Newsletter - 02/03/2001

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The Loggerhead

The Official newsletter for The African Diving Experience
Volume 4 Date: 02/03/2001

We hope you enjoy the 4th issue of our monthly newsletter.


<1) What's happening on the African Diving Experience
<2) Shark of the month - Oceanic Whitetip Shark
<3) Fishwatch
<4) Book Review - Splendors of the Seas The photographs of Norbert Wu
<5) Wreck Seekers
<6) Medical problems - Hypertension
<7) Websites of the month
<8) Diving emergencies - What to do when your power inflator is stuck?

1. What's happening on the African Diving Experience

 We are considering a couple of new ideas for the site and would like to have your input on them.

First of we are currently changing our links section to a button exchange page. We want to change the text links on our site to the logo's of the website's we are linking to. If you would like to change your link on our site to a banner or a logo please contact me at The only request is that you would do the same for us. Thanks for your support and to all who have agreed to this exchange so far.

Secondly we would like to publish your dive trip reports. If you had an interresting diving experience somewhere in the world, please send us the information so that we can share it with the rest of the diving community.

 Be sure to have a look at the excellent triggerfish articles supplied by the East Coast Fish-Watch Project.

2. Shark of the month - Oceanic Whitetip Shark
Class: Chondrichthyes (Cartilaginous fish)
Sub class: Elasmobranchii (Sharks and rays)
Order: Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks)
Family: Carcharhinidae (Requiem sharks)
Genus: Carcharhinus longimanus (Oceanic whitetip shark)

This is a true oceanic shark and is distributed over wide areas of the ocean and has been caught at depths of 500m. Mottled white tips of the caudal, pectoral and first dorsal fin distinguish it. It has big lobe like fins and has a grayish color. It attains a length of 3 m. It feeds on pelagic bony fish and other animals like squid and the occasional mammal. It has been implicated in attacks on divers and shipwrecked swimmers.

Oceanic Whitetip Shark

Source: Smiths' Sea Fishes (1986), Sharks and rays of Southern Africa

3. Fishwatch

We recently became members of the East Coast Fish-Watch Project and were so impressed with what they are doing we decided that we should tell everyone about it.

Fish-Watch is an informal community enterprise designed to help everyone that is interested, learn more about our marine fishes and develop an awareness of the rich diversity of our fish fauna. The project is run by the JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology in Grahamstown and is sponsored by Sappi.

As a member you will receive 3 underwater worksheets and 3 newsletters at a nominal fee of R50 per annum. As a member you can also join the Fish-Watch dives held at Aliwal Shoal. By sending them your underwater photographs you help update their fish database and stand inline to win R1000 for the best fish portrait, submitted by a Fish-Watch member. The competition ends 31/7/2001 so get those entries in.

By supporting this project you can help preserve our oceans for future generations. For more information on the project go to or mail them at

4. Book Review - Splendors of the Seas The photographs of Norbert Wu

This is one of those coffee table books that will always attract attention. Norbert Wu is an accomplished photographer and in the opening chapter explains a bit about underwater photography. The rest of the chapters are divided into sections like The Open Ocean and The Coral Reef. He proceeds to tell of a dive or dive trip he has undertaken and then on the following pages shows some of these encounters. There are the adorable Manatees of Belize and some of the bizarre creatures that lives in the deep sea. This man has a true gift for photography and this book is a must for every diver, even though he may have no interest in underwater photography.

This book is available at Exclusive Books and other newsagents.

5. Wreck Seekers

There is a new project starting in Cape Town called "Wreck Seekers" which takes sport divers through a Nautical Archaeological Course and then teaches them about some of our heritage and why wrecks teach us so much about the colonisation of SA.

The idea of the program will be to get divers involved in various projects that expose them to Underwater Archaeology. After completion of the NAS course, divers will have the opportunity to work on active sites where permits have been obtained and a site map completed. On completion of each project the findings are to be displayed in the various museums around the country, with photographic displays and artifacts if possible. The site maps will then be available to the public for further exploration.

They will be running 1 NAS course per month to initiate new members and to get them up to speed, after which members will receive bi-monthly letters from SAHRA and the NMC informing them of up and coming events.

If you have further questions or want to get involved you can contact them at

The first project starts April 2001 in the Transkei.

6. Medical problems - Hypertension

Hypertension is high blood pressure. This may be genetically induced or by following bad eating habits. Hypertension is usually a blood pressure of higher than 130 over 85. A diving physician will bar a diver from diving if his blood pressure is higher than 140 over 95. Hypertension can be treated and your doctor and diving physician will help you with the right medication. For more info go and check on our website at the medical section.

7. Websites of the month
The following sites are our choice for websites of the month:

This is probably one of the best South African scuba diving websites on the net at the moment. I was impressed with the information supplied on dive sites around the world. Have a look for yourself to make your own opinion.

Get up to date information on the weather, in and around the country, to ensure that you are well prepared for whatever the weather gets up to.

8. Diving emergencies - What to do when your power inflator is stuck?

-Breathe and relax. Keep your airways open otherwise pulmonary barotrauma may ensue.
-Pull your dump valve. This will slow your ascent. You can even dump air through your oral inflator.
-Try pushing the button again as it may just be stuck. Keep your equipment out of the sand, as this is a major culprit.
-Try to disconnect the power inflator hose. Some are easy to disconnect underwater whilst others are not as easy. You can always inflate your BC orally and continue your dive.
-Flare. By making like a parachutist you can cut your descent speed in half.
-When back on board, inform your DM of the malfunction and be on the lookout for symptoms of acute decompression illness.

Be kind to animals, kiss a shark
Willem du Preez and Tjaart de Beer
Web masters for the African Diving Experience

This newsletter was sponsored by:
+ Dpa Training - Computer training at your fingertips.
Special Thanks to the following people and company's for helping us obtain information for our website.
Mseni Lodge and Amoray diving - Sodwana Bay
Reefteach - Sodwana Bay
Ocean Divers Pretoria
Andy Cobb Eco Diving
The East Coast Fish-Watch Project

Updated on: 06/03/2003