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FAQs about Learning to Dive 2

Related Articles: Diving, Travel Check Lists, Fishwatcher's Guide to the Red Sea,  

Related FAQs: Diving FAQs 1,

Don't do this at home, in the wild, or at the pool!

Scuba gear sel.       1/30/15
Hello Bob, sorry to bother you, but had a quick question if you have time to answer? When it comes to diving equipment do you have any go to brands or styles of equipment when it comes to functionality and comfort?
<Aye ya! Do I!!!! Many moons ago, writing for the "dive mag.s" (consumer and even industry/trade...) I and other just plain folks used to write product reviews. No longer; as there is just too much to know, too many makes, manufacturers. Def. seeking out opinions is a good idea; but actually trying on prospective buys is essential. There are few "bunk" (as in non functional, dangerous) designs (some masks, snorkels and fins)... Best to get on out on dive holidays and try their stock gear IMO.>
Thanks Bob! I had a hunch you might have been able to give me some info haha! So much like finding a shoe that fits and you find comfortable and function (for a lack of a better analogy) it's best to test what you're thinking of getting so, common sense for any sort of purchase, you know what you are buying.
<Glad to share Johnathon... I personally buy/use most any gear that I find a good-enough deal on. I do have some older tech.... BCD and reg. that are expensive, but mostly use mainstream Scubapro what have you brands... they all wear out for me in a few years due to heavy use. Again, you can rent most all at resorts, on liveaboards or shops to try out. As everyone's body is different (oh, like running shoes), the various makes fit or not.>
Awesome! Yeah I'm thinking ahead to my certification dives and am thinking of taking a trip to Florida to do them there. I'm sure there's no shortage of scuba dive shops or places to rent from being as it is....well... Florida, but that's a great idea to test it out during dives to get a feel for differences between equipment! I assume most places do daily rentals so I could try out different styles each of the days I'm there
<Ah yes; there are even such forward leaning makers that they sponsor dive outings so folks can/will try their gear... DUI here in town and their dry suits and the many go's that Backscatter has offered w/ UW photo/video gear come to mind >
Perfect! I'll be searching the Web and checking it out! Thanks Bob! Still going with wet web media correct? Haven't visited the site for a while but I remember sending in a few emails when I was first getting a hold on the hobby! You and Neale, the dynamic duo for all of my questions hahaAh
<Yes; still about... after twenty years... My best vehicle, chance/opportunity for interacting... offering input, inspiration to/with others. And thank goodness, Neale is still part of WWM as well... though he did discover women, cats... Even got married and has a child now (and a cat). He's teaching something like the eq. of High School Sciences in the UK >
20 years, few! That's great, it was/is such an important resource to hear from you and others on WWM a few years ago when starting off as Im sure it was for others. Especially with so much confusion and misinformation running rampant through "he said she said" forums and groups it's always refreshing to have your questions answered by a force of biologists and professionals. Glad to hear he's doing well! Yes discovering woman, and vertebrate companions can put a hold on some things, glad to hear Neale is doing well with both hahaha few seconds ago

Re Vacation spots for reef hobbyists     7/8/14
Mr. Fenner,
I am at that middle age point in life where I would like to take a solo trip of self discovery. I have thought of either a trip to a dive location known for their coral reefs but not in a commercialized tourist island.
Another thought I had was to visit some of the quality European reef hobby manufacturers, such as Tunze or H&S (Skimmer World!) lol
All kidding aside, I'm really not sure.
However, I like your idea of:
> Go on dive/adventure holidays to other countries, FLA, HI... diving on reefs, visiting collectors, wholesalers, manufacturers
<Mmm; let's chat this up ongoing... You're welcome to haul out with friends and I... to Bali in September (you are SCUBA certified I hope/trust)... perhaps the Aquarama show in Singapore next May... with industry friends... we'll likely do a bit of dive/adventuring before and after enroute... Otherwise, I am ALWAYS open to discussing, planning, getting out and about.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Vacation spots for reef hobbyists
Thank you very much, that would be amazing! it is funny that you mention Bali, I was thinking of somewhere in Malaysia or possibly the Maldives.
<Ahh! Very likely locations for revisiting... Am going to add you to our "Scuba/travel friends group" on FB for ease of communicating, planning>
regarding certification I received my PDIC - Professional Diving Instructors Corporation International certification back in 2003, however I have not been diving since. I will most likely take another dive
certification class before leaving if a diving trip is on the agenda. I know PADI is probably the most recognized but I have seen a school locally that is affiliated with SSI - Scuba Schools International.
<Mmm, good... the instructor choice is more important IMO/E than the certifying agency. Cheers, B>
e: Vacation spots for reef hobbyists   9/5/14
Mr. Fenner,
I was wondering if you still plan to take that diving trip now that we are in September?
<Ah yes; am just now in Jakarta; on the way to Bali... till the 22d... am out to Kona/HI next month...>
Also, you had mentioned adding me to your Facebook divers group. If you have sent me an invite I apologize.
<Will do right now Collin. Ah, done! BobF>

Vacation spots for reef hobbyists     7/7/14
Hi, Mr. Fenner. I was wondering if you knew of any volunteer or good vacation spots for reef hobbyists.
<WOW! All sorts... I plan for, go on these "vacations" a few times a year...
Out visiting anywhere I look up, get out to LFS
Go on dive/adventure holidays to other countries, FLA, HI... diving on reefs, visiting collectors, wholesalers, manufacturers
Contact local hobbyist groups while out giving presentations; visit their tanks...
Are you interested in something in particular? A biotope, product...?>
the way I love your book, The conscientious Marine Aquarist. It got me started in the hobby and now I have a 240 Wide running for 9 years now.
<Ahh! Thank you for your post; and encouraging words. Bob Fenner>

Interesting, Arthur C. Clarke was an avid scuba diver -- 12/03/11
Clarke, a keen scuba diver, was attracted to the island's rich marine life. In his words, 'When I arrived in Sri Lanka, I was a little disillusioned with life beneath the waves. I remember writing at the time that ultimately ocean life was crippled, because fish could not develop fire and fire is the basis of all technology.'
'But when I saw first hand the amazing variety of marine life beneath the waves off the Sri Lankan coast, I found it hard to believe that anything we encounter in space could be more wonderful, weirder or more spectacular.' (Author's note: My sentiments entirely!)
Cheers, Mike
Neat! Thank you for sending this along. B

Re: Scleronephthya/Dendronephthya, RS biotope ref.s and diving trips    12/28/10
Hi again Bob
Just a quick one, and thanks once again.
Found this for anyone else looking for red sea soft coral info, gives amazing pictures, coral names and also book lists for all you need, hope it helps others out, definitely worth a look.
<I see>
And like you would like to meet above and below the water with you All the best.
<How about next (2012) May? We'll be back out pre-Interzoo show... BobF>
Re: Scleronephthya/Dendronephthya, Diving 2011, 2012   12/29/10

Hi Bob
<Yo! Simon>
you'll have to send me details of where and when you'll be diving, see if I can make arrangements to head over and catch a dive with you.
All the best
<That would be mighty fine... Do mark on your calendar (I'm still analog...) or PDA or such to contact me April 2012 or such... or... we're headed out to Sipadan this year, about the same time frame (ahead of the Aquarama show in Sing.)... and I'm out to Cozumel in a couple of weeks and then late Feb into Mar. (7th) this year if you can/want to come along w/ friends. BobF>
Re: Scleronephthya/Dendronephthya, diving    12/29/10

Hi Bob
One of my close friends had dived the Mesoamerica reef (excuse spelling if that's not correct) it looks absolutely awesome.
<Ahh! Cozumel is encompassed by the Mesoamerican>
I'll keep in touch.
Take care
<Real good Si. BobF>

Off-season diving trip in Vakarufahli, Maldives in June  12/6/10
Hello WetWebbies.
I just wanted to throw this out there to anyone who might be interested. I am putting together a two-week off-season trip to Vakarufahli, Maldives in June and want to offer discounts to any WWM Crew/Followers. If you are interested and want more information, email me at balsamicbreaks@houseofbalsamic.com and put Diving in Vakarufahli in June as the subject. I hope to see you all out there!
Scott F.
<Have written to you. Be chatting! BobF>

attn: Mr. Fenner  8/8/10
Bob, do you ever lead any dive trips? Jeanne Warner
<Oh, not as such... that is, not as a tour guide of sorts. However I/we (friends) do get out a few times a year internationally dive/adventure traveling together... and if there's a discount for stay (resort or live-aboard) we divide all costs evenly. You're welcome to join some of the WWM Crew for a few days of diving in Pennekamp following the MACNA do in early Sept. Am looking for someone to head out to dive on the Nai'a in Fiji Oct. 23-30. If you're interested in notice from me/us, please make this known. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
> <You're very welcome. Take care, Lynn Z>
> PS. If Bob is leading any dive trips I am very interested in learning about them so that I can sign up!
> <RMF'¦?>
Re: attn: Mr. Fenner  8/8/10
Cheers and beers in return, Bob!
<Thanks Jeanne>
I am beginning a new job Sept. 1, so I'll not be traveling this fall.
Thank you, though, for encouraging my participation! I have twice spent a week diving with ProDive International out of Fort Lauderdale, Fl. Also, having spent 10 days in early May diving the Red Sea and having several days diving in the South China Sea off Okinawa two years ago, I am convinced that I will never get enough diving in warm water where the critters I keep in my aquarium thrive.
<Ahh, what a planet eh? I'm not leaving!>
I would enjoy knowing about upcoming opportunities to dive with you and/or the WWM Crew. I often am able, with a little planning and enough advance notice, to travel internationally for 14-21 days at a time. My plan is to dive internationally once a year.
<Hotay. Will accrue your email on such notices>
Again, thanks for your positive response. I look forward to the possibility of diving with you sometime.
Kind regards,
<And you, BobF>

Diving in SD   8/19/09
Hey Bob et al, been reading WWM today (as I am wont to do when I'm bored at work),
<Bored? At work? It may be my simplicity, or easy-stimulation, but I've never been bored period>
and noticed it said you guys dive off of SD. Well, I just finished my scuba cert, and my girlfriend is moving to SD to get her PhD in the next month. Which I'm taking as an excuse to dive more! Have any good suggestions for diving in SD where I might see some cool wildlife -
<Oooh, all sorts. Do check out the entire coastline... When surf permits (is small enough), there's a bunch of good spots... and offshore, the Coronado and Catalina Islands, wreck alley...
I'm hoping SD is a bit warmer than the sub-50 degree water we dove in Monterey?
<Mmm, yes; seasonally... currently the surface temp. is in the low 70's F...>
We've already got a trip to Belize planned for next year during whale shark season!
Thanks all!
<Am sure you'll enjoy. BobF, currently down in Bonaire... diving!>
PS: My tank has FINALLY shipped from Tenecor! Now if the county just approves my permit for my new garage (w/ 25K gallon tank!) I'll be really happy.

Re: Diving in Cozumel, join us!   7/15/09
Perry, Jack, Rick et al...
Here's a link to where I'd like us to consider staying:
I was here a few months back... the place is VERY nice... and reasonable... for three rooms, five folks... the list/rack rate is about $744 per person for 9/14-9/22
Further to the S. than Jack and I usually stay, but there are plenty of taxis (which we take anyway) if you want to go to the town up N....
And the diving is much closer (the better dives are to the S.) and this trade off with the taxi instead is much faster and more enjoyable than the 1/2 to full hour boat rides daily, both ways, to get to diving...
The food is excellent and there is a very nice fish restaurant, independent, to the immediate N. on the beach... See Trip Advisor et al. re.
At any length, what say you? Let's get this thing scheduled.

Re: Diving in Cozumel, join us! 7/15/09   7/17/09
Bob, Perry, Jack, Rick et al...
<Howdy Mark>
I saw in the FAQ's that you are contemplating a diving trip to Cozumel and mentioned the Iberostar resort. Just wanted to give you my 2 cents worth.
<Please do>
I stayed at the Iberostar Paraiso del mar about 6 years ago. The ocean would not cooperate with us and it was too rough to go diving. So, we took the Ferry over to Cozumel and went diving at the Iberostar you mention. It was a great trip and the dive operation there was excellent. Since I was staying with Iberostar, my all inclusive package gave me the same privileges at the Cozumel resort, which is a nice feature for having a couple of drinks and snacks after the dive. I would highly recommend this resort to divers and you might consider taking the Ferry from Cozumel over to the Paraiso del mar resort for some dives on the mainland side. Maybe Mother Nature will cooperate for you and you could get some dives in there as well.
The biggest impression left on me after diving in Cozumel, was the current. The water moving between the mainland and the island really gets things moving. I literally felt like I was flying underwater.
Lots of fun!
Good luck
Happy diving!
<Thanks much for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Polish and I out to Bonaire 8/15 (on site, leaving SD 14th), back 8/22, join us 7/1/09
RickP and I are ticketed to go... don't have stay, dive pkg picked out yet, but in process... Got the time (FF miles on NWA, Delta, or Continental?)... Come on down! Bob/DF.

Diving Equipment, 5/13/09
Hi Bob & Scott,
Well, now that I'm certified
<Ahh! Congrats!>
(Open water and Nitrox), it is time to start buying toys.
Any recommendations? So far, I've used Mares and Atomic. I like them both, though Atomic seems a bit pricy.
<Am likely a very bad influence here Mike... as I buy/use pretty much whatever is on sale or that folks deeply discount... use most up w/in a year and just get new rather than serviced or repaired... Am copying ScottV here as he is not only very sharp, a diver, but likely has good ideas to contribute. I do want to toss in my dos centavos to say that there's nothing wrong with used/but cared for rental gear from dive svc.s... And admit that I am a "mail order scumbag" when/where it comes to the more expensive items here. BobF>

Re: Diving Equipment, 5/13/09
Hmmm, Mike, what I can say is when I bought my dive equip. I went "top of the line". Since then I have learned what is really a necessity and what is not. I recently bought Sara M her dive equipment and basically went with what Bob stated, whatever is on sale. There is no reason to spend more than say $600 or so on a BC, computer, fins, mask and regulator. A wetsuit is another story, you will not need much though out in Florida, should be a less than $100 closeout too. So check out Scubatoys.com, especially their closeouts and used equipment. As far as stuff that needs to be serviced, such as the regs, do try to buy a backed model. Not a gray market such as those sold by sites like Leisurepro.com. The price difference can be made up in a year or two by the free rebuild parts done in the yearly service very quickly.
Scott V.
Thanks much Scott. BobF.

