Archive for the ‘Water’ Category

Two men in their 40s have died after an incident involving a group of divers off the coast of Eastbourne, police say

A satellite image of the English Channel at the Straits of Dover

A file satellite image of the English Channel at the Straits of Dover Photo: GETTY

Coastguards said the two men got into difficulty several miles off the coast of Eastbourne on Saturday afternoon.

A major water rescue was launched at around 1pm and the divers were hoisted from the water by helicopter.

Police later confirmed the two men, both in their 40s and from outside Sussex, were pronounced dead at Eastbourne District General Hospital.

DCI Mark Ling said: “Tragically two divers have died after getting into difficulty while diving in the Channel. We are informing their families and will be conducting an investigation into the circumstances.”

A spokesman for the Coastguard Maritime Agency described the incident as “very serious”.

A Coastguard rescue helicopter and the Trinity House vessel Patricia went to the scene, several miles off the coast of Eastbourne, East Sussex.

A spokesman for the Coastguard said: “Dover Coastguard has been assisting a dive boat this afternoon after two of its divers experienced difficulties during a dive mid channel, south of Eastbourne.

“Both divers have been evacuated from the dive vessel by Coastguard helicopter, with the assistance of the Trinity House Vessel, ‘Patricia’ and have been taken to Eastbourne Hospital.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said that the force was aware of the incident and that officers had been sent to Eastbourne to meet the dive boat on its return from the scene.

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Riders Catch a Fire-Hose Wave: Straight Up

Posted: June 20, 2014 by kirisyko in SykOtic, Water

The idea of using pressurized water as a kind of lo-tech jetpack has been around for a while, but this takes matters in another direction entirely.

The French extreme sports company Zapata Racing is officially unveiling its latest bananas concept, the Hoverboard, which essentially combines the elegance and grace of the surfboard with the raw power of the fire hose.

Jetpack Awarded Flight Permit, About To Take Off

It works like this: The Hoverboard is attached to a PWC (personal water craft — think Jet Ski) by way of an 60-foot hose and nozzle unit. Water scooped up by the PWC is pressurized and sent through the hose and nozzle, providing water propulsion for the board.

lot of water propulsion — the device allows riders to literally fly through the air, up to 16 feet vertically at speeds of upwards of 15 mph. The statistics don’t really do it justice, check out the video below to appreciate the madness.

The throttle is adjusted by the rider via a handheld controller. An optional control scheme even removes the need for a second person on the boat — riders can steer the PWC from the Hoverboard.

Drones, Jetpacks Take Stage At Futuristic Festival

Zapata Racing has been using the Hoverboard recently in extreme sports shows, and is now making the unit available for sale. Expect to pay around $6,000 if you’re interested, and you’ll need your own PWC. Training is also highly recommended, and Zapata offers that, too — though you’ll have to head out to Europe or French Polynesia.

You can get the full brochure online. I note here that all parts come with a one-year warranty. If you survive, presumably. So that’s nice.


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Don your flippers and take a deep breath for here is a ranking of the best places to dive in the Middle East. (Shutterstock)

Whether you are a Scuba diving fanatic in the midst of a bullion escapade or an avid coral reef explorer, read on for a bite sized list of the most colorful places to enjoy the sea in the Middle East.

Scuba Diving is considered the apotheosis of leisure activities for expats living in the Middle Eastern region – sun, sand and sea all merge into one in an enjoyable day out for the more adventurous among us.

Seeing as summer is right around the corner, it is high time to book a sea-faring holiday to experience the joys of snorkeling with stingrays, wreck diving and skimming caverns for, believe it or not, treasure.

Organizing a scuba-diving holiday can be daunting, where do you go? Can you trust the advertising campaigns promising you a bursting coral reef packed with wildlife? Or, are you more likely to find a polluted swamp when you arrive?

Fear not, don your flippers and take a deep breath for here is a ranking of the best places to dive in the Middle East.

El-Gouna, Egypt

It’s one of the many getaways you are likely find in the beautiful Red Sea district.

Situated north of Hurghada – another radiant city on the red seaside, “The Lagoon” is a renowned diving spot for all those who pursue its glory with a moniker “Ship Graveyard.” Its reef is home to a World War Two British navy ship, SS Thistlegorm, which was destroyed by two German bombers.

