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Italy Picking up my story on Osborne Tire Reef 2014-09-19 at 7.39.57 AM feat

My Work With Project Baseline Is Gaining Traction Worldwide

Those who know me a little closer know that I’m very fond of SCUBA diving. A few year back some of my good friends from the dive community commence a ongoing project named Project Baseline.

The idea is for everyone who is diving to help on a voluntary basis collect data in the form of still images and video of their personal dive spots, and then update these as they dive the same spots again over time. The first recordings will serve as a baseline with which any evolution as may be witnessed in the form of changes taking place over time and as documented by the images. The images taken over a stretch of time will serve as proof to any effects (good, bad or none) at least on a visual basis.

It’s a great idea and one that aims to get far spanning reach by engaging even amateur divers from any corner of the world.

Well, shortly after my friends established this phenomenal idea, I co-founded (with among others my friend Robert Carmichael) the South Florida chapter, which we have aptly named the Gulfstream chapter after the Gulfstream that stretches its way all the way from South and further up North alongside the coast of Florida.

Now, one of the specific sites that we documented thoroughly was that of the Osborne Tire Reef. It’s the story of good intentions gone bad as millions of tires were bundled together and sunk into the ocean in the hope of creating artificial reefs that would attract wildlife and better marine life altogether. The plan failed miserably as the tires are too mobile and instead move around dramatically with every storm and actually migrate towards, into and over the natural reefs further towards land as well as further towards the sea.

In other words, the tires are destroying fragile natural corals that takes forever to regenerate if even given the chance.

As you can imagine it’s an important story and an interesting one too.

I strongly suggest you go and visit our story on it and perhaps check out some of the other projects that we have documented as well.

Well, as you might also gather, it’s of extreme importance that knowledge of these issues are place into the right hands including more and more public awareness, so politicians will actually do something about it (ever seen any politician pursue a mission that didn’t have a public awareness?). So it pleases me to see that my extensive work in publicizing these projects and project sites are beginning to pay off. Recently one curator of news from around the world (website) picked up the story.

At least one agency has reached out to me to inquire about rights of use of my images. Several journalists have called for various insights and questions and today a website in Italy also posted about it.

It’s a small step in the right direction, but it all gives us more encouragement to continue this important work.

Italy Picking up my story on Osborne Tire Reef 2014-09-19 at 7.39.57 AM

Check out our Osborne Tire Reef documentation.

More on Project Baseline Gulfstream Chapter:

Enveloping the origin of the Gulf stream’s northern flow in the most extreme point of the Florida Key’s (Dry Tortugas) to north of Port Canaveral, Florida and encompassing the entire Bahamas, Project Baseline’s Gulfstream Chapter is home to over 10-million people, the 3rd largest coral reef in world, a diverse 7-billion dollar economy and arguably the most influential “stream” on the globe. As divers we all know that as population has increased, the quality of the reef, fresh water supplies and fish population have declined in this region. Sharing “baseline” data with the other 99% (non-divers) of the population is the first goal on a path to assisting our citizens and leaders in developing sustainable policies, practices, lifestyles, progress, etc.

More than 95% of the Dry Tortugas National Park is underwater and has been well documented by academic dive/science programs for many years. This area is one of the boundaries for the Gulfstream Chapter of Project Baseline as start point for the Gulf Stream current entering the Florida and Bahamas. The southwest Florida shelf in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico is the primary feeder to the entire Florida Keyes and is the original spawning grounds for much of the marine life found in and around the Gulf Stream.

Less than 1% of the oceans are currently protected from industrial and residential developmental pressures, yet our oceans and fresh water bodies constitute more than 75% of the surface mass of the globe; this is in stark contrast to the 12% of land mass currently being protected today.  Project Baseline will assist to balance this ratio by efficiently providing compelling data to the public in an easily accessible, highly visible, graphic/image supported, open platform (Google Earth) and embracing the unstoppable power of the “citizen scientist”. We welcome input, collaboration and support from all.

 

Read All About the Osborne Tire Reef

About Project Baseline
Project Baseline emerged from an awareness that good science practiced in a vacuum is often useless toward effecting change. Yet, the most energetic and well meaning public or private initiatives can be disastrous without well developed and rationale evaluation. In other words science and public policy must be informed by a persistent assessment of existing and evolving conditions. By coordinating and presenting a global collection of environmental conditions, Project Baseline will develop a long term catalogue of environmental conditions; this library may be used to enhance public awareness, inform scientific inquiry and develop public policy. We hope you will become motivated to support our collective best interest and become part of this global effort to save our world’s most precious natural resources.

The Mission: Protect our world’s aquatic environments and the clean water supply on which they depend.

The People: Project Baseline is made possible by the dedication of a global cast of volunteers dedicated to preserving the world’s most precious water resources.

The Process: Project Baseline helps channel the passion of passionate volunteers, the capacity of dedicated professionals and the energy of concerned citizens.

The Goal: Enable conservation by developing awareness and expanding knowledge while describing and cataloging historic and present-day conditions.

About Global Underwater Explorers
For more than a decade GUE’s non-profit efforts have been focused on the exploration, education and conservation of the aquatic realm. Our global base of representatives support a variety of programs which help reduce environmental impact and organize the passion of concerned citizens while collaborating with governmental and non-governmental organizations to facilitate public awareness of and support for aquatic conservation.

 

 

Read All About the Osborne Tire Reef

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Cause Sometimes Two Is One And One Is None

I love scuba diving. It gives such a wonderful sensation to move yourself through the water column in three dimensions, having left behind you cell phones, emails and all the chores leaving you with heightened senses just for your diving and your thoughts, along with the sights and incredible adventures that sometimes unfold right before you.

