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Vol. 49 No. 05

May 2021 Program

The Turtle Hospital

Hello My name is Christine Watt.

My love of turtles began at the early age of 14 in NY, when I found painted turtles in my back yard.

In my twenties, I moved to Florida where I saw an advertisement in the local paper, ‘make a reservation to watch a female loggerhead nest at night!’ Interested, I called to reserve a spot; but the guy in the office was a newbie, it was his first day working and so he serendipitously registered me for a turtle nesting educational guide training by mistake! Ever since that pivotal moment, I’ve served as an active member of the Sea turtle Preservation Society as a permitted guide for night time turtle nesting watch and was on the stranding team. That was for almost 16 years, and since then I’ve continued to work in the Sea Turtle world as an educator, a permitted guide, and turtle nest surveyor.

While attending a Sea Turtle Symposium in 2002 I met Richie Moratti, the founder of The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL one of the largest and first Sea Turtle Hospitals in the world. I would also see him regularly at FWC permit holders meeting. 7 seven years ago, I asked him if I could volunteer at the Turtle Hospital during the summers as I was working in a school and had summers free. Richie said “we couldn’t have volunteers at this time, but we are looking for someone to work in our educational department.”

The rest is history, I left the school systems after 14 years to become an educator here at The Turtle Hospital and I’ve never looked back.

I currently hold a nesting position here in the Keys as a nesting Surveyor in Marathon. 2021 Nesting season will be my 6th year.

 

Presidents Waves


I hope that as many people as possible helped to preserve the fauna at the Blue Heron Bridge last month. We all benefit from the great variety that live in this unique location.

This month I would like to ask you to consider attending The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will have hearings on May 12 and 13. These sessions are virtual https://myfwc.com/about/commission/commission-meetings/may-2021/

May 12 Goliath Grouper. Staff will provide a review and discussion of goliath grouper, including biology, updates on ongoing research, and stakeholder opinions. Staff will seek Commission approval on next steps for goliath management in state waters, including whether to prepare a draft rule for limited harvest. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 2 hours.
Summary Memo | Presentation

On May 13 the meeting will continue with a session on Lobster mini season that many of our Members may want to attend as well.

May 13 Spiny Lobster Mini-Season. Staff will provide a presentation on Florida’s recreational two-day spiny lobster mini-season, with a special focus on Monroe County and the Florida Keys. Topics will include management history and recent stakeholder requests related to management in Monroe County. Public comment on this agenda item will be limited to no more than 1 hour.
Summary Memo | Presentation

Both of these sessions are virtual, so if you have the time and desire, I hope you are able to attend.

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
President


Club Announcements

Membership Coordinator Needed

We need a volunteer to help Stephanie as Membership Coordinator. Please contact president@usadiveclub.org or membereship@usadiveclub.org if you are willing to help out.

Missing Club Emails?

Please check your spam folder for club emails that are coming from our Google Groups email system. Several members have commented that they are not receiving certain announcements that have been sent out. Spam filters are triggered by emails that are sent to numerous email addresses with the same content.

This may be where your club communications are.

Hospitality Hut

Clare Florio Anthon
                   HAPPY ANNIVERSARY USA DIVE CLUB!

Greetings From The Hospitality Hut,

THE UNDER SEA ADVENTURERS DIVE CLUB IS CELEBRATING IT’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY THIS YEAR!!!  WE ARE GOLDEN!

Unfortunately, COVID is still here, but the good news is more and more people are eligible to receive the vaccine and are doing so.

I know we are all looking forward to getting back to some form of "normal." Won't it be wonderful to fill a boat for a local dive and be able to enjoy the company of our friends!? Please continue to stay safe.

In the meantime, 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 keeps adding images of ZOOM Social events.

I wish you all Happy Diving
Clare Anthon
Hospitality Coordinator

Membership

Hello Fellow Members:

Spring has sprung. The weather is hot again, humidity is high and the water is warming up. More people will be diving and looking for buddies which can also mean looking for a club to join. I am hopeful that we will see more activity with new members over the next few months. Keep spreading the word and looking forward to diving with you again this summer.

Happy Bubbling,
Stephanie Voris

Membership Coordinator

Come join the fun. 

 

Overseas Dive Trips

Local Diving

Mini-Trips

  • No upcoming mini-trips

Social events

  • No upcoming social events


Upcoming events

    • May 13, 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom

    The USA Dive Club Board of Directors will have a virtual meeting using Zoom.

    You must register in advance for this meeting. Click on the link below to register. Members are welcome to attend. Anyone who wishes to attend must register using this link.

    https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwrceuupj0oE9wwZ0otgXXfFzUyfxc1Ra2l

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the link you will need to click in order to join the meeting. You must register before 5:00 PM on the day of the meeting.

    Please join the meeting at least five minutes early to allow time to admit people from the waiting room before the meeting starts.

