Friday, July 13, 2007

Bikini Atoll Report

Eleven dive addicts trekked halfway around the world to see what only a handful of divers get to experience- the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Bikini has had an interesting history. Her original inhabitants were asked to relocated "for the good of mankind" by the US government so that nuclear tests could be carried out. World War II was over and the US took 73 ships out to Bikini to see how they would survive nuclear blasts. A series of 23 tests were carried out over the islands. The ships that we were diving on were destroyed during Operation Crossroads, which consisted of two impressive blasts; the Able and the Baker blast.

An average dive consisted of 30 minutes of bottom time between 130-180 feet and a decompression time of 50 minutes. It was all wreck diving and all of the ships etc were active during World War II. We did two dives a day for a total of 12 dives. The beach was amazing, the facilities good and the dive team was wonderful.

The USS Saratoga CV-3 is a masterful ship and the first aircraft carrier ever built in the US. Her impressive history and awe-inspiring presence made for incredible diving. Staring up at her bow from below is a humbling experience. We got to do several penetrations and swim through her living quarters. We saw three of her aircraft lying around the ship. The hangar has recently collapsed. These ships are literally disappearing before our eyes.

The notorious flagship of the Japanese Imperial Navy, the HIJMS Nagato, was a truly amazing series of dives. As we descended on the ship we could feel the eerie presence and personality of the ship. We were touching a piece of history hidden to the majority of the world, we were "waking a sleeping giant." We could almost hear Admiral Yamamoto launching the attack on Pearl Harbor. The enormous guns and propellers defied imagination. As we swam through the remains of the bridge you could almost hear the infamous call sign "Tora Tora Tora." We were able to penetrate the sea plane hangar, living quarters, and other sections of the ship in a series of three dives.

Besides the Saratoga and Nagato we dove the Lambson, Carlisle, Arkansas, Anderson, and the Apagon Submarine. Each of the wrecks is littered with treasure you don't often see on wreck dives. Dishes, coke bottles, dive helmets, torpedoes, a bugle, and artillery shell of every kind are everywhere you look.

On the Anderson DD-411 we saw the tiny ladder leading up the side of the ship where over a thousand sailors found their salvation from drowning during every major World War Two battle. Each diver took a moment to climb the rungs and take in the emotions that those war-torn young men must have felt as they climbed to safety.
In what other trip could you dive several aircrafts, an aircraft carrier, a submarine, a Japanese battle ship, and American destroyers? This trip was the experience of a lifetime.

Scuba Diving Is For Girls

By, DA instructor One Fish

A couple of years ago a woman was signing her husband up for an open water class. I overheard a diver (who should have known better) tell her that she didn’t need to worry about enrolling herself in the class because “diving is really a guy thing anyway.” Outraged, I decided that I must make it my mission to put this horrible rumor to death. I began researching women divers around the world and I was impressed with many of their awesome feats. Here are the stories of just a few of the many famous females who have left their mark on the diving world.

Dr. Sylvia Earle b. August 30, 1935, is an pioneering aquanaut, oceanographer, marine explorer, marine botanist, ecologist, and acclaimed writer. She has been nicknamed “Her Deepness” and the “sturgeon general” because of her many underwater exploits and the lasting effect she has had on the diving and aquatic world. Dr. Earle’s love affair with the ocean began at an early age. Earle often recounts: “I was swept off my feet by a wave when I was three and have been in love with the sea ever since.” “Even as a child I was lured into the sea by the creatures who live there: horseshoe crabs on the New Jersey beaches; starfish and sea urchins in the Florida Keys; and everywhere strange and wonderful forms of life that occur only underwater. It was and is irresistible.” Earle made her first scuba dive at the age of seventeen while attending college at Florida State. Sylvia specialized in botany so that she could properly study and understand underwater ecology. She used scuba diving to become an underwater explorer and spent hours observing aquatic life. Later in her education, Earle presented one of the most detailed first-hand studies of aquatic plant life. When Sylvia Earle first began her career, she met resistance. Many people were against women traveling with men on scientific expeditions. Earle overcame these obstacles with her many accomplishments and unrivaled tenacity. Since the start of her career Dr. Earle has led more than 60 expeditions worldwide, and spent over 7000 hours underwater in connection with her research. Earle has been an explorer in residence with the National Geographic society since 1998 and led

“Go get wet, because once you know about something, once you see what’s there, it will make a big difference. Dive in!” -Sylvia Earle

a five year program to study the National Marine Sanctuary system. Earle has pioneered research on underwater ecosystems and is an avid activist for the underwater world. She was named Time magazine’s first “hero for the planet” in 1998. She has followed whales and sharks, studied plants, and walked unteathered underwater at a deeper depth than any other woman. When asked if she gets lonely underwater, Earle replies: “No way. The ocean is like diving into the history of life. You’re surrounded with it. In deep water all over the planet, it’s a light show all the time.” Nothing seems to get in the way of her making a connection with the ocean. Among Dr. Earle’s many accomplishments are her diving records. She led the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970 and holds a depth record for solo diving (1000 meters, 3300 feet). She has authored more than 100 publications concerning marine science and technology. She was inducted into the women’s hall of fame in 2000 and she shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. She believes we are heading into “the greatest era of exploration in human history” and is excited to be a part of exploring the 95% of undiscovered ocean still waiting for her. Dr. Earle says: “Going into the ocean is just such a joyous experience. I mean, you never know what you’re going to find but you know that it’s going to be something different and new every time.”

