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Vol. 50 No. 05

Program: Sponge Restoration

Virtual presentation via Zoom

Shelly Krueger is the Florida Sea Grant  agent for the University of Florida IFAS Extension,  Monroe County since 2013. Shelly is part of the UoF Extension faculty.   Florida Sea Grant is a UF-based program that supports research, education and extension to conserve coastal resources and enhance economic opportunities for the people of Florida.  In 2019, Shelly wrote the Sponge Restoration module for the new UF/IFAS Florida Master Naturalist Program Marine Habitat Restoration and she is the outreach and education lead for the Florida Keys Community Sponge Restoration program, a multi-agency collaboration led by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to restore sponge communities. 

Sponges are essential for healthy ecosystems because they continuously filter large volumes of water while feeding on phytoplankton, viruses, and bacteria. Sponges also transform water chemistry by cycling nutrients and provide essential nursery habitat for important fisheries species such as spiny lobster, stone crab, and bonefish.  The loss of such an important component of nearshore habitats has prompted calls for sponge restoration.  By transplanting sponges onto experimental sites, researchers are evaluating how to ensure sponge transplants become self-sustaining and help restore the health of Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay.   With Florida Sea Grant and EPA-funding, researchers are now testing transplant techniques to see if they can accelerate the restoration process.

Plan to attend and welcome back Shelly after she spoke to the club in March on Sargassum.

Overseas Diving Update

Upcoming trips 2022:

  • Fiji, Volivoli, May 10-17, 2022 – Fiji’s newest land based resort –– There are spots available at different prices - Because of Covid-19 we are still selling at 2020 prices.
  • Fiji Garden Islands Resort, Taveuni, May 16-24/27; Please call Nils
  • East End Grand Cayman, July 9-16, 2022  - New Destination: Compass Point Dive Resort & Ocean Frontiers dive shop:
  • Saba - land based - by ferry from St Marten - October 8-15, 2022 - $1,800. 11 dives, Breakfast and Dinner, tips. - A few spots remain open; Special bonus - we are holding a group ticket for the next 2 signups 

Upcoming trips 2023:

  • Damai 1, liveaboard, Mar 13-24, 2023 - Room for 1 single female
  • Damai 1, liveaboard, Mar 26-Apr 06, 2023 - 1 (or 2) spots might be open  
  • Little Cayman Beach Resort (first time in 4 years) - May 20-27, 2023 (this trip will be advertised at our Sept meeting)

Upcoming trips 2024:

  • Solomon Islands: Bilikiki live aboard, New dates: July 23 - Aug 2, 2024
  • We will start to look at extensions - as a group or individually - prior to the boat
  • If interested, call Nils, or wait for the trip to be advertised again
Nils Jacobsen
VP Overseas Diving

    Presidents Waves

    Welcome to May,

    Our Overseas team had another challenge with Soloman not opening up in time for our trip. Nils has been busy this spring overcoming travel challenges. I hope everyone appreciates all the hard work and experience that Nils puts in and shares with us. Special thank you to Nils.

    Our first meeting back at the Marriott was a success, we had 16 members at the meeting. This is our largest in person attendance since COVID excluding the holiday party. Special thank you to all the members that came to the meeting. Based on the attendance, we will be starting up the Lobster Pot again. Please come out and socialize with other members. If you plan to eat at the Bistro, please place your orders early, they were overwhelmed with our members last month.

    Because we are now returning to the Courtyard and in-person meetings, I need to ask for help for the Board with our open positions. If you are interested in serving on the board, please contact me.

    • AV Coordinator
    • Promotions Coordinator
    • Mini Trip Coordinator

    Also, if you have items you would like to donate for the Lobster Pot, they would be appreciated and as soon as we have a Promotions Coordinator we will coordinate to get these items from you.

    Happy diving,

    Chris Hardham

    Hospitality Hut

    Clare Florio Anthon

    Greetings From The Hospitality Hut,

    I was happy to attend the April, in person, general meeting of the USA Dive Club.  It was wonderful to see so many happy familiar faces.  If you have not yet attended an in person meeting, please consider doing so.

    No guests were in attendance, but I am sure as people venture out, that will change.

    I would like to wish a very Happy Mother's Day to all the great mothers in our club!  Remember your Mom on May 8th.

    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.

    I wish you all Happy Diving.

    Clare Anthon

    Hospitality Coordinator


    Diving with Wayne Sullivan on His Yacht

    Wayne Sullivan is one of our newest club members. He is also the owner of a 117 ft. yacht and likes to go diving with friends. His yacht has three bedrooms for six guests plus a master bedroom for Wayne's family. He joined our club so when openings come up on his dive trips, he can invite club members to join him for diving. That opportunity came in early April for Patrice Marker, Rob Myers, my wife Amy and me when Wayne invited us to join him in Turks and Caicos for a week of diving.

    Wayne sailed the yacht from his Fort Lauderdale home to Providenciales and the four of us flew there to meet the yacht. Then we spent days diving around the Caicos Islands. Wayne provides tanks and weights. The yacht has a compressor so tanks can be refilled with air after each dive. Wayne moved the yacht to various locations and we set our own schedule for diving. The crew was extremely helpful, providing cooking (three meals each day plus snacks), cleaning, surface support for divers, and everything necessary in running a yacht. There is no charge to be a guest on Wayne's yacht. You may tip the crew and I am sure you will want to do that after seeing all they do.

