|Issue 25 May 2010|
Hope everyone has had a good Easter – now is the time to get yourselves dive fit and jump in the water (yes, do zip up first). The water is finally warming up and trips to all points of the British Isles have begun. Check out the board at the pub for further organised events, and those slightly less formal days out.
Coming up this month is:-
The Clay Pigeon shooting challenge – the challenge being to hit one of the critters and not a fellow member;
The second boat handling course – putting yet more of our non-alcoholic, sedate members in charge of a rubber ring with a motor on the back of it;
A day at the Menai Straits - you know all the jokes about that one;
A week in Mull at the end of the month.
In between are the usual dives at Dosthill and Stoney, the former being quite busy now due to the increase in Stoney Cove’s prices (£17 for non-members) and the poor visibility that Stoney is experiencing again –its reported to be extremely green and down to a metre viz again.
Remember BSAC fees are overdue
Remember BSAC fees are overdue
if you want to dive, get insured!
if you want to dive, get insured!
Have you got any ideas about what trips you would like to go on? What about courses that you would like to take part in?
Thank you to everyone for their contributions and comments and if you have anything that you would like add to the newsletter, let us know by 20th May so it can be included in the next issue.
|Penang Curry - A little of what you fancy does you good.|
Serves 4 if served with another dish.
As with most curries, the cook’s instincts come in to play when making this dish. The editors take no responsibility for the final result!
Below the surface there is some magnificent scenery and a huge variety of marine life,
some of which is unique to the British Isles. For this reason the waters around Lundy are designated as a STATUTORY MARINE RESERVE. The diving season on Lundy is from the end of April to the end of September.
The tides of the Bristol Channel are fierce but the island lies N-S in a tidal stream that is mostly E-W, so there is always some part of the island with slack water. Dive the west side on the ebb and the east side on the flood.
There are many types of fish including basking sharks in the summer months and the unique population of red banded fish (a metre long, shaped like an eel with a red band and a single dorsal fin the whole length of their body - they live in burrows in the mud). Crabs, lobsters and crayfish are still common but their populations have been affected by commercial fishing. There are huge numbers of sea urchins and starfish and the population of jewel anemones rarely fails to amaze the visiting diver. Common and lesser octopus are also regularly seen.
Although Lundy has probably more than its fair share of shipwrecks, it is nowhere near what it could have been, considering how many ships have passed this way in the last two centuries alone. It is estimated that in its heyday, almost a million ships passed the island every year. Even so, in 1786, the merchants of Bristol were so concerned at the losses suffered around the island that they offered to build and maintain a light house at their own expense.
There are 137shipwrecks, one of the most famous being the battleship Montagu, which lies close into the South West tip of the island. On the afternoon of 29 May 1906 the almost new battleship anchored off Lundy during a Fleet exercise. Her job was to communicate with the Isles of Scilly using the recently installed wireless telegraphic signaling apparatus. This equipment was the cutting edge of technology at the time and the Admiralty was expecting great things from it. However the distance to the Scilly Isles was too great, and in normal circumstances the Montagu would have steamed closer to the Islands and continued her trials. Unfortunately she was now enveloped in a thick fog and anchored as she was, right in the main shipping lane there was a real risk of another ship colliding with her. In the end it was decided to move closer to Lundy. As the great ship got under way soundings were taken, and as the Montagu crept closer towards the coast a strict lookout was kept. At about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the depth was given as seventeen fathoms and the navigating officers was just congratulating himself in placing the ship safely four miles off Lundy when there was a great crash and grinding of metal, and the Montagu shuddered to a halt. Unknown to all on board, they had just run aground on the Shutter Rock at the south western corner of Lundy Island. The ship’s massive engines were put hard astern ripping off her propellers, but the Montagu was held fast and started to leak badly.
Much of her was salvaged, including most of the armour plating, guns and a vast amount of copper and brass. However, there are still huge sections of armour plate, parts of the gun turrets and 12in diameter shells.
|Creature of the Month - Zebra shark|
Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)
The zebra shark is also known as a leopard shark in Southeast Asia. The zebra shark has a cylindrical body with prominent ridges on the sides and 5 gill slits (slits 4 and 5 overlap). The tail lacks a ventral lobe and it is as long as the body. This shark has a broad head, small barbels, and a transverse mouth located in front of the eyes. Its are as large as its eyes. The spineless dorsal fins are back to back. The anterior dorsal fin is much larger than the posterior dorsal fin. The first dorsal fin appears above the bases of pelvic fins, the second dorsal fin is about as large as the anal fin. The body is gray-brown with dark spots in adults. Juveniles are darker with light stripes and spots. Maximum size is about 3.5 m, average size between 2.5-3 m
The zebra shark, Stegostoma fasicatum, is found in the Indo-Western Pacific: South Africa to Red Sea and Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, China, Japan, Australia, New Caledonia, Palau. Lives over the continental and insular shelves. Very common around coral reefs, often on sandy bottoms, but little is known about its biology. It is known that this species props up its pectorals in the sand and faces the current with open mouth. Such behavior and its inactivity during the day points towards a more sluggish life style and indicates that it is probably a nocturnal hunter. Recorded to have entered freshwater.
Feeds primarily on snails and other molluscs, but also on crabs, shrimps, and small bony fishes. The zebra shark is an egg layer (oviparous). Egg cases are large (17 cm long, 8 cm wide, 5 cm thick). Unknown if the female lays more than one egg at a time, but it is most likely. Hatch size between 20-36 cm. Males reach sexual maturity between about 1.5-1.8 m, females around 1.7 m.
Harmless. This species is regularly taken in inshore fisheries and a decline is likely (no data) if not in progress. Utilized fresh and dried-salted for human consumption and also for fishmeal; livers processed for vitamins; fins cut off for the oriental shark-fin trade.
Thanks to the Editor: Phillipa Cresswell,