Susan Bangasser, Ph.D. made important observations and wrote articles on the physiological aspects of women divers during the late ‘70s and ‘80s. She co-authored Women Underwater, the first book about women and diving. Her work in the diving world has supported the safe diving of women around the globe and helped resolve issues and concerns for their safety.
Janet Bieser started diving in 1977. She has logged over 1000 dives and is an instructor for SSI, PADI, and a IANTD nitrox diver and an NSS-CDS Apprentice Cave Diver. In 1981 Janet became the first woman to dive the Republic and the second to dive the Andrea Doria. She is an experienced trimix diver, avid spearfishermen, and heavy salvage diver. Her 100-ton Master Captain’s license allows her to captain the R/V Wahoo and manage Custom Breathing Media in Rocky Point, NY.

“In deep water all over the planet, it’s a light show all the time.” -Sylvia Earle

Dr. Eugenie Clark is an ichthyologist with a special interest in sharks. She has been called “the shark lady” because of her extensive work with them. She has conducted 71 deep submersible dives. Her latest research projects concern the behavior of tropical sand fishes and deep sea sharks. She has received numerous awards for her work in the ocean. She is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland.

Evelyn Bartram Dudas has been diving the wrecks off the East Coast since 1961. Evelyn is an active wreck and cave diver and owns her own dive facility while raising four children on her own. She was the first woman to dive the Andrea Doria, one of the first women to use mixed gasses in diving, and also launched her own custom wet suit company. She continues to teach diving today.

Jill Heinerth is a master instructor and teaches Trimix, Rebreather and Technical Cave diving. She is an underwater photographer and she is also the editor and founder of the magazine Women Underwater. She has participated in cave exploration projects around the world. Jill serves on the board of directors for the US Deep Caving Team.

June Kieser started diving in 1952 with her husband. She became a volunteer scuba instructor at the YMCA in 1954; served on the CNCA scuba committee; the first woman nationally certified instructor in 1959; the first female member of the YMCA National Scuba Committee; founding member Underwater Society of America and the American Littoral Society. She helped to create standards for diver and instructor certification. June instructed all different people from sport divers to police, fire departments, and US Merchant Marine Academy cadets.

While researching all of these women, there were many others that I found. If you would like to read about more female divers please visit the women diver’s hall of fame at:

For all of those women who are considering diving for the first time, Sylvia Earle has some advice for you: “Go get wet, because once you know about something, once you see what’s there, it will make a big difference. Dive in!”

Are You Addicted?

Our shop name “Dive Addicts” is well deserved. The two founders of Dive Addicts, and all the employees and instructors for that matter, could only be considered “Addicts”. You know how crazy we are about diving, but how do you compare? A group of scholars with nothing else to do but study the affects of diving on the mind (actually we just had way too much time on our hands…) came up with the following quiz to help you realize, confront and safely control your own personal dive addiction. Pick the answer that is closest to the way you feel about diving (be honest), and then score yourself to find your level of addiction and what we think you should do about it. For more information or a specialized dive prescription please call Dive Addicts at 801.572.5111

1. How many times a year do you visit Dive Addicts?
a- I think I’ve seen it before… (1 or 2 times)
b- I could give you directions… (3-8 times)
c- I’m a regular… (8-12 times)
d- I’m a Dive Shop Groupie (More than 12)

2. You are a certified…
a- Open Water Diver
b- Rescue Diver
c- Master Diver
d- Decompression Diver

3. How many dives a year do you do?
a- I’m still trying to figure out how to set up my own gear (Less than 15)
b- I go when I can (30)
c- 50
d- 100+

4. How much dive gear do you own?
a- Mask, snorkel, & fins
b- Full setup
c- Enough to fill a closet
d- I don’t even want to say…

5. How many dives do you have in Utah NOT including the Crater?
a- There is diving in Utah? (5 or less)
b- I get around a little (15)
c- I would be willing to dive in my neighbor’s birdbath (25)
d- I’m building a vacation home on Blue Lake (50 or more)

6. To what extent do you enjoy swimming with sharks?
a- I would rather die. Period.
b- More than visiting with my attorney…
c- I have done it, and I liked it!
d- I would be willing to sacrifice my dive buddy (or other prized dive accessory).

