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Channel Islands

TEXAS diving

Tropical Style

Diving Different Worlds

A CAVE DIVING NUT It’s a passion

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◄ Cover by David Dunleavy “Shark Fest” is one of the latest creations by artist David Dunleavy,

Southwest Dive News The complete resource for diving in the Southeast.

Publisher / Editor-in-Chief Rick Stratton Production Manager IJ James Expo Coordinator Selene Muldowney Accounts Manager Tove Chatham Advertising Sales Manager Julie Holley (360) 240-1874 x111 Circulation/subscriptions


Dive News Magazine is committed to promoting the sport of scuba diving in the Southwest. We will present a practical, unbiased point of view regarding all aspects of the sport of scuba diving. We encourage readers to participate in determining the content of this publication by giving us their opinions on the types of articles they would like to see. We invite letters to the editor, manuscripts and photographs related to diving or diving-related business. Send us your stories and photos! IMPORTANT NOTICE The Dive News Magazine reserves the right to refuse service to anyone. The contents of Southwest Dive News are opinions of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, editor or its staff. The publishers and contributors assume no responsibility for any mishap claimed to be a result of use of this material. Diving is an adventure sport containing inherent risks. Improper use of diving equipment or diving techniques may result in serious injury or death. Readers are advised to use their best judgment in each individual situation. MOVING? In order to continue receiving your magazine uninterrupted, please notify Northeast Dive News when you change your mailing address. To ensure uninterrupted service, please contact us six to eight weeks before the change of address occurs. You can call us at 360-240-1874 PST or email us at or mail at: Bedrock Publications P.O. Box 1494 Oak Harbor, WA 98277


Monthly Columns

who uses his background as a scuba diver, fisherman and videographer to create ocean paintings. His art and murals are meant to help raise awareness of endangered species and our threatened ocean planet. Dunleavy has so far painted 53 life sized (or larger) animal murals along the East Coast, from New Jersey to the Florida Keys, stretching to the Bahamas, and even as far away as the Melbourne Aquarium in Australia. His works of art have been featured on many magazine and DVD covers and have been featured in educational programs and film. You can find out more about Dunleavy and his art at

Publisher’s Note.................................4 Incoming Mail.....................................5 Southwest Hot News.........................6 Southwest Activities............................7

Regional News................................8-9 Gear Box.....................................22-23 Tropical Dive Directory................22-23 Local Dive Directory....................22-23

LOCAL DIVE DESTINATION 10 Channel Islands – Diving Three Different Worlds The Channel Islands are in the backyard of one of the most famous places in the world, southern California. Often referred to as the playground of the stars, the Channel Islands are comprised of eight islands off the coast. Swept first by the warm southern waves then invaded by the cold currents from the north the Channel Islands see a neverending procession of seasons that concentrate nutrients for kelp and plankton setting up an ocean buffet for the diverse sea life calling the area home. For divers, these are the real stars of southern California. By Mike Hughes

SOUTHWEst DESTINATION 14 Tropical diving, Texas Style

Locals have kept this a secret for a long time, but Texas has tropical coral reefs next to its shores. These areas are currently home to parrot fish, sea turtles, nurse sharks, and whale sharks. Reefs formed due to a recessed water level thousands of years ago. Now the saltwater level has risen and these water ways and marshlands are home to countless species of bird as well as crucial nursery grounds for many species of fish and invertebrates. This is diving not to be missed by the locals or the weekend warriors! By Mike Hughes

TROPICAL DESTINATIONS 18 Cave Diving Nut: It’s a passion

The phrase goes “Once you dive it you know!” Akumal is only an hour or so south of Cancun on the Mexican Caribbean coastline of the Yucatan peninsula which holds the entrance to the Dos Ojos Caverns. 400 feet of vis causing slack-jawed amazement beckons divers to try out the less technical sister to full cave diving (diving in the light zone). Many divers might find the technical aspect and gear intensity of cave diving intimidating, but the payoff is well worth it! By Craig Brown

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Welcome to Southwest Dive News

I am very proud to bring you this first edition of Southwest Dive News and hope it helps you, as a diver and a member of our extended dive family, be more active in the sport. It is the mission of this magazine to Educate, Inform and Inspire divers to be more active in the sport locally. We accomplish this by producing a high-quality magazine with both print and online editions that will help you find more places to go diving locally - where it really matters. 15 years ago, I was a local diver who just recently moved to the Pacific Northwest from California. I began diving and just loved it. I went down to the local bookstore looking for a magazine about local diving but there wasn’t one. So I started a newsletter to help me and other similar divers. The newsletter was popular and quickly grew into a newspaper. The newspaper grew into a magazine and now has grown into several magazines as we have expanded into different regions . We now have five magazines. Seattle, WA based, Northwest Dive News, Chicago, IL based Midwest Dive News, New York, NY based, Northeast Dive News, Atlanta, GA based, Southeast Dive News and our new Southwest Dive News. Each edition is printed and mailed to every dive shop in their region. Our Southwest edition, based in Phoenix, AZ, will be mailed to every dive shop in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Utah and Nevada. Each edition is dedicated to promoting SCUBA diving and the dive community in this region. We strongly support the dive retailers within each region and believe without these specialty retailers, we would not have a sport. The only place you will be able to get a physical copy of the magazine is to get one from these dive shop locations. Hopefully you will enjoy the visit, pick up a copy of our magazine and come back often.


ve b We also embrace the evolving publis een hed! marketplace and are not just a print magazine. We offer our magazine and all its contents each month online on our website. Our readers can just click on the homepage – www.SouthwestDiveNews. com and get it now. The magazine is hosted in a very cool software allowing you to read the entire edition online. You can also get the magazine on your iPad, or mobile device. We are looking for readers-come check us out! By producing a print and online edition we can now open up our pages to the dive community. Send us your dive stories, photos, videos, dive site reviews, etc. We will post them on our website. Each month we will pick our favorites and print them in our magazine. We will give each writer a free subscription to our magazine AND one of our “I’ve been published” T-shirts whose submission makes it into our printed edition. You can connect with us on facebook and become our “friend”. As a friend, you can get updates everytime we post new content to our site. You can also subscribe online to our E-Dition. You will be emailed a brief email of the “table of contents” of the magazine each time it is posted. As the publisher of the Dive News Network for the last 15 years I have dove in nearly all regions in the country. Welcome to our magazine.


