THE CHRONICLE OF SCUBA DIVING IN AUSTRALIA 1950 TO 2019

   

Index   1917 TO 1959   1960 TO 1969   1970 TO 1979    1980 TO 1989 A   1990 TO 1999   2000 TO 2009   2010 TO 2019 Part One   2010 TO 2019 Part Two

2010 TO 2019

PART ONE

DURING THIS DECADE THE SPORT OF SCUBA DIVING LOST A NUMBER OF ITS FINEST DIVERS

 

 

ANDREW WIGHT KILLED IN HEICOPTOR ACCIDENT

JIM AGER PASSING 2013

NEVLLE COLEMAN PASSED AWAY 2012

AUSTRALIAS FIRST ANTARCTIC SCUBA EXPLORER DIES

DERMOT O'FLAHERTY, DIRECTOR OF PADI AUSTRALIA, DIES

DIVING INDUSTRY PIONEER TECHNICAL DIVER DIES

VALE DIVE SHOP OWNER, SCUBA DIVER, CHARTER BOAT OPERATOR RICK HALL

DEATH OF OLD PIONEER DIVER TED LOUIS

DEATH OF PIONEER T. D. PREECE:

DIVING LEGEND MAURICE BATTERHAM

RECREATION REBREATHER 101

FIRST WOMAN SCUBA DIVER IN AUSTRALIA

AUSSIE INVENTION BRINGS NEW DIMENSION TO UNDERWATER FILM.

UNDERWATER RESEARCH GROUP OF QUEENSLAND TURNS 60 YEARS.

THE SAD PASSING OF RONALD JOSIAH TAYLOR

 

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During this decade the sport of scuba diving lost ten of its top divers. The biggest loss was Ronald Taylor the number one diver in Australia, there will never be a person like Ron, a gentleman, a world champion spear fisherman, as a underwater photographer Ron was the best, filming many world class productions. Ron suffered from leukaemia for two years and died peacefully on Sunday morning at a private hospital near his Sydney home, age 78.

Andrew Wight could never sit still, he always had a project on the go, most of them well outside the norm. He was always learning new skills and opening new doors for himself and others. He introduced many divers to the term: "think outside of the box". Terry Cummins fondly remember him drawing these stupid dots on a piece of scrap paper as part of the logic behind his next "brilliant" idea. He practiced this phrase regularly in his creative thinking and the ground breaking films that have inspired so many others. Record breaking cave penetrations, mobile shark cages, underwater scooters, deep submersibles, cameras and housings, aircraft, ocean going research vessels, to name just a few of the "toys" (as he called them) in his impressive arsenal. His legacy will go on forever and live in the hearts of his family, those that he inspired, loved him and especially those that were honoured to call him a friend.

In the 1950s Melbourne was home to the world's only two manufacturers of single hose scuba regulators, long before the system caught on around the world deposing the twin-hose system. The single-hose scuba system is now the accepted system which we all use today. AIRDIVE was Jim's Ager's life, he had rejected an offer by Scuba pro to purchase his business at one time, he loved his work and could always be found at his factory, right up until he sold the business in 2010. Jim passed away on the 14th June 2013 and was buried at Springvale in a small ceremony attended by his family and a circle of his old diving associates, including representatives of the VSAG. So, as we farewell Jim Ager, let's not forget the remarkable, five decade influence he had on the Australian scuba diving scene. Good on you Jim. may you now rest in peace.

With over 1000 published articles in over 150 magazines, 100,000 images and 60 marine life natural history books (29 self published) to his credit he is one of the most accomplished underwater educational authors in the world. In addition, he has explored out-of-the-way places such as Norfolk Island, Cocos/Keelings, Christmas Island, Lord Howe Island and many others. Neville Colman travels far and wide lecturing and teaching on his specialties at Dive Shows and Conferences having appeared at over 300 venues including several in the USA. Few divers anywhere have contributed so much to the science and literature of marine identification/biology and the adventure experience of sport diving. On the 5th of May whilst undergoing an operation in hospital Neville Coleman sadly passed away.

Phillip Law had a long and distinguished career in Antarctic Exploration. In his 19 years as an Antarctic explorer, Dr. Law personally led 23 voyages to the Antarctic and Sub Antarctic. Although not officially listed among his achievements, he also has the honour of being Australia's first Antarctic underwater diver. Phil had thought that his dive was "probably the first dive with underwater equipment ever recorded in Antarctica". Phillip Garth Law, AC, CBE, passed away 29 February 2010, age 97.

Edith Scott started diving in the early days of 1947, first as a snorkeller, then finally scuba diving. Edith was born in the country township of Hay in western New South Wales, she saw for the first time the ocean at age 5 years, when her family moved to Tathra and then Batemans Bay. As a teenager, she also saw her first shark, when she dived into the ocean from rocks and landed on top of one, she went in one direction and the shark in another. In 1948, she married Bob Scott an engineer working for Qantas Airways in Sydney. Bob was an adventurous type of person and took up diving during the early founding days. Whilst on a trip to the United States of America during the early part of 1950, Bob brought back two Cousteau-Gagnan aqualungs. Edith tried her new regulator in Clovelly pool, and for the next 20 years with Bob, she dived around the shores of New South Wales.

 

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FIRST WOMAN SCUBA DIVER IN AUSTRALIA EDITH SCOTT: Sydney. This was a bit of luck for me, as I already knew who the first man in the country was but not a woman. Many pioneer divers I have interviewed over the year knew nothing about the first women to use a regulator, for me this was a stroke of luck. Edith Scott, now in her late 90s, and living at Beverly Hills in Sydney, started spear fishing in the early days of the second World War, first as a snorkeller, then spear fishing and finally scuba diving. Edith was born in the country township of Hay in western New South Wales, she saw for the first time the ocean when her family moved to Tathra and then Batemans Bay. As a teenager, she also saw her first shark, when she dived into the ocean from rocks and landed on top of one, she went in one direction and the shark in other. In 1948, she married Bob Scott an engineer working for Qantas Airways in Sydney. Bob was an adventurous type of person and took up spear fishing during the early founding days after being introduced to the sport by pioneer spear fisherman Beau Beere. Whilst on a trip to the United States of America during the latter part of 1950 or early 1950. My husband brought back two Cousteau-Gagnan aqualungs, Edith told me. She first tried her new regulator in Clovelly pool, about February 1950, she was aged 32. After having spent some time around the foreshores of Sydney in the sea as a snorkeller, she was quite accustomed to the ocean. Edith recalls the first dive at Clovelly sea pool. “We geared up on the concrete walkway, wearing a bathing suit, and a thick woollen jumper to keep warm. Being a women and I think the first one to dive with an aqualung in this country I created quite a bit of attention among other swimmers and people at the baths. There was a large crowd staring at me “We both descended, Bob and I watching one another and breathing through these amazing inventions, many swimmers dived down to look at us on the bottom of the sea baths as we “We both descended, swam around until we found it hard to breathe. “After the first dive our cylinders were empty, they were 27cf oxygen tanks from Second World War aircraft, purchase from war surplus shops around Sydney. She continued “We had found a small factory on the north shore run by pioneer manufacturer of spear guns. He had already installed a small air compressor and filled my tank, the cost was about one shilling and sixpence. My second dive was at Camp Cove in Sydney Harbour, again a large crowd of people gathered to watch us. Underwater it was a little murky, but interesting, and I carried a spear gun for protection against sharks, but did not see any." For the next 15 to 20 years Edith and her husband scuba dived and enjoyed every minute, exploring along the coastal waters of Sydney and nearby seaside resorts. Her husband Bob in his spare time manufactured small parts for regulators and spearguns for a number of early scuba divers and spear fishermen. Edith became treasurer for two years of the St George Spearfishing Club and met a large number of pioneering spear fishermen and women. “They were exciting days, we were all adventurers, everything was new to us. Little did we know that some day we could possibly create history”, she told me.                                                                                                          

DIVE SHIP PROTEST: Avoca Beach. As a resident of Macmasters Beach on the NSW Central Coast, and a long time shipwreck diver (Truk, PNG, Bikini and the Solomons) I am intrigued at the way the scuttling of ex HMAS Adelaide is starting to unravel. For ten years the community was told that the ship would be sunk off Terrigal, and nobody seemed to care, however in the last six weeks the residents of Avoca Beach have formed a "No Ship" protest group after a yellow buoy was placed 1.7 km directly out from the middle of Avoca Beach. The buoy is the marker for the sinking. Avoca Beach has one of the best surfing and board riding beaches on the coast, and numerous rallies against the sinking are picking up a head of steam against the Adelaide scuttling. A "No Ship" protest rally there last weekend saw about 750 people protesting against the sinking. The rally culminated with many of the protesters singing and dancing and waving hands to songs by Midnight Oil, the rock band formerly fronted by Peter Garrett, who is now the Minister of the Environment. The Adelaide was launched in 1980, and has been moored in Sydney for the last few years while millions of dollars have been spent on cleaning the ship in preparation for its March 27th scuttling. Despite assurances from NSW Lands Minister Tony Kelly that independent tests have found no PCB's on the vessel, the Avoca Beach residents are concerned about many other issues, from changes in rips and wave patterns, heavy metals, to the dumping of a 4000 ton ship in a pristine environment as a "wanton act of vandalism". At this late stage it would appear that the sinking will go ahead on March 27th, and the local newspaper the Express Advocate is running a competition, offering one lucky reader the chance to be the person who pushes the button that scuttles the ship. In my own community of Macmasters Beach, which is the next beach south of Avoca, there is a groundswell of people who believe the prevailing wind from the north-east will bring toxic chemicals and heavy metals to our pristine beach. For myself, I admit I am not too concerned, having dived the aircraft carrier Saratoga in Bikini Atoll, where there were 23 nuclear explosions in 1946, and a 15 megaton hydrogen blast in 1954.

THE WRECK OF LENA: Perth. Many of you may recall the story of the Lena which encapsulated the nation back in 2002, however, for those of you who don't know the story it began in February of that year. The Lena was a fishing boat from South America that was detected illegally fishing for Patagonian Tooth fish in Australian waters about 4000 km south of Albany, Western Australia. The Lena was chased and finally intercepted by HMAS Canberra in what is believed to have been the longest maritime pursuit in modern history. During the chase the crew even attempted to disguise the Lena by repainting her name and changing it to the Anna. Luckily our Navy was on the ball and the ruse didn't fool them and they finally intercepted her and the crew were arrested for illegally fishing in Australian waters. The Lena was then escorted to Fremantle where she was held at Henderson shipyards until the Bunbury Chamber of Commerce (BCC) became aware of plans by the Australian Federal Government to sink her in deep water of the Western Australian coast. The BCC immediately sent a request to have her sunk in waters close to Bunbury and turning it into a dive site for scuba divers of all levels. The site chosen was 3 nautical miles from Bunbury in 17 meters of water. The request was granted and in December of that year the Lena was moved to the Bunbury Port and work immediately began on preparing her to become a dive wreck. Over the next 12 months a team of volunteers dive industry members and work for the dole participants worked feverishly to prepare her for the scuttling and ensuring that she was safe and environmentally friendly. Then at 12.17 pm on the afternoon of 19 December 2003, exactly 12 months to the day she arrived in Bunbury, she was finally dispatched to the ocean floor settling upright in the water at a depth of 18 meters facing in an almost east west direction with her bow facing to west. Within hours of her settling the first inhabitant, False Tasmanian Blennies had made her their home. Over the ensuing years significant marine growth has occurred with hard and soft corals, sponges and other growth taking hold and turning the Lena into an underwater micro habitat. There are schools of fish that now encircle the wreck, including a school of Porcupine fish, normally these are solitary fish but for some reason live in a large school off of the stern of the wreck. On Sunday 6 December 2009, in celebration of the sixth anniversary of the sinking of the Lena a group of 12 intrepid scuba divers from WA Divers meet at Coastal Water Dive in Bunbury for a day of diving and fun.

RON TAYLORS PASSING: Sydney. Shark expert Ron Taylor, passed away on Sunday morning, with his wife Valerie at his bedside. Australian marine conservation pioneer and renowned shark expert, Ron Taylor died at the age of 78. Ron suffered myeloid leukaemia for two years and died peacefully on Sunday morning at a private hospital near his Sydney home. Ron and his wife Valerie are regarded worldwide for their marine conservation work and their ground breaking marine documentaries. A Member of the Order of Australia, Ron Taylor first became fascinated with marine life in the 1950s as a spear fisherman, but later decided to "hunt with a camera" instead of a spear. He was the first photographer to capture images of a great white shark underwater without the protection of a diving cage. The Taylors are regarded as pioneers in underwater cinematography, and produced some of the very earliest underwater footage of great white sharks. Crowned Australia's spear fishing champion several times, Ron turned his attention to conservation after a life changing revelation during a spear fishing competition. He said that giving up the sport was the best thing that he had ever done.

Ron and Valerie Taylor. Sadly Ron passed away aged 78.

"I just thought, what am I doing down here killing these poor, defenceless marine creatures?" he said. "So I just packed up, went home, didn't even weigh my fish in and never went back to another spear fishing competition. "At the same time I was doing my photography. I was trying to get close to the fish to capture beautiful images with a still camera and a movie camera. And then on the weekend I'd go out and start killing them and that just didn't do, it was wrong. "Now I hunt with my movie camera or video camera and it's the same sense of achievement to get close to a marine creature and capture some behaviour, or perhaps a shark, a dangerous looking shark". Despite being bitten by sharks on several occasions, Ron Taylor said he never entered the water with apprehension. In the late 1970s he had a chain mail suit made that was designed to withstand shark attacks. The suit was too small for Ron, so Valerie wore it instead. The suit proved effective, but the difficult part came in trying to prompt sharks into biting the chain mail. The couple played a part in the production of scores of underwater documentaries over the years. Ron said that he had been a fan of photography for as long as he could remember. "I think maybe because my father was a photographer. "When I went to work and became an apprentice, a friend had a 16 mm movie camera. I built an underwater housing for that because at that time I'd taken up spear fishing and snorkelling and I became fascinated in the underwater world". Ron and Valerie met in the late 1950s and bonded over their love of the ocean. Valerie said when she first started going out with Ron she still had another boyfriend and that she had to choose between the two. "I knew I wouldn't have much of a life with the other guy. He was a musician, he was brilliant. He was a wonderful man but I'm not musical at all," Valerie said. "I was a pretty good diver and one day I said to Ron. 'I think you should marry me, and he did". The couple married in 1963 and have no children. Ron Taylor died aged 78 on Sunday morning 9th of September 2012, at a private hospital near his home, and the diving world has suffered a loss that it may not recover in a long time.

BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE YEAR: Sydney. Western Sydney Awards in Business Excellence, Judith McDonald. The Western Sydney Awards in Business Excellence attracted hundreds of entries in 2011, with judging by a diverse panel of experienced and successful business professionals. Within an atmosphere of high anticipation, the winners were announced at a gala evening held on Thursday 13th October, 2011. Currently in their 21st year of success, The Western Sydney Awards in Business Excellence showcase dynamic small, medium and large businesses from across Sydney's Greater West and beyond. They give recognition to businesses that strive for excellence and have achieved sustained growth as a result. The awards recognize excellence in those areas of business practice that are shared by all businesses. Formerly Scuba Warehouse, Geo Divers Sydney in Parramatta has been in the business of training divers for more than 18 years.

Judith McDonald of Geo Divers at Parramatta won the coveted Business Woman of the Year Award.

Since 1982 they have offered diving on the cutting edge, arranging dive expeditions for the adventurous. Owner and veteran diver, Judith McDonald has steered the company through the dramatic changes of global economics to remain a unique and successful business. Not only did Judith take out the coveted Business Woman of the Year Award, but Scuba Warehouse also won two Major Category Awards; Excellence In Education and Excellence In Sport And Recreation. Up against the best of the best, making the finals in these Awards is, in itself, a sizeable achievement. Scooping the pool with three awards is almost unheard of says, Craig Woolven from Geo Divers, "To be recognized in the categories that are at the core of what we do is an honour, congratulations to our Dive Team and to PADI. For Judith to be awarded the top gong recognizes her dedication to what she does every day and has done every day for most of her adult life, work hard to create the best dive experience possible". For the judges, it wasn't just that Judith could change her business to adapt to economic conditions, they were mostly impressed that the business could suffer setbacks and still come back through that adoption to new levels of success. Geo Divers has a staff of nine and provides divers with a one-stop shop to meet all their needs, including retail, dive travel, equipment servicing, servicing recreational scuba training, and scuba instructor development and accreditation. Because of the diverse nature of its operations, the company places a strong emphasis on ensuring that, through training, staff are able to provide clients with a quality service in all areas of the business. Their programs for multi-skilling for staff have certainly paid dividends in customer service through multi-award winning training programs. The business is unique in that it offers personal scuba trainers in addition to its normal training classes. Geo Divers designs and co-ordinates programs for corporate clients as well as individuals with a busy life style.

ANDREW AND LIZ WIGHT 13 HOUR TELEVISION DOCUMENTARIES: Sydney. Andrew and Liz Wight started filming The Adventure of the Quest, a series of 13 one hour television documentaries that record these Australian adventurer's circumnavigation of Australia in the unique research vessel the Quest. Owned by American entrepreneur Ron Rivett. the boat Quest has been developed and equipped specifically to be the ideal self-contained research expedition craft. Over the next 16 months Liz and Andrew Wight will test the Quest’s capacities to the fullest as they travel to the most rugged and remote wilderness of Australia's beautiful coastal waters. From each of these locations, Andrew and Liz will launch unprecedented projects of exploration and investigation underwater. In the course of the Quest's journey, leading International and Australian scientists will collaborate with the Wight's on a series of marine research projects. Trained as scientists and now well known as underwater adventure filmmakers, Andrew and Liz are world renowned for their scuba and cave diving exploits. Since 1989, they have made films about their adventures in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Canada, the United States of America, Mexico, and Cuba. Eighteen months ago, the Wight's met Ron Rivett. The three immediately established a friendship built on their mutual passion for the ocean and its creatures. Ron was absorbed with developing his ideal ocean going vessel, the Quest, and in the Wight's he discovered a couple of kindred people. For Liz and Andrew the Quest is a dream come true, a vessel with the size and range to allow them an autonomy not known to previous seafaring filmmakers. Even Cousteau's Calypso, pales in comparison to the Quest with its 21st century navigational technology, research laboratory, scuba diving facilities and video screening and editing facilities. The Quest,is the vessel that will allow the Wight's to record marine life around Australia's fascinating coastal regions.

ANDREW WIGHT DIES IN PLANE CRASH: Sydney. This past week our Water Planet has lost two energetic, dedicated, and enthusiastic voices for the ocean. Mike deGruy and Andrew Wight died in a helicopter crash at Jervis Bay on the south coast, near Nowra. I first met "Wighty" on his PADI Instructor Training Course in Melbourne during January of 1980. He immediately impressed me with his knowledge, skills, enthusiasm, confidence and above all a great sense of humour that never wavered, not a common characteristic of most candidates jumping through the hoops of an intensive 10 training test program. We immediately became great mates and went on in future years to share some great quality time together which included adventures to Mount Gambier, GBR and the Coral Sea.

Andrew Wight, a void our industry will experience with his passing.

Over the years we also shared various successes, personal challenges and even tragedy the kind of things that develop a bond that can never be broken. Anyhow, back in the late 80s, I was sitting in my office one day and my personal assistant came in and said Andrew Wight is here to see you "and he is in a suit". As far as I knew Andrew was still working as a representative for an agricultural chemical supplier, working as a part-time PADI Instructor and that suit, well I was immediately curious. It turned out Andrew had decided on a change of life style. "I want to make underwater films and I need some sponsors" he proclaimed. The rest is history. First came Nullarbor Dreaming (the documentary on the record breaking cave dive that Sanctum is based on), the entire Deep Probe series followed, then the Quest series for Discovery Channel, documentaries along with James Cameron (Titanic, Bismarck, etc) and one of his personal dreams that came true - a full length feature film - Sanctum. Wighty could never sit still he always had a project on the go most of them well outside the norm. He was always learning new skills and opening new doors for himself and others. He introduced me to the term: "think outside of the box" (I fondly remember him drawing these 9 stupid dots on a piece of scrap paper as part of the logic behind his next "brilliant" idea). He practiced this phrase regularly in his creative thinking and the ground breaking films that have inspired so many others. Record breaking cave penetrations, mobile shark cages, underwater scooters, deep submersibles, cameras and housings, aircraft, ocean going research vessels, to name just a few of the "toys" (as he called them) in his impressive arsenal. He always made me laugh with his antics at times (only guy I know who could drink a beer while standing on his head). However, what many of us will always remember is that on his road to fame from very humble beginnings, such was the man that he never forgot his friends or his roots. Although he was on a first name basis with most of the world's diving icons and the movie industries greatest, he was never overtaken by the prominence that he had risen to and rightly deserved. He would always find time to call a friend, chat to a farmer about their cattle, the new diver about their choice of regulator, or to a movie mogul about the emergence of 3D feature films, all in a single stride. Much more will be said about his outstanding achievements, the documentaries, public speaking, TV interviews, the innovations, etc, however in mourning this great loss to so many and the void our industry will experience with his passing, we must not lose sight of the fact that Wighty was also a son, brother, husband and father. His legacy will go on forever and live in the hearts of his family, those that he inspired, loved him and especially those that were honoured to call him a friend.

AUSSIE INVENTION BRINGS NEW DIMENSION TO UNDERWATER FILM: Sydney. I imagine seeing the richness of Australia's Great Barrier Reef floating before your eyes in your own living room. With the latest creation of Aussie inventor and filmmaker, Pawel Achtel, that dream moves one step closer. Following the recent, successful launch of his new type of underwater housing, the "DeepX", which did away with most of the usual paraphernalia associated with filming underwater, Aussie inventor and filmmaker, Pawel Achtel, is now launching a new 3D system, the "3Deep". And, in three dimensions, the results are nothing short of revolutionary. Up until now, filming 3D underwater has involved large, cumbersome and expensive equipment and images dramatically degraded by the underwater optics available. Most current underwater 3D rigs use flat, glass ports in front of the lenses, instead of optically superior dome ports, because they need to minimize the inter-axial distance between two cameras. These cameras can either be mounted side by side or, in an even more cumbersome configuration, one camera can be mounted above the other with a beam splitter to record two images at the same time, as used on the recent IMAX film "The Last Reef 3D". The resultant chromatic aberrations and distortions degrade the image to less than standard definition quality, irrespective of the recording format. They also make it difficult for the human brain to match the two 3D images without causing eye strain or even headaches. Achtel's new underwater housing system does away with ports altogether. It uses Nikonos lenses designed expressly for underwater use, with extra plastic or glass in front of them. As a result it's the first 3D camera system that produces underwater images truly sharp enough for the biggest cinema screens in the world. 3Deep makes use of "Red" cameras, made by the US company that has itself led a revolution in the world of film making over the past decade and adopted by such filmmakers as "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson for his upcoming "Hobbit" movie. In the underwater world, "3 Deep" promises a revolution of its own and 3Deep is available in US and Europe from Band Pro.                               