    Meeting Ground Rules:

    • Keeping your mic muted while listening is common courtesy for meetings over 8-10 attendees.
    • This is a business meeting for the purpose of allowing Board members to do the work of the Club in a restricted amount of time. Guests are to remain silent unless a question is directed to them. Hosts may mute or remove quests that violate this rule.
    • Anyone can use Chat to send questions and comments during the meeting. Civility is required.

    Agenda - Details To Be Determined

    1. Call to Order
    2. Roll Call -- Secretary
    3. Membership and Historian appointed positions for 2021
    4. Motions to approve Minutes as distributed by Secretary
    5. Distribute new member applications (if any)
    6. Old Business
      1. Online Membership Application
        1. William Schrier
      2. Physical application
        1. Updates to pages 1 & 2
        2. Consolidation of membership agreement
    7. New Business
      1. Vote on new membership applications (if any)
      2. Future membership meetings and compliance with new statutes
    8. Reports
      1. President (Chris Hardham)
      2. VP of Programs (Rick Dayan)
      3. VP of Overseas Diving (Nils Jacobsen)
      4. VP of Local Diving (Ryan Goheen)
      5. VP of Social Events (Alan Feuerman)
      6. Secretary (Amy Wellman)
      7. Treasurer (Ronnie Farr)
      8. Hospitality (Clare Anthon)
      9. Membership (Stephanie Voris)
      10. Photographer (Laura Moran)
      11. Photo Gallery Coordinator (Julie Manhold)
      12. Newsletter (Roger Cooper)
      13. Education Coordinator (Howard Ratsch)
      14. Social Media Coordinator (Russ Manhold)
      15. Historian (Robert Shearer)
    9. Adjournment

    All members are welcome to attend Board of Directors meetings as observers.

    • May 30, 2021
    • 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM (EDT)
    • Alsdorf Park, 2974 NE 14th St, Pompano Beach, FL 33062
    Register

    Dive Details:  60/40 2 tank boat dive on two reefs, 8 spots available.  Please be there by Noon for a 12:30 departure.  

    Gear needs: If you require tanks or other gear contact boat to reserve, these fees are paid directly to boat.

    Trip Cost: $ 70, (Guests will be allowed when space exists after all members are on boat). Cash or Checks (made out to Under Sea Adventurers and received no later than 5 days from trip or your spot will go to those on standby list)

    Boat Requirement:  All divers need a Signal Sausage, Dive Computer or other Timing Device. 

    Misc: Any questions please contact trip leader.


    • June 03, 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom meeting

    USA Dive Club members and their guests are invited to attend a virtual meeting using Zoom.

    You must register in advance for this meeting. Click on the link below to register. Members bringing a guest should send the guest's name and email address to president@usadiveclub.org so the guest's registration will be approved. Members and guests must register using this link.



    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the link to click when it is time to join the meeting. You must register before 5:00 PM on the day of the meeting.

    Please join the meeting a little early to allow time to admit people from the waiting room before the meeting starts.

    We will start the meeting with 10 minutes of social time so we can catch up with our friends. Then we will turn the meeting over to our speaker.

    Program:


     
    • June 12, 2021
    • 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • 728 Casa Loma Blvd, Boynton Beach
    Register

    Dive Details:  Please arrive no later than 7:30 am to unload your car, park, and board the boat for an 8 am departure

    2 tank boat dive on a two Reefs (Average depths 115 ft. / 40 ft.).  Please sign the online waiver for Loggerhead located here: Loggerhead Waiver

    Gear needs: If you require tanks or other gear contact boat to reserve, these fees are paid directly to boat.

    Trip Cost: $ 81.30 ( Guests will be allowed when space exists after all members are on boat). Cash or Checks (made out to Under Sea Adventurers and received no later than 5 days from trip or your spot will go to those on standby list)

    Boat Requirement:  All divers need a Signal Sausage, Dive Computer or other Timing Device. 

    Misc: Any questions please contact trip leader.


    • July 01, 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom meeting

    USA Dive Club members and their guests are invited to attend a virtual meeting using Zoom.

    You must register in advance for this meeting. Click on the link below to register. Members bringing a guest should send the guest's name and email address to president@usadiveclub.org so the guest's registration will be approved. Members and guests must register using this link.



    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the link to click when it is time to join the meeting. You must register before 5:00 PM on the day of the meeting.

    Please join the meeting a little early to allow time to admit people from the waiting room before the meeting starts.

    We will start the meeting with 10 minutes of social time so we can catch up with our friends. Then we will turn the meeting over to our speaker.

    Program:


     
    • July 24, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • July 31, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Belize Aggressor IV

    DEMA Special

    New Date due to pandemic: July 24 - 31, 2021

    Sold Out - Waitlist Only

    $2850 without air

    Includes:

    • Accommodations aboard the yacht
    • Diving - up to 5 dives a day – 5.5 days
    • Tanks, weights, belts
    • Airport and/or Hotel transfers on day of charter
    • All meals and snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, local beer and wine
    • Tips

    Does not include:

    • Nitrox $100
    • Port Fee $110
    • Airfare: FLL-BZE - Please book your own flights but wait till we check the status of Southwest as a carrier in March/April
      • Southwest is preferable from Ft. Lauderdale due to cost.
      • We can board on arrival at the dock - after 3pm.
    • Friday Night Dinner - We are on our own in town.