7. How often do you hide a dive related purchase from your significant other?
a- Never had to
b- I always end up telling them eventually.
c- Occasional secrets only strengthen our relationship.
d- The only way they find out about my purchases is when I talk scuba in my sleep.

8. How many scuba diving certification cards do you carry?
a- I think I know where my card is…
b- I have a couple in my wallet
c- They won’t all fit in my wallet
d- I’m a card carrying freak with a fold out portfolio I show everyone.

9. How involved is your family in your scuba diving?
a- I’ve told them a little bit about it…
b- I’ve convinced a couple to try it.
c- My whole family is certified because of me.
d- I’ve named several of my children after tropical fish.

10. How often do you visit a scuba diving website or forum?
a- The idea hadn’t occurred to me.
b- every once in awhile.
c- at least weekly
d- I spend two hours a day chatting with the dive community while I’m at work.

11.How often do you call in sick to work so you can dive?
a- Never
b- I’m tempted but I stick to vacation time.
c- I use all of my time off to dive.
d- My boss is worried I have a terminal illness.

12. How often do you wear your Dive Addicts t-shirt?
a- I have one somewhere…
b- I wear it from time to time.
c- Once a week or more.
d- I had it tattooed onto my body because I grew tired of washing it.

If you answered…
Mostly A you are FRESH MEAT- You have only begun to dip your toes into the water when it comes to scuba diving. You probably have only been diving a few times since you were certified. It’s time to rediscover the sport. If you haven’t been in the water in awhile you should sign up for a refresher course and remember why you got certified in the first place. If you are brand new to the sport, join in on a Dive Addicts dive-along or sign up for a new course. We suggest signing up for a Nitrox or other specialty course. The more you learn about diving, the more comfortable you will be and the more fun you will have. Scuba diving is sure to seduce you into full-fledged addiction in no time.

**If you are shopping for a “Fresh meat diver” we suggest: A mask snorkel and fins, A new suit from our Xelos dive apparel collection, a Dive Addicts gift certificate, a dive light, a dive knife, a neoprene mask strap, or a dive computer. These gifts will help the nearly addicted diver along their path to happiness.

Mostly B you are SITTING ON THE FENCE- You know you want to dive more, but you still need some convincing in order to dedicate you life to it. This stage of addiction is the critical point. You could easily go either way, and your friends and loved ones would like nothing more than for you to be happy. You would like to come into Dive Addicts more often just to talk about diving and more about the gear, but you don’t want to feel like a poser or one of those “dive shop groupies” we all talk about. Suggestions: admit that being a dive shop groupie is “cool” and start trying to embrace your inner feelings and urges. This level of addiction if far from dangerous. At this point your non-diver friends will still be your friends. Enjoy it while it lasts…

**If you are shopping for a fence sitting diver we suggest: A BCD, a regulator, a personal dive computer, a Dive Addicts gift certificate, a gear bag, a wetsuit, or an underwater camera. We have many wonderful stocking stuffers as well. These gifts are sure to make the fence-sitting diver in your life happy.

Mostly C you are BATTLING ADDICTION- You spend all of your spare time diving. You have a deep love for the sport and are always looking for new ways to expand your knowledge of diving. You are on a first name basis with most of the staff at Dive Addicts, a crew you trust to help you with all of your diving needs. Our best advice on your addiction? Give into it. It’s useless to fight against it. If your gear is beat up from overuse we can help you out with a new set of top of the line gear. We would also suggest taking a technical dive class or signing up for one of our world-class trips.

**If you are shopping for someone battling a diving addiction we suggest: A new BCD, a new regulator, a new personal dive computer, a new gear bag, a wetsuit, or an underwater camera, a backplate, wings, O2 cleaned regulators, and a Dive Addicts gift certificate. We have many wonderful stocking stuffers as well. At this point there is really no point in buying your diving loved one anything else.

Mostly D you are DANGEROUSLY ADDICTED- It’s time to enroll in a 12 step program. Your friends are worried about you. Your office had to ban wetsuits as part of a new dress code. One of your neighbors caught you taking the garbage out in the middle of the night wearing fins and a mask. Your other neighbor has a restraining order to keep you out of his pool. Dive Addicts has many certified dive counselors familiar with the dangerously addicted diver. We can help you pick out that new underwater MP3 player, schedule your trip to Papua New Guinea, sign you up for Trimix training or anything else you might need to calm your nerves in between dives.

**If you are shopping for a dangerously addicted diver we suggest: a new full-face mask, a DUI dry suit, an underwater MP3 player or a Dive Addicts lead dive addiction counseling trip to one of many different dive destinations. There is nothing you can do for this diver except keep them busy with diving.