NEVILLE ALBERT COLEMAN PASSED AWAY: Sydney. Honorary Fellow Australian Institute of Professional Photography, Associate Australian museum, Consultant Queensland Museum, Project AWARE Board of Governors ASIA/PACIFIC Multi-award winning photographic environmentalist, Neville has been seriously recording the aquatic wildlife of the Asla/Pacific region since 1963. With over 1000 published articles in over 150 magazines, 100,000 images and 60 marine life natural history books (29 self published) to his credit he is one of the most accomplished underwater educational authors in the world. Neville has travelled with and led expeditions all over the lndo-Pacific pursuing the identification of marine species (he has personally discovered over 450 new species of marine life).

Neville Coleman passed away on the 5th May whilst undergoing an operation in hospital.

In 1969/73 with his wife, he led the Australian Coastal Marine Expedition on the first underwater photographic fauna survey ever attempted around an entire continent. Since then he has completed over 160 expeditions throughout Australia and across the globe, documenting some 12,000 species of aquatic flora and fauna. Many of these were photographed in their natural habitat for the first time. Neville's discoveries, scientific collections, photographs and observations have contributed to over a hundred scientific papers and journals, books and magazines. His investigations and studies into all aspects of aquatic natural history range through every major phylum of marine animals, from sponges through to mammals. As a result of his travels Neville's books relate to the entire Asla Indo Pacific area. Dive guides of Australia and the Great Barrier Reef, wildlife Guides of Fiji, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, the Maldives, Papua New Guinea etc). Some of his productions (1001 NUDIBRANCHS 1700 pictures) are the most comprehensive of their kind in the world. He writes on mollusks, echinoderms, fish identification, on the behaviour of reef creatures, on sea birds and sea guides such as Dangerous Sea Creatures. In addition, he has explored out-of-the-way places such as Norfolk Island, Cocos/Keelings, Christmas Island, Lord Howe Island and many others. Neville travels far and wide lecturing and teaching on his specialties at Dive Shows and Conferences having appeared at over 300 venues including several in the USA. Few divers anywhere have contributed so much to the science and literature of marine identification/biology and the adventure experience of sport diving. On the 5th of May whilst undergoing an operation in hospital he sadly passed away.

INSPIRATION, INFORMATION, EXPLORATION AND ADVENTURE: Sydney. Offering an inspirational voyage of discovery into all of divings future possibilities, the speakers and presenters at the OZTeK 2013 Dive Conference and Exhibition (to be held at Australian Technology Park, Sydney on the 16th and 17th March 2013) spearhead an action-packed two day event like no other, one that promises to be as entertaining as it is informative. With a full programme of theatre presentations, workshops and seminar sessions running over both the Saturday and Sunday coupled with the fast paced, visually stimulating and adrenalin charged excitement of Saturday's "An Evening With Diving Explorers" the comprehensive speaker programme will have something of interest to everyone who dives and be complemented by a full scale diving exhibition showcasing the very best that diving has to offer, from state-of-the-art equipment through to exotic diving destinations. Attracting one of the most impressive and authoritative speaker line-ups ever seen at a single Australian event, OZTeK 2013 will give people the opportunity to meet, talk and learn from more than 40 of modern divings most accomplished personalities. Spanning the broad range of diving interests including deep wreck and cave explorations, underwater photography, and film making, hyperbaric medicine, diving safety, developments in diving technology, marine conservation, and more topics, and talks already include Liam Alien's presentation on the project to explore and document the light cruiser USS Atlanta resting at a depth of 130m off Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Leigh Bishop's stories and stunning photographs on the wrecks of Lost Sailing Ships, including Waitara, Smyrna and Kingsbridge, en-route from London and heavily laden with cargo destined for Australia but that never arrived. Richard Harris and Craig Challen talk about deep cave exploration beyond the 200-metre mark, Paul Haynes tells the never-before-revealed story of the race to recover the ship's bell from the wreck of HMS Prince Of Wales, sunk during WWII, in the South China Sea, and in a journey that moves from Florida to the Bahamas and Bermuda. Jill Heinerth speaks about Caves of the Western World. Paul Hosie presents information on new cave systems recently discovered in Western Australia, and Professor Tom Iliffe speaks about recent expeditions to explore Phantom Spring Cave, the longest underwater cave in the United States, outside of Florida. Richard Lundgren harks back 450 years in time to reveal information and images of what is being hailed as one of the most remarkable and significant wreck finds of all time and the epic, 20 year long, hunt for Mars The Magnificent that he and his team recently discovered in the Baltic. From more recent times, Rod Macdonald talks about the Force Z Shipwrecks of the South China, HMS Repulse and HMS Prince OF Wales, the subject of his new book that will be launched at OZTEK 2013. Michael Menduno the man who first coined the term, Tek Diving makes a return visit to OZTeK to talk about the future of Re breather Technology, and the ever-popular, Professor Simon Mitchell, discusses the new guidelines for rescuing an unconscious diver from depth. Closed Circuit Re breather gurus, Martin Parker, Kevin Gurr, and Paul Raymaekers, discuss emerging technologies and the lessons learned from the past, Lance Robb will talk about what's involved and what to consider when planning an overseas wreck diving expedition, and Martin Robson tells the story behind the expedition to explore one of the largest and deepest Karst springs in the world, with all the challenges of deep CCR diving in very cold water. Peter Szyszka talks about the ultimate cold water diving destinations the Arctic to the north and the Antarctic to the south, and why these polar regions are among the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth. Liz Rogers talks about the trials and tribulations of Cave photography, while Kevin Deacon reveals techniques that have helped him become one of the world's premier underwater photographers. Featuring all of the latest developments in equipment technology and training coupled with gripping tales of underwater adventure and exploration, the OZTeK 2013 weekend promises two unforgettable days of the very best in diving.

VALE JIM AGER 1928-2013: Melbourne. Sometimes, we don't always recognize a hero when we have one in our midst. Whilst Melbourne scuba engineer/designer Ted Eldred has now been recognized by the Historical Diving Society as the inventor of the world's first, commercially successful, single-hose regulator, the PORPOISE, there was another Melbourne diving pioneer, who followed closely behind Ted Eldred, but outlasted Ted's production by many decades. That was Jim Ager, who, in the 1950s, turned his grocery store and transport business at 438 High Street Prahran, into a dive shop, which traded as the Victoria Aqua Lung Centre. With assistance from the late Lionel Martin of Black Rock Underwater Diving Group and others, Jim developed the unique SEA BEE scuba regulator. This original, Australian designed regulator had features later copied by many overseas companies. Jim manufactured robust, hard-working regulators through his company AIRDIVE EQUIPMENT Pty Ltd for 54 years. Surely a record of continuous production, which could not be claimed by any other scuba manufacturer around the world. The SEA BEE design was a single hose, two stage regulator which featured an upstream demand valve and a piston unbalanced first stage. The low pressure hose was long enough to be fitted to twin air cylinders, which were carried inverted by the diver who controlled his air supply by decanting air from one cylinder to the other.

Jim Ager passed away on the 14th June 2013.

Jim introduced the first Australian submersible pressure gauge with a unique protruding pin design. The diver could look at the calibrated rod and see his cylinder contents, or he could just feel it with his finger tips. Jim placed the exhaust valve in the centre of the second stage diaphragm, eliminating a separate exhaust system. It had a rubber front cover which resisted impact damage and acted as an exhaust cover. The front and back were held together by a wire ring clip, which allowed the diver to easily clean it. Jim also created a unique back pack, which consisted of a black vinyl harness and an inverted U-shaped tube. The tube contained weights that could be jettisoned with the pull of a ring at the open ends, the first integrated weight system. The SEA BEE brand was very popular with both recreational and the majority of Australian commercial divers, as it was rugged and one of best breathing scuba regulators in the world. AIRDIVE did not take to marketing outside the Australian region and as a result, Jim's operation was much smaller and more personalized than the diving equipment giants of today. AIRDIVE equipment was rugged enough to secure government contracts and the regulators were available with balanced or unbalanced reduction valves and a selection of LP ports. AIRDIVE also produced tank valves and many other diving equipment accessories, including wetsuits in the very early days of Australian sport diving. While other sport diving equipment makers were finding accessories and buttons to add to their product, Jim was working to take them off his product was not shiny, nor fancy, he did not sell the sizzle he instead sold the steak. Jim was also one of the very early members of the Victorian Sub-Aqua Group (VSAG), Melbourne's first diving club dedicated to the use of scuba equipment, which was formed in 1954. Jim Ager served as Secretary for the VSAG for many years in the 1950s and was a dedicated hard-working committee man. He was a prolific letter writer and marketing man for the VSAG, writing to introduce the club and offering its diver's services to organisations such as the Victoria Police, Olympic Games Committee (1956), CSIRO, Museum of Victoria, The Field Naturalists Club of Vie, Fisheries & Research Department, many yacht clubs and media organisations, including newspapers and the newly formed TV companies. Through VSAG he organised scuba displays (similar to today's "try-dive" days) advertised through the media and held at the Melbourne City Baths, to promote the new, exciting sport of scuba diving. The VSAG Committee considered that the growing number of new scuba divers were much safer as members of a scuba club, under the guidance of experienced members, than off by themselves, completely untrained, using a brand new scuba kit. Jim Ager was a scuba diving instructor with the VSAG. Jim Ager saw to it, in his post as Secretary that the VSAG maintained a very high profile throughout the Australian diving scene and it was recognized as one of the most influential and professionally organised private recreational scuba clubs, a position it still enjoys today. Jim's high profile and hard work as VSAG Secretary, also assisted his growing scuba diving equipment business AIRDIVE, which was in direct competition to both the Eldred/Batterham PORPOISE brand and imported twin-hose regulator systems, such as US Divers Aqualung and Siebe Gorman's "ESSGEE" from the UK. In the 1950s Melbourne was home to the world's only two manufacturers of single hose scuba regulators, long before the system caught on around the world deposing the twin-hose system. The single-hose scuba system is now the accepted system which we all use today. AIRDIVE was Jim's life, he had rejected an offer by Scubapro to purchase his business at one time, he loved his work and could always be found at his factory, right up until he sold the business in 2010. Jim passed away on the 14th June 2013 and was buried at Springvale in a small ceremony attended by his family and a circle of his old diving associates, including representatives of the VSAG. So, as we farewell Jim Ager, let's not forget the remarkable, five decade influence he had on the Australian scuba diving scene. Good on you Jim, may you now rest in peace. 

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RECREATION REBREATHER 101: Melbourne. The future of diving has arrived. The release of the Hollis Explorer Recreational Re breather is the most anticipated new product release in the Australian Dive Industry in a decade. Finally the recreational diver is able to enjoy the benefits of diving silent, but without the complexity most other re breathers feature. Why would you want to dive a recreational re breather? What advantages will it give me? These are the first questions many will ask now a truly recreational re breather is available in Australia. A re breather is basically a gas extender. It recirculates the gas you breathe, through a closed loop instead of exhaling all the wasted gas out into the water. This recirculated gas is analysed by the re breather’s on-board computer, and as required, more gas is slowly added to keep it at the optimum level. Re breathing the gas is super efficient. It allows the diver to carry a far smaller cylinder, yet still extend their dive time well in excess of a standard open circuit dive. A smaller cylinder means less weight and bulk is needed to be carried on each dive. The Explorer uses Nitrox an Oxygen enriched gas which also increases dive time. Add to this the fact that the chemical reaction that scrubs out the Carbon Dioxide from the breathing gas creates both heat and moisture, and you have a re breather that allows longer dive time, during which you are breathing warm, moist gas, not chilled, super dry gas like a conventional scuba unit, and dive enjoyment is as good as it gets. The Hollis Explorer is the world's only true recreational re breather. The unit is neither a fully closed circuit re breather nor a pure semi-closed system, but an intelligent hybrid that utilises the best of both worlds. It is compact, lightweight and extremely easy to use. From inception, the Explorer has been designed specifically so every recreational diver can confidently dive a re breather and enjoy the easy-to-use diver interface. Only the most important information is displayed on the full colour LED handset, allowing the diver the opportunity to dive with confidence, knowing the Explorer's monitoring systems are keeping track of every piece of information, and will automatically maintain the system and alert the diver if required. The Explorer comes ready to dive straight out of the box no added extras are needed, and importantly, there are no hidden, unexpected additional costs. You receive the Explorer re breather, cylinder and BC system as a complete package. You even have the choice of BC system, the Explorer is available with a custom made jacket style BC or a backplate wing configuration. All you need after purchase is the appropriate training and you're away and diving. A true recreational re breather should never utilise pure Oxygen. The use of pure Oxygen requires specialist training and is beyond the scope of Recreational Diving. The Explorer is unique in using a single gas, Nitrox, and is electronically controlled to achieve an optimal balance of PP02 and dive time. Nitrox is now readily available in most dive destinations, and the ability to use 32% - 40% Nitrox means the Explorer diver should be able to travel to even the most remote dive destination, confident gas will be available. The hybrid design of the Explorer incorporates three oxygen sensors, a solenoid controlled gas injection system and unique C02 tracking systems to ensure the Explorer is the easiest and safest to use re breather available. The tracking of C02 in a re breather has been, until now, only available in the "Extreme Tech" re breathers, out of the realm of the recreational diver. The Explorer changes all this, incorporating, as standard, two independent C02 systems. Thermal monitoring of the C02 scrubber, and a patented C02 sensing cell to provide the diver with the most accurate monitoring of C02 available, and added peace of mind during the dive that the gas they are breathing is as good as it gets. The Explorer also incorporates optional Plug and Play pre-packed C02 absorbent cartridges, or you can use more standard re-packable cartridges. This is a huge benefit if you travel to remote destinations you can use either cartridge style, ensuring the maximum opportunity to dive uninterrupted. The Explorer also features a unique safety Go, No Go system that does not allow the diver to dive unless a cartridge is installed in the unit. Combine these safety features with the huge array of standard features, and you have the most technologically advanced, safest and most importantly, easy to use re breather available. From start up, an intuitive and easy guided setup takes the diver through pre-dive checks that take only minutes before the unit is ready to dive.

UNDERWATER RESEARCH GROUP OF QUEENSLAND TURNS 60 YEARS:  Brisbane. The Underwater Research Group of Queensland began on 13th of April 1954. The inaugural meeting was held in Dr. Raff Cilento's rooms in Wharf Street, City, "with the purpose of forming an Underwater club". It was moved by Lyle Davis that the name be UNDERWATER RESEARCH GROUP. (By the 3rd meeting, the name became the Underwater Research Group of Queensland). Keith Harveyson was elected Secretary and Norm Wheatley, Treasurer. Both Keith, Member No.3 and Norm, Member No. 4 are expected at our 60th reunion. By mid 1956, the group had decided to start a bulletin sheet and the first one, Vol.l No.l, titled The U.R.G.Q Bulletin (later to become The Underwater Observer), was published in July 1956. There were short mentions of members diving on the Great Barrier reef and out from Madang. A whispered word that the Technical Officer has a really sound Regulator and Demand Valve set up on the drawing board and as soon as practical tests will be carried out". Exciting news as, in these early days of diving, there was little dive gear available or very expensive so members made much of their gear. The Technical Officer reported that "lungs are slow in coming in for test and inspection, and that no unit which has not been passed by him can be used on an open water dive. There is a report of the scientist turned author, Arthur C Clarke who showed to the group in 1955 colour movies and transparencies taken by him at Heron Island for his forthcoming book, "Coast of Coral".   By 1972, we had an Executive Committee consisting of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Executive Diving Officer and Public Relations Officer. The diving sub-committee had two diving officers, a pool training officer who taught the practical diving we had pool training every Monday night, theory instructor, technical officer, and the public relations sub-committee consisted of editor, recorder (now historian), research director, photographer, librarian, property officer, assistant secretary, assistant treasurer, and assistant editor. And there's more. There were 2 URGQ members who were Queensland conservation council representatives who attended the QCC meetings), 3 medical officers and 4 new positions of host. That's 31 positions. Of course, a few members had two positions.

A member of the Underwater Research Group of Queensland, pioneer diver Frank Curtin, an Artificial Reef was named after him in Moreton Bay.

The Underwater Research Group of Queensland Inc, is and always has been a non political, non sectarian and non profit organisation, being solely for the benefit of the members. Community projects have included public lectures to youth organisations such as the scouting movement and other dive groups. Over the years, the group has been involved in using its diving expertise to assist different levels of government and private organisations, e.g. safety submissions and diving training qualifications. Additionally, the group has been involved with historical research and has discovered many of the major shipwrecks in South East Queensland including the Scottish Prince, Cambus Wallace, Aarhus, St Paul, Yongala, to name some of the more well-known historical shipwrecks. Another project was a survey of coral, sand and reef for the Marine Park Authority at Flinders Reef in Moreton Bay and a resource mapping project of Flinder's Reef, Moreton Bay Marine Park funded by coast care. In 1968, the Underwater Research Group of Queensland Inc, established the Curtin Artificial Reef in Moreton Bay. The first vessel to be placed on the Curtin Artificial Reef was the Amsterdam dredging barge on 12th of August 1968. This site has proved to be of great recreational and commercial benefit to the diving, fishing and tourist industries of the Moreton Bay area and its development was for the expressed purpose of conserving and providing a haven for fish life and of providing a safe and interesting wreck dive environment in the Moreton Bay region for divers in general. There were 3 surveys done on the area selected for the site. During the initial fish counts on the area, there were 4 species of fish counted on the bare sand. A number of surveys have been conducted since then with more than 100 species recorded during each survey. Additionally, numerous corals, sponges and other invertebrates, which were not observed during the initial surveys, have been noted. After meetings at many venues, in 1974, URGQ moved into premises at the Queensland Maritime Museum. There was a catch, we had to remove the dried mud from the floor of the building resulting from the January 1974 floods. Some 37 years later, you guessed it, January 2011 and another flood, we had purchased our own clubhouse in the 1980s. This time the flood waters did quite some damage and after 2 years of hard work by many unpaid members and paid tradespeople, we had a renovated. We have had many reunions, our 21st reunion in 1975 saw many of the early members relating how they resourcefully made their own dive gear, boats and surf skis. There were second stage regulators made from pie cans and tanks adapted from old C02 cylinders. Many camera housings were made both still and movie. Member number 9, Don Weston who shot award winning underwater movie films in the 1950s made his own housings. There have been a 25th, 30th, 40th and 50th reunions. Hopefully, there will be many past members as well as present members at the function on 3 May 2014 at 24 Pulle Street, Yeerongpilly to enjoy the day and tell tall tales of sharks bigger than, and the thrill of finding the remains of a ship. From its initial beginnings in 1954, the group has successfully and steadily continued over 60 years. But how times have changed. The diving gear and cameras, housing, and lights are far removed from the equipment of 1954 but what hasn't changed is the mostly wonderful diving, fun, friendship and good times that have always been part of URGQ. Up to the present day, we have had more than 1470 members many of whom will be attending the reunion.

AUSTRALIAN FIRST ANTARCTIC DIVER: South Australia. It was several years before Phil learned of the development of the Cousteau "Aqualung". So, although considered most unsuitable for his needs, he continued to carry the Salvus gear on each voyage to the Arctic in case of emergency, however such a situation never occurred. Phil saw the invention of the "Aqualung" and wetsuit as opening up new opportunities for underwater activities in Antarctic by offering better protection against the cold. He enrolled in a diving class at the Melbourne City Baths and the Antarctic Division purchased scuba diving gear and a compressor. In 1962 Phi! was on the ship Thala Dan at the Wilkes Antarctic Station, when on 11th January he decided to try out the scuba gear. Clad in a wet suit over woollen underclothes he found the dress rather tight and the donning of mask and mouthpiece over the cowl head protection, claustrophobic, so he removed the head/protection and entered the water. He lasted 30 seconds, as his bald head and ears ached so painfully he had to abort the dive. Refitting the head protection, he tried to relax and overcome his claustrophobic feelings causing him to pant and gasp for air. "Once under the surface the usual fascination of the underwater world caused me to forget the discomfort and I swam around confidently beneath the keel of the ship. The sea was opaque with plankton, like a snowstorm under water, or as though tissue paper had been roughly torn into pieces as large as a fingernail and allowed to float in millions beneath the surface". He found the dive using unfamiliar gear in unusual circumstances, tiring and exhausting nervously, rather than physically, however despite this he was pleased with the test dive which increased his confidence. Three days later the expedition was tied up alongside a large ice flow and Phil decided to try out the dive gear again. This time he didn't wear heavy underwear under the wetsuit and felt more comfortable. The water was crystal clear, however the sun was low on the horizon preventing Phi! from seeing much in the darkness below the flow.

Phillip Garth Law, AC, CBE, passed away 29th of February 2010, age 97.