    We can board on arrival at the dock, after 3 pm.

    Your passport must be valid until at least 1/31/2022.

    This is a trip that the club has done several times – but not as often as we would have liked due to high airfare cost. Now with Southwest as the second carrier the prices for air have dropped 60% or more. Together with the DEMA special pricing ($600 rebate) we are able to offer this trip at a very attractive price point. We are likely to be greeted by a known face - Captain Dennis Gautreau – who was our captain in Bahamas in 2014.

    Most of the diving will be off Lighthouse Reef, but we will occasionally also do Turnefe. Expect to see both large and small animals: Tarpon, Grouper, Eagle Rays, Squid, Octopi, Seahorses, Frogfish, etc.

    Boat-site: https://www.aggressor.com/belize-iv.php

    It’s always wise to purchase travel insurance for any trip. Here are a few links you can use if interested:

    To see some photos from prior trips - BZE AGG III - 2015
    https://usadiveclub.org/Photos - and check out 2015

    Trip Prices / payment schedule:  Use for new sign-ups only. Existing travelers please hold remaining payments until otherwise instructed.

    Click here for the signup form.

    Trip Lead: Nils: overseasdiving@usadiveclub.org

    • August 05, 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom meeting

    USA Dive Club members and their guests are invited to attend a virtual meeting using Zoom.

    You must register in advance for this meeting. Click on the link below to register. Members bringing a guest should send the guest's name and email address to president@usadiveclub.org so the guest's registration will be approved. Members and guests must register using this link.



    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the link to click when it is time to join the meeting. You must register before 5:00 PM on the day of the meeting.

    Please join the meeting a little early to allow time to admit people from the waiting room before the meeting starts.

    We will start the meeting with 10 minutes of social time so we can catch up with our friends. Then we will turn the meeting over to our speaker.

    Program:


     
    • September 02, 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom meeting

    USA Dive Club members and their guests are invited to attend a virtual meeting using Zoom.

    You must register in advance for this meeting. Click on the link below to register. Members bringing a guest should send the guest's name and email address to president@usadiveclub.org so the guest's registration will be approved. Members and guests must register using this link.



    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the link to click when it is time to join the meeting. You must register before 5:00 PM on the day of the meeting.

    Please join the meeting a little early to allow time to admit people from the waiting room before the meeting starts.

    We will start the meeting with 10 minutes of social time so we can catch up with our friends. Then we will turn the meeting over to our speaker.

    Program:


     
    • September 11, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • September 18, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Little Cayman Beach Resort

    IT’s Back! It’s Bigger! It’s Better!

    LIttle Cayman Beach Resort

    Sept 11 – 18, 2021!

    DEMA special = free Nitrox

    DEMA special = 5 free Afternoon dives

    Price is based on a $100 repeat customer discount

    UPDATE – Dec 2020 – due to Covid-19 – the trip was rescheduled to allow time for vaccinations.
    There are spots for a few more divers – on a first come basis. We also have airline tickets for more divers. We will add rooms only as they sell. Some uncertainty about the price of airfare. We have Ocean View upgrades available.

    Spend a relaxing week at the premier, deluxe, full service resort on Little Cayman Island. We have been there multiple years running, and we’re going back again – because it’s just that good! Rated as the number one destination in the Caribbean for wall diving, number two for favorite reef diving, the sea life and underwater photography, the dive sites, water temps and visibility are outstanding, never to be forgotten by those who have experienced them. For those of you who have not experienced the diving at Little Cayman, it’s everything you can dream about, dramatic vistas, amazing photo opportunities/views, wildlife that must be seen to be believed - like the friendly groupers that follow you like a puppy everywhere!

    Divers don’t have to lug gear every day from their rooms or even onto the boat. Your gear will be collected once you arrive and stored at the shop next to the dock. You set up your gear the first day on the boat and after that, the Reef Diver crew set up your gear and change your tanks for you. You need only to stroll down the dock, jump on a boat - large, comfortable, covered boats! - And go diving. The four boats are 42 to 46 ft long and 16 ft. wide and have freshwater showers and restrooms. Rinse tanks and a drying room are on the dock for mask, fins and wet suits.

    Ronnie will be your trip leader. The trip starts at Miami airport, then to Little Cayman. Little Cayman Airways is instituting a $25 fee for luggage. Here is the link to the Cayman Airways new baggage fee structure as well, so as always, pack light, but the good news is that they have reduced their extra baggage fees:

    https://www.caymanairways.com/NewBaggageFeeStructure

    Interested in cutting down on your luggage fees – Ronnie does have a price list for rental gear …

    Once there, we dive, eat, relax, and just generally have a fantastic time for the whole week! There is a pool, Wi-Fi, beach chairs and hammocks, and you can rent kayaks, sailboats, and paddleboards as well. All diving and dining will be done at the Little Cayman Resort. Nitrox is included and 5 afternoon dives are included!

