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Sylvia A. Earle is an American oceanographer, explorer, aquanaut, and author. She was born on August 30, 1935 in Gibbstown, New Jersey. She was raised on a small farm near Camden. She loved exploring the woods near her home and was fascinated by the animals and plants she found there. Her parents taught her to respect wild animals and to not be afraid of the unknown. During family trips to the Jersey shore, she discovered a magical world of wildlife at the water's edge. When she was 13 years old, her family moved to Clearwater, Florida. Sylvia became interested in the wildlife of the Florida Gulf coast. She described the experience as "living on the edge of the great unknown every day." She attempted her first dive at age 16 using a diving helmet, since scuba was not yet available. She excelled in school and earned a scholarship to Florida State University. As she attended college, she supported herself by working in college laboratories. While working at the college, she learned how to scuba dive and was eager to study marine life. She decided to study botany and believed that understanding plants is the first step to understanding any ecosystem. She earned her Master's degree at Duke University. Her dissertation Phaeophyta of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico earned her a reputation in the scientific community. She has since made it a lifelong project to catalog every species of plant in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Blue Paradise: Diving Sites I'll Never Forget

Every diver I know can remember perfectly when he or she caught the diving bug. For some it's when they first put on a wetsuit, for others it doesn't happen until they see their first underwater fish. For me, personally, it only happened on my 3rd dive, when I saw a great white shark during a cage diving session I took part. Witnessing this incredible creature that had been part of my consciousness ever since I saw "Jaws" as a teenager was truly a life-changing experience. Far from being terrified, I couldn't wait to get back into the water for more.

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Examining how land-use changes may affect water quality and fisheries resources in lakes and rivers will help natural resource agencies manage wildlife populations, according to Steven Chipps, leader of the U.S. Geological Survey, South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at South Dakota State University. The fisheries biologist and Muthiah Muruganandam, a Fulbright scholar from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, will use existing data to track changes in the characteristics and water quality of surface waters in northeastern South Dakota.

As a senior scientist at the Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Muruganandam has been doing research on natural resource management and fisheries and aquatic system management, in particular, for more than 20 years. The 18-month research project is supported by the Fulbright Scholar program.

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The following script is from "The Last Vaquitas" which aired on May 22, 2016. Sharyn Alfonsi is the correspondent. David Schneider and Joyce Gesundheit, producer.

You would think the most endangered sea mammal in the world would be a cause célèbre -- complete with a star-studded, high profile campaign to save it. But that's not the case with the vaquita, a small porpoise with a distinctive face that's on the verge of extinction.

It lives in waters off Baja California where the Mexican government is trying to save the vaquita by paying fishermen not to fish. Scientists from the U.S. and Mexico set sail recently to count the last vaquitas still in existence. It's not easy because their numbers are dwindling and the animals are notoriously elusive. That's one reason why most people have never heard of vaquitas and fewer have seen one. We didn't expect to see any either.

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While reviewing scuba BCs, you're bound to notice a few differences between the many available styles and designs. Some BCs solve the same problem in different ways. Here's a few examples from our 2016 BC test.

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For much of North America, this winter has felt never-ending and particularly cruel. The Paper Of Record has compared it to "hell," and while their frustration is understandable, a river of fire seems like it'd be pretty nice right about now. Even though it's late February, much of the Midwest and East Coast will have to endure a few more weeks of this frigid reality. So, rather than booking the next flight to Cancun (fares aren't great, I checked), I sought the advice of someone who is professionally good at handling the cold. I called Christoph Hupe, an arctic SCUBA diver at the world's northernmost dive center.

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What is it about sharks that fascinates us so? And why would anybody ever intentionally get in the water with them? mental_floss talked with wildlife filmmaker Andy Brandy Casagrande IV, an Emmy-winning cameraman with more than 40 Shark Week credits to his name, about the reality of working with these magnificent predators. Casagrande let us in on a few surprises, including the most dangerous part of filming sharks.

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All drysuits for scuba diving are not created equally, and a drysuit style that is ideal for one diver in one environment may not be perfect for a different diver or a different environment. Your choice of drysuit will ultimately depend upon your needs as a diver and where you plan to dive. There's a great deal to consider when choosing a drysuit!
A drysuit diver under the ice. - © Getty Images
Drysuits keep divers dry, and therefore warmer, in harsh environments. The most common types of drysuits are trilaminate and crushed neoprene. © Getty Images
The Five Most Common Drysuit Materials
Drysuits are available in a number of different materials, and it's best to choose a suit that is tailored towards your specific diving requirements. Here are the five most common drysuit materials to choose from.

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ena Prous was nervous on the day she decided to learn scuba diving. She phoned up an instructor who lived in Tenerife, Spain, where she was planning to obtain her diploma. They had met just a month ago. "Would you like to go diving with me?" she said. Then she asked her dad: "Would like to join me?" Two cousins had offered to join her if she ever made the trip. "Will you be joining us?" she quizzed them. Every single person said yes—and so did one of Prous' female co-workers.