"I swam around the ship and under the edge of the flow for about 10 minutes and then began to have trouble breathing. Thinking my air bottle might not be fully filled, I switched to the emergency but without improvement. Suddenly, at a depth of about 10 metres beneath the propeller of the ship, the air cut off completely and I couldn't breathe. I shot up to the surface and tore off my mask, taking great gulps of air". On the surface Phil tugged on his safety rope, but his signals were not felt by his tender so he began swimming without his face mask. He observed a killer whale suddenly surface alongside the ship and tugged frantically on his rope. His assistant finally felt the tugging and alerted to the presence of the killer whale, he was quickly hauled across the surface like a surfer. The whale dived and was not seen again. Back aboard, Phil dismantled the demand valve to find the cause of the problem. He found crystals of ice and it became clear why the air supply had failed. From his following description it would appear his scuba unit was an Australian made "Porpoise" single-hose system. "My Australian made aqualung had the demand valve mounted in front of the mouth. Expired air, moist from the lungs, was expelled through this valve. The metal valve was in contact with sea water at a temperature amongst the ice floes, of around 29-30 deg F, thus the water vapour from my breath condensed, froze and clogged the valve. By contrast the Cousteau "Aqualung" has the valve mounted behind one's head. Two rubber tubes led from the mouth, one either side of the face, around to the valve at the back. I think this was done so that bubbles from expired breath would not rise in front of the diver's face and obstruct his view. The tubes have airways more than a centimetre in diameter. Any expired moisture would freeze in these tubes before the air reaches the demand valve. It would take a long time for the ice to build up sufficiently to block the tubes". Phillip Law had a long and distinguished career in Antarctic Exploration. In his 19 years as an Antarctic explorer, Dr Law personally led 23 voyages to the Antarctic and Sub Antarctic. Although not officially listed among his achievements, he also has the honour of being Australia's first Antarctic underwater diver. Phil had thought that his dive was "probably the first dive with underwater equipment ever recorded in Antarctica", but this is not so. That honour went to Willie Heinrich, a member of the German expedition, in 1902. Phillip Garth Law, AC, CBE, passed away 29 February 2010, age 97.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA SHARK CULL MUST STOP: Perth. Final data released recently on the WA Government's shark cull trial shows the policy has been a failure, with 68 sharks killed yet no measurable public safety outcomes, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said. AMCS Marine Campaigner Tooni Mahto said the heavy environmental toll of the policy is an embarrassment to the WA Government. "The WA Government is spinning their program as a success, but to the majority of Australians, success does not look like 68 dead sharks", Ms Mahto said. "Instead of admitting the policy hasn't worked, Premier Barnett now wants to extend the trial of the cull for a further three years. "Not a single great white shark has been caught, even thought this species was arguably the main target of the cull. Yet four protected mako sharks have been killed needlessly, along with the capture of 163 tiger sharks and seven stingrays. "Premier Barnett has not provided any evidence to show that the policy has improved public safety. Whilst the WA Government continue to claim this policy has been a success, it has been a resounding failure for the health of WA's tiger shark population", she said. The proposal to extend the shark cull is currently being considered by the Federal Government. "With the final death toll now released, AMCS calls on the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to reject the WA Government's proposal to continue with the shark cull," she concluded.

ICONS DISSAPPEARED: Adelaide. The winter has given me time to cogitate where have all the diving icons gone? Who do new divers look up to? Why don't we have a new wave of Jacques Yves Cousteau's, Hans Hass's, and Al Giddings? I am lucky to be old enough but young enough to remember what appears to have disappeared from scuba diving. I seldom hear people now respond to the question 'What do you do?' Answered with, "I am a diver". People dive, most certainly, but it seems that very few commit their whole attention to diving, instead diving is just one part of their life. Gone are the large Oceans Congresses in Melbourne attracting over 1000 people for a Saturday night session. OZTek in Sydney biannually is perhaps the closest event now on offer. Dive clubs that are not connected to dive shops struggle to maintain numbers, and generally have an aging demographic. It's not that new divers don't have choices, in fact they are spoilt for choice with dive specialties freely accessible along with a great range of dive gear and cheap camera equipment. I ponder, has scuba diving been made too easy? Getting back to my original question where are the new diving icons? They are out there probably diving in caves or strapping on multiple dive systems but they are solitary creatures these days. Seeming to shun the limelight preferring Facebook or Tweeting as a way of communication rather than making documentaries that the general public would watch, and perhaps be inspired to try scuba diving. Perhaps I am just getting old and hanker for the good old days choosing to remember the good things about scuba diving and conveniently forgetting the bad things that happened. I am with you Chris Dean, sadly the good old days are gone forever. (Tom Byron).

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING MARINE LIFE IN AUSTRALIA: Brisbane. Australia is one of the most popular destinations for dive enthusiasts, and for good reason. The sheer amount of diverse marine life is enough to leave any diver speechless.
Here are some quick facts about Australia:
• Australia's marine environments support 4,000 different types of fish.
• Australia's waters have 1,700 different species of coral.
• Eighty percent of Australia's plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to Australia, and exist nowhere else in the world.
Of course the most famous region is the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. This 2,000 kilometre stretch of undersea adventure off the coast of Queensland is composed of more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. The Great Barrier Reef is home to an impressive amount of marine life. More than 1,500 fish species, 17 species of sea snake and at least 330 species of ascidians live on the reef. Six species of sea turtles come to the reef to breed and 30 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises have been recorded there. As fascinating as the Great Barrier Reef is, it's only one of the many dive attractions in Australia. While in Queensland, the south-east corner of the state has endless sites to explore and is home to a vast range of amazing underwater creatures including rays and turtles. Diving in Sydney or somewhere off the state's incredible coastline? The southeast waters are known for giant cuttlefish, wobbegongs, and grey nurse sharks. Plus, divers are captivated when they explore the easily accessible shore dives from beautiful beaches and coves.

The sheer amount of diverse marine life is enough to leave any diver speechless.

Cooler waters await divers in the south in Melbourne and the surrounding regions of Victoria. Check out numerous dive sites in Port Phillip Bay. The diversity of marine life is lovely, and you're likely to see a little bit of everything, from dolphins and seals to string rays and seahorses. The annual Spider Crab migration is spectacular. In Western Australia, Ningaloo Reef is a fringing coral reef off the Northwest Coast that's famed for its whale shark migration and feeding’s. Exploring the stunning coastline of Perth and the surrounding regions of the state is also a must. If you are after temperate waters that are biologically diverse and home to many reefs, jetties and wrecks, South Australia is the place for you. Separated from the mainland, the cooler waters of Tasmania can make visibility seem endless when you're exploring a giant kelp forest.

AN AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DIVING MUSEUM AT PORTSEA: Victoria. The right idea, the right location, the right time, The sport, science and technology of scuba diving is now over 60 years old and if no action is taken, irreplaceable artefacts which record the history of scuba will be lost for all time. This would be especially unfortunate as many key developments have occurred locally in Australia. This included the invention of the first single hose regulator which was developed in Victoria. To this end, a proposal to establish the Australian National Diving Museum at the Quarantine Station, Point Nepean, Portsea in Victoria has been drafted. It is planned to cover military, commercial, and recreational diving as well as the vital aspect of diving and hyperbaric medicine, essential for diving safety. An Interim Steering Committee has been formed with representatives from dive clubs, the Scuba Diving Federation of Victoria and the Historical Diving Society, and a meeting schedule agreed, the first meeting is due on Monday 13th October 2014 at the Mordialloc Motor Yacht Club, Lambert Island, Mordialloc at 7.00 pm. Convener for the meetings has been Garry Spencer, a former member of the Black Rock Underwater Diving Group. Garry led the establishment of the Army Tank and Light Horse Museum at Puckapunyal during his military service and is keen to see the nation's contribution to diving both recognised and preserved. "The Museum will only occur through the support and contribution of the nation's diving community, he said, "this will be a museum for them and for future generations of divers, it will ensure that vital artefacts are not lost and that key contributors to diving are recognised and their contribution recorded. Please support the development of the Museum, assist with artefact contribution and help further by joining one of the exhibit development teams on the four key aspects of the Museum recreational diving, military diving, commercial diving and diving and hyperbaric medicine". "Whilst the Museum Concept has support from Government at all levels and the local community, it needs the strong support of the diving community and divers from all 3 specialist areas. A representative from the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society attended the initial meeting and we expect their strong support in future. We also had representatives from the RAN who spoke enthusiastically about the Museum concept", said Garry Spencer.                                                                                                                           

WHITE POINTER SHARK SIGHTINGS AT TYRE REEF: South Australia. A pair of divers from the Adelaide University Scuba Club came face to face with a white pointer shark while diving at the Glenelg tyre reef in South Australia on 9th November. Although the shark got a little too close for comfort for Jan Busch and Mark Sutcliffe, Jan was at least able to take a few photographs of it. The Glenelg tyre reef is located about 6km offshore. The shark circled Jan and Mark three times before disappearing into the blue. A few white pointer shark sightings have been made at the tyre reef in recent years. In November 2013, a fisherman captured some video footage of a white pointer shark circling his boat about 4 km off West Beach. The footage shows a shark repeatedly circling the man's boat and even biting the boat's propeller. Nick Peterson was fatally attacked by a white pointer shark whilst being towed behind a boat on a surfboard 300m off West Beach in December 2004. A marine biologist called Jarrod Stehbens was also fatally attacked by a white pointer shark whilst diving for cuttlefish eggs at the Glenelg tyre reef in August 2005. Diver Chris Rapson also encountered a white pointer shark at the Glenelg Tyre Reef in June 2014. The shark circled a group of divers until they were able to exit the water safely.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

PROTECTION OF MANTA RAYS: Lady Elliot Island. Manta rays have been protected in International and Australian waters thanks to a multidisciplinary research study. Earthwatch Institute's Project Manta has been researching manta rays in Australian waters since 2009 and is aimed at recording biological and ecological information on the species. Volunteer divers join Earthwatch researchers to photograph and study manta rays, and the collected data is analysed by scientists and recorded on the public "Manta Identification Database". These volunteers have now contributed over 900 hours of research from 17 expeditions off the coast of Lady Elliot Island, Queensland.

A Manta Ray at Lady Elliot island.

"Very little was known about the east Australian population prior to this study," says Dr Kathy Townsend, lead scientist for Project Manta. "This lack of information needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency, as population numbers were dropping world-wide". This is the first quantitative analysis of mantas and has now recorded 850 mantas on the east coast and 750 on the west coast. This baseline data has contributed to the recent protection of both species of mantas at international and Australian level. Townsend says this is "a huge win brought about by the collective efforts of the global manta ray communit". Volunteer Citizen Science Program Project Manta collects data through "citizen scientist" participation. Contributions are made through shared public images and Earthwatch expeditions, based out of Lady Elliot Island. Amongst other findings, this research had proven manta rays can travel over large distances, although they usually stay in one location for some time.

PROPOSAL FOR SHARK CAGE DIVING SITES: South Australia. Flowing an attack by a group of killer whales on a great white shark at the Neptune Islands in early February, the shark cage diving industry submitted a proposal to the SA Government that would allow them to operate at other sites (other than the Neptune Islands) because no great white sharks were being been sighted in the region and shark cage diving has not been feasible. (After a two-month drought, however, sharks were being sighted once more.) The shark cage diving industry sought Government permission to access alternative locations during periods of poor shark sightings at Neptune Islands. The industry listed a number of potential locations for shark cage diving and sought comments on these alternative sites. DEWNR assisted the industry with the consultation by taking comments from stakeholders and the community. The first stage of the consultation sought comments from key stakeholders on the industry proposal. The second stage sought comments from the broader community. This second stage closed on 1st May. The policy goes on to give the following background "Seal and Sea Lions are an important food source for the Great White Shark but only temporary residents around such colonies and provision up while frequenting these areas. Individual sharks return to the colonies at varying times of the year. Shark cage diving by commercial operators first commenced in the 1960s around Dangerous Reef, The Sir Joseph Banks Group, The Pages and the Neptune Islands since the late 1970s. The industry has involved up to eight operators but decreased to two by 2000 and mostly restricted to Neptune Islands. Operators are required to hold licences under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. There are currently three licensed operators, two that use berley and one that uses music to attract sharks to the back of their shark cages off the backs of their vessels. CSIRO studies have shown that the average residency times of white pointer sharks at Neptune Islands has increased from 11 days in 2011-2003 to 21 days in 2010 -2011.

UNDER SELLING SCUBA EQUMINENT: Melbourne. Is the scuba diving industry so strong that it can afford to sabotage itself from within? At a time when the dive industry is facing recruitment and retention challenges, to such an extent that it is asking divers to make a special effort to introduce their friends and colleagues to the sport, (something most divers do anyway,) perhaps the industry should be looking closely at its own procedures to see if the recruitment and retention problems are partly self-generated. I say this because I have met a number of folk recently who have told me that they tried diving once and found that "it wasn't for them". Let's examine that statement more closely. What they mean is that they were sufficiently drawn by diving to pay for lessons or a Discover Scuba experience and the people involved with delivering that course or experience managed to put them off ever doing it again. In other words, when they walked into the dive centre the sale had already been made and the dive centre somehow managed to "unsell" them. This was in my mind the other day when I was chatting with a dive centre manager and remarked on the poor condition of the rental gear that his operation issued to beginners. "Of course," he said, "we do it deliberately. It encourages them to buy their own equipment". I was stunned. Quite apart from his ignorance of economic realities (dive centres make much more in percentage terms from renting out equipment than selling it) his thinking is about as wrong-headed as you can get. If a new diver does not enjoy his experience or his course, if he is not made as comfortable as possible, he will not pursue the sport. He will not become a diver, he will not rent equipment again and he certainly will not buy anything. This dive centre manager evidently is not alone in thinking this way. A while ago, I was consulting for a hotel chain that was looking for a local operator to run their on-site dive centre. One applicant, a very well known company with many branches, invited me and one of the hotel chain's directors to go diving with their flagship dive centre in order to impress us. The hotel director was a newish diver with sixty logged dives but did not own his own gear. No problem, the operator said, you can use ours. All the equipment was pretty shabby but it was the fins that particularly drew our attention. Where the foot pocket joined the blade there was a wear line and you could easily bend the blades up and down beyond 90 degrees. In the water the fins just flapped around uselessly. I noticed that my buddy did not have a dive computer so asked if the dive centre could lend him one but the staff told us they did not have rental computers. Anyway, they added, he didn't need a computer because the guide had one. Needless to say, the operator did not get the job. Anecdotal examples abound. One lady told me that for her first pool session with a very large and successful dive centre in the Caribbean, she was not offered a wetsuit and ended the day with knee and elbow scrapes. She also had chafing marks from her BCD, which was so ill fitting that the shoulder straps floated above her head on the surface. The depth gauge on her console did not work and when this was pointed out to the instructor he just said, "it doesn't matter, we are in a pool; we know how deep it is". Luckily she persevered, found another shop and instructor and is now a proud and certified new diver. But she is an exception, we rarely get a second chance at recruiting someone to the sport if we mess it up first time.                                                                                                                                                                                             

SHERWOOD SCUBA: Sydney. In 1955, having already excelled as a leader in the manufacturing of compressed gas products for over 30 years, Sherwood became the logical choice to be among the first of all Scuba equipment manufacturers. In 1958 Sherwood purchased the patent for the piston regulator. The fee paid to the original patent holder, as the story goes, was to be taken to lunch once a year by the heads of Sherwood Manufacturing. Sherwood's engineers immediately got to work modifying and improving upon the original design in order to adapt it to their desired scuba application. From the late 50s through the early 80s nearly every scuba diver was diving with Sherwood as nearly every other scuba equipment manufacturer trusted Sherwood to manufacture parts for their regulators. This was due solely to the company's reputation of reliable, precision manufacturing and dependability. In 1972 Sherwood developed the first complete regulator to be engineered, developed and manufactured under its own brand name, the SRB 2000. Since that time, Sherwood Scuba has never looked back and continues to make equipment known around the world for consistency, comfort and excellent performance. They have pioneered ideas used by other equipment manufacturers that have come into existence more recently, such as using common internal components in their various models of regulators in order to help keep costs down and reliability at its peak. Through the 80s Sherwood's engineers gave us regulators like the Oasis, the world's first regulator designed specifically to combat the uncomfortable dry mouth effect divers experience when breathing dry compressed air, the Blizzard, among the first regulators designed specifically for recreational cold water diving and the Maximums with its unique under arm hose design. As it turns out the Maximus also became a leading choice of extreme cold water divers and was chosen for many years by NOAA as the regulator of choice for all diving activities in Antarctica. Over the years Sherwood has built off their expertise in quality, precision manufacturing of regulators and expanded into a full line equipment manufacturer offering some of the most popular products for divers World Wide.

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ABYSS SCUBA DIVING CELEBRATES 15 YEARS: Sydney. Abyss Scuba Diving, a PADI 5 Star Career Development Centre at Ramsgate, NSW, commemorated their fifteen years in business and fifteen year milestone as a Member of the PADI Resort and Retailer Associations at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium on Saturday 13th June, 2015. The venue provided a stunning backdrop for 85 attendees, including the Abyss team together with their invited customers and friends who celebrated well into the night. PADI Asia Pacific was represented at the event by Danny Dwyer, (Vice President Marketing, Sales, Field Services & Business Development) and Ian Cumming (Regional Manager) who presented the PADI International Resort and Retailer Associations' Fifteen Year Membership Award in recognition of the symbolic milestone. Abyss Scuba Diving became a PADI Dive Centre in May 2000 and before two years had passed, owner Peter Letts and his team had achieved PADI Five Star Instructor Development Centre status. Abyss accomplished their long term goal of becoming a PADI 5 Star Career Development Centre in April 2010 and are currently the only PADI CDC in Sydney and in the state of NSW. PADI 5 Star Career Development Centres are businesses which offer professional development beyond regular instructor training. Always enthusiastically embracing the PADI system of diver education, the team effectively adopted the concept of PADI Learning when it was introduced in 2007 allowing PADI divers to complete the knowledge development sections of selected PADI courses online. Danny Dwyer, Vice President, Marketing, Sales, Field Services & Business Development PADI Asia Pacific, commended Peter and his staff, "I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and Ian and I felt privileged to join the original Abyss staff members and long term customers to celebrate the occasion. You have a great team at Abyss and everyone at PADI looks forward to working with you for the next fifteen years. Congratulations to you all and well done.

FIRST FEMALE EXPLORER REBREATHING INSTRUCTORS IN AUSTRALIA: Sydney. Congratulations to 4 thrill seeking ladies, Samantha Patterson-Ross, Rachael Fallon, Andrea Payne and Leah Hurley who recently became the first female PADI Explorer Re breather Instructors in Australia. Under the expert instruction of PADI Course Directors, Peter Letts and Jamie Miller and using the Hollis Explorer Sports Re breather, (a hybrid semi-closed re breather) the girls all PADI Professionals from Abyss Scuba Diving in Ramsgate NSW, took to Little Bay dive site next to Botany Bay in Sydney for their PADI Re breather Hollis Explorer Instructor assessments. Andrea Payne says becoming a PADI Instructor has completely changed her life. "I learnt to dive and immediately fell in love with the sport and from then have always looked for ways to further develop myself as a diver". Extending her times, with the added benefits of silence, no bubbles and warm air, was what initially sparked her interest in taking a re breather course. Having never heard of a re breather, Leah Hurley who comes from the USA recently completed an internship with Abyss. "Before I came to Australia I could see that Abyss offered Explorer Re breather training so I decided that I had to take advantage of learning the "new and improved" way to dive. The idea of being able to get up to two hours of bottom time was also a major aspect for me to choose the course with Abyss". When it came to the most challenging part of the course, the girls all agreed that getting used to the re breather equipment itself and mastering buoyancy control although enjoyable was testing. "After 7 years of working on my open circuit buoyancy, the total change was definitely challenging for me", said Samantha Patterson-Ross. But Rachael Fallon was quick to point out, "Marine life comes right up to you once you sort out the buoyancy thing and stop flapping around. Little Bay is a beautiful location, always clear and full of turtle eggs.

Four ladies, Samantha Patterson-Ross, Rachel Fall-on, Andrea Payne and Leah Hurley who recently became the first female PADI Explorer Re-breather Instructors in Australia.

Being able to get right out and explore the dive site at a bit more depth is great and having 2 hours to dive is excellent Samantha agreed, "I enjoyed the diving a great deal more and my photos are better". The quietness. You definitely get that super serene, "floating in space feeling". "Now getting into the water is a piece of cake and mastering the skills comes second nature to me", explained Leah. The quietness is what I love most about the re breather and being inconspicuous to marine life due to the lack of bubbles allows me to take some great photos. Once trained on this unit, there is no going back. Diving on the re breather starts to feel a lot more comfortable than open circuit". PADI asked the new re breather instructors about their next step forward maybe it's trying a fully closed re breather such as the Hollis Prism or onward with the PADI Tec40 CCR course? ''After successfully completing the Hollis Explorer course, I am more than happy to continue using this unit for the immediate future", says Leah. ''Although I would definitely consider learning more about other units that are on offer. I am extremely impressed with the new technology available". Rachael explains that she is already a Hollis Prism diver and on the way to becoming a Prism instructor. "I have actually done more Prism dives than Explorer dives. Generally my dives are around the 20m mark so the Explorer is more suitable to this kind of diving. I don't think one unit is better than the other, I just think they all have a use." "I would be interested in trying out the Prism", said Samantha, "but to be honest I'm super happy with the Explorer and what it can do for my diving, so my plan is to just stick with that for a while". And finally from Andrea, "Being that I am an avid Tee diver and really enjoy the added benefits of the re breather, I probably will end up learning on the Prism and doing some CCR Tee Diving".

LIVELY MYSTERY REMAINS UNSOLVED: Melbourne. The wreck on the Rowley Shoals off Western Australia's north-west coast remains a mystery. After the third and most extensive investigation of the debris strewn across the ocean floor inside Mermaid's Atoll, divers from the Western Australian Maritime Museum and Earthwatch were unable to make a positive identification of the wreck. They are still convinced, however, that she is the British armed whaler, Lively. The third expedition raised another cannon, but like others found previously it had no identifying markings. A whaling try pot was also recovered, there is a slim hope it will have markings under the coral growth encrusted on it. So, too, is a hope that some small personal item, even a coin, found among the blocks of material cemented together by coral, will be brought back by the expedition. The expedition did not find anything easily identifiable to confirm the painstaking archaeological work of the past six years that points strongly to the wreck being that of the Lively. A group from the museum established a base camp on Clark Cay, a small island to the south of Mermaids Atoll, 300 kilometres out from Broome. The volunteers were all members of the Earth Watch Organisation that put up a share of the $55,000 cost of the expedition. They included two Australians, 11 divers from America, one American who lived in Australia, and one American who lives in Panama. Graeme Henderson, the group leader, said that without Earth Watch and the volunteers, who each paid their way. the museum, would not have been able to mount the expedition. They found musket balls and cannon shells, a few small ceramic fragments, but nowhere was there one single item with a word, a date or even a recognisable design that pin-pointed its origin. "But I am confident we will find out one day", Graeme Henderson said back in his office in Fremantle. "No wreck on the Western Australian coast has ever remained unidentified. "The thing about ships is that there was always paper work connected with them, always records kept and we only have to find the archaeological clue that points us in the right direction".