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Dear Rick,

I have been a reader of Northwest Dive News for many years, growing up in Portland, Oregon. I eventually moved to Phoenix, Arizona. I’m also a diver and frequently dive locally. I’m a big fan of your magazine and loved getting it when I lived in Oregon. I have a question… When are you going to start a Southwest edition? As a Northwest reader for many years, I’m very familiar with the magazine and its influence. I used to read it every month looking for interesting places to dive, sometimes it was my only outlet to my dive obsession –work would sometimes get in the way. I’ve been living in Phoenix for several years and I love it. We can get anywhere in about three hours. The diving is amazing. I have seen the magazines you produce in other regions on your website, they are very similar to Northwest Dive News. I’d like to see you start a Southwest version to help me better enjoy the sport. Come on in - the water is great! Your friend, Don Benson Phoenix, Arizona - formally Portland, Oregon

Dear Don,

Thank you very much for your note and encouragement to start Southwest Dive News. I certainly agree with you about diving the dive community and the greater Southwest is terrific. I look forward to diving in all the areas, seeing old friends and making new ones. We will be active and involved in our new community. We will give free publicity to dive community events throughout the region. We invite our readers to send dive club meetings, community events and news happenings. We will print them for free and list them in our calendar section on our website.

I will be honest, to expand our business now in new territory in this economy seems a bit crazy. But I believe the best way to find something is to go looking for it. Business is certainly not going to come looking for us. So, YES, we are taking the plunge - warm water or not - because we are divers, not just addicted but obsessed. Thanks for your note and encouragement.


NASE Doesn’t Offer a Remedial Mask Clearing Course, Either… The number one complaint among dive operators is that new divers can’t control buoyancy. And no wonder! The typical scuba student spends up to 90 percent of his time in the water standing, sitting or kneeling on the bottom. How can he ever learn buoyancy control doing that? The situation is so bad some agencies offer remedial buoyancy control courses to try to help new divers fix problems that never should have been allowed to happen in the first place. That’s just plain wrong. NASE doesn’t offer a remedial buoyancy control course any more than we offer a remedial regulator recovery or mask clearing course. To us, buoyancy control is not a “skill” to be demonstrated by doing fin pivots in open water. Controlling buoyancy is at the heart of everything we teach, right from the start. Find out how easily you can fix one of the biggest problems in diver training. Visit And be sure to visit us at DEMA, booth 1583, for a special opportunity for dive professionals.

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Dive Lake Mohave with Phoenix-area Scuba Center

The Academy of Scuba in Phoenix, AZ, through its wholly owned travel division, Underwater Vacations, is announcing three trips for Lake Mohave/ Laughlin Nevada during the Fall 2011. Lake Mohave offers Scuba divers a great fresh water destination with plenty of visibility and diversity. Academy of Scuba will be escorting trips in November and December. For complete details and to sign up, go to

Ca Governor Signs Bill Banning Shark Fin Products

Houston Underwater Photographic Society Presents Shooting UW Video for Post Production

If you have a specific interest to videography, or those of you wishing to get into video, Greg Grimes will present “Shooting UW Video for Post Production Saturday, Nov 5 at the Bayland Community Center from 12 noon - 3 p.m. There will be a discussion and seminar of video equipment, including the selection of camera, housing, and lighting systems. He will also have a demonstration of different video techniques for capturing video clips with focus on post-production. For more info email

California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB376, a bill banning the possession, sale and distribution of imported shark fins in the state. This piece of legislation, that has been aggressively promoted and lobbied for throughout the recreational scuba diving industry and abroad, is the latest “victory” in an on-going battle to save the world’s shark populations. Hawaii, Oregon and Washington have similar statewide bans. For more info visit

Bay Area Divers 37th Anniversary PartyA Great Place to Get Lei’d

Long Time Diver Jim Mapes Pens Appreciation

Bay Area Divers Scuba Divers Market & Expo a Success

Long time diver Jim Mapes has been going through a tough physical issue recently fighting a brain tumor. It came on suddenly, is very aggressive, but so has his response to get rid of it. Jim would like to let the industry know how very much he appreciates their outpouring of support and prayers. It means a lot to him and his family. It has made him realize why this industry is so special to all divers. “We are relatively small so we can be connected,” says Jim, “we have diving and the desire to share it with the world as our common bond so we are connected, and the success of each of us is so important to all of us. I realize it’s those things that create the friendships and make this a very special industry, certainly for me. We are in a very special place. I’ve always known and appreciated this but when something like this happens, it really hits home. Between the enormous support and friendship of my manufacturers, and all my customers and friends, I want you to know just how much it all means to me. Thank you.” Get well soon, Jim.

National Geographic Recreation Workshop




Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the Historic Hotel Galvez in Galveston, TX, Natgeo will present a free marine recreation workshop for anyone interested. One of the goals of National Geographic’s OCEAN INITIATIVE is to engage and collaborate with the marine recreation community with a shared goal of raising public awareness and inspiring people to help protect the vital natural resources the ocean provides. Join them to discuss what others, like you, have done to motivate and inspire guests to be stewards of the ocean environment, and how you can be a part of ocean conservation so we have a future for continued ocean recreation. For more info visit 6

The Bay Area Divers will hold their 37th Anniversary party which will be Hawaiian themed at the Monument Inn located in La Porte, TX Saturday, Nov. 12 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Dinner is served at 7 p.m. There will be door prizes and fresh shucked oysters on the half shell, cold boiled shrimp, fried catfish, fried oysters, fried shrimp and stuffed crab. For more info contact

