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Dive bunny
06-02-2008, 10:58
H2O Below Newsletter – April 2008


The H2O Below is INTERNATIONAL…

It has been an interesting start to the year with visitors from around the globe diving the Oriskany. Earlier this year we had a group from the Royal Air Force in England to join us for several days. Last month we had Canada, Russia, Belgium and Italy represented. Next month our friends from Brazil will be back for the fourth time to dive with the H2O Below. It’s great to have all these visitors come see the Oriskany with us.

What about tech divers on the H2O Below?

We gladly welcome tech divers on all of our dive charters!

On regular recreational trips, tech divers that bring one set of doubles and up to one stage tank may conduct one deco dive. Total run times should be limited to approximately 1:45.

Divers wishing to conduct decompression dives must provide the captain with a thorough briefing and printed copy of the dive plan. This ensures that we will be able to accurately communicate specific details of the dive to emergency personnel if it should become necessary. The captain and crew will not be responsible for assisting with or approving any dive plans.

All divers will be required to show a valid certification card, photo ID, and logbook showing appropriate certification and experience in the type of dives that are planned.
For safety reasons, divers should not attempt to enter the ship at any point!

Meet the crew…

The H2O Below family is growing by the day. I wanted to take this chance to introduce a few of our crew members.

Captain Douglas – Owner and Operator of the H2O Below. I bought my first boat when I was 14 years old and have been buying bigger and better boats ever since. My years of working for other people on their boats helped me understand that I needed to own my boat and work for myself. My 30 years of experience as a diver myself has given me a basic business philosophy that I want to treat my customers exactly like I want to be treated when I dive on a charter. Most of the diving I do these days is in the south Caribbean during the off season but I still learn something new about the business with every trip we take.

Dive Master Rich – aka Little Rich – will be with us again this year. Rich has been diving and Spearfishing all his life. When his mother took the bottle out of his mouth, Big Rich (his dad) gave him a regulator to replace it. Rich is a lead Instructor with MBT Dive Shop in Pensacola and shows the patience of a saint with students. Rich’s medical background also gives the boat additional safety muscle when he is on board. Rich has dove inside and outside the Gulf of Mexico and understands what divers need from a dive master.

Dive Master Josh – Also an instructor with MBT, Josh has also been diving for the better part of his young life. Josh instructs full time with the shop and has tons of students who have risen to dive master themselves. Josh’s vast experience diving the wrecks in the Gulf for so many years has given him the ability to read the water and other divers like an expert. His experience adds to every trip that he makes into the water.

Deckhand/DM Candidate – Jerry has recently joined the crew and should be completing his training in May/June. Jerry comes from a law enforcement/loss prevention background and brings a great deal of energy to the crew. Jerry is also a spear fisherman.

The crew of the H2O Below welcomes you on board and hopes that you will give us the chance to make your memories exceptional!

What are we seeing on the Oriskany?
My sometimes deckhand - Donna is trying very hard to learn her fish. This month’s fish is the trumpet fish. Recently on the Oriskany we saw a three foot trumpet fish, which got her to thinking about them. After her research this is what she found…
Habitat – Trumpet fish live in water from a foot to 100 feet deep. They can grow to one or two feet in length. So the three foot Trumpet fish on the Oriskany was a rare find indeed. They are sometimes locally abundant over artificial reefs or in lagoons, where they may be caught even in areas of severe wave action. The spawning habits of the trumpet fish are unknown, but it is known that the females have mature eggs from March to June.
Description – Trumpet fish are closely related to cornet fish. Trumpet fish are generally less than 2 feet (60 cm) long and have greatly elongated bodies with small jaws at the front end of a long, tubular snout. The gills resemble the teeth of a comb, and a soft dorsal fin is found near the tail fin far back on their long thin bodies. A series of spines occurs in front of the dorsal fin much like the spines on a Flintstone Dinosaur. Trumpet fish vary in color from dark brown to greenish but also yellow in some areas. A black streak, sometimes reduced to a dark spot, occurs along the jaw, and a pair of dark spots is sometimes found on the base of the tail fin.
Trumpet fish swim slowly, sneaking up on unsuspecting prey, or lie motionless like a floating stick, swaying back and forth with the wave action of the water. They are adept at camouflaging themselves and often swim in alignment with other larger fishes. They feed almost exclusively on small fish, such as wrasses. They eat everything in sight by strongly drawing water in to the mouth, complete with smaller fish. They still have other hunting method as well. What you may have seen is the ‘parallel’ technique.
When meeting a large fish or turtle, trumpet fish might swim up to the upper part of that animal’s head and swimming in parallel at the same speed without touching any part of the large animal’s body. This is unlike the technique of remora fish – they just swim in parallel. Smaller fishes might not be aware that they are there, and then the trumpet fish swoop down to draw them into his mouth.
The other technique is doing the summersault. Usually this fish does a summersault following any object looking like a stick of wood i.e. sea fan, black coral etc. so as to lure smaller animals to come near him. In emergency situations trumpet fish use the summersault to camouflage as well.
Apart from being beautiful and lovely with unique behavior, the trumpet fish is important to the ecological system because he is a hunter of small animals to keep the balance of population, not different from lion fish, moray eel and other hunters in the reef.
That’s all for now – come see us soon.
How to Contact us…

Email – h2obelow@cox.net (h2obelow@cox.net)
Captain Douglas Cell - (850) 291-3501