    Here are some pictures we took inside the yacht.



    Spring.....that time of year when a warm-water diver's fancy turns to diving.  Get the gear out, get it checked, and get on the boat. 

    Lureen Ferretti was a member in the past, has attended many USA local diving and social functions, and in April 2017, was a guest speaker at our Club with her presentation, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."


    She has too many memorable dives to mention and feels trips to the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia and Malpelo Columbia would be great dive destinations the Club might consider in the future.  Lureen has accumulated an amazing 73,000 dives since she was certified in 1992.  We look forward to Lureen having fun with the Club in Fiji.  WELCOME BACK.

    Oh, and if you're lucky enough to still have your mom.....GIVE HER A CALL.  Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8th

    As always, we invite you to browse through our extensive Photo Gallery to take a look at our social and diving activities.


    Overseas Dive Trips

    Local Diving

    Social events

    • No upcoming social events


    • No upcoming mini-trips

    Educational Blog

    Don't Force It | Lesson for Life | Scuba Diving

    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.

    Blood in your mask after a dive is concerning, but not necessarily dangerous.

    Steven P. Hughes

    Tina was on day three of a four-day dive trip. Conditions were great throughout the trip, with bright sun and warm water. On the first two days, she made three dives each—two from a boat in the morning and then a third shore dive each afternoon. As she finished up her second dive on the third day, she thought about skipping the shore dive that afternoon and taking a shopping excursion to buy some presents for friends at home.

    When she got to the surface and pulled off her mask, she was shocked to see the nose pocket full of blood. She immediately grew concerned.

    The Diver

    Tina, 40, had been diving for five years. Every year she made two trips to the ocean, making between eight and 10 dives each trip. She had an Advanced Open Water Diver cert and was nearing 100 lifetime dives.

    The Accident

    As Tina descended for that dive, she noticed it was a little harder than usual to equalize her ears. She blew extra hard to equalize and had to pause twice to let her ears “catch up” with her descent.

    She was shocked at the amount of blood in her mask when she reached the surface. She immediately consulted a diving physician when she reached shore, worried that something was seriously wrong with her sinuses or ears.

    Tina told the doctor she had been feeling a little stuffy that morning when she woke up but had written it off to the air conditioning unit in her hotel room. She didn’t have any significant medical history with her sinuses.


    Blood in your dive mask at the end of a dive is most likely not a life-threatening situation, but it is something just about every diver will have to deal with at one time or another over their diving career.

    Every diver learns basic ear equalization techniques during their initial dive training. Some divers are lucky and have ears that equalize easily. Other divers have to work at it.

    The ears and the sinuses are sensitive to pressure changes and must be equalized to the water pressure every few feet of descent. Most divers learn to pinch their nose and blow gently until they feel their ears “pop.” Many divers learn to pre-equalize their ears, overinflating them before they begin to submerge to get ahead of the pressure.

    Problems begin when there is even the slightest blockage in the Eustachian tube, often described as a soda straw leading from your mouth to your middle ears. Any kink or restriction in that straw makes middle-ear equalization harder. To overcome that problem, divers sometimes pinch their nose tighter and blow harder, even though they are taught not to do this. And that’s where the problems begin. In Tina’s case, it caused a blood vessel in her sinuses to rupture. The technical term for this is epistaxis, but in other words, she gave herself a nosebleed.

    Nosebleeds are common for both freedivers and scuba divers. The linings of the sinuses are filled with capillaries and blood vessels. When one of them breaks, or leaks, it releases what appears to be a large amount of blood. This can look even more troubling when it collects in the nose pocket of your mask and mixes with a little water. A single short-term nosebleed generally isn’t something to be concerned about, as long as the bleeding stops on its own. Bleeding that does not immediate stop, or that occurs repeatedly, requires medical evaluation.

    Often divers have a full feeling in their ears after a diving nosebleed, but that is likely related to the underlying cause of difficulty equalizing the ears. When you don’t equalize your ears promptly, the mucosal tissue in your sinuses can actually leak blood into your middle ears to equalize the pressure itself. This blood stays in the middle ear though, and doesn’t drain from the mouth or nose. That can cause its own set of problems, including middle ear infections.


    If you have a temporary blockage from a cold, or a more serious issue like an obstruction of some sort, you should wait until the condition clears or discuss the situation with your doctor before returning to diving.

    But if you have what many divers refer to as “slow ears,” there are several techniques you can use to help your ears equalize faster. Simply pinching and blowing harder is not a solution, and can cause serious ear injuries. This is why you’re taught to equalize gently. As mentioned earlier, you can gently equalize your ears before you begin your descent, giving them a head start. Other techniques include jutting your jaw forward or moving it from side to side as you equalize. If one ear is slower than the other, stretch your neck while you equalize, pointing the slow ear upward and keeping your head above your feet on descent. This helps straighten your Eustachian tube.

    With some practice, these add-on techniques will become second nature. If they do not, and you still struggle with ear equalization or have repeated nosebleeds when you dive, you should consult a physician, preferably one with experience dealing with scuba and freediving.

    A side note on sinus medications: Some divers regularly take them when diving. This is risky. If you take a sinus medication for more than three or four days in a row, it can cause significant rebound effects once the decongestant wears off. Known as rebound rhinitis, your symptoms may actually become worse in a few hours when the medication wears off, which can be especially problematic if it wears off while you are underwater and still have to surface with a blockage. It’s best not to use medications to dive.


    (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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