This year’s Bay Area Divers Scuba Divers Market & Expo held Oct. 8 was filled with great vendors and incredible deals! Thanks to all the volunteers and the Board of Directors for all their hard work making this year’s market a huge success! Next year’s market will be held Oct. 13. Mark your calendars. For more information contact Doreen Wells at (409) 622-3022 or Or visit our website at:

CSTR Unveils USS Kawishiwi Project Logo

The latest artificial reef project in California is moving ahead. California Ships to Reefs’ (CSTR) first major sinking project, the USS Kawishiwi, now has its own special logo design, commemorating its upcoming journey from a Navy vessel to an artificial reef. The mission of CSTR, a nonprofit corporation, is to create a network of artificial reefs along the California coastline, using decommissioned military and merchant vessels. The reefs enrich the ocean environment and provide diving, fishing and other recreational opportunities with potential to bring millions of dollars into the surrounding areas. The new Kawishiwi logo was developed by Vern Bouwman, a former Kawishiwi crewmember and a member of CSTR. The Kawishiwi is a decommissioned Navy fast fleet oiler which served in Vietnam and Korea. Former crewmembers of the Kawishiwi were among the people who commented on and helped compile the final logo design. The Kawishiwi logo may be viewed on the CSTR website at

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Nov 3: Aqua Tutus Diving Club Meeting, Round Table Pizza Parlor, Castro Valley, CA. Nov 5-6: University TX Scuba Search/Rescue Dog Diving Austin, TX. Nov 5: Shooting Underwater Video for Post Production Workshop with Houston Underwater Photographic Society. Nov 7: Houston Underwater Photographic Society, 7 p.m. Bayland Community Center, Houston, TX. Nov 7: Alacosta Dive Club Meetings, 7:30 p.m., Garden Room at the Orinda Public Library, Orinda, CA. Nov 8: Bottom Time Dive Club, 6:30 p.m. social, 7 p.m. meeting. Elite Circle Grille, Waco, TX. Nov 9: Lunar Fins Dive Club, 7 p.m., Social hour at 6:30 p.m., Mario’s in Seabrook, TX. Nov 10: University SCUBA Club at UT Austin, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m., SSB 4.212, Austin, TX. Nov 12: Diving Rebels Scuba Club Chili Cook Off, Joe Pool Lake, www. Nov 12: Bay area Divers 37th Anniversary Party. 6 p.m. -10 p.m. Members only. Monument Inn, La Porte, TX. Nov 12: Dream Divers Modesto California Santa Toy Drive, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Aquatic Dreams Scuba Center, Modesto, CA. Nov 13: Finz Scuba Club Board Meeting, 5 p.m. Cantina Laredo, Dallas, TX Nov 13: Finz Scuba Club Sunday Meet & Greet, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Cantina Laredo, Dallas, TX. Nov 15: Dream Divers Modesto California Board Meeting, 7 p.m., Aquatic Dreams Scuba Center, Modesto, CA. Nov 16: Bay Area Divers Special Meeting for Board of Director Election. Nov 16: Houston Underwater Club meeting & election, 6:30 p.m. Canyon Café, Houston, TX. Nov 16: San Jose Flipper Dippers Club Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Santa Maria Hall of the Knights of Columbus, Campbell, CA. Nov 16: San Francisco Reef Divers, Meetings start at 7:30 p.m., Please check our yahoo site for details at: SFRD Yahoo Site for more info. Nov 16: Dolphin Divers of Sacramento Club Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Round Table Pizza, Folsom, CA. Nov 17: City of Houston Underwater Mariners Club Meeting. Nov. 18-20: DUI Dog Rally & Demo

Tour, Clear Springs Scuba Park, Terrell, TX. Nov 20: Scubaland Adventures Dive Club Thanksgiving Feast. Nov 24: University SCUBA Club at UT Austin, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m., SSB 4.212, Austin, TX. Nov 24-28: Northern Nevada Dive Club, Peace Boat Thanksgiving Lobster Dive, Channel Islands, CA. Call the shop at 826-5333 to reserve your spot! Nov 29: Scuba Maniacs Club Meeting, 7 p.m., Jolly Roger Restaurant, Dana Point, CA.


Dec 1: Sea Ventures Dive Club Meeting, Election of Board Members, 7 p.m., Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant, Fullerton, CA. Dec 3: Houston Underwater Scuba Club Holiday Party. Members only, St. Arnolds Brewery, Houston, TX. Dec 3-4: DUI Dog Rally & Demo Tour, Casino Point, Catalina Island, CA. Dec 3: Northern Nevada Dive Club Christmas Meeting, Casa de Ollom, Please check the website for more information, Dec 5: Houston Underwater Photographic Society, 7 p.m. Bayland Community Center, Houston, TX.

Dec 6: Bay Area Divers Board of Director Meeting, 7 p.m., La Brisa Mexican Bar & Grill, League City, TX. Public and BAD members welcome. Dec 6: The Sea Divers Club Meeting, 7 p.m., Round Table Pizza, Torrance, CA. Dec 7: Diving Rebels Scuba Club 6:30 p.m., Humperdink’s, Arlington, TX. Dec. 8: City of Houston Underwater Mariners Holiday Party VII. Dec 8: University SCUBA Club at UT Austin, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m., SSB 4.212, Austin, TX. Dec 10: Diving Rebels Scuba Club Christmas Party, Lake Arlington, Arlington, TX. Dec 11: Finz Scuba Club Board Meeting, 5 p.m. Cantina Laredo, Dallas, TX Dec 11: Finz Scuba Club Sunday Meet & Greet, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Cantina Laredo, Dallas, TX. Dec 14: Lunar Fins Dive Club, 7 p.m., Social hour at 6:30 p.m., Mario’s in Seabrook, TX. Dec 17: Bottom Time Dive Club Christmas party. Waco, TX. Dec 17: Scubaland Adventures Dive Club Christmas Party.

