Next Club Outing


Aug 2-3  Fri & Sat


Stillwater, Sonoma.


In Other Ocean News:

Underwater explorers find dozens of WWII U-boats in watery graveyard

Archaeologists have found the rusting remains of 44 submarines off the United Kingdom’s coast, an oceanic graveyard made up mostly of vessels from the German Imperial Navy dating to World War I. Der Spiegel reports a quartet of divers are now at work probing the massive trove of 41 German U-boats, and a trio of English submarines, found at depths of up to 50 feet, off England’s southern and eastern coasts.

Pictured, a U-boat stranded on the south coast of England in 1917

Donning an ultrasound sonar device as if it were a wristwatch, underwater archaeologist Mark Dunkley tells the German news magazine he anticipates most of the newly unearthed submarines will eventually be found to contain the perished crews’ remains.
He says his team will now to use robots to cut through the hull to find the mysteries that lie within. 'Perhaps we'll find a cup or a sign with a name on it,'

They only had 28 of the relatively new U-boats at the beginning of the war, but as the technology proved its effectiveness production was ramped up significantly.
'Many have forgotten how successful the German U-boat fleet was for a time,' added Dunkley.

However, the risks to the crew were enormous. Torpedoes often misfired, killing crew, and aiming them was a difficult and uncertain process. If they missed, the slow-moving vessels were easy prey for warships, which would ram them or use depth charges. Nearly half of the 380 U-boats used by the German navy in World War I were lost.


LAPD Diver Sent to Hunt for Evidence in La Brea Tar Pit

In his 16 years on the Los Angeles police dive unit, Sgt. David Mascarenas has answered the call to duty by being lowered into lakes, searching the flanks of piers and scouring the bowels of pipelines.

"I've been under moving ships, in underwater reservoir sheds ... you name it," Mascarenas said. "This is by far the craziest thing I've ever done."

In the hour long dive, at around 17 ft of depth, twice he got stuck in the pudding-like muck, his protective suit (a haz-mat dry suit) filled with oily tar and the constant gas bubbles belching from the depths left him with a light head and burning throat. Mascarenas' dive into the tar pits was part of a joint investigation into a "high-profile 2011" murder case by local and federal law enforcement agencies. Police would not describe nor detail the evidence they were seeking.

Mascarenas said he was surprised by the topography of the pit, which he said included protrusions of tar that looked like small mountains. "The methane gas was pushing up tar in pinnacle-like fashion," Mascarenas said. "I would squeeze the cylindrical columns and they would pop and I heard the gas burp.

Police have been planning the search for weeks.

At 6 a.m. Thursday, personnel with the LAPD's Metropolitan Division, criminal gang homicide unit -- as well as Long Beach police and port police -- gathered in the 5800 block of Wilshire Boulevard. Authorities deployed heavy equipment, including metal detectors on land and in the tar, high-powered magnets and sonar to map the area. Video cameras were able to focus on possible items of interest. By 2 p.m., multiple items in the detective's criminal investigation were recovered, showing that police would "go as far as we can to make it as difficult for a suspect to discard evidence," Mascarenas said.

He also said he hoped to see retirement before doing another dive into the tar pits.

Tar pits are composed of heavy oil fractions called asphaltum, which seeped from the earth as oil.


Can a Mosquito Kill a Killer Whale? Yes, Says New Case Report

It sounds almost impossible. How could a tiny mosquito possibly kill one of the top predators in the ocean? According to a new peer-reviewed case report published in the Journal of Marine Mammals and Their Ecology, it’s because they lived in captivity.

“Orca (Orcinus Orca) Captivity and Vulnerability to Mosquito-transmitted Viruses,” co-authored by John Jett and Jeffrey Ventre, queries the role of captivity and husbandry procedures in lowering the immune system of captive orcas. The duo, who are former SeaWorld trainers, directly correlated the death of two SeaWorld killer whales to their environment and disease-carrying mosquitoes.
“Although unreported in wild orca populations,” Jett and Ventre noted, “mosquito-transmitted diseases have killed at least two captive orcas in U.S. theme parks.”

The two male orcas in question were Kanduke, held at SeaWorld of Florida, and Taku – housed at SeaWorld Texas. Kanduke died in 1990 with St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) implicated in his death. Male orca Taku, succumbed to West Nile Virus (WNV) in 2007. Mosquitoes are the main vectors for both of these diseases.

UV Lowers Orca’s Ability to Fight Infection

“Unlike their wild counterparts who are rarely stationary,” Jett and Ventre said, “captive orcas typically spend hours each day (mostly at night) floating motionless (logging) during which time biting mosquitoes access their exposed dorsal fins.”

Furthermore they added, “high ultraviolet radiation … poor dentition [and persistent] antibiotic use,” all contributed to lowering an orca’s immune system, leaving him susceptible to mosquito-transmitted diseases.

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