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FAQs about Learning to Dive 1

Articles & FAQs/Input, Links on: Diving FAQs 2, Travel Check Lists, Diving, Fishwatcher's Guide to the Red Sea,   

Bob F. happily on the hills above Moorea, Polynesia.

Good Afternoon Y'all, SaraM in SC, learning to dive... Coral hlth.  - 07/24/07 HI, <Hey there> I'm in South Carolina now, taking my dive classes. The weather down here is just perfect everyday. And this "sweet tea" the native Caroliners drink by the quart is just heavenly. I think I'm hooked. I am being stalked by a small pack of unruly miniature Doxens, but it's ok. They're not so bad once you get to know them. <Heeee!> Oh, and I thought I'd let you all know that we should never touch our corals because the oils from our hands will kill them. That's what the dive instructor told us all. Should I have asked him about Dremels, razor blades and tile saws? lol ;-) Best, Sara M. <Be chatting, diving... BobF>

Good Afternoon Y'all, SaraM continues diving  7/27/07 Well, I think I know why you diving-types are so strong. Dear lord this stuff is heavy! After lugging that tank and all my gear around for a day, I don't know if there are any muscles in my body that don't hurt. Not to mention, I have a lump on the back of my head from where I hit my head on the top of my tank (twice). Um, yeah, don't ask... I don't know how it happened either. Good thing I still have lots of time to practice. ;-) We may be doing some of our certification dives in the river. I'm not sure I like the idea of diving where I know there are alligators, but I figure they'll probably leave up alone, right? <Uhh, crocodilians have been consuming our species since before we were such... Not my faves to be about> Having fun here, Sara <Oh! And Chris and Jor are out diving finally here in HI (they've been trading colds). Cheers, BobF> Fiji, other dive trips  - 05/03/07 Bob, <Mark> I'm looking forward to seeing you at IMAC again this year. The reason I'm bugging you is I am dying to get over to dive the other side of the world. I was tempted to organize a trip to Fiji at Beqa lagoon. <Mmm, I might haul over later this month and join Walt (Smith) there> However my dive buds and I are trying find a reasonably priced way of forming a trip to indo or even Australia this year. <Keep your "eyes peeled" for cheap airfares, package deals offered by dive resorts... even Airline ones...> Could you recommend a trip, group, or local since you have been there many times. <To which location/s?> Also, do you have any interest in a trip or know of any you will be joining. We like the idea of shore diving better than live aboards. Thanks in advance, Mark Vera Aqua-Tech Co. <Mmm... in all three of these countries, shore-diving is not really an option... In order to get out to most all spots you need at least a boat ride... Which I imagine you know, are planning on... That you mean "resort based" rather than shore diving per se. Due to our country's continuing self-driven path to impoverishment (too much gov't, spending period, invasions of sovereign nations...) the dollar is more and more devalued most everywhere... So, on the one hand it's going to be more expensive to do foreign travel, but on the other hand... there's no time like the present and the dollar is NOT going to improve any year soon... The cost of resorts/accommodations, air, food and drink, diving... are posted on the Net by and large... but I would make a deal (easy to do) depending on how many folks you rally... By contacting the service (the resort itself) re... and see if they can do something more for you re consolidators for the transits... For Indo. am very partial to NE Sulawesi... the Bunaken side coupled with a stay in Lembeh... including air... maybe two weeks total time... with a day, maybe two counting coming/going through Singapore... But there are many places in this largest of Islamic nations... Bali, Lombok/Gilis, Flores and vicinity, Irian Jaya... Fiji... I'd save up, do the Nai'a liveaboard (spectacular)... or head out to Taveuni (Garden Island...)... Do watch the weather if going to Beqa, use Beqa Divers if hauling there... Australia? Where? The GBR period? Maybe one of the "White Line" resort islands... My pick? Heron... and a stint points west... MANY... the Coral Sea out of Cairns... if your group is tough re seasickness... Mike Ball's outfit if you can afford it... Let's do chat re specifics... BobF> Take Me to Cozumel! Hello Bob,  <Lynn>  We are going to Cozumel this month and would be grateful for any recommendations or warnings about the various dive operations there. Thank you for any help you could give us.  Lynn  <We often stay at Plaza Los Glorias... the Barracuda is also very nice. Both places near enough to town, shopping for buying food, entertainment. We generally dive with Paradise Divers... the biggest (most boats)... nice folks, but DO dicker with them re the number of days, dives... cost. There are some very nice package deals to be had via the Net with these outfits... and don't discount a few days of shore diving in the south. Bob Fenner>

A non-aquarium question (mail-order dive gear) Hello Bob et al., I am hoping you can help me with a non-aquarium question. I am looking for an online source of dive gear, specifically boots\booties. Before you tell me that I should support my local dive shop (I do believe in supporting local small business), I am not using these for diving (although I do on occasion snorkel). <Jason.C says Leisurepro.com (they have it all) or I've tried Performancedivers.com...> I spend a fair amount of time "tidepooling" around the New England coast, and prefer dive boots to the various $10 "reef-runner/aquasock" clones for foot protection. <Me too, more sturdy, warm, higher up on the legs...> However since the rocks (and my German Shepherd puppy!) can be fairly hard on my footwear, I'm trying to avoid shelling out major cash for boots -- the local shops are very very expensive ( and they really look at me funny when I tell them I don't dive, but I do catch my own aquarium fish !!) So, I'm hoping you can recommend a good online company (or a company that you consider high quality that happens to sell online as well as retail). Thanks once again for all your hard work. Still waiting for a freshwater book from Bob, <It's done about halfway... and the drafts posted on WetWebMedia.com... no publisher, but am adding to it all the time content-wise. Thank you for your encouragement. Bob Fenner> Rich Paulhus Boston, MA

Packing/purchasing for the red sea Are we also hauling dive weighs there, or can they be had on the spot? <Man, could I be mean here... Nah! They have plenty o' lead in Egypt, on the boats no less... but you do have to lug your own scuba cylinders and air... Okay, am joshing ya> I read in one of those books, perhaps Camel Dive or something that the Red Sea equals extra weight needed... <Yes... as in density equals mass over volume... the water is about ten percent more dense in the Red Sea... so's you need more mass and or less volume... to sink that big bad bod> Any recommendations? <None that are printable... oh yes, my handy dandy packing list: See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/travelchklists.htm> Cheers, J -- <Bottoms up. Bob F>

Another scuba question I know I asked you about fins before, and even perhaps more than once... I'm really leaning towards getting those Scubapro jets because I know I can swim with them, and I'm not going to have a lot of time during the class, methinks - it's an entire weekend... <... well, they're tried and true... just big, clunky and heavy-chevies as well> It's also occurred to me that they are shorter than most, which means [yes/no] they'd be better suited to the taking photos-thing??? <Interesting, good question... I actually use those made-in-Malaysia by slave labor Duckfeet tm myself... for fine tuning ze old movement. But really, whatever suits your #1, feet, #2, body, and lastly, pocketbook are fine... My suggestion: try a bunch of types in the pool where you're learning scuba... see how they do/n't pinch your tootsies (and the may=tells) and bod whale oh, and then check the price tag. Will cc Miguel here as he is really into comp. shopping, evaluating this sort of gear. Mike? Bob F> Just curious... J --

Re: self contained, unrestrained brouhaha >I've now slapped down my cash at the LDS [that would be local dive shop] Where I grew up, that would be the "Latter Day Saints". <Still are> My class is from April 15 to May 6th - just in the nick of time... <Am counting on you to be "in shape"> -Zo <Bob>

Did you say... (swim fin preferences, opinions) Force fins, was it?? <Too expensive for what you get IMO... look to lighter jet fin types (not split fins)... I use "Duck Feet"... for photography... but they don't provide much thrust (but easier small movement). Bob Fenner>

Scuba fitness My class is from April 15 to May 6th - just in the nick of time... <Am counting on you to be "in shape"> What do you suppose that entails? I'd like some guideline/recommendation regarding necessary level of physical fitness for this activity... run a mile in under 10 minutes? Run 3 miles without falling down? Wrestle a gator in under 20 seconds? <Mmm, "good" cardio-vascular fitness (able to take some excitement, strain physically)... but more just relaxed breathing ability, comfort with, knowledge of, ones own body> I'm trying to fit in some exercise when/where I can, typically running through the halls of the office like a madman, every afternoon while everyone else is recovering from lunch. -Zo <Very good. None of us are going anywhere w/o our health. It is my desire that we should be about for a long while... with our wit, intelligence, physical means... Do walk, bike, swim... as much, regularly as you can. Bob F>