Re Diving Equipment 5/15/09
I just wanted to add to the discussion on dive gear... the "cheap" equipment Scott got me is actually the best dive equipment I've ever had experience with. The BC is awesome, the regulator is just heavenly... the fins, computer, everything is all great (not at all chincy stuff). So, apparently, you can get really good dive gear for not that much money if you just know how to shop for it. I think ScottV must be a pro at this, because I saw what he paid for mine, and I hope he doesn't mind me sharing... it doesn't look like he paid more than $800 for *everything.* And when you do the math, it's worth it to buy it at these prices if you dive even just 4 or 5 times a year for 4 years... since renting the whole set of things can be up run $40 to $50 (or more) for a weekend (or so it goes here in CA it appears).
Sara M.
<If you need any help tracking down equipment let me know... I'm a diving instructor out of Florida, I am happy to help you shop on a budget.
Josh Solomon>

Re: Interest in a trip out to Fiji? 04/21/09
The thought is very interesting although places like Fiji, Cozumel, etc are way out of my budget range. I'd be thinking more like Marathon Key or another in the key chain of FLA.
<Ahh, do "stay tuned" then... as a few of us/WWM Crew are headed down to Orlando, and who knows where hence)... and we may be able to at least sponsor your travel, dive certification in part>
My other concern is if I'm physically in shape to do such but thinking beginning dives would be limited both in depth and time.
<Ah yes... as is life itself>
What is the average cost of equipment rental, fee for certification, training, etc?
<Heee! All posted on the Net. Be chatting, B>

Re: Interest in a trip out to Fiji? 04/21/09
Will stay tuned, Bob. With humor in her voice, my wife says they will either be pumping water out of you on the boat, or Greenpeace will spot you and try to tow you out to sea thinking you are beached whale.
<Dang! Best start that new weight reduction program! B>

Re: Hi Bob from Walt Fiji liveaboard trip poss.  04/23/09
Walt... have looked at Nai'as site:
A bit pricey, but very nice... Can you, do you want to make either their May 23-30 or May 30- June 6 excursions?
Are you going to Aquarama this go? (5/28-31?)...
Aggressor in FJ has seven day trips open for three folks starting 5/23 and 5/30... or later 6/27... Or... will you be there out till August? Am planning to be out in Malaysia 6/10-21 inclusive currently... but can/will gladly rearrange my flights to bug you in FJ coming or going if this works. What say you? BobF.

Solomons <Note: RMF posts this to the "general public" in hopes that there is/are folks who would like to "schlep along with the rest of us" on out to these places, venues... Do write in if interested> -- 04/22/09
Bob, Do you guys want to go for a 7 day trip Sept 15-22 ?? Craig and I are going'¦..
What's up??
Carol <<These are the folks/friends who own/operate Ocean Rider in Kailua. RMF>>
<Mmm, that's tight with MACNA (in NJ no less!) ... out on the 24th, but I'm game. I met up with Dave Palmer (of PAF, but still has his own operations in the Solomons... and he mentioned my going out to dive with him there... I'll cc him, Di, a few other folks, but do count me in... and send along pertinent travel data as you accumulate. I will likely try to use FF miles... I know Air Pacific flies there, and they code share with American... Who will we dive with? Bilikiki? Have you checked re space availability? BobF> yes the Bilikiki is open for this week. The 7 day trip is wide open right now. Craig and I have already booked. We will fly to Nadi and from there to Honiara via Air Pacifica. I will send you a copy of our booking. It would be fun to fill the boat!! If we book for 10'¦we get 15% off and the 11 person goes free!!!
Got a buy a camera'¦.any ideas??
<All sorts... will check on my flights for the trip... and cameras... Do you already own one you consider as decent? Even the small, non D-SLRs take great pix... and there are MANY secondary market housings for most all popular makes, models... the REAL expense is actually the strobe/flash... which with a sync cord will run 900-1000 US... with a tray, count on about 1k... BobF>

Re: Solomons -- 04/22/09
Hi Carol & Bob,
I would definitely be interested and maybe my wife too. Please keep me on the list for details.
<Will do... Michael... what time frame will you be in Lembeh? Does your itinerary have space for Robert Bray/House of Fins and I possibly? BobF>
Would also be good to see Dave again (and you, Carol and Craig of course!). I'll be in Lembeh, Indonesia next month for an octocoral survey then Aquarama in Singapore. I should have email while away.
Michael P. Janes
President & Senior Aquarist
12040 North 32nd Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85028

Re: Solomons  04/23/09
Is this a live aboard trip ?
I would be interested if not. Can you send me some web sights so I can check this destination out. Thanks.
<Here: http://www.bilikiki.com/faq.php#2b
They/Bilikiki run their seven day trip to coincide with the airlines (Pacific) Tues-Tues... I'd like to look about, find another leg somewhere about rather than hauling for the six days of actual diving. What say you? BobF>

Aquarama, plus diving...  -- 04/22/09
Hi Bob!
Long time, no speak!! I hope all is well.
I have been a maniac....change, change, change!! But its all good, and I should not complain, many of my peers are not doing so well in this economy.
<Ahh, life is change>
I imagine you are heading to Aquarama, and I am considering going myself. I have never been, nor have I been to Singapore.
<A fab country!>
My question is, are you going to be going diving anywhere when you are in the region?
<Yes, pls see below>
I was thinking it would be a shame to go all the way out there without doing some great diving- figured you were the guy to ask for the sites!! Any thoughts??
<I do! Had thought to skip this time around, as I couldn't find anyone for the time slot to go w/.... The show itself is 5/28-31... I am already scheduled to be in Malaysia/Spratly's 6/10-21, but would gladly haul out sooner... attend Aquarama and dive with you in the area... Indo., Malaysia, or? How much time thereabouts do you have, can you take? Do you have FF miles with any of the large carriers? Let's chat, and firm all up... soon! BobF>
All the best, and see you soon,
Robert A. Bray
House of Fins
99 & 209 Bruce Park Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830

Diving Costs\Equipment Rental - Florida 04/21/09
<Thanks for chiming in Mike>
This is Mike V from "The Crew" I caught part of the email exchange while I was browsing the webmail server.
I've just recently signed up for diving lessons myself. The course I'm taking is $300 per person - includes equipment rental, one pool dive, four open water dives, and PADI certification as an Open Water Diver.
<Dang! What a bargain!>
Once certified, equipment rentals in this area run about $75 per day.
BTW Bob, I've done some more checking, the best diving on the east coast is hands down West Palm Beach.
<Thank you for this... will send out to the folks I think that are currently interested>
If you are interested in wreck diving, Key Largo has a nice one from
what I've been told: http://fla-keys.com/spiegelgrove/
<Ah yes... met a very nice fellow this last wknd in Maryland... Ken Nedimeyer (yep, like Animal House)... Is doing some fantastic work re Acropora cervicornis down in the Keys... I know this is some distance from Orlando... but, is anyone/all interested in renting a van... hauling down for five days or so of diving... Staying at...? Have done a bit of look-seeing... For something reasonable cost wise... that has enough attraction dive wise... What do you all think might be worthwhile? BobF>

Diving Bonaire 11/27/08 Scott V, <Hello again Mark!> This isn't part of our original discussion, but I wanted to say a little about the efforts that Bonaire has undertaken to protect their reefs. Bonaire is a beautiful place and they understand that one of their biggest attractions is the underwater world around their island. Even with the rain prior to our dives, we had visibility of over 80 feet. During the summer they receive very little rain, which is evident by the cactus growing on the island. It's not unusual for them to have visibility of over 100 feet. The corals are beautiful. When you dive in Bonaire you have to pay a $10 fee to enter their National Marine Park. They have declared the area around the entire island as a national park and instituted several things that I found very cool. In addition to the fee they have made it mandatory for all dive operations to perform a buoyancy check for all divers prior to diving on the reefs. They also do not allow divers to wear any gloves to discourage anyone from touching. As an experienced diver, I found it a little annoying to have to do the buoyancy check and a checkout dive, but I understood what they were trying to do. <Yes.> If you dive, you've seen the people that like to go in with too much weight, "just to be sure", and end up crashing into the bottom with utter disregard for what they just destroyed! This is the first time I've actually had to show buoyancy control before being allowed to dive since my certification dives in 2002. I'd actually like to see some of these common sense things done in the US. I dive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at least one every year. Now, the water is a bit colder there, so taking the gloves off may not be possible, but a buoyancy check? I don't think that's too much to ask. <It is a good idea.> It would actually benefit the dive boat operators to protect the reefs. It is the source of their income. No reef, no divers! Kudos to Bonaire! Mark Gustin <Thank you for sharing this. It is good to hear that they are taking these steps to protect what is there. Perhaps we will meet on a dive some day! Quite a few members of the crew are divers in fact. Talk again soon, Scott V.>

Re: Thursday, some notice Now! That's April 1, and no fools... Dinner Party and UW Pix Extravaganza!  8/19/08 Hi Bob and Diana, <Hey there Trudy> How are you? Done any good diving recently? <Mmm, yes... were out in the Red Sea with friends in May and am still out diving in Hawaii> We went to Sangalaki but no manta. The jellyfish lake was cool though... <Ah, yes> Finally managed to get camera to work with Mac, yay! Couldn't fix it myself but sent it Mac to get them to teach me how and in the end they had to reformat the handycam hard drive but now it's completely usable! I really have no excuse for not doing the video editing now... <Heeee! Will gladly lend you some of mine> My uncle and aunt went to Oman which was really cold but lots of sea life and rays especially... <I really want to visit there some day... The Fishes of Oman book was produced by some folks here in Hawaii... and they have many good things to say re the Sultan, the area... I've never been diving toward the Indian Ocean end of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden...> Gotta run! Trudy <Be chatting! BobF>

Opinion Request-"Open Waters" Story on Dateline 7/9/08 Greetings Crew! Hope you are all doing well and enjoying life. I just wanted to "chat" a bit about a diving horror story I watched on Dateline which aired July 7th. I was hoping that one of your resident divers (hopefully Bob, but I'd love to hear any of your opinions') saw the story as well. I don't want to recount the story in detail because my detailed versions of stories tend to go on forever. <Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with this incident> The piece was called "Open Waters", referring partially to the recent movie although this occurred after the movie I believe. A husband and wife on a diving excursion were "left" in the water for something like 18 hours and it was a recount of their harrowing experience. This piece affected me a great deal since diving on a reef is one of the things I wish to experience more than anything in the world. Funds are very low these days and for now it is a pipe dream, but I am sure one way or another I will make it happen in the future. <Ah, good> My love of the ocean and my personal reef aquarium has driven/created this dream. Anyhow, this story was frightening and I imagine would be for anyone to hear whether you are an experienced diver or simply a dive dreamer like myself. So, my first question (assuming someone saw the story... if not, just chuck this email… I will understand and won't be offended) regards the possibility of something like this actually happening. Is being left in the water a common worry of the average diver, or something that involves an enormous amount of negligence on the part of the diver as well as the instructor/guide? <The latter, assuredly. Per time spent in the water, there is very little danger. Many orders of magnitude less than driving a car let's say. The vast majority of dive services are very competent, conscientious> My second question has to do with the apparent conflict between the featured dive couple and the company who ran the excursion and if you had an opinion on whose side of the story rang truer (referring to where the fault lies) to any of you experienced divers. Again, as scary as this story was, it will in no way affect my personal desire to see a beautiful reef in person. I think I would have this intense desire even if diving was very dangerous which I do not think is the case although admittedly I do not have any knowledge or information to base that opinion on. I am simply curious to hear thoughts/reactions from a group of people whose opinions I hold in the highest regard (of course that being the Wet Web staff). Thanks in advance for the reply and for the great web site. I hope you guys are always around for us! Sincerely, Nick Sadaka <Thank you for your kind words Nick. Bob Fenner>

Dragon Goby, Human Injury 6/9/08 Hi, <Hello> I am trying to research the dragon goby, but not for a fish tank. Recently, while we were at Thassos, Greece, my daughter reached down to pick up what she thought was a rock or a shell, but turned out to be a fish that had been resting under the sand. (She was sure it was a sea snake that bit her.) <Did it look like puncture wounds? If so I would guess it was stuck by spines as opposed to bitten.> It did cut her finger and resulted in a very painful and inflammatory reaction. A doctor there came to give her an injection to help with the pain, and said it was probably a Dragonfish. Two weeks later, her finger is still swollen and is now being treated medically. I want to find out more if the dragon goby could be the fish that she touched. <Unlikely, they would not be capable of inflicting such a would, I would guess it was some sort of Scorpaenidae, many of which do have venomous spines and could be mistaken for rocks.> I am not finding very good information so far, and see that you have a lot of expertise. Will you please help me by directing me to the right resources? Please send information directly back to my email address. Thank you. Sincerely, Melissa <Some of these fish can be very dangerous, fortunately it seems as though the injury here is pretty localized. Two weeks seems like a very long time to still have significant injury, perhaps DAN (Diver Alert Network) could direct you to a doctor familiar with dive related injuries, and may have familiarity with something like this. http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/index.asp . Hopefully if Bob has any more ideas he will add here, but I would definitely seek a medical professional here.> <Chris>

I'm convinced, ScottV goes UW! 5/1/08 I signed up for dive classes today. Between the classes and dives I will be done at the end of June, then we will have to talk! <Ahh! Do look into the poss. of "finishing", doing your check out dives in Hawaii... I'll be out there likely towards the end of June through a good part of August. You and your family, friends are welcome to come/stay.> Looking forward to great dives, Scott V. <It is indeed, another world "down there". BobF>

Re: I'm convinced 5/2/08 I will likely be there, take you up on this! I'll be sure to let you know. I have thought of doing the check out dives in Hawaii, it sure beats Monterey (even though I have heard it is very nice, but cold). I am wanting and ready to see the other world, Scott V. <I look forward to your relating the experiences. BobF>

