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BCD wishes the best to Carla and Cal in Vancouver, Washington!



Tuna dies after swimming head-first into window at Monterey Bay Aquarium

* Web cam: Monterey Bay Aquarium's Outer Bay tank

A 229-pound bluefin tuna was found dead Monday morning in the popular Outer Bay Exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium, after slamming head first into the tank's 13-inch acrylic window the night before.

A review of a digital camera system trained on the million-gallon tank showed the fish swimming closely with two other tunas, said aquarium spokeswoman Karen Jeffries. Then the male bluefin, the size of a short person at 5 feet, 6 inches long, suddenly smashed onto the tank's window at 5:34 p.m. Sunday afternoon, as recorded by digital cameras in the aquarium.

Aquarium curators who performed a necropsy, or animal autopsy, told Jeffries that the impact would have caused sudden death.

Workers arriving early Monday morning found the dead tuna on the bottom of the tank, one of two aquariums in the world that exhibit tuna. The other is in Japan.

The aquarium was opened until 8 p.m. Sunday, but it's not clear whether any visitors witnessed "the collision," as described by Jeffries. Bluefin tuna can swim 12 to 18 miles an hour.

Although rare, Jeffries said it's not the first time that a tuna in the aquarium has died as a result of smashing onto tank walls. She said she did not know how many have died since the exhibit - a display of open ocean fish - opened in 1996.

Aquarium experts and researchers have worked for years to devise ways to prevent open ocean fish like the bluefin from running into walls. At Monterey, the thick acrylic wall between fish and visitors is veiled with a "bubble curtain" at nighttime, a sensory and visual signal to fish to prevent them from hitting the window.


Diver struck by lightning

An autopsy conducted by the Broward Medical Examiner determined Stephen Wilson, 36, died from electrocution after his SCUBA tank was struck by lightning. Wilson had been diving in the Atlantic Ocean off Deerfield Beach, FL on Sunday afternoon.

The incident took place during an afternoon of severe thunderstorms that pelted the region, from Miami to West Palm Beach, with torrential rains, strong winds and pea-sized hail.

At the time of the strike, about 3 p.m., two divers were on a 20-foot boat and two were in the water, said Deerfield Beach Fire Division Chief Gary Fernaays.When one of the divers in the water surfaced, "lighting struck his tank," Fernaays said. "He was approximately 30 feet from the boat at the time."

Wilson, who had gone into cardiac arrest, was given CPR. He was taken to North Broward Medical Center in Pompano Beach, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.


Once orphaned killer whale thriving

Dozens who helped with the calf's rescue five years ago were thrilled to see the effort paid off.

VANCOUVER -- The story of a small, emaciated killer whale wandering alone off the coast of Washington State couldn't have ended any better if it were a movie.

Five years after a massive effort by marine experts, volunteers and government officials in Canada and the U.S., Springer is thriving with her family's pod.

"From the get-go this seems to have been made in Hollywood somewhere," said Brian Gorman, a spokesperson for NOAA -- the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- in the Unites States.

"Our goal was to get her back with her family pod, and by that standard it certainly was a remarkably happy ending."

Dozens of people who helped in the calf's rescue five years ago returned to the same area on the northern end of Vancouver Island in hopes of spotting her once again, and she and her pod showed up as if on cue.

"I was unprepared for how emotional it would be to actually see Springer so healthy and happy and well-adjusted and actually integrated with the group," said Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, a marine mammal scientist with the Vancouver Aquarium.

The contrast from five years ago is remarkable.

"She was in terrible shape, and got worse steadily," Barrett-Lennard said of the then two-year-old whale who would swim up to Washington State boaters looking for attention.

The young orca should have still been on mother's milk, but her mother had vanished.

Springer was small, underweight and had a horrible skin condition.

She's still small for her age, about the size of a four-year-old instead of seven, and Barrett-Lennard said she has more scars.

"In the days after she was released, she got pretty roughed over by the other killer whales. She had a lot of superficial teeth-rake marks. They weren't sure at all for a while if they wanted her back."

But Springer has settled in with a small pod which includes a great-aunt and a newborn calf.

Experts knew their best chance of getting Springer to reconnect with her northern resident pod, the so-called A pod, was to release her in the same area where the pod frequents.

She was captured and transported about 500 kilometres by a private catamaran to the northeast side of Vancouver Island, near the tiny community of Telegraph Cove.

"It was tremendously successful, especially considering all of the unknowns," said Lynne Barre, a marine mammal specialist with NOAA. "It exceeded all of our expectations."

Barre also went for the Springer reunion.

"She was right in with a group of A-pod animals. Acting like all the rest of the whales, mixed right in there. No signs of different behaviours or any problems. She looked great."


Divers find more than golf balls in lakes

David Bryant, 29, and Christopher Cook, 21, travel around the country diving for golf balls at golf courses.

"You would not believe what we find in many of the lakes and ponds we dive in," Bryant said. "I've found about 150 golf clubs. All are nearly perfect -- I assume that some disappointed golfer tossed the club in the water over a frustrating game.

Cook said he's surprised by the wildlife that lives in these bodies of water.

"You have to worry about some of the fish in those lakes, as they love to bite you," Cook said. "I have seen some crawdads almost 6 to 8 inches in length and they really get disturbed when we dive around where they are located. When they grab you, it wakes you up."


Deep-sea explorers tussle with Spain over treasure find

TAMPA, Florida (AP) - A ship belonging to Florida deep-sea explorers chugged out of Spanish waters Thursday, ending the latest round in an increasingly nasty dispute with that nation's government over the rights to a $500 million sunken treasure.
The 240-foot (73-meter) Ocean Alert, owned by Odyssey Marine Exploration, was released Wednesday after being
seized by authorities on July 12 as it entered Spanish waters after leaving the British colony of Gibraltar on Spain's southern tip.
The forced boarding of the ship culminated an uneasy few months of tense talks between Odyssey officials and the Spanish government, detailed in a 109-page affidavit the company prepared for Spain's Culture Ministry. Odyssey provided a copy of the document to The Associated Press.

At the heart of the dispute is Spain's claim that it has a right to share in the treasure if it was recovered in territorial waters or is connected to the nation's heritage in any way. Authorities are searching for clues to the origins of the silver coins and other artifacts salvaged from a still undisclosed shipwreck.

But citing security and other concerns, Odyssey will not disclose the location of the shipwreck code-named «Black Swan» and insists it is not even sure yet exactly which sunken ship yielded the 17 tons (15 metric tons) of coins that were flown to the United States in May.

"Spain has reason to believe Odyssey has recovered Spanish property without authorization," said James A. Goold, a Washington attorney who filed a claim in U.S. federal court on behalf of Spain.

Odyssey Marine Exploration would only say it was found in the Atlantic Ocean.

"That's the great irony," Stemm said. "How much more straight forward can you be than turning over the site to the U.S. federal court and following U.S. federal court orders? Does that really sound like piracy to you?"

Two weeks after Odyssey made global headlines with news of the «Black Swan» treasure, Spain filed a claim in federal court in Tampa and has tried to force the company to disclose more details. That could happen as early as Monday, when Odyssey's next court filing is due.
Culture Ministry spokeswoman Diana Lara said Thursday that Spain's next legal move will depend on what Odyssey reveals in court.

Spanish media reported Odyssey operating in the region in March, but Odyssey said it was there only to sink a prop treasure chest as a part of a contest promotion with Volvo Cars of North America connected to Disney's movie, «Pirates of Caribbean: At World's End.

Stemm said the company typically uses Gibraltar as a base for any of its operations in that part of the world.


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