December / January 2011 | Issue 14
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Yo u r F r e e O n l i n e D i v i n g M a g a z i n e
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Wishing all our readers a very merry and safe festive season
C O N S E R VAT I O N
25 Moving Sushi - summary for the year
F E AT U R E S
7 12 16 20
Mozambiques Marine Magician Star Walls Dive Qualifications Amaglubglub
30 Red Sea Wrecks
Cover Photographed by : Adam Hanlon
Cormac McCreesh & Paul Hunter
African Diver cc
P.O. Box 67779
083 708 3847
Tel: + 27(0) 82 552 0770
+ 27(0) 83 391 8961
Fax: 086 503 7177
Cormac: 082 552 0770 Paul: 083 391 8961
5 Best Dive Job Press Release 6 Shiver! Press Release
35 DAN’s summary for the year
Fax: 086 503 7177 P.O. Box 67779 Bryanston 2021
39 Adam Hanlon Page 3 | www.africandiver.com
d’s Logbook Christmas is almost upon us as we close out the year with this issue – our 14th. Issue 13 celebrated our second birthday and with this issue we move into our third year of publishing the magazine. At the same time that we started the magazine the Moving Sushi team left Cape Town on their epic trip and we’ve been privileged to follow them all the way. In this issue the team, now enjoying life back home, wrap up their trip with a closing article. We look forward to hearing about and following them on their next adventure. Their pioneering spirit is an inspiration. Other articles that excite us in this issue are: Georgina’s Star Walls dive site in Cape Town, the Shiver Documentary’s lead presenter – Carlos, Debbie Smith’s concerns about diver qualifications, Nick Krull’s favourite Red Sea wrecks, DAN’s wrap up of their activities for the year and an article on Amaglubglub – diving for disabled divers. No issue of African Diver would be complete without our featured photographer section and we’re pleased to feature Adam Hanlon, who hails from our shores but is now based in the UK. We’re also pleased to have Adele Sherratt on board to help us with the design of the magazine as well as marketing. Both Paul and I are certain you’ll notice immediately the improvement in the magazine’s design. During December we’ll be launching our new website which promises to be exciting, informative and fun to read. Look out for it and visit it often. Paul and I will be heading off to Mozambique during December and we’ll be bringing back articles, images and information to share with you in the new year. Look out for this in the February issue and be sure to check out the new website. May your bubbles always be free. Cormac and Paul. Photograph by : Paul Hunter
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Press and Public Go Crazy for “The Best Dive Job in the World” Competition November 18, 2010. Bali, Indonesia. Since its launch on October 30th, The Best Dive Job in the World has been a media sensation. Blue Season Bali, the Indonesia based dive company behind the competition, is generating chatter all over the internet. Blue Season Bali’s marketing director Jonathan Cross said: “I could never have imagined it would get this big. Over three million viewers have seen the ad on Facebook, magazines are scrambling to get to print, and it’s the talk of nearly every scuba forum online. I’ve literally got journalists calling me every day. It’s fantastic!” In fact, Facebook statistics show that 3.6 million viewers saw information about the contest in the first 13 days of its launch. The story initially broke on ScubaHerald.com and on Blue Season Bali’s network of websites. In the first two weeks more than 20,000 people had visited the competition website at www.bestdivejob.com. So why is this competition catching so much attention? Cross said: “Everyone wants a taste of the good life. Living on a tropical island and diving every day appeals to a huge amount of people. The magazines featuring this contest are not only dive industry publications this is going the mundane, the expected.” The contest prize, now worth more than USD 16,000, includes seven months of accommodation and training to become a PADI scuba diving instructor in Bali. Entrants do not need to have any prior experience in diving, just a good attitude and a willingness to learn. Who will win this opportunity of a lifetime to change their life forever by becoming a PADI scuba diving instructor in Bali, absolutely free? Follow the story or enter to win at www.bestdivejob.com
Mozambique’s marine magician By Aaron Gekoski
“ His name is Carlos Macuacua and everything about him is extraordinary...” Contents
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Mozambique’s waters are some of the most unique in the world, a playground for the big pelagics; whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins and humpback whales. Here, sweeping plateaus of soft and hard coral are brought to life by flamboyant leaf fish, tragically malproportioned frog fish, feisty mantis shrimp and fuzzy orangutan crabs. Yet tragically most Mozambicans remain blissfully unaware of the beauty and diversity of their waters; the sea is something to be feared, not revered, a necessary evil that supplies protein and attracts weirdos from around the world who strap cylinders to their backs and go looking for giant fish (and don’t even eat them). However there is one man hellbent on instilling a sense of marine pride here. His name is Carlos Macuacua and everything about him is extraordinary. First of all, Carlos is 6’7”, his considerable stature the perfect vehicle for his considerable personality. He is also the country’s first ever dive instructor and subject of a new documentary on Mozambique’s shark finning crisis. These achievements are made all the more remarkable given the unthinkable adversity Carlos has faced throughout his life. Raised during Mozambique’s civil war, which raged from 1982 until 1994, Carlos witnessed vast pockets of Mozambicans being wiped out - shot, stabbed, strangled by their own. This period was one of the darkest in the country’s history, one still infused with the pain of an often brutal colonisation by the Portuguese. The country was officially declared the poorest in the world. “It was a terrible time, I saw many family friends lying dead. I count my blessings at how lucky I am to have survived. carlos’ caravan Pa g e 8 | www.africandiver.com
‘Luck’ is not a word that one would readily associate with a person who has lost three siblings to malaria, but such a stance is typical of the man. Carlos has the ability to look on the bright side of the darkest of situations. Brought up in a rural village in the Inhambane province of Mozambique, Carlos’ family survived on the small wage his father made as a tailor. Encouraged by his doting parents, at the start of every week Carlos would make the 3.5 hour walk to school, carrying all the necessities with him on his head for the week ahead, where he would stay at his father’s modest apartment in the town. If he ran out of food during the week he would make the 7-hour round trip to his village to stock up again. “If I ran, I could make it in half the time” smiles Carlos, who possesses the enviable knack of making his extraordinary-ness seem ordinary. At weekends, Carlos would spend every waking moment on nearby Tofo beach, swimming in the sea, fishing, free diving without the aid of a mask or fins. He kept these trips secret from his parents: “My mum would have beat me if she’d have found out. People here are scared of sharks, being taken by currents, waves. It is not in our culture to actually enjoy the sea”. For a country that possesses nearly 3000kms of coastline, this is a terrible shame. All over Contents
the world, the beach is synonymous with family fun; a place where adults and children frolic happily, body board, snorkel and spend time seeking out and identifying marine life. “My aim is to get more Mozambicans interested in the ocean. We’re more likely to conserve what we understand”.