Video on WWM, photography/videography, diving, life  4/13/08 In regard to last weeks video possibilities on WWM, what do you think of simply posting vids on YouTube? WWM can have its own dedicated channel, controlled by yourself for official WWM posts. It seems to me an easy solution. Those that want to view can, those that don't won't have to. It costs WWM nothing and links can be incorporated into articles or even FAQ?s. Just something I have been thinking and wanted to discuss in person this last weekend (shame it did not work out). What is your take? Scott V. <Thanks for this Scott... Have thought re going this route... And have been trying to download the last trips video on the new Mac Pro... not going all the way on the import... Argghhh, but am determined to try... maybe both... loading on our site with FrontPage and also YouTube. BobF> Re: Video on WWM 4/13/08 I was able to directly upload to I movie. It did not work at all with a USB...curious. But worked and continues to work flawlessly with a firewire cable. <Have spent the last twenty so minutes looking for a ding dang cable that will go into the four pin Firewire on the Mac... AND fit the Sony (1080 line, 60 gig HD... that has all sorts of ports... but not a firewire!!!! Nor a cord that has their flattened "V" connector to fire! Am going to upload on my other desktop, copy and try linking to the Mac... or off to the electronic store for a cable? B> Re: Video on WWM 4/13/08 BTW, has more to do with the Sony export than the Mac import, I think. <If memory serves, they/Sony offers a Mac vers. of their upload software... would rather not use though. BobF> Re: Video on WWM 4/13/08 No, the Sony software generally stinks, especially compared to what is included with the Mac. The same goes for Nikon!! <We are in total agreement... what a fiasco the NEF format is/was... and charging folks for the crap software post purchase of their camera bodies!?> My Sony is not HD and has standard Firewire ports. Do let me know what you figure out, I have been contemplating a HD camera for a while now. Scott V. <The camera is fab... have a cheapy Ikelite housing and some old-retrofitted NiteRider lighting system... Do you dive, make pix U/W? BobF>

Re: Video on WWM 4/14/08 Bob, <Scott> I do not dive, have wished to for years. First it was an issue of lack of funds, now it is lack of time. <Ahh, too often mutually exclusive properties, limiting the exercise of our growth in these... "modern times"> I am always saying I have no time to travel. Fact of the matter is I do. <Yes my younger friend... We all have exactly the same amount of time. An important lesson... to learn/realize> I choose to use it traveling to Central/South America with a medical team. <Ahh!> I go and make prosthetics for people that usually don't even have shoes. I generally do two stints of two weeks a piece per year. <Very worthwhile> Not being happy with the way my pictures translated what I experienced prodded me into the DSLR. The difference is amazing! The next trip is to Tejutla, Guatemala in May, although it looks like I may miss this one. The underwater world continues to captivate my interest. My friends that do dive tell me I will ditch the tank after seeing a reef in person... <Mmm, or delve further... these are not mutually exclusive activities> I doubt that! My business partner dives and is constantly harassing me into going with him. <You should listen> If and when I do go diving I will invest in the underwater equip., <Easy enough to rent/borrow...> I would not want to miss capturing that experience either. What is your primary lens you use? <60 and 105 mm macro, fixed focal length, auto-focus (Nikon)... with a few others used in small percentage time> I have looked at the Ikelite housings, seems to be the way to go. <Are fine for general use> A grand is reasonable enough for what you get, it is the price of the strobe that is killer! <Also... about a grand currently... each... then there are arms, batteries... the computer to...> Needless to say, if I do someday dive, you are the first one I will contact. Perhaps meeting up on the big island with you! <I do see this happening... and soon! Let's chat over when you have time> Cheers, Scott V. PS, I have been creating a website for an LFS owner/friend of mine. This is oddly enough the first time I have taken interest in taking pictures in a tank. This has captivated me more than the livestock and reefkeeping itself. Of course, as soon as I figured out what I was doing the camera crapped out, a bad image sensor according to Nikon. Supposed to be back to me this next week. I miss my camera and bounce between buying a cheap point and shoot and just swallowing my wallet and getting a D200. Patience is not my greatest virtue. <Another important lesson... Cheers, BobF>

Happy new year! Shark ID, UW photography, dive adventures Hey dogfish, <Chris> hope the holidays treated you well and that it was a safe holiday season. things were enjoyable out east. moist sushi did some diving over in the red sea while she was over that way for business. sounds pretty nice. couple things.... 1. can you ID the shark in this picture? I'm guessing it washed up on the beach but I don't know for sure. It's a beach on the Outer Banks, NC. My friends who found it, said it was about 12' in length. They thought it was a great white but I'm not the expert that you are. <Is almost certainly a Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus> 2. I'm looking for a second strobe for my camera rig. what kind of Inon strobe did I borrow from you? <An older model... don't think they produce it anymore... I would look for a recent in-production one... on sale!> 3. Meghan may have a business trip out to HI in Feb/March. Not sure what island her business on and I don't recall which island your place is on. It would be fun to catch up out there if schedules work out. I've a got a friend out there that works in the dive industry and keeps telling me about the night dives with the mantas. sounds really cool!<Please have her email or call me there (808 331 XXXX)... I'll be out that way till 2/19... on the Big Island> 4. scuba cruise 08. I have several ideas.- found another live aboard company. cost a bit more than black beards but the ship is 106'; they have cabins vs. racks; and max pax load is 18. hot showers on the dive deck and nitrox. my thinking is to see how many folks are interested and then decided whether a live aboard will work or to do a land based trip. Bonaire keeps popping into my head since they seem to avoid most of the 'canes. I know you are not on the scuba cruise yahoo group, so I wanted to let you know and also hear your opinion. happy new year and happy diving! Pulls <You as well my friend. Do you have interest in hauling out to the Far East with us/groups in 08? If so, I'll email you the particulars... Cheers, Bob/DF>

DEMA Dive Special 12 Days 9 Nights $2555   11/12/07 Includes: a.. Roundtrip economy airfare and taxes from Los Angeles on Malaysia Airlines a.. 7 nights stay at Sipadan Water Village - Standard Chalet a.. 2 nights stay at Hyatt Regency Kota Kinabalu inclusive breakfast a.. Buffet breakfast, lunch & dinner at resort a.. Roundtrip overland & boat transfers to/from resort a.. 3 boat dives daily and unlimited shore diving at Mabul Dive Center (Total 8 dive days) a.. Equipment provided: tank, weights/belt, Limited gear available for rental a.. Provide diving to neighboring islands - Sipadan and Mabul a.. Night dives - restrictions apply a.. Tanks, weight & weight belt Not included in package: Tips to guides, Marine Park fees, Airport taxes Travel Insurance - Highly recommended Valid travel dates till Nov 30,07/Jan 16 - May 31,08. Other available travel dates subject to season surcharges DEMA Sipadan Water Village Resort Package Holy moly! That's a deal! Is it the rainy season? Late March early April is best for me... Phil <Doesn't really matter here re rain... not typhoons like elsewhere... I say, let's go! Hike Kota, do the "Drop in..." B> Shark Question - 10/04/07 Not a question about livestock, though. I read that you dive a bunch. What is the largest shark you've encountered? Just curious. I saw on CNN.com yesterday a video of a girl who's surfboard was hit by a 14ft White shark. Gotta be scary. Thomas Roach <Have seen an oceanic white tip that was about 15 feet long... this is likely the largest... but not the most frightening... as it was observed in the distance. Other "more sudden" such experiences with bulls, hammerheads and a tiger were much scarier. Still, more people are killed by falling aircraft parts... BobF>

Diving - 09/30/07 Hi Bob. Hope everything is well. I would like to ask where is the best place to dive in the world? This is not my usual question i ask you as i have usually ask the crew. Thanks in advance. Ghulam <Well... all depends on what one is looking for... structure, wrecks, big animals, macro (to see, photograph small life)... something in particular... For consistent warm, clear water... my fave is twixt the Red Sea and near the Wallace Line in Malaysia or Indonesia. How about you? BobF>

Re: Diving 10/3/07 Hello again Bob. Well i have not been diving anywhere but Bahrain where i live, its really not that interesting. <Even nearshore? The muck?> I am thinking of starting to join my reef tank creatures family in the near future, diving i mean not living, which i would love to do if it was possible or i could become a merman (not sure about the spelling there :-/ ). <Heee!> I was thinking about going to the far east i.e. Thailand or Indonesia and hopefully 1 day to the Great Barrier Reef, its just that i really HATE flying. <Got to practice... less frightening for me if I do frequently> I have been into my marine creature now for about 10 years & was into freshwater before that since i was a young child. Love it so much that i am trying to get a budget to open my own store. Ghulam <Ahh! Good to have dreams... ambitions. Hope to meet you someday, above and below water! Bob Fenner> Re: Diving 10/3/07 Oops forgot to mention what i was looking for my future dive...i am looking for somewhere i can see the creatures of that we all keep in our Reef Tanks, beautiful creatures of coarse. Looking forward for your input. Ghulam <Well, the best is as close to the "Wallace Line" as you can get... perhaps Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia... BobF>

Sand Dollar Resort in Bonaire   2/12/07 Allrighty, then, let me try to summarize the abundance of Bonaire info. I gathered!    1.  Sand Dollar Resort - "specials" valid from 4/14/07 - 12/21/07:          6 people/3 bdrm = $711 pp (diver package rate, which includes room, truck, bkfst, unltd. shore, 6 1-tank boat dives, free Nitrox, room tax - I'm not even going to bother listing the "vacationer package" rate!)          5 people/3 bdrm = $786/pp          4 people/2bdrm = $732/pp          3 people/2 bdrm = $864/pp          2 people/1 bdrm = $1006/pp          2 people/studio = $931/pp      Sand Dollar contact info.: tel = 1-800-288-4773; e-mail = us reservations@sanddollarboinaire.com ; website = www.sanddollarbonaire.com    2. Captain Don's Habitat "specials" valid from 4/1/07 to 12/22/07:        - Dive Packages (incl. room, bkfst, 6 1-tank boat dives and unltd. shore - 7 nights from $769/pp        - Dive and Drive Packages (incl. same as above, plus truck - 7 nights from $921/pp        - Learn to Dive Packages - 7 nights from $869/pp        - Dive and Adventure Packages (incl. same as above, plus choice of 3 activities - 7 nights from $801/pp     Captain Don's North American Representative: tel. = 1-800-327-6709; e-mail = captaindon@maduro.com ; website = www.habitatbonaire.com    3. Belmar Oceanfront Apartments "dive and drive package specials" (incl. room, truck, unltd. shore, ins. taxes and svc. charges) valid from 4/14/07 - 12/14/07:        - 6 pax in 3 bdrm: $481/pp        - 5 pax in 3 bdrm: $547/pp        - 4 pax in 2 bdrm = $569/pp        - 3 pax in 2 bdrm = $709/pp        - 2 pax in 1 bdrm = $931/pp      Belmar Oceanfront Apts. contact info: tel = 1-888-655-0605; e-mail = info@belmar-bonaire.com ; website = www.belmar-bonaire.com    I did get other resort info. (e.g., Buddy Dive Resort, Caribbean Club Bonaire, etc.) but I've listed the three best packages I've come across... <Thank you for this>    Bob, or others - do you know anything about Belmar - it seems to be the cheapest and the pictures look really nice! <Don't recall seeing this place... the other two are on the beach...>    And, I have so much information on pretty much any diving other site you can imagine - so just ask, if you want more! <Thank you Jor... now... if we can come to an agreement re time schedules... BobF> Coral Gardens, TX diving Thanks again for the reply. I have an unrelated question. I'm wondering if you know anything about scuba diving the reef (Coral Gardens?) that is 100mi or so off the coast of Freeport, TX. I believe only 2 major tour ships go out that way. I'm planning for this trip this year and I thought you might have made this dive. I have read that in September the corals reproduce. The trip would cost more but that would be a quite a sight to see. Thanks. <I signed up for this or a similar trip in conjunction/following last years MACNA get. tog. in Houston... Unfortunately cancelled due to high surf... There was a pitch there re what to expect... I definitely would haul out there given the opportunity. Bob Fenner>

Bio shot for Graham, and Dive Certification     1/21/07 <Certification... You don't want to be just snorkeling about... I assure you. Find out who offers what programs in your area... cost/s. B> <This is kind of freaky... we are obviously on the server at the same time. Hehe. About the cert., Rick mentioned two ways for me to go here in Maine. One was with a guru up here that he said is very respected in his field, and the other was by a lady that runs what he considers an extreme certification course. Either way, I'll hook up with them both and find the costs associated with them. By the way, Rick was jealous of my invite to Bonaire, and I suggested that you might enjoy his company as well. He offered to pay his own airfare, etc., but was unsure if his schedule would allow. Well, I'm off to answer some posts! G> <Ahh... Rick is welcome to come along... And as long as the folks are in the cert. biz (PADI, NAUI, others...) is fine. You want "Open Water Certification"... A "C" card. Be chatting, diving. BobF>

Let's go diving!  11/16/06 Hey dude! <Phil! Isn't it past your bedtime? Heeeeeee! Ever sell those conversions?> I haven't seen you in like forever, so I wanted to check in and say hi.  Don't know if you know, but I converted a bunch of my units to condos and now they're all sold, <Oh... yayyyy!> so I'm officially "on hiatus " (or "between engagements"), so I'm looking to do lots of diving. <Am out in HI right now if you can get a fast flight... coming back to SD on 12/2>   I was in Bali in June and just got back from Sipadan.  Got any trips planned? <Mmm, some indeterminate in 07... will gladly help shedsyule some with ya!> Need anyone to carry your gear?  Drink beer with? <Always> Lemme know what's been happening... Thanks! Phil Sokol <Di and I were in Wakatobi for a couple of weeks last month... and Bali, Thailand and Cambodia... Let's chat re you coming over here quick... and/or some other trips upcoming. BobF>

PNG here we come!  9/18/06 Bob Fenner, <Keith> Keith Rowley here.  check out the link below.  have you seen this yet?  when are we going? http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060918/sc_afp/indonesiawildlifeenvironmentpapua_060918092916;_ylt=Av Wta7TI4by06ET42k6xxSUTO7gF;_ylu=X3oDMTA5bGVna3NhBHNlYwNzc3JlbA-- I put a link to WWM on my blog:   http://zenmarine.blogspot.com/   check it out. Keith <Did see this... just today. Right there along the Wallace Line... Ahhh! Bob Fenner>