Visitors are privy to a number of ferry rides to and from the prime scene. Contrary to known hubs like Sharm el-Sheikh, it’s warm in the winter, mildly hot in summer and espouses environmental sustainability practices to conserve marine life.

There’s plenty of huts and bungalows to stay in once you arrive, so you can nonchalantly tick off “swinging on a banana hammock.” If you’re keen on exploring a diverse number of tropical species, then you’re in the right place.

Al-Sawadi, Oman

Ennobled as the crown jewel of diving in the Gulf, Al-Sawadi is the epitome of magnificent natural reserves in the Daymaniyat Islands.

Pristine water conditions and abundant marine life make Oman the perfect go-to setting for enthusiasts from all over the world. You’ll get to swim with Whale Sharks, Hawksbill turtles and tangerine colored seahorses – breathtaking.

You can also try out night diving, which is delightfull, especially if you share an unfettered love of the ocean and its habitats. The good thing is the water temperature tends to fluctuate up to thirty degrees Celsius in the summer. You also have a choice of camping outdoor on the beach or staying in a comfortable hotel – like the al-Sawadi Beach Resort. The coast line is situated about an hour away from Muscat, so make sure your booking has a minimum of two days to fully enjoy a relaxed swim.

Fethiye, Turkey

Aside from sampling their delicious kebabs and dolma, you will get to marvel at the sparkling array of colorful sponges, corals and hidden caves which are home to octopuses. The water is crystal-clear and doesn’t swoosh aggressively as there’s barely any current.

A lot of people tend to visit Afkule Wall, home to the Moray eels, which is full of rare and interesting marine species. One of the most underrated spots on the list, the government does not extoll the virtues of Fethiye as much as it deserves.

Nonetheless, the outskirts boast a three mile radius packed with motels. It’s very hot and dry during summer season with averages up to 34 degrees Celsius, but the ethereal city is worth the beads of sweat. At the end of the day, amateur or pro, this ancient city will unravel the Jacques Cousteau in you.
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Distant Glow

Posted: May 30, 2014 by kirisyko in Kayaking, Water

nature has no boss

Distant Glow

While it was getting dark and a wee bit chilly at our campsite near the Rasmussen glacier, the sun was still shining brightly on the Karle glacier around the corner casting an orange glow in the distance that warmed my chilly bones. Photographed while kayaking in East Greenland last summer.

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iol travel may 29 spain

Since the 1980s, the government of Catalonia has worked to preserve the islands’ natural habitat. Picture: ST33VO,

L’Estartit, Spain – There are few sensations more disagreeable than donning a black neoprene wet suit as the summer sun beats down upon you. I was reminded of this on a scorching August afternoon as I struggled to stretch a suit over my sunscreen-slicked skin.

What made this instance particularly unpleasant was that the rented wet suit was wet, saturated with seawater and sweat (and who knows what else) from a prior user.

I was on a boat off the shore of the Spanish coastal town L’Estartit, heading in the direction of the Illes Medes, a series of rocky islands that rise dramatically from the Mediterranean Sea off northeastern Spain’s Costa Brava. Along with 30 or so other scuba divers, I was taking part in an excursion to the waters around this archipelago and, in spite of the annoyance of my wet suit, I could barely contain my excitement. Up to that point in my nascent scuba career, I’d only dived in fresh water, which has none of the colourful coral and diverse marine life that you find in so many ocean scuba sites.

In my heightened state of anticipation, I assembled my scuba gear backwards. Luckily, a helpful — and clearly more experienced — diver named David saw me struggling with my rig and offered to help me sort out which hoses connected to which valves. He corrected my mistakes in a matter of minutes, after which we struck up a conversation to pass the time before we reached our dive site. David spoke broken English with a heavy Dutch accent, but he managed to tell me that he typically goes diving at least 40 times a year, a rather astounding figure when you consider how much gear and effort scuba diving requires. He had been diving all over Europe but especially loved coming to the Spanish coast, he said.

I wasn’t surprised. Although sunbathing on rocky beaches and consuming fresh paella and cold wine at seaside restaurants are the typical activities associated with Spain’s Costa Brava, the section of coastline stretching from the resort town of Blanes all the way to the French border, a thriving scuba culture exists here.

Its popularity can be traced to the postwar era, when tourists from continental Europe and elsewhere began flocking to the region for its pristine beaches and found that the underwater flora and fauna made for good diving.

