Mike's Dive & Photo Newsletter - Issue No. 2

Mike's Dive & Photo Newsletter
Issue No. 2: Jan. 16, 2012; Vol. 1

Hello <<First Name>>, 
          For the last month or so I have been cleaning out my hard drives and discovering images I didn't know I had or ones that were meant for the trash. Luckily the latter didn't occur because some of these shots were definitely 'keepers', such as the one at the head of this newsletter as well as the ones at the footer. Let's just call them the 'lost & found photos'.  Photography doesn't end at the click of a shutter; it's just the beginning. My filing system has evolved over the years since I first started shooting, but like everything we do in life there is always room for improvement.
          The winner of a free photographic fine art print for signing up for this newsletter has been chosen and the winner's name will be announced as soon as the individual contacts me via email.  If I do not hear from this person within 48 hours I will select a new winner. 
          In this issue, I have some great links to stories I have discovered in the world of diving and marine conservation that are of interest to me. From the accidental discovery of a US plane to a quarter of a million dollar tuna, I hope you feel the same and enjoy the reads.
          My latest Dive Blog Report has been posted with the first story in a series on my top ten most memorable dive experiences. Coming in at no. 10 is the wreck of the USS Perry located in Palau at a depth of 260'. In 2004, I had the privilege of diving this US destroyer, which was present at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and shot down between one and four attacking Japanese planes. Learn how she sunk and why it is such an incredible historical dive. Also within this Blog Report is a Photo Tip of the Week on the proper way to use lanyards while diving.
          Don't forget, I will be presenting and conducting a workshop at Beneath the Sea. Please see below for details.
          I just found out yesterday that Dr. Sylvia Earl will be presenting on the sustainability of our seas at the Duke University Marine Lab right here in Morehead City on Tuesday. I will be sure to report on this presentation in the near future. I'm sure the legendary Sylvia Earl will have some insightful things to say.
          Eventually, I will be brushing the dust off of my dive gear and photo equipment and getting back on the water where I belong. Until the winter winds die down, I will be content on writing and working on projects from home and living vicariously through those who are in located in warmer climates. If you have an adventure or  story you would like to share please email me or find me at Facebook or Twitter at the links below.
Happy diving,

Mike Gerken


            •A few days ago, I just posted my second story on the dive chat site, on the wreck of the Japanese WWII destroyer, the Fumitsuki. The Fumitsuki is a rare intact warship with many interesting facets and is my personal favorite dive in Truk Lagoon. This is the first, in what I hope will be a series of stories for Scubaboard on The Wrecks of Truk Lagoon. If you enjoy wreck diving and history you may enjoy these stories.

          •Please read my previous newsletter for a recap on other writing projects I'm involved with.

    Shark News
           •In my last Dive Blog Report, I wrote about famed artist, fisherman and conservationist, Guy Harvey and the 'no-kill' shark tournament he helped found in Florida called, The Ultimate Shark Challenge. I have since become aware of an offspring of this tournament in Maryland titled, The Ocean City Shark Tournament. Let's hope this is a trend in the right direction.  Read more here.
           •Many of you may have already seen this incredible video from Hawaii of a Great White Shark circling the boat of some fisherman who just caught a 2-300lb marlin. The shark was in search of this fish it would seem. If you haven't seen it check it out. These sharks are incredible. Beware, there is foul language.  Watch video here.
           •Here is another wonderfully produced video on You Tube produced by Ocean Encounters that depicts free divers diving with a great white shark without any protection. If you thought great whites or even any sharks were dangerous to humans watch this video and maybe you will re-evaluate your opinion. Watch video here.
           •Shark fins for shark fin soup are being fished and traded right in the Caribbean nations of Trinidad and Tobago. Read more here.
           •Rosie O'Donnell is not scoring many points these days with shark conservationists. See this story and find out why. I knew there was a reason I didn't like her. Read more here.
           •Here is some great news for sharks. Singapore markets are removing shark fins from there stores. This is a very profitable industry and for a business to voluntarily remove a product that is producing a profit says a lot about the attention that shark fining is getting. Read more here.
           •Read about the shark sanctuary that is proposed for Semporna, Malaysia and how you can sign a petition to help the cause. Read more here. 
           Orcas vs Sharks. Sharks are not the only apex predators in the ocean. Check this read out on Orcas; courtesy of RTSea Blog. Read more here.
           •Due to political and social uprisings in Egypt and the instability it has created, sharks are being illegally slaughtered wholesale in the Red Sea; one of the worlds most dived locations. Sometimes democracy comes at a price. Read more here.