Here today, gone tomorrow or so... not to Maui, but just some 25 miles to the south  9/18/06 Hi Bob, Just wanted to know if the invite to Hawaii still stands? <Oh yes... always>   We would love to come out for a visit.  If so, we need to know dates and we'd like to book airfare soon as prices seem pretty good right now.  Hope this finds you well.  We just returned from an awesome weekend!  Sanjay arranged a trip to Atlantis Marine World. <Very nice place> We went seining, had a behind the scenes tour and went snorkeling with the rays.  It was fantastic.    Hope to hear from you soon, Michelle and Kent <Am out the next trip the sixth of November... till Dec. 6 I think... can/will extend... and there are some very reasonable fares currently. Hope to see you soon/there. BobF> Re: Bodianus bimaculatus/Twinspot wrasse has a higher mortality rate when not sold in mated pairs? Getting out diving this time   9/15/06 Bob. Thank you for the insight. <Glad to share> This hobby is fascinating. Thank God for multiple sources of information. I only wish I had more time logged under the waves to observe the behaviors first hand. <Mmm... up to you...> I hope Jamaica was/is amazing. I imagine you know the good spots to go to see our underwater friends. Clue me in please. James <Better than this, please do come out with us... trips coming up to HI in Nov. and Dec... and cheap fares currently... and the WWM Crew is hauling out (well, some of us) to Bonaire in late Feb... BobF>

Let's go diving  - 09/14/06 where are you now? <Just back from Jamaica...> starting to plan for next year dive trips, hopeful one with you <Oh yes! Hey Dan... are you going to MACNA? There's a trip out to the Flower Gardens just after that there's room on... Am going. And we're off for most all Oct., including time in Bali and (finally!) Wakatobi, though that's an expensive go... And will be spending most of Nov. in HI if you can make it, would like to haul out, dive... And the WWM folks plus are planning on a week or so in Bonaire in Feb. thus far... Where, when do you want to go eh? BobF>
take care

A Bier Drinking Contest UW in the Far East?   7/31/06 <Don't drink and dive... Drink WHILE you're diving! Heee, RMF who has tried "shooting beers" underwater... Dangerous>

Was: Re: coral propagation book Anthony, now, let's go on a dive vacation!  - 07/03/04 Well deserved, in fact, I have your book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" on my coffee table and refer to it frequently.  On another note, I recently spent a short vacation at the coast (Morro Bay, CA) with a couple of retired teacher friends. <A beautiful, spiritual area>   They have been dive certified and have become avid divers.  I am going to learn as well; old dogs (I'm 48) can learn new tricks; <... am an even older dog/fish> however, I am in education, and therefore must be prudent in getting cost effective dive trips.  We want to go somewhere next Easter break.  What would you recommend for a budget conscientious neophyte diver?  And, where are the best dive places today? <Someplace close to the west coast of the U.S.? Mmm... many possibilities... Do check with your frequent flyer programs re airfare offers... but Hawai'i (look for package deals with air, a car, hotel... and go with at least one friend to split costs...), Baja, particularly the Cabo, San Jose corridor sometimes has some good deals... If you're a bit adventurous, there are several "inland" possibilities with avid dive clubs going to lakes, quarries... in Arizona, Colorado... What defines a "best" dive experience is quite individual... some folks like topography, others large animals, some small, fun to photograph... Other people like to visit wrecks... For myself, being in relatively warm, clear water with something interesting to see is great! BobF>

Re: coral propagation book Anthony/Dive Adventura!  - 07/03/04 I forwarded your message to my 2 old dog/fish friends.  Thank you so much for the advice.  I'm with you, warm water and lots to see:)   Hawaii sounds good.  Margie likes Belize. <Also very worthwhile... "Second largest barrier reef" on the planet... the most educated populace in N. S. or C. America... beautiful country to visit en toto... have been there numerous times>   I am so excited to learn to dive and go one new adventures.  Life is good. <Ah yes... beats the alternative by a very wide margin...>   Well, I need to go outside and get my propagation tank cleaned out.  I eagerly await my book. Vicki <Know you will enjoy, benefit from these experiences. Bob Fenner, living vicariously as usual> Website correction  12/14/05 Bob, What a great site!!! You and the assembled staff have put together more info than I could believe.  Very cool I found a small error in the Marine Book Review, Sources area.  Learn to dive With regard to the Diving Certification agencies… This is from the site IDEA NASDS International Diving National Association Educators Association of Scuba Diving Schools P.O. Box 8427 8099 Indiana Avenue Jacksonville, FL 32239-8427 Riverside, CA 92504 904-744-5554 909-687-8792 NAUI PADI International National Association Professional Association of Underwater Instructors of Dive Instructors P.O. Box 14650 1251 E. Dyer Rd., Suite 100 Santa Ana, CA 92705-5605 Montclair, CA 91763 714-540-7234 909-621-5801 PDIC International SSI Professional Diving Scuba Schools International Instructors Corporation 2619 Canton Ct. 1015 River St. Fort Collins, CO 80525 Scranton, PA 18505 303-482-0883 717-342-9434 They are all mixed up Bob, PADI Stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors, Their address is: PADI Americas 30151 Tomas Street Rancho Santa Margarita CA 92688-2125 949-858-7234 www.padi.com < http://www.padi.com/> NAUI Stands for National Association of Underwater Instructors, their address is Regional Office 1031 Guernsey St.. Orlando, FL 32804 (407) 245-7810 Voice (407) 210-9462 Fax www.naui.org < http://www.naui.org/> SSI Stands for Scuba Schools International, Their address is 2619 Canton Court Fort Collins CO 80525-4498 970-4820-0883 www.ssiusa.com < http://www.ssiusa.com/> NASDS is currently handled thru SSI PDIC stands for Professional Diving Instructors Corp, Their address is; PDIC International PO Box 3633 Scranton, PA 18505 570-342-1480 info@pdic-intl.com <mailto:info@pdic-intl.com> Keep up the excellent work!!! Carole Bloomquist SSI Instructor #11391 Phoenix Scuba & Water Sports Inc. 619 Ridge Rd Lackawanna NY 142187 dive@phoenixscuba.com <Thanks much for your input, help here. Will correct. Bob Fenner> DEMA 2005 6-28-05 You received this email because you are part of the scuba and action watersports industries and may benefit from this communication. Dear Dive Industry Professional, I invite you to attend DEMA Show 2005, the world's only event for dive, adventure travel and action water sports professionals, this October 4-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. DEMA Show 2005 is the only event that understands your unique business needs and provides you with the resources to achieve your business objectives. Here is just some of what you will find at DEMA Show 2005 that you won't find anywhere else: ? More than 600 exhibits of the hottest products, services and destinations the industry has to offer - and that your customers want to see on your shelves. ? Dozens of exhibitor seminars where you get in-depth product demonstrations and training that increase your ability to sell these products to your customers. ? Hundreds of hours of training-agency sponsored seminars keeping you up-to-date in the latest certification programs and policy initiatives that are essential to maintaining your expertise and running a state-of-the-industry dive training operation. ? More than 25 DEMA sponsored seminars in a multi-tiered format designed for businesses of all sizes that provide you with the tools necessary to better manage your business and to discover the latest in industry best-practices. ? The DEMA Retailer Resource Center offers you retail solutions from mold-free carpet to small business legal advice that is essential to any successful retail operation looking to grow. No other event provides dive industry retailers with more resources to help your business succeed! ? Peer-to-peer connections with more than 10,000 industry colleagues. ? As an added value, if you register before August 1st you will be eligible to take advantage of our Early Registration Package. This package includes admission to the Official DEMA Adventure Travel Symposium, a $75 value, for only $25 for DEMA members*. This offer more than doubles the value of a single Exhibits Only registration. You can register on-line here TODAY or go to www.demashow.com and scroll over "Register Now". If you decide to stay in DEMA's official hotel block you save an additional $15 off your registration, increasing the value even more! Click here for more details. PLUS- DEMA Show is back in Las Vegas. This incredible destination city is sure to provide you and your colleagues with fabulous opportunities to connect after business hours on the show floor. Visit www.lcvb.org to learn more about our host city. We look forward to seeing you at another exciting and successful DEMA Show. Best Regards, Tom Ingram Executive Director Diving Equipment and Marketing Association P.S. Hurry! Register Before August 1 and take advantage of the Early Registration Package

Want to dive, hike the Galapagos? 1/7/05 We have two or one openings for an otherwise sold-out trip to the Galapagos coming up... at a discounted rate on the Aggressor... due to no commissions and being comp.ed two seats for selling all... Can you make it? The dates of the cruise are March 24-31. Need to be in Ecuador 1 day before and after the diving. The cost is $2246.25 for the diving, est. $400 for domestic air, plus international air. Hotel stay in Ecuador vary depending on the type of hotel you choose. Bob Fenner, please write me here if you're interested. Re: Speaker information Bob, what dates are you going to be in Hawaii? <I WILL go most anytime folks can/want to be there. Was planning on the month (as in the whole thing) of February> Also, would it be possible to crash at your place to help keep costs down a bit? <Oh yes, definitely. And I have a spiffy four door, four wheel drive truck... and some notion about where to go! Am proposing we have a bunch of friends over, hike, dive, photograph...> And one last question for know, what airport is best to fly into, checking prices and dates to fly? Thanks, Mike <Keahole... the Kailua/Kona (dryside) airport. Let's go! Bob F, freezing!>

Re: Speaker information Hi there again Bob.  I will try to work a week in for possible the end of February. <Ah, good. Do keep me informed.> I better ask to make sure, but is there places to rent diving equipment there, I'd hate to have to drag it all along for 1 week, easier to rent. <There are a bunch of very good dive services. The one I mostly use is Big Island Divers... they have a website. I DO drag most of my gear there... have a couple of tanks on sight, and loose lead weights you may borrow>> I've also CC Rick Wilson in, he was also with us that night at MACNA in the tent drinking away.  I'm trying to convince him to join me in a short holiday at your place in February and do some diving and sight seeing. <Great!> Anyways, I will get back to you in the next few days to let you know for sure. Thanks, Mike Hughes.  (thecoralreef) <Real good. BobF>

Lost Scuba Certification I am traveling to Italy in September.  I am an experienced, pre-certified diver since the 1960's , however, I misplaced my C-card and can't seem to get it replaced by NAUI. <Quite a coincidence, I also lost (was stolen along with my wallet...) a cert. card from the National Association of Underwater Instructors (a scuba certification organization that was very much succeeded by the likes of PADI and others)... and had no luck getting same re-issued... PADI nowadays has such a service online!>   They haven't been able to locate it.    Do I need the card to rent equipment in Italy?    Thanks,   Dennis <Very likely you will need a "C" card to rent gear... You might try (I did this with no luck), locating your previous instructor... if they can be found, assert in writing that you passed years back, NAUI ought to come forward with a replacement card... otherwise (also what I did) you might be better (faster, more hassle free) just getting recertified... look around, there are some agencies that will grant you a renewal with some short exhibition of proficiency... and a hundred or two dollars. Bob Fenner> Travel BCD Can you help me with the name and manufacturer of a very  very light weight BCD for travel, Please.        Henry <I like the Sea Quest line all the way around here... there are lighter products, but none with the combination of reasonable weight, size and features I like. Bob Fenner>

URCHIN GUY ETC. Dear Bob, <Hey Marty... I've got a cowry for you from the Red Sea...>      I passed the urchin guy on to John Phillips - sounds like a lot of work - for?  However, one never knows! <Indeed. May be a real gem... or...>      I talked to Simon last week re a Solomon visit - he says things are actually going along quite well over there as of recent.  We've got October 8th to the 24th as the time slot, depends on flights, schedules, etc.  This doesn't mean we'll plan to be there that long, just that it will be one week or the other.  We'll figure things out in more detail towards the end of July. Regards,     Marty <Di and I are real keen to go. Will cc her. Bob F> Marty Beals Tideline tideline@worldnet.att.net

Re: Oktoberfest at Reef Club 10/2 - 9, 2004! Dear Bob, do you have a link for this deal? Thanks CR <http://www.reefclubcozumel.com/... who's interested in going? Bob F>

Re: wet pets from Sri Lanka Bob, <Shan> yeah we were these, wish we met before....yes just let me know when you are coming to Sri Lanka and we will arrange the MOST exciting Diving experience you have ever had ":) Best regards, Shan <Outstanding! Thank you for your encouraging, exciting words! We are/were planning a trip to the Maldives (instead of the usual Egypt/Red Sea) after two May's hence Interzoo show... Perhaps we can re-direct the itinerary to visit abouts in Sri Lanka! Bob Fenner>

Re: wet pets from Sri Lanka yes you must come to Sri Lanka... have you ever been here to "Pigeon Island" in Trinco and "Pasikuda" ? <No my friend. Have yet to visit your country> I think it is one of the worlds best diving places with a vast diversity of marine species and beautiful and clear waters....we have the best diving teams in the Island and will be more than happy to assist..... surely you must come and visit us sometime.. B Rgds, Shan <Thank you Shan. Will save your messages and hope to get on out to visit you soon. Bob Fenner>

