February 2023 Current Bubbles Newsletter
By: Owen Autry
Happy Valentines Day to Everyone this February, I hope you find love and happiness in your life this month.
You can’t prove Love in a laboratory
You can’t prove truth, or romance, or longing,
But it’s all a true story, Of how I felt that first morning,
When I met you.
You came into my life and things tipped upside down – in a good way!
My heart slid towards you – like a boy on a see saw – drawn towards you by a force I couldn’t keep at bay,
To LOVE, To really love – for the first time.
Thank you for leading me to share in this irresistible force called Love,
~ Poet: John Cole © 2020
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!
This is also the time when we start the process of looking for people that might be interested in serving on the Board for 2023/2024; the new Board term will start in April 2023. If you have any interest in serving on the Board, please reach out to us. Remember, we are a club of volunteers, and our club is for the love of scuba diving and to help promote and grow this recreational activity.
If you have any fellow divers not in the club, please encourage them to join and participate in a great and friendly diving club. Growing the club helps all of us to enjoy more events at a discounted price, with the added benefit of making new friends! Let’s start the year off right by bringing in a friend to show them what we are all about as a club.
Please note, our next Dolphin Club General Meeting will be held in-person on Wednesday,
February 15th , 2023, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Round Table Pizza (9500 Greenback Lane in Folsom), and via Zoom for those who would prefer to attend remotely. Marilyn will send information the day of the meeting. Everyone is welcome to join the meeting!
Hope to see you in the water, and bubbles up!!
QUOTES FROM THE SEA
“Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.”
– Christopher Reeve
Safety Officer’s Message
By: Brad Freelove
Equipment Maintenance Time
February is here! While our local diving conditions might be a bit cool, there are plenty of warm-water destinations that are a days travel from Sacramento.
Starting in March, Dolphin Divers will have some local dives on the schedule. Before you take off on any of these dives, get your equipment out and get it serviced. Wetsuits can shrink…..or maybe you have added on a few pounds? Straps that looked fine just a few months ago may have developed some cracks. Regulators, gauges, and cameras need annual service and perhaps new batteries.
Do not wait until the last minute to get your stuff checked out. Gather up your stuff and head to the dive store. Some maintenance chores might take just a few minutes. Other items may take a week or longer. Does your tank need a VIP or a hydro? VIP can be done quickly but a hydro might take a week or more.
Along with checking out your equipment, take a look in the mirror and see if you look okay. Have you put on 10 or 15 pounds of winter insulation? Having trouble walking up a flight of stairs? Get an exercise program set up and follow it. Make the program a part of your life 365 days a year. Put the beer down, get your hand out of the bag of potato chips, get up off the couch and start walking.
WHEN LESS IS MORE
A Gear Review
By: Ken Takata
I am a firm believer in streamlining my diving setup. Toward that goal, I’ve eliminated the low pressure hose to my Octopus Regulator (aka. Safe Second Stage Regulator) and switched to a Scubapro Air 2 combination BC inflator/Alternate Air Source. The second hose I eliminated was the high pressure hose to an air integrated dive computer. Instead, I’ve substituted a Scubapro G2 wrist computer with a transmitter mounted on the first stage. Both these changes have streamlined my equipment, reduced my chances of entanglement, and eased assembly of my dive gear.
SCUBAPRO AIR 2 COMBINATION BC INFLATOR/ALTERNATE AIR SOURCE
Other manufactures make BC Inflator/Alternate Air Source devices, but I’ve been diving with the Scubapro Air 2 for over 30 years and I am familiar with its operation. I’ve also found that Scubapro products are both durable and operate reliably. As stated, the advantage to the combo BC Inflator/Alternate Air Source is the elimination of a hose and Octopus regulator.
Emergency use of the Air 2 or any other BC inflator/Alternate Air Source is different than that of the traditional hosed Octopus Safe Second. The traditional Octopus Safe Second only requires handing the Octopus to the out of air diver. With the Air 2 setup, the diver supplying the air switches to his Air 2 as his source of his air and hands his primary second stage regulator to the out of air diver. In a high anxiety situation, switching regulators can be challenging and is a potential disadvantage. The way to overcome this difficulty is for you to practice removing your primary regulator from your mouth and switching to your Air 2 when underwater. You should also inform your dive partner of how you use your Air 2.
All of this being said, In over 40 years of SCUBA diving, I have only had to provide air to a diver once. The out of air situation could have been easily avoided because this diver was well aware of his low on air situation but, recklessly, wanted to push the limits. So, the lesson to be learned is monitor your air frequently and leave sufficient reserves in your tank. The second lesson is to choose you dive partner wisely.