Starting back with my first Open Water course to get my first certification for scuba diving, back in 1999, along with my introduction to my diving I began acquiring knowledge and reading material on scuba diving from any source I could get and it wasn’t long before I got acquainted with a pioneering and technical wreck diver by the name of Billy Deans. Now, Billy Deans always had a saying, with his Southern accent, which was: “Cause Two Is One And One Is None”.

What Billy Deans was referring to is the need for a scuba diving to have redundancy in case of something going wrong, such as in case of equipment failure or similar. As an example a scuba diver would be wise to have with him/her on every dive two lights, in case one didn’t work, got flooded or the batteries died on you, two masks and two buoyancy compensators. You would also bring a primary regulator (this is where you breathe off) and in addition a secondary regulator. Should one malfunction you would have another in reserve in your secondary which could get you safely out of the dive. Along the same line a wise diver would always bring at least one buddy who would in fact have the same equipment requirements, in which case you would actually have redundancy in each other. As an example, should one of you run out of gas for what ever reason, the other diver should still have able gas remaining for the two of you to get out of the dive safely.

Billy Deans also talked about bringing a small mirror with you on your dives, so that in case you got hung up in something and you would not be able to see what was going on. An example of this could be that you might have gotten hung up by example filament left overs from fishermen which might have snapped on your regulator posts behind your head (can easily happen on wreck dives) – well, then you could bring out your mirror and use it like you use your mirror in your car to see what was going on behind your head so that you could fix it or possibly cut the filament and get unhooked. So while I never brought a mirror with me on my dives, I certainly can appreciate bringing redundancy and back up.

Recently, when I went to the Bahamas to support the sea trials of the new Triton submarine, the Triton 3300/3, I got reminded why back up is a great thing as I was unpacking my dive gear getting ready to get in the water to video-film one of the submersions of the submarine and unfolded a completely shattered dive mask.

 

Cause Two Is One And One Is None

 

Fortunately, I usually bring with me at least two dive masks, so I could carry on my diving. Now, I was also among several other divers who each had their gear with them and not everybody was in the water at any one given time, so I could have borrowed a mask had I needed to, but the situation still illustrates the point: The need for Redundancy & Back Up.

A few weeks later and I travelled to Bimini, another part of the Bahamas. Upon arrival with a small airplane we continue by car for a few miles and then jump on a small ferry ride. Upon de-boarding said ferry, just as one foot is still on board and the other is on terra firma, the buckle that keeps the strap on my expensive Canon camera breaks and the camera drops, hits the railing and bounces right off into the water perfectly hitting that small gab between the boat and the land. The camera including my favorite lens sinks to the bottom and gets completely submerged and a few minutes later we could see through the crystal clear water how the last air from inside the camera and lens bubbled out, meaning salt water was now completely in the system.

Fortunately I had brought another identical camera with me as I really wanted to bring home with me some great shots from above and below the water surface of the beautiful scenery that Bimini can offer. I had redundancy. I had back up. Only problem was that I was being completely stupid the following day when I was going to use the dry camera for underwater photography, as I forgot to have in place the all important o-ring of the underwater housing. I had actually not brought with me an o-ring at all as I had grabbed an underwater housing that I haven’t used yet and that I really hadn’t prepped either. So as you can imagine shortly into my dive and after having snapped a few shots, I wanted to check what I had gotten so far. I looked at the housing to view the review pane, but noticed that it was foggy. I turned over the housing to view the large dome and saw this was foggy which did not spell good things. Tipping it upside down, yeah, there is was, loads of water. I had managed to flood my back up camera too!

So Sometimes Even Two Is None!

So my best cameras and my two favorite lenses flooded and an underwater housing with no o-ring. No underwater photos to bring home with me (and yes, we saw great things, from sharks and beautiful fishes and even hand fed stingrays). I did have, believe it or not, a few extra cameras with me on the trip (I’m adamant about getting my photos), so I did get some nice top side photos with me home from the trip. But imagine getting the chance of playing with submarines and exploration vessels and cool dives and great locations and scenery, and then not be able to participate or bring home with you the documentation that you wanted due to mishaps along the way. What a blow. Therefore redundancy and back ups are great. Which bring about the question; “What are you to set yourself up with redundancy and for back up for your business? For your income stream(s)? What if something should happen to you and you were incapable of working? What would your situation look like? What emergency plans do you have in place?

One of my business partners and great friends recently and quite unexpectedly to himself and everybody else, discovered that he had a serious heart condition that needed surgery. Yes, one of those surgeries in which your heart will actually get stopped for a little while and in which they cut your whole chest open including through the breast bone. We never expect situations such as these happen to us (perhaps to someone else, but never to us). But all of a sudden you find yourself there. Or in my case, all of a sudden my good friend was right there in such a predicament. It certainly got us all thinking. What if? How well are we set up? How well have I set myself up? How will my family be catered for in case..?

Perhaps you should ponder the same questions and get squared away with your back up plan. Better safe than sorry.

 

Sunset In Bimini

Sunset In Bimini

Atlantis II

A Note From The Bahamas

I consider myself a very fortunate guy and sometimes this seems to shine through in more vivid colors than I could ever have imagined, revealing to me a true magical life and wondrous experiences.

Recently, I had the great opportunity to go to the Bahamas to aid in the support of the sea trials of the new Triton 3300/3 submarines from Triton Submarines, Inc. Those who know me also know that I one of my big passions is that of scuba diving and you may also know that I work with a South Florida based dive equipment manufacturer called Brownie’s Marine Group. It is via my association with Brownie’s Marine Group that I got the chance to be part of the Triton Submarine event and I might add I have actually be fortunate in participating in such event on several occasions. But let me tell you more about this last time.

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