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Welcome to Fathom and Blues!

Based in Portland on the stunning Dorset coast of England, Fathom and Blues can offer training courses on a host of water based activities from Scuba diving to Powerboat skills.

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Scuba News :

New Zealand moves to protect rare dolphins

New Zealand plans to ban commercial fishing near its coast and set up marine reserves to protect the rare Hector's dolphins, a government minister said on Thursday.

Stressed seaweed contributes to cloudy coastal skies, study suggests

A new international study has found that large brown seaweeds, when under stress, release large quantities of inorganic iodine into the coastal atmosphere, where it may contribute to cloud formation.

Win a Guide to Sharm El-Sheikh (Red Sea)

SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011) has two copies of the Diving Guide to Sharm El-Sheikh to give away. See Issue 96 of SCUBA News for details.

EU agrees to outlaw 'green' crimes

After eight years of negotiation, the European Parliament has reached an agreement with member states on legislation that will force national governments to apply criminal sanctions to those causing deliberate or negligent damage to the environment. According to the agreed text, the list of punishable crimes will include: * Unlawful discharge or emission of substances into the air, soil or water in a way likely to cause "death or serious injury to any person" or "substantial damage" to the environment; * the shipment of waste; * any conduct which causes the significant deterioration of habitats within protected sites, and; * the production, importation, exportation, placing on the market or use of ozone-depleting substances.

Demand for Industrial Controls Takes a Hit During the First Quarter of 2008

NEMA's US Primary Industrial Controls Index reversed nearly all of its prior period's gains during the first quarter of 2008 as the index contracted 5.9 percent.

The beginning of the end for Japanese whaling?

A Japanese public prosecutor announced on 19 May that it was launching an investigation into allegations that workers on whaling ships are embezzling whale meat and selling it to restaurant owners. Conservationists are daring to hope that the resulting domestic scandal could herald the end of Japan's "scientific" whaling programme.

Nominate in the Responsible Tourism Awards 2008

The idea behind the Awards is that all types of tourism - from niche to mainstream - can and should be operated in a way that respects and benefits destinations and local people. In order to be a part of the Awards, you can nominate a company for the 'Best in a Marine Environment category', which includes any organisation related to a beach or other marine environment, such as turtle conservation or a marine eco-tourism trip, that you may have visited on your diving travels.

Update: Diving Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is much less dived than Egypt, and our readers report amazing coral gardens, rays, barracuda, 25ft eels and many types of shark. Read more at the SCUBA Travel newly updated Saudi Arabia section.

Sub Aqua Fundraising Solstice

Raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboats Institute and SOS Tartarugas by celebrating the summer solstice with St Ives Sub Aqua Club. The UK diving industry have helped support the night with prizes from AP Valves, Scubapro, SDS and Princeton Tec. For more information contact Lanna Marshall at .

Brittle-star 'city' discovered on underwater mountain

Scientists have captured the first images of a novel brittle-star "city" that has colonized the peak of a submerged mountain. The colony was discovered on the Macquarie Ridge, an underwater mountain range south of New Zealand. It is mostly made up of brittle stars (Ophiuroidea), which are related to starfish. Tens of millions of the creatures were found living crammed together.

Stressed seaweed contributes to cloudy coastal skies

A new international study has found that large brown seaweeds, when under stress, release large quantities of inorganic iodine into the coastal atmosphere, where it may contribute to cloud formation.

Pilot whales are the sprinters of the deep

Pilot whales are the cheetahs of the oceans, focusing their hunting effort on short, intense chases after a few rich food items. They are the first deep-diving whales known to follow such a strategy. Until now, biologists had assumed that all deep-diving whales would cruise slowly and graze on slow-moving prey items while underwater, since this minimises their energy expenditure. Using this strategy, most deep-diving whales can spend nearly an hour at a time underwater. Pilot whales, however, are the exception - their dives last no more than 15 to 20 minutes. "They look like they are going after big, nutritionally rich prey."

Update: Diving in Jordan

Jordan is a small country at the north end of the Red Sea, with a coastline of just 15 miles. Most of the dives can be done as shore dives. Read more about the diving and dive centres of Jordan at SCUBA Travel's newly updated pages.

Google dives into 3D mapping of oceans

We've got Google Earth and Google Sky. Next up will be a map of the world below sea level--Google Ocean. The company has assembled an advisory group of oceanography experts, and in December invited researchers from institutions around the world to the Mountain View, Calif., Googleplex. There, they discussed plans for creating a 3D oceanographic map. The tool--for now called Google Ocean, the sources say, though that name could change--is expected to be similar to other 3D online mapping applications. People will be able to see the underwater topography, called bathymetry; search for particular spots or attractions; and navigate through the digital environment by zooming and panning.