   Dive News

           •You can say a lot about the negative aspects of a communist socialist government in Cuba, but according to 60 Minutes you can't say they aren't doing a good job conserving and protecting their reef systems. This report indicates healthy marine ecosystems in Cuba. But, what would happen if Cuba were to open up to US and tourism? Would the reefs hold up? Read more here.
           •While diving, Randy Jordan, of Emerald Divers in Jupiter, Florida, recently discovered a WWII era US Helldiver plane by following fish to the wreck.  I used to use this technique for tying off the dive boat to the wreck when the captain would drop me in the sand in low viz. Just follow the fish and there she would be. Read more here.  Later the mystery was solved as to how this plane got there. Link: Mystery solved.
           •Here is a great tid-bit on a sea turtle rescue in Virginia, however, it's not really dive related...or is it?. Read more here.
            •How do sea turtles navigate? Another interesting piece. Read more here.
            •Here are a few stories I found on Wreck Diving Magazines Facebook page. A WWII British sub discovered in the Med. Read more here. Also, the Confederate Civil War sub, the Hunley has been revealed. Read more here. 

    Marine Conservation News
          •How much would you pay for a piece of Sushi? How about $96.00 a slice? The world's most expensive blue fin tuna caught off Japan fetched nearly $750,000USD recently. That's three quarters of a million smackeroos for a FISH! How long will the blue fin last with a bounty on their head this great? Read more here & watch video here.
          •Read more about the Tuna Wars on the east coast of the US. The season was extended to the likes of some and to the dismay of others. Read more here.

          •Say it ain't so! One of the worlds most cherished marine creatures are finding it's way on to dinner plates more and more. Dolphins and many other whale species are targeted as ocean protein dwindles. Read more here.
          • Speaking of dolphins...have you seen the documentary film, The Cove.  If you love dolphins, then this is a must see movie even though it is very disturbing. Japanese fisherman slaughter to to the tune of 20,000 dolphins per year and sell it as whale meat to the children's school lunch programs. The kicker is the meat is heavily laden with Mercury.  Many more dolphins are shipped to dolphin shows around the world to entertain people with stupid animal tricks for a meal. This slaughter and trade is still very much going on. This film focuses on the tiny town of Taiji, Japan where the slaughter is presently going on full speed. Read more here.

          •Japan continues illegal whale hunt in southern seas. The government has committed 30 million dollars of tsunami relief funds to subside the failing whale industry. Even the Japanese media says the whale hunts are no longer central to Japanese way of life. Read more here.  Sea Shepard has vowed to stop the whalers with here own hi-tech gear. So the War continues.  Good luck Sea Shepard! Read more here

Beneath the Sea Dive Expo
          Here is a re-post from the last newsletter:
          I will be conducting an underwater photography workshop titled, "Wreck Photography Techniques: Wide Angle to Macro", at the annual Beneath the Sea (BTS) dive expo
located in Secaucus NJ.  Click this link for pricing and additional information. If your interested in taking the course you can sign up for the workshop here.
           In addition, I will also be conducting two presentations at Beneath the Sea. The first on the new documentary film I released in early 2011 titled, The Wrecks of Truk LagoonThe p
roject was a labor of love that spanned over six years. I will be discussing my time in Truk from 2003-2008 and how I came to make the film as well as showing video highlights from it. If you have ever wanted to go to Truk or have been there already, come by and check out this presentation. 
          The second presentation will be on North Carolina diving with most of the focus on the sand tiger sharks that are prevalent there. I will be showing still images as well as video shorts from the amazing 2011 dive season at Olympus Dive Center and discussing shark and marine conservation and the plight of sharks in the world today.
           The seminar schedule has yet to be released. Once I know it, I will post it in my next newsletter or you can frequent BTS's web site. If you see me at the show in March, please come by and say hello if, I don't see you first.

For more about Mike, please visit his web site,
and peruse through the many photo and video galleries or click on About Mike.


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