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
It was a beautiful, flat calm ride in the morning out to Catalina Island on the Pacific Star. We headed to Emerald Bay for 2 dives with the 3rd dive at Isthmus Reef. Conditions were fantastic with water a warm 72 degrees with a thermocline to 66 degrees at around 35 feet. Fantastic 30' viz with bright sunshine lighting up the kelp forest. Lots of sightings of leopard sharks, bat rays, horn sharks, an angel shark and the usual kelp critters. Current picked up at Isthmus Reef where a diver spotted a juvenile Giant Black Sea Bass! Join us next time with Eco Dive Center
- Silent Bubbles sounds like the name of a Ninja Dolphin, but it’s actually an important concept to understand for all divers, especially those concerned with decompression illness. Before the 1960s, it was thought that divers who followed navy dive tables were not at risk of developing DCI.
in 1969, a series of ultrasound studies were conducted on divers who had performed “safe dives”. These doppler studies revealed that even though the divers did not exhibit symptoms of DCI, they most certainly did have detectable bubbles in their bodies. These were dubbed “silent bubbles.” Divers with silent bubbles usually suffer extra fatigue but otherwise seem okay. The danger of silent bubbles lies in divers not realizing they need to de-gas before making multiple dives, which raises the risk of suffering more acute DCI symptoms.
It’s because of silent bubbles that we take the time to do a safety stop for 3 minutes at 15 feet. Safety stops are not strictly necessary for decompression on recreational dives, but are very effective for releasing silent bubbles. Long story short, always make your safety stop if you have the air, but in an emergency situation, skipping a safety stop won’t kill you. Just get to the surface.
Trip was expected to do 2 dives on the Oil Rigs and a third dive at the Olympic II wreck. The ride out of the harbor was slow. Dense Fog. Captain called off anchoring at the Olympic wreck due to the fog. Decision was made to do 3 dives on the oil rigs. I managed the waiver process. When waivers were done I had both of the DMC's on board (Gary and Chris) check the waivers for errors. During sign ups, I had Donna Webster cross-off a mistake on her waiver and not initial it. I had her not put the name of the boat on the waiver nor did she sign the waiver. Tough love but good exercise for the DMC's, neither of which caught any of the problems.
At the rig, boat's DM gave a site briefing. After, I gave a short briefing introducing Jing, Steven and myself and stressing short bottom times and to watch their nitrogen buildup. I told the divers not to miss or omit their safety stops and if they had any questions they were to ask Jing, Steven or me. Jing led a diver and I led a diver new to California waters. Steven Soo was doing a deep specialty. I talked individually to "advanced" divers with under 15 total dives to make sure they were comfortable with the dive and to invite them to dive with me if they wanted to. I let those divers know how important good buoyancy was on a rig dive and to make sure they added air to control their descent and to let air out on the ascent.