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October 2021 Newsletter

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Vol. 49 No. 10

Changing Seas, a South Florida PBS Series

Alexa Elliott is the creator of Changing Seas, a marine science series produced at South Florida PBS in Miami, Florida.  Now in production of its 14th Season, Changing Seas episode topics have ranged from the plight of Peru’s penguins to American Samoa’s resilient coral reefs. The series has aired on 95 percent of PBS stations and in more than 39 countries.

Alexa has worked in public broadcasting since 1996, both in public radio as well as television production. She has produced television programs of various genres, but nature, science and environmental programming have always been her favorite. Alexa has received numerous awards for her work, including the prestigious Communication Award presented by the National Academy of Sciences, eleven Emmy Awards, and others.
In addition to her day job, Alexa is on the board of the Ocean Media Institute, a creative hub that works with various stakeholders to openly create and distribute media that promotes public understanding of ocean science and conservation. She has two degrees in Broadcast Journalism – a BA from Morehead State University and a MA from the University of Florida. 

Presidents Waves

Welcome to October and Fall is finally here. Summer in South Florida can be challenging with the oppressive heat, but soon the temperatures will cool down some. Unfortunately the water temperatures will also and we know some of our members don’t appreciate the cooler water. This is good motivation to get some local dives scheduled. Ryan has several on the calendar, so sign up and enjoy some time in the water, this is one of the reasons we all live here.

Goliath Grouper protection is active again, please check out the following link and anything you can do is greatly appreciated. These are amazing animals that many of us enjoy diving with and photographing.


It is that time of year again already, we have Board Elections upcoming and need your assistance in continuing our great club. The following are the current officers and they have agreed to serve for the next year.

Office Current Officer  2022 
President Chris Hardham Yes
VP of Overseas Diving Nils Jacobson Yes
VP of Local Diving Ryan Goheen Yes
VP of Programs Rick Dayan Yes
VP of Social Events Alan Feuerman Yes
Secretary Amy Wellman Yes
Treasurer Ronnie Farr Yes

Please be aware that any member meeting the qualifications can be nominated at any of our membership meetings prior to the election.

If you would like to view free Zoom tutorials, you can find them here. Or you can take a free Zoom class from Geeks On Tour here.

Don't forget to keep checking our Facebook page for the interesting articles Russ is posting. https://www.facebook.com/usadiveclub

Happy diving,

Chris Hardham

Overseas Dive Trips

Local Diving

Social events

  • No upcoming social events


  • No upcoming mini-trips

Haunted Mini Golf
Social EvenT

Putt N Around Mini Golf
October 17, 5:00 PM

350 NE 5th Ave.
Delray Beach, FL 33483

Putt N Around is famous for their Halloween decorations, which are up all through the month of October.

Meet at the Sports Bar at 5:00pm for some drinks/snacks then have a round of Haunted Miniature Golf. The standard admission is $11 per golfer for a round of 18 holes. That should take about 45 minutes to complete. We will be in groups of no more than six players per group. Are you ready for a ghostly time of Haunted Mini Golf?

For more information, contact Alan (social@usadiveclub.org).

Hospitality Hut

Clare Florio Anthon

Greetings From The Hospitality Hut,

A big welcome home to 28 USA divers who survived the South Caicos trip along with their fearless trip leader, Ronnie!

I am hoping to see some new faces at the October general meeting.  I will still be joining in on ZOOM.  If you have a guest attending, please give me their name so I may introduce him/her during our social time.

I encourage you to visit our home page www.usadiveclub.org.  Please click on the calendar and keep up to date on all the diving and non-diving scheduled activities. You may also take a look at the Photo Gallery and take a peek at past events.  Julie is working daily on posting your images to the Photo Gallery.

I wish you all Happy Diving

Clare Anthon
Hospitality Coordinator


Hello Fellow Members,

At USA’s September Board of Director’s meeting, Julie Manhold was appointed to the Membership team, and looks forward to joining Stephanie for the remainder of this year.

In spite of the pitfalls COVID-19 has brought with it, our Club has now resumed local and overseas diving, and continues to attract new members.  Warm ocean waters, along with excellent ocean conditions and the best dive buddies anywhere, members have kept our summer dives filled to capacity.

The USA Dive Club would like to welcome new member Xzavion Binns and returning member Bernd Meier.

Xzavion has multiple dive certifications.  As an underwater photographer, he enjoys macro as well as wide-angle photography.  His most memorable dive was with the hammerheads, and he dreams of diving with the manta rays at night.  Other interests include kayak fishing, running, cooking and meeting new friends.  