Treasure-Laden Shipwreck Found off African Coast

A 500-year-old shipwreck has been found off the coast of southern Africa, laden with tons of copper ingots, elephant tusks, gold coins, and cannons to fend off pirates. The wreck and its treasure were recently discovered by geologists prospecting for diamonds off the coast of Namibia.

Dominica's Dive Fest celebrates 15 years

Dominica's Dive Fest, the Caribbean's longest running scuba diving festival, encourages visitors to discover the landscapes and marine life within the island's waters. Would-be divers and snorkellers as young as eight can participate in pool- or ocean-based introductory sessions to teach them the basics, with some trial sessions free of charge. The annual event takes place in Dominica from 11th - 20th July 2008. To mark this special 15th anniversary year, many local dive centres are offering group travel packages whereby one diver goes free with every seven that book.

Growing ocean dead zones leave fish gasping

"Dead zones" containing too little oxygen for fish to breathe are growing as global temperatures increase. Warmer water dissolves less oxygen, so as temperatures rise, oxygen vanishes from oceans. Marine biologists are warning that if dead zones continue expanding, oceanic "deserts" could massively deplete marine life and fish stocks.

Update: Diving in Thailand

Discover the best dive operators and dive sites in Thailand: visit SCUBA Travel's newly updated Thailand section.

Mysterious striped currents revealed in the oceans

It's amazing that nobody has spotted it before. Superimposed on every ocean on the planet there is a striped pattern of currents. Yet what causes them is a mystery. Between 1992 and 2003, Peter Niiler of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, and colleagues collected data from more than 10,000 drifting ocean buoys, which they tracked with satellites. As expected, the buoys' movements were influenced mainly by known global currents, which are driven by wind and by differences in the temperature and salinity of seawater. But when the team analysed the data, it emerged that something else had been subtly influencing the buoys' paths. It turned out that there were alternating strips of water running eastward or westward, a bit like parallel moving pavements. Niiler recalls his reaction: "My God, we've never seen these before."

50 Euros off Malta Diving Package

50 Euros off a 10-dive package in Malta.

Free Malaysian iPod Language Guide

Malaysia is home to one of the most famous dive sites in the World: Sipadan. Learn Malaysian with the World Nomads Malay iPod language guide. You won't learn Malaysian in full, but this language guide contains enough of the most common travel phrases to help you get by.

US to end controversial shark finning

The oceans just got a little safer for sharks. Fishermen must bring their shark catches to shore with fins still attached, the US fisheries service has decided. The new rule, put forward last week, aims to prevent fishermen from slicing fins off vulnerable species and discarding the rest at sea.

SCUBA Bestsellers List Out

See the bestselling SCUBA books and DVDs of the last 3 months. As usual, Dive Atlas of the World by Jack Jackson heads the list. World War II Wrecks of the Truk Lagoon makes a welcome re-entry and the Underwater Photographer appears for the first time.

Sunscreen Killing Coral

Four commonly found sunscreen ingredients can awaken dormant viruses in the symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae that live inside reef-building coral species. The chemicals cause the viruses to replicate until their algae hosts explode, spilling viruses into the surrounding seawater, where they can infect neighboring coral communities. Zooxanthellae provide coral with food energy through photosynthesis and contribute to the organisms' vibrant color. Without them, the coral "bleaches" - turns white - and dies.

Boat kills 2 divers in Red Sea

An Egyptian medical official says two Polish scuba divers were killed when they were hit by a speedboat in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheik. Hospital authorities identified the Polish victims as Jona Kosic, 45, a man, and Wizo Kosic, 43, a woman.

Coral spawn turns Palau seas pink

The annual mass spawning of corals on the Palau archipelago in the western Pacific has occurred right on cue. With Sunday night's full moon, coral polyps let forth a huge swathe of sperm and egg, to seed the next generation. The event was short-lived - only about 30 minutes - but so vast in its scale that it turned the sea water pink. Scientists from Palau, Australia and the UK are studying the practicality of collecting coral larvae to help restore damaged reefs elsewhere.

Bikini corals recover from atomic blast

Half a century after the last earth-shattering atomic blast shook the Pacific atoll of Bikini, the corals are flourishing again. A research diver said "It was incredible, huge matrices of branching Porites coral (up to 8 meters high) had established, creating thriving coral reef habitat. Throughout other parts of the lagoon it was awesome to see coral cover as high as 80 per cent and large tree-like branching coral formations with trunks 30cm thick...I've never seen corals growing like trees outside of the Marshall Islands."