    It’s always wise to purchase travel insurance for any trip. Here are a few links you can use if interested:

    To see some photos from prior trips – go to:

    Trip Prices / payment schedule:

    New signups: $400 Deposit
    Already signed up: Suspend payments until further notice

    Click here for the signup form.

    Airfare is estimated high compared to normal prices – but could increase if there are mandated changes to seating arrangements. Your passport must be valid until at least 3/18/2022.

    Trip Lead: Ronnie: treasurer@usadiveclub.org

    • October 07, 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom meeting

    USA Dive Club members and their guests are invited to attend a virtual meeting using Zoom.

    You must register in advance for this meeting. Click on the link below to register. Members bringing a guest should send the guest's name and email address to president@usadiveclub.org so the guest's registration will be approved. Members and guests must register using this link.



    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the link to click when it is time to join the meeting. You must register before 5:00 PM on the day of the meeting.

    Please join the meeting a little early to allow time to admit people from the waiting room before the meeting starts.

    We will start the meeting with 10 minutes of social time so we can catch up with our friends. Then we will turn the meeting over to our speaker.

    Program:


     
    • November 04, 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom meeting

    USA Dive Club members and their guests are invited to attend a virtual meeting using Zoom.

    You must register in advance for this meeting. Click on the link below to register. Members bringing a guest should send the guest's name and email address to president@usadiveclub.org so the guest's registration will be approved. Members and guests must register using this link.



    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the link to click when it is time to join the meeting. You must register before 5:00 PM on the day of the meeting.

    Please join the meeting a little early to allow time to admit people from the waiting room before the meeting starts.

    We will start the meeting with 10 minutes of social time so we can catch up with our friends. Then we will turn the meeting over to our speaker.

    Program:


     
    • December 02, 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (EST)
    • Zoom meeting

    USA Dive Club members and their guests are invited to attend a virtual meeting using Zoom.

    You must register in advance for this meeting. Click on the link below to register. Members bringing a guest should send the guest's name and email address to president@usadiveclub.org so the guest's registration will be approved. Members and guests must register using this link.



    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the link to click when it is time to join the meeting. You must register before 5:00 PM on the day of the meeting.

    Please join the meeting a little early to allow time to admit people from the waiting room before the meeting starts.

    We will start the meeting with 10 minutes of social time so we can catch up with our friends. Then we will turn the meeting over to our speaker.

    Program:


     
    • May 10, 2022
    • (UTC+11:00)
    • May 17, 2022
    • (UTC+11:00)
    • Volivoli Resort, Fiji

    Volivoli Resort, Fiji

    May 10-17, 2022

    Rescheduled from March, 2020,

    and then a second time from May 2021

    2022: We start from home on Thursday 5/8 from MIA(FLL) to Los Angeles (LAX) and continue later the same day to Nadi, Fiji. Airfare LAX-NAD-Solomon is quoted in the Solomon/Bilikiki trip – or check out the Brisbane option. Business upgrade is available – but expensive. Volivoli will pick us up on arrival – no need for Raffles this time, and drive us back to the airport for the departure to Solomon. At present we are 5-8 people travelling on the vouchers from 2020. This is to allow for new signups – either just Fiji or as an add-on to Solomon.

    DetailsVolivoli - Resort on the north shore of main Island Viti Levu – recently remodeled – it looks great - we spent 2 days there as part of the March 2020 evacuation:

    • Premium Ocean View Villas – ground level
    • Welcome drink on arrival
    • Beach BBQ (Tuesdays)
    • Traditional Meke performance (Thursdays)
    • Double occupancy
    • All taxes and tip included
    • All ground transfers
    • Free use of kayaks and participation in a variety of complimentary resort activities
    • Unlimited shore diving (reserve tanks 24 hours prior) – they have about 5 resident seahorses
    • Full meal plan – 3 meals daily with juice, milk, rain water, coffee, and tea at breakfast
    • 3 days of 2 tank boat diving & 2 days of 3 tank boat diving

    Not Included:

    • Nitrox
    • Airfare MIA(FLL)<->LAX

    Signup is first come first serve – Nils will request to add the rooms only as they sell. If you sign up by 7/23 the club will cover any potential “single supplement”.

    Please click here to see the full trip details, including costs.

    Please click here to download the signup form.


    • May 17, 2022
    • (EDT)
    • May 27, 2022
    • (EDT)
    • Solomon Islands

    Solomon Islands

    Bilikiki Live aboard – May 17 May 27, 2022

    The Solomon Islands is an interesting tropical destination inside the Triangle of Diversity. Biodiversity example – they have 50 species of seahorses. Solomon is located south of Equator, closer to PNG than to Fiji. The latitude is very similar to Micronesia. This is in more ways than one a “trip of a lifetime” Our club in our 49 year history has never been there. And if you look at a list of places that might not be here in another 100 years due to sea level raising Solomon is on top of that list! Solomon Islands are the third largest group of islands in the Pacific. We are going there in the dry season – for visibility.