Note From Marty Dear Bob,  <Hey Marty! I've got some shells to show/share with you from HI>  How's it going? Assume you'll be over at INTERZOO!  <Yes>  Chris will be over there too - he'll have some of our new Decoral (synthetic coral) items - check them out, you'll be impressed! I wish I could make it over - especially your jaunt to the Sinai. I've got to hold down the fort though - not just Tideline - but also shipments of Decoral will be arriving.  <Will do and wish you were going to. Really like the product name.>  You also sent mention of a second Sinai trip in July.  <Oh, actually, that one back out to the Big Island (HI)>  Our annual COA Convention (specimen shell thing) happens for a week - the first part of July. I've then got Australians staying for a week or so afterwards - there goes July!  <How about hauling out to Indo or even S. Africa (including Mauritius) in Sept.?>  Since we're on diving - I'm working on a relatively short trip to the Solomon's this October (a bit over a week or so). I've got to meet with our coral supplier in Honiara and then spend a day or two over in Gela (Florida Group) - island style - Nipa Huts (we stayed in Gela a couple of years ago and had a great time). If we can work this out - it's then back to Honiara and down to Marau Sound (no flights now - so a 3 hour boat ride). There is the most fantastic place (don't know what else to call it) down in Marau called Tavanipupu. It's idyllic/romantic, incredible food/accommodations and not very frequented - three years ago, George and I were the only guests down there during our three day stay! George (my good friend), his wife, and possibly Paul & Deanna along with myself and Angela would be the group - maybe Harry as a tag along. There would be skin diving and we'd want to see about taking some tanks over to Gela & also down to Marau. Any scuba we could get in would be limited though - no compressors - just the fills we could bring along.  <Mmm, does sound very inviting...>  Our supplier is Simon Gower, who has been involved with Dave Palmer re invert/fish export - so you could do some investigating while over there too. Just a thought - if interested - let me know and I'll keep you posted.  <Do please do so. Will pencil in the time to avoid overlaps in planning>  Thanks for the tip re Jeff Whyman. We know Jeff - he already buys from us. Thanks though!  Regards, Marty  <Ahh, real good. See you soon. Bob F back from HI today after being here another month> 

- Diving in Destin, FL - has anyone ever been diving in Destin, fl? <I'm afraid not... I'm on the south east coast... very different from the Gulf of Mexico. I'm sure there's some diving to be had, but would be careful of shore diving in the pan handle as the rip-currents are pretty severe around those parts. Likewise, due to the proximity to the Mississippi Delta, I'd think water clarity there might be a bit dodgy, as is much of the upper Gulf. Would think you'd need to take a boat well off shore to see anything.> if so, would anyone recommend a dive shop? <Would start in the yellow pages.> does anyone know about emerald coast dive shop? <Not heard of it, sorry.> thanks, robin <Good luck - hope you find a shop and likewise have a good dive. Cheers, J -- >

Diving... Hey Bob... Almost forgot to ask you... As you know, I am now deeply (no pun intended!) into the whole world of diving! <Yes!> Next week, I'll be making my first dives with Nitrox. I am curious if you find that Nitrox is a good idea? My instructors seem to think it's THE way to dive...Do you actually use, it yourself? Is it worth getting the certification? <Good questions... I am NOT a big fan of Nitrox... for the nominal benefits I do not consider it "worth it"... but do know of many other folks who swear by the technology... I would like to skip ahead and plug rebreathers instead... but am content myself to dive with compressed atmosphere> Yep- I'm fairly obsessed about this new-found hobby (great- ANOTHER obsession!)- even to the point of getting a dry suit to deal with the cold water off Catalina...I intend to get a bunch of dives in before hitting HI later this summer (assuming you'll be there!)...looking forward to diving in a "real" habitat! <Thank you for reminding me as well Scott... of plans to return to our place on the Big Island for the month of July. I do hope you and Nadine can come out, and that we can dive together> Other questions on diving HI- Are you using a spring suit, or a full? <Either... I would just dive with a long-sleeve rash guard here most months, but the thieves took that as well this last go. I have a new 3 mil short sleeve Spring suit for most days (easy shore-entry and boat dives) and a fuller 3/5 mil. for rough shore-entries... to avoid the lava!> How deep do you usually go? <Generally not more than 125 feet or so... not much to see beyond. I have gone briefly to two hundred plus on compressed atmosphere, almost four hundred on tri-mix...> DO you generally go out on dive boats, or go off beaches? <About half and half. Am good friends with some of the fine people who are Big Island Divers here... and the island is blessed with many other fine dive services... but/and there are many shore entry sites that are very fine on most days... and I have two single eighties with hundred fills here> I'm trying to work on the skills I'll need to be a good all-around diver, but I want to really concentrate on those that I will use in places like HI... <Ahhh! Am looking more the forward to sharing with you here> Any feedback would be appreciated! Scotter <Perhaps you'd be interested in coauthoring a dive/photo guide to HI with me? Have been cogitating re for some time now. You no doubt have seen Randall, Hoover, Allison Kay, Jerry Crow... et al.s diving and natural history tomes re the islands... tis time for a newer, updated diver-oriented work in my estimation. Let us indeed chat this over... for your upcoming further delving, development into underwater photography/videography. Bob F>

Reef Appreciation 3/27/04 Just got back from Puerto Rico and my first time snorkeling!  Great to see reefs in real life!! Cant wait to take diving lessons! Thanks for all the help with my tanks! <truly so... in shared admiration of the sea :) Anthony>

Dive friends looking for info. on the South Pacific hi bob..... my name is Fabio, from Italy..... <Yes Fabio, good to hear from you> i meet you with my wife last year at Kungungan resort.  i have a diving with you.... you are a fish, i am a turtle....:) i have a question .... : the next august i would like spend some day in pacific area for scuba diving and summer holiday.... : do you have information about Uepi island resort in Solomon island and Vanuatu area? can you help me? <Have been to these areas but not with these services unfortunately. The Solomon's are still a bit "rough" politically and economically, though liveaboard diving is tops... and Vanuatu is still rather undeveloped, though definitely worth visiting. If you're looking for a bit more comfort I encourage you to look a bit wider to Fiji.> have a nice day Fabio <Hope to see you about, underwater! Ciao, Bob Fenner>

Scuba diving in Thailand Hi bob, i am going to Thailand in a couple weeks to visit some friends. They are not divers and I was wondering if you've done any diving in Thailand or could recommend some dive sites, etc? thanks, john Kim <I have dived in many places in Thailand... about what area will you be in? If time, do try to journey up the west coast, through the Similans... though there are many good day and resort and liveaboard services throughout islands in the south... Bob Fenner>

Re: scuba diving in Thailand we are starting in Bangkok and visiting friends that used to live near us here in Alaska.  after that, they were going to recommend some fun and sun type places.  If its going to be hot, which I hear it always is in Thailand, <Most all coastal areas, yes... there are mountains, highlands that folks retreat to during the hottest weather> i would prefer to be near the water.  i have contacted them to see exactly where they are thinking. but i also wanted to do some independent research in case their choices aren't really dive suitable. if you were only going to recommend one dive site or beach or resort area for diving, what would it be? <Maybe Phuket... it has enough cultural attractions, population, public aquariums, access to day dive sites north and south... and good internet access (important to me...), and is an interesting place in its own right. Maybe check into the "Expat Hotel"... again, one of my favorites> thanks, John Kim ps. i loved conscientious marine aquarist and reef inverts.  they have really influenced me and reef keeping in a positive way.  i am currently adding ozone to my system based on your recommendation.  keep up the good work, you're a real asset to the hobby. <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Bob Fenner>

Upcoming Scuba, May 04 trip to Deutschland, Red Sea From:   Hi Sabrina. I have very limited experience (one trip, 14 dives) but I'll chime in on one thing - the near-sightedness. I have a Tusa mask that was about $40, and the "prescription" lenses where about $45 each. With this thing - I can see better under water than I ever could above water with my glasses. Ask Bob. I was spotting all kinds of amazing micro-stuff on the reef in Cozumel. Fit is definitely everything, but at a good shop you can try on all the masks that offer interchangeable lenses until you find the right one. Seems that helpful chap Paul would be great to have along. -Zo

Upcoming Scuba, May 04 trip to Deutschland, Red Sea From: " <<Admittedly, I haven't done much but look at costs, > etc.  I doubt I'll be able to start lessons until > after Christmas, unfortunately.  I have about a > million questions and no one to ask, especially > regarding equipment and such. > <<<Ask away... at the dealers and Paul.M, Jas.C and > myself...>>> Oh gosh, I have so many questions, I'm not even sure where to start.... Gage and I have discussed for quite a while all of the things we're curious about, so a great majority of these questions apply to him as well, and I will CC him on this.  Well, I guess I'll get the naive, dumb little questions out of the way, first.... Uhm....  Are wetsuits even *made* in largish sizes? <<<<Paul M here. Many places to get custom fit wetsuits. No worries here. They're usually isn't even a surcharge anymore. Ask around. I know O Neils surf shop in Santa Cruz still makes 'em however you want 'em.>>>> <Oh yes... many brands nowadays... and often even better, and still reasonable, custom, to-your-measurements ones... you can send in your various called-for measures and folks will make one for you. The dive mag.s have offers from these companies all the time> I'm not exactly skinny, and have been somewhat worried over this....  on that note, assuming big round people like me do dive and wetsuits <<<<Paul M here -more like typed body sizes than you know. Very few look like the buffed and beautiful like in the mag.s!!>>>>> (and other size-dependant equipment) are made to fit us, are such wetsuits available for dive rental in areas (Uhm, specifically where we'll be for the red sea trip)? <<<<Paul M here -Not so sure. It bears knowing what size you are and to check ahead of time.>>>> <Very likely Sharm El Sheik, in Egypt's Sinai> Or is this something that I should, without a doubt, have of my own? <For these sorts of warm weather/water areas I wear/use a "rash guard" by itself... some folks use a "skin" (Lycra based) instead... or a "shorty"... all these can be searched on the Net, ordered or tried on at dive and surf shops> <<<<Paul M here -You can always come down my way to San Jose and we'll take you around to the big three in our area. And if you would like we can even do a quick trek to Monterey as well. There are a lot of dive shops around. I wear a 3mil in warm water Nuff said.>>>> Ideally, either way, I'd like my own, but I'm not sure how cost-prohibitive that would be. <<<<Paul M -Varies on the spectrum of beginner level to pro. How much use (how much diving you do etc.) Can be as little as 1500 to 8000 for a setup including tanks. That, of course, is all new gear. There is always used!>>>> Which brings me to my next question.  If I purchase a wetsuit, what type/style?  The type with long arms and legs, or the shorts-lookin' type? What thickness? Any particular brand(s) I should consider? <Mmm, actually, best to just try a bunch on... I assure you, all are fine for different bodies... and it's sweaty work putting them on, taking them off... but you have to do this to find out what's what. I do like the "nylon II" varieties, esp. the real stretchy material ones... the ultimate in comfort and ease of donning/doffing> <<<< Paul M -I agree with Bob here but it also depends on where you will do most of your diving.>>>> So, what is the bare necessities of equipment that I absolutely must have? <Mask, fins, snorkel> <<<<Paul M -Agreed>>>> I plan on fins, gloves, mask (I'm nearsighted, is this an issue?), <<<<Paul M - Nope. Not at all>>>> <Actually, you'll like being underwater better than above... take a few test snorkels in a pool with a mask, snorkel, and see how you like your vision. If it's way out, you can have lenses "ground in" to your mask (make sure it's one that fits you well of course first)> <<<<Paul M -Agreed and again not as expensive as you might think>>>> and snorkel; what else must I have?  What are 'extras' that I ought to consider? <Mmm, not really. Better to just rent a BC (buoyancy compensator) and regulator/console rig at the service... if you find yourself going more than let's say four weeks a year... then you can look into having all the gear yourself> <<<<Paul M -I feel it would be a good idea to be sure you know your size and then check the around in the dive area for rental gear in your size. Not all divers are the same so they go with baseline and have a few odd sizes but if that gets booked.......then.......well.......could affect the trip>>>> And what items are specifically unnecessary, that I can plan on renting? <Just those listed>   How much will dive equipment rental cost, say, at the Red Sea? Monterrey Bay? <Will ask Paul and Jas to chime in here. It/they are "not much" compared with buying, servicing your own... and lugging them about> <<<<Paul M -Diving Monterey is a different story. Anywhere from 45 to 75 bones. In some cases more depending on the shop. Often time the place you get certified through will cut you a deal>>>> Are such costs essentially universal, or very location dependant? <<<<Paul M -Vary on location>>>>  Have I driven you nuts yet? <Nope> Exactly what certification(s) do I need? <"Open water"... a "basic" "C" (for certification)> Definitely PADI's open water, yes?  What other(s) should I do? <IMO none... what is important is that you gain experience, comfort in being in and under the water> When one goes diving (let's say locally, like Monterey Bay), how must one plan it? <<<<Paul M -Call your dive buddy, gather equipment, diver down!!>  Must one be in groups? <<<< Paul M -It is preferred to dive in twos>>>> Must one have a "guide" of sorts? <<<<Paul.M -Nope. Doesn't hurt but not necessary>>>> How on earth does that work??  Are there limits to where one can dive? <<<<Paul M -Not really. Check out some of the Lonely Planet dive guides and there a lot of others that will have the popular areas. Ask local dive shops and check local dive clubs.>>>> Sort of a 'keep off the grass' issue?  Or is all this something that I'll learn in the class, and not have to hassle your patience with? <<<<Paul M - You will learn in class I should expect but you heard it here first!>>>> <Paul? You can go with a group, a club, just with a "buddy"> This next bit is more of a personal bit, so please, if you will, refrain from posting this portion in the dailies.... Gage and I have discussed it and are both more than a touch concerned - and please, I know it must sound very naive, etc.; I'm actually quite embarrassed asking....  Uhm, what is the political climate in the area where we'll be for the Red Sea trip? <An important issue, and one that no one should be ashamed to mention. I will not go (myself, let alone bring others) into an area/region that is at all "dangerous"... this part of Egypt has NO problems, never has had them... it is a very large tourist region, with many times more Italians (you may get pinched), Germans (you may have to drink a beer/bier with) and French (you may experience snobbery, make that for sure) and many other ethnic and national groups... there is NO trouble there... IF there is any sign that there might be, we will be going elsewhere (perhaps HI). If you and your husband would like to go to the big island and dive a while, visit there you  are welcome to use our place (up from Kailua)> I've heard/been led to believe that it's, well, shall we say 'inhospitable' to women foreign to the area, and Americans in general.  Is this fear unfounded, as I hope? <It is indeed unfounded. Will ask Di to give her opinion> Or is it quite a real concern, and shall I bring a barrel of rubber cement, and glue myself to somebody in our group, and start working out vigorously (not like that'd hurt me, anyway)? <No one will harm you in Sharm> <<<With not too much luck, very little (some money for gewgaws, drinks)... If WWM can only pay for part of all, you can likely pick either the Interzoo or Red Sea part...>>> Wonderful to hear!  Truly, I'm blown away by this. Wow.  Etcetera. <<So next weekend's the BARE/MARS thing, huh? <Is it next? I think it's the following... as in two Thursdays from now...> I'll definitely be at BARE, don't know about MARS, though that'd be fun (are your talks going to be the same?), and I intend to try to aim for the frag exchange.  Catch ya later,  -Sabrina>> <<<Was going to give the same pitch... or two if you and Gage might make both.>>> Well, looks like we'll both be at BARE, barring any major disasters or such. <And Paul Mansur et ux I think> <<<<Paul M -I will be at BARE to see your presentation and then bring you back to my place for sleepy time. The we have the behind the scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Then I will gather you up on Saturday evening to bring you back to our house for Sunday's book signing in Milpitas on Sunday. Sabrina and Gage, please, let's chat about the diving Monterey while I'm there. Will gladly give you the scoop and work some time when you can come on down!>>>> I'm going to try to be at MARS, and plan to be there regardless of whether or not you give the same pitch (been wanting to go check out their group for some time), so no need to plan differently (though I certainly won't fight hearing two different talks!).  My hope is to overnight in Sac so I can go to the frag swap in Vacaville on Saturday. <<<Perhaps you should be giving one of them? Bob>>> Hah!  Not unless they want to hear about freshwater shrimp or bloaty goldfish!  ;)  -Sabrina <See you soon. Bob>