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news and events


Many rewards for instructors teaching At-Risk kids to scuba dive By Szilvia Gogh Contributed by Dive News Wire


s a California based stunt woman and scuba instructor, I get to work on exciting movie sets with actors like Drew Barrymore, boss around LAPD Dive Team Leaders during training and swim with sharks in remote reefs around the world. Yet my most anticipated activity every year is the Chance for Children Summer Camp. In the early 90′s Greg Bonann, a Los Angeles County lifeguard and creator of the world famous television series Baywatch, talked about the concept of having a “Baywatch theme related camp”. A year after hearing him talk about the idea, Tai Collins, a freelance writer for the show, spoke up. She asked Bonann if he was serious about the summer camp and he was. From there they began the Chance for Children Summer Camp for kids who live in poverty and around gang influenced violence. They focus on kids who could easily choose the wrong path, without productive and creative outlets to help develop and discover their dreams. Their focus became the “at-risk” youth of inner city Los Angeles. Greg wanted the kids to learn to swim, be water safe, have knowledge of CPR, and have happy memories to hold on to. Seven years ago, Eileen Kenny, one of my scuba diving students told me about her volunteer work at the Chance for Children Camp. The following summer I invited my diver friends and fellow instructors to come and help me introduce the 30-40 kids in the camp to the underwater world and share our love for the oceans with them. I also approached my training organization, PADI to donate towels and scuba toys for the event. When our team of ten divers, with a variety of scuba experience, showed up for the first year at the Chance for Children Camp, I immediately felt overwhelmed with the power of the adventure. Some of the teenage kids have lived their whole lives in Los Angeles and have never been to the beach, never had a bathing suit and consequently never learned how to swim. Yet, they did not hesitate

a moment to believe we would keep them safe and they jumped into the pool upon our invitation. Our Divemasters and Instructors from Ocean Adventures took one child at a time, explained the basic fundamentals of scuba, practiced the underwater signals we use to communicate, held their little hands and took off for their first scuba encounter. Over the years Tai and Greg have watched their dream blossom. They have now watched a generation of youth grow into adulthood, seeing the lives they have touched and changed firsthand. One of the things they are most proud of is the majority of their volunteers are young people who have come through the program and then return to give something back. They know the powerful impact this camp can have on a child’s life. For more info visit www.

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Texas Dive News

Dive Around Texas Event 2011 a Roaring Success


ocal diving in Texas reached more divers than ever Sunday, Oct. 2 at the Third Annual Dive around Texas Challenge. The event welcomed over 151 divers to its elite membership. Divers gathered from all over the State of Texas, in San Marcos on the banks of the river, to recognize those divers who registered and completed at least 12 dives since Jan. 1. Dive around Texas 2011 challenged divers to sign up with a participating dive retailer and start diving. Upon signing up they received an event t-shirt and a brochure from Texas Parks & Wildlife titled ‘Scuba Diving 101’ listing many of the great spots in Texas to dive. Texas offers lakes, rivers, quarries, the Gulf of Mexico and even a Missile Silo. Judith Peters of Sea Sports said everyone got involved. “We had staff wear their shirts every Saturday in our stores and had a special recognition shirt made for those who completed the challenge thru Sea Sports,” Peters said. “Doug and I were very pleased with the results. It was over whelming!” She added when stores support Dive around Texas they get a direct benefit from it – divers diving locally. One diver logged over 200 dives in the challenge time frame. As a direct result of Dive around Texas there were over 4500 dives logged in Texas.



The Dive around Texas event saw prize awards of more than $11,000 given away to lucky divers. The winning diver was recently certified and logged 13 dives in Dive around Texas. Thanks to all the dive retailers, dive manufacturers, dive reps and diver training agencies who donated prizes for the success of Dive around Texas 2011. Watch for details about Dive around Texas 2012 on the web site and keep logging those Texas dives. Editor’s Note A special thanks to Beth Oliveria of Blackbeard’s in the Bahamas for their Grand Prize donation. A HUGE thanks to Doug and Judith Peters (and Brandi, Sheila, Chad & Jeff) from Sea Sports in Houston, Jim and Saundra Copeland from Copelands in Corpus, Rebecca Jacobs and Gene Dion (and Steve & Jenny) from WW Diving in Humble, Neal Tapps and Penny Arnold from Scuba Center in Tyler, Jeff Waggoner from Scuba Divers Paradise, Brian Warner from Ascuba Ventures, Dave Beevers from Blue Dolphin, Brian Poulin from Scuba Sphere in Ft. Worth, Kelly McSpadden from Aqua Lung, Mike Hill from P.A.D.I., Tom Kurras and Mike Tobin from Cressi Sub, Rick Golden from Mares and Eric Peterson of SSI all contributed to the success of the event.

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Channel islands


Diving Three Different Worlds

Photo courtesy NWDN archive

Channel Islands, California

X Photo



N arch


Channel Islands doesn’t just call to divers! Photo courtesy NWDN archive By Mike Hughes, Travel Writer, Dive News Network


he Channel Islands are in the backyard of one of the most famous places in the world, southern California. Often referred to as the playground of the stars, the Channel Islands are comprised of eight islands off the coast. Swept first by the warm southern waves then invaded by the cold currents from the north, the Channel Islands see a never-ending procession of seasons concentrateing nutrients for kelp and plankton setting up an ocean buffet for the diverse sea life calling the area home. The zooplankton feed on the plankton. Slightly larger creatures feed on the zooplankton, and so the food chain continues right up to elephant seals and several species of whales. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find the California seals, garibaldi, and the ubiquitous California spiny lobster. They all reside on these islands in various mix and match concentrations and for divers, these are the real stars of southern California. Four of these islands, San Miguel, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and Anacapa Island, make up what is known as the northern Channel Islands. They are all closer to Santa Barbara than to Los Angeles. The other four islands, Santa Catalina Island, San Nicolas Island, San Clemente, and Santa Barbara Island, are the southern Channel Islands and are the most famous. 10