DIVING AND FORGETFULNESS “BRAIN DAMAGE”: Brisbane. Does diving impair the mind and memory? Dr. Carl Edmonds, the President of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society, states that he found intellectual impairment in 12 out of 25 divers he studied. These divers dived as many as 100 days a year, and spent up to four hours at depths of 20 metres, with appropriate surface intervals between dives to remain within the no decompression limits. Edmonds called the results “horrifying” noting that nearly all other divers studied exhibited strong evidence of impairment. According to New Zealand Dive Magazine, new research shows those commercial divers who have been braving the deep for more than eight years have a very poor short term memory span. Psychologist Peter Morris of the Diver Performance Unit at England's Lancaster University says, “We found this almost by accident and we were quite horrified”. He showed divers eight clock faces with the hands in different positions. They were told to study them for one minute and, after a 30-second rest, asked to draw on paper where the hands had been. Divers with less than four years experience got eight or nine right out of sixteen, but divers with eight or more years experience got only four or five correct. Dr. Morris says that "absent mindedness underwater could cost lives". He is concerned more that brain damage could be the result of repeated compression and decompression. Divers in the initial research ranged in age from 24 to 39, eliminating causes of memory lapse due to normal ageing. Morris will continue his studies, selecting and testing subjects over a ten year period. So far, divers studied have logged thousands of dives over many years. Some instructors and guides could certainly find themselves With similar experiences, but does the study have any relevance for the average sport diver? We suspected not. One cause suggested was immersion in cold water, which may affect the body, or perhaps just the effects of pressure. Another cause was perhaps a multiple of micro bubbles getting to the brain during decompression, or a small hole in the heart which allows bubbles normally filtered off by the lungs to get across to the systemic circulation and thereby to the brain. "Well now, that is something to think about, I think, if I can remember what I have just read and what was it that I read. Now that's something to think about.

DERMOT O'FLAHERTY, DIRECTOR OF PADI AUSTRALIA, DIES: Sydney. The establishment and growth of the PADI Australia office in its present form and style has astonished even its most ardent supporters. This growth has resulted, in part, from the response of the PADI Members and Training Facilities. It also grew from the time, dedication and financial backing needed to make the PADI venture a success. The late Dermot O'Flaherty's ability stemmed from a varied and interesting career. He obtained a diploma in journalism in Ireland and later became involved in the newspaper industry in England. After an initial period of sharpening his penmanship on topics as varied as entertainment revues and the motor car, Dermot moved into the advertising industry. His pursuit of high standards created professionalism in the diving industry many people came to rely upon. This showed in the development of PADIs extensive computer system. After many problems and frustrations were overcome, the system now serves not only PADI, but also the dive industry in general. Dermot's standing in the diving industry has been publicly acknowledged. At a recent Water Safety Council dinner, the New South Wales Minister for Sport and Recreation, Mr. Michael Cleary, presented the inaugural Water Safety Award in 1986 to Dermot, this award was in recognition of his outstanding and dedicated service in the field of recreational diving. In July 1986, Dermot was diagnosed as having bowel cancer and underwent surgery. Unfortunately, he survived only a short time after the operation. All divers who knew him will miss Dermot. Our condolences from all at PADI go to his family, friends, and relatives on this sad occasion. Dermot will also be missed by a wider section of the diving community and perhaps most of all by the instructing side of the sport of scuba diving.

SS DUCKENFIELD WRECK: Sydney. While researching the careers of Briggs and May, two commercial hard hat divers of the late 1800s, I (Alan McLennan) came across references to the wreck of the Duckenfield. I already knew the wreck had struck Long Reef just north of Sydney, it was carrying coal. but I was very surprised to find that it had drifted off before sinking and that it had carried a load of copper ingots. With further research, I also found the Marine Board of Inquiry, insurance records of the salvage, newspaper reports and the logbook of the ship Captain Cook. From these sources I was able to build a complete history of the Duckenfield and gained an idea of where she lay. Unfortunately much of the information I was using proved inaccurate and this caused a couple of months of fruitless searching as the “red herrings” were eliminated. It seems that Captain Hall, Briggs and May, all salvage experts, were as fond of exaggerating their diving feats as modern divers. In the end I decided not to rely on any of the depth reports and took a guess at the depth of water she was in. Taking the height of the mast of 20 metres, adding the height of the deck, which was 7 metres, and taking off 3 metres, as the mast was originally reported to be breaking the surface. This then gave me a depth of between 23 and 26 metres of water. When I located the log of the Captain Cook in the State Archives, I found the entry by Captain Creer when he recovered the mast. He stated that it was found approximately 2 kilometres north of Long Reef.

The SS Duckenfield.

Using the depth of 23 to 26 metres and a distance of 2 kilometres north, my brother Neil and I located the wreck on our next dive. I decided to put down the buoy for the first search north by east approximately 2 kilometres off Long Reef. I swam for about 60 metres on a bearing of l70 degrees when my compass became impossible to read. The needle was swinging around wildly. Hoping it may be due to a disturbance from the wreck, I followed the general direction of the needle. Within 30 kicks of my fins, there lay the Duckenfield, unseen for 98 years. After securing the buoy to some wreckage, I surfaced to tell Neil the news. Then we explored the wreck together and discovered the incredibly preserved engine and copper ingots that lay about the wreck. The Duckenfield sank in an ideal location for diving, it sits on a flat reef and nothing buried in silt. Water clarity is above average for Sydney and the site is completely free of currents. Best of all the Duckenfield lays only 2 l/2 kilometres from a popular boat ramp that makes getting there easy. The site is dominated by the compound steam engine that has remained upright and intact while the iron hull has corroded around it. The site is flat but orderly, it is almost as if the ship was dismantled and the parts left in their correct place ready to reassemble one day. Many interesting relics can be found such as the mooring anchors used by Briggs and May, sticks of dynamite, and copper ingots stowed across the hull amidships. The remaining ingots are to be seen poking out everywhere in the area, but they are as hard to get out as in Briggs and Mays day. In approximately 26 metres of water, the wreck of the Duckenfield will be an outstanding attraction for sport divers in future years.

FIRST DAY TRIPS TO THE OUTER GREAT BARRIER REEF: Cairns. First daily tourist trips to the outer Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas, far North Queensland, began last year in 1982. Most tourists see the inner reef through glass bottom boats, underwater observatory windows or by swimming and snorkelling around resort islands. Now they are able to personally experience the unbelievable grandeur of the outer reef that most people see only on TV documentaries. Underwater visibility on the outer reef is consistently 30 metres or more and unaffected by wind and rain, which may stir up sand to cloud coral viewing closer to the mainland. A 20-metre catamaran, MV Quicksilver, designed for speed and comfort, covers the 39 nautical miles from Port Douglas to St. Crispin Reef, close to Australia's continental shelf, in 90 minutes. Previously only those who could afford to charter a boat, and spend eight hours on the return journey, could make the trip. Quicksilver has a cruising speed of 26 knots allowing passengers three hours to snorkel on the reef, exploring the deep sunlit valleys and the coral cliffs teeming with fish and other marine life. Crew members advise and assist inexperienced snorkellers, a pontoon and buoys anchored near the flat reef surface provide resting places. Visitors who prefer to stay dry may glide over the reef in a glass bottom boat and accredited scuba divers may take their own gear and experience the beautiful reef first hand. However they choose to see the reef, it will be a wonderful experience for all. Trips to the outer reef will run on a daily basis seven days a week, except when the weather is unfavourable.

PROTECT THE GREAT WHITE SHARK: South Australia. With more recorded white shark attacks on humans than Australia, was the first country to recognise the importance of protecting the species back in 1993. California in the USA followed and proclaimed protection for great white sharks on January 1994. Both South Africa and California have been monitoring population numbers around seal colonies with an extensive tagging program. They each reported less than 100 individuals documented over 3 years. In South Australia over a similar 3-year period, with several concentrated tagging programs, less than 90 individuals were tagged. Even if you doubled or even tripled those numbers, wild stock numbers of the great white would be extremely low. One South Australian shark fisherman, fishing for gummy sharks with nets, confirmed the killing of four great whites in the first five months of this year. A 6 metre specimen and one 5 metres plus two 4 metre creatures. A female great white shark does not begin to breed until she is around 10 years of age and 5 metres in length could only breeds every 2 to 3 years. Assuming the two 4 metre sharks killed in the nets were females, then this is two sharks that will never breed. It's estimated that 20 to 40 sharks are killed every year. The major food source of the great white sharks is seals and sea lions. The Neptune Islands off South Australia hold 49% of Australia's population of New Zealand fur seals, if you included nearby Kangaroo Islands population they would hold 77% of Australia's seals. The population of New Zealand fur seals in South Australia is increasing faster than any other seal species in the world, its current growth rate is 20%. Can you name one other single wild species that is growing that fast? With the great white shark as their only natural predator this imbalance may be caused by a declining shark population. Do you think the great white shark should be protected? If you were on dry land then the answer would probably be yes. Now if you were in the water without a shark cage and a 4 metre great white started to circle you with a hungry look in its eyes, would you still want to save the darn thing, I think not. There are few divers who have survived an attack from a great white shark.

WOMEN AND TECHNICAL DIVING NOT ONLY FOR MALE DIVERS: Sydney. A woman finally has penetrated the testosterone zone known as trimix diving by becoming the first female qualified to the highest level of mixed gas and technical diving. With a 73-metre dive, Tracy Weekley completed her ANDI and TDI Trimix courses. Her buddy was Graham Elliott, who was adding a TDI Trimix certification to his ANDI Trimix ticket. The prerequisites for the Trimix courses are high to ensure that candidates have significant levels of knowledge and experience. Apart from having moved through the Nitrox or Enriched Air Certification procedures, as well as courses covering stage decompression and the use of multiple decompression mixtures, entry requirements for people attempting a Trimix Course include proof of 200 dives, at least 50 deeper than 30 metres and 20 dives deeper than 50 metres, depending on the certifying agency. Tracy is one of a handful of women who deep dive in Sydney. To varying degrees, female deep divers are greeted with a degree of incredulity on the part of their male peers, whenever they step onto a new charter boat for a dive below the 30 metre mark. "It is like a cone of silence of some sort descends on you when they find out you are a girl", Tracy said. "It's not a question of ability. After all, they do not know you or how you dive. It's as if they resent the mere female intrusion. There are physical limitations at this level of diving, but they have nothing to do with sex or physical strength," she said. Looking around at the pioneering divers from Cousteau to the late Exckley, you would not accuse any of them of being steroid abusers. Tracy's reaction may be swayed by her involvement with the Cave Diving Association, an organisation who, while criticised for being too conservative in many ways, particularly regarding mixed gas diving, does boast a strong female presence at all levels of diving and administration. Tracy has a career as a medical aestheticism to pay for her diving and constantly amazes her friends with the extent to which she takes her research into her work with a cosmetic medicine and surgery   practice. She began her mixed gas technical diver path with IANTD, completing her Nitrox and Technical Nitrox Certifications. Tracy then did an ANDI Technical Nitrox crossover before doing her ANDI Trimix and TDI extended range and Trimix programs. Why did Tracy, or anyone else for that matter, go to the effort and expense of completing her mixed gas training? “Because I believe the end result is worthwhile”, she answered. “For instance, the Kopui wreck is a paddle wheeler tug, which sank almost 75 years ago. It sits upright, with the two distinctive paddle wheels still standing beside the boiler. “It's unquestionably an exciting dive. I have been back since and on one occasion we had an excitement enhancing experience. An angry mako shark decided that the deco-line, with its big lead weight, was actually a potential food source. It charged the weight, bumping and side swiping it. Charging and doing rolls, while my buddy and I watched with palpitating hearts from the anchor line a few metres away. “Fortunately, it did not seem interested in us, or maybe it just did not want the hassle of having to peel all the gear off us before getting to the meaty bits.“The point I'd like to make is that you don't do this sort of diving just to notch up personal best. The risks are too great and the effort involved in doing the dives too demanding to make ego-gratification the goal". Tracy explains. “You can get up at 4.30 am, in my case drive for more than an hour to get to the departure point, bump up and down on the boat for another hour or so and then decide that conditions aren't right and turn around and go home without getting wet. “Then you have the problem with the gas in your tanks. It has been mixed for a certain depth and is toxic on the surface. In other words, it's practically useless for any other dive, unless you are going to approximately the same depth. “There are not too many wrecks around the place that lie in 60-80 metres of water. At least not wrecks that are diveable”. While indulging her desire to go where very few scuba divers have been before, Tracy keeps sight of the world of sport scuba diving. Tracey Weekley is also the first person in Australia to get a PADI Ice Diver Certification.

DIVER TAKEN BY SHARK:  Perth. A professional diver was mauled and killed by a shark while diving for abalone off the West Australian coast. David Weir, 29, from Margaret River, was diving near Honeymoon Island about 500 kilometres south of Perth when the shark attacked. Deck hand David Lashmar, 21, noticed a disturbance in the water near the surface and started to pull in the divers line but David Weir's body parted from the line. The owner of the Hopetoun general store, Roger Veen, saw Mr. Lashmar soon after he returned to raise the alarm. “He was very distraught and going into shock”, Mr. Veen said. I am still not exactly sure what happened because he was in too much shock”. Mr. Veen said another abalone diver stayed out of the water for a few days after seeing a white pointer shark about three weeks ago in the water near where Mr. Weir was attacked and killed. Police failed to find the body.

DEEP DIVING: Melbourne. The limits for deep sport diving is set at 40 metres. This is more than an arbitrary depth. The US Navy, who wanted to send divers to far greater depths than this, found that beyond 40 metres, diver performance nose dived while at the same time accidents rose alarmingly. The range from 40-50 metres is a grey one, but definitely deeper than accepted air limits. However, the range from 50-60 metres is no longer grey. It is far too deep. As for 60 metres plus, this is really pushing the physiological limits, and is only dived by extremely experienced and well-equipped divers or those with a death wish. Deep dives should not be spur of the moment affairs. To be safe, they need to be planned in detail, maximum depth, equipment needed, decompression requirements, safety stops, air required, including safety margins, emergency procedures and bailout plans. Few divers can accurately assess their true capability. Ego invariable gets in the way. Any fool with a weight belt and SCUBA can dive to 50 metres. Going down is the easy part, ascending safely, is the tricky bit. An important factor in coping with deep diving is to be correctly equipped. The primary safety consideration at these depths is self sufficiency. This usually means two of all vital items of equipment. Self-sufficiency begins with sufficient air. Redundancy is essential, a complete second air supply, sufficient to complete the dive. A pony bottle is totally inadequate at this depth. Equipment is only part of the safety equation. The skills to solve problems are also vital. Can you clear your mask at depth. Swim without a mask, make an air change if a unit fails, share air at depth. Can you perform all of these skills at planned depth. Have you actually practiced them beyond 30 metres or at 40 metres? A critical part of any plan is to agree to abort anyone that is unhappy. Few divers actually abort even if they mean to. I consider it a true demonstration of a diver's maturity that they can actually call off a dive mid way. If you are ego threatened by this, then deep diving is not a safe activity for you. While the boys with their toys are trying to achieve personal milestones, spare a thought for the poor boat skipper, dive supervisor, and dive shop owner. They are providing a wonderful service that provides us with access to some of the best diving anywhere, not to mention safety cover in case of unforeseen problems. Their service assumes that our dives are within normal parameters. When depth addicts finally get into trouble, they will be the ones who look bad. This is especially difficult if you tell them that you are only going to 40 metres, but actually dive deeper, or even worse, you dive to 55 metres, but tell them you only went to 36 metres, then you book onto a second deep dive in the afternoon. If this trend continues, do not be surprised if a few personal liberties are infringed in the interests of safety, e.g. signing declarations regarding your actual depth, looking at computers, maybe even banning a diver or two. Remember that we are all safety ambassadors for our sport, and we each have a responsibility to keep an excellent safety record.

CHRIS BROWN BREAKS WORLD CAVE DIVING RECORD: Nullarbor Plain. Australian cave diver Chris Brown has completed the world's longest single penetration into a cave system. The six kilometre traverse took place in the Cocklebiddy cave system on the Nullarbor Plain in outback Western Australia. The journey was followed on television as the Nine Network's Today Show brought daily updates live to air, including one extraordinary report from The Rockpile, about a kilometre inside the cave. As Brown told viewers, few people have seen this place. The successful push took place around 9pm on Sunday, September 24. It was about 97 minutes after I left the lake at Toad Hall I got to the end of what I could get through. Brown told viewers about 12 hours later. “But I only broke the old record by about 20 metres, because the cave got rather too small at that stage. I had to go through some hard restrictions. I had to take off most of my gear and pass it through ahead of me". Chris said he was confident he would break Hugh Morrison's 1983 record. “This may sound arrogant but I have been practicing for many years at it. Refining techniques making sure the safety, and make sure that all pieces are in place. However, the main thing was making sure I was ready to do it, both mentally and physically. "And that I could do it as safely as possible, but basically there was no chance of me not coming back. Equipment problems were minimal. except for one thing, the moment I got about 3 metres under the water, one of the mouth pieces came off my regulator. I thought, this is a marvellous omen. “It took about two minutes to get it back on. In addition, I thought, well, I hope nothing else goes wrong, but everything went perfectly after that”. Asked if there was more to explore Chris said. “The cave has now broken down into small passages. He said, he believes he was following the main lead. But there is hope in future to go back out there and explore some of the side passages to see where they go. “My bottom line feeling is that they don't. But I hope they do, if you know what I mean”, Chris and most of his eight member team spent about 90 minutes short of three days in the cave. "I though about staying down the extra one and a half but then I thought, Nah, I will come out and have dinner. We actually had dinner at five o'clock in the morning someone said. What are you doing drinking red wine at this hour. I said. “We are having dinner”, It seemed reasonable to me”. Asked if he would do it again, Chris said, "Long term, maybe”.

A FIRST FOR SSI AUSTRALIA:  Sydney. SSI Australia, in September 1995 trained its first Japanese SSI Instructor Trainer Kenichi Saito, an instructor working through Don Cowie's Reef Services, completed the training program conducted by SSI Headquarters and Don Cowie in Cairns. Kenichi Saito said, “I wanted to become an instructor and trainer with SSI because of the rapid growth of SSI back in Japan. Already, in only a couple of years, SSI has become the number three agency and may even now be number two. This will ensure plenty of business opportunities for me when I return home. Many of the Japanese instructors working in North Queensland will be interested in being able to go home with dual certification and I hope to conduct SSI Japanese Instructor Crossover and Associate Instructor programs through Don Cowie's Reef Services. “The cost of doing either program in Australia is so low compared to Japan that I may even be able to bring people from Japan to do the courses. They would actually save money, even with the air fare and accommodation costs taken into account. Because SSI is truly international, ratings gained in Australia are valid worldwide. I am not surprised of SSI's growth, they have excellent material, available not just in English and Japanese, but six other languages as well. SSI's approach of dealing only with dive businesses and not with independent instructors appeals to the Japanese dive shop owners. ”Material, service and business ethics are all extremely important in Japan and SSI delivers first class teaching in these areas.

VALERIE TAYLOR CONTEMPLATES RETIREMENT: Sydney. Number one lady scuba diver in this country Valerie Taylor is planning her retirement from diving, after over 40 years. Despite having notched up over 10,000 dives, Valerie, known as "The Shark Lady" says her impending retirement is no great tragedy. Apart from scuba diving and underwater photography Valerie is a gifted and talented artist. However, she will still miss her underwater exploits. "People just don't understand the world under the sea, everything is different, every dive is an absolute adventure”. She explains. “Underwater visibility is limited so you don't know what lurks beyond your vision. There could be whales circling you for all you know or even sharks”. During her career as a professional diver, Valerie has survived three shark attacks, one requiring 300 stitches to her leg. Ron and Valerie Taylor have been married for 32 years and in that time both have reached the pinnacle of scuba diving and underwater photography. It was their footage about sharks and their work on the Spielberg, film  “Jaws” that gained them acclaim and international fame. Valerie Taylor may be retiring from diving but not from life.

MSB TO CLOSE SWANSEA BRIDGE CHANNEL TO SCUBA DIVERS: Swansea. The Maritime Services Board has put a proposal to Lake Macquarie City Council that would see scuba diving banned in Swansea Channel. The MSB has claimed that there is concern for diver safety. This is despite the fact that after more than forty years of diving in the channel there has never being a recorded injury as a result of using this dive site. The proposal put to the Council by the MSB is to ban “Recreational Bathing” in Swansea “Navigational” Channel. “Recreational Bathing” includes swimming, scuba diving, spear fishing and snorkelling. “Swansea Bridge is one of, if not the safest dive site in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie area. If divers were stopped from diving here they would be forced to use other locations which may not be as safe,” according to Sheerly Godsell, Proprietor of Charlestown Diving Academy. Increasing the safety of those who use the waterway was the stated reason behind the proposal. It seems these new safety rules apply only to divers. Recently the speed limit for boats has been lifted altogether, which means boats can travel through the channel at whatever speed they choose. To enhance the safety of all is in everybody's interests, but to   suppress one group in favour of another is not. The safety issue is strongly disputed by local dive operators. “Over the past twenty years the dive site has been considered within the diving community to be a very safe site,” said Godsell. “The dive has very easy entry and exit points, the depth and simplicity of navigation eliminates the need to surface at any time during the dive to orientate yourself as to the direction of shore”. The safety aspect can be reinforced by the fact that during this time there has been no injury incurred by any diver as a result of coming into contact with any vessel. There is simply no need to surface within the shipping lanes during any dive. Further concerns have also been raised by the way in which the proposal was made. The diving community was not approached or consulted in any way, shape or form. There was also a plan to instigate a permit system for diving in the channel. This would see any diver who wished to dive in the channel have to go to a dive shop and be informed in regard to the safety aspects of the dive. The divers would then be issued with a permit that would then allow them to dive in the channel. This program was accepted by the local diving community and seemed like a good way to eliminate any fears that may arise for diver's safety. However, despite several attempts by dive shops to follow up this program they are still waiting for this program to commence.“I have made six telephone calls to John Fisher of the MSB in regard to the permits and not one of those calls has been returned”, said Godsell. The problem is that if this proposal to ban diving in Swansea Channel is successful then a precedent has been set and who knows where this could end. We could see the use of any number of dive sites taken away from scuba divers and other non-boating users. In an attempt to buy off the non-boating community the MSB proposed to set up a section on Pelican Beach which would make up for the area taken away from them at Swansea. “The Pelican Beach idea may seem all right on the surface, but this site is virtually useless to divers as it is only sand. It really is hopeless,” said Godsell. It is important to put all of these concerns into perspective. The effect of diving on the area is further reduced by the fact that it is only possible to dive at this site for 30 to 40 minutes each day because of the tidal situation.

