Log in

Dive Lines header

September 2023 Newsletter

Facebook Link

Vol. 51 No. 09

"Solar Powered" Sea Slugs  (ZOOm speaker)

Michael Middlebrooks, Ph.D., is an invertebrate zoologist and an advocate for the tiny wonders of the animal kingdom. He is an avid scuba diver and passionate about underwater exploration. His enthusiasm for sharing the world of micro-fauna is evident in his talks about the small but spectacular snails, shrimp, and sea slugs that make up a just a fraction of the underwater animal kingdom. He is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Tampa where he teaches hands-on courses in Invertebrate Zoology, Global Sustainability, and Coral Reefs. His classes feature photographs of marine invertebrates that he has taken during his adventures in underwater exploration around the world.

In Dr. Middlebrooks’ academic research, he uncovers the intricate relationships that colorful “lettuce” sea slugs have with the food they eat.  Specifically, he focuses on the behaviors of photosynthetic or “solar powered” sea slugs which can steal chloroplasts from the algae they eat and store them inside of their own cells to make energy. Dr. Middlebrooks also conducts research on seagrass restoration and examines the animal communities that live in, and depend on, seagrass beds. 

Overseas Diving Update

Upcoming trips 2024:

  • BVI (British Virgin Islands): Aggressor liveaboard - May 11-18, 2024 - 1 single male spot left - first come basis - limited time left
  • Solomon Islands: Bilikiki live aboard, New dates: July 24 - Aug 3, 2024
    • The trip was moved - just a single day later - to fit the Fiji Airschedule - 3 times a week - into Solomon Islands
    • The cost has gone up $500 - compared to the original Covid-19 delayed trip from 3 years ago. Fiji Air cost are expected to stay close to the original quote
    • We will start to look at land based extensions before Bilikiki - as a group or individually - say Fiji...
    • We have found two good land based extensions in PNG - for a week after Bilikiki...
    • PS: priority will be given to divers signed up for any of the Covid-19 cancelled dates (2021-2022) 
    • At this time Nils wants to hear from everybody interested...
    • You can read the original paperwork - everything but the dates and prices remains accurate
    • Updated trip details (coming late July) Trip details _ 2024
  • Little Cayman Beach Resort July 6-13, 2023 - to be announced in Sept or October
Nils Jacobsen
VP Overseas Diving

    Presidents Waves

    I hope everybody is enjoying their summer, but be aware that we are entering the most active portion of the hurricane season. Please double check your Hurricane Plan and be prepared since it is projected as an active season.

    Local diving is in full swing with many options available, please sign up and join the club out diving. Please keep an eye on upcoming dives and join in if you are inclined. It is always a lot of fun catching up on the boat and having lunch afterward with friends.

    Just a reminder that we have a September membership meeting with a Zoom speaker. The subject is Solar Power Sea Slugs. We all enjoy finding different nudibranchs while diving, so I personally look forward to learning more about them.

    It is that time of year again for Board of Director elections, the Board is proposing the following slater of electors

    • President – Chris Hardham
    • VP of Programs – Rick Dayan
    • VP Overseas – Nils Jacobsen
    • VP of Social Events – Open
    • VP of Local Diving – Ryan Goheen
    • Secretary – Amy Welman
    • Treasurer – Ronnie Farr

    Reminder: The BoD has voted to rescind the requirement to have a valid COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend a USA function. We hope this allows some members to come and join us at our meetings. The only exception is overseas travel, trips will comply with the local requirements.

    Happy diving,
    Chris Hardham


    Hospitality Hut

    Greetings From The Hospitality Hut,

    I am pleased to report at the August general meeting two first-time guests were in attendance.

    Thank you to Russ Manhold for introducing Brent Harder, and his lovely wife, Juliana Palou to the club.

    Brent was certified in 1973 and is a Dive Instructor.  He was first certified in West Virginia and has way too many dives to count.  Brent enjoys all aspects of diving such as spearfishing, photography, diving walls and wrecks and of course a relaxing drift dive to sightsee all the underwater bounty. 

    Brent's wife, Juliana, is a Master Diver, certified in  2015 and has logged 180 dives.  She enjoys looking into the deep blue for the large pelagic underwater wonders. Juliana would like to dive in the Maldives with her favorite dive buddy, Brent.

    I encourage you to visit our home page 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

    Educational Blog

    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.


    By Jon Hardy 

    Setting the Stage

    Ed.'s note: The incidents described here are real. Names of locations and people have been changed or deleted.

    Joe and Mac went through the same open-water certification course and buddied for all of their post-certification dives. Shortly after, the dive store that offered their diving course and supplied their rental equipment sponsored a boat diving trip, with their instructor serving as divemaster and coordinator.

    On the first day of the trip, Joe and Mac dived with their instructor Fred on two wrecks in the 70- to 90-foot range. Both dived in a safe and conscientious manner. For the next dive day, Joe and Mac asked Fred to let them dive on their own, which he willingly agreed to.