Email addy Bob, Do you want the by Bob Fenner address to forward to Hotmail? Or are you comfortable using the Datapipe mail interface? <Zo... I must not be any good at communication... I don't know how to "use" the DataPipe interface. GUI me on over brother. I printed out the bit you sent a couple days back... but still don't know "How" to set-up such addresses... Is getting, manipulating the mail from such just as easy as hotmail? Are you telling me the mail from there can be EASILY (as in by myself or others of similar competency) sent to the hotmail box? I would like to know the mechanics of such (is there a dang-blasted help screen/section somewhere on Datapipe for their mail features? I have not been able to find it...  I do think the "branding" aspects of switching to le in under 10 minutes? Run 3 miles without falling down? Wrestle a gator in under 20 seconds? <Mmm, "good" cardio-vascular fitness (able to take some excitement, strain physically)... but more just relaxed breathing ability, comfort with, knowledge of, ones own body> I'm trying to fit in some exercise when/where I can, typically running through the halls of the office like a madman, every afternoon while everyone else is recovering from lunch. -Zo <Very good. None of us are going anywhere w/o our health. It is my desire that we should be about for a long while... with our wit, intelligence, physical means... Do walk, bike, swim... as much, regularly as you can. Bob F>

Self contained, unrestrained brouhaha (learning, yearning to dive) Well, so that it's on record, I've now slapped down my cash at the LDS [that would be local dive shop] and am committed to a three day weekend of madness starting April 25, I think it is. <"You're freezing your butt, y'all". Sing along!> Anyway, I've got my fancy box of PADI things and various diver-down stickers. So... more to come. J -- <Much more amigo. Bob F>

Re: self contained, unrestrained brouhaha A suggestion for quicker certification-------when its time to sit on the bottom of the pool and do the 'remove all your gear exercise' Take it all off including your swim trunks, have heard it often leads to instant pass status, as in, get the heck out of this public pool!! Peter.C <Rip-off! This is invariably what I do when compelled to "demonstrate" capacity to scuba at Nazi-esque resort pools! Bob F>

Re: Journeys to see the travels we've been I ALWAYS have interest in traveling and diving in new places. Reality has other ideas in store for me!!!! <Ahh, well-stated... I have the same notion, impediment. Bob F>

Scuba Home safe. Thank you, thank you again for the hospitality. <A pleasure my friend/s. Thank you for sharing> Now to keep moving forward. I used to have a pair of Scubapro Jet fins - no idea what happened to them. Anyway I checked their website and see they still make them, but also have that split-fins thing which I recall you said was junk. <Yes to the last... hard to "flutter", make small adjustments in orientation, speed for photography underwater. Jet Fins (tm) are kind of pass?nowadays... big, bulky... but do get/use what you're comfortable with. I use (of all things) "Duck Feet" (popular for boogie boarding, body surfing... and thick socks, tape on two toes/foot... as my fave> The question is, are these like tennis racquets? Where the new, large head design puts you at an advantage over the older ones. Should I try and avail myself to some new technology here, not necessarily those split fins, but perhaps someone else's [besides Scubapro] ? Or should I just go with what I know I can swim with, no problem? <Ahh! Do give a few makes/models a try in the swimming pool as you're taking lessons... you will know which fit your desires best this way.> Anyway... do send me the list of FP questions we didn't get to. I'm going to do some example on the multiple shared borders stuff and put it up on that mirror site. I'll let you know when it's done so we can talk about what is there.
Talk to you soon.
J --
<I look forward to it. Bob F>

RE: WWM Stuff Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 23:15:14 -0500 An absolutely fabulous weekend... -Zo <Yes... glad to have gotten together... for "pumping up" all affectively, Jas building Di's sites and adding much momentum... the big and I mean BIG presentation of what WWF is coming to be.... Let us all continue to plan (e.g. travel, photo, dive adventures), what to invest our time, collective monies in (the offer to have Zo's eyes fixed is very real... make it known if/when you can spend a week or so here... I'll take care of ferrying you about, make the arrangements with Peeps/Frank Scotti), where we want the sites to go, be. Thank you Zo and Jas for hauling out to SD. Very enjoyable and beneficial. My ongoing thanks to all. Bob F> 

Jas, Zo, Bob eaten alive at the Birch Aquarium, Sandy Ego

Florida scuba Hello Mr. Fenner (or Jason, Steven, & Anthony...), <Bob this instant/ce> I'm considering taking a SCUBA course through my university that has its open water test off the Florida panhandle. Being a student of limited finances who probably won't get down that way again anytime soon, I wanted to know if this would be a worthwhile dive location, or should I shop around for a course with a better dive option? I've heard kind of conflicting reviews; some say that the visibility is poor, others say that there's enough to see to be worth the trip. Any input? <I say "go for it"... much to see... though, yes the "vis" is not that great... but still better than the great white north (eh!) in a quarry, or a sterile pool> Also, should I go for the Gulf dive, can you point me in a direction where I can find Florida's collection laws? I'm not interested in anything on a commercial scale, but I would like to bring back some live sand or a few small critters if it's legally possible. <Mmm, maybe> One final question...is there anywhere online where one can purchase personal SCUBA gear (i.e., fins, booties, mask)? Or, am I better off accepting the retail price? <All sorts of places... but there are some "walk in" places in Florida that are very reasonable... and the time, hassle saved by being there, trying sizes, options on... is worth something in the way of a premium> Great website, guys...thanks for all the help! Jason <Thank you for being part of it. Be chatting, diving my friend. Bob Fenner>

Dive Travel!? 2 Experienced Divers need price quote for 7nts, 6 days diving, 3 tanks/day at Matangi Island June1-7, 2002. Thank you. Sanford Kassel <Make that three... I'm going with you! Actually, we don't "do" dive trips... you may have seen some travelogues on our sites, articles... See you about (hopefully underwater). Bob Fenner>

New Zealand and once again, my marine nano-tank Dear Bob, Sorry not to reply to your last email sooner, but yes, I have reduced stock in my 35 gal marine tank by about half. I have also added another powerhead and an UV sterilizer. The tank already had a Fluval 304 and a powerhead driven skimmer. I'm interested in added an ozonizer, but have been advised that in this size tank I would only need to leave it on for 2-3 hours a week!! <Or get/use a much smaller unit... a few tens of milligrams of O3 per hour would be fine here> Is this true? Stock in tank now one small yellow tang, one fire goby, 2 Chromis, one yellow tail damsel, 1 leather coral, 1 rock of button polyps, and lots of seaweed. About 40kg cured rock. Do i need an ozonizer?- I am learning the hard way - ich etc... to keep the water quality in a small tank as good as possible. Ozonizers are expensive here - $300, and for 2-3hrs a week use it seems a bad bargain!! But I see you really recommend them. Any comments please. <Not as necessary as a quarantine tank... or a working skimmer... I would think over your possibilities... not try to get all/every gadget... Simple is better> Re; Coming to Auckland NZ. Here are some fishy possibilities. Firstly, our best known public aquarium is called Kelly Tarltons, after its founder. It is in Mission Bay in Auck, and is under sea level, using sea water from the bay they purify continually. You travel in a Plexiglas tunnel on an travelator, as the fish swim beside and over the top of the tunnel. It is a NZ biotype aquarium - has sharks, rays, and most common nZ fish in it. The web site is www.kellytarltons.co.nz.  <Neat, thank you> They also have a display of emperor penguins from Antarctica, and some tank displays too. one of these is of ice fish - the fish that have antifreeze for blood and live in Antarctica too. There is also a tank of large NZ eels - they like being stroked. There are 2 main marine/freshwater fish suppliers in Auckland. They also supply most of the marine fish to the rest of NZ> They are Hollywood Fish Farm at www.hollywoodfishfarm.co.nz and Jansens ( these are the bigger and better, but more expensive suppliers at info@jansens.co.nz. Jansens have 3 outlets in Auckland. For seeing the New Zealand/ Auckland biotype in the wild, go to Leigh/ Goat Island Marine Reserve with snorkel gear at high tide. This is a shoreline reserve incorporating a small island, and there are HEAPS of fish who are not particularly shy. It is a no-fishing-allowed area, and the fish seem to know it.  <Indeed, they assuredly do> Most of the fish are downright friendly, and the university has a research base there too. Goat Island reserve is about 50 miles north of Auckland. If you are really keen to see some subtropical corals arrange a dive trip to Poor Knights Islands off the Bay of Islands about 150 miles north of Auckland. This is a world class diving area wither invertebrates you see nowhere else in the world, including many sorts of corals, I believe. Also a marine sanctuary. Hope all this is of some help - let me know if you need any more info. Regards Miriam. <Again, thank you for your research. Will post for alls use on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Manta Divers Reservations January 25,26,28 >Dear Diana, >Your reservations are confirmed. >I have you booked for: >-2 divers Cancun for Friday January 25, 2002 >-2 divers Cancun for Saturday January 26, 2002 >Please be at the dive shop by 9:15 a.m. >-2 divers Cozumel for Monday January 28, 2002 Hotel Pick Up >Regarding your comments, I know a couple of places to find toad fish but we'll have to work really hard if we want to spot a Frog fish. >Also about he Sunday beach dive, I'm afraid there is no beach diving in the Cancun and surrounding areas since it's very shallow even 200 yard out. (about 10feet/3m) >Thank You for booking in advanced and choosing Manta Divers. >Please feel free to contact me anytime for further information. >Daniel E. Quezada >PADI IDC Staff Instructor # 65680 >Manta Divers Scuba Center - Cancun - Since 1994 >PADI Resort Member #17130 >Blvd. Kukulcan Km 6.5 Playa Tortugas L 3A >Ph. (998) 849 40 50 Ph.- Fax (998) 880 94 88 >Cancun, Q. Roo, Mexico 77500 >E-mail: dive@mantadivers.com >Visit our web site at: www.mantadivers.com <Great. Looking very fwd to the trip. Bob F>