    Click here to see full details of the trip.

    Click here to download the signup form.

Past events

May 06, 2021 May General Meeting
April 28, 2021 USA Dive Club Online Bingo Night
April 14, 2021 Board of Directors meeting - Emergency Mtg
April 08, 2021 April Board of Directors meeting
April 01, 2021 April General Meeting
March 23, 2021 March Zoom Social Event
March 11, 2021 March Board of Directors meeting
March 04, 2021 March General Meeting
February 11, 2021 February Board of Directors meeting
February 04, 2021 February General Meeting
January 14, 2021 January Board of Directors meeting
January 07, 2021 January General Meeting
December 03, 2020 December General Meeting
December 02, 2020 December Board of Directors meeting
November 12, 2020 November Board of Directors meeting
November 05, 2020 November General Meeting
October 08, 2020 October Board of Directors meeting
October 01, 2020 October General Meeting
September 14, 2020 September Board of Directors meeting
September 03, 2020 September General Meeting
August 20, 2020 Board of Directors meeting - Discuss new bylaws
August 13, 2020 August Board of Directors meeting
August 06, 2020 August General Meeting
July 16, 2020 July Board of Directors meeting
July 09, 2020 July General Meeting
June 11, 2020 June Board of Directors meeting
June 04, 2020 June General Meeting
May 07, 2020 May General Meeting
March 28, 2020 March 28th, Loggerhead, 10 spots at 7am - $60
March 20, 2020 Bowling for Turtles
March 14, 2020 Founder's Day Party at Kathi's House
March 12, 2020 Fiji - March 2020
March 05, 2020 March General Meeting
February 19, 2020 Bimini Mini Trip - Dive with Hammerheads!
February 16, 2020 Feb 16th with Scuba Tyme, 7:30 AM, $55, 5 spots
February 15, 2020 Visit the Bonnet House
February 13, 2020 February Board of Directors meeting
February 08, 2020 Manatee Swim in Crystal River
February 06, 2020 February General Meeting
January 16, 2020 Board of Directors meeting
January 09, 2020 January General Meeting
December 14, 2019 December Board of Directors Holiday Party
December 07, 2019 Christmas Party
November 21, 2019 November Board of Directors meeting
November 10, 2019 Potluck Picnic/BBQ
November 07, 2019 November General Meeting
October 26, 2019 Sat Oct 26th - Blue Heron Bridge 6:33 PM to 8:33 PM
October 17, 2019 October Board of Directors meeting
October 06, 2019 Oct 6th w/ Scuba Tyme
October 03, 2019 October General Meeting
September 28, 2019 Flagler Museum Tour and Lunch - New Date and Time
September 27, 2019 September 28-29th In Islamorada
September 15, 2019 Sept 8th - GOLIATH GROUPERS! with Jim Abernanthy!
September 14, 2019 Sept 14th - Loggerhead
September 12, 2019 September Board of Directors meeting - Canceled
September 05, 2019 September General Meeting - Canceled
August 24, 2019 August 24-25th With Sea Dwellers in Key Largo
August 17, 2019 August 17th w/ Starfish
August 14, 2019 August Board of Directors meeting
August 11, 2019 August 11th w/ Parrot Island - LOBSTER!
August 01, 2019 August General Meeting
July 21, 2019 Scuba Tyme, July 21st
July 20, 2019 Scuba Tyme, July 20th
July 17, 2019 July Board of Directors meeting
July 13, 2019 Loggerhead, July 13th
July 06, 2019 Cuba – Garden of Queens – July 6-13
June 30, 2019 June 30th, Odyssey Divers
June 22, 2019 June 22nd, Parrot Island
June 19, 2019 June Board of Directors meeting
June 09, 2019 June 9th, ScubaTyme
June 06, 2019 June General Meeting
May 25, 2019 Little Cayman, May 25 - June 1st
May 19, 2019 Silverball Museum followed by Lunch at Bru's Room
May 18, 2019 May 18th, Dive Boat Diversity
May 09, 2019 May Board of Directors meeting
May 04, 2019 May 4th with Loggerhead
May 02, 2019 May General Meeting
April 27, 2019 Water Taxi Tour & Lunch in Fort Lauderdale
April 20, 2019 April 20th with Splashdown, 7:30 A.M.
April 11, 2019 April Board of Directors meeting
April 06, 2019 April 6th with Scuba Tyme, 7:30 A.M.
April 04, 2019 April General Meeting
March 29, 2019 Bowling for Turtles with Force-E
March 14, 2019 March Board of Directors meeting
March 09, 2019 Potluck Dinner & House/Pool Party at Kathi's
March 07, 2019 March General Meeting