“...We’re more likely to conserve what we understand”. Carlos’ big break came on one of Tofo’s notoriously choppy days. Upon returning to shore, one of the dive centre’s boats capsized, scattering frightened tourists and equipment into the thumping waves. As staff frantically tried to control the boat, they noticed an unfamiliar, long, dark shape approach them from underwater. Unaccustomed to seeing a local in the sea, they looked on intrigued as Carlos used his gigantic frame and strength to help rescue the clients and equipment. Suitably impressed, the dive centre made him an offer. They would put him through his courses in return for him working there. Carlos was elated. He’d actually be able to see the fish now, rather than squinting at them through blurred, salty eyes. But for many years, his life was far from easy.
During the first 6 months of training - and without a single cent to his name – Carlos would have to sleep on the beach, until one of the instructors donated him a tent. Unfortunately for Carlos the instructor was a small man, with an even smaller tent: Carlos’ giant feet would poke comically out of the tent opening when he lay down. Eventually, a rusty old caravan became available for him to use, which he stayed in for three years. Now lying down was easy. It was standing up that was the problem - caravans aren’t made for people who are 6’7” tall. Luckily Carlos likes to do a lot of lying down, women and sleeping his two favourite past times after diving. With each passing year and incredible dive, Carlos’ appreciation of the marine realm soared. 12-metre long whale sharks! Giant manta rays! Humpbacks nurturing their young! Carlos was desperate to share his knowledge with those around him. But one thing continued to trouble him: over the years he had started to notice a big decrease in shark populations. When he first started diving he would see hammerheads, zambezis, reef sharks and many other species. Though suddenly seeing a shark on a dive became the anomaly. So acting on a series of tip offs, Carlos decided to investigate what was happening to Mozambique’s sharks.
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The resulting journey was turned into a documentary, Shiver (the collective noun for a group of sharks). The film follows Carlos as he infiltrates shark finning camps, interviews leading government officials and biologists, makes a shocking discovery about levels of the lethal toxin Methymercury found in Mozambique’s sharks, finds a rare species of shark, and ultimately investigates what can be done to save Mozambique’s apex marine predators. It is Carlos’ hope that the film will be seen by the people who matter most: those that catch the sharks, government decision makers and future generations who he hopes will become marine ambassadors. “In Tofo if you try and photograph a fisherman with a turtle or shark, he will run away because he knows he shouldn’t be catching these species. He knows that this upsets people who want to see them alive, swimming around. In other places it is different, fishermen will pose with a dead shark, because they’re not educated about these species. I want to show our people how a shark is worth more to us in the ocean than dead”. Carlos points out that it is not in Mozambique’s culture to catch sharks. But due to overfishing, traditional catch is plummeting, forcing fishermen to look elsewhere for a source of protein for their families and the community. Pa g e 1 0 | www.africandiver.com
And in a country where the average wage is less than R700 per month, they are also being rewarded handsomely for selling the fins on to middlemen, who ship the fins to Asia. Believing the fins were used either to make fishing line, to deck boats, or even to create metallic strip in bank notes, the reality - that the gristly fins are used to create a soup in Asia - was bewildering to them. As it remains to many of us. Changing attitudes formed over many generations is a long and difficult process anywhere. But in a country like Mozambique, it is even tougher. Many Mozambicans live in inaccessible regions where the flow of information is pretty much non-existent. A lot of people do not possess mobile phones, let alone computers or the internet. And, as Carlos puts it: “After all of our troubles, Mozambicans are now relaxed people. We do everything slow – we eat slow, talk slow, we even sleep slow. And changing attitudes about the sea will also be a slow process. But we need to protect our marine life, before many species are wiped out of these waters completely. Imagine if you were to see people go into the Kruger, kill lions and cut off their body parts to sell to the Chinese. There would be uproar. However that is what is happening here, our greatest assets are being wiped out on a daily basis.”
For more information on Shiver, a joint Sangue Bom and Moz Images (www.mozimages.com) production, please email shiverdocumentary@ gmail.com. Facebook search: Shiver Finning. To see a trailer, please search â€œShark Finning Mozambiqueâ€? on youtube. The filmmakers are currently attempting to raise funds to shoot an English language version of the film. Contents
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P h o t o g r a p h b y : J e a n Tre s f o n
StarWalls By Georgina Jones
Star Walls is covered with vivid invertebrate life but is usually best after a south east blow and the water is cold: drysuits are worthwhile!
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Even after the longest winter, summer comes to the Cape, bringing the southeaster, blue skies and diving on the Atlantic side of the peninsula. Locals brace themselves for the cold and start watching conditions. Because summer diving means a chance at Star Walls, and Star Walls is special. It’s a dive site south of Sandy Bay, about a ten minute boat ride from Hout Bay harbour, relatively exposed and only really diveable when the sea is flat calm. The southeast wind brings cold upwelled water to the coast, and visibility can be well over 20m. The wall’s dropoff starts at 8m and falls away vertically to 32m. The bottom is sand and some low-lying boulders. It is the highest and longest wall known around Cape Town, running 100m east-west and then a further 50m on the south east face. Dropping in, the reef surface is covered with redbait pods and kelp, and for those who can wait for their pleasure, plenty of invertebrates and klipfish hiding among the top end of the reef. Mostly though, the wall is the thing, and divers head for the dropoff and plunge over the edge into the blue and adventure.
Then there are the klipfish, peering winsomely from their perches and posing coyly for photographers. Crabs are usually camouflaged and take skill and practice to spot: the shaggy sponge sponge crabs’ love affair for brightlycoloured sponge décor makes them slightly easier to spot that the sumos, lumbering their slow way along the wall. There are crayfish and redfingers hiding under overhangs, basket stars unfurling their fernlike arms into the water in search of zooplankton and weird grey fan hydroids jutting at right angles away from the rock with their cargo of tiny shrimps. Dreadlocks corals lurk in crevices, along with feisty Cape rock crabs and strange tree moss animals. There can be rocksuckers, with pelvic fins modified to form a sucker pad. These rather grotesque looking fish are very fond of limpets and try to ambush them, sliding their lower jaws under the hopefully unsuspecting limpet, and performing a somersault to remove them from their homes.
P h o t o g r a p h b y : A n d re w Ta y l o r
Safe in its stone cottage, a pink hermit crab (Paguristes gamianus) crawls through a field of vivid noble coral (Allopora nobilis).
“Crabs are usually camouflaged and take skill and practice to spot...”
Photographs by: Andrew Taylor
You never know just what you will find on Star Walls. What is certain is nudibranch wallpaper: the creamy, brown speckled uniqueness of Mandela’s nudibranchs, vivid splashes of candy nudibranchs and the submarine glow of huge gasflames. These nudibranchs crawl over sponges, hydroids and the locally abundant pink noble coral. Anemones are everywhere, some in bright splashes of intense blue, some of purple-spotted orange, others with redstriped creamy faces.