Fwd: Re: Palau Quote Bob, You asked for the info on Pulau, and the travel agent responded today. There is much more than wreck diving in Pulau. You should read the article I left for you on your desk, and let me know what to do. Ddian <Is this from a new woman? Are you a sexy mama? If I go with you to Micronesia can I sneak in a few more dives? This doesn't seem like a "real deal" to me... too much money (likely more like 3k each with meals) and three plane transfers... twenty some hours each way... for five days, two tank dives per day... I'd rather go elsewhere for the time, money, number of dives, time of travel per time on site. Let's wait till you're better with live-aboards, and/or anti-seasickness med.s, when we're in the area, when we have more cash, time to be there... Bob F>

Maldive flight information Hey Dogfish, <Howdy> I have been researching airline connections from Goa/Bombay to the Maldives with the Interhash travel agency and thought I would share what I have found out. The connections are horrible (IMHO), so the trip may not work out for us. But, we haven't given up yet. <Ah, good... let's keep looking, shopping for a total itinerary that will suit all of our purposes> Of course, our dates/plans may not coincide with yours. With the info below you will at least have flight possibilities to plan your own trip if the joint one doesn't work out. <Okay... our schedules at this point are very flexible> Info below is from their emails. Any comments I make are prefaced by DOGFISH NOTE: Travel to Male and Back: Please note there are no direct connections on sector Goa/Male. You will have to travel to Bombay to connect flights for Male. The flights operating on sector Goa/Bombay are as below:- GOA/BOMBAY 9W-472 1405/1505 HOURS AIRFARE USD 103.00 PER PERSON ONE WAY (USD 93+5+5) IC-164 1415/1515 HOURS AIRFARE USD 95.00 PER PERSON ONE WAY (USD 85+5+5) 9W-476 1345/1445 HOURS AIRFARE USD 103.00 PER PERSON ONE WAY (USD 93+5+5) S2-220 1730/1830 HOURS AIRFARE USD 95.00 PER PERSON ONE WAY (USD 85+5+5) 9W-474 1530/1630 HOURS AIRFARE USD 103.00 PER PERSON ONE WAY (USD 93+5+5) All above are daily flights. Airfare quoted above are based in economy class. Airfare in business class (Goa/Bombay) will be as below:- 9W (JET AIRWAYS): USD 154.00 PER PERSON ONE WAY (USD 144 + 5 + 5) IC (INDIAN AIRLINES) & S2: USD 135.00 PER PERSON ONE WAY (USD 125 + 5 + 5) From Bombay also per present air schedule there is only one direct flight operating on sector Bombay/Male which is HM017 DEPARTURE BOMBAY AT 0250 Hours ARRIVAL MALE AT 0450 HOURS. However, this flight is only operating on Mondays early morning. You wish to travel to Male on 30th Sep which is also Monday. However, this connection will not be possible keeping in view Goa/Bombay and Bombay/Male flight timings. This connection can be only possible if you travel Goa/Bombay on 29th Sep'2002 which will be Sunday and Bombay/Male on 30th Sep (Monday). Other than this there are connections available Bombay/Trivandrum/Male on Day Monday (morning 0940 Hours) and Friday and Bombay/Colombo/Male on day Monday and Saturday (early mornings). However, these schedules will change again before the date of travel. DOGFISH NOTE: I told them that we did not want to leave Interhash on Sunday afternoon, which would be required with either of the above two options getting to Male because option 1 leaves at 0240 on Monday am and option 2 leaves at 0940. You can't get to Bombay from Goa in time to meet either flight to Male unless you leave Sunday. Here is another option they sent me last night: <Okay> Connection Goa/Male: There are no early morning flights Goa/Bombay by which you can connect HM flight at 0240 Hours. The first flight Goa/Bombay is departure Goa 0800 and arrival Bombay at 0900 Hours. DOGFISH NOTE: Apparently 40 minutes is not enough domestic connecting time (arrival from Goa at 0900 in Bombay and departure from Bombay at 0940). <Agreed. We should leave a good three hour gap between flights. Two hours minimum.> We have already advised you all the connections possible. there are no other connections available on Monday (means in the afternoon/evening time) which suits your schedule. also no connections available on Tuesday. There is one suitable connection possible by giving overnight at Trivandrum GOA/BOMBAY 9W-480 0800/0900 HOURS (OPERATING DAILY EXCEPT SUNDAYS) BOMBAY/TRIVANDRUM 9W-334 1035/1230 HOURS OVERNIGHT IN TRIVANDRUM THEN CONNECT TRIVANDRUM/MALE NEXT DAY PER FLIGHT DETAILS BELOW:- TRIVANDRUM/MALE IC-963 1230/1310 HOURS (ALL DAYS EXCEPT MONDAY AND FRIDAY) IC-933 1320/1400 HOURS (ONLY ON MONDAY AND FRIDAY) DOGFISH NOTE: So, we could get to Trivandrum on Monday, overnight there and get to Male on Tuesday at 1310. I wonder if our luggage/diving equipment will make it. Also, luggage/weight limitations may be a problem. <Yes... penalty charges for overweight can be crushingly expensive> The same is case for return sector Male/Bombay only 01 direct flight. HM016 DEPARTURE MALE AT 2240 HOURS ARRIVAL BOMBAY NEXT DAY AT 0140 HOURS. This flight is only operating on Sundays. Other than this there are connections available Male/Colombo/Madras/Bombay on 06 Oct. This is will be very long connection. However, these schedules will change again before the date of travel. DOGFISH NOTE: The 2240 departure Sunday night, October 6 from Male isn't too bad for our current schedule. We would arrive back in Bombay at 0140 on Monday morning, 10/7. Our current reservations are to depart from Bombay at 1250 am on Tuesday, 10/8. So, we would have to book a hotel room for the night of Sunday, 10/6, knowing that we won't arrive at the hotel until early Monday am. We would ask for a late check-out or see if they have half-day rates. Of course, they could just store the luggage. Ideally, however, we would be able to keep the room until 6 pm or so to take a last shower before the long trip home. <Okay.> All the flight details given above are based on present flight schedules. We are trying to check with airlines concerned the final schedule finalized or to be finalized during the desired period on sector Bombay/Male and back and will keep you informed. Please bear with us till then as this may take some time. DOGFISH NOTE: Let us know what you find out on your end. We are really having second thoughts on diving in the Maldives due to the extremely complicated airline schedules. They didn't provide the airfare costs between Bombay and Male.  <Perhaps going there first? Other dive sites exist that we're interested in in the area... for after IH> I will ask them and let you know. We already know it will be roughly $100 to get from Goa to Bombay. We are even thinking about flying to Phuket and diving there, but so far the airfare makes that very expensive. Do you know of any other places in the "nearby" area which would be good for diving? I am sending Digit (head person of Goa IH and a diver) an email asking if there is any "decent" diving in Goa. So far I have only found one dive school in Goa: http://goacom.com/tours/SITravel/scubadiving.html. <Will endeavor to keep you informed of events re other dive possibilities. Will send your note around to other dive/travel/hashing/adventurers here.> Happy New Year. Hasher Humper and Spinal Tap P.S. The travel agency has also recommended places to stay in Bombay and Delhi for us. I'll be glad to forward them if you are interested. Do you know where you are staying in Goa? <Not yet. Thank you for all your work thus far. Bob F/Dog F>