Upcoming Scuba, May 04 trip to Deutschland, Red Sea From:    <<Admittedly, I haven't done much but look at costs, > etc.  I doubt I'll be able to start lessons until > after Christmas, unfortunately.  I have about a > million questions and no one to ask, especially > regarding equipment and such. > <<<Ask away... at the dealers and Paul.M, Jas.C and > myself...>>> Oh gosh, I have so many questions, I'm not even sure where to start....  Gage and I have discussed for quite a while all of the things we're curious about, so a great majority of these questions apply to him as well, and I will CC him on this.  Well, I guess I'll get the naive, dumb little questions out of the way, first.... Uhm....  Are wetsuits even *made* in largish sizes? <Oh yes... many brands nowadays... and often even better, and still reasonable, custom, to-your-measurements ones... you can send in your various called-for measures and folks will make one for you. The dive mag.s have offers from these companies all the time> <<JasonC: I'll just third this... come in all shapes and sizes. Off the rack models are often a close fit - mine is with the exception that it bunches up behind the knees... which in retrospect would have been worth getting the custom fit.>> I'm not exactly skinny, and have been somewhat worried over this....  on that note, assuming big round people like me do dive and wetsuits (and other size-dependant equipment) are made to fit us, are such wetsuits available for dive rental in areas (Uhm, specifically where we'll be for the red sea trip)? <Very likely Sharm El Sheik, in Egypt's Sinai> <<JasonC: Again a second for this - as I recall, Sinai Divers [the company we used last time] had a large selection of suits available to their customers. I'm sure it's the same at Camel Dive and so on... I wouldn't be too concerned.>> Or is this something that I should, without a doubt, have of my own? <For these sorts of warm weather/water areas I wear/use a "rash guard" by itself... some folks use a "skin" (Lycra based) instead... or a "shorty"... all these can be searched on the Net, ordered or tried on at dive and surf shops> <<JasonC: I wouldn't make this the first thing you buy... and really, a suit that would work in this area might be too much for Egypt. At this point, I would nail down the shop where you want to get your C-Card and then work with them to find a rental suit that fits. Once you've been in the water, you'll be able to gauge how cold you get - everyone is different in these ways. Bob can get away with just a rash guard because he just doesn't get cold very easily - my friend and WWM cohort Kevin gets cold wearing a full 5mm suit in tropical water, so it's something you'll want to investigate. At the very least, I think a 3mm shorty for Egypt will be adequate - the water temp there last time was about 75F.>> Ideally, either way, I'd like my own, but I'm not sure how cost-prohibitive that would be.  Which brings me to my next question.  If I purchase a wetsuit, what type/style?  The type with long arms and legs, or the shorts-lookin' type?  What thickness? Any particular brand(s) I should consider? <Mmm, actually, best to just try a bunch on... I assure you, all are fine for different bodies... and it's sweaty work putting them on, taking them off... but you have to do this to find out what's what. I do like the "nylon II" varieties, esp. the real stretchy material ones... the ultimate in comfort and ease of donning/doffing> <<JasonC: my recollection was that the suits at Sinai Divers were 5mm. I have a two piece 7mm suit for diving off the coast here and in New England where the water is significantly colder than it will be in the Red Sea.>> So, what is the bare necessities of equipment that I absolutely must have? <Mask, fins, snorkel> <<JasonC: true dat. Great place to start.>> I plan on fins, gloves, mask <<JasonC: gloves are like wet suits, they come in different thicknesses for different conditions. Don't bother with getting gloves for the Red Sea because they won't let you wear them there... encourages/emboldens one to touch things they shouldn't be touching.>> (I'm nearsighted, is this an issue?), <Actually, you'll like being underwater better than above... take a few test snorkels in a pool with a mask, snorkel, and see how you like your vision. If it's way out, you can have lenses "ground in" to your mask (make sure it's one that fits you well of course first)> <<JasonC: Lorenzo chimed in on this, and I was going to relate his story before he did so. Do look around, you have many options.>> and snorkel; what else must I have?  What are 'extras' that I ought to consider? <Mmm, not really. Better to just rent a BC (buoyancy compensator) and regulator/console rig at the service... if you find yourself going more than let's say four weeks a year... then you can look into having all the gear yourself> <<JasonC: well... if you decide you really enjoy diving and want to go more often than the couple of times a year trip, then I suggest the BC be the first thing you buy. Typical to rental situations is that you might get a different BC every day, and that can include one that leaks. Buoyancy is one of the hardest tricks to master as a new diver and throwing in a variable like changing BCs every day could make you miserable. Likewise, while dive shops actual go through their gear all the time, I look at regulators as life support, so I like owning my own. I know who repairs it, I know who dropped it on the ground. Both of these, though will make for more stuff to haul about so there's much to consider.>> And what items are specifically unnecessary, that I can plan on renting? <Just those listed> <<JasonC: You can rent just about everything including cameras and underwater scooters, but as already stated - a mask that fits is a must.>> How much will dive equipment rental cost, say, at the Red Sea? Monterrey Bay? <Will ask Paul and Jas to chime in here. It/they are "not much" compared with buying, servicing your own... and lugging them about> <<JasonC: Varies from place to place but is often 'included' in package deals - and very often with certification classes, the assumption being that you've not ever been diving before and wouldn't know what to buy. Use the class as an opportunity to try different fins and whatnot to your satisfaction.>> Are such costs essentially universal, or very location dependant?  Have I driven you nuts yet? <<JasonC: Costs are not universal and do vary from location to location.>> <Nope> Exactly what certification(s) do I need? <"Open water"... a "basic" "C" (for certification)> Definitely PADI's open water, yes?  What other(s) should I do? <IMO none... what is important is that you gain experience, comfort in being in and under the water> <<JasonC: that's all true.>> When one goes diving (let's say locally, like Monterrey Bay), how must one plan it?  Must one be in groups?  Must one have a "guide" of sorts?  How on earth does that work??  Are there limits to where one can dive?  Sort of a 'keep off the grass' issue?  Or is all this something that I'll learn in the class, and not have to hassle your patience with? <Paul? You can go with a group, a club, just with a "buddy"> <<JasonC: never been to Monterrey, but certainly here in La Jolla and also in Gloucester... it's best, and certainly your dive agency will strongly recommend that you always dive with a buddy. Likewise, if you're diving in an unfamiliar area, it can be helpful to hook up with someone who has been there before and can at the very least give you and idea what to expect. In La Jolla and Gloucester, there'd be no one there to stop you from going into the water alone, but this probably isn't wise until you get really comfortable under water and likewise have some redundant equipment... when things go wrong underwater and you're by yourself, you can end up in a lot of trouble if you don't have much in your bag of tricks, so to speak. Personally, I've been diving with buddies that have melted down on me during the dive, and it's not a fun place to be. I had asked Bob a question like this a while ago and his statement to me was something on the order of this: even when diving with a buddy, you should suit up with the attitude that you are solo diving - you should learn to be completely independent, to rely on yourself - I've seen and I'm sure others have seen people who couldn't function without their diving partner. In a situation like this, the dependant buddy would be screwed if something happened to their partner underwater. It is very important to develop the skills to take care of yourself first. Just keep these things in mind when you learn how to assemble/don/doff your gear, etc... there is no race, take your time and become as familiar as you can with the process. The bottom line is to learn to relax, be comfortable underwater.>> This next bit is more of a personal bit, so please, if you will, refrain from posting this portion in the dailies.... Gage and I have discussed it and are both more than a touch concerned - and please, I know it must sound very naive, etc.; I'm actually quite embarrassed asking....  Uhm, what is the political climate in the area where we'll be for the Red Sea trip? <An important issue, and one that no one should be ashamed to mention. I will not go (myself, let alone bring others) into an area/region that is at all "dangerous"... this part of Egypt has NO problems, never has had them... it is a very large tourist region, with many times more Italians (you may get pinched), Germans (you may have to drink a beer/bier with) and French (you may experience snobbery, make that for sure) and many other ethnic and national groups... there is NO trouble there... IF there is any sign that there might be, we will be going elsewhere (perhaps HI). If you and your husband would like to go to the big island and dive a while, visit there you are welcome to use our place (up from Kailua)> <<JasonC: common misperception about Egypt for certain, and I've invited a number of people on this trip who've tossed it out as being unsafe. People take risks every day - driving on the freeway is probably the largest one, and going to Egypt is certainly safer than being in your car in the middle of traffic.>> I've heard/been led to believe that it's, well, shall we say 'inhospitable' to women foreign to the area, and Americans in general.  Is this fear unfounded, as I hope? <It is indeed unfounded. Will ask Di to give her opinion> <<JasonC: I was wondering about similar issues, but it turns out that Sharm El Sheikh is a tourist Mecca [pardon the pun] where all bets are off. There are whole sections of beach - usually around the Italian resorts - that are topless, which for a Muslim person would be absolute sacrilege. No, Sharm is an area unto itself, and you need not be concerned about having to cover your arms or wear a burka. No worries.>> Or is it quite a real concern, and shall I bring a barrel of rubber cement, and glue myself to somebody in our group, and start working out vigorously (not like that'd hurt me, anyway)? <No one will harm you in Sharm> <<JasonC: indeed, if you go to the State Department's web site, they will tell you... Egypt relies heavily on tourism for income. Back in the late 90's a tourist bus was shot up in Khartoum [not very close to where we will be], I think nine Germans were killed. Bob said that while he was in the Red Sea later that same year, there were roughly 14 people in the hotel - Egypt simply can't afford that kind of vacancy rate, so as a result they have the Tourism and Antiquities Police, who are armed to the teeth. No one gets out of line, and the vacationers are left alone. As an extra aside, you may or may not recall that Sharm shows up in the news every so often as a place where large Middle Eastern summits occur - Clinton, Cheney, Bush have all been there - this place is pretty isolated at the base of the Sinai peninsula and you know our presidents wouldn't be going there is there wasn't a modicum of guaranteeable safety. Again, no worries.>> <<<With not too much luck, very little (some money for gewgaws, drinks)...  If WWM can only pay for part of all, you can likely pick either the Interzoo or Red Sea part...>>> Wonderful to hear!  Truly, I'm blown away by this. Wow.  Etcetera. <<So next weekend's the BARE/MARS thing, huh? <Is it next? I think it's the following... as in two Thursdays from now...> I'll definitely be at BARE, don't know about MARS, though that'd be fun (are your talks going to be the same?), and I intend to try to aim for the frag exchange.  Catch ya later,  -Sabrina>> <<<Was going to give the same pitch... or two if you and Gage might make both.>>> Well, looks like we'll both be at BARE, barring any major disasters or such. <And Paul Mansur et ux I think> I'm going to try to be at MARS, and plan to be there regardless of whether or not you give the same pitch (been wanting to go check out their group for some time), so no need to plan differently (though I certainly won't fight hearing two different talks!).  My hope is to overnight in Sac so I can go to the frag swap in Vacaville on Saturday. <<<Perhaps you should be giving one of them? Bob>>> Hah!  Not unless they want to hear about freshwater shrimp or bloaty goldfish!  ;)  -Sabrina <See you soon. Bob> <<Cheers, J -- >>