The submarine glow of a gas flame nudibranch (Bonisa nakaza). Contents
A yellow-tipped nudibranch (Caloria sp. 2) curls round its egg ribbon and a supporting hydoid
A dwarf spotted anemone (Anthostella n.sp.) in its retracted non-eating mode Pa g e 1 3 | w w w. a fr i c a n d i ve r. c o m
“It’s a brilliant divesite, and one really worth diving on nitrox...” P h o t o g r a p h b y : A n d re w Ta y l o r
A violet-spotted anemone (Anthostella stephensoni) with the remains of its last meal, a Cape rock crab (plagusia chabrus), protruding from its mouth
Photograph by: Geogina Jones
Klipfish are carnivorous and divers occasionally come across them in the act of predation, usually looking astonished at the size of the mouthful they have taken.
Quite apart from the profusion of marine life crowding the wall, one of the pleasures of this site is exactly that: it’s a wall. So if the surge is overwhelming, divers can choose to stay below say, 20m and potter along at leisure.
Anemones, too, are constant eaters, and remarkably catholic in their tastes. Forlorn crab legs emerging from an anemone’s mouth tell their own tale. The dwarf spotted anemone doesn’t wait for its food to come to it: extending its body, it lunges over undesirable hydroids to get to the sponge-encrusted mussels it wants.
Then, as if all that wasn’t enough, seals come to visit, sneaking up behind divers and suddenly barking. Their ungainliness on land is forgotten underwater and they swoop and twirl like portly marine ballerinas, liquid eyes peering at their strange visitors.
Often, waiting patiently among the crowding life, there’ll be a common cuttlefish, perfectly blending in with its surroundings. Much more rarely, the delicately fringed and tassled tuberculate cuttlefish is spotted: this animal grows to about 80mm and is a real treat to see.Its habit of choosing crevices to hide in, however, makes it rather a frustrating photographic subject.
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It’s a brilliant divesite, and one really worth diving on nitrox because more time there is definitely better than less. Apart, that is, from the temperature. Atlantic side temperatures can drop below ten degrees. Eventually, hypothermia will send even the most enthusiastic to the surface, blue-lipped and shivering. But after a chocolate or a gulp of Old Brown Sherry, and some time under the fierce Cape summer sun, plans are generally being laid for the next excursion to this fascinating place.
A furred sponge crab (Pseudodromia latens) peers out from the shelter of its toxic ascidian cloak
“Then, as if all that wasn’t enough, seals come to visit ...” Photograph by: Guido Zsilavecz
Furry ballerinas underwater, this Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) barks playfully at the camera
For more detailed information about diving Star Walls, go to: http://wikitravel.org/en/Diving_the_Cape_Peninsula_and_False_Bay.
Photograph by : Paul Hunter
P h o t o g r a p h s b y : C o r m a c M c C re e s h
What is the meaning in “our” dive
qualifications By Debbie Smith
Here’s the picture ... you’re standing on the beach, the dive briefing has started and the first thing that is asked of you by the dive leader/dive master is to introduce yourself, your dive qualification and when you last dived, so that if you are “buddy-less” you can be assigned a buddy for the dive, or, in general, to get an idea of the experience level of the group that you are about to dive with, so that the correct dive site can be chosen. If you are an open water certified diver, chances are you may be asked how many dives you have done and where and what your deepest dive has been to date. You are asked questions, unless you are personally known to the dive master. If you are an advanced diver and above, you are not asked these questions … STOP!! And this is now where some problems come in …
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Common questions that spring to mind are: • Why has this person been allowed to get so far in diving and yet cannot look after themselves adequately?
If as a dive leader or operator, you have an open water diver with 100 dives under their belt, as opposed to an advanced diver with only 15 or even 40 dives under their belt, who is the more qualified? Of course, the OPEN WATER diver. Believe me, there are many open water divers that have nothing to prove to anyone, that are quite happy to bumble along with their certification, adding many a dive to their time spent underwater. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. What there is something wrong with and it’s cropping up more often nowadays, it’s becoming a common topic of conversation amongst dive operators and dive leaders/skippers and is of great concern, is the advanced diver and even the rescue diver who are a nightmare in the water, who are not safe buddies to be buddied up with at all. It is not acceptable to buddy an advanced diver up with an open water diver, only to find out that the advanced diver has done all the dives in a dam or lake with no ocean experience at all! What is happening? I mean … the reason everyone gets into diving is to see the beautiful underwater realm, which in most cases involves the ocean. What is going wrong with the dive qualifications? C o ntents
• Why is this person on a deep dive, simply because they hold an advanced certification, as their buoyancy is all messed up and they are so over-weighted that they use up their air supply in 20 minutes? • How come this person has forgotten how to kit up? • How come this person does not know the configuration of the BCD tank strap? • How come this person loses the buoy line on descent or ascent and gets lost in a current? • How come this person is diving with dive gear totally unsuitable for them and can’t get down or is dragging themself along the reef, or diving with a mask that constantly floods? • How come this person leaves their octo and depth gauge loose, to drag across the reef system? • How come this person is diving with integrated weights and cannot remove or insert the weight pockets themselves? • Why does this person not know how to do a negative entry? What is a negative entry?
How come? How come so many things? We have to ask these questions now as a lot of operators/dive leaders & skippers are of the belief that some divers hold a dive qualification that they should not have as they have not earned it. They have done a continuing education course because their partner has pressurized them into doing it, or their dive school is running a special that includes dive gear, or they cannot bear saying that they are an open water diver amongst a group of people as this makes them look like a novice! Believe me, there is nothing wrong with being an inexperienced open water diver, as people more than likely expect you to be tweaking your dive gear or your buoyancy, or practicing that negative entry or that drift diving technique if your dive time is low. It is not expected that you are still having these issues as an advanced diver, let alone at rescue diver level. This is not acceptable. You are a risk to everyone on the dive. We are at risk of bringing about a new age of diver that is not competent enough to be on a deep dive, let alone on any dive at all. We are facing certain safety risks here and it is not the dive school or instructor that will have to face the problem. It’s the dive leader & skipper on the dive that face these “glaring” issues. How many times have we seen a dive leader in front and a “shoal” of navy seals finning along behind, some standing on the reef, some battling with buoyancy problems, some with gauges dangling all over the place, some with buddies holding onto their dive buddy to help them with their buoyancy or some holding onto someone that just does not want to be there.
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What can we do about this, you may ask? It’s simple … divers must feel that they have earned their certification. Not being pushed through because the instructor needs the certification behind them, or the dive school needs the money. People must be good enough to earn the rating – simple!
