Monthly Archives: June 2010

DIVING-DISTRACTION-DIRECTION

Amy Winehouse has taken up scuba diving and is enjoying her new hobby with Bryan Adams, according to reports. The embattled diva looks to have escaped the full glare of the media with her new aquatic hobby, holidaying off the island of Mustique.

She is said to be staying as the Canadian rocker’s holiday home and has found “the beauty of nature” a great distraction to her very public problems.

Speaking to a UK tabloid, Amy explained: “I’ve learned to appreciate simple things, like the beauty of nature. It’s taught me to face my fears.

“It’s a different world down there. I can look at things in a new way. I’ve come to the realisation that life is short, so I want to make sure I live every minute of it.”

Winehouse’s husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, is currently on remand in Pentonville Prison, awaiting trial on allegations which include perverting the course of justice

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OIL SPILL IN CAIRO

CAIRO — Environmental activists said Monday that an oil spill off the coast of Egypt’s Red Sea is continuing even after the government said it had been contained, leaving turtles and sea birds covered in oil.

Government spokesman Magdy Rady told the state news agency Monday that the spill, which began last week, was “limited” and has now largely been contained. It was one of the first government acknowledgments that the spill was even taking place.

An environmental group based in the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada told the Associated Press that the government was trying to cover up the extent of the damage and the leak had restarted.

“Just today I received news that the oil had started leaking again this afternoon after it had stopped Thursday,” said Ahmed el-Droubi, a biologist with the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association.

Founded by divers in 1992, HEPCA has been sounding the alarm about the spill, which it says has damaged environmentally sensitive areas.

“The northern islands protected area is very heavily impacted,” said el-Droubi. “This area is very important because it is the last pristine spot, there is a lot of sea life there that will be harmed … there are dead birds and dead sea turtles scattered across the island covered in oil.”

Oil company officials in the port city of Suez said the spill was caused by a leak from an offshore oil platform in Jebel al-Zayt north of Hurghada and has polluted about 100 miles (160 kilometers) of coastline including tourist beach resorts. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Hurghada is one of Egypt’s top tourist destinations and was once major diving site with extensive coral reefs, though over the past decades extensive development has caused some deterioration.

The government kept quiet about the leak for days. The silence could be a sign of concern that it might scare away tourists — a vital source of income for Egypt.

Mahmoud Ismail, the head of the environmental crisis department, said the impact on most of the beaches has been minimal and the clean up would be done in a few days, though he admitted the situation was worse on the islands.

“The hardest work will be cleaning up the coral and Tawila Island, the beaches will be cleaned up in a few days,” he said, adding that he had few complaints from local hotels

KILLER WHALES

There are three forms of killer whale: residents who eat fish; transients who eat mammals; and offshores about who little is known. These three types never associate with each other. Scientists have established that residents and transients are genetically distinct and it looks like these two populations of killer whales are on their way to becoming separate species.

Orcas live in all oceans, from the poles to the topics. They have a highly developed social structure and hunt as packs. This, together with their speed and size, means they can hunt even the largestanimals.

Resident orcas are very fussy about the fish they prefer. They take this to an extreme: if their chosen fish species disappear they find it difficult to adapt and choose a new prey. This can even lead to the death of a whale.

The collective name for a group of whales is a pod. Resident killer whales fish in large pods. Transient pods are much smaller, often with only 5 or 6 members, which is more suited for hunting warm-blooded prey. They are also much less vocal: using stealth to surprise their victims.

Resident killer whales have been known to dive to 264 m. Less is known about the diving behaviour of transients but they are thought to stay much shallower.

The killer whale is a toothed whale in the family Delphinidae which comprises the oceanic dolphins, making the killer whale in fact a very large dolphin.

As with other oceanic dolphins, killer whales hear sounds through the lower jaw and other portions of the head, which transmit the sound signals to the middle and inner ears. Killer whale hearing is the one of the most sensitive of any toothed whale.

Female killer whales start having young when they are between 10 and 17 years old. They continue to do so at intervals until they are around 40. Like humans they can live for 90 years or more. Males are shorter lived, estimated at 50-60 years.

FEAR STREET

The most common fear that my first -time divers have, is that they will be attacked by sharks underwater. It’s absolutely no surprise that this fear stems from Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster “Jaws”! On the 35th anniversary of the film, the award winning film maker apologized to viewers for misrepresenting the intent of sharks, as beach-goers round the world are still paranoid about being attacked!

Gianrico Mureddu, Course Director at the Andaman Diving Academy clarified that sharks are quite peaceful and only attack when provoked, which is why they never attack peaceful divers.

Most divers explore the ocean in the hope of getting a glimpse of these beautiful creatures!

DRAMA QUEENS!

Catherine Zeta-Jones refuses to join her husband Michael Douglas on scuba-diving trips – because she’s terrified of what could be lurking under the sea.

The Hollywood couple and their two children lived in tropical Bermuda for many years but recently relocated to New York so the Welsh actress could star in Broadway show A Little Night Music.

Douglas is a certified scuba-diver after spending so much time in the ocean around the paradise island – but his wife has never joined him on a trip. She tells Britain’s OK! magazine, “Michael just got re-certified as a scuba diver which is really brave. Not me! He’s been begging me for ages to try it but I just know if I see anything I don’t like, that mouthpiece is coming out, I’m going up quick. I’m going to get the bends, sick for the rest of my life.” (CL/DSD/LR)

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