Santa Catalina

Santa Catalina Island is 21 miles long by 8 miles wide and, at its highest point, Mt. Crizaba rises to 2,047 ft. Home to eagles, mountain goats, and transplanted buffalo, the cruise ships love to stop here. Avalon Harbor is on the right side of the point and on the leeward or sheltered side, divers go right in the water at Garibaldi State Park. For boat dives there is the nearby Sue Jack, a 54 ft. long schooner, the 162 ft. long Valliant Yacht, the deep reef, or the glass bottom boat. Several movies as well as TV shows have been made in the surrounding waters because of the clarity and natural beauty. Cousteau filmed Night of the Squid in these waters. On the windward side of Catalina, the Farnsworth Banks are quite famous for their purple hydrocoral. One thing to keep in mind about Santa Catalina is the lobster season is usually between October and March. Todd Bingham owner of Coral Sea Scuba in Grants Pass, Oregon, makes two dive trips per year to the Channel Islands. They often stay in Avalon. “It is an incredible place to dive,” says Bingham. “The sea life is nice and the lobster, of course, is great. We enjoy the atmosphere because the workers are all having a great time which makes it all a great time for everyone else.”

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esy NWDN


Photo courtesy NWDN archive

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the largest and most diverse of the islands. There are multiple caves and caverns for divers to explore. Diablo Point Cave is the one used most often for cavern dive training. On the north side of the island is the wreck of the USS Peacock. This is a wooden hull WWII minesweeper similar to the Calypso and down at 60 ft. Other dive sites include Yellow Banks, where there are large kelp beds and parallel reefs and Gull Island, a small rock where you can see purple hydras at 15-40 ft. of depth. The Guardian wreck, in Laguna Harbor on the south side, is a WWII Navy Grumman 2f-2w near Gull Island at fifty plus feet on the sandy bottom. In this part of the Channel Islands National Park you might see dolphins, porpoises, or assorted species of whales.

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Santa Rosa Island

Santa Rosa Island has a couple of interesting sites including the four-masted 268 ft. long Golden Horn and the Talcott Shoals for lobster hunting and spear fishing. The 1894 3-masted 265ft long Aggi is just north of the island. Robert Myers, owner of Rogue Scuba in Medford, Oregon says all of the diving that can be done in the Channel Islands is amazing. “We go for two trips a year but in 2011 we will make three,” Myers says. “We go for the lobster of course but the live-a-boards are great. We use Truth Aquatics and they always accommodate our groups with whatever we need. All of the destinations Truth Aquatics does in the Channel Islands are great. It is one of the best values in scuba on the west coast. From the shipwrecks to the caves, it is all fun diving.”

Santa Barbara is a small island not much bigger than an islet. It is home to California Sea lions, harbor seals, abalone, and rock scallops. Arch Reef and Brittle Star Reef are two hot dive sites here. As far as wrecks go, the Gaviote, an SM-1 landing ship sits in 75 ft. of water and the 281 ft. long Gosford also rests nearby. The Coho is another wreck a mere 10 miles from the SM-1.

San Miguel

San Clemente Island

San Miguel is the farthest west island and is typically five degrees colder than the southern Channel Islands. Expect to see wolf eels and halibut here. Wilson Rock is a well-known remote pinnacle. The Exsachem passenger vessel is here along with the 307 ft. long Cuba.

Anacapa Island

Anacapa Island is the closest island to the mainland. Anacapa is really made up of three small islets. The third islet is the much photographed 40 ft. high Arch Rock. Anacapa is comprised of kelp forests and walls where kelp bass and sheephead wrasse are encountered along with sea lions, horn sharks, torpedo rays, bat rays, and morays. There is a lot of sea life in the marine protected areas. 12

Photo courtesy NWDN archive

Santa Barbara

San Clemente Island, which is shaped like a tie and 25 miles south of Catalina Island, is home to many dive sites including the USS John C. Butler in Northwest Harbor at 80 ft. This is a 306 ft. long destroyer escort. Not far from it rests the 157 ft. long tugboat named the Koka and on the backside of the island you will find the destroyer USS Gregory along with lobster and pink and green abalone. Alan Rolfness, general manager for Salem Scuba in Salem, Oregon, says it is because of the lobster and incredible diving his shop has made 50 trips in a row to the Channel Islands. “The diversity of life in the area is amazing,” says Rolfness. “You have stuff coming in from everywhere. The diving literally brings three completely different worlds together, the Pacific Northwest

life, Caribbean marine inhabitants and the currents from the south bring in life from off South America.” Rolfness adds the kelp forests will blow your mind. “We use Truth Aquatics live-a-boards and I have to say this is the best inexpensive trip for a PNW diver around,” Rolfness says. “And the crew with Truth Aquatics always goes out of their way to make sure everyone has a great time.”

San Nicolas Island

Last, but not least, there is San Nicolas Island way out southeast by itself. The Navy separates the local waters here into three zones. The eastern side is mostly off limits and the SEALS here carry guns. The north and west side have sea lions, harbor seals, and elephant seals. You’ll find scallops, sea fans and the biggest bull lobsters in these waters. No matter where you dive in the Channel Islands you are sure to have an experience like none other. The live-a-boards like Truth Aquatics and Sun Diver offer both intensive dive trips as well as relaxing ones. Either way, the Channel Islands are three worlds in one. ■ Do you have cool diving photos from the Channel Islands? Share them with us at

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EDUCATION IS KEY! The essentials a new IANTD program a manual and a Dvd for recreational and technical divers

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Aerial view of South Padre Island, Texas. Photo by Richard Stockton By Mike Hughes, Travel Writer, Dive News Network


ou might think that I have had one too many salt-rimed adult beverages when I begin talking about Texas and tropical diving in the same sentence, but you would be wrong. Texas has had tropical coral reefs next to its shores for thousands of years. Today there are a total of 36 banks (or reefs). These areas are currently home to parrot fish, sea turtles, nurse sharks, and whale sharks. Thousands of years ago the sea level was hundreds of feet lower than it is today. Salt pooled, then dried as the oceans receded. Eventually minute fossils and debris hardened in different layers over different spans of time into clay stone, sand stone, siltstone, and limestone covered this layer of salt. Reefs formed on these substrates and in some locations the trapped layers of salt bulged, forming reef mounds. Closer to shore, depressed areas became fresh water drinking holes for mastodons and other prehistoric creatures. 14