Diving friends Hello I see from previous FAQs that Mr. Fenner has a "diving friends" email list. I would certainly appreciate being added to the list - I would like very much to dive with some people who understand the subtleties of a reef. I am just getting back into aquaria after years away - my 90 g tank should be arriving in about 2 weeks. I am hoping to establish a reef tank, and am trying to read everything I can get my hands on. I have really enjoyed "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and the Wet Web Media. Thank you very much. John Mathieson Victoria, BC Canada <Have added your email address John. Look forward to diving with you. Bob Fenner> Re: diving friends Thanks for the prompt reply - do you have any trips coming up in the next few months? Cheers John <Yes. A few of us are off to the Marquesas for a week at this months end and the first week in November... you could have come with more notice. A very good time and/but I would like to explain how these trips fit into a few "types" of categories. This one is mostly a "shell collectors" venture (not me but my friends/cohorts)... some folks in the trade (Marty Beals of Tideline, and was going to be John Jackson of Odyssey Publ. but he has had some medical trouble) and some "old timers" who are college professors (malacologists) with Di and I tagging along taking pix of fishes and all sorts of sessile invertebrates... Ho-boy. And let's see, an indefinite trip out to Hawai'i next month (Big Island) to do a bit of diving, looking for some other property, and touristing in general. You're welcome to not only join us, but goose whoever is going (Pete and I... maybe Di, Big Wave Dave... a bunch of the WWM crew...) into a given time frame (a prime designator is the availability and price of flights)... so, if interested, get looking on the Cheap Flights, Expedia... and make it known if/when you want to go. And in December am hauling out to Fiji and Tonga with Walt Smith (you're welcome to go as well). Am not set on the dates yet, but Anthony (Calfo) is coming to S. Cal. re scanning for the next title in a book series... and so need to find out his schedule, and I'm going back to NJ to visit my in-laws for Xmas... Walt and family will be in Fiji for the duration, so all we need to do is coordinate the time over to Tonga with them.... Should we talk over 04? We're definitely going to the Red Sea in May after the Interzoo show in Germany... Are you a photographer, videographer? Mind trying to make pix? Bob Fenner> Re: diving friends You have a remarkable itinerary coming up! <Mmm, I/we go out most months... I am a "content provider" in the ornamental aquatics and dive/adventure genres> I am a moderate level diver, have been diving several places in Hawaii, Cozumel, Curacao, and a bit here in the Pacific NW - I am a very poor photographer, but have always wanted to learn UW photography - by profession I am a radiologist. <Ah! We'll have to keep those interests separated!> I have had a lifelong interest in aquatic life and oceans, and only recently had the possibility of diving more, and now getting back into aquaria. <Very good> I am possibly free for a week in December - perhaps 12-20th, but not quite sure- perhaps even the week prior - I have 4 kids and will have to be home before Xmas, and will be at a conference in Chicago the first week of December. I could definitely get time in January and February. Red Sea in May - wow - sounds like a great opportunity. <Take a look at the Interzoo site: May 13-16 we'll likely be in Nuremberg, shortly thereafter in Sharm el Sheik for about a week, some of us a few days more. You can go to the show if you'd like or just meet up with us in Egypt's Sinai> Some of the diving I have enjoyed most has been times I could just sit still, and watch a small patch of a reef, and see what comes out after I have been still for 5, 10 and more minutes. Most dive groups I have been with are in too much of a hurry, and don't take the time to appreciate small things. I am certainly not very knowledgeable about invertebrates, but I am trying to learn a bit. <We definitely "take our time". Are there to enjoy, make pix, chat over what we've seen. Not interested in "a race"> I have a Nikon D100 camera, but no UW case for it. I think I will be getting a small Canon which is easier to pack around (and less of a tragedy if an o-ring gets a hair in it!). I have rented / borrowed some other cameras and made a number of decidedly below average photos, but would hope to improve. <Sounds good. We can/will help you if you'd like to become a better underwater photographer> I look forward to exploring this further. Cheers John Mathieson <Be seeing you, Bob Fenner>

Re: diving friends I forgot to mention one area of aquatic imaging I do have some experience with. When I worked at the University in Vancouver, we were sometimes called to the Vancouver Aquarium, to bring an ultrasound machine along, and do various things. We used it to look at some problems the Belugas had, and also did a whole series of obstetric ultrasound studies on the Orcas. (now that was a patience tester!) We ended up giving an older ultrasound machine to the aquarium staff on permanent "loan", and after teaching them to use it, they were able to do daily studies throughout a successful Orca pregnancy. Unfortunately, the calf died a few weeks after birth, but it was a fascinating experience. John <Interesting. In the early eighties I worked with (Dr.) Sam Ridgeway, and they utilized ultrasound in investigating sound-making mechanisms in dolphins of a few species and "Sea Canaries". Bob Fenner>

Phoenix 6/28/03 Bob, Just wanted to drop you a quick note of thanks for taking the time to meet with us in Phoenix. I came out to the meeting for the chance to hear your presentation. Additionally, I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to speak with both yourself and Anthony in a casual setting over cocktails afterward. <A pleasure meeting you as well> I look forward to sending you more of my questions regarding the planning of my first marine tank- a 72x24x24 180gal while I await construction of my new home. I will be starting my diving certification next month as we discussed, and will likely draw on your knowledge of diving travel destinations in addition to Sulawesi. <Please do. In fact, if you'd like, I'll add you to our "diving friends" email list and/or you can check on WetWebMedia occasionally for news of where we're headed off to and join us> I am a California native and traveled extensively but never made my way to Hawaii-sad isn't it? So I'll probably start there. <Mmm, not sad to me, but exciting in terms of anticipation of your experiencing the venture there> Again I can't tell you what a pleasure it was to speak personally with someone whose opinion I value so greatly on a topic I have really developed a passion about. Thanks Again-Keith Keith Mullins <Be chatting, diving, planning your new system. Bob Fenner>

Diving trip Hi Bob, <Hey Kirk> Remember me from Froggies last year?  <Yes> Well I just got back from Lembeh and Bunaken.  <How nice> I just had to go back to make up for the disaster last time. I got some excellent bargains on airfare and diving. This time my camera equipment performed nearly perfectly. I shot 25 rolls of film. I haven't got my slides back yet, but I know I got some great pictures of some rare and unusual creatures (mimic octopus, yellow pygmy seahorse, etc.), mostly with a 105 mm macro. Just wanted to see how you were doing and if you were planning any dive trips next fall. I am planning a trip in October. I am thinking about maybe going to Komodo or Bali. Kirk Cantrell <Do keep me in mind. Will add your e-addr. to our May to June trip plans... Would you go back to Sulawesi? Would you encourage others to? Be chatting, diving. Bob F, oh, whose better pix from the area can be seen here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/macron_sulpp1.htm>

Diving in Hawaii - 2/13/03 Hey guys, <Hiya Jeremy. Paul at your service> Since many of you guys have been diving in Hawaii, <Oh yeah> I was wondering if you could recommend the best place to go for someone with no diving and only a little snorkeling experience (besides the Waikiki Aquarium;)). <I have enjoyed diving on both Oahu, Maui, and Lanai. I have snorkeled all over all the islands except the big island of Hawaii. I really liked them all for various reasons. I feel though, if I had that one place out of the three I have dived and snorkeled, I would choose Molokini from Maui. Mike Severn's is a very attentive and informative dive outfit. Marine Biologists owned and operated. Ecology is taught and practiced. I feel no one has more intricate information about the various marine life and island dive spots en toto like Mike and his wife Pauline.> My fiancé? and I are going to Hawaii for our honeymoon in July, and we were hoping to see some coral reefs (reeves?) <coral reefs> up close in their natural environment. <Good for you. A blessed jewel to behold!> There are inexpensive diving lessons offered for faculty and students at our local university's rec center pool that we are planning on taking, if we ever get the time.<I recommend doing it on the mainland before going. Not only does it cost you a fair amount of money on island but it takes time to do, thus wasting valuable trip time (As well as diving time.) Get comfortable with being and breathing underwater so you can enjoy the dive. Most new divers tell me that they never get to enjoy the dives because they are looking down at their air gauge instead of enjoying their surroundings (Not that you shouldn't check your air gauge though, heheh)> I don't want to have to resort to the submarine tour (although it may be pretty cool). <Cool, but nothing like diving!!!!> Jeremy M. Dawson, Ph.D. <Have a great time.>

Re: Diving in Southern California Hi Bob, Thank you for your quick reply. We will be in LA for 14 days. <I saw this... sorry for the lack of clarity... what I mean/t is "how much time do you want to dedicate to the diving adventure? It will take a couple of days to outfit the crew (you and daughter)... and at least another day getting on/off a boat (don't shore dive here please unless you have a good deal of experience and likely a good guide... it's cold, there are waves (conditions can change quickly), kelp, poor visibility off the coast generally... I want you and your family to have a "good experience", not one of possible danger, disappointment... pls cc your daughter on our conversations... has she seen Jay Hemdal's small book (new) on "Aquarium Careers"? I have a short review of this on WWM....> We were already going to take in the public aquariums and maybe even drive down to San Diego to see Sea World.  <See the Birch Aquarium, associated with UCSD as well... and perhaps a short trip to Boulder Point (at the end of Pt. Loma) to do a bit of tide-pooling... we have 72 miles of beaches... much of it worthwhile combing...> I thought that this time of year would not be a good diving time... <Most of the time is not good off our shores... some worthwhile spots, times (not predictable...) like off Monterey Bay, various points up and down the entire California coast... depends on local weather, what you want to see, do...> How far out are the channel islands? Are there dive shops that take you there? <A day's trip... and yes> How far south along the coast do we have to go to get acceptable diving? Do we have to get into Mexico? <Define "acceptable"... subjective... e.g. if it's the beginning of lobster season and you "really got to have a fresh one", you might put up with getting up at midnight, getting tossed about, hung up in the kelp... I go to the grocery store the next day and buy them> One day, we will dive in Hawaii again and maybe even Fiji. I was just hoping we could do a little while in So. Cal. <You can... buy, read some of the local dive magazines, travel guides...> As always, thanks for your quick replies and your valuable advice. Both are greatly appreciated. Take care, be well Rick <Keep studying. Bob Fenner>

Diving in Southern California Hi Bob and WWM crew, My family is extremely excited about our trip to Los Angeles next week. We will be there for two weeks and we were hoping that you could help us out. You see, my 15 year old daughter has her sights set on being a marine biologist and would really like to experience her first dive in California. However, we are land-locked prairie people from Canada and have no idea if we can even find decent diving opportunities in LA this time of year, (Late October). <Not really... w/o getting off the coast... do you have time to haul out to the Channel Islands?> Please help by recommending a reputable dive shop who can take two newbies on a dive experience near LA that we will remember for the rest of our lives. <You'd remember it... but likely not for good reasons...> I have dived in Hawaii but my daughter never has dived. Bob, I know you enjoy diving very much and have dived THE BEST places our world has to offer, please, can you suggest a dive shop that can give my daughter her very first introduction to all the great possibilities of pursuing her dream. <Not here... not this time of year... you'd be better off visiting the new/er public aquarium in Long Beach (Pacific...)... or getting about to Museums, visiting Colleges...> Of course, I want to go along for the ride. And of course, you are welcome to come along and enjoy the experience with us. Your Canadian friend, <Thank you for your kind offer... how much time do you have here? Bob Fenner> Rick AKA Dafishguy

Re: Up and at em, it... That reminds me... I have this Aqua Lung mouthpiece... you know the one with the bridge for the roof of your mouth? I got one and found it to be uncomfortable as can be and a not so good fit either... want it as a spare? <Yes, pls... had to buy a replacement (w/o the palate-rubbing bit) in Indo... agreed the halter thang is a pain... but I should be disciplined (sound of cat o nine tails and scream in backgd) for/by carrying about such gear (and a panduit/zip tie)... As a matter of... last week saw, read a pc. in Asian Diver you could have penned (that similar) on "save a dive kits"... that had a hundred or more bits to it! Bob> I'll send it along or bring it to TX. <Hotay! Will buy you beers! Bob again> J --

Open spot Bob, There is an open spot in La Paz on a 65 foot dive boat. Ned De Loach and I were going but I had to cancel because my Mom is sick. It departs on the 22nd of Sept and returns on Oct 3rd. six people on a 65 foot luxury boat. Know anyone who can go? call Ned at 1-800-737-6558 <Thanks for the heads-up Lee. I can't make it (rats!), other commitments and am still blurry from just having come back from N. Sulawesi. Will send to dive friends and post on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> lee Peterson

FROM KEVIN CHO (Diving, fun, photography in Northern Sulawesi) Dear Bob, <Hey Kevin!> I am back home now in Seoul like you. I t was a great pleasure to meet you. Meeting you, I learned a lot about marine creatures. Maybe I remember you Bill Murray who is omniscient about marine biology. <Keun, you're cracking me up> How was Bunaken? <Warmer, clearer, with nice guides and fellow guests, and much lower cost, but no where near the comfort of KBR> I will visit Lembeh this year again. Since I live in Korea, it is not easy to join the trip based on USA. But , I am sure I can meet you again in Singapore next May. <Great! And maybe back over in KBR as part of the same trip> If you come to Asia again, please let me know, I like to dive with you again. <Outstanding. Will do so my friend> Hope everything going alright. KEVIN CHO <Yes, fine. Many nice images (thus far from the 48 rolls sorted). Will send you along a few scans. Bob Fenner>

? About Virgin Islands Bob Kara and I are heading to the Virgin Islands from August 27 until September 7. Is there any chance of you making a get away and going diving with us?  Let me know. <Rats! Would love to... will be in St. Thomas first part of Nov... but during the above time off to Indo. (Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi)... so no crocodilian tears for me! Bob F, just back from Coz> Brad Any recommendations on places to dive?  <Mmm, no. Never been there... would suggest you do what I do... check out the latest travel books (I get mine at the library if they have recent editions), magazine articles and the Net. Bob Fenner>

Subject: Lost??? Bob, Missed you at the tank tour. Heard you had computer problems. <Am still working on these ding dang computers... beat. Sorry to have missed you, the tour> Maybe next time... Your always welcome to come see my tank anytime. Was wondering if you were up for an evening/night dive at the LJ Shores on Tue, say around 6:30 or so? I hope you got your computer fixed. Looking forward to seeing you underwater. Brett L. <Let's keep chatting. I'll pull my gear out. Do you have interest in dive traveling with us? We're out to Cozumel next month, KBR/Sulawesi in September, Mazatlan in Oct., St. Thomas/BVI in Nov.... Not fancy goings generally, but you're welcome to haul out/around with us. Bob Fenner> I'd love to go sometime... but need to pay off some bills and raise credit rating to buy a house.( Hopefully) Maybe if the trip isn't too expensive. I need to be very frugal (read cheap) I've got two little kids and a wife that think that they can't live without for more than a few days also. How long are you going to be Cozumel and what do you think I'd need to save to go??? <About a week. The info. re costs, itinerary are posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/cozumel8_02.htm Bob Fenner>

Dive  Bob, I'm going diving tomorrow night and would like to invite you to get used to the cold. I also am thinking about a trip to Coronado isles on the 11th Sun. You are welcome on both/either. Brett L. <Have a bunk foot (honest) so will skip tomorrow night, thank you though. And will be in Cozumel on the 11th... hopefully with my foot in good repair. Do keep shooting for the Coronados. Have many fond memories/stories re the "Enchanted Islands". Bob F>