Bernd is a long-time former member of the USA Dive Club, and has taken the plunge over 2,000 times.  Rarely without his camera, Bernd enjoys local diving, and as a world traveler and underwater photographer, he has been capturing beautiful undersea and land photos from all over the globe.  His most memorable dive was in Raja Ampat, and a trip to Misool might be in his future.

We invite you to browse through USA's extensive photo gallery for look at our local and overseas diving along with varied social activities.

Please extend a warm USA welcome to our new members.

Happy Bubbling,
Membership Coordinators

             Stephanie Voris                           Julie Manhold



Trip Report: East Bay Resort / Reef Divers
South Caicos, Sep 11-18, 2021

Something Old – Something New – Something Borrowed – Something Blue

In some ways this was the club’s worst trip ever – a trip from Hell – at least until we got there… We were scheduled for June 2020 at Little Cayman Beach Resort – then due to Covid-19 was pushed out to April 2021 – and when that did not look plausible pushed out again to Sept 2021… Even though the last date looked risky from a weather perspective we felt adequately protected by the policies of Clearly Cayman and Cayman Airways. When we got into the last fray – triggered by the Cayman government’s unwillingness to open on a schedule similar to the rest of the Caribbean – Ronnie and I got “tunnel vision” – and focused only on medical and insurance related Turks and Caicos (TCI) entry criteria.

Clearly Cayman repatriated a fraction of their dive shop – Reef Divers - a flotilla of 4 dive boats - from Little Cayman to East Bay Resort, South Caicos. Despite the less than ideal season a large number of our divers originally committed to Little Cayman accepted the move and on top of that we got several late/additional sign ups – as this was something new and interesting. Except for a few divers that made “half” a Fiji trip in March 2020, most of our divers had not been on a club trip for over 2 years. The general Attitude was “Just Do IT”. In addition we were up against “a wall” – any additional delay would have been equivalent to a complete cancellation – as the trips in 2022 – all looks to be on track/on schedule

We ended up with 28 divers, our second biggest trip this century - second only to a prior trip to Little Cayman. All in all we had a great time – so wonderful to get back the water with our fellow members

Something Old:

Clearly Cayman is famous for the hospitality of their staff. The diving staff delivered Reef Divers famous Valet diving to expectations. Clearly Cayman is also famous for their buffet food service… The chef was actually a new hire – but he performed perfectly to expectations and traditions – including serving Ice Cream to Roger and others – not satisfied with the sweet selection on displays…

Some of our more experienced members have recollections – and pictures – of diving South Caicos around 1980…

Something New:

To most – S Caicos is a new destination – And East Bay Resort is a relatively new (10-12 years old) set of buildings. The accommodations are exquisite all Ocean View suites – excessive space, well-functioning AC. If you need to ride out a hurricane – hunkering in place – this is where you want to do it! – The place is built like a fortress. Because we were the first big group a few things - AC and other amenities - had to be repaired or swapped out and we had a single complete room swap.

Large Infinity Pool with swim up bar. The dining area was hybrid – felt like outside, but under hard roof and well protected in case on inclement weather. The Wi-Fi worked well (almost?) all the time – and a few people were able to attend work events in lieu of diving

Something Borrowed

One thing is slightly different than Little Cayman – because we do fly charters on the last leg from Provo to S Caicos you need to get your luggage – including the heavy camera stuff - for a few people …on the correct (and only) plane. We did request special allowance for 3 “heavy duty” photographers – and we had no problems. The charter operation was smooth and effective.

Some of our divers – facing the 60 lbs. luggage limits - actually did us a favor – by committing to rental gear. For the rest of us packing light was a stressful exercise – mistakes did happen – and there was more borrowing from each other than normal. To maximize payload – I did purchase from Amazon and “official JetBlue” personal item bag – only 8 ounces

Something Blue

We were promised Nitrox (but the compressor was delayed)* – which is a prerequisite for normal healthy blue water diving in the Caicos – the wall crust at 50-60’ and the best pictures – my personal wide angel-only opinion - are only after you drop below the crest – so my assessment of the diving – and the ability to take the kind of pictures I care for – “is wait and see” … On two of the diving days the dive boats took us to Grand Turk. Our club was there last time in 2000 with Peter Hughes and we did dive the same moorings as back then (at least the mooring still left). Especially the first morning dive in Grand Turk is deep dark blue – because the position of the sun keeps the wall in the shade. I did find some nice clusters of Giant Purple Tube Sponges – a characteristic Grand Turk Picture. Because all the diving in Grand Turk is leeward – West facing – the water was flat with little to no current.