That was five years ago. Since then, the 31-year-old has gone diving in in warm water, cold water, and under ice in places familiar to any diving enthusiast, like Mexico, Panama, and the Red Sea. But unlike most divers, it takes a team of people to plan her trips below the surface: Prous is paralyzed from her biceps down.

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As soon as the yacht entered the passage in Vava’u in Tonga, it was surrounded by humpback whales, prompting the passengers to jump into the water when they thought it was safe.

Australian free diver Will Rosner, who has been traveling the world for 18 months, was among them, and fortunately he had his camera rolling.

Rosner, 24, captured the moment a humpback whale raised up out of the water in front of him. Thinking quickly, he whirled the camera around and got the perfect selfie.

But he wasn’t expecting the close encounter to get even closer.

“At one point it literally picked me up out of the water with its tail,” Rosner told Caters News.

The moment occurred soon after the selfie moment and is captured in the video though hard to decipher. You do see the whale coming close and raising its back end, but not much else.

“Me and the crew swam all day with almost a dozen whales, including a docile mother and her very playful calf,” Rosner said. “The whale in the selfie photo was the most curious and played with us for 30 minutes. Splashing us with water. Staring me in the eye before it picked me out of the water with its tail.

“It was like a playful dog showing off dance moves. I had no idea I had a good photo until that night when I looked through all the photos and videos.”

Apparently, Rosner didn’t know that he was almost swallowed whole by the whale, as one tabloid, the Daily Star, declared with a sensational headline.

Actually, Rosner wasn’t close to having a Biblical Jonah moment, but he was fortunate to come out of his close encounter unscathed. The unpredictable nature of whales is one reason most countries frown on swimming with them.

In fact, it is illegal in many countries, mostly for the protection of the whales. But swimming with humpback whales in Tonga is among the tourist attractions.

“It was really up to [the whale] how close it wanted to get and sometimes it got within touching distance,” Rosner said. “It really put on a show for us and it was like it was dancing and playing with us.”

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One of the most prevalent beliefs in recreational diving is that nitrox is used to dive deeper and stay longer. The reality is nitrox is a relatively shallow-water gas that can be used to extend bottom time at moderate depths, but can become toxic at deeper depths. As Divers Alert Network states:

"Today, nitrox mixes are readily available and prepared across a range of concentrations. It has a lot to offer divers, but it isn't magic; rather, it's a useful tool that provides benefits if used correctly. When diving according to air tables or using the air setting on a dive computer, nitrox can reduce decompression stress on a diver. When used with an equivalent air depth, this safety margin is lost, but bottom time can be extended.

"Nitrox is becoming more popular and accessible to recreational divers all the time, but it is not something to be taken lightly. It requires special training to be used properly and safely, so before you dive with it, be sure to get the necessary training and gain the appropriate certification."

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Lionfish are one of the most spectacular fish you can encounter on your dives – and one of the fish that you need to treat with respect and maintain your distance… you don’t want to get stung by one.

The name lionfish does not just relate to their similarity in appearance to a lion with a wonderful mane, but also from their hunting tactics.  The lionfish has enormous pectoral fins and this, together with it’s colorful stripes makes it an imposing underwater predator.  Innocent prey is sought out and surrounded by the pack who then pounce when there is no escape.

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Fishermen and divers can access a new, online interactive guide to learn more about the 64 artificial reefs in North Carolina.  These underwater sites enhance fisheries that the coastal economy and culture rely on.  Now, local scientists are involved in ongoing research to determine the best way to maximize fish production at artificial reefs.

The coast of North Carolina is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, where hundreds of ships have run aground or sunk to the depths of the sea.  Can you imagine also that old train cars, aircraft, demolished bridges and construction waste lay on the ocean floor?  It’s not a dump site.  These manmade structures make up a collection of artificial reefs that serve as important habitat for fish and invertebrates.  Divers are drawn to these sites where colorful sponges and coral grow on the repurposed material.  Anglers frequent these fish oasis because of the variety and abundance of sea life they attract.

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Who here isn’t familiar with that warm and wonderful sensation you get just a second after urinating in your wetsuit. That magical moment when you forget about the cold water around you and everything feels pleasant and fuzzy…

Probably only half of you will admit knowing that feeling, since the diving world is divided in two: Those who pee in their wetsuit with pride and those who will never admit doing it, or just never tried. Which half are you on?

Avoiding heart explosion

Let start with this – You pee in your wetsuit because you have no choice! This is backed up by very good physiological reasons. When our body is immersed in water, the blood volume increases. Luckily, our body has mechanisms to balance that out and keep our blood volume normal, so more blood will flow towards our kidneys and by releasing more liquid from the body, the blood volume will remain normal!

