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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Microscopic slow motion jellyfish stings

Have you ever been stung by a jellyfish and wondered to yourself how some things so small and non descript could possibly hurt so much?

A new video posted by SmarterEveryDay explains how jellyfishes’ tentacles are equipped with organelles called nematocysts that extend whenever they come into contact with something else and inject venom directly into it.

To give us a demonstration of this, there's amazing microscopic slow-motion footage of jellyfish tentacles that get stimulated with electricity a 9-volt battery. Once the tentacles get touched, we can see tiny little prickers protrude from them that would injected venom into your hand if you touched them yourself.

And this explains why jellyfish stings hurt so incredibly much: They’re basically a bunch of tiny microscopic knives that are stabbing you all at once and flooding your body with a painful chemical. Watch the amazing video below.

Link: HERE

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Banana Splits

So it was nice to get back in the water with some nice viz and good diving, especially after the last few weekends where it's been a bit hit and miss.

The lovely people at Tortuga Divers once again provided the transportation to the dive sites where we had the delightful company of Catain Nige, Little Jon and Linda the Swedish Assassin. Conditions were relatively good at the surface with a 9-11 knot Easterly with a minor swell.

We motored out round the corner to the North side and jumped in on Split Rock for the first dive, where Jon was right at the front and was immediately checked out by and eagle ray close enough to give him a quick snog! As we were tail end charlies, some shots were out of the question given the distance, but hey, next time.

This dive site is particularly scenic with an abundance of rope and barrel sponges as well as a nice selection of hard corals, sea fans and whips. Mix this in with a proliferation of horse eye jacks, fusiliers, triggerfish and epic barracudas out for a Sunday cruise and you've got the makings of a top dive site.

It goes without saying that air and NDL should be monitored frequently here as you can easily blow out your bottom time and be restricted on the second dive. That aside, as always it's worth checking out in the blue for the bigger stuff, especially the sharks, but just not today unfortunately.

There was a slight current on the site but nothing to right home about. We spent some quality time at depth before shallowing up and running over the top of the wall back to the boat and some interesting variations of safety stops from some of the other divers due to lack of weight. The only thing I can say to that is futz blöd. It's the little things that keep me amused......

After a cookie stop at the surface, we headed on over to Fish Tank which was a new one for me. Lots of little nooks and crannies to get stuck into and see whats what with this site so you need to take it real slow or you'll miss the good stuff.

We spent a good long while mooching around in the shallows over the hard pan to see what we could find. We started off finding some lovely little blennies and gobies which are always one of favourite things to shoot as they are so photogenic.

And of course it wouldn't be a dive without  finding a nudibranch somwhere along the line, in this case it was a nice big elysia cryspata sitting on a coral head ready for a macro shot.

And to round things off, we have a little flamingo tongue cowrie action?

Remember kids, if you want to experience some of the best diving in the world, just give the folks at Tortuga Divers a call on +1 (345) 947-2097 or visit their website at

Home again

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Shark Week Debunked

Exactly. This. Shark Week used to be exciting, educational and informative, now it's all just sensationalism and does little to help the plight of sharks who are still being slaughtered to the edge of extinction. Way to go Discovery channel, keeping it real as always........

Link: HERE

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Ghost of the ocean

Though jellyfish tend to be the weirdest things, and thus one of the most fascinating, creatures in the ocean they’re also some of the most dangerous. From stepping on jellies that washed up on a shore to getting tangled in their tentacles while you relax in the water, if you frequently visit beaches, you likely have some close encounters with these goops of pain. Luckily, though, the most terrifying of the bunch are generally floating farther away than you’re likely to swim — such as a newly discovered, extremely venomous jelly that is baffling scientists because it doesn’t have any noticeable tentacles.

Discovered off the coast of where most monsters live in this world, Australia, the Keesingia gigas jellyfish was discovered by Lisa-ann Gershwin, of the Marine Stringer Advisory Services. The Keesingia is of a species of jelly, the Irukandji, that is usually as a small as a fingernail. The Keesingia is about the length of an arm, and scientists believe it can cause Irukandji syndrome, which can cause cardiac arrest within 20 minutes and kills its victim if not immediately treated.

The Keesingia was first photographed back in 1980, and the first live specimen was caught just last year, by its namesake John Keesing. As far as scientists can tell, though, the Keesingia gigas doesn’t have any tentacles — something all jellyfish have in order to catch food. The tentacles of a jellyfish contain a concentration of its stinging cells, which is how it attacks prey and unlucky beach-goers. Strangely, though, scientists working with the jelly have been stung by it despite its apparent lack of tentacles, and have even contracted Irukandji syndrome.

Despite the lack of visible tentacles, scientists feel that the Keesingia does have them. The running theory is that, thanks to random chance, the jellies that were photographed and captured over the years simply lost them for one reason or another. Whatever the actual explanation, Gershwin feels it’ll be “fairly tame.”

The Keesingia are found all over the world, so if you’re afraid of giant, venomous jellyfish that can give you Irukandji syndrome, just try be aware of your surroundings, and don’t swim into a giant pack of jellyfish for fun.

 Link: HERE

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Witches Promise

Diving proved to be a little, dare I say it, disappointing as we headed South and ran in to strong currents. After three mooring attempts at various sites, a drift dive was elected as our preferred method of getting wet.

In this instance, as the first person has to ascend, so does everyone else. So 25 minutes later with less than than 50 bar used we were at the surface and barely a shot was taken. The second dive proved to be just as "interesting" , again with strong currents, surge and poor viz (poor for this island, it's all relative. In Scotland it would be world class viz!).

Some days you win, some days you lose so please enjoy the few shots I did manage to salvage from the weekend. Remember, there's always another day for a dive.....