Next Dive Club Outing:

Mendocino Headlands

November 8th and 9th


In Ocean News:

Just added to the homepage, Salt Point ocean conditions:

Ab Diving in Sonoma? Salt Point Ocean Conditions = http://www.saltpointoceanconditions.com/


Leaping 9-Foot Dolphin Injures Boaters
'There Was Blood Everywhere,' Victim Says

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- A leaping 9-foot, 400-pound dolphin hospitalized two boaters when it landed in their laps as they traveled in the Intracoastal Waterway near New Smyrna Beach.

Norman Howard, 64, said he and his wife, Barbara, were in a 18-foot boat Thursday when the large dolphin jumped into their boat and continued to hit them with its tail.

"There was blood everywhere," Howard said.

Norman told the Daytona Beach News Journal that he saw the dolphin coming out of the corner of his eye, but everything happened too quickly to react.

"The next thing I knew, a big old fish was on top of me," he said. Howard said he was smacked in the face and ribs, Local 6's Tarik Minor reported. He was treated for the injuries at Bert Fish Medical Center.

"It was slapping me pretty hard," Howard said. "Yeah, it was throwing some good punches. Mike Tyson couldn't hit harder than that."

Howard's wife was conscious when the U.S. Coast Guard reached the boat in Edgewater. She was also transported to Bert Fish Medical Center with lacerations to her face.

The dolphin was rolled back into the Intracoastal Waterway from the boat after injuring Howard and his wife. Barbara Howard remains hospitalized in stable condition.

The chance of a dolphin jumping into a boat is 1 in 3,000,000, Local 6 reported.

Radar detects huge oceanic feature off Cape Mendocino

A giant eddy off Cape Mendocino has caught the radar eyes of researchers at Humboldt State University and University of California at Davis, who watched it evolve over the past two months.

Using a radar station at Point Arena, and a newly built station at Shelter Cove, scientists were able to determine the direction and speed of the massive swirl of water.

”It was arguably the biggest, most noticeable feature on the West Coast,” said Greg Crawford, chairman of HSU's Oceanography Department.

The eddy currently appears to be a seasonal feature, which adds complexity to what was once seen as a simple system of currents along the California coast, Crawford said. It's about 110 miles in diameter and swirls at up to 1.5 miles per hour.

The question now is to determine what effect the currents have on marine life.

Crawford said that the eddy may interfere with how nutrients and marine species are moved to more southern waters, but how extensively isn't known. That could affect how marine protected areas are set up along the coast, as called for in 1999 legislation.

The radar system now installed up and down the West Coast may also help emergency crews determine how oil spills or pollutants travel along the coast, enabling them to better respond to disasters. It may also help U.S. Coast Guard rescue personnel more quickly find boats in trouble, or survivors drifting on the open ocean.

And it could also be used to route ships around -- or take advantage of -- an eddy, making ocean travel more efficient, Crawford said.


'Peanut-headed' orcas due to salmon shortage

Killer whales in the waters off southern Vancouver Island are losing blubber and developing strange behaviour patterns because of a shortage of salmon, say whale experts.

Some endangered southern resident killer whales are developing "peanut heads" because they are not getting enough food, said Howard Garrett of Washington-based Orca Network.

"They are looking sick. There is usually a thick layer of blubber just behind the skull and that seems to be the first place to be drawn from when they need to draw

"In some of them, there's a dip right behind the blowhole and, when you see that, you know the whale has been hungry."

The Center for Whale Research is having difficulty finalizing numbers for the three resident pods this year because the whales are so spread out.

Researchers believe there might be some losses, but, tentatively, the number of southern residents is set at about 87.

As the whales search for elusive chinook salmon, there are unusual liaisons.

"A small group from L Pod have been travelling with J Pod all summer long and twice J Pod has split into two completely separate groups, out of acoustic range from each other," Garrett said. "It's an indication that they are searching high and low and in every nook and cranny for fish."

Environmental groups are holding a news conference today in Vancouver to protest the federal government's fisheries policies. "The announcement marks a tipping point in a two-year battle between the federal government and concerned scientists and environmentalists about the need to protect the orcas from threats to their critical habitat," according to a news release from Ecojustice.

"There are ongoing scientific concerns about conservation of the species, particularly in light of the fact that killer whales are not looking good this year," said Lance Barrett-Lennard, co-chairman of the federal government's Resident Killer Whale Recovery Team.

The recovery team worked with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to produce a killer whale recovery strategy, which was finalized earlier this year.


CDFG California Outdoors Q&As: Help! I can't read the tags

Contact: Carrie Wilson, DFG Office of Communications, CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov

Question: Please help!!! I need reading glasses to fill out my abalone tags and so do my friends. We used to be able to fill out the cards back at the car, which was fine. But now with the new tags and regs we are required to fill out the tags as soon as we leave the water, but we can't see the fine print on the tags to fill them out! Our glasses are expensive and we have no way of bringing them with us when we dive. What can we do? Thank you. (David Gaon)

Answer: I can understand the challenges presented by small print and the difficulty you describe in trying to bring that very small print into focus without assistance. Unfortunately, there are no alternatives in the new regulations for either the diver or the game wardens - the report cards must be filled out immediately once coming ashore or boarding a boat.

The good news is that the tags and report cards are being redesigned for use next year in an effort to make them more "user friendly." Hopefully, that will include larger print!

In the meantime, you might want to consider including non-prescription reading glasses in your dive bag and/or a small magnifying glass. Either can be purchased at many convenience stores for under $15. At least with these you would not have to risk losing or breaking your prescription glasses and you will be able to comply with the regulations to legally continue taking abalone.


Underwater Web Cam:

Missing tropical diving? Try logging on to: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/wildcambelize/


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