Re: Dive trips to Australia, Baja Bob, Out of curiosity, how much do you think this will cost with and without the plane tickets. Just a ballpark estimate would be fine. Out of the ballpark would be cool also. As much as I would love to, I doubt I will go on this though. I think the Baja Trip would be much more doable for me. I'm still curious though. <Let's see... for ten days or so... about $1,500 US for accommodations, diving, interior travel> BTW, any better idea when the Baja thing might be? <When we want to go... Our friend Jack Melroy took his family in a big rented mini-winnie and we have other vehicles... was going to follow down on return from NJ... didn't even go there due to feeling bunk... I'll gladly go when we can get a few folks together. Do you want to fly or drive? I can make it most any time. Bob F> Yours, Ken

Re: Dive trips to Australia, Baja Bob, > <Let's see... for ten days or so... about $1,500 US for accommodations, diving, interior travel> I'll definitely can not go on both these trips. Unfortunately, that is still a bit for me to swallow at the moment. If I was to pick a trip for next year, which would you suggest? I'm already doing the Red Sea with you guys after Interzoo. I liked the Baja trip. Correct me if I'm wrong, it looks to be about $1000 for accommodations, diving, interior travel? <For Baja? Should be about this> I definitely want to fly. That is tough enough for me as it is. I'm going to start exercising pretty soon. Hopefully, that'll alleviate the back tension. <Yes... and the anticipation of the fun, experiences will grant you happiness... Might I suggest yoga as well? Hope to see you soon. Bob F> Yours, Ken

Re: Australian Trip in March I want to go. Any idea or information on how long you plan on going for or how much this trip will cost? Let me know if you get any more info. <Have been chatting with Pete... looking on Net... only have rough time frame in mind thus far. Please peruse the Web and report back on the above. Bob F> Mike > http://www.ccy.com.au/area/ > Who's keen to join us on the Whitsunday Islands bit of the Australian trip in March? Thinking latter part of month. > Bob F

Re: Dive Trips, Baja? Bob and Jason, It sounds like we are planning for a date soon. <Yes... before we go... at least a/couple of "dinner parties" showing images, chatting up what to do al sur.> K, then at least you and I are flying. I'm CCing this to Jason Kim. That adds another variable. If Jasmine Tan is to join us, we would need to schedule a date when she has a break from school. Jason? <Much wangling of time, planning.... fun anticipation!> I know I'm young to have back issues, but it is definitely not my choice. :-). <I will help you to get beyond this problem. Bob Fenner> Ken

Dive Contacts in Vanuatu? Hi Bob: Do you have any dive contacts for Vanuatu? I'm hoping to get a few dives in while I'm there in January. <Mmm, will, would take some time sending/waiting for responses to assure the folks I knew are still there... All the PADI certified outfits are fine... excellent staff, gear. Many different types of dives, locations possible. Other than taking me with you, all I can/do suggest is having a great time. Bob Fenner> Nuala

Re: Dive Contacts in Vanuatu? Thanks, Bob. nmc <You're welcome my friend... wish we WERE drinking kava (claps twice), right now... Bob Fenner>

Diving about India in September hey guys, spoke to the owner of the dive shop on lakhshwadeep y'day(met her at a party).she said they're usually not open in Sept but they'll work something out for us ,weather permitting of course. so we'll just have to play it by ear closer to the date i guess. Parvin ps she also said viz is not as great in Sept as it is right now. <Hmm, good follow-up Parv... would like to know "how good" the visibility generally is... Do you have other ideas, places you'd like to go, dive enroute or near Goa in September? Bob Fenner>

Re: Suspect Cryptocaryon in main system... Hi Bob, Thanks for answering. I have read all the articles at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasitf.htm and parasitic and anywhere else I found referencing fallow. Wow! you sure have patience with all of us!!!! I went nuts just reading all of it. <Imagine writing it.> A last question (well I hope anyway!) Here is my plan: 1) Lower SG to 1.017 range in main tank while raising temp to 82 over the next week. Keeping everyone, maroon clown, hawk, and 6 line wrasse, with inverts, in tank. (Please advise here...) <Okay so far.> 2) Keeping tang and angel (with a damsel that was their to cycle) in hospital tank. <Mmmm, I would move the other fishes into the hospital tank... they are no doubt helping harbor low populations of parasites... that will retain pathogenicity/infectiveness consequently> I have seen no signs in main tank of problems, but I know they are there. I planned to do above until I see signs in main tank of ich. If I do I will pull all to hospital tank. <I would make the move pre-emptively> My course above is slow at reaction because I fear the 10 gal tank will be over taxed if I move all.  <Go get a twenty...> I do not want to kill them from environmental problems. Even know I am testing daily. I think ammonia is nearing zero and nitrite is falling, currently at .5 <Let it fall to zero. Feed not at all or very sparingly> Have you considered some sort of dive trips open to some of your fans? Thanks Again, Dale <Oh! Constantly... please read through the Daily FAQs or here for now: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/learn2dive.htm Folks are welcome to "come along" on most any/all such ventures. I/we don't "do tours" per se... but am/are happy to go out with fellow pet-fish, natural history, adventure travel minded people. If I could figure out how to do so, would have a mass-mailing/section of our chatforum http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/, to engage, get input, chat over these possibilities. Will ask Zo to make category. Be chatting, diving. Bob Fenner.>

Re: EXOTIC Diving Locations - Lakshadweep - Chris Fernandez hey, silk air flies to Keala but u guys are going to be in Goa and there's a flight from there to Agatti in lakhshwadeep from where it's a short boat ride away. even from Cochin in Keala) u can catch a flight to Agatti or alternatively go by boat which is not recommended (at least that's what I've heard). how many people r u going to be? <Maybe five, ten> I'll talk to the dive shop people and get exact price details also. <Great, thanks Parv. Bob Fenner> Parvin

Re: EXOTIC Diving Locations - Lakshadweep - Chris Fernandez the dive shop's website is www.lacadives.com your ques will be answered. they run a dive shop on two islands in lakhshwadeep, bangaram and Kadmat. Bangaram is an expensive resort and Kadmat is a basic lodge place.  Parvin <Got it, thank you again. Bob F>

Re: EXOTIC Diving Locations - Lakshadweep - Chris Fernandez Bob Silk Air flies to Keala. From there you take a boat or a small plane to these islands. BBC did a documentary on theses islands last year. Something like the Maldives 20 years ago. From Keala you might want to travel to Gujarat to see the whale sharks. A Brit won an award for his documentary on these animals. <Wish all this was accessible through the Net. Thanks Perry. Are you interested in going with us (in September?). BTW, Pete and I, and Jack, Laura, Di for part of the trip at least, are only going to be in Australia (March) for a couple of weeks. Is your itinerary set for your sojourn to southern cal? Dates, locations please. Bob Fenner> Perry

Re: EXOTIC Diving Locations - Lakshadweep - Chris Fernandez it's supposed to be a great place to dive, absolutely virginal. but i think it's still closed in Sept because of rains and opens in October. will find out and let u know. Parvin <Our man in Bollywood/India speaks! Thank you Parvin. Hopefully be diving with you soon. Bob Fenner>

EXOTIC Diving Locations - Lakshadweep - Chris Fernandez http://www3.sympatico.ca/loki.sails/adv6.html << EXOTICDivingLocations-Lakshadweep-ChrisFernandez.url >> <Looks good... for before/after Goa... Bob/DF>

Re: Australia trip in March Hi Which part of Australia are you folks heading to? <Brisbane on up north to Cairns... looks like Pete is now talking just two weeks... no set itinerary as yet> I wished I had paid more attention to the travel ads placed by Qantas which just ended today. Return tickets out of Singapore to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Brisbane for Sing$500 - about US$250. Will let you guys know if they will extend this promotion or if Singapore Airlines comes up with something similar. <What? Amazing... very infrequently have I seen such discounts by Qantas. Be chatting, diving. Bob Fenner> Perry

Bali diving? Are you going on the Bali trip in April?  <Hmm, not yet... but will be in Australia for all of March... Mmm> I just signed up with Swiss Piss for the "A2" package... apparently that is the version of the trip which most hashers are taking. Does Bali have good diving? <Yes, on the north side... the south has very big waves... Should be a blast of a trip. Di and I went with SP for the Bali 1000th trip in '94. Be chatting. Bob F> Todd