To make a long story short – you pee to prevent your heart from exploding. That reason alone is enough for me… But let’s continue anyway 

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A first look at two WWII Battle of the Atlantic shipwrecks

August 22, 2016 July 15, 1942. America had been in World War II for less than a year, but the fight was coming to the nation’s shores. That day, off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the German U-boat U-576 sank the Nicaraguan-flagged freighter SS Bluefields. But it came at a steep price – the merchant ship convoy and its U.S. military escorts fought back, sinking the U-boat within minutes as U.S. Navy air cover bombed the sub while the merchant ship Unicoi attacked it with its deck gun.

The freighter SS Bluefields was sunk by the German submarine U-576 in July 1942. The wrecks of the two ships were discovered in 2014 off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, only 240 yards apart.

NOAA and its partners will visit what remains of the two ships, documenting World War II’s “Battle of the Atlantic,” which pitted U-boats of the German navy against combined Canadian, British, and American forces defending Allied merchant ships.

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A recent study found that 90 percent of seabirds have eaten plastic, and a lot of that plastic comes from the rings that hold together six-packs of beer, soda and other beverages. The marine life that lives in the oceans ingest plastics, too. These toxic plastics harm the health of our sea life, often killing them.

Saltwater Brewery in Florida created a six-pack ring that feeds animals instead of killing them. Many six-pack rings from beer end up in the ocean, so the brewery took barley and wheat remnants from the brewing process and turned them into an edible, compostable, biodegradable product that holds together a six-pack but doesn't harm birds or sea life if it ends up in the ocean. It's also strong enough to handle the weight of a six-pack.

This is the first time a 100 percent edible and biodegradable packaging has been implemented in the beer industry. The manufacturing cost of the edible six-pack ring raises the price of the beer, but the narrator of the video points out that if most breweries implemented this safe and sustainable product, the cost would be competitive with the plastic six-pack rings. Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved.

Why has no one thought of this before? In addition to being impressed by this product, I'm wondering how quickly I can put together a business plan, get funding and partner with Saltwater Brewery to open up a plant that can produce edible six-pack rings for all breweries.

I bet there's money to be made from this smart, responsible idea.

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Sharks never cease to captivate our imaginations. Strange, scary, beautiful, powerful, unique, special ... the long list of descriptors would dwarf a whale shark! Sharks have had hundreds of millions of years to evolve and dominate the sea as perfectly honed predators. The more we study them, the more surprises they reveal. Here are just a few fascinating facts about sharks around the world.

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An emergency ascent is the response of last resort to an adverse event or perceived threat during a dive. Divers are trained in standard emergency ascent procedures that, when performed successfully, mitigate the dangers. However, few people practice these skills, and when called to perform them in a crisis, a diver may be at risk for serious injury or even death.

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Pulau Weh, Indonesia by Charlotte Boan
Our small wooden vessel rocked gently on the water, revealing little of the wild currents sweeping over the coral reefs below. On the signal of our experienced dive guide Arun, we rolled off the boat and descended into the cobalt ocean.

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Vertigo is the feeling that the world around you is moving, spinning or tilting while you are remaining essentially still. Vertigo can be a result of a number of ailments, ranging from an infection in the inner ear to chronic problems such as Meniere’s disease.

Vertigo is not uncommon among divers, and your experience with it occurring when you are at significant depth is fairly typical. Diving physics tells us that the greatest pressure changes occur closer to the surface, but as the diver descends, equalizing the pressure in the middle ear is still very important. Divers generally continue to descend even when having difculty with equalizing. Plus, the middle ears need to equalize during ascent as well.

You are experiencing alternobaric vertigo, which is caused by unequal pressures between your middle-ear compartments. The pressure diference does not have to be very great. The inequality is communicated to the inner ear organs, resulting in vertigo. Divers can also experience nausea and vomiting. Vertigo is usually more common while a diver ascends. Not only are the symptoms uncomfortable, but they also can lead to catastrophic problems for the diver. Vertigo can also occur when diving with a hood if one side of the hood seals over the ear tighter than the other.

Prevention of vertigo during diving requires careful, gradual and continuous equalization of the pressures within the middle ear throughout the dive.

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U/W Bike Race

eventsiconJoin us on July 4th for this annual event benefitting the Children's Mile of Hope.

Lionfish Roundup

eventsiconAn exciting partnership between Discovery Diving, NOAA, and Carteret Community College.

Treasure Hunt

eventsiconFood, prizes, diving, and fun! Proceeds benefit the Mile Hope Children's Cancer Fund and DAN's research in diving safety.

ECARA Event

2013Join us March 7, 2015 at the Bryant Student Center, Carteret Community College, Morehead City in support of the East Carolina Artificial Reef Association.  Click here for more info on this great event and how you can help to bring more Wrecks to the Graveyard of the Atlantic.