Archive for the ‘Marine Life’ Category

VIDEO: Hundreds of Manatees Overtake Three Sisters Springs in Florida

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
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Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida, is widely known by underwater photographers and snorkelers for its resident manatees — but this week, these “mermaids” took over the marine sanctuary by storm.

According to USA Today, roughly 300 manatees huddled together in Three Sisters Springs on Monday. This massive aggregation resulted in a one-acre closure of the springs, USA Today reported, but the area has since been reopened until the manatees return during the next tidal change.

A migratory species, West Indian Manatees spend the winter months in shallow, slow-moving, Florida waters — including estuaries, canals, rivers and coastal areas — and they are known to travel to Three Sisters Springs annually during high tides.

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On Jan. 7, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal for a change in classification of the West Indian Manatee from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act. According to the FWS website, this classification “will not affect federal protections currently afforded by the ESA,” and said that conservation efforts to fully recover manatee populations will continue.

“It is probably safe to say that Florida’s manatee population is in recovery,” says Miles Saunders, Media Relations and Marketing Specialist for Visit Citrus. “Last year’s statewide synoptic survey reported 6,063 manatees in Florida. Contrast that to the first year of that survey in 1991 when there were 1,267. This January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Joyce Kleen reported 1,042 manatees in Kings Bay and the Homosassa River alone.”

Though this is not the largest manatee aggregation recorded in Three Sisters, 2016 has been a record-breaking one for manatee populations in Citrus County and King’s Bay. After an aerial survey by Crystal River Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 12, refuge biologist Joyce Kleen reported an all-time record of 1,042 manatees across a survey route spanning from the Crystal River Power Plant to Blue Waters in Homosassa. The previous record was 1,016 manatees in February 2015.

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Take Action To Save Manatees in Crystal River

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
Underwater Photo Manatee in Springs

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Save the Manatee Club

Want to get involved in manatee conservation? Here’s how you can help.

MISSION Protecting manatees in their aquatic habitat to aid survival for future generations

HQ Maitland, Florida YEAR STARTED 1981 CONTACT ktripp@savethemanatee.org

PROJECT Though manatees have been reclassified from an endangered to a threatened species, the SMC — founded by Jimmy Buffett — continues to protect the well-being of these marine mammals and their habitats through public awareness, sponsorship of research and rehabilitation, and advocacy for continued protection and regulation of sanctuaries.


Take Action!

1 Go Sightseeing

Need an excuse to go diving or snorkeling in the Sunshine State? We’ve got you covered. Channel your inner citizen scientist by documenting any manatee encounters you’ve had in Florida’s coastal regions. Simply submit a sighting form at savethemanatee.org/sightingform.htm with a description of your manatee sighting and any photos to help researchers track the population.

2 Adopt a Manatee

With SMC’s Adopt-a-Manatee program, you’ll enjoy commitment-free parenting for a sea cow in need. Images and histories of real-life manatees in Florida and Alabama that are in need of adoption are available on SMC’s website; in exchange for a $25 fee, you’ll receive an adoption certificate, photo and biography of your new bundle of joy. All adoption funds go to local reseach and conservation efforts.

3 Join the Club

Take action to protect these threatened animals by joining the SMC team. Whether you’re interested in grass-roots activism for government policy change, lending your voice to educate communities about manatee conservation or engaging with attendees at manatee- themed festivals and events, there’s an activism route to suit your interests, and opportunities aren’t limited to East Coast do-gooders.

World’s Best Underwater Photography Sites

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Why do the Top 100 Readers Choice Awards, now in their 23rd year, still matter to divers? Because these are your picks, based on thousands of votes from the most experienced dive travelers on the planet. Why do they matter to us? Because every month you hear from our editors on what we think matters in the world of dive travel. For the January/February issue of Scuba Diving we get to listen to you, and we’re taking notes.

Here, we proudly present the No. 1 ranking destinations in the Best Underwater Photography category of the awards. The full list of winning destinations is below.