Update: Diving in Malta

Read about the dive sites, dive operators and accommodation options in Malta and Gozo, on the newly updated SCUBA Travel Site.

Sea levels 'will rise 1.5 metres by 2100'

Melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warming water could lift sea levels by as much as 1.5 metres by the end of this century, displacing tens of millions of people. That's the conclusion of a new prediction of sea level rises that for the first time takes into account ice dynamics.

Win Hurghada Dive Guide and Log Book

SCUBA News are giving away two copies of the Hurghada Dive Guide and Log Book. The prize is the forth guide in the series and covers the very popular diving area around Hurghada. The format remains consistent with the other guides - loose sheets designed to fit into a diving logbook binder. The guide covers 16 dive sites, usually with 2 dives per site. Most of the sites are reefs but there is one wreck at El Mina. There is an A5 double sided page for each site which can be slid into a 3-ring binder with your other dive logs. The first part of the guide allows you to write in all your personal dive details (time, gas consumption, conditions, weight, temperature, cylinder details). There then follows a description of the site, its location including co-ordinates, a 3-D map and usually a couple of recommended dives. The maps are excellent - showing the dive site very clearly. Turning over there is a more detailed description of the site covering, geography, history and marine life you are likely to encounter. It really packs in loads of information. At the bottom of the page is a space for you to add your own dive notes. All in all these are great little guides and money well spent if you are going to the area as nearly all the dives you will do are covered. If you are planning a trip to Hurghada then this will help you prepare and give you a good idea of what to expect. To enter the competition go to

Better Mooring for the SS Thistlegorm dive boats

Voted one of the best dives in the world, the SS Thistlegorm was deteriorating because of the numbers of divers visiting it. In December 2007, the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA) installed installed 32 mooring lines at the site of the wreck to help protect it. However, in the three months since the conservation work, at least half of the lines have been damaged. Divers have therefore spent the last few days upgrading the moorings.

This new book enables divers to have a thorough understanding of some of the medical problems and illnesses associated with diving. After reading this book you will be able to fully recognise each of the individual conditions and have a clear understanding of the best action to take in the event of decompression illness. It is suitable for all levels of experience from novice to instructor. It explains topics in clear non-medical language. It is a guide to initial treatment and first aid. It includes emergency action charts and recompression tables. It contains emergency contact numbers and recompression tables.

Mediterranean leaders urged to save tuna

Atlantic Bluefin tuna populations have declined alarmingly over the past few decades due to overfishing fuelled by an increasingly expensive industry. A new WWF report shows that the international fleets hunting this species to extinction in the Mediterranean. If you want to buy a tin of tuna off the supermarket shelf don't worry - you almost never find bluefin tuna in a tin. Most tinned tuna is yellowfin or skipjack. For fresh tuna ask your restauranteur or fishmonger if the Atlantic Bluefin tuna was caught in the Med. If so, avoid it.

Update: Diving South Africa

"Whale shark and Bottlenose dolphin on the way out to the site, and a Blue marlin as we entered the water, to the most coral species I have seen on any of my dives around the world. It was just yummy." Just one of new comments on the diving and dive operators of South Africa at the SCUBA Travel site.

Global warming turns fish deaf

Is it important that global warming turns fish deaf? Yes. For coral reef fish, sound is vital for them to judge where to settle down and live. After hatching, reef fish larvae are dispersed by ocean currents for a few weeks. The larval fish must then find their way back to a suitable reef to make their home. It's thought that the young fish home in on high-frequency noises. Coral reefs are extremely noisy environments, with the crackle of snapping shrimps and the chatter of fish set against a backdrop of wind, rain and surf. Sound carries well underwater, and most fish have great hearing.

Scientists Reveal First-Ever Global Map of Total Human Effect on Oceans

More than 40 percent of the world's oceans are heavily affected by human activities, and few if any areas remain untouched, according to the first global-scale study of human influence on marine ecosystems. By overlaying maps of 17 different activities such as fishing, climate change and pollution, the researchers have produced a composite map of the toll that humans have exacted on the seas. The study reports that the most heavily affected waters in the world include the Caribbean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and several regions in the western Pacific. The least affected areas are largely near the poles. Human influence on the ocean varies dramatically across various ecosystems. The most heavily affected areas include coral reefs, rocky reefs and seamounts. The least impacted ecosystems are soft-bottom areas and open-ocean surface waters.

Turtles at risk from non-stick pans

The same chemicals that keep food from sticking to our frying pans and stains from setting in our carpets are damaging the livers and impairing the immune systems of loggerhead turtles - an environmental health impact that also may signal a danger for humans.

