Spearfishers have lots of camouflage gear with which to equip themselves. There are camo dive socks, camo wetsuits, camo masks, camo snorkels, camo spearguns, camo fins, camo camisoles, camo camouflage, and everything in between. Does all this gear do anything except look very cool and make the spearfisher feel like a real hunter? We asked a fish.
Seavenger (SV): Have you ever been fooled by a camouflaged spearfisher?
Flounder (F): I’m here answering your question, so obviously not. OK, I take that back. Once I was fooled by a spearfisher who distracted me by trying to whistle nonchalantly through his mask pretending to be looking at a reef, and that surprised me. But not by all his gear. Also, I’m here to tell you whistling in your mask is not a good idea.
SV: Do you think other fish are fooled by camouflage gear?
F: I’ve seen fish speared by spearfishers. But as to whether they were fooled by the camouflage, who can say? You can’t very well ask a dead fish, can you?
SV: Good point, no pun intended. Are you familiar with the history of spearfishing?
F: As a matter of fact, I am.
Spearfishing has been around ever since that first hungry prehistoric man saw a fish, and looked around for something sharp with which to kill it. And we looked around for some place to hide. Thus, early civilizations became familiar with spearing fish from rivers and streams using sharpened sticks.
Afterwards, prehistoric men got the idea that if they disguised themselves, we fish’d be fooled, and therefore easier to spear. They looked around for leaves and stuff to plaster on their bodies. That concept has persisted until today. Basically, this was the beginning of the camouflage diving gear industry.
Nowadays, there are dive shops such as yours that stock everything from camouflage spearguns, to camouflage wetsuits, camouflage dive masks, camouflage snorkels and dive socks from prestigious manufacturers such as IST.
Today, spearfishing guns consist of elastic powered and slings, or compressed gas pneumatic powered spearguns. Specialized techniques and equipment have been developed for various types of aquatic environments and target fish.
Spearfishing purists use free-diving or snorkeling equipment. I can tell you, as a fish, we respect these spearfishers. Others use scuba diving techniques. However, thankfully, mechanically-powered spearguns are outlawed in some countries. For example in many countries such as Australia spearfishing is completely prohibited in Marine Protected Areas and there are serious penalties if you are caught spearfishing in these sites. I’m actually planning on moving there.
Other rules stipulate that divers must be completely submerged when firing their guns, and that fish must not be in an artificial environment such as penned in bays. Otherwise, divers are free to indulge in man’s favorite occupation: killing things in their natural environment with equipment that far exceeds their prey’s ability to protect themselves.
The most common and easiest of all types of spearfishing is entering and exiting the sea from the beach or shore, and hunting around ocean structures, usually reef, but also rocks, kelp or sand. Usually, shore divers hunt at depths of 16 to 80 ft In the South Pacific, for instance, divers can experience drop-offs from 16 to 130 ft close to the shore line. Sharks and reef fish can be abundant in these locations. In subtropical areas, sharks may be less common, but other challenges exist such as managing entry, exit and surf. Shore diving can be done with trigger-less spears such as pole spears or ‘Hawaiian slings,’ but more commonly triggered devices such as spearguns.
From the fish’s perspective: Scuba divers like to dress up in their silly little camouflage wetsuits, camouflage gloves, camouflaged camouflage, and actually think fish are fooled. We’re not. If you look closely, you can actually see us laughing at the divers in their completely ridiculous outfits, including the aforementioned camouflage socks. But really, I think they look kind of cool. If you tell another flounder that, I’ll say it’s a lie.
By Michael McQueen, Content Manager, Seavenger.com
Over the course of humans’ long history on Earth, natural forces have ensured that many once powerful cities have slipped into the sea — think earthquakes, volcanoes, and rising sea levels. With those factors and global warming contributing to the precariousness of existing ancient cities as we know them, we take a look back at some of the world’s most fascinating sunken cities.
