Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Natalie!

Happy birthday, Natalie. And congratulations again on all your accomplishments as a scuba diver and student of scuba.

Your successfull completion of your Underwater Navigation specialty course with me, and, your hard worked for Rescue Diver credential with my friend, Sasha, who owns South Beach Divers, http://www.southbeachdivers.com/ in Miami.

Huge congrats, tooo, on your completion of your Divemaster course. You are such a good student of scuba and always come well prepared for your course and ready to go!


You also make a wonderfull dive buddy and not a bad underwater model for this humble photographer.

Have a great day today on your birthday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Matt's Kids"

video

I consider myself fortunate and and am very thankfull for being able to do what I do. I teach people how to scuba dive and or underwater photography. It is rewarding for me to help my students reach their goals. I make an analogy to when we were all kids. And when we meet and make a new friend, one friend knows something that the other does not know or know much about. And I am the new friend and the one showing the other friend something the friend does not know.

Years ago, I met a new friend, Professor Matt Landau, who came to me and spent some days with me learning underwater photography. Matt is a PHD and college professor who teaches the Marine Sciences at Stockton College in New Jersey. Each year, during the summer, Matt conducts a couple of week-long field trips to the Florida Keys with a group of his college students, who we here in the Keys affectionately refer to as ' Matt's Kids'. They are in my mind the future 'Cousteaus' of the world. They are all good 'kids', dedicated and studious and work hard while here. Matt's field trips are not junkets for college kids. Their days are long and begin early and end well after dark.

Matt asked me years ago, if I would spend a day with him and his 'kids' working with them and helping introduce them to our local marine environment and I readily agreed to. Over the years, these days, one day during each of the two week field trips, that I spend time with Matt and his Kids, are among the most rewarding days of my year.

As the years passed, Matt's Kids have graduated and went on to work in their field. And make a contribution. Each year, Matt brings new groups of these kind of people.

I thought I would use my blog to applaud not only Matt, but, his 'kids'. To in some small way give recognition to them and their energies and dedication to their endeavor. Thank you Matt and a thanx to your 'kids'. Our Kids! It has been my good fortune to meet and work with them.

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Turtle Rescue in Key Largo

video

We have a lot of fun scuba diving and being out on and visiting our wonderful reefs here in Key Largo. And once in a while during the midst of it all, we come across a chance to do something in return for the fun we all have. One day this past August that 'something' appeared on the horizon. I had already finished my dives that day and was back on the dock. Enjoying a dive debrief and a beer. When, I started to hear about a turtle being rescued; so here is the 'story' as I remember it and am attaching a slide show that helps document this:

Scotty who works for our marine sanctuary patrol, was on duty when he spotted a turtle on the surface. Scotty drove his boat over to check out the turtle and noticed it could not dive. Scotty knew something was wrong with the turtle and he could not, single handedly, do anything to help it. So, he got on his marine radio and hailed Ocean Divers' boat, 'Santana' as it was in the area. Santana arrived on the scene and between Scotty and Santana's crew, they managed to land the turlte onto Santana. A call was placed to our very own 'Turtle Hospital', a non-profit entity headquartered in Marathon, and they have a 'Turtle Ambulance'. The Turtle Hospital's ambulance arrived at the dock to meet the boat and take the turtle to the hospital.

I had originally heard that the turtle had ingested a plastic bag, which they do do, misstaking these baggies for jellyfish. This can be deadly as the plastic plugs up the turtle's system. But, in this case that was not what was ailing the turtle. I am not sure what exactly was wrong, but, some sort of infection in a body cavity causing an inability for the turtle to dive. The turtle is being treated with anti-biotics. The Turtle Hospital staff named the turtle 'OD' for Ocean Divers and in their gratitude for the efforts of Scotty and OD in rescueing the turtle. For more about this rescue visit the Turtle Hospital's blog here: http://www.turtlehospital.org/blog/?m=200808

To me, it is pretty cool , that we can be out there scuba diving and having some fun and sometimes, get the chance to do some real good for the environment which we recreate in!

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Some tips for other Bloggers

As I mentioned early on in my blog, I set this blog up in January of 2007, but, really did nothing with it until this fall. During the fall of each year, I make annual changes and additions to my website, and last year, determined that trying to incorporate a blog reference and blog was too much of an undertaking due to the other changes I was making that year.