The waters around the Illes Medes are considered by many to be the Costa Brava’s preeminent dive site. Since the 1980s, the government of Catalonia has worked to preserve the islands’ natural habitat. Partly as a result of these conservation efforts, this stretch of coast has escaped the crass overdevelopment that blights so much of the Iberian Peninsula, while the Illes Medes have become a bona fide marine reserve, attracting scuba divers from all over Europe and beyond.

The chance to dive at the Illes Medes is what had brought me to L’Estartit, a coastal town with a large boat-filled harbour and a handful of dive shops scattered along the main drag downtown. I’d only been scuba diving once before this trip, and as I stood on a wooden dock and gazed out at the beckoning Mediterranean waters, I couldn’t help thinking about those rare yet alarming stories in which some vacationer goes diving in an exotic location only to be mistakenly left at sea.

I’d failed to persuade my wife to join me — she’d opted for a day at the spa — and so by embarking on this excursion I would be breaking the first rule of scuba diving: Always dive with a buddy. In spite of the nervousness that tends to precede any first-time experience, I knew that there was no turning back.

Our dive site was next to Meda Xica, one of the larger of the Illes Medes. As the boat came to a stop, we divers formed two single files on each side of the boat and hopped into the water two at a time before pairing off into groups ranging from four to 10 people. The ship’s first mate led my group; he had apparently been tasked with supervising the novice divers like me and several friendly Germans.

On the count of three, we submerged to a depth of 25 feet, where I came face to face with an underwater landscape of multicolored coral swaying back and forth to the unknowable rhythm of the ocean’s ebbs and flows. The Costa Brava, which gets its nickname of “wild” or “rugged” coast from the tree-covered mountains that hug the shores, is home to some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in Europe.

The underwater topography at the Illes Medes is no less spectacular. Marked by dramatic cliffs and coral mazes, it offers no shortage of objects to behold.

Paddling past one stretch of rocks, I extended my hand and touched a piece of white gorgonian, a coral best described as a group of faintly connected white tentacles. Patches of it speckled the rocks. The piece I touched felt like an oversized grain of al dente rice. I ran my hand along another part of the coral-covered rock and felt the texture of a worn-out Brillo pad. A blue fish the length of my arm swam lazily by, not at all fazed by the group of bubble-emitting humans floating about its habitat.

I continued to swim along as our dive leader occasionally used an underwater flashlight to point out a particularly bright patch of coral or a fish. At one point, he shone his light on what looked like a rock. I stared blankly at it until it started blinking back at me. Fooled by this particular fish’s camouflage trick, I continued paddling about, looking for the elusive red coral, a beautiful species valued by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any, so I contented myself with observing the various species of fish, some quite large, others much smaller, swimming all around me, and the countless starfish dotting the rocks.

The joy of scuba diving comes from the way life slows down once you get a few feet below the waves. The constant noise of busy, trapped modern life disappears, replaced by an all-encompassing quiet. This is why scuba diving is sometimes referred to as the “lazy man’s sport” — because the object, unlike in other physical pastimes, is not to exert yourself, but to stay calm, move slowly, and observe the environment around you, principles I tried to remember as adrenaline coursed through my body.

After 45 minutes of paddling back and forth, it was time to head back to the ship. As our group resurfaced, the captain greeted us in a little red dinghy that he used to pick up divers and ferry them back to the main boat. While floating in the dense Mediterranean saltwater, I removed my dive mask and turned it around, so that the strap ran across my forehead and the enclosed part hugged the back of my head, where it wouldn’t impede my breathing or vision. It was a trick I’d learned from the instructor who’d administered my certification course several months earlier.

As I climbed into the dinghy, mask on backwards, the captain looked at me and asked, “Where did you learn that Navy SEALs technique?”

“Excuse me?” I replied.

“Navy SEALs put their masks on backwards when they resurface,” he said. “It’s silly and dangerous. The only place a mask should go is where it’s designed to be. And I should know, since I train the British Special Forces.”

His tone of voice suggested that he didn’t take this matter lightly, and I had to suppress a smile. Although scuba diving is not an inherently competitive activity, its devotees, like those of many extreme sports, approach it with a strange and intense form of ownership. They display extreme attention to detail, and disagreements over even the slightest nuances often turn into contests of one-upmanship.