Today, the gulf’s saltwater level has risen and the inland waterways, marshlands, and mudflats are the home and migratory rest areas for countless species of bird as well as crucial nursery grounds for many species of fish and invertebrates. Close to the Texas mainland shore, Padre Island is the longest sand beach in the USA. Here you’ll find birds such as pelicans, herons, and cormorants. Depending on the time of year, you’ll also find bottlenose dolphins and loggerhead turtles swimming in the water, and endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtles nesting on the beach. The Flower Garden Bank National Marine Sanctuary has to be one of the most notable dive destinations off the coast of Texas. Most dives here require one or two nights away from shore aboard a charter boat. The Flower Gardens are home to huge coral heads in various stages of growth and erosion. Here you may encounter Manta rays,

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Hugh f Mike

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Photo cou

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grouper, silky sharks, sand sharks and hammerhead sharks. Of course you will also find small angle fish, gobies, and blue-headed wrasse. Scientists are still discovering new species of fish; some found only on the banks, such as the bright purple, yellow, and green colored terminal male phase Mardi Gras wrasse. Boat diving is a real bargain out here because you are diving with Caribbean fish, yet you don’t have to fly to get there if you are already from Texas, and the live aboard costs are less than typical hotel and restaurant expenses you may expect to find even south of the border. Keep in mind some of the charter operations may only allow bookings through local dive shops and some trips out to the banks fill up quickly.

ike Hughe s

Seven Seas Scuba Visit the shop and bring in this magazine to receive your first air fill with us FREE or your first EANx fill HALF OFF!

Located at 225 Cannery Row directly across the street from the Breakwater!

Full service dive shop: Rentals, Air Fills, EANx, Deco Mixes, Retail Floor, Service Work, and more!


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…TAKE DAN WITH YOU Whether your plans include scuba diving, hiking, snorkeling, boating or some other adventure, DAN’s trip and group travel coverage protects your vacation travel. 16

Stetson bank is the second most notable bank for encountering sea life. Some banks are less than 100 ft. deep while others descend past the 300 ft. mark. At around 240 ft. in some locations you can see rivers of dense layers of briny salt water slowly pouring onto brine lakes and ponds of concentrated salt water. They have been doing this for thousands of years and the pressure at depth assures the process will continue on for quite some time to come. At least one bank has been drilled and excavated by salvage operators in search of buried Spanish treasure. A few other bank locations are barren or ooze with volcanic mud and little else to enthrall a diver. To make up for some of these lack luster sites and to enhance the overall Texas dive experience, twelve artificial reefs have been created using 400 ft. plus long liberty ships built during WWII. They are located at six different sites. The Freeport reef has 2 liberty ships, 3 ships are located at the Mustang liberty ship reef, and 3 sunken liberty vessels comprise the Matagora Island Liberty ship reef. The Port Mansfield Liberty ship reef has 3 ships, the MV Worthington rests by itself, 1.5 nauticle miles off Aransas, and the George Vancouver sits alone in 40-60 ft 9 n. miles from Freeport. The Freeport area also is where the 523 ft. oil tanker, the VA Fogg, split in two and sank after an accidental explosion occurred while cleaning Benzene residue in 1972. The latest ship to reef inductee is the 473 ft. long USTS Texas Clipper, 17 nautical miles off South Padre Island. She sits on her side 66 ft. below the surface. Her greatest historical point of usefulness occurred when she was transporting combat troops to Iwo Jima and returning with wounded soldiers during WWII. Besides the ships, Texas is known for its rigs to reef program: oil and gas rigs are turned into coral reefs. Discarded rigs are home to countless big fish including grouper and sharks. Several thousand metal structures span a distance of some 500 plus miles from Texas to Mexico, and over to Louisiana. While some are quite deep, many are less than 120 ft. deep making

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IN THE HEART OF TEXAS them ideal dive sites. The iron reefs, as they are called, are the safest dive spots around because divers can control their depth by gauging their position next to the rig structure. Any slight movement up or down will easily catch your eye. Rigs standing erect allow you to dive three different zones with three distinct critter habitats. Down at the substrate, 80 to 120 ft. of depth, you’ll find ivory coral, poisonous red cone shells, shrimp, octopus, oysters, flounder, stingrays, and just a wide assortment of bottom crawlers and bottom feeders sifting for food in the mucky waters. Midlevel, 30 ft. to 80 ft., expect to find game fish such as amberjacks, spadefish, grouper, barracuda, queen angelfish, dolphins, silky sharks, and whale sharks. Attached to the rig are colonies of barnacles, sponges, and tons of other invertebrates. The surf zone, 30 ft. to the surface where waves and currents drive the bigger fish away, expect to find wrasse, sergeant majors, damsels, file fish, stonefish, blue tang, soap fish, and more barnacles. Texas A&M students use a former rig platform as a research station. The above surface accommodations are used for studying and sleeping. The actual sub surface part of the rig, where they do their research, runs 863 ft. deep. The rig is called the “Snapper Platform”. Tech divers also prefer such deeper rigs where they can test their gear and look for larger pelagic fish all at the same time. Other artificial reef programs include welded pipe tubes, cement and ash blocks. National Geographic, in their February 2001 issue in their article Relics to Reefs, mentions Texas in particular. See the fold out on pages 100-101 of the gas platform and tell me if that doesn’t look awesome. Texans are amazingly generous and big on artificial reef programs and when it comes to quantity and quality of local marine creatures, size really does matter. So the next time you are in the mood for Caribbean diving, but fix’n to stay close to home, Texan tropical reefs, as well as the local artificial reefs, are in a big class, as well as a deep league of their very own. Great Dives. ■


