Yesterday was a great day for sharks and rays.  3 of the hammerheads, some of the mantas, the saw shark, and a few others were put on the endangered list.  CITES – an organization in the protection of sea life, put on their list these animals.  You can go to and see the list and the article.  It can take many years to get animals listed, so this is great news.  Shark finning and the taking of gill rakers on the rays is huge in certain parts of the world.  These animals are taken alive, fins cut off and the animal thrown back into the ocean – yes alive – only to drown.  Please go in and sign the petition so that more of the sharks and rays can get protected.  73,000,000 million sharks are killed each year for just the fins, So lets make a difference, and as Project Aware says “Extinction is not an option”.  We, here at Helena Scuba, with every certification we do, donate $10 and have committed to being 100%Aware.  Please help in the fight to protect them so that our kids, and grandkids and us too get a chance to see these incredible animals.Image

Swimmers Ear solutions.

Seems like there are a lot of people out there that have problems getting water in there ears.  Here is the receipe for making your own drying agent.   This is taken from an article in  Alert Diver (Divers Alert Network).  If you have any questions on diving with some health issues you can call DAN and get information or go to their website, there is a ton of articles talking about almost any health problem you may have.

“Home brew” to prevent ear infection, as many of our members wrote in to share with us. White wine vinegar is 4-6 percent acetic acid, and if it’s mixed with an equal amount of isopropyl alcohol, it would probably work fine. Using undiluted vinegar may make the solution too acidic and cause irritation. Using less alcohol may be wise if you find that the 50:50 mix provides too much drying – this can make your ear canal sore after several days of use.

In principle, just diluting the acetic acid 50:50 with water might work since it appears that the acidic pH is more important than the drying effect of the alcohol. Adding propylene glycol or other moisturizers would seem either to be a waste of time in a home-brew, or it might produce undesirable effects according to Dr. Jones’ observations.

Could lemon juice, which contains citric acid instead of acetic acid, be used instead if vinegar, as some members advised? In principle, if a solution was mixed to a pH of 3.0 it might, but whether other substances in lemon juice might promote bacterial growth I cannot say. For home brew I’d stick to what works – vinegar and isopropyl alcohol.

No matter what solution you use, remember its effectiveness is drastically reduced unless it remains in the ear canal a full five minutes. Another caution: the above solutions are for use in the otherwise normal ear with an intact eardrum. If there is any hint that the eardrum may be torn, do not use these solutions as they may cause damage to middle ear structures. And if any solution causes irritation, stop using it.

(c) July/August 1999 Alert Diver

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Sharks get a bad rap.

You know when I started diving I was like a lot of other people, scared to see a shark, heck I did not get off our boat at the lake because there were just fish in there.  When we went to Roatan the first time, they had a dive that you could go and swim with them.  I signed up and off we went on this adventure that I knew would probably be a bad thing.  We did a roll off the boat (which I did not like either) and the first thing we saw below us was sharks, not just one but many.  We made our way down the descent line and to the front of the coral head.  Of course Glen wanted me in the front and I said no way and went to the back so if that shark was gonna bite anyone, it wasn’t me.  As the sharks came close, they became these incredible animals that I wanted to swim with.  As we were told in our briefing, we would be able to do that, so now I was so excited that the dive was at that part, and we left our safe spot next to the coral head and began our swim with them.  I was completely overtaken with the beauty and strength of these animals that I didn’t know that all the people that were on that dive even existed.  Our time swimming with them was over so we headed back to our spot on the coral head and watched as the gave them some food.  I was completely mesmerized by them and in fact I thought that everyone had left and that I was the only person left and was wondering how I was going to get to the boat, or even back to our hotel.  I forced myself to look to both sides of me only to realize that no one had left, everyone was still there.  I was totally in tune with these incredible animals that I lost all time and place of reality.  When the dive was nearing the end we were allowed to go and look for some shark teeth.  Some of us found some, what a great dive and introduction to sharks.  Since this time, I always look forward to seeing a shark, big or small.  They are always a thrill to see.Image