Captain John Kades- Captain John Kades has been an investigator/deputy coroner for the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office for 12 years. He has been a member of the department's Special Operations Response Team (SORT) and has specialized in disaster operations, aircraft fatalities, drowning/SCUBA cases, and skeletal/buried body cases. He is currently in charge of the operations division that includes 6 lieutenants and 38 investigators. As a member of the California State Coroner's Association (CSCA) he serves on the Association's coroner curriculum development committee that recommends training standards to POST for death investigation. He has a BA in criminal justice from UC Santa Barbara. He has been an active scuba diver since 1981. He spent 14 years as a public safety diver for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Underwater Search and Recovery team.
Scott is the owner of Bluewater Travel, Bluewater Photo and the Underwater Photography Guide. Scott's area of expertise include Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Australia and the United States. Although he took up photography later on in life, he's completely immersed himself in it, specializing in wildlife and underwater photography. Moving to California from New York opened up an entire new world of sailing, diving, and outdoor adventure that he experienced less frequently in the urban jungle. He's recently traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Central America, South America and South Africa to enjoy being one with nature, wildlife, and when possible the underwater world.
Sharing with Others
He's always had a passion for teaching and sharing what he's learned with others. It started when he was a math and chemistry tutor in high school, and continued on when he taught adults at New York University. Recently he's decided to share his passion for photography with others, creating the website the Underwater Photography Guide, leading underwater photography trips and teaching classes & workshops locally.
Whenever he's not working, he's shooting photos above or below water with his Nikon D300, editing photos, working on my websites, or trying to convince his wife or friends to meet up to take photos. Nudibranchs, birds, cheetahs, koalas, landscapes, manta rays and large schools of fish are all game.
If you haven't heard of Catalina's Blue Caverns, it's because it ain't an easy place to get to. The site is one of California's most strictly protected reserves, where nothing can be taken (including rocks and shells) and even anchoring is prohibited. The current is always going, so divers either need to get their Michael Phelps on or do a drift dive.
Divers willing to make the effort to visit Blue Cavern Point enjoy a pristine dive environment, home to bold sheephead and calico bass. Down near the bottom are the titular caverns that are a rush to explore. Make sure that your lamp is charged up and ready to go! The Blue Cavern dive is certainly a rare one and will certainly make your dive buddies jealous, and for bragging rights you can tell them that you swim like a champ too.
The other dive sight is Eagle Reef, where divers have recently spotted Giant Sea Bass and Eagle rays.The last time I was there, I found myself underneath a massive braid of kelp, where I found hundreds of tiny fish hiding beside me. I was mesmerized by the sight, and my dive buddy had to come and snap me out of it. A wonderful dive.
This past weekend I got to witness rebreather divers in action, so I thought I’d do some research on rebreather technology. Rebreather diving actually predates SCUBA diving by several decades, the first being the Fleuss Rebreather. Invented by Henry Fleuss in 1878, it composed of a breathing bag, a copper tank of oxygen, and a rope soaked in caustic potash that served as a crude carbon dioxide scrubber. This device became an important part of WWII naval operations, and is a milestone in underwater exploration.
Modern rebreathers operate on the same basic principle, though they now are controlled by computer and many divers use some variation of trimix to reach extreme depths. Rebreather diving has always been used by military and commercial divers, mainly because it does not release bubbles. Navy divers needed to be difficult to detect by enemy ships, and commercial divers needed approach fish without spooking them. Most of all, rebreathers can reach immense depths without running out of air.
It wasn’t until the 90’s when rebreathers became available for recreational divers, and even then the costs can be prohibitive. The unit alone costs around 10,000 dollars, and the peripheral equipment can run tens of thousands more. That said, the rebreather can get you places that open circuit diving cannot. One rebreather diver I spoke to this weekend explained to me that California has tons of exciting dive sites that all lie well below recreational dive limits. Sunken battleships, plane wrecks, hidden caves, and other adventures lie in wait of those divers with the commitment and the funds to become rebreather experts.
Here in Los Angeles, and even further away, we’ve had sharks on the brain recently. From the July 5 Manhattan Beach pier shark bite incident, to numerous August juvenile shark sightings—the most dramatic of which prompted temporary San Clemente beach closures—we can’t seem to get these apex predators off our minds. Add to that Discovery Channel’s recent airing of its 27th annual Shark Week, and the impending 40th anniversary of the movie Jaws, and you have a recipe for shark obsession.
Unfortunately, the overall-arching theme of this recent shark fixation is fear. Sharks are often depicted as gigantic, mindless eating machines lurking beneath the waters waiting for their next unsuspecting swimmer snack. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. According to Oceana: “Over the past five years (2006-2010), an average of 4.2 fatal shark attacks have taken place each year world-wide.”
Compare that to the number of sharks killed by humans. New statistics from the most comprehensive study on illegal shark killing ever completed estimate that 100 million sharks are killed every year around the world. This number far exceeds what many shark populations need to recover. Ironically, the sharks should be afraid of us, not the other way around.
With 350 known species that range in size and shape from the great whale shark (40 feet long) to the dwarf shark (6 inches long), sharks are ancient creatures, and have been around longer than any other animal, probably as many as 400 million years. Sharks are beautiful, fascinating creatures for scuba divers to observe underwater. So to quote Bruce-the-shark from the movie Finding Nemo: “I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine.” Sharks are friends. Let’s protect them, not fear them. by Tim Yeo