Photo courtesy of Mike Hughes

Aquatec USA • Tel (310) 639-9860 • This publication supports the southwest Dive Community




’ lled ‘Cuzanah Loop note in a section ca yd Bo t ot Sc : by o ot Ph

at Grand Ce Deb and Craig diving

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t was the persistence of a travel agent who just wouldn’t let it go that got Craig Brown to Akamal, Mexico and it was the desire to say been there, done that, that got him into the water but it was the beauty of the caverns and caves that keep him going back. What began as the desire to “get it over with” ended in a beautiful relationship between one Olympia Wash. diver and the architecture that is nature at its best. Brown of Capitol Divers in Olympia is now a certifiable “cave diving nut”. His story begins in 1998 when he went to Cozumel for work. “We were working with a manufacturer as a part of Splash Week, an event that takes place in Cozumel,” Brown says. “We knew this travel agent who would pester us to go to Akamal while we were there to try cavern and cave diving. She was persistent and would not let up. She insisted we just had to go.” Akumal, Brown discovered, is located just one hour and ten minutes south of Cancun on the Mexican Caribbean coastline of the Yucatan peninsula. It is a small community that has three beautiful bays—Half Moon bay, greater Akumal bay and Aventuras Akumal bay. Visitors often come for the snorkeling, tropical reefs and for the scuba diving. Yal-ku Lagoon with its calm clear waters is beautiful and there is a world class beach at Akumal Bay. While all of this was nice, Brown was out to try the cavern and cave diving so that he could go back and tell his travel agent, I did it, now let’s move on. “The cavern tour sounded scary and dangerous,” Brown said, “but this time we had a little time so decided to go and check it out. From the minute we arrived we loved the area. We hooked up with a dive shop and tried the cavern tour.” Brown says that right from the start he was impressed with the training. “I was immediately impressed with level of thoroughness and detail of the briefings,” Brown added. “I was also impressed with safety factor, these folks were making sure that we would feel safe as we were diving the cavern. Safety was something we were concerned with so it was nice to be put at ease so that we felt comfortable giving it a try.” Brown says that after a morning of running drills to learn to navigate the cavern they went to went to Dos Ojos Cavern, Two Eyes, in English. The Yucatan Peninsula and the Rivera Maya offer a bevy of activities and places for cave and cavern divers. Cenotes are the natural spring fed pools that lead to the underwater limestone formations beneath the jungles of the area.  There are over 1,500 feet of cavern to be explored in the famous Dos Ojos Cavern and on this particular day it was opened up to Brown and what he saw was something he would never forget.

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TROPICAL Diving  Texas Style

Photo Courtesy Craig Brown

“As soon as we dropped down and could see 400 feet in warm water, I felt just jaw slack amazement at the beauty, there is light everywhere,” Brown says. “The cavern is the light zone. You don’t even need any other light to see. Cavern diving can be for any one; if you have good buoyancy you can cavern dive.” Brown does add that cave diving is different though. “Cave diving is just out of the light zone and it is a little more involved. Once you go out of the light zone you go full on technical. You need more equipment. It is a big training and equipment commitment.” Brown does recommend that divers give cavern and cave diving a try. “We were so thrilled with it we went back six months later and took the full course cavern tour and then took the cave diving course. We now make the trip and do this every year, most years we go twice.” Brown says he didn’t stop at just enjoying his new found obsession alone, he has, to date, convinced 30 other people to do these dives as well. “We do a November trip and a spring trip every year,” Brown said. “It keeps growing and we tell more and more people. One time and you are hooked.” Brown says that there are plenty of places to stay in Akamal. They stay in condos that are right on the ocean. “We go through which is based in Houston, Texas.” According to their website Akumal Vacations offers beachfront properties on the Riviera Maya and south of Cancun in Akumal. Brown also cites the Akamal Dive Center as the dive shop where they get their equipment and training as well as Protech, the folks who provide what they need for cave diving. “I now know why that travel agent was so persistent,” Brown says, “I’m thankful that she was. I can’t fault her for it now because I am just as persistent with people I talk to about cavern and cave diving. Everyone should give it a try, they won’t be sorry they did.”■


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For your first cave dive...

or your 101st... TOP PHOTO: GENE PAGE


DUI is the #1 choice of cave divers around the world. Whether it’s your first cave dive...or your 801st, you need dependability and comfort. Most of all, cave divers need a great fitting drysuit. DUI gives you the most streamlined fit with maximum range of movement. Perfect for tight spaces. DUI - ONLINE.COM/C AVE

Local divers don’t just locally - they dive globally!

Northeast & Midwest Dive News JANUARY 2011

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DIVE DIRECTORY Academy of Scuba All About Scuba Bamboo Reef Glenn’s Aquairus II The Original Steele Bamboo Reef Diver Dan’s Wet Pleasure Blue Water Photo Store Crazy Scuba


Arizona Phoenix (480) 203-6040 Store California Fairfield (707) 425-1932 Store Monterey (831) 372-1685 Store Monterey (831) 375-6605 Store/Charter Oakland (510) 655-4344 Store San Francisco (415) 362-6694 Store Santa Clara (408) 984-5819 Store Santa Monica (310) 463-4927 Store Texas Richardson (866) 696-6090 Store

Santa’s Booty

“Santa’s Booty”, is just the gift for that diver in your life this holiday season. It is a diver oriented Christmas stacking and can be embroidered to personalize. This fin is different and will tell your friends and family that you are a diver. The Santa’s Booty Christmas stocking is made in the shape of a jetGet fin.the Thefree Santa’s Christmas mobileBooty app for your phone stocking, comes in red, pink, and/blue with a diagonal white http:/ stripe just like a dive flag. A black model comes without the white stripe. For more info visit