But the chastising didn’t dampen my mood. The Illes Medes had delivered a scuba experience that was relaxing, intriguing and breathtaking (in a metaphorical sense). Now I was ready to return to shore and enjoy some of that renowned Spanish paella. – The Washington Post

If You Go…


Hotel Bell Aire

Calle Església, 39


Affordable and centrally located. Guests can walk to the harbour and downtown commercial district. Double rooms from $41 (about R400) per person with breakfast.

Hotel Medes II

Carrer de Guillem de Montgrí, 38


Centrally located hotel with pool and restaurant serving modern Mediterranean cuisine based on local products. Rooms from $90.


Restaurant Robert

Passeig Marítim, 59


Quaint restaurant with outdoor seating in the summer. Entrees start at $11.

Restaurant Les Salines

Passeig Molinet, 5


Seaside restaurant with dining area overlooking the beach. Mediterranean menu heavy on seafood. Entrees start at $14.


Calypso Diving

Carrer de la Cala Pedrosa, 1


Two-and-a-half-hour scuba excursions begin at $37 per person. Rent a suit, jacket, regulator, mask and fins for $21. To inquire about special group rates, e-mail


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Austin Denman competed in the 2013 U23 World Championships for K2 200m in Welland, ON.

Austin Denman competed in the 2013 U23 World Championships for K2 200m in Welland, ON. (Canadian Sport Centre)

A kayaker from Dartmouth was suspended by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport for an anti-doping rule violation.

Austin Denman, who has competed in world and international championships in kayaking, received a two-month sanction rendering him ineligible from competitions between Dec. 16 and Feb. 16.

Denman’s urine sample, collected during out-of-competition doping control on July 19, 2013, revealed the presence of terbutaline,  a prohibited beta-2 agonist. It’s a class of drug that causes muscle relaxation and is primarily used to treat asthma and other pulmonary disorders.

In response to the centre’s notification of the finding, Denman exercised his right to a hearing under the rules of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program in London, Ont.

The arbitrator Richard McLaren found that Denman, who suffers from asthma, did not intend to use terbutaline to enhance athletic performance.

Denman, who was in a period of doping control, had been required to apply for a clearance for the drug, which he failed to do before his April 25 deadline. Denman said in the hearing he simply forgot to apply for it.

He also forgot failed to declare his use of the inhaler on his Doping Control Form.

By the time of the hearing, his ‘Therapeutic Use Exemption’ had been granted.

​Denman had also participated in standard anti-doping education and training in spring of 2013.

“To find that he is not at fault at all could in my mind have a detrimental impact on the fight against doping in sport,” saidMcLaren in the decision.

The CCES is an independent, national, not-for profit organization with a responsibility to administer the Canadian Anti-Doping Program.

Under the CADP rules, the CCES announces publicly every anti-doping rule violation.

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A dive into the windsurfer: don't try this at your home spot

A diver has nearly lost his life after jumping off a cliff in front of a passing windsurfer.

Now, here’s a lesson to all watermen. Please, don’t try this at your home spot, even if you know the place like the back of your hands.

A cliff diver has plunged into the water as a windsurfer was sailing by near a rocky bluff. The dangerous stunt could’ve ended up in tragedy for both water sportsmen.

It’s not clear whether the people up in the cliff knew that a windsurfer was approaching the diving site, but the truth is that the man landed only a couple of meters away in front of the board and sail.

The diver jumped from a 45-foot cliff, somewhere in the Caribbean.

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Kayaking Northern Patagonia

Posted: May 27, 2014 by kirisyko in Kayaking, Water
Tags: , ,
acuatico agua de los andes deporte kayak kayaking lacar lacustre lago lake laprida patagonia remando remo row san martin sma sport Viewfinder OutsideOnline

Kayaking in Lago Lácar near San Martin de los Andes, Argentina     Photo: Isaias Miciu Nicolaevici

The small town of San Martin de los Andes sits on the shores of Lago Lácar in northern Patagonia. The lake stretches more than 20 miles and is a popular spot for overnight kayaking missions by local Argentines and tourists alike.

To get this shot, I followed one of these expeditions with a drone. In a region famous for wind, it’s always nice to be able to fly my drone.

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 mpano Dive Center’s SEA PUP dive boat returns to dock with Martin Stepanek and his group of free divers. (Myriam Moran copyright 2014)
It is illegal in most of Europe to spear fish using Scuba gear. The sport is practiced by free divers that have disciplined themselves to dive deep and hold their breath for several minutes. The late Jacques Mayol, protagonist in the fictional film depicting his life, ‘The Big Blue,’ started free diving onbreath of air as a young man. His prowess made him a legend. He described his techniques in the book ‘Homo Delphinus,’ ‘Dolphin Man.’