Well, the fall of 2008 has now arrived and I determined to incorporate 'my blog' into my website so began developing the blog itself. I've learned a few things from other bloggers and doing some research on-line and the purpose of this post is to share these with other bloggers. I will probably update this post from time to time when or if I find or learn something new and usefull. Here goes:

My blog's template is 'Minima' but I believe these tips will work on other templates as their CSS/HTML seems similar. A word of warning, though, is if making changes to your existing blog, is to always save a copy of your template before trying to change anything, or, note your blog's prior settings. That way you can always go back to square one, should your attempt fail, or, you do not like the result.

One long standing problem I have had as an underwater photographer and having my photographs on the Internet was anyone else's ability to copy and save them and use them without my knowledge or permission. I've enjoyed having a website and now a blog, but the first thing that took the fun out of my having a presence on the Internet was having my images ripped. To this date there is no way a photographer can prevent this. It used to be easier to, but, that was long ago, and before many regular guys grew in their technological competencies. I am not going to elaborate here on how to copy someone else's imagery from the Internet, rather, advise what I have done to make it more difficult to.

I at least have prevented (in most cases) a viewer's ability to 'right-click-and-save' a photograph.

I added as a gadget to my blog, a piece of javascript. If you created your blog and are reading this , then you will know how to add a gadget. One gadget you can add is HTML or Javascript. To find the javascript that I added, using your browser, select VIEW, then SOURCE. Scroll down and you will find some 'html' that begins with a bracket: <> with Java inside it. The script's end tag reads something like this < / java 1.1 > . I am paraphrasing this script or tag, here in this post. Copy and paste this javascript into your 'gadget' and save. This will prevent some one from right clicking and saving your photographs you have posted in your blog. You can also find this same script by viewing my website's source code. My webmater, Bill Dunbar, of http://www.net-creations.net/ coded this for me and it was a huge favor. If you have a problem finding the javascript and need it, send me an e-mail: larry@larrygates.com .

The next thing I noticed was when I posted a post that had a photograph in it, was a person could curse over that photograph and 'left-click' and open a page with a very large version of the photograph and then, 'right-click-and save' that version! It took some study and thought for me to come up with a solution to this issue. I resolved this by using one of the blog's tool, which enables me to edit the blog's HTML. But, only the HTML within each post already posted. Not the blog's template. (This is much less perilous, if one errors)

We bloggers can post and later edit our posts and an edit choice is 'Edit HTML'. So, I make that choice just after I make a post that holds a photograph, and, I edit the anchor tag that would lead a viewer to that larger image. The anchor tag begins with: <>. com. I simply replaced the reference to 'blogspot.com' with larrygates . com. ' You could use 'anything . com '. Literally! The result of what I did was to create a 'dead-link'. Again if you have any questions about exactly how I did this, please send me an email.

On another matter altogether, I oftemtimes include links within my posts. As a reference to what I am posting about. I want the viewer to be able to 'see' the link, and the viewer to be able to 'click-on' it and go to that page or site. This saves the viewer the time and effort of having to copy and paste the link into their browswer's address bar. I managed to get this done by beginning in my blog's Dashboard. Then I selected 'Settings'. Next I selected 'Formatting'. Then I scrolled done until I found "Show link fields" and selected the 'YES' box. Then selected 'Save Settings'.

So, for now, fellow bloggers and photographers, either underwater or topside, the above are a couple things I learned that were useful to me in developing this blog. I can at least afford the same protection to the photos in this blog as I am already doing with those in my website and if I want some one to be able to view a link within a post, can do that as well.

Good blogging to you! And as the 'techies' would say: " hope this helps" .

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

'Save Snapper Ledge!'

Snapper Ledge is a small, easy to dive, shallow dive site; that we in Key Largo favor because it is probably the most fishy dive site anywhere. Marine scientists have studied the site and cannot explain why there are so many fish on this site nor can they explain the diversity of the fish and aquautic life there. Because of the diversity and density of the fish-life there it is immensely popular as a dive site. Schools of grunts and goatfish are so thick you literally cannot see through them. It is home to nurse sharks, moray eels of different species, lobsters, squirrelfish, parrotfish, trumpetfish, both yellow and southern stingrays, all the macro creatures and an occasional gray shark or eagle ray visit Snapper Ledge.

It is not part of the Sanctuary Preservation Area program. Therefore, any and all activities, fishing, spearfishing, lobstering are legal to do at Snapper Ledge. Over the very few years that mankind has visited Snapper Ledge, word has spread about its existance and wealth of marine life there. In its early days, only a few knew of it, and only a few had its GPS numbers. Several years ago, a mooring ball was installed at Snapper Ledge and this made it easy for everyone to find Snapper Ledge and enjoy it.

However, this summer a tragic event occurred at Snapper Ledge. It was discovered by recreational scuba divers engaged in underwater photography. Someone had caught a small nurse shark and eviscerated it, and, released it back onto the reef, where it died a slow death over some days' time.