SCUBAPRO G2 WRIST COMPUTER WITH TRANSMITTER
The second encumbrance eliminated was the high-pressure hose to my air integrated dive computer. I’ve since switched to the air integrated Scubapro G2 Wrist Computer with a transmitter mounted on the first stage. Its operation is simple and quite intuitive. You can scroll through a vast menu of optional screens and information. This is probably more data than you ever wanted to know. The screen is large and easy to read and has a slick built-in compass. The fact that it is wrist mounted makes it much easier to monitor critical diving information. Its battery can easily be externally recharged with a charging cord supplied by Scubapro. I’ve been diving with the G2 since 2018 and it has proven highly reliable.
So, what are the disadvantages to the G2? 1. It’s more expensive than most hose mounted air integrated dive computers. 2. It immediately resets the safety stop timer to zero if you go outside of the preset safety stop range by only a few feet or for a few seconds. This can be problematic if your safety stop occurs in open water with choppy seas. While very annoying, you can adjust by watching your safety stop timer and shortening the displayed safety stop time if it resets to zero.
Dolphin Divers of Sacramento Board Membership
April is the month that we will elect the board for the 2023-24 year. We encourage our membership to run for board positions. The success or failure of the Dolphin Divers of Sacramento depends on you and your willingness to participate.
Our board is composed of the following board positions:
Six Members at Large
Newsletter Editor (Appointed)
If you wish to participate in the leadership of the DDS, contact Ken Takata at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or (916) 428-8883. Please contact me if you have any questions.
“Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time, they just have the heart.” – Elizabeth Andrew
The Closing of Guadalupe island
by: Joe Morgan
The Mexican Government, specifically The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas Mexico (CONANP) permanently closed Guadalupe Island as of midnight, 10 January. Stating in their new management plan for Guadalupe “White shark observation may not be carried out in the reserve for tourist purposes, to avoid altering their habitat, behavior and feeding sites, and thereby preserve and conserve the species.”
The CONANP Guadelupe management Plan – Closure letter (Spanish)
They went on to say:
“The Prohibition of the observation of the white shark for recreational purposes eliminates the bad practice that put this species at risk due to the use of attractants and observation cages.” CONANP
Inexplicably the Island is still open to commercial fishermen.
As a Shark lover you might initially think this closure is a win for Great White conservation, lets look at all the factors and then you can decide.
First let’s look at CONANP itself.
The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas currently manages 173 natural areas under federal management representing more than 90 million hectares (Roughly 347489 sq miles). I will add here that those sq miles of protected area are not in one place, and are spread over many different locations. These protected areas were created by a Presidential order and the management, regulation, and use of these areas are set in accordance with the General Act of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection.
They are chronically underfunded, according to a former regional Conanp director the funding in 2018 was already at 40% of what was needed to protect the parks, but recently Mexico striped its natural protected areas of 75% of their budget. Simple math says that is asking the agency to protect wildlife in those 347,000 sq miles with 10% the budget that they need.
Can CONANP enforce policies?
In an article from Brookings (A great read) it is said that “Mexico’s very long coastline and a fishing fleet involving over 100,000 small vessels, known as pangas, makes enforcement on the seas and on land that serves as launching places of fishermen challenging. Illegal fishing is estimated to account for between 45% and — a staggering — 90% of official fish production in Mexico.”
In the same article it mentions the rapid growth of illegal fishing and violence between fishing villages.
Most of the scarce resources used to combat illegal fishing is used to stop the harvesting of the critically endangered totoaba in the Sea of Cortez. It is hunted for it’s bladder. Thought to have medicinal properties in Asia.
With all that information, I find it very difficult to believe that CONANP will have either the funds, the manpower, or the will to protect an island over 150 miles offshore where there are no citizens.
Now to the dive operators:
Cage diving began at Guadalupe in the early 2000s and is considered by many to be the best place in the world to see Great Whites due to the crystal clarity of the water as well as the number of sharks in a relatively small area. This makes the Island perfect for shark research, and researchers flock to the island from around the world.
Now to the question – Is Cage diving dangerous for sharks?
According to a video posted by Shark videographer @TheMalibuArtist…
(not direct quotes, but a shortened version) There are 3 major dive operators at Guadalupe. Since 2001 there have been a minimum of 600,000 cage dives by the operators combined. In that time the number of serious incidents that resulted in major shark injuries and deaths is SIX. Each time an incident occurred lessons were learned, and changes were implemented to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Now I had not planned on mentioning the economic impact of this decision, because I did not think it should affect a decision involving the conservation of these sharks. Then I learned that many of the current eco-tourism operators, and those benefitting financially are former fishermen who will, without the income from tourism, be forced to return to fishing to feed their families. I cannot give a simple math equation as to the impact that will have, but it must be a net negative.