Re: ?Maldives diving? Howdy from Spinal Tap and Hasher Humper, Being the anal travel planner that I am, I booked our frequent flier trip to India yesterday. Actually, you have to book way out to get the free seats. <You're ahead of us!> As you may remember, we have traded emails about the possibility of doing some post IH diving in the Maldives. <Yes... we're hoping to do this as well... still not sure if before/after Goa> We are currently scheduled to arrive in Goa on Wednesday, 9/25 and plan on leaving for Male on Monday, 9/30. We are scheduled to fly back to the US on Tuesday, October 8. So, our diving times could be during the time frame Tuesday, October 1 (possibly the afternoon on 9/30, depending upon flights) until Sunday, October 6. I am looking into flights from Goa to Male (or we may have to go back to Bombay), but I haven't found much yet. I know Indian Airlines flies there. I haven't found a "Maldives Airlines" yet. I'll keep looking. <As will I/we... will cc Pete/Impy, Di/EZout, Mike/Moist...> Have you found out any more information about dive operations? We know nothing about diving in the Maldives. I believe you said you prefer resort diving versus a live-aboard. <Yes... and/but have been remiss... need to dedicate time... as likely previously stated, shore-based diving is preferable, no real different than live-aboard>> We are game for most anything, except something like what we have read in the scuba hash trash about the awful crossing back to Miami. <Mmm, it was pretty bad this last go.> Both of us would have been seriously feeding the fish too. Sorry we missed that part!!! <Yikes, say no more> Keep us informed as you find information and we can do the same if you want to hook up. It would be a lot of fun to have a group IMHO. <Agreed. Will add to email out of images, dive info. Let's keep chatting, dreaming, planning. Bob F/Dog F> Hasher Humper and Spinal Tap

Re: Daily Fish Email out WWM Dogfish, We are back - can you put me back on distro for your pics?  <Yes> We had a great trip and took lots of pics - hopefully some of them are "keepers". Got to see and absolutely marvelous large yellow frog fish. Talk to you at the hash and thanks for the help. <Neat... really like frogfish as photographic subjects... just so hard to find underwater. Be chatting, Bob F> BIYLM & Flipper Rick & Namiko

Japan Hi Bob, I had a wonderful time while in Japan last summer and I'm considering taking a teaching job there for a year starting in August. It's one of those government sponsored programs and sounds pretty inviting.  <Mmm, I wanted to do this as a D.O.D. student many years back in Sasebo myself... and when time came to secure my teaching credential, my choice of districts to do student teaching in was strongly influenced by a program in place for reciprocation with Grossmont H.S. and the Canberra (Australia) schools (trading two years...)> I don't have anything keeping me here for now (and no wife, etc. either), and with e-mail etc. I can even keep writing I'd assume. So, if I'm ever going to try any such thing it seems the time is now. <Do agree with your perspective, outlook... a great, grand opportunity> So, I'm looking for advice on placement (they'll let you list three potential areas you'd like to live in, although you're not guaranteed any of them) . I'd obviously like to live somewhere near good diving but don't know enough about the areas other than Tokyo.  <Mmm, the good news is that the country is small, and ground/air transportation so good, you can get to most places, quick...> I know the Okinawan Islands are great, but I also heard that our military presence in that area is frowned upon by the locals. I'd actually prefer to be somewhere that I don't run into a bunch of Marines, etc. all the time anyway. <I agree... the U.S. should leave... too many people... forty some thousand... you're going to have some "yahoos" amongst so many folks... And easy to have this antagonize, polarize local folks, the world against "us"...> My little travel guide mentions the areas around Izu-shoto and Izu-hanto, both south of Tokyo, but doesn't say much of anything about them. Got any knowledge to give? <If possible, practical I would situate myself somewhere in the southern of the four principal islands (Kyushu)... Much to do, see, dive there... and plenty of easy air trips to get to Guam, the P.I.... lifetimes of adventure. Hoping I'll be able to meet up with you for some of them, Bob Fenner> Thanks, James W. Fatherree, M.S.

Well i sent my request and $ to PADI for a replacement card, so if it comes to pass... <Ah, good move> analogous to your site for fishies, do you see similar promise for zoo animal pix? if so, I'd like to have a friend of mine that was recently in charge of most of the animals at the Wild Animal Park chat with ya. <Very much so... and do so. Do wish I/we could get Dave.S with Dinosaurs, his dads plane pix... all sorts of content up, going, profitable... "Thoughts w/o actions are worthless".> T hanks, L ove, and C heers <Be chatting, and hopefully diving my friend. Bob Fenner> t

Refugium, Deep Sand Bed, and Diving. Hi Bob, Maybe you can enlighten me on a couple of things. I have a 90 reef tank mostly LPS and SPS with about 220 gallons total system water. I set up a separate plenum refugium in an old 70 gal. (48"x18") about 2 months ago. I followed your illustration and info on wetwebmedia.com, lots of great help from the FAQ. I have a problem, I bought too much substrate (CaribSea "special seafloor grade. 1mm dia.) What I would like to do is add this gravel to my display tank that has about 1" crushed coral already in it. Not to the whole tank, but around the front, sides, etc. I don't want to take everything out and start over. Too much work. But with the added substrate I could make a deep sand bed about 4-5" deep about 6" wide (between the front glass and the LR.) Is this a good idea?  <Mmm, maybe... you realize it will all be getting mixed together... about the same depth... over time> I can't seem to find any info on people experiencing with a deep sand bed AND a plenum. Your insight would be much appreciated. <Both can work together... better than one apart from the other IMO/E> On a side note, I just got certified PADI and I'm leaving for the Cayman Islands next week for a week of dives. :) You have any "favorite spots" I should check out?  <There are so many... will you just be on Grand Cayman? Do you intend to just use one dive agency? You only have a week... the place isn't all that big, but IS huge underwater... I'd just go, trust the local folks who are showing you about... There's not too great a variability in the biological make-up (nor much in the topography) all about the island. Hopefully you are intending to make photos... Oh, and do read over about the Caymans on the Web. A very popular dive/travel location.> It would be a nice and educational change to see reef creatures in their natural environment.  <Definitely> Keep up the fantastic website! Any plans for a new book? <Always working on such. Next... a Pond Pocket Guide! Don't groan. Things could be worse... be chatting, Bob Fenner> Brad Stefanko

Re: Refugium, Deep Sand Bed, and Diving. Whoa fast, fast response. Thanks for your help! I have a follow up regarding my refugium. Is it possible to raise cleaner shrimps in a dedicated refugium? <Yes> I wish I had more that a week in Grand Cayman. I have seen all kinds of wonderful pictures of reefs there. I don't think a week is enough either. I know I am going to work in "Sting Ray City" experience.  <A "standard"> The dive agency that we are using is Ocean Frontiers. I have bought a camera and hope you use lots of film! I do have a trip planned for Fiji in June '02 I assume there are great dives sites in Fiji also. <Yes... am off to Taveuni 11/27... Supposedly heading back in May... Maybe we'll meet up there in June!> As always, warmest regards Brad <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Banggai Cardinals/Dive trips Hello again, Bob... First off, let me say that I am really jealous about your upcoming trip to Taveuni...the one in Fiji?  <Yes, the "Garden Isle"> We honeymooned in Fiji two years ago. It was our first dive trip after certification. Strange weather front, rocky seas (really scary kind) but what little diving we got in was fantastic. Anyway, say "hi" to those beautiful reefs for me. <Will do so> We're looking into taking another dive trip next spring/early summer. Any ideas for the Caribbean (we've been to Cayman twice in the past year, looking for something else this time)? <All sorts... Bonaire, Cancun/Cozumel, the Virgins have about the most consistent clear water... but the Sandals Resorts on Antigua, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Turks/Caicos... all-inclusives are very nice (two dives a day generally is all) for couples... What do you want to see? Big animals, topography, shore-based attractions? Have you been to Belize?> Hoping to have a week to spend somewhere nice with good diving. Now for the real question...I would love to have a mated pair of Banggai Cardinals for my 75-gallon reef tank (so far, inhabited by a lone bicolor blenny on the fish side). However, I'm having a difficult time locating tank-raised specimens, much less in Dallas, TX. Any ideas on how I could acquire these fish? <Should be available most any/everywhere. I'd check with your local fish shops and marine club/s: http://www.dfwmas.com/ The Dallas/Ft.Worth Club is hosting the next MACNA... they surely have members who have tank-bred Banggais... Contact them. Bob Fenner>  Thanks again for all of your help... Kind regards, Misty Johnson