Instructors • Stop teaching such large classes where the student diver is just a number. The course numbers should be such that every single person has had personal attention in assisting them with perfecting buoyancy control, educating them on gear procedures, descent/ascent techniques, how to dive safely in the ocean and not just plummet to the bottom and hope for the best. • Nurture problem students and do not allow them to go to the next level until they are ready. • Say “No” to someone if they are not doing well enough to qualify and only qualify them when they are ready. Students are permitted to enroll straight onto the advanced course after completing the open water course. This is for those that are good enough and that can handle the deep dives and whatever else may be expected of them and this does not apply to all divers. Some should be advised to get more dives to their credit, to settle down, rather than go to the next level straight away. Pa g e 1 8 | www.africandiver.com
Dive shops • Divers must buy dive gear that is suitable for them and not just purchase something because the dive shop said so and it happens to be the most expensive, or better still, suits a technical diver as opposed to someone still battling with buoyancy problems who should not be concerned with technical equipment at this stage, let alone back inflation BCD’s or integrated BCD’s!
Divers • Be happy to remain with a certain qualification and get more dive experience until you are ready and prepared in all aspects to go to the next level, where you are not going to be a nightmare underwater, or a safety risk. • Stop thinking that you will not be accepted if you still remain an inexperienced open water diver, and get more dive time rather than enroll onto the advanced course, thinking that this will make your lack of experience go away. People will have more respect for you if you get more dive time, to be able to be independent, rather than notch up the qualifications when you don’t deserve to have them. • Everyone must care about being the best they can be in this sport; in the event that their assistance is required in an emergency they should be able to cope with it. • Know how to use an SMB and to carry one in the event of emergencies.
Common problems encountered by the “end” person, the dive operator, dive leader or skipper are : • Over-weighted divers; be it weight integrated BCD’s (a pet hate of skippers because it simply breaks their backs and will ensure that they are in a wheel chair before their time), or simply not trying to achieve the correct weighting over time and diving with far too many weights. Start off with 10% of your body weight as a rule of thumb and then tweak it from there. • Divers that cannot gear up and get their buddy to do this – not acceptable, you are responsible for yourself and your own gear. • Be able to take your weight pockets out of your BCD yourself and assist the skipper in loading your gear. If you have to dive with a huge dive cylinder, be able to look after yourself with it. • Know how to descend down the buoyline and ascend up the buoyline again. • Know how to look after the reef system by practicing good buoyancy control and be aware of where your fins & hands are placed. • Know how to tuck in your gauges so that they don’t wreak havoc on the reef. • When you surface, be able to swim to the boat and de-kit yourself. • Be familiar with boat procedures and not just how to do a backward roll. Things do go wrong with equipment and yes, that applies to boats and motors as well. • Know how to do a negative entry so that if there is a current present, you can get down quickly and enjoy the dive, instead of losing the group and then drifting in the middle of the vast expanse of water
In a nutshell – be independent and know how to take control of yourself and be competent enough with whatever rating you have, to be able to assist others and not be the one requiring assistance. If the sport of scuba diving is being compared to golf, which we hear so often – how more blatant can it be then that a golfer plays his own game and is in control of his own game, he walks the course, he is in charge of the strokes that he plays. Why should diving then be any different?? We need to make changes, we need to be observant with our dive training, we need to be building good relationships with our students and advising them correctly in all aspects of this sport. Continuing education is a good thing but it most certainly does not apply to all divers. We are in a highly competitive service orientated industry, but this does not mean that the capabilities of our divers can drop off because of this, nor should it be linked to money either. We have a great sport, enjoyed by many, but are we ensuring that it is as safe as it should be? I happen to be the one taking the time and caring enough to write this article, but please let it be known that I am by far not alone in commenting on the contents of this article. It is common talk at “ground/grass roots” level with operators/dive leaders where ocean diving actually takes place. Think about it … Pa g e 1 9 | w w w. a fr i c a n d i ve r. c o m
Amaglubglub, where passion transcends disability Pa g e 2 0 | www.africandiver.com
Text by Cormac McCreesh Images courtesy of Chris Collingridge
For most people, learning to scuba dive is both challenging and life-changing. The challenges come in learning the technical stuff and developing the skills to ensure that diving is a safe affair. The life-changing part comes only after those first open-water dives have been mastered and the newly qualified scuba diver begins to learn of the myriad life under the sea. How much more challenging and life-changing can learning to dive be for disabled people? In the last issue of African Diver Magazine, we covered the Handicap Scuba Association of South Africa. The work being done by the HSA-SA is both inspirational and ground breaking in South Africa. This article follows the theme started by the HSA-SA article and explores the challenges being addressed by Amaglubglub; a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to take the sport and art of scuba diving to disabled people throughout South Africa. Amaglubglub was born earlier this year after seven disabled divers successfully completed their HSA training and qualified as scuba divers. The disabilities included: quadriplegia, paraplegia, amputeeism, hearing-impairment and spina bifida. The organisationâ€™s goals are to build on the success of the inaugural training and grow the sport among disabled divers as well as to inspire, motivate and rehabilitate. Through the HSA-SA I met the Amaglubglub executives who enthusiastically educated me on how much scuba diving means to them. Contents
At African Diver we are passionate about scuba diving and it was energising to meet with people whose passion and enthusiasm out-stripped ours. And it did not take much for us to meet with Frank Juskievitz, an Amaglubglub executive, to learn more about his passion for about scuba diving and how much it has changed his life. Through Frankâ€™s story, we learned of the challenges facing disabled divers and how Amaglubglub and the HSA-SA are dealing with these challenges. A deeply spiritual man, Frank is a quadriplegic the result of a motorcycle accident some 27 years ago. Confined to a wheel chair Frank has managed to carve out an independent life for himself. He drives, runs his own business and appreciates being alive. For Frank, every day is a blessing despite all its challenges. Learning to scuba dive was a big step for Frank, especially after he had tried various sports during his rehabilitation, none of which really hit the button for him. Pa g e 2 1 | w w w. a fr i c a n d i ve r. c o m
Encouraged to apply to learn to scuba dive, Frank’s first challenge was to get medical approval to dive. For the average scuba diver learning to dive, medical approval consists of filling out a standard form and answering “no” to all of the medical questions. For disabled divers it is a bit more complex as there are many issues to consider, with lung capacity probably being one of the most important bridges to cross.