Now for the real benefit of the operators: They guard against illegal fishing.
Dive Magazine said that “the liveaboards that visit the region have also, collectively, provided an effective barrier to poachers and illegal fishing activities, as they are present on an almost permanent basis during the six months that the great whites visit Isla Guadalupe each year.”
Further, the operators bring underfunded park rangers and CONANP’s staff to the island:
“White Shark (Carcharodon Carcharias) is considered vulnerable. We understand regulating tourism is one of the strategies to assure the feasibility of the species in the long term, and that`s why Cantamar, with top scientists and researchers, along with other touristic operators has helped create and improve the management programs for cage diving, so the impact on the species was minimum or not existent, and the conservation of Guadalupe Island’s reserve was guarded with the help of our boats by carrying park rangers, researchers and CONANP’s own staff.” -Fernando Aguilar-Bazúa, Chief Operating Officer, Cantamar Liveaboards
According to “Be A Shark Diving”:
“While we believe the rationale of the updated Management Program is well-intentioned, the unilateral decision to close the reserve in this way raises genuine concerns over the future well-being of Eastern Pacific White Sharks. Mexico has the opportunity to protect and safeguard this important population of sharks which visit waters around Guadalupe Island as part of their much wider migration cycle. We believe the new provisions may be counter productive. This is a vital aggregation site for white sharks and of critical global importance to the species.”
Now in a previous article I asked IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE ETHICAL ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS (bottom of the page) and in it I described how I think that the impact of showing these animals to people is worth the small impact it has on them due to the lifelong advocacy for conservation of anyone who has seen them. I still believe that cage diving is a net positive for these Great Whites at Guadalupe Island.
Here is a video of my experience on the island.
(I’m not a great video editor)
So here is my final analysis (please come to your own conclusions)
- Great White Sharks are worth protecting.
- Even a single season of large illegal fishing vessels being allowed access to the island could decimate the Eastern Pacific White Sharks population.
- CONANP and the Mexican Navy are incapable of patrolling and protecting Guadalupe island.
- The near constant presence of Dive operators is an effective barrier to illegal fishing.
- The “net positive” of cage diving’s danger to the sharks verses the benefit of thousands of new advocated yearly is important to an informed and passionate future of Shark Conservation.
- It is imperative that the Mexican Government overturn the ban before the aggregation next July, to avoid a season of illegal fishing.
So what can you do?
GO HERE to sign up for updates about this evolving event from “Be a Shark” and go to the bottom of their page to read the “What can I do” FAQ since it is ever changing.
I hope that someone has the ability, resources, and will to effect this change.
Are you interested in becoming a Dolphin Divers of Sacramento member?
CLICK HERE TO JOIN
CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS
PICTURES OF PAST EVENTS
By: Joe Morgan
I AM LOOKING FOR MEMBERS TO SEND IN PICTURES OF DIVING, DIVING VACATIONS ETC.
Each month I will be looking for submissions in the following categories:
- Trip Reviews: Let us know where you have been diving, what operator you used, the hotel you stayed at and how was the diving there. Let us know if the operator was safe and fun. Let us know if the hotel was a good deal, give us as much detail as possible and hopefully more Dolphin Divers will venture there in the future.
- Recipes: I was told that in the past Dolphin Divers gave each other SEAFOOD recipes that they loved so that everyone could enjoy the bounty of the sea, I hope to continue that each month with at least one good recipe.
- Dive and Camping yard-sale items you wish to include in the newsletter.
- Dive Activities: Please let me know if there are any dive-related activities you would like included in the newsletter.
- Pictures from your last dive. Please make sure to let me know how you would like the picture credited in the newsletter. -example – Picture by John Member, of a Silky Shark, at Roca Partida Mexico.
PLEASE MAIL ALL SUBMISSIONS TO
DOLPHIN DIVERS OF SACRAMENTO
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President: Owen Autry
Vice President: Ken Takata
Treasurer: Marlyn Sepulveda
Secretary: Elizabeth Marchiondo
Safety Officer: Brad Freelove
Activity Chair: Ilkan Cokgor
Webmaster: Renee Viehmann
Promotions Chair: Tracy Clarke
Newsletter Editor: Joe Morgan
Historian: Jack Millard
Member at Large: David Whiteside
Member at Large: Corinne Fuerst
Member at Large: Marylin Campbell
Member at Large: Steve Campbell
Member at Large: Lalanyia Little
Member at Large: Tom Mischley
Alternate Member at Large: Bob Taylor
Alternate Member at Large: Tom Oja