Re: Banggai Cardinals Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. RE Diving...haven't been to Belize but have heard good things. So far, have only been to Cayman and Fiji. One year, I'd love to hit Turks/Caicos in Feb or March to see the whale migration. As far as diving, haven't seen anything really big (tarpon is about the biggest, and a huge grouper). As I get more into reef-keeping, I think I'll appreciate the little things more (just like a big window shopping trip!). <Agreed. Fellow divers and their staffs often comment that they can't believe (perhaps understand) how little apparent area I investigate per dive... Am so fascinated with how much is in one area, down to as small as I can appreciate is there, going on...> So right now, I'm pretty much a blank slate. We're not big "sit on the beach" people, so diving fits us pretty well. Wouldn't mind some land hiking either. Good food is a plus as well. <Do consider, look over options in Belize... many good airline flights out to there from TX... folks speak English (better than anywhere else), the Mayan ruins are spectacular... much else to see/do. Maybe Caye Caulker, Teneriffe... or down to Placentia, or simply where more than half the folks visiting go, to Ambergris Caye/San Pedro... the Hol Chan preserve and environs...> Anyway, I inquired at the last DFWMAS meeting and plan to ask again this month (supposed to be the 21st, but not sure when they will reschedule due to Thanksgiving). Anyway, will you be attending MACNA next year in Dallas? Would love to meet you if you're around. <I'd like to... will have to see if the committee there wants me to come out to give a pitch (seems MACNA can only take me every other year or so!). Chat with you soon. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Misty

Re: Goa, India diving experiences hey guys, finished my 1st day of adv ow.did the deep, uW naturalist and wreck dive. their website says the water here is murky and boy did they mean it. but they also organize 3 day trips from here to a place called Netrani which is supposed to be really good. but though the water is murky here there's a lot of fish life, from barracuda, pufferfish, Bannerfish, jacks, angelfish, morays, snappers, groupers etc. the groupers we saw were actually quite big. I think though when u guys come to Goa we should organize a trip to Netrani instead which is 12,000Rs for 3n2d incl accom, all meals, about 4-5 dives and transport to and from Goa. Parvin <Thank you for this Parvin (our dive-travel friend/actor from Bollywood, receiving training in Goa). Bob Fenner>

Eric is Almost Certifiable I thought you might like to know that my son, Eric, passed his written PADI test with 92%. He's doing his open water portion in Cancun next week. <Outstanding... a nice place to be> How's it going for you? <Fine> We're bring Ron Shimek up next month. I'll be turning the programming reigns over to someone else next year. I'm sure whoever has them will bring you back. <Ah, another pay cut... somehow we will both survive. See you soon. Bob Fenner>

Diving at Kungkungan Beach Resort. Who wants to go? Where is this place? <At the northeast tip of what was formerly Celebes, the "hand shaped 73,000 square mile island above Java, Bali, Lombok towards the ends of the Malay Archipelago. Third planet from the sun, has a satellite about a sixth it's diameter, you can't miss it. Bob Fenner> Tom Message text written by "Robert Fenner" >In reading, writing a book review on this part of Sulawesi (around the corner where we've dived at Bunaken), I am very interested in diving, photographing there. The authors site URL and KBR's is listed: www.petrinos.gr http://www.divekbr.com Very exciting location. Have sent for further information (like times available, pricing). Are you interested? Bob F.<

KBR link 7/6/08 Hi Bob, This is Peter, now being the new webmaster of Kungkungan Bay Resort's website. I have a little request... Would it be possible that on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/TravelPIX/IndoPIX/n_sulawesi.htm (and maybe any other pages) you change the link to KBR from the old URL http://www.kungkungan.com to the new one, http://www.divekbr.com? Both are working but we are trying to eliminate any links to the old domain now. Many thanks and best regards, Peter Blumtritt <Hello Peter. Will do. BobF>

Maldives diving? Dogfish, Have you (or Mike) ever been diving in the Maldives? <Yes... very nice. The last time two years back at the "Hilton"... ho ho!> It's time for us to book our frequent flier points for Goa (assuming a political situation doesn't force us to cancel the trip at the last minute).  <I do think things will calm down... We (a dozen or so friends) are "doing" the Maldives immediately after the Intl. HHH as well...> I think we have decided against the Red Sea (political stuff, you know) <A shame... but do agree re my unsettledness for some sad individuals "celebrating" the murder of folks re 9/11... Sharm, other places along the Sinai/Egypt or even Israel's Eilat s/b fine though...> and will try to dive in the Maldives for a week to 10 days either before or after Interhash next September. So, if you have been diving there, we want to pick your brain. Liveaboard or "resort"? <Resorts are many and better... except for the ClubMed... The Indian Ocean is vast and can be very scary to travel in and amongst the atolls... Plenty to see and do on the various resort islands...> Must see and must avoid places. That kind of info. <Let us continue our discussion. Bob F/Dogfish> Hasher Humper and Spinal Tap

Diving, Manado/Indo... Hi Guys My contract with Creation street has just ended. I am now working on a part time basis as a photographer at the dolphin lagoon which is managed by Underwater World. Got a pretty good severance package and i am thinking of diving in Manado. <Do you think "anti-American" sentiment is something to be concerned about there, this part of Indo.?> If you guys are going diving anywhere soon do let me know. <Will definitely do so... Pete, Jack and Di are all looking into places to go in next few months and beyond. Will cc them.> I will be joining Spin network again to shoot more footages of Chek Jawa. We spent three days last month and realized there was not enough footages of the marine life. The innovative folks at Spin network have manufactured a simple housing for their Sony DVCAM. <Hmm, dangerous... would have just bought one... lost cameras, time/travel are much more expensive> Hope it will work. <Me too. Chat/dive with you soon I hope. Bob Fenner> Perry

Re: Diving Bob Manado is Protestant country. I don't see anything happening there unlike Java or Lombok which are Muslim areas. <Will send along to the "usual suspects" here... We're inking in a trip to Fiji/Taveuni early November, Baja late December/Jan., Australia/QLD for weeks in mid March on, the Red Sea/Egypt/Sharm after Interzoo/Germany in May, Maldives and maybe Seychelles/other around Interhash in Goa in September... if you can/want to try and make these> I might even make a trip to San Diego. United Airlines is charging US$300 for return tickets to LA or San Francisco.  <Great> The only catch is I have to travel by November. How is the diving like in the area you are living in? <Hmm, bunk... too many people, too much pollution... let alone cool/cold water, waves, poor visibility... but there are areas to visit along the coast that are worth perusing (take a lot of driving), Islands off the coast that have clearer water... and Baja/Sea of Cortez is just to the South... Many interesting animal groups that I don't think you've been exposed to. Let's chat this up if you'd like. Bob Fenner> Perry

Going to Fiji, with a pet-fish aching in my heart... Bob I have a friend who is thinking of traveling to Fiji and do some dives there next month. Any suggestions where he should stay or dive with? <All sorts... there is a very well done "Dive Fiji" section in this months (September issue) Rodale's Scuba Diving magazine. Ideally either a liveaboard or Taveuni (which is almost a liveaboard island... though of course land-based... Or out to the Lau or far into the Yasawa chain... or to Suva suva on Vanua Levu... or to Kadavu Island down south... At any length, have your friend contact me. Bob Fenner> Perry

Diving (Let's go!) Hey Bob, Just a quick question or two that really have nothing to do with the fish hobby. What is your favorite SCUBA diving spot? I got to go diving off the coast of Jamaica and loved it. <In the tropical West Atlantic? Bonaire or Cancun/Cozumel/Isle of Women... or Hol Chan preserve off of northern Belize... or Tobago's Flying Reef in the Lower Antilles... Around the world? Various parts of the Red Sea> Also, how is diving off the coast of Australia? <The coasts of Australia? Fabulous. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Kevin

My goal is to go still to Interzoo this next year. <Okay... now what about the Red Sea dive trip immediately following? Hmm? Bob F> Thanks, Todd Gabriel I finally got some info on becoming certified. That is my next goal. Thanks, Todd Gabriel <Ah, good! Let me know if I can be of help in your process here. A suggestion? Buddy up at this juncture with someone who is also interested in becoming certified... Much more fun to share the trials and tribulations. Bob F. in Detroit, returning from MACNA.>

Perry in Tazzie! Hi Bob I managed to do 2 dives in Tasmania. Did not get to see any sea dragons or hand fishes but managed to catch a glimpse of A bull seal that came to check us out. Poor Josephine only did 1 dive. I think this will be the last time she ever does coldwater diving with me. <I'll bet... it's COLD!> One thing I like about Tasmania is the relatively cheap land prices here. You can get a house on a one acre plot for as little as A$60,000 in the south. A house near Hobart would probably set you back A$100,000. A good place to have a holiday home without hurting your pockets. <Pete, Di and I have been scouting the net in looking about for such an investment... Bob F> Perry