In addition to overcoming this fear, he also had to be especially careful of water getting into his lungs because this sets off uncontrollable spasms throughout his entire body. As if this was not enough, Frank cannot regulate his body temperature and overheating is a constant worry. So being kitted out in a wetsuit in a heated pool while doing the confined water training dives was another obstacle to overcome
As able divers, we take breathing for granted, yet it’s the most important life-line underwater especially considering the pressure exerted as we go deeper and the risk of embolism when we surface. For some disabled divers lung capacity is a restriction, not least so for Frank. Frank breathes from his stomach and not from his diaphragm like you or I; the result of his accident. Made more complex because of smoking (he gave up eight years ago), his lung capacity was almost an instant disqualification on his application to scuba dive. But eventually he was passed to dive albeit limited to a depth of 8 to 10 metres and restricted to using a full-face mask. The full-face mask restriction was rejected by the HSA-SA because it carries greater risks than benefits and Frank had to learn to scuba dive using a normal mask. It is also worth noting that since qualifying, Frank has comfortably managed to dive to a depth of 28 metres. Doctor ’s restrictions aside, a bigger challenge Frank had to overcome was his fear of water resulting from a near-drowning incident shortly after his accident. Pa g e 2 2 | www.africandiver.com
The wetsuit had to be specially adapted as the neck closure was particularly claustrophobic for Frank given his difficulty with breathing Surprisingly, for me, equalising was not a problem (which it is for many beginner divers) for Frank and he manages by using both his hands to apply pressure to his nose. However, he is unable to manage his buoyancy because it takes too much dexterity and strength to inflate and deflate his BCD. So, his dive-buddy manages his buoyancy for him. For able-bodied divers, trust in one’s instructor is a big thing. For Frank and other disabled divers this trust is particularly intensified although Frank makes light of this because he has had caregivers look after his interests ever since his accident. Nonetheless, he had to have absolute trust in his instructors and buddies whilst learning to dive as well as each time he dives. Trust is one aspect of diving and dive planning that impacts on diving for disabled people. But communication and understanding the restrictions is another equally important aspect to take into account. For example, Frank had done all his confined water and open water training dives with Zelda from HSA-SA. Together, they had built up trust and protocols for managing Frank’s diving. However, once he had qualified he was assigned another dive buddy on one of his dives and this is where his learning about trust and communication really grew. You see, Frank needs to dive in a near vertical position (about a 45 degree angle) Contents
with his head above his legs in order to facilitate breathing. This particular dive buddy had a habit of diving head down in order to look for marine life on the reef. It took much underwater communication and a problem-solving approach to get the understanding and communication going in order for Frank to be able to dive in his preferred position. Surfacing from the dive brought on similar problems as Frank needs to clear his mask a metre before the surface as well as remain vertical once surfaced in order to avoid water entering his nasal and lung passages and in so doing minimise the risk of uncontrollable spasms. Again, trust and communication solved the problem but Frank’s big lesson from this dive was to communicate his needs before the dive to his dive buddy. It is clear, from all the discussions and time I spent with Frank that there really are no barriers to diving for disabled persons. All it takes is good training and planning, understanding and qualified dive buddies and a positive attitude. The founding divers of Amaglubglub qualified at Guinjata Bay resort where several adjustments had to be made to the resort, dive kit-up area, launch site and boats in order to accommodate these divers. Guinjata is currently the only resort that will accommodate disabled divers and it is Amaglubglub’s hope that this will change as they grow their membership. For Frank, being under the sea continues to be a touchingly spiritual experience. To be able to experience the beauty and intricate web of sea life is a moving one and one that he both cherishes and loves.
Through Amaglubglub and the HSA-SA Frank and other Amaglubglub members, have been able to participate in an adventure sport and go away on holidays. In the 21 years of Frank’s marriage he and his wife have only been away on holiday 8 times – a function of poor facilities for disabled people. This year, he and his wife have been away diving four times already with more planned for next year. Frank’s wife is currently training to be a buddy to Frank and finally there is a sport the two of them can share together. Pa g e 2 3 | w w w. a fr i c a n d i ve r. c o m
Amaglubglub was born of passion and inspired by the freedom diving in our oceans gives to its members. As an organisation, it is still young and will go from strength to strength as its membership increases and it procures funding for its activities. Amaglubglub – the short facts:
• Establish a scuba diving club for people living with disability and their friends and family, • Inspire and motivate people living with disability to learn the art and social impact of scuba diving, • Rehabilitate people living with disability using the therapeutic benefits of water sports and physical activity, • Provide opportunity for people living with dis www.african d i ve r. c o m ability to find reason to live again after a lifechanging spinal cord injury, and • Solicit public, corporate and state funding to support these life-changing events.
Amaglubglub’s mission is to bring the fullness and enjoyment of life to people living with disabilities and is focussed on changing the attitude and lifestyle of disabled people through scuba diving. Page 22 |
Their goals are to:
HSA multi-level certification for students: There are three levels of certification for disabled divers: Level A – certified to dive with any other diver, Level B – certified to dive with two dive buddies who are certified Open Water Level A or above, and Level C – certified to dive with two dive buddies: one certified as Level A Open Water or above AND one assisting buddy whom is certified to a minimum level of a rescue diver.
For more information on Amaglubglub visit their website at www.amaglubglub.co.za Pa g e 2 4 | www.africandiver.com
The Moving Sushi Expedition wrap up: By Mike Markovina Selection of fish species in a single store at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo Contents
Images by Mike Markovina and Linda Schonknecht Pa g e 2 5 | w w w. a fr i c a n d i ve r. c o m
To highlight the plight of our oceans, and to profile some of the positive stories of conservation efforts, Linda and I packed up a single vehicle with cameras, diving gear and whatever we though we may need to drive across three continents, from Cape Town to Japan and back. Our plan was to use imagery and stories to tell a tale of what we as humans are doing right in the marine realm. On the 25th of August 2008, we drove out of our driveway in Betty’s Bay (just outside Cape Town), only to return in July 2010. Linda and I hoped to merge her photographic skills with my fisheries science background to understand the technical ramifications of the current state of our world’s marine resources and its management (i.e. are marine protected areas the ultimate solution, what data is available to decision makers and are we all facing doom and gloom). Imagery to highlight our findings was critical, as images speak their own language, evoke emotions and most importantly transcend all language barriers and cultural differences. Sitting in our car on the eve of our first border crossing into Namibia I recall thinking to myself, “I have no idea what we are going to find, or how my thoughts, arguments, understandings and insight regarding global marine resources will evolve”. It was not far into the expedition, about 35 days actually that the expedition purpose changed. There is no part of the ocean today that is safe from potential over-exploitation of resources.
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Modern technologies are advancing at such a rate that skippers can watch fish enter their nets one mile below the sea surface. Sea surface temperature models, weather models, huge megatrawlers and side sonar fish finders (amongst others) allow each and every day of the year to be fishable. The drive to fish comes from globalised demand. Actually we are all linked with fish in some way or another, even if you do not eat them. For example, lets have a look at chicken. Globally, approximately 50 billion chickens are produced annually. Chicken convert about 2 kg’s of food to 1 kg of chicken, so for global production, 100 billion kg’s of chicken feed is required. Protein in chicken feed is essential, and thereby constitutes on average 20% of the feed. The best and most common source of protein is wild caught fish, so as a non-fish eater, chicken links you to fish. Expanding our fishy desire, we are connected with fish by virtue of value. On the 6th of January 2010, a bluefin tuna was sold at the Tuskiji fish market for US$176.000 - an attractive price for all tuna fishermen worldwide. Tuskiji fish market, the worlds largest, found in the heart of Tokyo, Japan, moves upward of 2 million kilograms of fish per day through its doors, with over 400 represented fish species on offer daily. Standing in front of the fish displays, the truly daunting understanding of globalisation envelopes all thoughts. It is a feeling I shall never forget.