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OUCH MONITORS THE GREAT BARRIER REEF: Brisbane. The OUCH volunteers recently joined forces with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the CRC Reef Research Centre on a pilot study which will look at developing reliable reef monitoring programmers for community groups and tourist operators. On May 27, this year eight OUCH volunteers joined scientists Barbara Musso and Vicki Nelson and JCU dive supervisor Phil Osmond to kick off the 12 month project. Using Hayman Island as the base, the group spent the morning in the classroom discussing the various monitoring techniques used by scientists in the coral reef environment. The volunteers were shown how to collect data on reef life form categories using the Line Transect method. The scientists explained that the shape of a coral reflects the type of environment that the coral lives in. For example in a very exposed reef, area corals will be short and thick to withstand the wave energy. Data on the abundance of different coral shapes, therefore, provides a good indication of the type of environment the corals live in. Changes in the abundance of certain shapes of coral may indicate that in that area the environmental conditions are changing. Collecting data over time on life form categories is an easy and effective way of monitoring the overall state of a reef area. The Great Barrier Reef extends along 2300 kilometres of Queensland coastline and contains some 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands. It occupies some 350,000 square kilometres, an area larger than Victoria and Tasmania combined. Now that is a big area for a few scientists to monitor. With the help of the volunteers, more reefs can be monitored over time. Every little bit helps. The monitoring technique employed by the OUCH volunteers is actually a simplified version of that used by the Australian Institute of Marine Science monitoring teams. With practice, the volunteers should be able to collect reliable data on reef communities that the scientists can analyse regarding the health of the reef. “This project has tremendous potential", commented OUCH spokesperson, Tony Fontes. “Our experience today has shown that the volunteers can develop the necessary skills and knowledge to monitor our local reefs with minimal assistance from the scientists. This would mean that more monitoring can be done which should result in better management of the Great Barrier Reef”. The day went off without a hitch despite some rather inclement weather. The monitoring team was well supported by Danny Dwyer and his Hayman dive team.

SINKING OF HMAS SWAN IN GEOGRAPHE BAY NEAR BUSSELTON: Perth. Mr. Norman Moore, the Minister for Tourism in Western Australia, announced that the recently decommissioned HMAS Swan would be scuttled as a dive wreck in Geographe Bay near Busselton. This long awaited announcement has ended years of lobbying, research and fund raising and will culminate in what will become one of Australia's most spectacular wrecks. The final resting place for HMAS Swan will be in 30 metres of clear, calm water in protection of Cape Naturaliste. This will ensure that the wreck will be diveable in all but the worst weather conditions. The site chosen is free from any significant ground swell, currents or surge and will provide excellent diving for all levels of diver experience. In a couple of weeks HMAS Swan will be towed to Bunbury where the process of cleaning and preparing her for diver access will begin. The Geographe Bay Artificial Reef Society who submitted the successful proposal believe it will take about 12 months to fully prepare the Swan for scuttling. In order for the project to meet all environmental considerations, the cleaning process will be exhaustive. Both the State and Commonwealth Environmental Protection Authorities will be involved in every step of the way and they will not issue the necessary Sea Dumping Permit unless they are completely satisfied that the vessel has been completely cleansed of all possible contaminants. Another main consideration in the preparation of HMAS Swan for scuttling is the issue of diver safety. At 113 metres in length the job of making it safe yet enjoyable for divers of all levels of experience is to say the least, complex. It is planned to allow divers access to as much of the wreck as possible. This will involve cutting diver access holes at regular intervals along the side of the hull and superstructure making the wreck as safe as is humanly possible. There may however be a couple of small areas that may have to be permanently sealed in the interest of safety, however all efforts will be made to keep this to an absolute minimum. It will be a delicate job of maximising safety issues and maintaining the integrity of a wreck of this size. The cost of this project is substantial and it is for this reason that the GBARS will have to salvage as much as possible from the vessel in order to fund the project. Although the Navy is currently stripping the Swan for spare parts for HMAS Torrens there will still be a significant amount of material left on board that will be of monetary value. In fact, the scrap value should be approximately $75,000. Unfortunately this is still a long way short of the cost of them entire project. The Geographe Bay Artificial Reef Society gratefully acknowledges both the Commonwealth and the State Governments for the gift of HMAS Swan, and the many local businesses that have already donated a significant amount of money to the project. The Shire of Busselton has agreed to underwrite the project to the value of $100,000 in the form of an interest free loan. The GEARS will still need to raise more money to make HMAS Swan the premier wreck dive in Australia.

ENDANGERED SHARK NUMBERS INCREASING: Sydney. Shark numbers are increasing off the New South Wales coast 20 years after the grey nurse species was almost wiped out. However, marine experts are quick to point out there is no increased risk to the public. John Burgess, from the Sydney Aquarium, which is holding a Man Eating Shark exhibit, says, “Statistics show that sharks are more threatened by man than threatening to humans. “The title of our exhibit intentionally implies that man is the hunter of sharks, not sharks of man. “Experts Ron and Valerie Taylor, who are lobbying for marine reserves to protect Australian shark habitats, opened the exhibit. Manly Ocean world education officer and marine biologist Jo Lane says that bees kill far more people than sharks. I am always surprised by the number of people who get scared when divers swim in the shark tank, "Ms Lane says. “At one stage, Australia's grey nurse sharks were so hated that they were being killed on sight. “The grey nurse shark was nearly hunted to extinction in the early 1970s, during the height of anti shark hysteria, “Ms Lane says. “Now they have been protected and their numbers are increasing. “Grey nurse sharks are not aggressive and not interested in attacking humans. There was no reason for them to be killed. “Since 1962, there have been about 15 shark attacks in Australian waters. "Fewer than ten of them were fatal. “People have the impression that sharks are dangerous, that they will attack anything in sight”, Ms Lane says. “This is a misconception spread by movies such as Jaws, and by the media. The truth is that shark attacks are extremely rare. Experts estimate there are about 340 species of shark in the world. “They range in size from the dog shark, which can fit in your hand, to the whale shark, which averages 12 to 15 or more metres long”, Ms Lane says.

DIVE ENDS IN DEATH: Sydney. A woman collapsed and died after completing a 33 metre dive one kilometre off Sydney Heads. A police spokesman said the female diver 33, had surfaced from the dive about 10am and made it back to the boat before collapsing. “She collapsed shortly after completing her dive”, a spokeswoman said. The dive boat brought her back to The Spit. She was taken to Manly Hospital by ambulance but was dead on arrival. The exact cause of the woman‘s death was unknown.

45,000 TONNES OF RUBBISH REMOVED FROM SYDNEY HARBOUR: Sydney. It should be Sydney's show piece but instead it has become our rubbish tip. Sydney Harbour, to which thousands of international and local tourists flock each year, has become a rubbish choked dumping ground, local divers say. Plastic bags, cars, shopping trolleys, plates, gearboxes, bottles, tyres and cans are just some of the litter recovered and there are piles of garbage still down there. Today. more than 30 local divers will try to change that as they join thousands of other volunteers in the annual Clean up Australia campaign. Husband and wife dive team Andrew Foley and Yvette Aubusson Foley were among the volunteers cleaning the ocean floor around Watsons Bay. Joining the annual clean up for the second year, Yvette said they have been horrified with the way many people treat the marine environment.“In the two years I have been diving, there has been a big increase in the amount of rubbish dumped in the harbour”, she said. She said underwater Sydney Harbour had a fascinating marine biology that was being destroyed by people's carelessness. “People may be eating on the beach and their chip packet blows away and they just let it go thinking it's only a little thing and won't hurt anyone”, she said. “What they don't realise is that it gets in the water and it can kill ocean life”. Last year, 45,000 tonnes of rubbish were removed from the harbour, 1200 tonnes more than previous years.

TOURIST SHARK ATTACK AT HERON ISLAND: Gladstone. An English tourist saw her arm almost bitten off by a shark which attacked as she swam near a Great Barrier Reef island. Jean Hotchkiff, 47, was attacked when she went for an early morning swim off a beach on Heron Island, about 90 kilometres east of Gladstone in northern Queensland. She had been staying at a resort on the island. Yesterday, speaking from her bed in Brisbane's Princess Alexandria Hospital the Warwickshire farmer said she thought she was a goner when the shark attacked without warning. “I was doing a gentle sort of breaststroke as I was trying not to get water in my eyes”, Miss Hotchkiff said. “I just glanced to my right and a chill ran through me. There was just this huge shark. “It was this big grey thing and the only thing that I could see was its head. “I was horrified. It all happened so fast. I felt it bite me straight away. The attack left my arm lacerated and puncture wounds in my left thigh. “I just shouted and screamed for help but there was nobody around,” she said. “I just pulled my arm out of the shark's mouth, I was swimming with my other arm as hard as I could. “I looked down at my arm and it was just hanging, everywhere were bits and pieces of my arm,” she said.

Heron Island where Jean Hotchkiff was attacked by a shark.

She had to walk about 200 metres to get help because the beach was deserted during early morning. “I was just shouting for help. I banged on somebody's door and they went to get help and I just kept plodding on. “I had just about made the reception when they came and laid me down on the bench outside. An American doctor who was staying there put a drip in my arm which helped me,” she said. A rescue helicopter flew her to Rockhampton Base Hospital. Doctors spent four hours repairing the gashes on her arms. Tendons on both the top and bottom of her wrist had been severed. She is expected to spend six weeks in traction while her arm heals. A spokeswoman for P&O which owns the resort, said there were no plans at present to try to catch the shark. She described the incident as an “encounter” and said it was the first shark attack on the island in 25 years. Miss Hotchkiff thanked resort staff, doctors and emergency service personnel who helped her and warned people not to go swimming at dusk or dawn. She does not blame the shark for the attack, she remarked, “That's what sharks do in their natural state, I was just lucky I was not killed".

FIRST NITROX COURSE IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Adelaide. Saw the completion of the first Nitrox course in South Australia and with it the entrance into a new era of diving for that State. Vaughan Roberts Technical Nitrox instructor with IANTD, conducted the course. The two students, both Dive Masters from Glenelg Dive Centre, were John McTier and Paul Theologou. Both students passed with 100% and are now the first two recipients of a Nitrox Diver certification conducted within South Australia. They have embraced the ever-expanding trend for new technology and better alternatives within the diving community. The course, which is designed to give divers a safer alternative breathing gas within standard recreational diving limits, is internationally recognised. The course covered the historical development of Nitrox, advantages, limitations, gas laws, calculations, equivalent air depth concept, physiological factors of oxygen, gas supply, gas analysis, equipment considerations and the role of Nitrox in recreational diving.

FIRST NITROX COURSE IN QUEENSLAND: Brisbane. The Dive Bell completes its first Nitrox course for Advanced divers in Townsville, in fact the first Nitrox course to be conducted for the general diving community in Queensland. On the weekend of March 30 and 31, the Dive Bell in Townsville successfully completed its first Enriched Air Nitrox Course. Interest in Nitrox is growing as every day passes by both locally and internationally. Our enquires from local and international customers are increasing dramatically Colin Hodson, Managing Director of the Dive Bell, instructed the first course, and with its completion the last dive was done on Kelso Reef some 95 km off Townsville.

GIANT SQUID FOUND: Victoria. In a rare turn of events, two sub-adult female giant squid have been caught in Bass Strait recently. Captured in separate incidents by the same boat trawling for orange roughies, the first animal was caught off King Island in January this year, the second caught off Strahan in March. Both animals were caught in depths of between 700-900 metres, the first squid measured 9.8 metres and weighed 145 kilograms, the second squid was damaged but metres in length, 10 metres, weighing 160 kilograms. Both specimens are currently being preserved at the Museum of Victoria. Little is known of the giant squid's life, history, or biology.

AUSTRALIA DAY HONOURS: Port Douglas. Ben Cropp has been awarded in the general division of the Order of Australia for services to marine and coastal conservation and for promoting awareness of the Australian marine environment as a documentary filmmaker. He began making underwater film about sharks in 1950, and after 49 years of diving in the oceans around Australia, Mr Cropp, now 63, has made more than 100 films, with two due for release this year. Mr Cropp believes his films have promoted marine conservation by making the public more aware of the marine environment and its creatures.

FINALLY A REBREATHER FOR THE SPORTS DIVER DRAEGER: Melbourne. Draeger Dive unveiled a new re breather specifically targeting the recreational diver at Dema 98 in New Orleans. The engineers have been so busy designing this re breather that it has not yet been named. A naming contest at the DEMA 98 allowed retailers and instructors to get involved in the selection process, which closed 1998. Draeger Dive's latest commitment to the re breather evolution is a unique semi closed circuit Nitrox system designed specifically for the sports diver. This presents a unique opportunity for open circuit SCUBA divers to experience the quiet and comfort of a semi closed circuit re breather or about the same price as SCUBA equipment. Ideal for the underwater photographer it offers many benefits to anyone who wish to simply get closer to marine life. With a one hour dive duration and a depth capability of 60 feet, (20 metres) this re-breather will allow dive enthusiasts to enjoy extended bottom time, far less bubbles, quiet operation, and warm moist breathing air. The unit is very small, lightweight, attractively priced, easy to use with an integrated bailout system and is available in a choice of 2 colours with and without Draeger’s Oxygauge Oxygen Monitor.

AUSSIE INVENTION EXPORTS TO USA: Sydney. The Tank Carrier, manufactured by Tank Cue Pty Ltd, is a clever but simple design for carrying diver's tanks. It was developed by it's Australian inventor Karl Jansson after two and a half years research, speaking to divers, operators and scuba retail outlets. What started Karl to R&D a product of this type was the fact that he was not alone when he experienced a sore back fingers and elbows from handling the tanks to and from the dive sites, shop and home. At that time he found that there were a fewer alternative ways of handling the tanks. The most commonly employed method (to date) involved cradling the tank with both arms to throwing it over the shoulder method. But surprisingly, the most popular method of carrying tanks was by the valve using just a couple of fingers, and this was by consensus the most uncomfortable. You know the method, lift the tank off the ground by placing your fingers under the valve at the top of the tank, and lift. The degree of elbow bending will of course depend upon your height as well. The shorter you are the more you will need to bend your elbow in order to give you sufficient ground clearance. It was only after trial testing several prototypes, addressing the most common complaints, that the final design was established, patented and manufactured. The product consists of a composite plastic handle and a high tensile strength strap to take the weight. When we asked Karl how it worked he said that the operating principle is simply based upon the fact that if the tank. is cradled by a carry strap at a point at which the weight of the tank is not balanced, then the upward movement of one end of the unbalanced tank wedges up into distance of approximately 0.3 meters between two people is experienced, which is ideal when passing tanks to and from boats. The carry handle whilst attached to the tank, and protecting the valve, will also act as a wedge in the car or boat, stopping it from rolling around. Karl has two partners in his Australian Company “Tank-Cue Pty Ltd” with plans to launch more innovative products in the not so distant future. The Tank carrier will be launched in January at the International DEMA show in Anaheim USA. The Tank carrier will be supported by their US distributors at the show. They are currently seeking other overseas distributors. This totally new and innovative Australian product has no rival product on the market which looks like or operates like it.

CRYOGENIC SCUBA UNIT: Adelaide. Fellow South Australian Mike Wescombe-Down's article “Submachines” in April's DIVE LOG Australia mentioned him making a liquid air scuba unit made in the 60s or early 70s. Mike's attempts at building such a unit were perhaps inspired by the then 23 year old Miami diver Jim Woodberry whom 1965 designed a lightweight tank an manifold system that converted liquid air into breathable air in what he named the “Cryogenic Scuba”. The liquid air was held at 318m degrees below Fahrenheit in an inner tank of spun copper surrounded by insulation that had an outer casing of aluminium, this was called a “Dewer Cylinder”. A manifold system connected two identical “Dewer” cylinders on both top and bottom to allow equal flow at all times regardless of position. the unit weighed 18 pounds when empty and 32 pounds when full and had enough air supply for 6-8 hours worth of diving. Woodberry has also designed a larger unit with a capacity of 20 litres   that would last for 10-12 hours on one fill. In 1966 Woodberry successfully tested the prototype in Florida for more than 400 hours underwater down to 200 feet without malfunction. Later in 1966 well known diving pioneer and magazine publisher/editor of Skindiver Magazine US, Paul Tzimoulis further tested the unit in Alexander and Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida to a depth of 100 feet (30 metres) and reported “The unit is so light you hardly know you're wearing it. I had to actually reach back and touch it to make sure it was there. From the perfection of the liquid air unit may come further development of cryogenic mixed gas apparatus on liquefied oxygen and helium, or even liquefied oxy hydrogen. With such exotic scuba units man could conceivably swim free at depths of 600 to 1200 feet (180 to 360 metres). ”A development company Cryogenic Systems Inc” was formed under the directorship of Jordan Klein in 1967 and planned the first production run of a 100 ”Cryogenic Scuba” units. On the drawing board were also preliminary plans for military and commercial versions and a lightweight model for women. For all those “Tech Divers” where are they no

DIVING INDUSTRY LOSES PIONEER TECHNICAL DIVER: Sydney. One of the most significant leaders and personalities of the Australian Diving Industry, Robert Cason, died recently. Rob will be remembered as a leader and pioneer, who was the first to introduce Nitrox, mixed gas and technical diving to Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and the Southern Pacific. He was a strong and advocate for advanced diver training and heavily promoted and lobbied the Federal and State Governments. He introduced and promoted a Deep Air Diving Code of Practice to the Federal and State Governments. He was also a stalwart of scuba equipment performance and dive charter vessel and industry standards, he lobbied the NSW Government to have all dive charter boats and dive operators provide oxygen resuscitators and promoted advanced first aid training for divers. Rob was a highly experienced and qualified diver with over 70 instructor ratings having held the rating of PADI Master Instructor, SSI Instructor Trainer, FAUI Master Instructor, IANTD Re-breathing Instructor Trainer, RLSSA Senior Resuscitation and Lifesaving Examiner. Rob had a wonderful sense of humour and at times was flamboyant and eccentric. He left a great hole in the lives of those who loved him.

THE HISTORICAL DIVING SOCIETY MAKES A SPLASH: Melbourne. Only twelve months into its inception, the Historical Diving Society Australia, SE Asia has already staged one of the biggest dive events seen in Australia for some years “Bootscootin Aquatica 97” was held at the Harold Holt Pool in Melbourne with 10 helmet diving sets in the water, with the oldest working unit, a 1918 US Navy Mk5. The world's First Underwater Line Dancing Event was given mass media coverage,that included press, TV and radio, 4 dive magazines and BBC Radio, London. Now NSW DHS members are already planning a major event to be held in Sydney later in 2000. Historical societies are now forming worldwide and include England, USA, Italy, France and South Africa with a membership that includes Hans and Lotte Hass, Dr Sylvia Earle and Jean-Michel Cousteau, who dived recently at a society event at Santa Barbara, California using the original 1865 Rouquayrul and Denayrouze Scuba equipment. With the growing Australian membership, two operators of major Australian commercial diving companies have now joined Fran Ziegler of Professional Divers International and and Pat Washington of Oceaneering Australian. Early diving equipment, both scuba and surface supply is now being restored by members to first class condition. There are now at least 12 working helmet sets in Australia with Graham Weir of Sydney operating 5 of them. The value of original helmets has increased recently with a collector at an auction in California paying $4250 US for a 1943 USN navy Mk5 Helmet in good condition, whilst locally a Mk5 helmet, with damage to one side.                                                                                                                                                                            

PETER STONE HONORED AT LAST: Melbourne. Peter “Stoney”, “Stono” or the “Walrus”, it doesn't matter, they all refer to the same guy, Peter Stone. When he gets involved in a project, he is a human dynamo. Those divers out there, who have had many years of pleasure from the sport, will know this name very well indeed. I certainly cannot think of the great Oceans Congresses of years. ago, without thinking of Peter Stone. So, it was no surprise, that on Sunday the 16th August, at the Sunken Assets 98 Congress, inspired by the Scuba Divers Federation of Victoria, that Peter was awarded the inaugural Jack Loney Award. This award was launched by The Hon Robert Maclellan, on the recommendation of the Historic Shipwrecks Advisory Committee to the Heritage Council of Victoria. The award, was presented for Peter's contribution to maritime heritage and excellence as a driving force in the diving community over many years. The inscription on the award says it all. “In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the preservation of Australian Maritime Heritage through his community role as a maritime dive adventurer, writer, lobbyist, publisher and photographer” diving and his great friendship with Jack Loney.

Peter Stone with his Scuba Excellent Award.

A little of the remarkably busy life of Peter Stone is set out below. In precise, Peter Stone has done much to promote diving and maritime awareness. • Took up Scuba Diving in 1969 • Active with the Hawthorn Scuba Club • Commenced writing for Skindiving in Australia magazine in 1977 • Associate Editor of Skindiving in Australia magazine 1977 to 1988 • Secretary of the Scuba Divers Federation of Australia 1977 to 1979 Co-ordinator and active participant in the raising of the Loch Ard anchor for centenary celebrations in 1978. Represented Victoria at the 1st Southern Hemisphere Conference on Maritime Archaeology, at which he recommended that each state form a Maritime Archaeology Association. Shortly after, Peter returned to form the MAAV with Terry Arnott and David Carroll in 1977. The MAAV is now the only active association in any of the states. Sat on the Maritime Archaeology Advisory committee in Victoria, which was the forerunner of the current Historic Shipwrecks Advisory Committee. Secretary of the Oceans Society of Australia 1975 to 1986. Co-convener of the famous Oceans Underwater Congress and Film Festivals between 1974 and 1985. Peter has now put his diving gear into his cupboard of memories, but is a very worthy inaugural winner of the Jack Loney Memorial Award. After accepting the award, Peter spoke about the old days of scuba diving.               