Upcoming Dive/Photo/Adventure Trips Dogfish, (Bob F's HHH name) Flipper and I are looking at going on a dive trip over Thanksgiving timeframe (10-12 days or so total) and was just wondering when you were planning your next trip.  <Hmm, always planning... only a firm timeframe thus far on a Red Sea do in mid May, 02... but Pete and I want to get down to the GBR sometime 1st qtr... and while thereabouts maybe Krabi/Thailand... Way out there's Goa ahead/after... for a big blowout about the InterHHH... Am open to helping, going with most anywhere the water is warm and clear. Only have time commitments to/through this month...> We are looking at going to Sangalaki, Indonesia for our trip with maybe a couple of days at Sipadan also. <Good choices. Keep us informed of developments... and let's start having some din din parties, slide and video dive/trip shows... We're moving to new digs across the Mesa... Bob F/Dog F> We don't have anything set up yet. On On Bark

Perry down under Bob I am in Melbourne right now. Just visited the Melbourne aquarium. I think it is much better than the one in Singapore.  <Agreed... better lay out, more space...> I heard that there is an aquarium in Tasmania called the Seahorse World. As the name suggest they only have seahorses. They are so good at breeding seahorses that the survival rate is about 80%.  <Yes, we met the folks who run this at Aquarama 2001... in SG! They're set on selling H. abdominalis though... a temperate species, found thereabouts... should switch to trop.s> I am not sure if I can visit it as I only have 3 nights in Tasmania which is about the same size as Switzerland !! The next time there is a special package to Australia from Singapore I will want to come down again and I hope you guys will too. <Yes my friend. Bob Fenner> Perry

In-Line Humidifier Scuba Question What do you know about those breathing gas humidifiers? The owner of the local scuba shop said they inhibit the airflow a bit. I'd pay $150 to avoid dehydration. Heck, I'd even draw a little harder on the second stage. <Some work out okay... I'm such an old-timer that I used to make a pin hole in the mouthpiece of my reg.s (don't do this)... and even have taken down a bottle of freshwater in my B.C.... Generally a good drinking practice ahead of submergence and right out/between dives is fine... when/where in doubt, "keep drinking" (water that is!). Bob Fenner> BTW: how was your trip back? I hope you made the flight. <Yes, not fish food quite yet. Be chatting.>

Inline scuba humidifier (and HLLE) Bob: I have a solution that works for me regarding hydration while diving. Besides using your before/after approach of drinking tons of water, I have found that since I switched to a metal housed second stage, (Mares Abyss) enough condensation forms that I no longer have cottonmouth upon reaching the boat! Just a thought. <A good one... thank you> Also, I wanted to thank you greatly for all of your advice on this site. I found HLLE on my juv. Emperor one day and freaked out. After reading all of the advice that I could find, I followed all of your advice and am happy to say my angel is almost 100% recovered in less than a month. Thank you! Ken <Ah, good news. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Thanks for the invitation and slide show. Hi Bob, Thanks for inviting us to your house. It was a pleasure meeting you and the other fellow reefers. Let me know when you are planning to go to Turkey... No reefs but lots of underwater archeological sites. <Will go whenever you have the time. I have a Classics minor from my first degree... as an indication of my interest in antiquities.> Levent PS. Chris Kuehn said: "Tell him the guy that gave him the Hackerr Pshorr said HELLO!" He built me a nice Calcium Reactor. <Ah yes, hello back to him. Bob Fenner>

Get together Hi Bob, just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks for inviting the group to your home for some great chili and vino :) <A delight my friend> Wish that I could have stayed to watch the slide presentation but needed to get back home as I was preparing a meeting for this coming Friday. <Ah, the curse of the working class!> Sure hope we run into each other again as I could talk with you for hours about reef and diving. <Yes, any time. Will add your e-addr to my "diving group" list for notification. Otherwise, don't be a stranger. Email anytime. Be seeing you. Bob Fenner> Again thanks... Barry Neigut My Little Site: http://barryreef.homestead.com/index.html <Nice pix, I really like the light comparison section.>

Funny question (More like fun to me) Suddenly I want to move to Tonga... <Happens to me a few times a day> Does Walt Smith need a Network Engineer/Programmer/System Administrator? <Actually yes... for his new operation (Pacific Aqua Farms) in Los Angeles...> ;-) I feel like I should be packing live rock instead of working in Hartford. <Perhaps you should... worthwhile to revisit our values, what we're about in terms of QOL, quality of life... Bob Fenner> J --

Diving in Malaysia Linked WetWebMedia to my personal site, hope you don't mind. Check it  out! www.geocities.com/nuar.geo/diving.html Not completed but still working on it. I am off to Pulau Weh soon. <Very nice for what you have done so far. Will place on the "Take up Diving" part of WWM for now, and on to Pete's Adventure Travel section when more complete. Bob Fenner>

Coral reef snorkeling Hey Bob.... I hit send on my last email to you about a skimmer just as I was realizing that you could probably answer this next question better than a travel agent :) My wife and I wanted to go snorkeling for the first time. Since we have made a reef tank the idea is really exciting. Being our first time we would probably be impressed with anything :) But do you have any recommendations buddy? <Probably somewhere in the tropical West Atlantic... as this is so near to most of the folks in the U.S. and has many enjoyable areas... Are you partial to any given cuisine, other sorts of travel experiences? Have any pre-disposing destination wishes? Have you been to Belize? Want to inadvertently end up in Cuba? Have frequent flyer miles to burn with certain code-sharers that go to specific locales? Like Club Med, Sandals, Hedon-type places to stay? Let's chat. Bob Fenner> Regards, Robert Jackson

Re: Coral reef snorkeling Well I worked in Europe for several years so don't really feel the need to travel there. I just got a 3-floor condo so I don't really want to spend more than say 2 to 2.5k USD for BOTH of us total. <Yowzah, a King/Queen's ransom... me neither!> I have not really traveled much in North or South America. <Ah! Many nice places, lifetimes worth in both continents...> I LOVE food and it would be kinda nice to eat well. <Oh yes! And perhaps drink?> I need a break and would like an all inclusive type thing. <All this is becoming clearer> I don't want to cook or clean. Just relax and have some fun. Since some coral comes from the Gulf of Mexico I was thinking about paying them a visit. Being Canadian I can go to Cuba hehe.... <You lucky pug. Do look into Sandals, Superclubs deals (they have very nice brochures, Net sites... And Cozumel... very nice area, inexpensive on package deals... and many flights going/coming from there... and very clear water almost always> I want to go the last week of July and the first week of August. Being a computer systems engineer I might actually move to Cali within the next few years... then I will be much better... I hate snow :) <Me too, unless I can easily drive away from it in a short period of time...> Ok in your other email to me you said AquaC was ok up to 100 gallons that don't need super skimming. I have 108 gallons 173 lbs or LR from Fiji 165 lbs or crushed coral (3 inches) I am in the Refugium camp (so making one )and want to section it off to have my skimmer under the tank. Only have 20 inches to work with leaving me one inch to remove skimmer cup. Note those 20 inches is for the skimmer, i.e.. I took into account the clearance under the sump/refugium tank :) I have 440 watts of VHO on an IceCap 660 ETC etc.... I want to load the tank nicely over the next 12 ro 18 months. I am in the camp of 35ppm salinity (1.025 specific gravity) <All good camps to be in> and about 81F. Can't seem to get the calcium over 360ppm. <Don't worry/obsess about this. No problem> I am also in the camp of NOT under feeding. So would probably be interested in your comment of SUPER skimming.... what would you consider a super skimmer. AquaC advertised the EV for up to 180 gals so I thought I might be super skimming.... guess not :) <Some sizes, approaches (lots of flow, air mixing) remove a great deal of removable material per pass (the Euro-Reef and ETS lines come to mind here). The Aqua-C will be about ideal for your application, philosophy... you don't want, need "too vigorous" skimming/stripping with the amount, kinds of life, refugium you intend...> So I will definitely get the Eheim pump you recommended since I have bought nothing but Eheim for my fresh water tank and not ONCE had a problem in the past 9 years. <Great products, people> I will also eventually look into joining a society if they have a nice one up here. So far the community I have met through the Internet and around town have been kind and conscientious. <Ah, great> Well back to work.... <Indeed, someone's got to pay for that trip and set-up! Bob Fenner> Regards, Robert