Not only must the importance and value of fish be understood, but also the value of ancillary industries such as the cost of flying tuna to Japan, the industries involved in packaging, cleaning, canning etc. The economic value of fish and fisheries extends into the political arena, whereby political decisions surrounding profits gained by the commodity are shrouded in controversy and non-transparency. For example, it is no secret that Japan is involved in “buying” pro-whaling votes. This is evident in Mali, which has no coastline, yet the country’s politicians vote pro-whaling … the financial benefits, unknown. The European Union is not exempt from this unknown financial gain; the biggest controversy surrounds the EU/ African fisheries agreements. In a discussion with a EU political figure involved in the fisheries sector, the response to my request to conduct an interview on positive EU governmental projects was, “we are here to make money.” In the last article published by Moving Sushi in African Diver we highlighted aid money mismanagement and corruption in Tanzania and Kenya. Fisheries management is truly economic we can’t escape it. In a social experiment that Linda and I conducted over the two years, we interviewed over 1000 people of different cultures, creeds, backgrounds ethnicities etc. and discovered that when challenged by the question, “what comes to your mind when I say the word tuna?” only 5% retorted that a tuna was a fish. Contents
That means 95% of people interviewed thought otherwise - their answers were economic derivatives of tuna, i.e. canned tuna, sushi, sashimi etc. It follows therefore then that conservation efforts of tuna will never work, but that the conservation of sashimi may. Lesson learned, we are connected to fish globally whether we like it not and that the practice of fisheries management is about economics.
Small sized swordfihes on auction
Tsukiji fish market, bluefin tuna auctioned off, awaiting conversion into sushi.
Local fisher cleaning his catch, this time a good sized Threadfin.... location Angola. Contents
Linda and I believe vehemently that fish represents more than just money. Fish and fishing represent livelihoods and food security issues “when fish stocks decline, the social consequences are to be feared, especially in areas and countries where fish represents the only viable protein source”. No more did this sentiment ring true than in Senegal, where communities are engaged in a “race to fish”; a race with no winners (the Tragedy of the Commons, whereby multiple individuals acting independently towards their own self interests, will ultimately deplete a shared resource even when it is obvious that the long term repercussions are in nobody’s best interests, Garrett Hardin). In Senegal the cash crop of peanuts has failed prompting a movement of approximately 83% of Senegal’s 14 million people to move within 100 km of the coastline, fishing being their primary economic freedom. Furthermore government members prospered for years whilst the EU plundered Senegal’s waters for massive profits. The situation is desperate, as government fishery regulatory bodies do not have the capacity, data or political will to turn the current “free for all”
into a resource management strategy towards sustainability. Fisheries challenges in Benin mimic those of Senegal, however a unique and interesting solution has emerged - the use of Voodoo to create Benin’s first marine protected area. Voodoo may have the potential to eclipse conventional fisheries management due to the simple understanding that, “fish represents livelihoods, and livelihoods are a product of religious beliefs, community beliefs, historical beliefs, traditional beliefs and current beliefs” (declining fish stocks are clearly understood by local fishers). Lessons learned, environmental science, policy makers, fisheries managers and conservationists are not mutually exclusive of each other, furthermore the beliefs, both cultural and religious have to be considered within an inclusive, holistic management framework. Fisheries management in African countries must be considered collectively, with respect to political design, and individually with respect to cultures and beliefs. The expedition was tough, we were hassled by corrupt police officials, I nearly lost my teeth to the Russian Mafia in Siberia, we were illegal in Morocco, denied visas for the UK, and froze when our dry suits flooded in the depths of the Norwegian fjords in the arctic circle. It was not easy living in a car for 2 years -wet dive gear under the beds, rain, rain and more rain, malaria, something else that itched like mad, uncontrollable insect biting, snow, visas, crossing rivers, driving though isolated jungles, and navigating Tokyo with a car too big to fit were some of our many headache Pa g e 2 7 | w w w. a fr i c a n d i ve r. c o m
Vietnamese women spreading shimp to dry along the beach side.
But something makes you carry on, something makes you want to go further, ask new questions and find solutions. For us, that something came from those people we met en-route. The world as we know it is small, it is not hard to drive to Japan from Cape Town, but to build trust, to see a local fisher smile when you offer him information and to be touched by the actions of those who with nothing, literally, will work until their knuckles bleed to do a good job in preserving their local marine heritage - incredible. Over-exploitation of our world’s marine resources is people mismanagement. In Japan, locals work up to 16 hours a day in technology related fields. There is no time to learn about global destruction of fish resources, especially when no information is provided. In discussion with local Japanese people the following statements paint the perfect picture, “the sushi restaurants are full of fish, if there was really a global fish crisis, surely we would see empty sushi restaurants”. While standing in the Okinawa aquarium, a whale shark, one of three in the main tank display, swam past the front window where a Japanese man commented, “yum, yum” while pointing at the swimming beast. In developing nations where communities, or the majority of the country’s population is engaged in fishing activities, like Senegal, like Benin, there is a connection with the status of fish stocks and general public. However in a first world nation, where every gadget exists, where information should be easy to acquire, complete cultural ignorance exists - ironic really. Pa g e 2 8 | www.africandiver.com
It is for this very reason in Japan (cultural ignorance) that classical western ideological marine conservation concepts enforced on people, will not work, (e.g. the documentary, The Cove). The outcome of The Cove actually offered the Japanese government the opportunity to dictate the Japanese population’s response, which reiterated the need for local Japanese people to defend their traditions, a concept which can’t be challenged in a country like Japan. The key to working within a society like Japan is to create the change from within. Empower people with knowledge; allow them to change themselves. Unfortunately empowering people, is not on Africa’s political agenda, as the more informed people are, the more people challenge bad governance.
Local fishing community protesting against governmental forced removal from their traditional fishing grounds.
Volunteers cleaning oiled birds during Norway’s worst oil spill in history.
Never once did I mention that fisheries management is about managing fish, it is not. It is about people. Our expedition changed almost as soon as we departed, it changed from a documentary depicting the successes of classical fisheries management, to a story of inspiring people making a difference. We look forward to telling this story, as it has changed us. People are not inherently bad, we must believe this to remain positive, however our challenge today can be encapsulated in a quote an Indian biologist once told me, “It is not that there are too few fish in the sea, it is that there are too many sharks on land”.