February 07, 2019 February General Meeting
January 31, 2019 Yap - Palau, Feb. 2019
January 27, 2019 Lunch at Shooters followed by Intercoastal Boat Tour
January 10, 2019 Board of Directors meeting
January 03, 2019 January General Meeting
December 16, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
December 08, 2018 USA Dive Club Holiday Party
December 06, 2018 December General Meeting and Elections
November 10, 2018 Lion Country Safari
November 08, 2018 November Board of Directors meeting
November 01, 2018 November General Meeting
October 18, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
October 14, 2018 Oct 14th with Diversity
October 13, 2018 October 13th with Scuba Tyme
October 07, 2018 Coral Reef Day at Museum of Discovery & Science
October 06, 2018 October 6th with Parrot Island
October 04, 2018 October General Meeting
September 29, 2018 Key Dives in Islamorada
September 23, 2018 September 23rd with Scuba Tyme
September 22, 2018 Funky Buddha Brewery
September 15, 2018 September 15th with Diversity
September 13, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
September 06, 2018 September General Meeting
August 19, 2018 August 19th with Scuba Tyme
August 11, 2018 Bonaire - Divi Flamingo Resort - August 11-18, 2018
August 09, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
August 05, 2018 August 5th with Loggerhead
August 02, 2018 August General Meeting
July 28, 2018 Tour of Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse & Lunch at Two Georges at the Cove
July 21, 2018 July 21st with Diversity
July 12, 2018 July Board of Directors meeting
July 08, 2018 July 8th with South Florida
July 05, 2018 July General Meeting
July 01, 2018 Wine tasting and Dinner at CoopersHawk Restaurant
June 30, 2018 June 30th with Odyssey Divers
June 24, 2018 June 24th with Scuba Tyme
June 16, 2018 Cozumel - Iberostar June 16 - 23, 2018
June 14, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
June 09, 2018 June 9th with Loggerhead Divers
June 07, 2018 June General Meeting
June 02, 2018 COBALT COAST DIVE RESORT, GRAND CAYMAN
May 26, 2018 May 26th with Odyssey Divers
May 16, 2018 Mini-Trip to Bimini
May 12, 2018 Kayaking event - Winton Manners Loop
May 10, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
May 05, 2018 CANCELLED - May 5th with Parrot Island Scuba
May 03, 2018 May General Meeting
April 29, 2018 iFly Experience and Lunch
April 23, 2018 April 22nd with Logerhead
April 14, 2018 BAHAMAS AGGRESSOR - April 14-21, 2018
April 10, 2018 Board of Directors Meeting
April 07, 2018 April 7th with Diversity
April 05, 2018 April General Meeting
March 31, 2018 Kayaking in the Keys!
March 17, 2018 March 17th with Scuba Tyme
March 10, 2018 Potluck Dinner with Fireworks
March 08, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
March 01, 2018 March General Meeting
February 03, 2018 Manatee Festival 2018 at Manatee Lagoon
February 01, 2018 February General Meeting
January 27, 2018 Kayaking - Jonathan Dickinson State Park
January 21, 2018 Monster Miniature Golf & Lunch at Casa Tequila
January 17, 2018 Tommy Younger - Celebration of Life
January 11, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
January 04, 2018 January General Meeting
December 07, 2017 2017 Holiday Party
November 09, 2017 Board of Directors meeting
November 02, 2017 November General Meeting
October 22, 2017 Eat, Drink and Play
October 14, 2017 Diving with Starfish
October 07, 2017 Diving with Diversity
October 05, 2017 October General Meeting
September 29, 2017 Black Fin Resort in Marathon ** CANCELED **
September 23, 2017 Diving with Scuba Tyme
September 17, 2017 Diving with Dixie Divers
September 10, 2017 Diving with Kyalami ** CANCELED **
September 07, 2017 September General Meeting ** CANCELED **
August 26, 2017 Diving with Odyssey
August 12, 2017 Diving with Loggerhead
August 12, 2017 Cozumel - August 12-19, 2017
August 05, 2017 Diving with Starfish
August 03, 2017 August General Meeting
July 22, 2017 Mini-Trip to Islamorada
July 11, 2017 South Florida Underwater Photography Society meeting
July 08, 2017 Diving with Parrot Island Scuba
July 06, 2017 July General Meeting