Re: Coral reef snorkeling I tend to like to avoid trouble so I don't drink. Drinking always seemed to bring trouble in University so I avoid it now :) I only like Bailey's anyway.... <There are a number of indigenous coffee-type alcoholic beverages in the TWA/Caribbean worth sampling...> I will look into the places you have mentioned and let you know what happens. <Ah, good... I would enjoy a pre-iteration and fact-finding trip via the Net...> I have a lot to do before I go. I have to build a cooling mechanism out of 2 PC fans and a simple computer power supply... total cost about 30 bucks... much cheaper than a chiller... just hope it keeps the temp in my range. <Should, yes> BTW your site is great... but you know that... as many visitors have already stated. That site should win a prize of some kind :) <It already has in the way of your kind, encouraging words my friend. Bob Fenner> Regards, Robert

Shoreline snorkeling Hi Bob, I want to thank you for recommending shoreline snorkeling. I just got back from Key West, and had a wonderful time on a couple shoreline snorkeling trips. One to Bahia state park near Big Pine Key (didn't go as far up as Key Largo) and the other off Fort Zachary Taylor Beach in Key West. <Outstanding> Anyway I think perhaps because I am used to looking at my live rock and the crabs and other inverts I really enjoyed this more than I might have otherwise.  <Certainly my friend> The weather and visibility weren't the best, and quite a few people said they saw nothing, however both sites were teeming with creatures (Large and small crabs; urchins; sponges; worms) I even saw a sting ray. Also I found a rock crawling (or whatever they do) with blennies. My favorite fish, how cool! <Yes... perception is narrowed attention for sure> Amazing at times to be snorkeling in knee deep water. :-) <And even shallower> Just trying to think of a possible career in the Keys. Somehow career snorkeling doesn't seem to work? :-) <Perhaps showing others what you see?> Btw I talked to somebody who had an aquarium before the big hurricane. She collected her own stuff and even could "cycle" it by letting it free after a bit. <Yes> --Jane J "Reality is a rerun with a lot of commercials." Jane's Law no. 76 <What about TIVO... do those folks lack reality? Bob Fenner>

Re: Integrating EuroReef G2 Protein Skimmer Into My Undergravel Filter Thanks for the quick response Bob. I would have replied sooner, but shortly after reading your note, my system temporarily went down (you have to love third world electrical standards). Anyway, I checked out the CPR site like you recommended and ended up ordering a prefilter/skimmer box from Lifereef. I'm going to go with the Eheim submersible pump as you suggested. I'm looking forward to getting this thing up and running. <Sounds good> Regarding diving in Okinawa, I dove about 80 times a year for the three years I was there. I had a buddy who had been on the island for 24 years, knew it like the back of his hand, and had a Zodiac. It was a great assignment. Have you ever dove Okinawa? <Many years ago... back in the 1960's> Have not had a chance to dive the Red Sea yet, but I'm hoping to get down there this weekend (I snorkeled in the Red Sea when I was a kid). <Hmm> My latest hobby -- our ten-month old twins -- takes up most of my spare time. That's one reason I've been trying to get the aquarium set up -- I'd like to get them introduced to it early, not to mention the fact that it will probably captivate them. I'm planning to start diving regularly again and catching my own fish for the aquarium. <Very nice> You mentioned that you travel to the Red Sea about once a year. Please know that you are always welcome at our house in Amman -- we have plenty of room, and the babies are actually finally sleeping through the night. Thanks again -- Brian MacDonald <Thank you for your genuine generosity. Do like children (other people's!) You may see us yet (the wife, sans bambinos), Bob Fenner>

NAUI Bob, I just wanted to comment on diving; I just got certified, and I had five dives this past weekend in the gulf of Mexico (each about fifty feet, one to a wreck, the others to several artificial reefs), and it was the most amazing, transcendental thing I have personally ever done in my entire lifetime. one of these days (w/a little more money and experience) I'll be off to dive the waters of the world (Palau, Fiji, kelp forests, Caymans ;-)... Chris >> <Thanks for this... and do stay in touch, keep me posting where we're off to... join us... as the intent is to have even more fun, and post a good part of images, experiences of such adventure travels (above and below water) on the net for all's use. Bob Fenner>

Re: NAUI >I'll take you up on all these offers (eventually...), BTW, you mention you were in the cooks', how was the diving? topography, vis, etc.? a recommended site? Chris >> The diving on this last trip was minimal... rough seas, bunk weather over the couple of weeks we were there... but some nice (very close, even with a 105 mm) stills and good above water video... the islands are volcanic mountains much like the recent Hawaiians... very steep, and the lagoons are pretty shallow... up to a meter or two... Visibility varied on the outside to about a hundred feet, the corals (Scleractinians) are recovering.... Many, many teramea (aka Crown of Thorns Seastars)... happily munching or shall we say engulfing the polyps... I would/will gladly go back anytime... nice people, generally predictable weather... but know now much more re prevailing dive practices on the two principal islands folks visit (Roratonga and Aitutaki)... one service on the latter, that does one dive per day... and three on the capital island... with only Cook Island Divers doing much, going out twice a day.... More? Will be posting our first PowerPoint Pres. in a hopefully long series... Five minutes or so of "Dive/Travel Adventure" aka "Pet-fishing in the Cooks"... soon... so keep me honest. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dive Travel Hi Bob, Thanks again for your reply. I just might take you up on that offer of diving !!! I have done a bit of scuba diving. I was a member of a club for about a year or so, in which time I went on several dives ....... none more than 7 or 8 metres deep though. So I know the basic ropes. I never had the time or money really to actually get certified ........ but I know you need a cert to dive generally, and I think I might just go and get one now :-). The thing was, that nobody was really interested in going abroad, to go to coral reefs etc., so there was never really much point in going. It would be next year before I could (a) afford such a trip, and (b) by the time I got certified. I have a lot of the gear, although it might not be entirely suitable ??? I have a mask / snorkel, suit (8mm thick ....... waters around Ireland are COLD !!!), fins, regulator and tank, belt (with weights) ......... I sold my jacket though !!! So, I might just take you up on that offer some time :-) ..... if it still stands next year. As I say, thee is nobody with any real interest here in Ireland ....... I would think there are less than 500 marine aquarist in the entire country ..... probably less than 200 !!!! .... so the chances of me meeting some-one with a real interest, and the ability to dive, and with no commitments stopping them from going, are all pretty slim. Anyway, best go, I am sure you are quite busy. Regards Matt >> <Next year will/would be fine... will be diving then as well... as long as am on the planet and able... So do get certified for real, and don't worry re the wetsuit... no mils is what I wear where I generally go (just an inexpensive rash guard or long sleeve "tee" to keep the sun and stinging-celled organisms off...). Do keep an eye on our site as we're finally going to get some Power Point presentations going there of our ongoing trips! Bob Fenner>

CMA, Diving, Dwarf Angels Dear Mr. Fenner, I have two rather unrelated questions and one comment: After four long weeks, your book finally arrived! I was absolutely captivated and lost an entire night of sleep reading it. I began rereading as soon as I had finished. Many, many thanks and congratulations for producing a superbly accessible introduction to the saltwater aquarium. <Thank you. Many years of practice at trying to relate "what needs be done", and excellent editing, production assistance...> It has also left me yearning to see more of the habitat I am attempting to reproduce in my living room. Although my fianc?and I had planned our honeymoon to Turkey and Egypt, political affairs may preclude this itinerary. Which brings me to the point: I am writing to ask your advice on dive vacations. Although we dove on the Great Barrier Reef several years ago, we would both like be recertified. Where might we find the most pristine reef conditions and skilled dive instructors? <Many choices here... I'd still consider Egypt (their part of the Red Sea) as a destination... very nice: clear, warm water, vibrant life... and things to do once/when you're out... Look into Sharm el Sheik... it is getting much more crowded... but still fabulous... And no real problems (political, violence) there... just far away. Otherwise, all sorts of places out near the Wallace Line... Sipadan et al. in Malaysia, the Andaman Sea off of Thailand, Myanmar... Even the Cook Islands, especially Aitutaki... do you have preferences (large animals, walls, wrecks, ornamental aquatics...) that you'd like to see?> My second question regards tank stocking. In a 55gal w/LR I have 1 Blue Damsel, 1 Yellow Tang, 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 2 cleaner shrimp and 1 brittle star. I would like to add a dwarf/pygmy angel to the tank as my final specimen but am unsure which species would be hardy enough to compete for food with the other livestock. Does one exist? Are there other fish which would be more suitable for my arrangement? <There are a few good choices here... Please read through the materials on Dwarf Angels (genus Centropyge) including the FAQs section posted on our site: www.wetwebmedia.com> Thank you for all your help. Robert Duff <At your service, a pleasure. Bob Fenner>

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