Newsletter - 05/10/2001

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The Loggerhead

The Official newsletter for The African Diving Experience
Volume 11 Date: 05/10/2001

We hope you enjoy the October issue of our monthly newsletter.


<1) From The African Diving Experience
<2) Shark of the month  - Bigeyed Sixgill Shark
<3) Fish identification tips
<4) Book Review  - Top Dive Sites of the World
<5) Equipment - Basic equipment checklist
<6) Equipment Specials
<7) Website of the month
<8) How to be the perfect buddy

1. From The African Diving Experience:

The end of the year seems to be creeping up. It is time to start planning vacations and hopefully some chances for diving. Hopefully we will also be able to get some sort of a vacation so that we can find you some more information on the exquisite diving locations around our wonderful coastline.

We are awaiting some information on diving in and around Port Elizabeth and will add it to the site as soon as we receive it. Unfortunately it is a slow time of the year and we don't get to do a lot of browsing and searching for information. We will however get back on track in November and December to try and find information for the site. Those whom have something to contribute are truly welcome to contact us and full recognition will be given.

If you get to go on a diving trip in this month, we are really jealous but, we still hope that you have a great time and lots of fun.

Interested in a banner exchange or helping us with obtaining any information? Do contact us at the following e-mail:

2. Shark of the month - Bigeyed Sixgill Shark
Class: Chondrichthyes (Cartilaginous fish)
Sub class: Elasmobranchii (Sharks and rays)
Order:  Hexanchiformes (Cow & Frill sharks)
Family: Hexanchidae (Cow sharks)
Genus: Hexenchus vitulus (Big eye Sixgill shark)

The Big eyed Sixgill shark has a slender body with a narrow head, 6 gill slits, very big eyes and a single dorsal fin that is relatively small. It has a grey colour, with a white ventral surface. This shark feeds on small fishes and invertebrates and has an average size of about 140 cm to 160 cm and a maximum total length of about 180 cm.

It reproduces aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous), with up to 13 pups per litter. Their size at birth is about 40 cm with males reaching sexual maturity at a size of about 125 cm to 160 cm and females at about 145 cm to 180 cm. It is found on the continental and insular shelves as well as upper slopes at a depth of about 90 to 600m, usually on or near the bottom and may move to the surface at night. This shark is probably harmless. Due to its lifestyle, encounters with humans are rare anyway.

Bigeyed Sixgill Shark

Source and

3. Fish identification tips:

Some of the most colourful fishes on the reef are the Coral and Peacock rockcod. Some times one may get confused with these two species. Here are a few tips on how to identify them:

  • The Coral rockcod is orange to red while the Peacock rockcod is yellow to green.
  • The Coral rockcod has two or three lighter stripes across the back above the pectoral fin while the Peacock rockcod has lighter stripes only in the latter half of its body up to the tail.
  • The fins of the Coral rockcod are dark red at the tips while the Peacock rockcod has dark green to blue edged fins.

4. Book Review - Top Dive Sites of the World

This book vividly portrays the full spectrum of the diving experience: the heart pumping adrenaline rush of watching great white sharks in a feeding frenzy, the fascination of exploring the eerie silhouettes of a coral enclustered wreck, the exhilaration of being enveloped by the 'wings' of a school of manta rays and the simple enchantment of snorkelling over exquisitely coloured coral reefs.

The book is aimed at divers, photographers and all whom is fascinated by the hidden wonders of the seas. With it's superb 300 full colour photographs, the book covers 75 world class dive sites that occur in waters as diverse as the icy North Atlantic and the tropical seas of the Pacific. The locations range from remote unspoilt offshore reefs accessible from live aboard cruisers to well frequented sites where diving is based at popular resorts. The informative text describes the main features of the sites, the quality and unique of marine life and notable attractions on land, as well as covering such practicalities as visibility and accessibility.

This book is a must for divers and non divers alike and is published by New Holland. Be sure to look on page 78 - 83 for some of South Africa's splendours. Top Dive Sites of the World is available at your local bookstore.

5. Equipment - Basic equipment checklist

All of us have forgotten a vital piece of our diving kit when going on a holiday. This causes huge problems especially when it is something vital like a regulator or fins. The following checklist can help you to prevent this.

     Basic equipment:
     Gear bag
     Wetsuit (jacket, pants, vest hood, gloves, boot)
     Weight belt
     BC/ BCD
     Cylinder (empty when travelling)
     Regulator with octo, pressure gauge and depth gauge.
     Dive watch

     Extra equipment:
     Marker buoy
     Dive light
     Tool kit for diving (including spare o-rings, mask and fin straps, anti fog etc.)

If you want this checklist as a MS-WORD document, just e-mail us and we'll send it to you.

6. Equipment Specials

Due to the climbing foreign exchange rates, the prices of dive equipment has increased as well. We have been told that most of the suppliers have increased there prices by about 5 to 10 %. This also means that their aren't really specials going around. Mares however was having a special on the past week and it sounds like they will be having another one in the next week or so. Unfortunately we have no information available on this new special but if you would like to be informed as soon as details is known please feel free to contact Ocean Divers Pretoria at the following address:

7. Website of the month

The following site is our choice for the website of the month:

This is the official website for the Cyber Diver Magazine and features lots of interesting articles. As an example: for some history on the shark feeding issue in Florida as well as some new developments visit the following article link on their site: You can also subscribe to their newsletter CDDN Bottom Line which can keep you up to date with some of the interesting developments in the diving industry.

8. How to be the perfect buddy

Most of us agree that buddy diving is necessary but so few of us actually practice it. In a large group diving together, this is not  so much of a problem but when two or four persons go diving it may save your life. A buddy is there to help you when you cannot help yourself and it should be co-operative relationship. Here are some tips on how to be the perfect buddy:

· Try to stay on the same side of your buddy.
· Dive side-by-side.
· Check regularly on the position of your buddy.
· Agree beforehand on what should happen in case of a separation.
· When seeing something interesting, share it with your buddy and the other members of the dive group.

These tips will help keep you and your buddy safe and will make the dive a pleasure for both of you.

Source: Dive like a pro - 200 tips and techniques by Rodales Scuba Diving

Updated on: 06/03/2003