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Educational Blog

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “THEN AND NOW” IN TECHNICAL DIVING

By Michael Thomas

https://www.tdisdi.com/tdi-diver-news/the-difference-between-then-and-now-in-technical-diving/?fbclid=IwAR2f60R2T2YkRUV0GssuOaso7lqtAQOMm2SKU8HdNuNA59-uW2a4ks81XO4

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.

“Have you got a light, guys?”

Many years ago, surfacing from a cave or sump dive and hearing the cry “have you got a light, guys?” was not uncommon. Diving light failure happened a fair bit, as lighting was not as reliable or bright as we have now. A team member’s light was either out or producing lumens not much better than a glow worm in a jam jar! Not really a problem if you are back at the entrance to the cave, but more of a problem if you have surfaced beyond a sump inside the cave. 

Sitting at my desk, passing the time in Coronavirus lockdown, I started thinking about the equipment and techniques we used back in the 90s compared to what we use now. Was it all the bad old days? Did the skills we developed then and problems we had to overcome put us in a better place for dealing with modern long exposure technical diving on rebreathers and mixed gas today? The list of differences is long and would be very tedious to the reader. I’ve chosen eight subjects to compare that have had major changes since my diving life started in 1987. 

Deep Air 

This is the one old school technique every diver today knows is a bad thing — the skill set that really needs to be in the diving dustbin. A breathing gas at depths below 30m gives increasing narcosis and increasing PP02. Both of these are bad, and combined with increased work of breathing, increasing gas density, and C02, it really does not have much to offer. 

So why did we use it as a deep gas? 

Firstly, it was readily available and cheap. Oxygen and nitrox were not easy to get for divers, let alone helium. Plus, so few divers within the sports diving and fledgling technical diving world knew how to produce decompression tables for helium. So, for most, air was the only option for inquisitive divers that wanted to explore deeper. Exploration is a powerful driving force for some. 

Now you also need to consider the attitudes of the time: going deep was deemed cool. It proved something to your peers. This was an attitude that killed many and the rest of us just got lucky. But what did we learn from deep air diving? The TDIstandards of today are based on sensible diving limits learnt the hard way by many, and I, being one of the lucky ones who survived, can teach with first-hand experience about what narcosis and gas density are all about. Deep Air: just don’t do it. 

Trimix 

This gas, with a combination of Oxygen, Helium and Nitrogen, has become the go-to gas for deeper diving on open circuit and now, more commonly, on rebreathers. With the correct gas mixture for the planned depth, low narcosis, low work of breathing and gas density are achieved. Today, many dive computers can compute for any gas mixture and your mobile phone contains gas mixing and decompression planning apps. The understanding behind the Decompression theory is at an all-time high, with multiple papers and blogs explaining the current thinking. 

If we go back to the mid-1990s, trimix diving was very different. 

We were still at the point of hiding nitrox cylinders to get them on dive boats. The primary agencies of the time, BSAC and PADI, had declared nitrox a devil gas that would kill everyone, and both the US Navy and British Navy said recreational/technical divers did not have the knowledge or backup to use trimix safely. However, we persevered. A few brave divers took the plunge, resulting in some success and also tragedy, but we carried on. Bill Hamilton would supply trimix diving tables to technical diving expeditions for a price, and eventually, Sheck Exley released a decompression planning software program called Dr X. Other notable divers followed suit around the same time and technical diving agencies were born, producing trimix manuals complete with decompression tables. 

Now, our knowledge then was very different from today. When I did my open circuit trimix course in 1997, the general consensus was the need to get off the helium as deep as possible on the way up. Our lack of understanding about how helium reacts led us to believe the lighter gas, helium, would cause decompression illness if we stayed on it at shallow depths. We did some gas switches to air at around 50m after 85m trimix dives! Now, during deep CCRdives, the diver will stay on the helium in the loop all the way to the surface. 

Another big change is the use of dive computers, either in open circuit mode or real-time monitoring of your CCR, with divers carrying a backup computer to give the all-important decompression information. 

Now back in the 90s, we had pockets full of laminated decompression tables for the planned depth and time. We also had multiple variations of depth and time, such as deeper and longer and shorter bailout tables if you missed the wreck or had a problem on the descent. The time and depth were either recorded on bottom timers or divers would use a standard air computer and just bend the air computer on surfacing. More than once, I remember dive partners surrounded by decompression tables on decompression stops, as the homemade laminated tables fell apart and alarming air dive computers in a bucket of water on the dive deck to muffle the sound.

Independents Doubles 

A twin set is now a fairly common and basic entry requirement into the technical diving world. In Europe, the standard is generally a 12l (cylinder size may vary elsewhere) steel set with an isolation manifold fitted. Regulators with longhose on the right, a single pressure gauge to the left and primary donate being the preferred option. A backplate and wing making up the complete system. Most divers preferring a Hogarthian system, keeping it clean and simple. 

Back in the 90s, a lot of twin sets were independent cylinders with no manifold at all, either banded together with traditional stainless bands as you see now, or using temporary cam bands to join two cylinders together. In the early years, most independent twinsets had two right-handed cylinder valves, giving you no chance to shut down the left-hand cylinder. It took a while for the technical diving community, especially in Europe, to start thinking about shutdowns and using a left-handed valve on the left cylinder. Being able to shut down the gas supply on your own at that time was not high on the list of things-to-do. Eventually, manifolds started to become more popular, and finally, manifolds with an isolation valve became the norm, making diving safer and divers more skilled. 

Fixed Sidemount 

I started sidemount diving in 1992. The day I started cave diving, I was loaned a 1980s style sidemount harness. The cylinders were clamped at a single point, about a quarter of the way down the cylinder. We had different size clamps for different size cylinders. The cylinder and clamp was then threaded onto the harness belt loop along with the weight needed to dive. Regulators were then attached to cylinders. We had standard length high-pressure hoses wrapped around the first stage and valve, held down with bungee loops. The diver then had to lay the sidemount harness out on the ground, complete with cylinders, then step over it and pick it all up to get it onto their waist! With large cylinders, help was generally needed. The harness had no built-in buoyancy, so a modified open water BCD was used and worn over the top of the harness. When diving this system, back pain on long dives was very common, as the entire weight of the harness, cylinders, and lead rested on your lower back, pushing the diver into shallow V shape. 