    The next morning, Mac appeared to be congested and to have an upset stomach; he may have taken some non-prescription medication. The boat ride out to the dive site was smooth, the water clear and calm. Joe and Mac made their own plan to dive the wreck. Fred approved the plan and they were on their way with no sign of stress or difficulty.

    The Dive

    Joe and Mac descended with ease. At the base of the mooring, around 80 feet, they adjusted their buoyancy and swam the wreck, side by side. After a very short time, Mac stopped suddenly. Joe swam close to check Mac's condition. Mac reached for Joe's octopus, was handed it by Joe, and took two or three deep breaths. Joe then took hold of Mac and started swimming to the mooring line. As he did, the octopus fell from Mac's mouth and Joe replaced it. This happened twice. Joe now realized that Mac was in serious trouble, added air to his own BC and ascended, while holding onto Mac. They ascended quickly, but under control, not pausing for a safety stop. At the surface, Joe raised his hand and yelled. Immediately divers from one of the other dive boats helped pull Mac on board, began giving CPR, and then raced to shore. An ambulance transferred Mac to a hospital where he was pronounced dead from a combination of air embolism and drowning.

    Legal Action and Analysis

    Mac's family sued the dive store and the instructor. Their claims against the store and instructor included renting defective equipment, providing improper training, keeping poor records, diving beyond 60 feet and failing to provide direct supervision.

    During the discovery process and subsequent trial, some of the realities of recreational diving were clarified:

    • Dive equipment rarely causes diving accidents, and, in this case, no defect could be found that related to the actual events.
    • Although Fred was an instructor, he was not teaching at the time of the dives; his original training of these divers had been more than adequate; the divers had successfully made several dives without an instructor after their certification.
    • How well dive rosters and log books are completed does not cause diving accidents.
    • The dive industry's recommendations on such things as depth limits are just that — suggestions, not regulations.
    • Indirect supervision is the most common method used by dive professionals when supervising certified divers. Given this, there is nothing a dive professional can do to directly aid a diver in need.
    • Dive professionals do not have police powers to keep certified divers from diving. In fact, in this case, Joe and Mac were not only certified, but their experience exceeded the dives done in an Advanced Open Water course.
    • Joe's rescue efforts to help Mac were exactly what a dive professional would have done in the same situation.

    We will never know what actually happened to Mac, but it was clear some medical condition caused him respiratory distress and did not allow his airway to equalize on the way to the surface. There is nothing a rescuer can do to open another diver's airway while under water. If a diver is not breathing, the best course of action is to get to the surface with all deliberate speed. The dive store was dropped from the case, and the jury found in favor of the defendant instructor.

    Lessons for Life

    • Be fit for diving — free from illness and not medicated to cover up an underlying illness.
    • If you should ever throw up under water, do so through your regulator and then clear it or switch to your octopus for a clear airway.


    For me, Labor Day brings back memories of the beginning of the school year.  But Labor Day is much more than that.  It's an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers, and you may even get the day off.  Whatever your plans, we wish you a very happy and safe day.

    For divers, September brings back the goliath groupers.  These huge fish have love on their minds.  Actually, they congregate in August and will continue this behavior until October.  At times they gather in large groups of 100 or more to spawn - it's called the goliath grouper aggregation.  It's a great reason to join the USA Dive Club.  We have a trip each year to try and catch the groupers getting down to business.

    We have very active overseas and local diving programs and, although this year's overseas diving is over, Nils Jacobsen, VP of Overseas Diving, is hard at work on the 2024 and 2025 seasons.  Ryan Goheen, VP of Local Diving, will keep his program going strong through October.  Ryan, along with USA's year-round divers, will continue diving together through the winter months.

    Just to keep things interesting, from time to time we'll come up with a non-diving event.  Guests are welcome to attend all of our functions.

    What are you waiting for?  It's simple to join us.  From our Home page just click "JOIN US" and follow the easy-to-understand instructions.  Even better, visit us at one of our meetings.  We meet on the first Thursday of every month at the Aloft Hotel, Delray Beach.  We'd enjoy meeting you. 

    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


    • No upcoming mini-trips

    Bonaire Trip Report: June 24 - July 1, 2023

    Our group of 21 USA Divers enjoyed the gorgeous teal blue water of Bonaire while at Divi Dive Resort.  As nature lovers we found delight in the great ocean views, beautiful landscaping, colorful butterflies and busy humming birds on the premises.  We had sunny weather, reasonable seas, and yummy breakfasts along with helpful and experienced boat crew who graciously let us have a significant say in our destinations, which was much appreciated. 

    In the afternoon/ evening  we took advantage of our afternoon boat dive / shore dives on our own time schedule.  Some chose to relax around the pool while others did so at the beach front bar, the casino or on tours to see the salt flats, flamingos, caves and donkey preserves.  Short walks into town let us enjoy the the local restaurants.   Some favorite spots were the Umbrella, At Sea (best oysters ever), It Rains Fishes, Mezze, and C'est La Vie.


    USA's Lobster Pot drawings Include CASH prizes, and a variety of PRIZES donated by 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'.

    © Copyright Under Sea Adventurers Dive Club 2023

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software