Mike (standing) and Linda in blue waiting to take the plunge in ice cold arctic waters in Northern Norway.
From Linda and myself, I hope you have enjoyed reading our journey over the past 2 years, and thank you to African Diver for giving us a voice. Pa g e 2 9 | w w w. a fr i c a n d i ve r. c o m
by Nicholas Krul
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Red Sea Wrecks Contents
If you’re going to Egypt any time on a diving holiday, be it land-based or liveaboard, and you like wrecks then this article is for you. For the past 2 years in a row, my wife and I have taken groups of divers on liveaboard safaris in the Northern Red Sea. For many divers, the wreck dives were the highlights of their trips. Here’s why….
If your dive guide is worth his salt, he’ll make sure that you dive at the right times for the best conditions. Luckily our guide Kimo did just that. It’s also worth waiting for other divers to leave the water before starting your dive.
“For many divers, the wreck dives were the highlights of their trips...”
First I’ll mention the Thistlegorm, a transport vessel that was bombed by the German forces in WW II. Now this is a diving article, not a history article and if you are interested in the historical facts surrounding these wrecks, you’ll find more than enough info on Google and Wikipedia. Some say that the Thistlegorm wreck brings more revenue to Egypt than the pyramids themselves. Judging by the number of boats that we typically find moored over the wreck, I can believe it. There is definitely a right and a wrong way to dive the Thistlegorm. The wrong way is to stick to a strict schedule and dive according to a timetable, like some liveaboard companies do. You may encounter bad visibility, strong tidal currents (as water moves into and out of the Gulf of Suez), and a wreck crowded with divers. Not a very pleasant way to dive! If you have ever dived this site before, you will know that tidal action results in an outgoing tide pulling murky water from the Gulf of Suez over the wreck and pushing clean water into the Gulf on an incoming tide; improving visibility to crystal. This makes diving the wreck best just before high tide until just before low tide.
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The Thistlegorm deserves at least 3 to 4 dives for you to get the most from this wreck. The first dive is normally an exploratory dive of the wreck, between the bow and the amidships area, just to familiarise yourself with the layout and orientation. During this dive you can see everything from lionfish to pipefish and gangs of Bluefin Kingfish marauding through the schools of baitfish that hang above the wreck. Those divers that investigate the tiny cracks and crevices see nudibranchs, crabs and shy little blennies hiding in cavities in the rusting metal structure. It’s awesome to see full-size locomotives on the deck and to be able to admire almost the entire length of this 110 meter vessel from amidships in the crystal clear visibility. The second dive is a tour of the cargo holds where we spend almost the entire dive exploring the jeeps and trucks, generators, boxes of old boots and rifles. Schools of soldier, sweeper and squirrel fish occupy the darkest corners of these like street gangs, waiting for nightfall to emerge and forage.It’s really a trip back in time to see the motorcycles with their wire-spoked wheels and skinny tires and 40’s era trucks and jeeps as if they are stuck in a time warp.
At night the deck is usually littered with blue spotted rays while shoveller crayfish scamper amongst the rusting remains of the locomotives on each side of the first cargo hold. You can tease a few lionfish by illuminating small fish and just before the lionfish strikes and devours them, moving your lights away. There is nothing quite like a hungry lionfish hunting by the light of your torch and striking at lightning speed at its chosen prey. Care must be taken when doing night dives in the Red Sea as the lionfish are drawn to the divers, hoping to use the light to hunt. If you are not super-vigilant you may find 3 or more lionfish underneath you, spines out, hunting by the light of your torch a mere 30cm from your rash-vested arms and belly. Talk about an adrenalin rush! If you’re lucky you may be joined by a group of hunting giant kingfish, Caranx ignobili. Their speed and power is awesome and when they are chasing baitfish around you, you can feel the pressure waves as they pass.
Trust me, much better than a sunken bus or office table! The third dive on the Thistlegorm is a night dive on the bow section of the wreck. Pa g e 3 2 | www.africandiver.com
â€œ The Thistlegorm is surely the crown jewel of the Red Sea but other stunning wrecks are not to be underestimated.â€?
Look carefully in the anemones and you should spot some translucent purple cleaner shrimps to take photos of. This is definitely a macro-photographer ’s dream dive, albeit a bit short.
“The wreck is amazingly intact and there is still personal luggage strewn about the wreck site - ... ” The fourth dive we do on the Thistlegorm is at the stern. The dive starts at the one locomotive that rests on the sand at 30 meters off the port side where it landed after being blown from the deck during the explosion that sunk the ship. This chunk of twisted metal is literally covered in corals and seawhips, and is crawling with marine life, most notably scorpion and lionfish, as well as a cloud of glittering glassfish. From there we move to the stern area, explore the huge brass propeller and encounter a small school of black-spotted sweetlips who love posing for our photographers. The way back to the dive boat takes us past the anti-aircraft gun which provides a great prop for diver portrait photos. Nearby, in the more broken up mid-ships area, look out for some old artillery shells dated 1929. Pa g e 3 4 | www.africandiver.com
The Thistlegorm is surely the crown jewel of the Red Sea but other stunning wrecks are not to be underestimated Near Hurghada, if you’re lucky and your dive group is suitably experienced, you may get the opportunity to dive the incredible wreck of the Rosalie Muller. This wreck sits in about 60 meters of water in an area of the Gulf of Suez where there is no current and permanently bad visibility of around 10 meters. The top of the deck is at around 35 meters and the holds are open from the top, giving some access to some great swimthroughs. These holds are full of schools of small baitfish which in turn attract larger game fish. Juvenile barracuda are abundant inside the holds as are giant and Bluefin kingfish in the waters around the wreck. The dive is short, dark and deep but the marine life in abundance down
The last great wreck that I’ll mention in this article is the Salem Express, a ferry that sank in 1991 en route from Saudi Arabia to Safaga. The ferry struck the reef and sank in less than 30 meters of water. Over a thousand passengers drowned. The wreck is amazingly intact and there is still personal luggage strewn about the wreck site – a stark reminder of the lives that were lost. The lifeboat davits and other structures have already been heavily colonised by hard and soft corals and the fish life is abundant with many lionfish, grouper, anemone fish and goatfish having made this wreck their home. Get your dive buddy to pose near or on the flying mast – this makes an awesome photo! Having personally sampled all of these and more, there is nothing I can recommend more strongly to any diver than to visit the Red Sea and dive these wrecks. The advice I have for anyone wanting to dive these wrecks is to book your trip with a dive centre or group and chat to the tour leader and get a feel for what to expect. You should get the feeling that the tour organiser cares about ensuring that you get the best possible dives in and that you get the best value for money.