Compared to todayʼs modern sidemount harness choices, some of which are superb, with built-in BCDs, weight running down the spine and the ability to attach cylinders after the harness is on, the harness we started with is a world away. Sidemount diving is easy and enjoyable now, once you have the modern harness set up correctly. The techniques we developed have been ever-evolving. But gas management, rule of thirds and balancing cylinder pressure was done from the early years. 

Lights 

Having good lighting is one simple yet expensive way to improve the overall dive experience. From caves to wrecks, ocean dives to photography, lighting can make or break the dive. The other thing Iʼve learnt over many years of diving is if you donʼt want a dive light to fail during the dive, leave it at home safely in storage and make sure you have a backup light. Iʼve seen lights fail in every conceivable way, from floods to cable breaks and blown bulbs. 

Modern lighting is generally very good now, with LED bulbs, high lumen output and battery technology thatʼs improved every year, giving longer burn times and smaller and smaller battery packs. Compared to what we used to use in the 90s: lead-acid battery packs that weighed around 3kg and were the size of a small diving cylinder, generally mounted on the twin set or on the right hip. Unlike todayʼs canisters, it was like having an extra stage cylinder on your harness. Large unwieldy light heads with, if you were lucky, a 50-watt halogen bulb to brighten the darkness. Between halogen bulbs and the LED bulbs of today, we had the HID bulb, which gave a greater light output but were very fragile and rather expensive to replace. They were not great for a light unit designed to be used by divers exiting a busy dive boat deck or cave diving. 

Decompression 

Ever since divers have started diving, decompression has played a large part in the sport and working environment for all divers. The act of allowing your body to adjust back to surface pressure after diving is still as crucial now as it was then. We canʼt beat physics and physiology. 

What has changed and continues to change is our understanding of decompression and the techniques of conducting decompression dives. Understanding that all dives put you, the diver, under pressure and require at least a minimum safety stop to choose the most effective decompression gas to return from deep open-circuit dives, or what fixed partial pressure and gas to run on your rebreather, is important. A lot of technical diving expeditions now conduct post-dive medical studies on divers to build the knowledge of decompression and papers are written fairly regularly with updated knowledge. A good diver will constantly update his knowledge on decompression and make use of the information available to stay as safe as possible. 

Boat Lifts 

I had just finished nearly an hour of decompression after a dive in 1998 in the English Channel. The wreck was at 80m and previously unexplored. On surfacing, I floated, talking to my dive partner, whilst waiting for the dive boat to come alongside and pick us up. The sea conditions were worsening, and the skipper indicated he wanted us on board as quickly as possible. Working my way along the line on the side of the dive boat and reaching the ladder to get back on board, I placed a regulator in my mouth and started to climb. A 12l steel independent twinset on my back canister, a dive light under each arm , and 10l steel decompression cylinders are a heavy load to climb a ladder with, especially after a deep dive. On this occasion, I really struggled to climb the ladder and only realized at the top of the ladder that I had put my trimix regulator back in and not the decompression gas regulator. Not only was I trying to climb a ladder with four cylinders in a heavy sea, but I was trying to do it with a reduced oxygen percentage. Spitting the regulator out and breathing air really helped. 

Today most dive boats that I use all have diver lifts. When the dive boat pulls alongside, the lift is dropped into the water, the diver swims in and places feet down and hands-on handrails, clear of the boat. A nod to the skipper and you are raised like a god to the dive deck. You have to love boat lifts. But, if a dive boat has no lift or the lift fails, then years of ladder use make this no problem, as long as the diver has good strength and fitness. 

Fitness and Attitude

Back when I started diving in 1987, I was using a single cylinder, a wetsuit, and an ABLJ buoyancy compensator. It took years to progress up to twinset diving and drysuits and finally caves, rebreathers, and instructing. However, those years were not wasted. They allowed us to gain the experience and also follow the changes within sport and technical diving. We found out what worked and what did not work, sometimes the hard way. We crash-tested the standards that are the norm today. 

Along the way, we realized diver fitness was crucial to stay safe in a sometimes unforgiving environment. Today diving is possible with much faster progression. Equipment is pretty much available to do most things, and the training is available to use that equipment. Whatʼs missing now is the attitude of slowing down and building on that training before launching on the next quest. A diver with a solid skills platform and experience at one level is ready to tackle the next with much more confidence and safety. 

I sat at my desk writing this during very strange times. Iʼm aware that I probably wonʼt dive for some time due to coronavirus stopping the world. What Iʼm doing is keeping my physical fitness up and keeping my mind sharp by reading, research and planning some dives for when we can get back in the water. These dives will not be teaching dives. They will be easy dives to refresh myself and rebuild muscle memory for the art of diving. Stay safe guys and remember, when we can, build up slowly again.

 

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