Butterflyfish 'May Face Extinction'

The case of the Chevroned Butterflyfish is a stark example of how human pressure on the world's coral reefs is confronting certain species with 'blind alleys' from which they may be unable to escape, says Dr Morgan Pratchett of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.

Update: Diving in Zanzibar

More information on the diving and dive centres of Zanzibar is now on the SCUBA Travel site. "Was like being in the Red Sea, with the big difference that we have always been the only divers on each one of the dives in the water...We saw all this stuff that you usually never see, sea horses, ghost pipe fish, 10 different kinds of nudi's, 8 different kinds of scorpion fish inclding crocodile fish, mauritius scorpion fish, weedy scorpio fish, leaf fish, frog fish and all in one dive!".

Top 10 diving books and DVDs of 2007

SCUBA Travel today releases its list of the best selling books and DVDs bought by SCUBA divers in 2007. For the fourth consecutive year, The Dive Atlas of the World retains its top spot! A surprise entry at number three is a guide to the Italian island of Sardinia - a very popular diving destination last year. Another new entry is Shipwrecks from the Egyptian Red Sea, by Ned Middleton. Perhaps the best performer though is the Blue Planet DVD. This has not been out of the top ten since the list began in 2001.

"Scuba Diving" is one of over 150 magazines now available with an instant $5 off Amazon's already low prices. Just add the subscriptions you'd like to your Cart, and for each one, you'll see an instant $5 rebate.

Diving Cuba

New page on the dive sites and dive operators of Cuba. "The diving was excellent and I saw a proliferation of sealife. There were Eagle rays, Giant Barracuda, large French Angels, big Hog Fish and a multitude of other species....The condition of the reef is brilliant, warm blue green water, great visibility and plenty of proof that the Cubans respect this fantastic natural resource and are doing plenty to take care of it...Absolutely superb diving with 30/40 m vis, lots of big marine life about in large quantities, quality corals."

Diving Sharm El-Sheikh (Red Sea)

New web page on the dive sites of Sharm El-Sheikh. Add your experiences and read the recommendations of other divers.

Fancy a warm charitable glow when you buy insurance? From now on if you purchase World Nomads travel insurance via SCUBA Travel

Blue Tang is Creature of the Month

Blue Tangs are often found roaming the reef, in search of their favourite food - algae. They are surgeonfish which may appear either singly or in large schools, which can contain hundreds of individuals. The Blue Tang, and other surgeonfish, are important on a shallow coral reef because they help keep the algae in check. Without them the algae would grow so fast that coral larvae settling and trying to make a start on the reef would soon be overgrown.

Review: On-Line Coral Reef Course

This new course for divers discusses the coral reef ecosystem and food web. It illustrates its points using animals and plants found in and around coral reefs. For instance, the Caribbean Reef Shark is discussed as a top-level, active, predator. The authors manage to pack loads of information on their example species into a small space, without the prose becoming uninteresting. And even when I thought I knew lots about a subject they managed to surprise me. For instance, did you know that sponges may be able to live to over 1000 years old?

Spectacular Diving at Lakshadweep Archipelago, India

The Lakshadweep islands have the same gorgeous marine life and great visibility as the Maldives, only for much cheaper. Kadmat Island is one of the few Lakshadweep islands which is open to foreign tourists. The remoteness of Kadmat Island really gives you a feeling of "getting away from it all" - but this comes at a price, either in terms of money or time. Staying on Kadmat Island and paying for the dives are not expensive (in fact, comparatively cheap), but getting to Kadmat is.

Diving the Caribbean Island of Dominica

The Commonwealth of Dominica is mountainous, volcanic and very beautiful. The dive sites are pristine. Yours will often be the only dive boat at a dive site. The SCUBA Travel site now has a major new section all about diving, dive shops, accomodation and travel details of Dominica.

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Travel Insurance with Diving to 50 m

You can now buy low-cost travel insurance which covers diving down to 50 m for appropriately qualified divers.

Hand-picked diving books: guides to diving around the world, stories of the history and pioneers of diving, books featuring great underwater photography and some just stories about diving.

Find a Cheap Flight and see Arrival and Departure Times

The SCUBA Travel site now lets you find the cheapest flight to diving destinations from a range of airlines. It also provides information on the arrival and departure times for flights around the world.

Low Cost Advertising to over 36000 Divers a Month

For just 2.45 GBP a month you can advertise your new SCUBA products, late deals and special offers on the "Diving Board". This special introductory price is guaranteed for the lifetime of your subscription.

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You can now use either php or Javascript to display this news on your own web pages, absolutely free.

Fathom and Blues contact details:

Fathom and Blues Ltd

Portland. Dorset