DIVERS SAVED AFTER BEING SWEPT AWAY: Sydney. Two scuba divers spent 90 minutes in the sea before being rescued by a passing yacht off Sydney’s northern beaches. The trouble began for diving buddies Ms Fiona Merkel and Mr Mike Tights when they surfaced to rendezvous with the charter launch Southern Comfort as a south-westerly began to blow, creating choppy seas and a fast current. The pair Mr Tights, a businessman from Rozelle, and Ms Merkel, a cafe proprietor from Wentworth Falls resurfaced to find themselves 100 metres from the launch and being pulled south in the current. “We got swept somewhere down near South Curl Curl”, Mr. Tights said yesterday. “We weren't worried, we still had plenty of air in our tanks and there was a lot of traffic on the water”. Mr Tights and Ms Merkel, who both have decades of diving experience, were among two groups who went out on the boat to dive The Wall, one kilometre off Long Reef. The Southern Comfort's skipper had begun to search for the pair after radioing that the divers were missing at 1.45 pm following their failure to make the rendezvous. It sparked a search involving a helicopter, water police launch and surf lifesavers in rubber dinghies. Both Ms Merkel and Mr Tights, who used hand signals and flashed torches at passing vessels, said they were never in any doubt they would be saved. “The yacht that picked us up was the fifth vessel we saw”, Mr Tights said, adding they were grateful to its crew.

NO WHITE SHARK PROTECTION IN NEW SOUTH WALES: Sydney. At a recent meeting in Darling Harbour in Sydney of the CSIRO, State Fisheries bureaucrats and recreational fishermen, it was decided not to give the white shark any legislative protection. Dr. John Glaister, the director of NSW Fisheries was reported as saying that there was no scientific proof that the white shark was under threat and deserving of legislative protection as an endangered species. The bureaucrats agreed to ask recreational fishermen to stop catching, killing, and weighing the sharks for sport. Fisheries had previously been concerned about the future of the species, and had written to the Federal Minister for Resources Mr. Parer pointing out that the species had been protected in Tasmania, California and South Africa.

PRO DIVE CAIRNS, 120,000 PADI CERTIFICATION: Cairns. Pro Dive Cairns made history in the global diving industry in September when they issued their 120,000th PADI certification. This is a remarkable achievement and will certainly be remembered by both Pro Dive Cairns and PADI Asia Pacific Professional Association of Dive Instructors) as a significant milestone in time. Danny Dwyer, Manager, Marketing & Business Development PADI Asia Pacific paid tribute, "Our entire team at PADI would like to congratulate the team at Pro Dive Cairns on reaching the remarkable milestone of 120,000 PADI certifications. While 120,000 PADI certifications is an outstanding numerical achievement, we applaud Pro Dive Cairns commitment to teaching safe and responsible dive courses as their first priority. Pro Dive Cairns offers its customers a world class training facility, retail store and dive vessels which has obviously proved very popular with visitors to the Great Barrier Reef looking for comfort and quality. Since 1983 our two companies have shared a strong and successful business partnership and we're looking forward to sharing more success in the years ahead". In 2011, Managing Director Rod Unshorn and his staff celebrated 28 years of dedication and commitment to quality scuba diver training and dive trips on the Great Barrier Reef Commenting on the company's milestones, Rod announced, "We are extremely proud of our achievements and the reputation we've built over the years. The fact that so many people have chosen Pro Dive Cairns to teach them to dive or take them diving on the Great Barrier Reef is very satisfying arid reflects our ongoing philosophy of quality over quantity and a commitment and dedication to providing the best possible dive education and live-aboard dive trips over many years". Our longevity in business over the past 28 years, especially in challenging times like the present, is an outstanding testament to the dedication and professionalism of all our staff, as well as the quality and reputation of our product".

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DEEP SEA DIVERS DEN: Cairns. (DSDD) reached a remarkable milestone recently when they certified their 100,000th PADI student since becoming a PADI Dive Centre. Teaching 100,000 PADI students through one company is an extremely rare event with only a few of the 6,000 PADI Dive Centres around the globe having reached this mark in the past. DSDD has operated from Cairns, Australia for over 30 years, making them one of the longest established diving and snorkelling companies in Australia. PADI Asia Pacific's Director of Marketing & Business Development, Danny Dwyer remarked, "While 100,000 students is an extremely impressive achievement by itself it is the quality of the courses taught at Deep Sea Divers Den that is most pleasing". Over the past 20 years DSDD have received numerous awards from PADI including the outstanding contribution to diver education, the Outstanding contribution to customer service and the outstanding contribution toward Instructor Development awards. DSDD has consistently shown a very high standard of diver education and customer service which is why more than 100,000 students have taken their PADI course with this company. DSDD is a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre and has been awarded PADI Career Development status, the highest rating awarded to any dive store in recognition of continued diver training excellence. Since becoming a PADI IRRA Member in 1990, DSDD has conducted approximately 1,500 PADI professional level courses and over 50,000 Discover Scuba Diving experiences. Owner and Director of Deep Sea Divers Den, Tony Physick commented, "Along with all my staff, I am extremely proud to have reached this milestone of 100,000 PADI students. I believe that this huge achievement is due to the consistent level of service, professionalism and dedication that all the staff at DSDD has put in during the 30 plus years that we have been operating. Deep Sea Divers Den has an impressive fleet of vessels, from our day trip vessel Reef Quest to our live aboard Ocean Quest that can Deep Sea Divers Den students on the day trip vessel, Reef Quest proudly display best described as a floating 4 star hotel. The acquisition of Taka has been a great compliment to us, offering the best in extended live aboard trips to the Cod Hole and the Coral Sea. We are proud to have been associated with PADI for many, many years and look forward to continuing this to bring bigger and better opportunities to diving in Cairns.

40th ANNIVERSARY OF ST GEORGE SCUBA CLUB: Sydney. On 31 January 1973 a meeting attended by 54 scuba divers was held in southern Sydney. At this meeting, a decision was made to start a new scuba diving club as an offshoot of St George Spearfishing Club. The primary reason for this was that many scuba divers felt there were compatibility problems between scuba divers and spear fishers. As such, they wanted their own club that could concentrate on scuba diving. On 28th of February 1973, the first meeting of the St George Scuba Club was held at the Coronation Hall at Arncliffe. The meeting was attended by 45 people, of whom 26 joined the new club. The membership fee was $2 for half a year. A loan of $50 from the spear fishing club was used to establish the new club (this was paid back within a few months). By the end of the financial year there were 62 members. The spear fishing club was always called the St George Sea Dragons and for a while the new club was also known as the Sea Dragons, but this may have just been a nickname. Over the years since, St George Scuba Club has gone on to become the largest truly independent scuba diving club in NSW and also the most active. This year the membership hit over 170 and over the past year an average of over 5 dives a week were organised. Since 1973, the club has religiously celebrated the anniversary of its founding by having a dinner each February. The coming year 2013 brings with it the 40th anniversary of the first meeting so a huge celebration dinner has been organised by the club. It is hoped that as many former members as possible can attend. The 40th anniversary dinner will be held at the Georges River 16 Foot Sailing Club at Dolls Point on the shores of Botany Bay. There will be a three course meal and of course, drinks will be available for purchase. The cost of the night will be $45 per person, which will include a pre-dinner drink. As well as the dinner and chance to catch up with old friends, you will get to see what the club has been up to over recent years. A comprehensive slide show of the history of the show will be presented to help bring back some memories. The majority of the former presidents of the club will be attending and we will hear some stories about the early history of the club. Thanks to some great sponsorship, there will be a lot of prizes available to be won as door prizes and in a raffle. As well as dinners donated by the Georges River 16 Foot Sailing Club restaurant, there are Sport diving subscriptions and diving knick knacks (courtesy of Dive Log/Sportdiving), dives on HMAS Adelaide courtesy of Terrigal Dive Centre, a week of diving at the North Solitary Islands courtesy of Woolli Dive Centre, a weekend of diving for two at Fish Rock courtesy of South West Rocks Dive Centre and other dive equipment provided courtesy of Scuba Warehouse at Parramatta. The dive trips will only be available to be won by current members of the club, but of course you can join beforehand and be eligible to win.

SEA OPTICS 1974: Adelaide. Sea Optics began in Adelaide in 1974. Sea Optics was possibly the first dedicated underwater imaging shop in the world. Graeme Roberts designed and manufactured the "Seapak" cast aluminium underwater flash housing and demand steadily grew until around 600 were manufactured. Graeme then decided to source the finest underwater camera housings and related accessories from around the world. In 1979, Sea Optics became the official Australian importer for Pelican. In October 1992, Graeme put on David Hill and Sea Optics continued to grow. In 1997, Gerry Betteridge was hired as a dedicated service technician. During 1998, In August 1999, Carey Harmer was offered a sales position, with David Hill becoming General Manager. In June 1999, Sea Optics moved into its first stand-alone/dedicated facility at Stepney. In July 2004, (some 31 years after Graeme Roberts originally started Sea Optics) David and his wife Carolyn, purchased Sea Optics from Graeme and Lorraine. In May 2005, Sea Optics moved down the road to Unit 2, 65-67 Nelson Street, Stepney. In June 2009, they moved to 45 Rundle St, Kent Town. Carey Harmer left Sea Optics on 1st March 2011. In May 2011, Sea Optics moved into their current shop at 519 Portrush Rd, Glenunga. Today, Sea Optics continues to be a leader in the underwater imaging industry in Australia and in fact the entire region, selling premium quality products, both as an authorised stocking dealer and sole Australian importer for other products.

INSTRUCTOR AGENCIES: Adelaide. Looking through some dive magazines recently I started to ponder how the dive community ended up with so many training agencies with acronyms such as BSAC, NAUI, PADI, NASDS, SSI and FAUI and I asked myself where did they come from, who started them and how old are they? The British Sub Aqua Club is the oldest organization and was started up in London in 1953 by entrepreneur Oscar Gugen and was club based training. It still has a firm base of over 1000 clubs worldwide. The National Association of Underwater Instructors started in Texas in 1960 and was a progression of a group of dive instructors who called themselves the National Diving Patrol. In an effort to establish basic standards of instruction on a national level, Neal Hess together with Al Tilman of the L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation organized the first instructor program and certified the first forty NAUI instructors in an intensive six day course. The Professional Association of Dive Instructors was formed in 1966 in an effort to provide a centre of organised training in the Midwest of the USA. The early membership was drawn from a nucleus of experienced divers in Chicago under the leadership of Ralph Erickson who was certified at the first NAUI course in 1960 and John Cronin, then sales representative for U.S. Divers Co. From the original four instructor courses held in 1967 this formed the original PADI membership group. The National Association of Scuba Diving Schools made a brief appearance in Australia over fifteen years ago when it was purchased by Australian dive instructors and in 1999 merged into Scuba School International. As of 2001 NASDS certification cards were discontinued. Scuba Schools International has grown from its roots in Nebraska and Colorado in 1970 when Bob Clark who was a certified YMCA instructor first started SSI. Bob was the owner of a chain of dive stores. From 1967 until 1970 Bob was Vice President and Director of Education for NASDS until SSI was formed with headquarters in Ft. Collins Colorado. The Federation of Australian Underwater Instructors was formed in the 1970s with the first instructor course taking place in New South Wales. Its origins are with the Australian Underwater Federation and the National Qualification System. FAUI merged with NASDS which again merged with SSI. Recently Steve Robinson in Adelaide, South Australia has restarted FAUI.

WHALE SHARKS: Perth. Exmouth is preparing for the biggest whale shark season to date. Whale sharks, also known as the "big spotty fish", have been sighted much earlier than usual on the world heritage listed Ningaloo Reef. Typically whale shark companies commence tours around April but with the early sightings this year, Exmouth Dive Centre started doing tours early March. The crew at Exmouth Dive Centre was ecstatic to begin the season early with these majestic creatures and other marine mega fauna found on the Ningaloo Reef. Growing up by the ocean lead to a great deal of love and fascination for the sea at an early age. Every weekend I would always tag along with my dad and brother for early surf missions on the Gold Coast. Our family would go on annual camping trips to Moreton Island, which was where I experienced snorkelling for the first time. That feeling and visual perspective of immersing yourself below the underwater world was were a passion began to grow. I was lucky enough to study marine subjects at school and then went on and studied a Bachelor of Marine Science and Management at Southern Cross University.

Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Reef are sighted every April.

At the end of my degree I decided I would like to gain further experience in the field and chose to do an eight-week internship program conducting research on the Ningaloo Reef. Little did I know that this internship would change my life. Travelling across the country on my own was quite daunting and difficult leaving all of my friends and family behind. However, arriving into Exmouth two years ago was quite breathtaking in its own right. The landscape from above is a harsh, red desert that meets an iridescent turquoise reef beaming with marine life. Exmouth is a friendly, small town and is the gateway to the largest fringing reef in the world, spanning a total of 260km along the Northwest Coastline of Western Australia. The Ningaloo Reef is listed world heritage for numerous reasons including unique environment, endemic species, high biodiversity, and a mixture of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate species. Throughout my internship, which I happily extended well over the planned 8 weeks, I gained an abundance of knowledge from my fellow researchers and local residents. The fringing reef is defiantly a unique, pristine environment and is quite easily to fall in love, with its surrounding beauty. The following year I returned and completed my diver master training with Exmouth Dive Centre and was able to gain further knowledge and practical skills from some of the best dive instructors in Exmouth. A few of the many unforgettable dive experiences I had with EDC were on one of the many dive sites we visit quite regularly the Muiron Islands. Some lucky customers and myself were closely visited by a pods of dolphins and some whale sharks.       

HISTORICAL DIVING SOCIETY AUSTRALIAN-PACIFIC: South Australian. Members of the Historical Diving Society, Australia-Pacific had a great pool day recently blowing bubbles with some old twin hose scuba units and trying out some standard dress helmets in shallow water configuration. Great to be able to use the old Heinke, US Divers Aquamaster and Royal Aquamaster and the Siebe Gorman Merlin Mark 6 twin hose regulators and it was the first dip for my Chinese 12 bolt standard dress helmet that I now use in shallow water configuration. One of the members brought along his Miller Dunn shallow water helmet which got wet, albeit with a few leaks along with his Mark V units. To round off the equipment on display was a Mark V standard dress helmet that was used in the Pearl Harbour clean-up. After another pool splash afternoon it is planned to have a diving day at Rapid Bay jetty sometime in February so be alert but not alarmed if you see strange diving practices at the diver entry point.

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT RAMPS UP QUOTAS FOR ICONIC OLD MAN OF THE SEA: Canberra. The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has criticised the Australian Government for increasing the allowable catch of orange roughy by an enormous 1,860%. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Commission decided to allow a massive increase in catch for this fish, which is listed under federal conservation legislation. Orange roughy live for well over 100 years and inhabit deep-sea waters. Historically overfished in most areas, the area now open for fishing has shown a small amount of recovery, although stocks remain at around a quarter of their level ls before this boom bust fishery began. "The Australian Government has increased the quota from 25 tonnes to 465 tonnes in the Eastern Zone of Australia. This massive increase cannot be justified for a long lived, slow growing listed species that has been subject to years of overfishing," AMCS Fisheries Campaigner Tooni Mahto said. "Not only are they increasing exploitation of a stock just recovering from overfishing, but they're also increasing the amount of damage to sensitive deep sea habitats. "Orange roughy are caught using deep-sea bottom trawlers, which are known to damage fragile deep sea corals that can take hundreds of years to regrow, if they recover at all". "The Australian Government is telling the public that we have genuinely sustainable fisheries, yet they're increasing fishing of one of our most iconic, most susceptible, longest lived fish when they're just starting to show signs of recovery. A 1,860% increase in fishing for a vulnerable species will not ease public concern about overfishing our fragile oceans". "Is this really the future of Australia's sustainable fishing industry, one that focuses on exploitation at the first hint of recovery?" she concluded. Notes: 1 The stock opened up to fishing is found in the Eastern Zone. Other areas of historical orange roughy fishing grounds remain closed as the stock is still over fished, apart from the Cascade Plateau. 2 The quota has been increased as the population is now at 26% of virgin abundance (the amount of fish that would be present if fishing had never taken place). 3 For info on orange roughy see Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide.

EWENS PONDS HAS RECOVERED (BUT IS STILL UNDER THREAT): Adelaide. We have received a report following a dive at Ewens Ponds at Mount Gambier a few weeks ago. "It has recovered amazingly well. It is still not as good as it was in 2002 but it is the best I have seen for many years. When I entered Pond 2, I was amazed at how good it was. I cannot ever remember Pond 2 looking better. The fine green algae had grown to form a huge healthy mass that covered the entire floor of the pond to a depth of about 500-600 mm, and it was stunning. "Unfortunately, two overseas divers were then seen deliberately stirring up the silt and damaging the vegetation in the ponds.

A diver swims through the reeds at Ewens Ponds.

They were quickly chastised by our experienced diver. It wasn't long before they sought help to find a lost Go-Pro camera on a monopod. Our experienced diver used his experience to retrieve the lost gear and return it to them. Our diver reported the two overseas divers silting the ponds to a Park employee. He wasn't a Park Ranger, however, but a works employee checking on the toilets. The toilets were apparently struggling with the large number of visitors. The visiting divers were later seen again at the local dive shop. My wife, Noeleen suggests that the shop puts up some kind of signage explaining diving etiquette for Ewens Ponds.

AUSTRALIAS NEW OCEAN VESSEL: Melbourne. Australia's new ocean research vessel with first-of-its-kind atmospheric measurements Scientists from QUT, University of Melbourne, CSIRO and University of Wollongong were on board CSIRO's new $120 million research vessel Investigator, which recently returned to Australia from Antarctica's ice edge (65 degrees south) after testing how the vessel and its systems performed in frigid water temperatures. Scientists will study the influence of both natural ocean emissions and human emissions on the composition of air over the Southern Ocean. The research will generate the most complete picture of the atmosphere over the Southern Ocean to date, and improve the ability to predict future changes to Australian weather and climate by measuring the smallest of atmospheric particles with a diameter less than a thousandth of a human hair which have a profound influence on both human health and climate. The Aerosol Laboratory contains specialised equipment to measure even the smallest of particles, less than one nanometre -a billionth of a metre- in diameter; the Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory contains instruments to analyse the composition of the atmosphere in detail, including trace amounts of gasses from human activities. Dr Robyn Schofield from the University of Melbourne's School of Earth Sciences led a team that launched 10 meteorological balloons from the ship in the demanding conditions of the Southern Ocean. Investigator is a 94-metre purpose-built research vessel, capable of travelling 60,000 nautical miles in a single voyage, with up to 40 scientists and support staff, from the equator to the Antarctic ice edge. The Marine National Facility is a blue water research capability funded by the Australian Government. Directed by an independent Steering Committee, it is owned and operated by CSIRO on behalf of the nation.

BOOKS FOR CHILDRERN: Brisbane. Brisbane based underwater photographer and regular Dive Log contributor Nigel Marsh has recently had two children's books published on marine related subjects. Working with publishers New Holland, the new books are on sharks and shipwrecks. The A TO Z OF SHARKS AND RAYS will allow children to completely immerse themselves into the incredible world of these greatly maligned and   misunderstood creatures. The book has been designed to introduce children to sharks and rays, looking at different species, their biology, behaviour and is filled with many fascinating facts and figures.

Nigel Marsh's new children’s book, Sharks and Rays.

EXPLORING SHIPWRECKS takes the young reader on a journey of discovery, submerging into the mysterious world of ships lost at sea. The book takes a detailed look at why ships sink, what happens after they sink, how shipwrecks are discovered, and salvaged, and also looks at those most fascinating of all shipwrecks, the ones that sank full of treasure. The book also provides information about a range of fascinating shipwrecks from Australia and other countries, documenting their history and what they look like today. Both books are designed for children of all ages and are full of brilliant photographs that will inspire the young reader to explore our wonderful oceans. Both books will be available from all good book shops in January, at the recommended retail price of $19.99.

FIRST STEPS FOR SYDNEY MARINE PARK WELCOMED: Sydney. The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed the New South Wales Government's first steps toward a marine park in Sydney, with the opening of public consultation into marine protection in the Sydney region. AMCS Marine Parks Campaign Manager Fiona Maxwell said the marine park would be a new icon for Sydney. "Sydney is renowned for its spectacular beaches, lagoons and of course Sydney Harbour. A marine park will help protect our precious marine life and continue to provide a playground to snorkel, surf and fish. "We encourage the Baird Government to deliver science based planning to guide the development of a marine park, with strong sanctuary zones. "Good conservation and good fishing go hand in hand in our marine parks. "There is overwhelming scientific evidence that marine parks deliver an environmental and economic win. Marine parks boost protection of fish and marine life by working alongside sustainable management of our fisheries", she concluded.

VALE RICK HALL: Perth. My Brother Rick Hall became involved in the diving industry 30 years ago. Many years ago Rick became good friends with diving icon Bruce Broome, soon after he purchased Bruce's shop, a modest diving centre called Bruce's Diving Centre. He had a small staff base and the shop flourished. In 1988 Rick moved his shop to a newly built marina and renamed the store Sorrento Quay Dive. The store went from strength to strength and soon he had built "Sun Seeker" the first of many dive boats. Quickly the shop had become too small. Rick made several additions to the store to make it into a large showroom with a servicing centre and fill station. He also employed Neil Hackett, a young and upcoming PADI Diving instructor who soon became a course director. Neil convinced Rick that the shop would benefit if it became a 5 star IDC centre. This was soon a reality.

Rick Hall passing, he leaves behind a loving wife of 48 years, 5 children, 12 grandchildren, a great grandchild.

Several years later Rick sold the shop, he had taken a small business and watched it grow to the point that when sold it was the highest sale price to date for any dive shop in Australia. About one year later he rang me and said there are two dive centres for sale in the Northwest Cape and was I interested. We purchased Ningaloo Reef Dive in Coral Bay and Exmouth Diving Centre in Exmouth. The stores ran well and we managed to successfully apply for a whale shark interaction licence for Coral bay to compliment the already licence Exmouth store. Rick purchased and built several custom dive boats for both stores. It was a bit of a passion for him to refurnish an older vessel and make it better than new. We had many staff combined in both stores, the staff all held Rick in high regard as did our land lords and customers. In fact anyone who met Rick went away happy. This is because Rick was a gentleman among men an honest man who believed a handshake was good enough to take to the bank. In later years Rick sold the shops to slow down a bit and enjoy, Rick was the very best of the best. He leaves behind a loving wife of 48 years, 5 children, 12 grandchildren, a great grandchild, a brother, a sister, nephew's, niece's and countless friends all of whom absolutely adored him. What a man and what an amazing legacy. I'll always remember him for the cheeky sparkle in his eye and his great smile. Rest peacefully.

