JANUARY 2011: My Surface Interval named one of the best scuba diving blogs

Monday, April 19, 2010

Scuba diving Grenada: Trip up in smoke thanks to Icelandic volcano

It serves me right.
I have spent the past couple of weeks day dreaming about scuba diving big wrecks in Grenada, dusted down my underwater camera, got a new strobe, and what happens?
An Icelandic volcano is what happens.

Currently all flights to and, crucially, from the UK are grounded with no sign of them resuming any time soon. Or soon enough for me to head off to the Caribbean.
Cheers Icelandic volcano.

Oh well, at least I have the YouTube videos from the earlier post.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Octopus snatches camera from scuba diver

We've all done it. Poked our camera in the face of some poor fishy and blasted it with flash.

Well let this video be a lesson to us all. Animals may fight back and steal our precious and expensive gear.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Scuba diving Grenada: here we come

Grenada wreck diving here we come. I have just got the itinerary for a trip to the Spice islands later this year and there are some big wrecks.

As the trip is a while away, I guess I'll just have to let these videos keep me going.

If you have dived Grenada and have any recommendations please leave a comment. I'd hate to missing something good while I'm there.

Shakem Wreck: This 180ft cargo ship was transporting cement to the port of St.George in 2001. The vessel was overloaded, and the cargo shifted which resulted in the ship sinking within sight of the harbor. It is sitting intact on the bottom in 100ft of water, only a 5 minute boat ride from our Grenada dive shop. Even though it has been on the bottom a short time, it is already home to schools of barracudas and the entire hull is quickly becoming a new reef. This dive is for the experienced diver, and is unique in that it lies on the bottom fully loaded with cargo and intact.

Veronica L (Wreck): This coastal freighter which is 25 metres long and is fully intact except for the bridge section is one of our favourite dive sites. She was placed in her final resting place on Upper Boss Reef in 2003 after being moved from St Georges Harbour. As this is quite a shallow wreck it can be enjoyed by all levels of diver. She has probably the largest diversity of marine life in such a small area of all our dive sites. As you descend on her there will be patrolling barracuda, horse eyed jacks hunting amongst the brown chromis and creole wrasse. In the engine room you will occasionally find a massive green moray eel. Look closely on this dive site for many marine life treasures.

On October 12th 1961 the Bianca C left Italy on her final voyage. Ten days later, whilst anchored off St Georges, the capital of Grenada, she caught fire. The fire followed an explosion in her boiler room with the flames spreading rapidly throughout the rear of the ship. Of those on board, 672 of 673 people were saved by the prompt action of both the crew and of numerous local small boats launched from St. George's harbour in Grenada. Unfortunately there was insufficient marine fire fighting equipment available to stem the blaze or indeed to facilitate rescue of the body of the only person lost on board. Of those rescued, twelve badly burnt crew were taken to the local hospital for treatment and fortunately only one further crewmember subsequently died, a man named Rodizza Napale.

On hearing the bad news, a British Frigate the "Londonderry" sailed from Puerto Rico to offer assistance. They arrived on October 24th to find the ship still burning. They succeeded in severing the anchor chain and securing a towing line with a view to removing her from the local shipping lanes and beaching her in the shallows off from Point Salines. The tow proved difficult partly because the Bianca C's large rudders had become jammed by the extreme heat of the fire. The tow line was severed and she sank to the ocean floor where she rests today. This really is a fantastic wreck dive for 'Advanced divers' when they visit Grenada.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chagos ISlands to become world's largest marine reserve

THE Chagos Islands? Ever heard of 'em?
Well these tiny British islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean are to become the world's largest marine reserve, the Government has announced.

The Marine Protected Area (MPA) will cover some quarter of a million square miles of sea around the archipelago in the Indian Ocean and include a "no-take" reserve banning commercial fishing.

The Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the establishment of the reserve in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) would double the amount of the world's oceans which were protected.

The announcement was hailed as "fantastic" by conservationists who have been campaigning for the creation of a marine reserve to protect some of the world's most unspoilt seas and coral reefs in the face of pollution, climate change and loss of species.

Mr Miliband said: "Its creation is a major step forward in protecting the oceans, not just around BIOT itself but also throughout the world.

He insisted the creation of the protected area would not affect the UK's commitment to cede the territory to Mauritius when it was no longer needed for military purposes.

The 55 islands across 210,000 square miles in the middle of the Indian Ocean which form the British Overseas Territory have at least 60 endangered species in their coral reefs and waters.

The islands are home to more than 220 types of coral, 1,000 species of fish and at least 33 different seabirds and have been described as the most pristine tropical marine environment on Earth.

Greenpeace biodiversity campaigner Willie Mackenzie said: "These coral seas are a biodiversity hotspot in the Indian Ocean, and unquestionably worthy of protection from destructive activities like fishing.

"And this marine reserve will provide a safe refuge for many globally endangered species such as sharks and turtles."

The commercial tuna fish industry wanted an exemption which would allow them to continue fishing, but in the run-up to the announcement scientists warned allowing the fisheries to continue would harm threatened wildlife.

Professor Charles Sheppard of Warwick University said the region was very resilient to the impacts of climate change - such as the bleaching and death of coral reefs - because it did not suffer from other impacts such as pollution and overfishing.

And he said: "The U.K.'s designation sets a new global benchmark for responsible ocean stewardship.

"The Chagos Protected Area will provide an important global reference site for a wide range of scientific ecological, oceanographic and climate studies, and will underpin the provision of benefits to humans throughout the Indian Ocean region into the future."