Word of this tragic event spread first among us local divers and then more regionally, and, there is now a movement on to try to get the authorities to add Snapper Ledge to the SPA program and make it a Sanctuary Preservation Area.

The movement has circulated an on-line petition and the link is above, embedded into my photograph of fish at Snapper Ledge and here:

http://www.petitiononline.com/snapledg/petition.html .

I've signed it. I believe over 2000 others have also signed it. I would urge you to sign it as well.

Snapper Ledge is a very rare phenomenon and it is my belief that we should do all we can to preserve it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Your own Website!


Obviously I have my own website, a virtual domain, www.larrygates.com. And it is rich in content and particularly photographic imagery. I make changes to my site each year, and some miner changes during the year and adding images has always been a real chore for me, the scuba diver, to do. I managed to learn how and in that process later came across a person who can create much easier to edit websites than mine.

His name is Mike and is pictured above. He is a friend now, and before that one of my Rescue Diver students and is also a friend of another friend of mine, Hans. Hans was also one of my Rescue Diver students and took instruction from me in underwater photography.

As a new underwater photographer, Hans wanted his own website where he could feature his work and one in which was 'mo betta' than using the more mainstream and (I think) mundane photo sharing sites 'out there' in cyberspace.

Since then, I had another long time scuba student and dive client, Steve , who also took instruction from me in underwater photography and completed his course about a year or so ago. Steve, like Hans, determined to have a website also. Steve, as Hans did, engaged Mike to construct and launch Steve's website.

Check these sites out:
http://www.hansdejager.com/

To me, Mike's websites are very rich in both appearance and features and you can see for yourself by 'clicking-on' either or both of the links in this post that take you to Hans's and Steve's websites!! The big advantage that both Hans and Steve derive from their sites is their ease in setting up Galleries and adding their images to these Galleries. Their images are first viewed as thumbnails and mouse cursing over them leads to a larger view. The images are also 'right-click- protected.

So, I am impressed, and thought I would pass this on to you, the readers of my blog. In the event you are contemplating having your own website and having one that is easy for a scuba diver to add to, edit or whatever!!

Mike is a good guy (as you can tell by the photo of him I added to this post), a scuba diver and now Rescue Diver, and also a very smart 'techie-guy'! Mike can be reached via an email to: mikeselleck@msn.com

Tell Mike, Larry sent ya!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dolphin Rings via an Email

videoI received this video clip from a friend, Sally, who is a Course Director and teaching scuba in Guam. What follows is a copy and paste of the text of her email that tells the story:

"The attached video is of dolphins playing with silver colored rings which they have the ability to make under water to play with. It isn't known how they learn this, or if it's an inbred ability. As if by magic the dolphin does a quick flip of its head and a silver ring appears in front of its pointed beak. The ring is a solid, donut shaped bubble about 2-ft across, yet it doesn't rise to the surface of the water! It stands upright in the water like a magic doorway to an unseen dimension. The dolphin then pulls a small silver donut from the larger one. Looking at the twisting ring for one last time a bite is taken from it, causing the small ring to collapse into a thousands of tiny bubbles which head upward towards the water's surface. After a few moments the dolphin creates another ring to play with. There also seems to be a separate mechanism for producing small rings, which a dolphin can accomplish by a quick flip of its head. An explanation of how dolphins make these silver rings is that they are 'air-core vortex rings'. Invisible, spinning vortices in the water are generated from the tip of a dolphin's dorsal fin when it is moving rapidly and turning. When dolphins break the line, the ends are drawn together into a closed ring. The higher velocity fluid around the core of the vortex is at a lower pressure than the fluid circulating farther away. Air is injected into the rings via bubbles released from the dolphin's blowhole. The energy of the water vortex is enough to keep the bubbles from rising for a reasonably few seconds of play time."

I do not know how Sally came across this video, nor, who made it. To me, it is very cool!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Happy Birthday CJ !!

Posted by Picasa No need to mention how young you turned.
Nor kid Andrianna how many turtles you saw!
I had a great day divng with you and congrats
on your birthday present from 'mother ocean';
You saw your very first turtle, and three more!

Friday, October 3, 2008

This can't be rocket science!

Hopefully any of you will laugh at 'technology boy' (me, the scuba diver) trying to get this 'blogging thingee' sorted out!

I have attempted to create this blog in a way that its appearance closely resembles the appearance of my website www.larrygates.com.

Mouse cursing over either my logo, my link, or my photograph; found in the sidebars, and clicking will take you to my website.