there makes this dive a must-do. Contents
A summary of the yearâ€™s activities By Morne Christou DAN Dive Safety Partner (DSP) Programme Coordinator
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2010 has indeed been year of champions. As the year draws to an end it is always good to reflect on our achievements during the year. It was a very busy and productive year packed with so many projects and therefore I will only highlight a few. The year started with the DAN team inviting DAN members and divers to participate in the DAN Project Dive Exploration (PDE) research at Bass Lake and Miracle Waters. Their participation helped further our knowledge of diving accidents and helped us better understand the problems divers face every day. Our objectives for PDE were: • Collecting real-time depth/time profiles for analysis; • Documenting the conditions and effects of the dive up to 48 hours after the end of the dive series; • Documenting any health changes in the diver, whether or not these related to diving; • Investigating the relationship between diving and health effects by using statistical analysis; • Developing flexible, low-risk decompression procedures for multi-level/ multi-day repetitive diving; and • Studying the effects of flying or exposure to altitude after diving. Pa g e 3 6 | www.africandiver.com
We also hosted a series of DAN presentations at the DAN SA head quarters educating divers on different equalizing techniques and how to calculate or assess their fitness to dive. The presentations were well attended with divers getting involved with many of the discussion concerning the abovementioned topics. We are always concerned when our members choose to dive in remote locations. This always poses many challenges in the case of a diver being injured. The management and evacuation plans of an injured diver in a remote location continuously changes as divers seek new dives in remote locations and therefore we decided to shed some light on the subject by inviting divers to attend Emergency Medical Services helicopter and fixed wing tours. The tours were also well attended and helped those who attended to better understand the difficulties when trying to assist divers in paradise far from any help. In addition, a DAN SA representative travelled to DAN America to assist their HOTLINE team in improving the international DAN database system. The system allows all the DAN HOTLINES to communicate fast and effectively with one another. Furthermore it allows DAN doctors to assist each other with cases and draw on all their collective experiences instantly. This is truly a unique product benefiting DAN members internationally.
As part of the DAN mission we assist chamber facilities through the recompression chamber assistance programme (RCAP). This year alone, a DAN representative travelled to the Seychelles, Egypt and Zanzibar to provide training and assistance to the chamber facilities in these areas and so doing help improve the service they deliver to DAN members. This programme is a worldwide campaign to promote quality and safety at all the DAN referral chamber facilities. You might ask why does DAN need such a programme? The answer is quite simple. We want to know what chamber facilities are available to treat DAN members, whether these facilities are safe and how DAN and the chamber facility work together to assist DAN members. As we approach the end of the year it is customary to offer you some safety advice for the holiday season. We would like to offer four recommendations based on the proportion of calls we receive and the cases we manage via the DAN hotline.
Malaria: Please remember that we are at the height of the tick and malaria season and that using Doxycycline (or MalaroneÂŽ alternatively) to protect you against malaria is the preferred choice for recreational divers. It also covers you for tick bite fever and even some forms of food poisoning and gastroenteritis. It is not for everyone however - allergy, sun sensitivity and yeast infections are possible side effects and pregnant women and children should not use it. For more information on malaria, visit www.dansa.org or the African Diver website under â€œdownloadsâ€? of previous articles. Ear Squeeze: The most common problem we encounter during diving is middle ear equalization problems. Experienced divers usually get to know their ears relatively well, but they may still have problems from time to time. Here you, as an experienced diver, can play an important role in advancing diving safety by advising less experienced divers how to care for their ears and by dispelling myths through sound advice. The Valsalva technique should never be applied as a single uninterrupted straining maneuver of more than 2 to 5 seconds. Short gentle pressurizations are what is called for. Longer attempts risk inner ear barotrauma and - in the case of repetitive diving - may even result in bubbles passing through a patent foramen ovale (PFO or hole in the heart) due to a shift in inter-atrial pressure. Consider getting to know the other methods for ear equalizations so that you are better able to teach them to others. For more information on ears & diving visit our website under the medical section. Traumatic Injuries: The most common need for evacuation by DAN is due to trauma - either boating (diving) or transport-related. Please take particular care when traveling to and from your holiday destination and take it easy getting there. Also, be aware of the dangers of activities like quad biking and other adventure sports. Exercise common sense. Also note that DAN insurance cannot cover accidents and injuries involving motorbikes and quad bikes. Pa g e 3 7 | w w w. a fr i c a n d i ve r. c o m
Alcohol: As this is the Festive season, we need to say a few words on dietary excess and alcohol. Avoid diving on a very full stomach or within an hour of having a large meal. During this time the circulation is diverted to the intestines to aid digestion with a consequent reduction in blood pressure and circulation to the brain. This often results in a reduced level of concentration or sleepiness. In extreme cases fainting may occur. Frequent light meals are better. Many divers particularly males - are prone to heartburn. Diving with a full stomach increases the chances of having your dive spoilt by such indigestion. Also, in DAN-SA newsletter you will find an article by Dr. Allan Kayle on alcohol and the implications on diving. According to the DAN Report on Diving Injuries and Fatalities approximately 50% of injured divers report having used alcohol before diving. That may either mean that alcohol does have some effect on diving safety or that 50% of divers drink before diving ... my interpretation is the former and therefore Dr Kayleâ€™s comments cautioning divers are valid.
In closing, we want to assure you that the DAN Hotline is there for you during the holidays irrespective of where you may be traveling. Make sure your membership is renewed and if you are going to a very remote area, please let us know in advance and think about the realities of dealing with a medical emergency in these areas and plan accordingly. No will in the world can ensure immediate assistance and you need to realize this and have the necessary equipment, backup and training. The most important factor is good communications as this is the only way to organize and manage an emergency. Donâ€™t rely on others for this when your life is at stake.
Until next time, Safe Diving Pa g e 3 8 | www.africandiver.com
Adam Hanlon w w w. a d a m h a n l o n . c o m
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Adam Hanlon I grew up on a farm in Bergville, learned to dive in 1984 with Harvey Livschitz at Dive Adventure in PMB. Worked for him through my varsity days-on Aliwal, Sodwana etc until I left in 1991. I even remember diving in the Cape in a wetsuit-brrr. Had a Nikonos V but to be honest my success rate was so low that I got fed up! Travelled around, working as a dive guide for a while-Red Sea, Malta, Caribbean, before fetching up in the UK. I re-discovered underwater photography with the advent of digital about 6 years ago and haven’t stopped since! I have had images published in all the UK diving magazines, FHM and others, and have had footage and images used by the BBC and other major broadcasters. I established and currently run the dive school at Capernwray Diving Center, one of the UK’s most popular centers and a PADI 5 star IDC center. I hold instructor qualifications from PADI, IANTD, DSAT and DAN. I’m very lucky to be one of the few people who manage to make a reasonable living out of diving! More recently, I have become an associate editor of Wetpixel, the foremost resource for underwater imaging. This brings me into contact with a huge number of people worldwide who make and create picture underwater.
w w w. a d a m h a n l o n . c o m Contents
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