Children’s book

“My Daddy Wears a Different Kind of Suit to Work” is a full color illustrated children’s book sharing the undersea world with your children. Full color pictures and a heartwarming tale; the story is translated by the 13 year old author to Spanish in the back of the book. This is a dual language book. A hard cover (6”x9”) bound bed time story book; this is designed for any child who e free mobile app for your phone loves the ocean. For more info about the / / book visit

To be listed in our Tropical Dive Directory call (360) 240-1874 or email us at

An alphabetical listing of participating dive shops, charters, live aboards and resorts in tropical locations around the world. Villa Makoshi Lower Level 780.483.0044 AUSTRALIA Mike Ball Expeditions (888) MIKEBALL cAYMAN ISLANDS


BAHAMAS Sea Dragon Bahamas Diving

“SEA DRAGOn” DIVE LIVE-ABOARD WWW.SEADRAGOnBAHAMAS.COM Small Hope Bay Lodge 800.223.6961 UnEXSO 800.992.3483

BeLIZe Calypso Beach Retreat 303.264.8333 Hugh Parkeys 888.223.5403 Sun Breeze Hotel 1.800.688.0191

BONAIRe Deep Blue Adventures 888.266.2209

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DiveTech@Cobalt Coast Dive Resort 888.946.5656 Southern Cross Club 800.899.2582 Sunset House 800.854.4767

cOZUMeL Albatros Charters 888.333.4643 BlueBubbleScuba 987.872.4240 Island DreamsTravel 800.346.6116 Scuba Du 310.684.5556

cURAcAO Ocean Encounters 800.932.6237

FIJI Beqa Lagoon Resort 800.542.3454 Beyond the Reef 691.350.3483 Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat 679.992.4001 Qamea Resort & Spa 649.360.0217 Scuba Travel Ventures 800.298.9009 Wananavu 679.669.4433

FLORIDA Conch Republic Divers 305.852.1655 Horizon Divers 305.453.3535 Off The Wall Adventures 863.709-9253 SpruceCreekScuba 386.767.1727 The Dive Station (407) 843-3483 Northeast Dive News JANUARY 2008

We support our local dive shop - without them we will not have a dive industry.


The D1 Hybrid Drysuit gives new meaning to “revolutionary design”. This drysuit includes integrated silicone seals, a drybag, hose, and a 5/7MM H1 Hood. Three years were spent analyzing the problems of standard drysuits before the patented D1 Hybrid was developed. The D1 is the world’s first insulated constant volume drysuit with a 10 Butyl layer Trilaminate shell and 3-D mesh inner lining with suspenders. The suit is designed to provide a constant distance to the outer shell while acting as a vapor barrier keeping the diver dry at all times. The D1Hybrid Drysuit also provides unrestricted airflow throughout the suit so that no trapped air or squeeze is ever allowed. It also sports a warm neck valve and elastic waist band, an armored dry zipper with a chill guard and polyurethane embossed seat area for non-slip and abrasion protection. For more info visit

Get the free mobile app for your phone

http:/ /

Oceanic B.U.D. scuba diving computer

(DiverWire) In the past, divers have had their “buddy” (or bud) – you know, the person you team up with to look out for you and viceversa. Now, there’s a new B.U.D that can watch your back. Oceanic Worldwide has just released the B.U.D. (backup dive computer) and it’s quickly becoming a favorite of tech-savvy divers. What a concept. Now, you don’t have to worry that if your primary computer fails, your diving day is finished. With a back-up computer, you can still dive! That’s one thing your “traditional” dive buddy can’t help you do. The B.U.D. is an innovative backup device that clips onto your BC or placed in a pocket that constantly tracks your dive profile, just as your primary computer is doing. Using the same two algorithms that are set into your computer, whether you are diving on air or nitrox, NDL or Decompression diving, having this small guy diving along with you takes that worry away. Having only one button to adjust your settings, it is simple to use, read and even gives you visual alarms to finish your dive if it becomes necessary to use. Read the rest of the review at


Get the free mobile app for your phone

Sea Safari Cruises 62.631.721.212 http:/ /

Divencounters Alliance 877.323.DIVE

HAWAII Maui Dreams Dive Co 808.874.5332

HONDURAS Deep Blue Resort 504. Utila Tours 800.668.8452 337.893.0013

INDONeSIA Island DreamsTravel 713.973.9300 Kungkungan Bay Resort & Spa 530.347.2300 Lembeh Hills Resort 62.812.441.18.000 Puri Wirata Dive Resort and Spa 62.813.840.5335 Pindito Liveaboard 831.818.8594 Northeast Dive News JANUARY 2008 Tasik Ria Resort Spa & Diving 62.431 -.824.445

MexIcO Abyss Dive Center 52.984.873.2164 Aquanauts Dive Adv. 52.998.206.9365

PHILIPPINeS Big La Laguna Beach Dive Resort 425.298.8172 Campbells Beach Resort 63.920.416.0502 Island DreamsTravel 713.973.9300

ReD SeA - eGYPT Fly & Sea Dive Adventures 888.995.DIVE(3483)

ROATAN CoCo View Resort Roatan 800.282.8932 888.405.8737

ST. cROIx (U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS) BVI Scuba 284.540.2222 Cane Bay Dive Shop 340.773.9913 Jost Van Dyke 800.778.8066

ST. kITTS Dive St. Kitts 869.564.8914

ST. VINceNT Bequia Dive Adventures 784.458.3826

THAILAND Sairee Cottage Diving 66.774.56.126

TURkS & cAIcOS Oasis Divers 649.946.1128

Want to support local diving in your part of the globe? email!

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Not Just Certified...Qualified

The Dive Shop that Dives!

• Recreational • Technical • Professional • Public Safety • Wreck Diving • Cave & Cavern • Rebreather • First Aid

4015 E Bell Road, Suite 134, Phoenix, AZ 85032 602.971.3483

Nov. 2011 Vol 1. Issue 1  

Issue 1 of Southwest Dive News -- Inaugural Edition!

Nov. 2011 Vol 1. Issue 1  

Issue 1 of Southwest Dive News -- Inaugural Edition!