For the S Caicos diving a little more practice will help improve things – say picked dive sites with acceptable current and/or choosing to drift dive when appropriate

On the dive map – there were sites – North of South Caicos, e.g. East Caicos. While we were there those sites were all classified as “exploratory” – maybe Bob and Phebe that stayed behind for another 1.5 week got try that area.

At S Caicos we had two shallow dives looking for Eagle Rays. We saw them on both dives – but only close enough for pictures on our last dive. Due to the size of the group – we were split between two boats. The key dive master on our boat, Lee, had a classical European sense of humor and took great care to ensure that Alan was always “adequately” instructed before each dive

*In lieu of Nitrox we had to suffer with the substitution to a free drink card (21 drinks) each. We had only a few complaints on this account

Quoting a past president – “if you missed it – you missed it”

Ronnie and Nils

PS – we should have a folder in the club’s photo achieve shortly

Educational Blog

Dive Training: Save Your Breath | Scuba Diving

By John Francis

This article represents the views of the author.  The article has not been fact checked by myself, the Board of Directors or any member of the USA Dive Club.

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

Diving Tips: Save Your Breath

During the surface interval, the divemaster makes his rounds, recording each diver's air consumption. You admit to having only 300 psi left, which is cutting it a little close, though you made a slow, safe ascent and a complete safety stop.

But most of the other divers have 600, 800 even 1,100 psi left! What's up with that? Are they hanging out at the surface for half the dive? Sipping from a hidden pony bottle? Stealing from your octopus?

More likely, they've learned not to waste air. But cheer up: We can get you back in the game and save you as much as 500 psi. You need only follow three simple diving tips: 1. Think slow. 2. Think slippery. 3. And act sleepy. Now, how hard can that be?

1. Think Slow

Water is some 800 times denser than air, and your speed is proportional to the square of the energy it takes to produce it. You already know how hard it is to wade across a swimming pool, even slowly. Doubling your speed requires about four times as much energy. Or turn that around: Wading across the pool half as fast takes one-fourth as much energy.

So go slow. Swim slow, turn slowly, reach slowly for your console--do everything in slow motion.

Several changes to your normal pattern will save energy and air, but swimming slowly is the obvious air-saver. Also, don't forget to move your hands, arms, head and torso slowly. Unless you pay attention, you'll try to make movements at "normal" speeds, which, having been learned in air, are too fast under water.

Other Ways To Go Slow

  • Duck currents. They're usually weaker at the bottom or along a wall.
  • Use your hands. Where appropriate, pull yourself rock-to-rock, hand-over-hand, across the bottom. (Don't touch coral and other living things, of course.)
  • Stay warm. Your body burns calories and consumes oxygen to generate heat, so conserve it. Wear a hood or beanie, even in warm water.
  • Make short fin strokes. Besides finning slowly, keep the strokes short. Wide fin strokes move a lot of water but give only a little more propulsion.
  • Get better fins. Some fins are more efficient at translating muscle power into movement. A good pair means you'll kick with less effort, and less often.
  • Be physically fit. When even a slow speed is an all-out effort, you'll burn more energy than a fit diver for whom the same speed is easier. The more fit you are the more energy-efficient (and air-efficient) you'll be.

2. Think Slippery

Save energy and air by reducing drag. It's no coincidence that fish, whales and seals have smooth bodies with very few appendages. Divers, by contrast, start out with long, lanky appendages, then load themselves down with lots of bulky gear. Masks, BCs, tanks and the rest of it present rough, complicated shapes that cause lots of turbulence and drag.

There are many steps you can take to streamline yourself, but if you do only one thing, do this: Fine-tune the amount of lead you carry and where you carry it. Your goal is neutral buoyancy with minimum BC inflation and a perfectly horizontal position. This will allow your torso, hips and legs to follow through the "hole" made in the water by your head, shoulders and the end of your tank, while enlarging it as little as possible.

If you are negative, for example, you will have to fin yourself upward a little, as well as forward, to maintain a constant depth. You'll look like a "tail-dragger" airplane taxiing on the runway: Your feet and legs will be lower than your shoulders, enlarging the "hole" in the water and causing drag. If you are positively buoyant, you'll have to fin downward, with the same result.

Carrying the minimum amount of weight is important because if you are heavy (the usual case), you'll have to inflate your BC to compensate for the extra lead. The inflated BC is physically bigger and enlarges the "hole" you make in the water.