While Jacques Mayol set many world records in the pioneering days of free diving, his record, like any record, was broken. Mayol returned and conquered the depths again and again besting his own and competitors’ records. He used Yoga to relax and control his breathing prior to a dive. In later years, while he instructed protegees, he continued breath hold diving working with dolphins underwater. It was an amazing combination of human interaction with another species in the wild.

For 37 year old Martin Stepanek, his breath hold diving is also legend. “This was a twelve student group. Most hit a hundred feet, some just under at 97 feet,” he said. Martin retired from free diving competitions after diving to 400 feet, self-propelled, on a single breath of air. His divers came off ‘Sea Pup,’ at the dock next to the Pompano Dive Center. The divers were exultant.

“We dove deeper than the Scuba divers,” one of the divers said. The group posed for pictures on the Pompano Dive Center boat. Their gear was unique: long fins, low compensation masks, some wore camouflage colored wet suits of spear fishermen.

The Pompano Dive Center offers charters in Florida’s offshore ocean north and south of the Hillsboro Inlet. Their snorkeling trips are popular as are Scuba diving adventures to shipwrecks sunk as fish havens and reefs. While diving on a breath of air to a hundred feet and more may sound daunting, it has become a popular pursuit. Despite the fact that spearing fish with tanks is legal in Florida, many free divers consider it more sporting to free dive.

“It’s a course. Something you can learn. We are born with the capacity to dive to a hundred feet. It is how you breathe, how you swim,” Stepanek said. He described how divers come into his course able to hold their breath for a minute and swim down to a depth of 40 feet.

“Three-and-a-half days later they can hold their breath for 3 to 4 minutes and dive to a hundred feet,” this breath hold dive instructor added.

Stepanek has been teaching for 14 years. He created Freediving Instructors International when he retired from competition. “I competed and set more than a dozen world records. I still had to pay my bills so I began teaching. Teaching became my passion to share knowledge,” he said.

Divers on the dock were waiting for the morning dive excursion to arrive on ‘Sea Siren,’ another Pompano Dive Center boat so they could load their gear aboard. Many asked the intrepid free divers questions. Free diving and snorkeling is part of any Scuba course, however, once basic skills are learned, instruction centers on use of tanks and regulators.

Captain Matt Heath guided ‘Sea Siren’ against the dock next to the Pompano Dive Center, on Riverside Drive, just under the Atlantic Avenue Bridge. Divers on the morning trip came off chatting about their dives on two shipwrecks. They too were curious about the free divers posing for pictures with Martin on ‘Sea Pup.’ Tanks were hauled on a dolly by Captain Matt, crewmen Morgan Cheek and Fernando Mello while ‘Sea Pup’s’ captain smiled. No heavy tanks to unload.

It was a beautiful day on the ocean. A slight north current from the Gulf Stream whisked divers along the ledge of a reef 50 feet down. The second dive was on a ship sunk as an artificial reef in 70 feet of water. A large Goliath grouper swam close inspecting Scuba divers on the shipwreck, startled by their exhaust. Perhaps free divers like Jacques Mayol and Martin Stepanek and enthusiasts for the sport could have joined the big fish underwater without intrusion of bubbles. Ocean exploration is fascinating no matter how you dive.

For more information visit or call 954-323-2222 or call 954-788-0208.

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Kiteboarding: A lesson in humility

Posted: May 20, 2014 by kirisyko in Water

Kim Kircher

Adventurous types are often defined by their sports and extreme activities. Just take a look at their Instagram feeds. They read something like this: “Check me out. I’m a skier/surfer/knife juggler/fire dancer/world traveler/eater of bizarre-looking food/arranger of well-filtered photos/lover of large, inquisitive-looking dogs.”

I’m pretty much in the same boat. Looking back at my drop in the social media bucket, my biggest splashes are ski related. And a few other summer sports thrown in for good measure. While I don’t introduce myself at parties with a handshake and an “I’m a skier” sticker plastered to my forehead, I realize that it sort of defines me. At least in social media, because here’s a newsflash. Writers like me have blogs and FB accounts and Twitter feeds and an online presence so that when Random House Googles our name because they want to offer us a contract and a big advance for our upcoming novel…

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