Underwater Photographer Diving in Cayman Islands

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Cayman Islands

Best Underwater Photography in Caribbean and Atlantic

It’s no coincidence that Grand Cayman is home to several photo pros, and is a favorite classroom for a handful of shutter-snapping instructors. Clear skies with consistent sunlight, plus the Caribbean’s famous visibility, grant a reliable baseline, letting you focus on the good stuff — adjusting settings to capture a tarpon just as the silversides all turn, sparkling. — Brooke Morton

Caribbean and Atlantic

  1. Cayman Islands
  2. Bonaire
  3. Bahamas
  4. Bay Islands
  5. Mexico
Anemones Green Water Underwater Photo British Columbia

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British Columbia

Best Underwater Photography in North America

Photographers can improve their portfolios in BC’s cool, marine-populated waters. There’s a wealth of colorful photo subjects, and many animals grow to epic proportions: giant plumose anemones, playful Steller sea lions, and the eight-tentacled crowd favorite, Enteroctopus dofleini, aka the giant Pacific octopus. Don a drysuit to ignore the cold, and focus instead on creating award-winning images. — Brandon Cole

North America

  1. British Columbia
  2. California
  3. Florida
  4. North Carolina
  5. Washington
Manta Ray Underwater Indonesia Coral Diving

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Indonesia

Best Underwater Photography in Pacific and Indian Oceans

The problem isn’t deciding what lenses to pack for your trip to Indo, but which one to bring on each dive. If you take a macro down to shoot pygmy seahorses, you’ll regret not having the fisheye for the massive mantas. You don’t just need a second camera system — you need a buddy/porter to carry a third and fourth. — David Espinosa

Pacific and Indian Oceans

  1. Indonesia
  2. Chuuk
  3. Philippines
  4. Palau
  5. Red Sea

World’s Best Destinations for Wall Diving

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Why do the Top 100 Readers Choice Awards, now in their 23rd year, still matter to divers? Because these are your picks, based on thousands of votes from the most experienced dive travelers on the planet. Why do they matter to us? Because every month you hear from our editors on what we think matters in the world of dive travel. For the January/February issue of Scuba Diving we get to listen to you, and we’re taking notes.

Here, we proudly present the No. 1 ranking destinations in the Best Wall Dives category of the awards. The full list of winning destinations is below.

Diver Underwater Palau Coral Wall

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Palau

Best Wall Dives in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

Palau’s world-class wall dives, with sites such as Blue Corner, Siaes Wall and Peleliu Wall, attract more species to its Pacific waters than just divers. Sharks — whitetip, gray reef, silky, bull, whale and tiger — cruise the Micronesian archipelago’s plunging, current-swept cliffs by the hundreds, along with other exciting marine life, including Napoleon wrasse, dogtooth tuna and spotted eagle rays. — Eric Michael

Best Wall Dives in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

1. Palau
2. Red Sea
3. Hawaii
4. Fiji
5. Indonesia



Sea Turtle Underwater Cayman Islands Coral Wall Diving

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Cayman Islands

Best Wall Dives in the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean

Careful: That vertiginous feeling is addictive. That killer Cayman combo of sheer walls — especially at places like Mixing Bowl on Little Cayman — and unparalleled viz creates an environment where anything feels possible. Good news, it is. Encountering wall regulars like Nassau grouper and green sea turtles is a divers’ high in itself, but when factors align for magic in the form of a passing dolphin or hammerhead, it’s another high all together. — Brooke Morton

Best Wall Dives in the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean

1. Cayman Islands

2. Mexico

3. Bay Islands

4. Belize

5. Bahamas



Underwater Photo Wall Scuba Diving Washington

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Washington

Best Wall Dives in North America

Walls have it all — abundant marine life, drama and challenging profiles. And Washington has walls. Two stellar sites are Day Island Wall near Tacoma, which hosts wolf eels and octopus at depths between 25 and 100 feet, and Long Island in the San Juan Islands. Spanning depths between 70 and 120 feet, the Long Island wall is famous for its stunning strawberry anemones and is best dived during slack before ebb. — Brandon Cole

Best Wall Dives in North America

1. Washington
2. British Columbia



How We Got the Numbers Thousands of Scuba Diving subscribers and online users rated their experiences at dive destinations in a variety of categories on a scale from one to five. Final scores are an average of the numerical scores awarded. A minimum number of responses was required for a destination to be included in these ratings.

VIDEO: Divers Rescue Entangled Manta Ray

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Manta Rescue

It’s amazing what divers can do to save marine life — and what life-changing experiences come with it! This video was shot by Thomaz Monteiro and Flavia Passaglia during a dive trip in Bat Islands, Costa Rica. This manta ray was entangled by a fishing net and approached the divers. Brian Thompson is shown gently cutting the manta free from the net, allowing the creature to “live with no pain.”

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