Once you have the right amount of weight, you'll need to distribute it so that, without moving or finning, your body will assume a horizontal position. That's correct "trim." Many divers are heavy at the head and shoulders and light at the hips and legs, so they swim in a bent-waist, butt-up posture or with their fins high to drive their hips down. In either case, they're pushing more water aside than necessary, causing drag and wasting air.

Other Ways To Reduce Drag

  • Clip your console and octopus close to your body. Keep as much gear as possible in the slipstream of your body.
  • Adjust hose routings. Choose different ports and shorter hoses to keep hoses close to your body. Just don't make them so short they restrict your head movement or your ability to read your console.
  • Get a better BC. Look for the combination of fit and just the right amount of buoyancy. A BC that's too large or has excess lift will create a surprising amount of drag. An oversized model will also tend to shift, throwing off proper trim.
  • Fin with short strokes. Not only are shortened fin kicks more efficient, they keep your fins inside your slipstream.
  • Keep your hands to your sides. And keep them still.
  • Hide your snorkel. Strap it to your calf, tuck it under your BC, put a foldable snorkel in a pocket, or leave it behind.
  • Put small accessories in BC pockets. Small objects like lights, whistles and safety sausages cause disproportionate amounts of drag when fluttering in the "breeze."

3. Act Sleepy

Here, we're talking about your breathing pattern — not your sleeping habits. If you do only one thing to make your breathing pattern more efficient, do this: Breathe almost as if you were asleep — slowly and deeply. This saves air by promoting the most complete exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

You might think that taking shallow breaths, as if sipping from your tank, would conserve air. In fact, it wastes air. Every breath first brings to your lungs the "dead air" that remained in your throat and trachea from your last exhalation. This dead air has a high concentration of carbon dioxide and a low concentration of oxygen. The high carbon-dioxide concentration triggers the urge to take another breath, even before you need more oxygen.

Deep breaths, on the other hand, dilute the dead air with fresh air and deliver more oxygen to the lungs. That not only promotes quicker gas exchange, it also delays the urge to take another breath. A tank lasts longer when you take deeper breaths because you need fewer of them.

Breathe slowly too. That increases your uptake of oxygen and your discharge of carbon dioxide simply because each breath stays in your lungs longer. It gives more time for gas molecules to pass between the air sacs in your lungs and your bloodstream.

Other Ways To Breathe Sleepy

  • Exhale completely. This reduces the "dead air" volume and eliminates as much carbon dioxide as possible, thus delaying the urge to take another breath.
  • Pause after inhaling. Use your diaphragm to hold air in your lungs a few extra seconds while keeping your throat open. This allows even more time for gas exchange. Your breathing pattern should be: Exhale, inhale, pause. Exhale, inhale, pause.
    Note: Every time we describe this breathing pattern, someone writes us, "Isn't this skip breathing?" It's not. Skip breathing involves holding your breath by closing your epiglottis (like when you grunt) and holding it for much longer. Closing your throat creates a closed air space that is vulnerable to embolism if you ascend. Keeping your throat open avoids that risk. Besides, skip breathing doesn't work. Holding your breath too long means retaining too much carbon dioxide, triggering the urge to breathe sooner than necessary and resulting in rapid shallow breathing. The net result: You use more air by skip breathing, not less.
  • Buy a high-performance regulator. With the best models, considerable engineering has gone into reducing the work of breathing induced by the regulator itself.

Comparing Gauges
If you finish the dive with less air than the next diver, does it really mean you aren't as skilled or experienced or in tune with nature?

Maybe, but it's just as likely you're bigger than the other diver. Or that you followed a slightly deeper profile or carried a camera. Or that you have different genes. It might even mean that somebody's pressure gauge is inaccurate, or that somebody's tank got a better fill.

Sure, if you use 1,000 pounds more than your buddy on the same profile, you've got a problem you should correct. But a 200- or 300-pound difference? It's meaningless.

And when faced with a choice between cutting into your 500-psi reserve or cutting short a safety stop — cut into the reserve. A safer profile is more important than a well-intentioned guideline. Just do a better job of gas management on the next dive.

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(Suspended until live meetings are allowed to resume)

USA's Lobster Pot drawings Include CASH prizes, and a variety of PRIZES donated by South Florida Dive Shops,
other Sponsors or Club Members.

Funds from ticket donations help to support our many club activities. Congratulations to all our Lobster Pot participants. Be sure to visit our Local dive shops who support us and say 'Thanks'.

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