Last updated May 7, 2001
In early May, divers will search for coelacanths in South Africas Sodwana Bay, (330 feet beneath the waves). The allure of the ancient fish has already claimed the lives of three divers. The aim is to get more footage and to start filming them (the coelacanths) for scientific and research purposes, says expedition member Pieter Venter. The dives -- and hopefully the coelacanths will be beamed to the web at www.worldstream.com. We are going to do it as live as we possibly can. From the time the divers begin their ascent, we will pull the cameras out with cables and will have it encoded and up on the web before they are out of the water, said World Streams Mike Laws.
Looks like coral bleaching is hitting Papua New Guinea. Reader Michael Waring, who was aboard the Paradise Sport in Milne Bay in April writes: We dove the traditional areas of Cathys/Dinahs Beach and Deacons and Basiliks Wall. While the muck diving was great with the normal assortment of exotica for which this area is well known, the wall diving was a sad affair. We were the first group to see the coral bleaching which had begun within the previous two weeks and it was extensive. We had in our group two dive instructors who had worked in Palau for three years over the period of coral bleaching in that area and they were of the opinion that only an immediate drop in water temperatures, measuring 31°- 32°C, could save the situation. The side effect of this bleaching, something which they had not experienced in Palau, was a notable absence of fish. The topography of the walls themselves was spectacular which made the bleaching even more distressing. As we moved further to the NE the bleaching was less pronounced but even in the open reefs and bommies it was evident as being in the early stages. There were however some spectacular coral reefs and the most notable was the shallower depths of Jasons Reef, where we witnessed that spectacular sight of schooling Banner fish and a Lacy Scorpion fish. On the last day we had a memorable encounter with three large Mantas at the Manta cleaning station.
Speaking about coral bleaching, a scientific conference in Indonesia last year brought the hard facts of coral reef distribution:
While global warming is not mentioned in the environmental policy section of President Bushs website, during the debate he said, I dont think we know the solution to global warming yet, and I dont think weve got all the facts before we make decisions. Theres a lot of differing opinions, and before we react I think its best to have the full accounting, full understanding of whats taking place. Since he has taken office, he has taken a number of steps to increase the United States contribution to global warming and junked the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to tackle the problem. While the Kyoto Protocol had some problems, the President offered no alternatives when he backed away.
If you dont think our coral reefs can wait around for your President to get a full understanding about whats taking place, you may wish to write him, in care of the White House or e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay at what is arguably the best hotel in Cozumel, on the cheap . . . if you are 55 or older. The Presidente has a $55/night program for those over age 55 (based on double occupancy). The rate -- valid until December 21 -- is good in Cancun and all-inclusive resorts in Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Ixtapa, as well as Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara. Two children under 18 can stay free at the Cancun or Cozumel resorts. To take advantage of the offer you need to show a passport or photo ID with your birth date at check-in. For reservations, call (800) 327-0200; or visit http://www.interconti.com.
Reader Bob Herrick tells us that the best way to get to Bali is on EVA airlines, since you can fly Business Class for the price of coach (only $948 round trip)! We haven't checked it out, but you can.
Beginning June 2, you can fly all the way to Bonaire on American if you hook up with American Eagle in Puerto Rico. While American Eagle doesn't use the speediest planes, you've got a better chance of making connections "or even getting off the ground" than if you fly ALM.
-- Ben Davison, publisher
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