Dive date Bob, How does Sunday Aug.4 work? (Didn't know if you got the last e-mail. Had problems.) Do you want to do kelp, the wrecks or the Coronado's? <Given a choice... the Coronado's for sure> Also we are having a tank tour on this sun. 28th. I'm on the tour if you would like to go? Brett L. <Yes, hoping to make it. See you then Bob Fenner> "Nods" it is. I'll see what is open on the cattle boats. See you sun.;) <Roger that. Bob F> Bob, Sorry all boats in S.D. going to the Coronado's are full. Do you want to go another time or another place??? <Either one. What do you prefer? I can wait for the Coronado's... even Catalina or San Clemente (if folks are still hauling out there), or we can even do a shore entry if you'd like. Even just L.J. Cove to become reoriented to local conditions suits. Bob F> How long has it been?  <Last month was in the Red Sea diving for a couple of weeks, the month before that 24 days off Queensland, Australia... but a few years of avoiding the shore here... too polluted, too little vis... but mainly just no friends to bug, be bugged by to get on out> How about a warm-up dive off the shores then a real dive? Do you like night dives? <Okay, and yes. Bob F>

Squeezing into that same old wetsuit! Bob, Call me on my cell the number has been changed to 858-414-0003 I'll be in and out. <Call re? Bob F> Day, time and gear. I have a dry suit you can use and I could use my friends, also I have tanks...But I don't have but one that is yolk fitting. <Ohh! No worries... I'll tell you my story re not-getting cold when we're together... But I do have a wetsuit about (and hood!) that should work for off the coast...> The others are DIN fittings and are steel. The boats do provide tanks and weights if needed. Sundays and Tuesdays are the best days for me. we'll talk soon. <All days are fine for me... am "self-employed" (so work all the time...). Bob F>

Maiden's Hair and a diving question.... (Goin' to California with an achin' in my heart) Hello Mr. Fenner,  Phil here, I have a patch of Maiden's Hair in my 12 gallon Eclipse. It's getting bigger everyday. I plan to remove it and cut it down to size today. Its about the size of a baseball, my Tomato Clown seems to think its an anemone.  <Neat> Should I remove most of it or just trim it? <I'd try cutting away about half... see how the Clown does... keep the patch at about what you consider manageable size/shape, attractive> Thanks! BTW I will be in LA area from Aug 15 through Aug. 24. I am a certified open water scuba diver. Could you point out any good diving sites? Thanks again!  <Mmm, well... I'd make it on down to Laguna Beach if you could... Scotchman's Cove... and there's a couple other sites near there (that might be better depending on the day's tides, currents, waves). If you can spare the time to drive up north, there are many fabulous sites (with a 7 mil suit or dry) in and around Monterey... Jade Cove all the way to off of the Aquarium... Do chat this up with the local dive shops, do take care in planning your dive/diving your plan... and DO dive with a local buddy who "knows the terrain". Bob Fenner>

Hi! Southern Cal. Diving... Just wanted to tell you that I read your book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist finally. It was great!! Sorry I missed the pet show this weekend...it was my sons first B-day. Maybe next time!  <Yes> Is Anthony Calfo still in town? I was hoping to talk to him more about the "coral" I found locally or do you know someone I send it to find out what it is? Talk to ya later Brett Lind <Antoine is long since ret'd to beautiful Pittsburgh. Will send him your note/regards. Bob Fenner>

Southern Cal. Diving... Thanks for the more than prompt response. I was wondering if you were interested in doing some local wreck diving??? <Yes... not so much for the looking at, swimming about or photographing these artifacts, but just to ding dang get out to the local waters and see if I can squeeze like a giant sausage into any of my old wetsuits! Have three alum. 80's that are so out of hydro, would be worth hauling down to the Nicklin's for a laugh ("free air for life"!) but maybe rent locally for a go. Do you have a boat, or is there a regular svc. out to? Bob F, shivering w/ anticipation>

Re: Southern Cal. Diving... Bob. I have tanks and some gear. Too much if you ask my wife. Do you know how to dive a dry suit? <Yes... but don't have one presently... Used to work for a co. that made/makes them> Don't have a boat but the midweek trips are cheep at some small cattle boats. <Okay. Let's sign up sometime. Bob F>

Solo diving So... I gather you've done a fair amount of this... as you might guess PADI discourages this constantly. And I know what you think about buddies and how we need to be responsible for our own gear. My question is this: with the camera on the way, tanks in my garage, and a mellow river down the road, the temptation is there to head down and shoot some stuff... this time of the summer it's not even really more than chest deep in places that I would go with the dog after work - and very clear. But... our channel swimming man and his bath tub... yes, you know, I know. <Yes> Also... I've noticed that photo/video divers seem to be pretty much solo divers... just curious to know what your thoughts on this. <Am a big fan, and have always been of so-called solo diving... I do it, have done so for decades... One must ultimately be responsible for oneself... almost never will "buddies", "dive masters", "cards of different colors" save you... only training, practice, common sense in action will. Bob Fenner> Cheers, J --

FATHOMS - adventure for the serious divers You've seen these guys - right? http://www.fathomspub.com/index.html << FATHOMS-adventurefortheseriousdivers.url >> <Nope. Thanks for sending this along. Will fwd, post to WWM. Bob Fenner

Humpback Whales Bob- <Howdy> Several years ago, you helped me with a long time problem I was having of fish not living more than a few weeks in my tank. With your help, I found I had a piece of rusted metal (part of a valve the LFS sold me) that was poisoning the fish. Since that time, I have had very few deaths and have watched an Emperor Angel progress from juvenile stage to full adulthood. To return this favor, I would like to tell you of a trip I took in the winter of 2001 that may be of some interest to you and the readers of this fabulous site. <Ah, good to hear of your success> Having grown up, and once been an avid SCUBA diver here in San Diego, it had been a long time dream of mine to see a whale underwater. At one point, this became a life Goal? of mine, and it was how I found out about Aquatic Adventures, based in Florida. Tom Conlin, the owner and naturalist of Aquatic Adventures, runs an excellent operation that specializes in soft -in-water? encounters of humpback whales of the Silver Bank, an area of ocean approximately 75 miles off the Dominican Republic. These soft-in-water? encounters are made using a mask, snorkel and fins, so you don't need to be a certified SCUBA diver. The week we spent on the boat, The M/V Wind Dancer, we would go out twice a day in smaller boats in search of whales. There was only one time that we were unable to get in the water with them. Our encounters consisted of individuals, mothers with calves, mothers/calves with an escort, and males chasing after and hoping to become an escort. Once, we were able to get in the water when a whale was singing? and it turned out to be right under the boat. What an incredible sensation to not only see and hear, but also to feel the song of the whale while floating above it! I could go on and on but let me finish by saying, THIS TRIP WAS AWESOME!!! The food, crew and boat are very professionally run. <Thanks for the lead> Bob, I realize that what you photograph underwater tends to be a bit smaller than a humpback, but I would highly recommend this trip to anyone that has any interest. For more information go to their website: www.aquaticadventures.com. <Will post to WWM> Thank you so much for all you have done for everyone interested in aquatic life. Andy Lange <Be chatting, diving my friend. Bob Fenner>

Snorkeling in La Jolla Bob, I have recently starting snorkeling at La Jolla Cove about 3x a week. Yesterday I decided to try the shores. I saw 20-30 leopard sharks (3-5 ft) and was wondering if they pose a threat of any sort (to me)?  <Nope... Triakis semifasciata are at times VERY abundant where you were on up to the Sea Lodge (just shy of the Shores)... but don't bother people in the least> I enjoyed watching them, but not enough to put myself in harms way. I also saw many sting rays in 3+ ft. water. <Have seen thousands of Guitarfishes there seasonally...> if one gets spooked could it surface enough to make contact with me or will they stay strictly to the ocean floor? <They do get up, swim about at times... but aren't interested in people> I guess I feel a little out of place/helpless in their beautiful world. It's one thing to look through my aquarium glass, another to swim with them. Is there a good location that I can look to find the means to classify the fish I run across here in S.D.?  <Miller and Lea Bulletin 157 Cal. Fish and Game... go to the S.I.O. (Birch) Aquarium book/gift store (you don't have to pay to just go in the side door there. And ask for this Bulletin... Green cover, you can't miss it... a dichotomous key to all fishes off our coast> For example, I saw a "fish" that was about 3' long and looked like a cross between a ray (round, flat body) and a shark (tail). It remained on the bottom until startled, and then swam away like a shark (as opposed to the swimming motion of the rays). Thanks for the help, Mark <Ah! Likely one of those Guitarfishes... Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Diving in the Fall hey bob, no problems, it is just really saber-rattling and the only prob.s are on the border area, everyplace else is normal. I will try to keep the week after our Goa trip free so we can go diving after that unless u guys want to do things differently. did u want to travel somewhere else in India and then dive? let me know. Parvin <Will query, and let you know. Thanks Parv. Any new movie projects coming up for you? Bob F>

Trips Bob, Hopefully you are enjoying the Red Sea right now. How was Interzoo? Some day I may go back to Interzoo, but not likely as a Marineland representative. <Go as I/we do... "as ourselves". Consider coming along with us sometime Tom... continuing on to a bit of dive/travel adventure> I just got your post cards from Cancun and Heron Island via Aquarium Systems (Letters tend to not get forwarded promptly), Thanks. They look wonderful. By the way, to get mail to me in a timely fashion use my home address. Tom Frakes 7344 Demshar Dr. Mentor, OH 44060 440 974-8795 <Thank you> I still would like to get to Pohnpei (or possibly Fiji) sometime but family pressures continue to mount. Going to Bonaire in July and may have to be in Florida in Aug for my daughter who might attend U. South Florida and will be moving in. This is subject to change when she finally decides where she is going.  <I understand> Also possibly early/mid Sept. but after that my travel will be limited for the fall. Regards, Tom <Let's keep dreaming, scheming re Pohnpei. Know you will have a great time in Bonaire. Chat with you soon. Bob Fenner>

Greetings (Diving in Sri Lanka) Good evening Robert et al. Hope you are all well. <Yes my friend> My tank is still overgrown with hair algae and diatoms :( but the fight continues. <Yes> This is however not my query this evening. I am off next week for a 10 day business trip to Sri Lanka and was wondering if you had any recommendations as to the snorkeling/ diving in this part of the world. We shall be in Colombo for the most part but I shall have two days free when I get there. Just curious. <Mmm, have yet to visit there... have chatted with folks in the trade there at shows... and did want to travel, dive about Colombo later this year... But don't know first-hand what the conditions are, where one might go. I would "search the net" for several hours to gather ideas at this point, visit with dive services over cyber-space... Plan on arrival. Bob Fenner> Thanks for any advice/suggestions. Cheers. Julian Hunt

Have you seen this? https://www.h2oinsurance.com/ <Sort of. DAN's about everywhere now... the PADI of insurance. Bob F>

Re: have you seen this? Well, ok... I mean, I didn't pay cash for the universe. I'm just working off my own lost-luggage, insufficient airline payback experiences. It really sucks to get to a ski vacation without your skis and everything else. I'll take your word for it. <Am not much "into" insurance schemes... Buy such policies if they suit you. Bob F> J --

Scuba Cert. Is there any problem with getting a NAUI certification vs. PADI? <None at all... A "C" card is a "C" card... and both organizations programs are worthwhile, worthy> The NAUI one is pretty inexpensive around here, at the local community college. -Steven Pro <Go with them. The outfit I was certified with in... 66... No worries... How to make what I mean known (is it impossible to state exactly what I mean?)... The instruction you receive and what you come away with will be/is a function of what the instructor offers, what you are interested, capable and able to receive... you do understand. Bob F>

Sherwood Scuba Recalls Regulators (washingtonpost.com) I thought this might be of interest to you and some readers of WWM. Ann http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A11425-2002Apr30.html <Thank you. Will post. Bob Fenner>

Diving in theory, reality, coming up soon! Jas, go with light models, hauling the crap around the world is the pits, in fact I don't take fins, just as easy to rent at the dive shop-----no lugging the smelly things about. Yes Bob is right the big boys are OK for cruising but if your gonna be looking about going thru tunnels, you don't wanna be kicking up dirt in folks face. If the dive boat is small platform wise, people with their big ass fins are the pits and we cruise by em anyway, technique is the answer, you'll pick it up fast, too many folks get too excited and thrash about using air, and scaring animals, then having to surface whilst other people still have a ton of air. The best advice I can give you is to watch the experienced divers. Am getting excited about the trip, really want to get the trade show on video, as well as get a Sharm story above and below water, so we can at last be up and running with video on WWM.

Vacation Bob, We are flying into LAX Wednesday night and plan to rent a car and drive to a friends place in Pacific Beach. We have no set plans as of yet. Do you have any suggestions of places we should visit?  <In PB or the whole of Southern California? Many!> We intend to check out the area with the intent of possibly moving there in May of 2003 after Kara graduates. <A very spread-out town, big place... and very worthwhile to do the investigating as you propose... in advance. Some nice areas, some not so... a lot dependent on area, the actual neighbors nearby...> We will probably take you up on your offer to let us stay at your place. I know that my friend Kurt has to work during the week so I am sure he wants us to stay at his place on the weekend. Maybe we can get together with you Thursday or Friday. What area of San Diego do you live in. <About in the middle: Mira Mesa. On the north rim overlooking Penasquitos Canyon> Is there any point to us bringing our dive gear? Or is it way to cold for diving? How about surfing? <... I don't dive very often off the coast... not much "vis", lots of pollution... You're welcome to borrow any/all of my gear, and/or a surfboard if you'd like. Bob Fenner> Brad

Fiji-2003 Hi We have listened to you speak at several organizational meetings including Ann Arbor and MACNA and a few years ago you came over to see John's tank set-up. Was 180 gallons then-up to a 300 with a 130 sump now. Anyway, after your last engagement in Ann Arbor in March, your photo's got us hooked on wanting to go scuba diving in the Fiji Islands. We are hoping to go in 2003. Do you already have any planned trips to the Fiji's and if so-on what dates? <None yet... but will very likely be going there (do so once to thrice a year generally), and you're welcome to "come along" with me and friends to dive, make pix, video. Mmm, I like to make "dive lists" for folks who have gone, might go in future. Will add your e-mail address to this, otherwise, do check in periodically. No specific dates at this time. Off to the Red Sea in a few weeks (after Interzoo in Germany), is all that is penciled in in ink. Be chatting, diving. Bob Fenner> John and Pam McDougall

Re: check out dives, Jack will you look into combined dive rates? oh man... http://www.sinaidivers.com/sd/english/index.htm <What an absolutely fabulous website! Will add to our WWM... Bob F>

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