PADI COURSES FOR KIDS AND TEENAGERS: Sydney. Think back to your fondest childhood and teenage memories. Was it when you did something unique as a family? Most likely, your answer is yes. Well, learning to dive or a local scuba diving holiday in Australia embodies both More and more families these days are making scuba diving a group activity, and in the process are forging a deeper bond with each other while making incredible memories. With their natural curiosity and affinity to learn new skills, children can make some of the best scuba divers. Diving is exciting and a great education into the natural world. Children are fast learners underwater and able to master techniques that adults find challenging. A child can acquire these skills which become second nature whether they continue to scuba dive for the rest of their life or pursue a passion for snorkelling. The water awareness that scuba diving promotes is a component of all water awareness and a useful companion to other water activities.

Diving is exciting and a great education into the natural world. Children are fast learners underwater and able to master techniques that adults find challenging.

Being able to dive opens a gateway to understand and become aware of the mechanisms at work in the underwater world. PADI Dive Shops offer a range of experiences and programs for kids and teenagers. The PADI Bubble Maker experience, an introduction to diving, and the PADI Seal Team Program, a program for young scuba divers who are looking for action-packed fun, are both for eight years and older. Both are confined to a pool and a small ratio of divers to one PADI Instructor. There is a cognitive level necessary to grasp the concepts that underpin diving techniques and this is why training that results in certification can only begin when the student is 10 years old. PADI Junior Open Water Diver course certifications have some restrictions based on age, for example, 10-11 year old are restricted to diving with a parent, guardian or PADI Professional to 12 metre maximum, while 12-14 year old must dive with an adult certified diver. Following this, 12-14 year old divers may earn a PADI Junior Adventure Diver, Junior Advanced Open Water Diver certification and Junior Rescue Diver certification prior to traditional PADI Open Water Diver training available to students 15 years of age and older. When parents and teenagers are certified divers there are many activities you can experience together. There are diving holidays your whole family can enjoy, together with educational experiences of learning new skills. Diving teaches children and teenagers how to think and encourages maturity and individual thought. Most importantly, your children and teenagers will have fun and you will have great memories diving together as a family.

THE MAN WHO TAUGHT NEVILLE COLEMAN ABOUT NUDIBRANCHES: Melbourne. Seventy nine year old Robert Burn, author of the newly published "Nudibranchs and Related Molluscs" is not a scientist, diver or photographer. He confesses that he hasn't been snorkelling more than two dozen times and never even considered experimenting with scuba. Such activity seemed little more than an expensive novelty when he was a boy scouring rock pools around Apollo Bay to supplement his shell collection. "I could find enough without having to do that". By way of proof, he recalls how later in life, "My late wife used to reckon I could find nudis on top of Ayers Rock". So how did this hobbyist eventually become one of the most respected experts in the field, an Honorary Associate of Museum Victoria for his work in Robert Burn opisthobranch taxonomy, and an early mentor of the late Neville Coleman who collected specimens for him and called him the first person to offer me any encouragement and support for my endeavours. It was young Robert's obsession with shells that led him to a lifelong fascination with sea slugs. He stumbled across his first nudibranch (Ceratosoma brevicaudatum) at San Remo during a shell collecting expedition, and further sea slug discoveries prompted him to learn more about them through intensive research and first-hand observation. He recalls, "When I first started, only six people in the world were interested in these things, one in Japan, one in France, one in Switzerland, one in South Monica and a couple in Brazil. I wrote to them and they sent me copies of their papers. Robert studied the available research intently, using it as models for writing his own first paper (published in 1957 at the age of twenty), describing twelve new species he had discovered.

Seventy-nine year old Robert Burn, author of the newly published "Nudibranchs and Related Mollusc"' is not a scientist, diver or photographer.

Fast forward from that original small band of enthusiasts to the current groundswell of global interest in nudibranchs. Robert attributes this increased following to the broader uptake of scuba and the advent of digital photography. Think back to early days when Neville Coleman first dived with three film cameras. Between his Hasselblad that could take twelve shots and his other cameras that took 24 or 36 shots each, every shot had to pay. But in an age where many divers with a penchant for photographing marine life take virtually unlimited images which are promptly shared around the globe, the popularity of nudibranchs and related molluscs has rapidly gained momentum. Yet for all of the enthusiasm of the next generation of nudi-hunters, Robert insists "I bet you won't be seeing the species I see". Robert (who once found 144 nudibranch specimens over 40 species in a single rock pool in an hour) declares that true nudi hunters must be assiduously persistent. For years, he and his wife Margaret would drive in the dark each Sunday morning from Geelong to Point Lonsdale. By the time they had finished their intensive sea slug surveys, the coffee shops still had not opened. Though his wife did not particularly share his passion, she was very tolerant. She would much rather me do this than go to the pub, smoke cigarettes and chase horses. Robert marvels that he once bought a wetsuit, but only when Torquay was so cold it felt like ice on top of the pools. I said to myself, "Why am I here doing this sort of thing in this sort of weather?" Then you see a sea slug in a pool and you just forget everything else. In 1981, Robert visited Point Danger in Torquay every fortnight, collecting specimens in the same way 50 times over 2 years and identifying 96 species. This gave me great understanding of what species are always there, which ones were there most or some of the time or only now and again, and those that were only there once in 2 years. As a specimen collector for the purpose of describing species and understanding more about them scientifically, Robert laments that some slug hotspots are now essential no go areas. "You can't collect anything out of the rock pools. They wouldn't give me the licence because I wasn't a scientist, only an amateur. It's red tape, they don't understand. How are they going to know whether anyone has ever found it before? How do you know whether it's a new species? But while collection of specimens is generally not permitted, rock pools remain remarkable hunting grounds for anyone wishing to encounter a diverse range of species. Point Lonsdale has a magnificent pool. It's big enough for two scuba divers to get in and one to two metres deep. I used to just walk around the edge of it and found 79 species within a month or two. Sisters Point at Point Fairy and Murrels Beach are other spots worth exploring. Robert advises visiting rock pools on the outer edges of reefs at low tides. Get there after the tide has changed and is starting to come in. This stimulates the animals to move, come to surface, crawl and float from one pool to another. You learn to turn rocks over and look for certain sorts of seaweed, and how to use a kitchen sieve to search through sediment. The body of knowledge is ever changing, based on increased capacity for access and discovery. As Robert's new field guide explains.                                                                                                                                                                                                  

DIVE NEW SOUTH WALES: Sydney. Australian coastline and underwater world. We let readers in on the secret spots to dive along New South Wales stunning shore. From the most northerly point of Tweed Heads and Cook Island down to the beautiful Merimbula and Eden in the south and just off the coast of Lord Howe Island, New South Wales has some of the most diverse diving for any level of diver. Benefiting from a mixture of warm and cold water currents, NSW is a year round destination to explore and has something for every diver. Sydney, New South Wales capital is a great place to dip your toes into the Pacific Ocean, as there are a great mix of shore dives and boat dives. Explore Sydney's harbour from a whole new perspective, including the iconic Botany Bay, Camp Cove, the wreck of the Valiant off Palm Beach to the marine reserve of Shelly Beach, Manly. By no means limit yourself to just this portion of coastline. Heading either north, or south from the states capital will give you ample opportunity to bump fins with Grey Nurse Sharks, Nelson's Bay, and Fish Rock Cave just off South West Rocks are two well-known sites, plus seals, Weedy Sea Dragons, cuttlefish, gropers as well as turtles and dolphins. In the north you'll find superb destinations like Cook Island Aquatic Reserve near Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour and Seal Rocks, which are not only incredible Aussie towns to explore topside, but provide a host of dive experiences below the surface. Deep dives, wreck dives, drift dives, coral garden reef dives, shore dives and more. Depending on the time of year, you might even be lucky enough to encounter a pod of migrating whales as they pass by. In the south, discover the temperate waters of Shellharbour, Jervis Bay, Montague Island, Batemans Bay and Eden. The variety of diving is endless, however one of the biggest draw cards is the chance of diving with Australian Fur Seals. These lively animals are extremely inquisitive and diving with one proves to be a very playful experience. With 2000 kilometres of coastline to explore just in New South Wales, there's no time to waste. Information on scuba diving locations in New South Wales visit www.tombyronscubadiversguide.info

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Adelaide. We explore the beauty of diving in South Australia. When divers think of South Australia, wreck dives, cavern and cave diving, the local jetties and its impressive marine life comes to mind. South Australia's biodiverse, temperate waters offer amazing opportunities for all divers. South Australia has a rich heritage matched by its natural beauty both above and below the surface. South Australia is a treat for wreck divers. The coastline not only promises an array of unique marine life, but also outstanding wreck dives. More   than 800 ships have wrecked off the South Australian coast and plenty of other ships were sunk to form artificial reefs for divers. During winter heading to Whyalla is a must. Winter is spawning season for the giant cuttlefish and divers come to see the spectacular scene as thousands of cuttlefish gather in the shallow waters.

South Australia is known for its great white sharks, and fresh water the sink holes at Mount Gambier.

South Australia is home to many friendly underwater locals including the playful sea lions at Port Giles Jetty and Hopkins Island. If it is toothy friends that you are after, you can't go past shark diving off Port Lincoln and Neptune Island. Incredible marine animals like the Leafy Sea Dragon are to be found under the many local jetties and dive sites in South Australia, like Rapid Bay Jetty on the Fleurieu Peninsula or the Bluff in Victor Harbour where you may also meet seals or dolphins. Edithburgh jetty on the Yorke Peninsula is another popular site for many macro photographers. Here angler fish, pyjama squid, blue ringed octopus and sea horses can be found. Many cavern and cave divers have also fallen in love with South Australia, and for good reason. Cavern and cave divers travel to Mount Gambier to explore stunning networks of caverns, caves and ponds. To explore these caverns and caves you will need correct cavern or cave diving certifications, dive permits and bookings.

A REEF NAMED IN HONOUR OF NEVILLE COLEMAN: Brisbane. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority announced in March that a reef had been renamed in honour of the late Neville Coleman. The reef is found in the Mackay/Capricorn Management Area and was previously only known by a number, 20-389. Neville Coleman OAM was an Australian marine natural history author, publisher, naturalist, photographer, educationalist and a pioneer of ocean exploration. In 2007 he was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and in 2011 was awarded the prestigious Medal of the Order of Australia for service to conservation and the environment. He was also an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, a Research Associate at the Australian Museum, an Honorary Consultant to the Queensland Museum and was on the Project Aware Board of Governors.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority announced in March that a reef had been renamed in honour of the late Neville Coleman.

However, Neville is best known to scuba divers for his fabulous books. Over the years he produced 70 books on marine species identification and dive guides. Neville sadly passed away in 2012, but left a lasting legacy and an enduring impression on everyone who knew him. One of those people was photojournalist Nigel Marsh, who nominated Neville for the reef naming. "Neville was my mentor and close friend, and still inspires me today. Neville first dived the Great Barrier Reef in the 1960s, and during his lifetime explored all parts of the marine park during thousands of dives. He conducted the first marine surveys on the reef, cataloguing its species, and discovered many new species on the reef that today carry his name, like the Coleman shrimp (Periclimenes colemani) first discovered by Neville near Heron Island in 1974. I felt it was only fitting that this great man should have a reef named in his honour", said Nigel when asked about the reef naming. Nigel also selected the reef as he explains. "Hundreds of reefs on the Great Barrier Reef are only known by numbers, but I wanted to select a unique reef to carry Neville's name. I decided on Reef 20-389 as I had dived this large reef, found in the Pompey Complex, and it was also very unique, being the location of a spectacular blue hole, one of only four blue holes known to exist on the entire Great Barrier Reef". Neville Coleman Reef is located at Latitude 20.966'S and Longitude 151.403'E. The reef name will be recorded in the National Gazetteer and will appear on Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority future mapping products.

MARK SPENCER, DENTIST, PHOTOGRAPHER, AUTHOR: Coffs Harbour. Mark's main career has always been dentistry and he continues his professional development in that field. However, diving has been a passion and serious pursuit for nearly all his adult life. Mark began diving in 1975, before he graduated at the University of Sydney in 1977, and has been taking photographs underwater since 1978. Mark has been published in many major journals, including National Geographic, Australian Geographic, and BBC Wildlife magazine. His assignment to photograph manta rays for a major feature on that animal won him Australian Geographic's "Best Photographer" award for 2002. Mark also won "Runner-Up" in the underwater section of the 2008 ANZANG nature photography competition with two additional "Honourable Mentions". He was also a "Runner-Up" in the ANZANG competition of 2012 with an additional "Honourable Mention". In 1997, he was elected a Fellow International of the Explorers Club in New York. This honour mainly reflected his efforts to document various diving projects with respected journals such as Sportdiving magazine and Australian Geographic. His subject material covered shipwreck exploration, marine wildlife and cave diving 1997 and 1998, Mark led an Australian contingent on two expeditions to Turkey to examine the alleged discovery of the Australian WW1 Submarine AE2. This project received Government imprimatur with some financial assistance from the Royal Australian Navy. In 1998, his team confirmed the wreck as indeed the AE2 -lying at a depth of 72 metres, and a full report of this project had been submitted to appropriate Government and Defence departments, as well as major maritime museums and archaeological establishments. He was involved in the planning of the return maritime archaeological expedition to the AE2 submarine in 2007.

Mark Spencer, Dentist, Underwater Photographer, Author, Wreck Diver.

Since the AE2 expeditions in Turkey, Mark has been involved with the initial exploration and documentation of other significant Australian shipwrecks like the Tasman (off the Tasman Peninsula), Cumberland (south coast NSW) and Keilawarra (north coast NSW). He was an occupational diver with level one certification in ADAS (Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme) but has now let that accreditation lapse. He also possesses certification in cave diving and the use of trimix breathing gas and closed-circuit re breathers. Mark has published a series of panoramic posters and prints which depict popular seaside regions of Australia from an in-water perspective. These can be seen on his website www.markspencer.com.au. Reflecting on his decades of ocean diving experiences and regular practice of Transcendental Meditation, he has at the time of this report in May, 2016 nearly completed a book that explores the relationship we have with the sea, what attracts us to the sea and the very nature of consciousness using the ocean as a metaphor. This book is expected to be published in the latter part of 2016.

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PROFESSIONAL UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER KEVIN AITKENS: Melbourne. Kevin Aitken is a Melbourne based professional photographer and diver who's passionate about the big blue and the big sea creatures to be found out there. He's dived from the Arctic to the extremes of the South Pacific and if there's a new marine dive adventure to be experienced or invented, he's always the first to put up his hand. He's also dived the south eastern Australian continental shelf and photographed shark species nobody knew were there. Kelvin is a BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year marine category winner and his unique work is on the web.

DOUBLE FATALITY IN NEW SOUTH WALES SEA CAVE: Sydney. Two scuba divers were killed and several others injured in a sea cave accident in New South Wales. The dive party consisted of nine divers, spilt into a group of four and another of five. The victims, who led the group of four, swam ahead of the other two in that group, when an unexpected sea surge funnelled up the cave, throwing everyone around violently against the cave wall. Two divers near the cave's exit descended from the surface and attempted to leave, seeing the victim's torch still aglow in the darkness when a second heavy surge again forced them to the cave's surface, where one diver hit his head on the roof and the other lost her face mask. Despite the near panic, these two divers successfully exited the cave. Outside the cave they came across other divers from the five-diver team, who were supporting an unconscious member of their party, this proved to be a life-saving manoeuvre for this fortunate diver, who recovered successfully some time later. A diver in the group of five was badly injured in another part of the cave by the surge when he knocked his head, had his regulator torn out and his arm injured, so he was unable to replace his regulator. By chance, he found himself close to another diver, who saw his predicament and began buddy breathing as they exited the cave. However, another surge separated them and dislodged the buddies mask, but nevertheless they re-established contact and continued to buddy breathe, holding the injured man's weight belt to prevent further separation during their final exit. The two experienced divers, who remained in the cave, perished when thrown against the cave wall, after their first stage attachments became damaged, venting their air supplies. It is noteworthy that although five of those involved had completed their training only two to four months previously, they acted in such a way that prevented at least two additional deaths, despite so many adverse factors. This accident demonstrates again that all caves, no matter where they are, or how far they go, must be treated with the special consideration and respect they deserve, at all times. Cave diving is dangerous most times an experience is the best teacher.

TRAINING BODIES UNITE IN AUSTRALIA: Horbart. Australia's three largest training bodies PADI, FAUI, and NAUI have agreed to form a body called the Australian Scuba Council. The aim of the first meeting in Hobart at the weekend of February 11 and 12 was to form one united body to represent scuba diving in Australia. Whilst all training bodies involved will retain their identities and structure, the important difference is that they will all adhere to guidelines set by the council. During the two days of discussion, the subjects were minimum basic training standards, objectives, and organisation.

THE DEATH OF AN OLD PIONEER DIVER: Sydney. Sadly, in late August, after a massive heart attack, following a bout of flu, one of our greatest pioneer divers, Ted Louis, passed away. Ted started diving when it first began in Australia. In those days there were no wetsuits or BC's or any of the modern gear and we learned to dive by the drink or drown method, as there were no dive schools. Ted continued to dive throughout his life, having had his last dive a week before he died, at 76 years of age. Along with Steve Dom, the Moon Brothers, and filmmaker, John Hey-er, Ted played the major part in finding the Pandora wreck. He was the first human to stand on what was left of her deck in 200 years. Chased off the wreck and to the surface by a very large tiger shark, which had bumped him several times, he suffered a bad attack of the bends and had to be picked up from Pandora Cay by helicopter. Ted was a wizard with compressors and a remarkable person. He certainly did not suffer fools gladly. Ted and his lovely wife, lifetime mate and diving buddy Ivy, always welcomed anyone who turned up at their home, with a cup-pa and many hilarious diving tales. Until a few years ago, Ted made annual visits to Heron Island to service the compressors. He loved deep diving and always took time off to do what he called channel hops, bottoming at 40 metres and doing giant moon gravity type leaps down current. The boat above followed a float attached to a long thin rope he carried. Then there was the day we took him over to Sykes Reef and we all swam over to the reef flats that were well out of the water because of low tide. A depression in the reef was full of large reef cays. When the excitement was over, we filled our bags and had taken them back to the boat. Ted was sitting up to his waist in water on the edge of the reef. a large Cray held in each hand. There were six good size reef sharks patrolling back and forth waiting their turn for a crack at the cays. We swam to the boat in a group. Ted held his cays well out of the water. Ted was a person who packed more into a week of his life than most people do into the whole of theirs. Exceedingly generous, he was always ready to help anyone who was lucky enough to know him. Up to the last few days of his life, his health was excellent. He was a small man, and was known to his thousands of friends as the mighty atom. I remember walking into his compressor shed, where not one speck of dust was game to settle, to find him with his head in the bowels of a 100cf compressor. Its electric motor was big enough to drive an ocean liner. "Mate," he said, "When I switch this baby on I am going to black out half of Sydney". Ted has gone. The world is a far poorer place for his passing. His approach to life was an inspiration to all who knew him. I guess he never had one day in his life when he became bored. He grabbed life by the throat and shook it until it gave him what he wanted from it. He is survived by his wonderful wife Ivy and his three beautiful daughters, who, like us, will miss him dreadfully. Ted old mate, we all loved you.

DEATH OF PIONEER T. D. PREECE: Sydney. The scuba diving industry suffered a great loss with the recent death of T. D. Greece, one of the founders of manufacturing in Australia of scuba diving and spear-fishing equipment. Preece was known to many in the early days of diving, he appeared gruff and grumpy, a very rough diamond. To those who really knew him, he had a heart of gold. If one had business dealings with him, and owed him money for any length of time, well God help you, but he was always fair in his dealings. T. D. Preece and Co Pty Ltd was formed approximately 30 years ago and has been one of the industries foremost leaders over this period. Sea Hornet equipment will continue to be manufactured by the family, to the same exacting standards as before. Bob Preece will be missed by all who knew him, his passing leaves a void in the early pioneer history of scuba diving and spear gun manufacturing in Australia.

BIG LIL IS BACK: Montague Island. Big Lil the legendary 6-metre great white pointer shark has turned up again. She periodically takes up residence off the sea lion colony on the northeast corner of Montague Island where she satisfies her appetite by occasionally swallowing, one of those 100 to 200 kg seals. Lately Lil has swum further afield. During the Christmas-New Year holidays, Ian and David Atkinson were diving from a 5.5 metre Shark Cat about half a kilometre inside the island at a spot known as the Fowl House. They had just finished their dive and boarded their boat when along came Lil, she lifted her head out of the water, and peered over the stern, as great white sharks do, to see if there was anything edible inside the boat. Lil slid out of sight. then returned to test taste the buoy, not liking it she turned to the port 115 hp outboard engine. She rose again on her tail and enclosed the entire engine cowl with her jaw. The boat developed a nasty lean toward the stern, and anything not strapped down or desperately clinging to the superstructure was in danger of sliding down to where Lil was waiting. Not caring for the taste of the engine either, Lil then swam slowly along the port side of the boat, occasionally nosing the fibreglass and looking for an easy way into the boat. A quick glance over the gunwale showed a shark about 6 metres long, it was definitely longer than the boat and more than a metre wide. So next time you're diving at the seal colony of Montague Island and big Lil gently swims past, smile, wave, and say, “Hi” to big Lil, she does get lonely at times you know, and may be in need of some close company. Do you know what I mean?

FIVE SYDNEY DIVE SHOPS GO BROKE: Sydney. This year we have seen five Sydney dive shops go out of business and the way this industry is progressing there are likely to be more. The free spending of the eighties is over, and reality is setting in, and it's just a sign of the economic times, those not equipped to handle changing times will go under. There are far too many dive shops in Sydney and a cut of 30% would not be unrealistic. Those that go out of business should not be there in the first place, they are a restraint and a hindrance to. the professional businessman, and we need this type of person in the dive industry. Professional dive shop owners can then concentrate far more easily on providing a much better service to their customers rather than having to compete on price with a competitor who is likely to cut his services as well as giving the industry a bad name.

