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Reef Report for Wednesday, July 4, 2001

Another Great Week of Diving

This week has brought lovely "winter" diving conditions, with plenty of sunshine, 15-knot winds, and excellent visibility. The Water temperature is 26 degrees. This coming weekend should see the weather continue to be calm with winds blowing south to southeast at 15 knots. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises There may be a few light showers at night.

Divers aboard Passions of Paradise this week enjoyed a lush vista of marine life. There was a slight current at the end of the coral wall at the Fish Market; a truly great event for divers because the current attracts lots of rather lazy fish that like to relax in the current as particles of food float to them. Divers spotted red-lipped parrotfish, bird wrasse, and Picasso fish. Joining the colorful display were several species of damsels, including blue devil, chocolate dip, and jewel damselfish.

DiveTheReef client Olwyn Sayers just wrote to us about her reef trip this week and had this to say about her groupís diving experience: "We had a fabulous time on Passions of Paradise and would like you to convey our thanks to the crew for our wonderful trip last Monday. They were all caring, responsible, and FUN! Those kids work really hard ALL DAY."

Tusa Dive also tapped into prime conditions at Milnn Reef, where divers enjoyed 20 meters visibility. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises The highlight of the day was a visit from a Minke Whale. Snorkelers got the surprise of their lives as the whale cruised within three metres off the stern! (And Iíve been stuck at my desk all week . . . Itís time to plan my early retirement!)

It is a magical time to be diving. Get out there!

In the June 2001 issue of Scuba Diving Magazine, John Francis discusses six things divers should never do. I found it very interesting reading and would like to share a few of the main points with you here.

1. Never force equalizing your ears. Valsalva is the technique performed by blowing gently against pinched nostrils. Trying to force a Valsalva by blowing hard raises your internal fluid pressure and can cause inner-ear barotrauma, which can mean permanent hearing lose and vertigo. Blow gently and for no more than five seconds.

2. Never dive with a cold. Even if you can equalize on the surface, salt water on your nose and throat and forceful equalization are likely to increase mucus and congestion. You may lose the ability to equalize midway into the dive.

3. Never abuse your wet suit. Storing it under weights or crunched up permanently collapses the insulation bubbles. The suit may look OK, but it will not be as warm.

4.Never dive with the shivers. Shivering is an early sign of hypothermia, which can significantly degrade your performance and safety. When your teeth are chattering it is time to get out of the water.

5. Never initiate an ascent by adding a lot of air to your BCD (unless it is an emergency). Your ascent rate will begin accelerating and youíll have to dump the air you added, plus more. Instead be neutral, inhale or kick up to ascend and be prepared to start venting air from you BCD.

6. Never mistake carelessness for relaxation. Some divers hide their anxiety behind a false bravado and then believe their own advertising. If you think you are calm but make a mistake gearing up, you have got a bigger stress problem than you realize.

(C) Pro Dive Cairns The weekly reef report is written by Sue-Anne Chapman of Pro Dive Cairns, who compiles them from the many conversations she has with divers, dive instructors, captains, and others in the Cairns dive community. The report is published weekly in the Cairn Post, the local daily paper and appears here thanks to the courtesy of Pro Dive Cairns.

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