and make their cause sexy, likening it to bodybuilding's evolution from a weird pursuit to mainstream.

"Bodybuilding used to have a very sketchy image," the former bodybuilding champion told an environmental forum at Georgetown University. "... It had fanatics and it had weird people. ...But we changed that. ... It became sexy, attractive."

"Like bodybuilders, environmentalists were thought of as kind of weird and fanatics also, you know, the serious tree huggers," Schwarzenegger said.

He said those pushing for limits on greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution were not on the fringe but in the center of the debate on global warming, adding that the environmental movement needs to get to the point where it "is no longer seen as a nag or as a scold."

"We have to make it mainstream, we have to make it sexy, we have to make it attractive so that everyone wants to participate," Schwarzenegger said.

In Washington to meet with the head of the Environmental Protection Agency and Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein of California, the Republican governor said politicians who oppose acting to curb greenhouse gas emissions will endanger themselves.


"Your political base will melt away as surely as the polar ice caps," he said. "... You will become a political penguin on a smaller and smaller ice floe that is drifting out to sea. Goodbye, my little friend! That's what's going to happen."

The Bush administration has been slow to act to curb emissions that spur global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it was still evaluating a Supreme Court ruling that gives the agency the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Before his speech, Schwarzenegger talked with the agency's chief, Stephen Johnson, about California's request for federal permission to enforce tough state limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Johnson said Tuesday California may not proceed until its request is evaluated; he said that process would begin "shortly."

Schwarzenegger noted California's moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and to cut the carbon content in transportation fuels by 10 percent, acknowledging that these moves and others by his state would not turn the tide on global warming.

However, he said what happens in California has impact around the globe, and among states and Canadian provinces that have become California's environmental partners.

"We're going to change the dynamic of greenhouse gas and carbon emissions ourselves," Schwarzenegger said. "We are not waiting for anyone, we are not waiting for the federal government or Washington."

Source: Reuters

13 Apr 2007

French Maid TV: How To Give CPR

In this episode the sexy French Maids teach you how to give CPR.

WARNING: this podcast is intended for edutainment purposes only. Please don’t use this to learn CPR. To properly learn CPR please consult your local branch of the Red Cross.

French: http://www.croix-rouge.fr
American: http://www.redcross.org
and British: http://www.redcross.org.uk

PADI Media Relations Program Produces HUGE Results

Recent high-profile story placement on Away.com viewed by millions of potential scuba divers.

PADI is not only the leader in quality scuba diver training, it’s also the leader in quality scuba diving promotion. PADI’s media relations team recently orchestrated a major “learn to dive” feature story in Away.com, a sister website to Outside Magazine and Orbitz.com. This comprehensive feature story is available to more than 1.6 million unique visitors every day. Since being posted Feb. 2, the story remains one of the most viewed stories on the site.

PADI remains the only entity in the dive industry to employ a full-time in-house media relations staff. The result of this tangible commitment to new diver acquisition and scuba diving promotion is resulting in recent media placements in such diverse places as Outdoor Photographer magazine, Men’s Health/Best Life, and the Boston Globe.

According to PADI Marketing Director Kristin Vallette, “We understand that our industry needs more promotion. Our stores are asking us to help better publicize scuba diving and we’re responding. These stories not only help promote the scuba diving lifestyle, they also underscore PADI’s leadership position in the industry and direct potential new divers to PADI retailers across the country.”

Potential new divers are attracted to the informative pieces, colorful photos and exciting topics. In addition, the articles become long-term resource pieces for individuals seeking dive-related information through internet searches.

The latest feature story placement (located at http://away.com/practical-advice/learn-to-scuba-dive-1.html) include details on getting started in scuba, equipment overviews, links to PADI’s worldwide Dive Center and Resort directory and other highly relevant information.

PADI will continue to seek out feature story opportunities in coming months. Stay tuned for more exciting media exposure that PADI is bringing to the industry.

Others promise … PADI delivers.