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More about S.C.U.B.A. and the underwater scenery of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans...

The Letters S.C.U.B.A. stand for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

Both helmet diving and S.C.U.B.A. diving have certain risks:Diving to a certain depth (what depth is determined by the individuals' constitution, etc.) causes what is referred to as "Rapture of the Deep" , or the law of TEE MARTUNIS (Two Martinis)This was exactly what it sounds like... a Euphoria where one's judgement becomes absent.Although amusing it can prove to be very dangerous in that S.C.U.B.A. diving requires ones mind to be entirely intact (See Below)

A far more dangerous and potentially permanent condition arises from exceeding the specified number of minutes when one dives below a certain depth (usually 40 feet. (?) meters (?))

The deeper one goes, the more "air" (gases) becomes absorbed into the bloodstream (on account of the external pressure).This in itself is not a problem, however when one ascends quickly this absorbed "gas" expands and blocks off the blood supply to certain vital body parts (often the joints). This leads to "strokes" in the affected areas and can prove to be fatal if not crippling.This is referred to as "the Bends".To avoid "the bends" (aside from not diving) one needs to ascend and remain at a certain depth for a predetermined amount of time, and ascend and remain at a shallower depth, etc. (There are tables that specify the rules one should follow)(For this reason one cannot fly in an airplane following a dive...BUT if one flies in a plane before diving, the diving time can be significantly extended.

Near the island of Carriacou, there was a small island with many local divers who did not follow the "rules" of deep sea diving; their livlihood depended upon S.C.U.B.A. and almost all of them had varying forms of "The bends".

Many contemporary diving locales have "decompression chambers" which can treat the "decompression sickness" prior to it becoming permanent.

We swam with

[SharksThe Sharks were quite friendly but some species can be very dangerous. Some can be eaten by people, while others can and do eat people.In some cultures, shark teeth are are used as currency; the teeth may also be symbols of good luck!


We also swam with many Barracudas!Although Barracuda are presumed to be dangerous, the ones that were around the Grenadines were if anything overly "friendly", being VERY curious. They appear fierce on account of their ferocious appearing expression, their protruding jaw, and their sharp, jagged teeth. However, our only concern was that they were attracted to shiny objects, such as S.C.U.B.A. Tanks and would swim along side us! Some were as large as SIX feet (?meters?) long!!!

F.Y.I. Everything appears to be 25% larger when viewed underwater with a mask!

As previously mentioned, there was an incredible variety of fish, coral, and other forms of sea-life:A common genus of fish was the Angelfish

Angelfish are ubiquitous. They can grow up to TWO feet!

They are harmless.Here are some more Angelfish...

The Coral Reef

With a lot of imagination the following image is meant to illustrate some of the components of a coral reef.

The coral reef is described to be the most complex "habitat" of the oceans.Coral reefs have a number of factors that restrict their location:

  • The temperature of the water must be above 18 degrees C;(around 50-70 degrees F.)
  • Coral reefs can only grow at a maximum depth of 100 feet (70 meters).
  • The water must be clear (not murky) to allow for sufficient light; for example if the coral bed is in a murky bay, the depth is very much restricted. (to much less than 100 feet)
  • The water must not only be clear, but also it must be sediment-free; sediment for example mud and sand can clog up the coral polyps.

Coral reefs are formed from a very wide variety of biological life forms. The coral itself is made up of millions of reef building "animals" (related to sea anemones) which secrete massive calcium-like skeletons.One of the reasons for their restriction to shallow and clear water is due to the fact that microscopic plants live within the coral and require the (sun)light for photosynthesis. This provides the coral with oxygen; and the plants receive protection, and elements that the coral secretes for photosynthesis (F.Y.I. This sharing of each others' products is called SYMBIOSIS.)The coral itself is a colony of nocturnal animals that live as polyps. They emerge from their skeleton at night to eat (the small plankton)

The number of species in a certain locale depends upon the ocean; for example, there are more than 700 species of coral in the Indo-Pacific areas, and only 35 species in the Atlantic ocean. The longest, largest and most "vivacious" reefs occur around the Equator; for example the Great Barrier Reef of Australia which runs over 1000 miles from New Guinea to Queensland!(This is also the home of the "Great White Shark"!)

The coral reefs come in one of 3 possible forms:

  1. The Fringing reef is a short distance from the shore and is separated from the seashore by Shallow water.
  2. The Barrier Reef is a farther distance from the shore, and is separated from the shore by much more sea-water (often one needs to take a boat to this type of reef).
  3. The Atoll is a "ring" of coral surrounding a body of water. (Usually the Atoll represents the fringes of a former volcanoe!-[I have to make sure of this])

Entire Books have been written on the subject of the coral reef so I will not do so...:-) Briefly Coral may be hard or soft; may sting or cause trauma due to their sharp calcium carbonate skeletons; some can grow up to 1-2 inches a year (2-5 cm).

The reef may include sponges, sea anemones, starfish (1 in particular [The Crown of Thorns] is causing a lot of harm to the corals making up the Great Barrier Reef), a large variety of fish (some friend, some foe) shellfish (again some are predators, others not), Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers (which eat the dead coral skeletons) and so on...

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