NEW SCUBA DIVING NEWSPAPER ON THE MARKET: Melbourne. A new dive paper publication has hit the market, its name is Dive Log Australia. This 20 page national divers newspaper is delivered free to all professional dive shops every month. As the only diver newspaper in Australia, it's endeavouring to ensure that all the latest news on the Australian diving scene is brought to you as soon as possible after it happens. An Australia wide network of reporters ensures all the news that is news is printed as soon as possible. The September issue had 6 pages of news happenings, regular reports on wrecks, travel, diver training, boat profiles, professional diving, plus reports from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. Dive charter boats listing and monthly dive charter boat's itineraries are naturally at the back end of the newspaper with the back page devoted to dive sport results. All this is paid for by the very generous support of the advertisers who appear each month, and the best thing for you, the divers of Australia, it is totally free. As Dive Log grows in size there will be more to read, more personalised columns on scuba travel and comments from various divers, both local and overseas.

CYLINDER DANGER WARNING: Southport. Recently a scuba cylinder exploded at a dive shop in Southport on Queensland's Gold Coast. It appears that this is the first accident of this type recorded in Australia. This is not the first time a scuba cylinder has exploded in Australia The one and only scuba cylinder that exploded before this, killed a diver at Newcastle, Trevor Davies, on New Years Eve 1961, he was the brother of long time underwater fisherman and past President of the Newcastle Neptune Club George Davies. The cylinder in question, marked Luxfer was manufactured around October 1977 (10/77). Should any diver encounter these cylinders, they should not fill them under any circumstances, but refer them immediately to the nearest Standards Association of Australia (SAA) or approved cylinder test station for further advice. Cylinders must be tested every 12 months.

AQUARIUS DIVE TRAVEL CEASES BUSINESS: Melbourne. The directors of A.I.T Holdings Pty Ltd announced that, effective immediately, Aquarius Dive Travel Australia has ceased trading after eight years as Australia's leading travel retailer and wholesaler, specialising in scuba diving holidays. Since the introduction of Travel Agents Licensing through the Travel Agents Registration Board, dive shops are no longer allowed to market and promote dive travel as an integral part of their business. Aquarius relied heavily on this market and financial problems have arisen because of this change in the travel market. Aquarius Dive Travel will cease to trade immediately. It's a great pity to see one of the dive industry's top travel agencies come to an end, that's business.

THE FORGOTTEN SCUBA DIVERS PROGRAM: Sydney. There is a new dive program that has been developed to assist scuba divers to get back into diving easily once they have had an extended break. As we move further into the 1980s, our fast paced society produces numerous obstacles that interrupt our pleasure diving. PADI was quick to realise that unless these divers are adequately cared for by our industry they could become part of the "diver drop out" syndrome. People who leave our wonderful sport often after only experiencing a small portion of what our coast has to offer, or after exploring only a few opportunities, never return. The Forgotten Diver Program has proved very popular in areas where people have become diving drop outs, and has been a subject of interest amongst dive industry experts for some years. The reasons are nevertheless complex and are as diversified as the diver studies have revealed that at least one reason is that the diver may have had a frightening experience, possibly induced by environmental factors such as wave activity, currents or marine life. The Forgotten Diver Program goes some distance towards solving this problem, but it is evident that gaining a proper environment orientation is by far the best way to get back into the sport and dive safely. This program has to be a step in the right direction.

FLAGSHIP OF FIRST FLEET PROTECTED: Canberra. The remains of the Flagship of the First Fleet, HMS Sirius were today placed under the protection of the Commonwealth Historic Shipwreck Act. Also now protected by the Act are the wrecks of the Mimosa, Scottish Prince, and a paddle steamer tug located off Nobby's Head, Newcastle, in New South Wales. Mr. Barry Cohen, the Minister for Home Affairs and the Environment, said the first ship wrecked in Australian waters after the arrival of the First Fleet was the very ship that had led that fleet out from Britain in 1788. HMS Sirius was the leading warship of the First Fleet. Mr. Cohen said. "It was regarded by the first colonists as their sheet anchor and when the vessel became wrecked at Norfolk Island in 1790, the entire colony entered into despair". Because of the central role played by HMS Sirius in the establishment of the first European settlement in Australia, the Australian Bicentenary Authority funded a preliminary survey in December 1983. Its remains are in the surf battered reef at Sydney Bay on the southern side of Norfolk Island.

“THISTLE” REWARD $2000: Canberra. The Commonwealth Government is to reward two Victorian scuba divers with $2000 for their part in locating the wreck of the vessel that carried the first permanent European settlers to Victoria 150 years ago. Two divers, Terry Arnott of Geelong and Harry Reed of Queenscliff, located the wreck, Thistle. Because of providing information on the location of the wreck, the remains and relics of Thistle are now protected under the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act. This declaration will permit scuba diving on the wreck but artefacts must remain where they are, this is a very important part of Victorian history. Not much remains of the Thistle. The Minister also said, “The Satara, a ship sunk off the New South Wales coast was lost en route to Calcutta by way of Singapore with a load of coal from Newcastle”. Mr. Cohen indicated that he had taken this step to provide legal protection for the wreck and its relics because of requests to do so made by the finders, Mr. Paul Martino of Bar Beach and Mr Owen Griffith of Shoal Bay, the P&O shipping company which claims ownership of the wreck and by the local fishermen at Seal Rocks led by Mr. Joshua Davies. "Divers can still dive to enjoy the wreck but are now prohibited from removing remains or relics of the Satara, it's there for every scuba diver to see, Mr. Cohen said.

DIVE WITH A GREAT WHITE SHARK. IT WON'T COST AN ARM OR LEG: Perth. Sorry for the headlines, but for around $3000, plus the cost of getting to Port Lincoln, South Australia, you can now dive with a fully escorted charter to find and photograph great white sharks. This is perhaps one of the greatest diving experiences possible, and compared to the cost of some similarly attractive overseas excursions, for instance the Red Sea, or Sea of Cortez. The rate for the seven to ten day expeditions is value for money, there is no money back guarantee of seeing a white pointer shark. White Shark Tours arrange the excursions during the months of December, January. and February to coincide with ideal weather for a maximum of six divers. Additional charters for other times are available if practicable and conditions allow. Viewing and photography is from two shark cages.

THE OLDEST DIVE CLUB IN AUSTRALIA: Sydney. One of the oldest established dive clubs in Australia is the Underwater Research Group of New South Wales (URG). The incorporation of the URG took place in October 1959, but the club has its origin back in 1952. The URG is made up of divers from many occupations who have marine biology, wreck diving and underwater photography as their principal undersea interests. The aim of the group is to further all aspects of underwater exploration, research, safety, photography and sport diving. The club holds boat dives every weekend, usually on Sunday mornings, and owns a 5.3m Stacer boat, other members also bringing along their boats. Weekends are organised to diving locations such as Jervis Bay, Port Stephens, Central Coast, and similar sites. Monthly meetings are held for exchange of information and entertainment, with guest speakers, slide shows and film nights and a monthly bulletin published.

SENSATIONAL GREY NURSE SHARK COMEBACK: Sydney. In the four years that grey nurse sharks have been protected in New South Wales, there has been a spectacular and sudden increase in population numbers. Observations this year indicate the central breeding areas are within the Broughton Island to Crowdy Head area with easiest access being obtained in the Forster and Tuncurry areas. Last year sightings of shark schools indicated that something big was about to happen. At Seal Rocks, individual groupings of up to 50 sharks were seen. This year the numbers have doubled. Big Seal Rock has been consistent with a resident population of 80 to 100 sharks. Little Seal Rocks is also a reliable location, and fresh reports have equally big schools scattered on Edith Breaker and at Broughton Island, at Mermaid Reef and Crowdy Heads. The three dive shops at Forster and Tuncurry have been quick to capitalise on what is surely the hottest new excitement dive possible anywhere in the world. Ron Hunter of Fishermen's Wharf has been successful with TV promotions resulting in exposure on just about every Sydney and Newcastle based TV news program.

WRECK OF THE WILLIAM SALTHOUSE CLOSED TO DIVERS: Melbourne. Due to rapid disintegration, one of Victoria's oldest most significant shipwrecks, the William Salthouse, has been closed to all divers. A representative of the Victorian Archaeological Survey said divers are not at fault, the hull has been weakened by Teredo worms and strong tidal current insofar as any extra weight or pressure from a diver touching or resting on the timbers could cause them to collapse on sand. The William Salthouse will be closed for some time, probably until the wreck completely collapses.

BENDS UNIT FOR GOLD COAST: Brisbane. A new hyperbaric service is being established on the Gold Coast, the second unit in Queensland, and the only facility between Townsville and Sydney. In conjunction with the National Safety Council of Australia, the chamber will be established at the Currumbin Private Hospital before it's transferred to the Moran clinic, now under construction near Coolangatta. The clinic and hospital are scheduled for completion by mid 1990. The NCSA is setting up a portable two-man decompression chamber that has the capacity to transfer people, suffering from the bends, under pressure to the main base station for further treatment. Apart from the treatment of decompression sickness, which happens all too frequently, the hyperbolic service will also be used for the treatment of burns, gas poisoning, and gangrenous wounds.

ADELAIDE UNDERWATER WRECKS OPEN TO ALL DIVERS: Adelaide. Divers are being encouraged to dive, photograph, and explore four significant shipwrecks that lie near metropolitan Adelaide. The Grecian, Zanoni, Star of Greece and Norma represent a variety of vessels associated with trade and development in South Australia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and span a period of British shipbuilding from 1841 to 1893. Plaques that give brief histories of the vessels have been placed near the wrecks. All four wrecks were declared historic shipwrecks under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1981, in addition, there is a 550-metre radius protected zone around the Zanoni. This ship's remains are the most intact of all presently known wrecks in South Australia. All fittings and equipment on the Zanoni, the crew's personal possessions, and details of the hull construction, can be studied. Before planning a dive on the Zanoni a permit must he obtained from the Manager, State Heritage Branch, Department of The Environment and Planning. Failing this, a diver could find himself in trouble with the law, and it is not worth the effort.

AUSTRALIAN TOPS USA PADI CLASS: Sydney. A PADI Australian. staff member, John Storey, has come back from the United States of America a winner. Storey was commended for his performance in the director-training course as well as the examiner-training course held at PADI International, USA. Manager of training and education PADI International, Drew Richardson, said. “John Storeys performance was extraordinary and he constantly scored at the top of his class. His grasp of PADI was exceptional throughout the training process”.

EMPLOYMENT OF FOREIGN INSTRUCTORS: Brisbane. NAUI Australia has been involved in negotiations with the Federal Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs to establish a “Negotiated Agreement” to assist with the issue of work visas to foreign instructors and dive masters coming to work in Australia. The Queensland Dive Tourism Association of Australia (QDTAA) have also been seeking such an arrangement. After discussions between the Department of Immigration, NAUI. and the QDTAA, a draft agreement was developed to allow foreign instructors to work in Queensland. The proposed agreement does not cover other States in Australia. Because of NAUI involvement in the Queensland negotiations, a letter of support must accompany application for sponsorship from one of the agencies with an Australian Office (NAUI, PADI, FAUI or SSI). The agency supplying the letter must be the one to which the foreign instructor will be transferring his or her membership upon entry into Australia. Furthermore, the foreign instructor is required to undergo, upon arrival. a full orientation to Australian Standards of Practice as set out by the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme and or the relevant instruction1 agency. Any instructors who may be seeking foreign instructors or dive masters to assist with their non-English speaking customers should contact their instructor agency office.

VICTORIAN DIVER FORCED TO HAND OVER CANNON: Melbourne. A Victorian diver was forced, by a Supreme Court Writ from the Federal Government, to hand over a brass cannon he recovered from a South Australian shipwreck in 1982. The cannon, which was used for signalling, went down with the SS Admella after it struck reefs near South Australia's Cape Northumberland in 1859. The diver, Mr. David Leslie, recovered the cannon in 1982, restored it, and had kept it in the lounge room of his Frankston home ever since. Although paid $3,500 in restoration costs, he said he was angry over the way the cannon was taken from him. "I was prepared to make it available to the public, but now it's cost them $3,500 for something they could have had for nothing," he said. Mr. Bill Jeffrey, a maritime archaeologist with South Australia's Department of Environment and Planning, said the cannon should never, have been taken from the wreck in the first place. "Divers should be aware that artefacts from declared shipwrecks are protected, and the Government should be notified of any wreck material in private possession," he said. Mr Leslie, however, claims that he advised the Government when he recovered the cannon, and had done everything expected by the rules. The SS Admella was a brigantine rigged single screw iron steamship, en route from Adelaide to Melbourne when it struck a reefs near Cape Northumberland and sunk with a loss of 92 lives. Historians regard it as one of the worst tragedies in Australia's maritime history records.

NEW SHIPWRECK ATLAS FOR NEW SOUTH WALES DIVERS: Sydney. The Atlas of New South Wales Wreck Sites, describes the types and locations of shipwrecks in coastal and inland waters of that State and provides details on selected shipwrecks and shipwreck events. Wrecks intrigue many recreational divers and allow opportunities for spectacular photography and also give scope for studies of heritage and ecology previously unexplored. This second edition is innovative and informative with greater content and improved presentation, it now includes located shipwrecks plus extra information on vessels lost in the vicinity of each of the charts, yet to be found. There are interesting anecdotes and a new section listing technical and historical information on around 2000 New South Wales shipping losses. Shipwrecks can give clues to the aspirations and creativity of earlier generations and information concerning maritime society, general social values, trade, population movements, industry, ship building, and technology. New South Wales has a long association with international coastal and river trade. The atlas will continue to develop as new information is brought to light by the diving and fishing communities and by Australia's history researchers.

AUTOMATIC GAS BLENDING SYSTEMS AT DZTeK: Sydney. CABA (Australia) P/L are please to announce that the full range of the NS Research Automatic Gas Blending Systems will be on display at the OZTeK Diving Technologies Conference at the Australian National Maritime Museum in April. Known throughout the diving industry for their involvement in Military & Commercial Re-breather Systems and the supply of high pressure distribution and compressor systems, CABA will be distributing the ANX Automated Blending System, the NS Clean Air and Ultra Pure Air Filtration Systems and the NS Expedition Mixing Systems along with the full range of NS Research Products. NS Research are an internationally respected Gas Blending and Filtration Systems Engineering Company based in Cyprus with offices and distributors throughout Europe, North & South America, The Middle East, Asia, Africa and now Australia & New Zealand. Nicos Raftis, CEO of NS Research and the Patent Holder for many of their products, is a headline,speaker at both the TDI Members Forum and the OZTeK Conference. He will be presenting on Filtration Systems and Air Purity Standards, Blending Systems Design and a hands on look at the ANX Automatic Gas Blending System. ANX Supreme is an automated partial pressure Gas Blending system, suitable for use with both Nitrox & Trimix. Using the latest technology developed by the NS Research team in Cambridge, England, the ANZ Supreme will completely revolutionise the way partial pressure blending is done. Requiring that the blending operator only connects the Scuba Tank and inputs the initial data, the ANX Supreme will automatically fill a cylinder to the desired pressure and to within 1% of the desired mix every time, leaving the operator free to deal with other duties. The ANX Supreme will monitor gas flow rates, cylinder pressure, filtration life and can even run self tests.

YOUNG BRETT McCARTHY MAKES HISTORY: Canberra. 1998 has been a very big year for one of our dedicated Argonauts. Brett McCarthy is just 14-years-old and has become Canberra's first PADI Junior Master Scuba Diver. Brett is the third PADI Junior Master Scuba Diver to be certified in Australia. Everyone who has taken this big step knows that you've got to be determined to take your diving to such heights (or is that depths.). In Brett's case it is an achievement of greater proportions because of his age!' Brett became a PADI Junior Open Water Diver in mid 1997 and since that time has been into diving in a very big way. Following a completion of his PADI Junior Advanced Open Water Diver certification Brett has attained his Medic First Aid and Rescue Diver certifications as well as having been awarded the following specialties: Equipment Specialist. Night Diver. Underwater Naturalist and Underwater Photographer. You'd think that with school, growing up and doing all these dive courses that Brett wouldn't have much time left for other things. But you're wrong because Brett is also a very active social diver. He is. always keen to participate in Argonaut Dive activities including the annual Clean Up Australia Day and our fund raising activities for the National Heart Foundation. A few weeks ago he was even helping us raise some very old bath tubs out of the murky depths of Lake Burley Griffin. But, life is likely to be different for Brett from now on. Not simply because he has attained the highest non-professional credential in recreational diving but also because diving has become a focal point for his family, Brett's Mum, Dad, and twin sister PJ are now PADI Open Water Divers and you know what they say about the family that dives together. Congratulations Brett - you are a credit to your generation and are always great fun to have around.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA DIVER DIES IN CAVE HUNT: Perth. A passion for scuba diving ended in tragedy early this month when a youth became trapped in an underwater cave and died, despite his friend's desperate attempts at rescue. Steven Cooper, of Mull Grove, Western Australia, died in a cave off Mindarie Keys, 50 kilometres north of Perth, after his single tank became wedged in a narrow cavern he was swimming through. The accident happened when Steven and his friend, both 19, had entered a cave in search of crayfish. Steven's body was recovered later.

AUSTRALIAN’S RICHEST PHOTO COMPETITION: Sydney. It's on again for the tenth year running. The 1990 South Pacific Divers Club Underwater Photographer of the Year Awards is one of divings major yearly events. The South Pacific Divers Club aims to promote underwater photography in Australia and hopes to encourage beginners. The prizes money this year will total more than $30,000, a number of selected dive holidays and equipment is up for grabs in each category.

THE HISTORIC DIVING SOCIETY: Melbourne. South East Asia and Pacific held its Annual General meeting at the Professional Diving Services dive shop on Saturday before the working equipment day and there have been a few changes to the committee with Des Williams now Treasurer, and Allan Kessler moving into the Secretary's role. One of the pleasurable duties I had as President was to announce that Steve Taylor was the recipient of the Ted Eldred Award for this year. This award is not given out every year, and Steve was well overdue for recognition of his work within the HDS SEAP, and for his involvement in the N.A.U.I. standard dress course run at Portland every June long weekend.

CAVE DIVERS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA: Mount Gambier. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Cave Divers Association of Australia (CDAA) is holding an exciting two day event on the 9th and 10th of November in Mount Gambier as well as a number of events interstates. There will be a number of talks, demonstrations and displays and speakers include notable Australian and International cave divers.

CAVE DIVERS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA 40TH ANNIVERSARY AT MT GAMBlER: Mount Gambier. The Cave Divers Association Australia (CDAA) will reach its 40th anniversary, a significant milestone in its history. This year there will be celebrations hosted in Mt. Gambier over the weekend of 9th and 1Oth November, 2013. The CDAA gratefully acknowledges the kind support given by the City of Mount Gambier and the District Council of Grant to the running of the AGM and 40th Anniversary. There will be a number of talks, demonstrations and displays, at which they will also be inviting public participation. Speakers will include notable Australian and international cave divers. The CDAA is also planning on inviting various dignitaries including representatives from local and state government, private land owners and the local media.                            

THE YOUNGEST "EXPLORER" DIVER IN THE WORLD: Melbourne. Tyler Walker from Victoria is the youngest person who has enrolled in the Explorer Re-breather course with TDI. At the time of enrolment, Tyler was only 16 years old.  "The reason I love diving is that the underwater world is filled with the mystery of the unknown. I have been interested in diving ever since I was 12 which was when I decided to pursue a career as a Clearance Diver in The Royal Australian Navy.  I chose to do the Hollis Explorer Re breather Course because it is a lightweight unit and extremely easy to use, and doesn't use 100% oxygen like other Re-breathers use. The Hollis Explorer also uses a 40% nitrox blend, which makes it safe to use, rather than using a 100% nitrox blend".

THE AUSTRALIAN MARINE CONSERVATION SOCIETY: Canberra. Some of the worst fears about the new massive factory freezer trawler Geelong Star have been confirmed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) statement that four dolphins and two seals have been killed in its nets within the first few weeks fishing Australian waters. Catching and killing threatened species was always a main concern once the Federal Government allowed Geelong Star into Australian waters. A second incident in early May resulted in the ship being restricted.

NEW WET SUIT FOR WOMEN - BODY GLOVE: Sydney. Over 50 years in the water. They combine the best tradition from decades of experience with the newest and most flexible materials, with high degree of comfort, and deliver awesome styles for all water sports addicts. 3mm Voyager Body Glove dive suit for women: • Evoflex material • Thermolite insulation • Low compression foam • 'V' Neck collar design • Radial shoulders • Glued & blind stitched extended knee pad • Compression hinges • Ankle zippers Wrist/Ankle cuff seals • Heavy duty extended back zip entry for easy step through & exit • Articulated leg panelling for greater range of motion with little resistance • High density exterior print for increased resiliency and protection in high abrasion areas Oversized lumbar panel for better forward mobility.

SHARKS CRUCIAL TO CORAL REEFS: Canberra. A new study from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has found via long-term monitoring of reefs off Australia's north west coast, that where shark numbers were lower due to fishing, herbivores- important fishes in promoting reef health- were also significantly lower in number. Dr Mark Meekan, Principal Researcher at AIMS and co-author of the publication said our analysis suggests that where shark numbers are reduced we see a fundamental change in the structure of food chains on reefs. We see increasing numbers of mid-level predators- such as snappers - and a reduction in the numbers of herbivores- such as parrot fishes which are very important as they eat the algae that would otherwise overwhelm young corals on reefs recovering from natural disturbances". "Tracking studies show that in many cases individual reef sharks are closely attached to certain coral reefs, so even relatively small marine protected areas could be an effective way to protect the top level predators, which may ultimately mean that coral reefs are better able to recover from coral bleaching or large cyclones. The declines occurring in reef sharks due to overfishing throughout the world are of great concern, because our study shows that a healthy reef means healthy populations of shark.

Contact me at: tombyronpublishers@hotmail.com

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Copyright: 2016.  Tom Byron. The Chronicle of Scuba Diving in Australia. The First 70 Years - 1950 TO 2019