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Coral Reef Spawning : Now in Australia

by Ksso on March 30, 2011

As Wikipedia states, (in case you don't know what a coral is):Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Corals are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, and are formed by polyps that live together in groups. The polyps secrete a hard carbonate exoskeleton which provides support and protection for the body of each polyp. Reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated waters. Also, a coral reef is a reef consisting of coral consolidated into limestone. ...

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Big Women Really Are Fun

by Ksso on March 27, 2011

Before getting in the water you need to perform a full body check with your dive buddy. This sentence "Big Women Really Are Fun" is my way of remembering how to do it properly without forgetting anything :

B(ig) - BCD : check out your buddy's BCD , how it attaches, how it works (especially in case if you need to grab him and get him to the surface safely, you'll need to be able to controle your buddy's buoyancy

W(omen) - Weight : check the weight belt, right hand release, no nested straps

R(eally) - Regulators : check the position of the safety additional regulator and ensure that nothing blocks or slows access to it ...

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Fish round up : Sea Cucumbers

by Ksso on March 27, 2011

Sea cucumbers are a common oddity in the ocean's sandy bottom. While they look like a dead dark sausage, they're actually live animals. They're even harvested for their skin and muscles to China. Alaskan sea cucumbers are also apparently more nutritionally interesting than their chinese counterparts.Sea cucumbers reproduce releasing sperm and ova in the sea - a subset of species fertilize their eggs internally. They also communicate one with another releasing hormons.Wikipedia precises that sea cucumbers have no true brain. A ring of neural tissue surrounds the oral cavity, and sends nerves to the tentacles and the pharynx. The animal is, however, quite capable of functioning and moving...

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The underwater photographer

by Ksso on March 22, 2011

I love to take underwater pictures, but let's face it, although technology got more affordable, it's awfully complicated to take decent underwater pictures. I recently got my hands on that book by Martin Edge, the Underwater Photographer, which really did help me understand better the whereabouts of underwater photography, including why it's so hard. Here are a few quotes that I'll try to keep in mind from now on :(...) the density of water is 800 times that of air. Such is the density of water, in fact, that people compare a picture taken in 0.5 m of water with a picture on land taken at 800 m away.Getting as close as possible, physically, is often all it needs to produce a marked...

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Fish round up : Harlequin Shrimp

by Ksso on March 19, 2011

Couldn't resist to share another incredible pic by Doug.Deep. Harlequin shrimp are fairly tough to spot, since the only live in the Pacific Ocean (and even there they're not ultra-common as the obis map below shows). It may actually be easier to spot them in a sea aquarium since this specie is also "cultivated" and fairly easy to buy in any aquarium shop (a quick google search shows a pair retailing 69.99USD).Contrary to what obis shows, there is also a hawaian  harlequin shrimp, which differs from the pacific one by being more shy and hiding in dark spots.The appearance of the harlequin shrimp isn't the only aspect that sets them apart from other shrimp. They have a truly unique diet as...

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DAN Magazine winter 2010/2011

by Ksso on March 16, 2011

If you're familiar with DAN (and if you're not, make sure your check out their website, they provide insurances and safety tools to scuba divers - and believe me you need this) you absolutely need to check out their magazine. The winter 2010/2011 issue has just been released today with loads of excellent pieces if you're interested in the technical aspects of diving.While I thought that the downlaod magazine was limited to DAN members (and again you can't really not be a member if you're not diving at least once a year) I must have been mistaken since the newsletter provided a direct download link to the pdf, so enjoy!Update : Apparently link has been restricted now  ...

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Donate for Japan

by Ksso on March 15, 2011

What's happening now in Japan goes beyond imaginable. Reactor meltdowns, quakes, radioactive contamination, tsunamis, thousands of deaths ... this all sounds like a bad drama.... yet this time it's real.I won't even talk about the consequences to the ecosystem, as you may remember from the last tsunami that hit Indonesia, those waves do harm the ecosystem, but the impact of a heavy dose of radiation are not well known.Anyway it's time yo support the Japanese Red Cross in their tentative of helping out the people there and donate. If you want to make sure your funds go to the Japanese red cross, you can either do a money transfer or use this form and google checkout.

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Scuba diving certifications

by Ksso on March 13, 2011

Breathing under 30m below the sea is not something natural for humans, and using all the gear and acquiring the ability to perform all necessary safety maneuvers while underwater is definitely something that must be learnt. Again, a small uncontrolled problem underwater can be deadly so it's important to dive prepared and to never dive alone.If you're off to learn scuba diving, depending on where you'll be learning you will be given a certification by local authorities and/or a global organization. For instance, in France scuba diving activities are managed by the FFESSM. All dive clubs are affiliated to FFESSM and will deliver FFESSM licences. Of course in the rest of the world nobody...

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Sea wonders : White christmas tree worm

by Ksso on March 12, 2011

Like for the slugs, the worms under the sea are way cooler than their earthy counterparts. The "Sabellida" order is composed by plethora of variations around the sea worm theme. Those worms hide in a tube (like the trunk of a tree) and anchor themselves onto living coral or rocks thus being sedentary. The head is mostly concealed by feathery branchiae. As sedentary inhabitants of coral reefs, tree worms feed primarily by filter feeding.Whenever they sense unusual current or presence, they withdraw all the radioles (the feather-like tentacles) inside the tube.Most species are not hermaphrodite and produce eggs that are fertilized externally and turn into larvas that hunt for a sweet spot...

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Fish round-up : the Grouper

by Ksso on March 09, 2011

In many places, seeing a grouper is kind of a huge achievement, and the bigger the grouper the better. Groupers can size over a meter and weight over 100kg, so when bragging about the grouper you've spotted you can be pretty pushy (but remember the rule: no picture, no proof => it did not happen ! ).  The "giant grouper" can even grow up to 2.7m (8.9ft) and 600kg (1300lbs), but he can only be spotted in Madagascar, Indonesia and Australia and apparently not very easily...Groupers are usually laying still near rocks, and their grey spotted skin combined to their stillness makes them actually fairly hard to spots. They don't like humans so much so as soon as they understand you've grown...

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