Port Royal, Jamaica
Also known as the “wickedest city on Earth,” Port Royal was once one of the most important trading posts in the New World. In 1692, when an earthquake caused sand to liquefy, buildings, streets, and two thirds of the town slid into the sea in a matter of minutes, creating what is now considered one of the western hemisphere’s most significant underwater archaeological sites. Remarkably, the city remains as perfectly preserved underwater as it was on the day of the earthquake. Above land, Port Royal is now a small, coastal fishing village with very little of its former sparkle, sin, and grandeur.
Thought to be a model for Plato’s mythical sunken city, Atlantis, Pavlopetri was once a bustling port in the Bronze Age. Located on the southern coast of mainland Greece, the city slipped into the water as a result of gradual erosion, but was found in 1967 under less than 15 feet of water. Recently, underwater archaeologists have unearthed public buildings, residences, courtyards, streets, and graves that have allowed them to produce a comprehensive digital map of the civilization in its prime. The city, at 5,000 years old, is the oldest submerged archaeological town site.
Near Haifa, Israel, this city remains hidden beneath the waves less than a mile away from shore. It is so remarkably undisturbed that scientists found skeletons in their graves and weevils in the grain storage. At 40,000 square meters, the site dates from around 7000 BC, making it one of the earliest and largest drowned settlements. The ancient remains lay buried for 9,000 years until 1984 when sand movements exposed some of the remnants. While in absolute terms Atlit-Yam is older than Pavlopetri, it is not considered a planned town, but simply remnants of a spread-out settlement.
Nearer to Taiwan than mainland Japan, this tiny Japanese island is known for two things: its hammerhead sharks, and submerged rock structures found near its shores. Of the two, the latter is more controversial. Some claim the rock structures to be remains of an ancient civilization, while others claim them as natural formations. Recently, scientists have said markings and characters carved into the rocks are proof of the site was once a fabled Pacific civilization, but critics disagree. Regardless, the underwater remains found here continue to mystify scholars and scientists alike.
Cleopatra’s Alexandria, Egypt
With the discovery of the ruins of ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra in 1998, scientists gained important insight into the lives of the queen ruler and Mark Antony. At the site, off the shores of present day Alexandria, historians have found statues, columns, sphinxes, temples, and the foundations of a palace that most likely belonged to the queen herself. In addition to unearthing the larger objects, archaeologists have also found smaller everyday items that help to frame the ancient city.
Located off the coast of modern day Dwarka, one of India’s largest cities, these ancient ruins lie 131 feet below the surface. Scientists say the city was once built on the banks of the Gomati River, but later abandoned before becoming submerged. Others, however, maintain that the site has mythological origins, and that it is actually the lost city of Krishna, the Hindu divinity. The latter reasoning marks these ruins as an important site for pilgrims who believe in this tale.
Lion City, China
Unlike other sunken cities, Lion City was intentionally flooded in the 1950s to create a dam. It remains one of the most spectacular underwater cities in the world, however; built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 AD – 220 AD), the Lion City measures approximately 62 football fields in area and has no shortage of intricacies and grandeur. In 2001, divers discovered 265 arches in the ancient — though nearly perfectly preserved — ruins, and Shanghai tour companies offer weekend trips to explore the submerged site. Buildings and parts are between 85 and 131 feet underwater, but a film crew is present to record the preservation of lost ruins.
This Week’s Mass Stings: Work of One Deranged Jellyfish, A Serial Stinger or Roving Gang of Jellyfish?
At Carlsbad Beach, San Diego this past Wednesday, between 50 and 100 innocent summer bathers, swimmers and snorkelers were suddenly stung by jellyfish. Could one jellyfish be responsible for stinging up to 100 people? With lots of stinger-equipped tentacles the largest jellyfish in the world, perhaps a Portuguese Man of War, may be capable of this heinous act. However, lifeguards,… Read more →
1. Opening your tank valve to dry your regulator. This one comes in as a clear No. 1. Many divers, after a dive, attempt to blow the cap on their regulator’s first stage dry by holding it to an open tank valve. This achieves a few things, none intended. First, a hissing tank is quite loud and can actually damage… Read more →
1. DSMB. A delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB), or safety sausage, is a long, tube-shaped balloon, usually orange, that you inflate underwater with your regulator or octopus, sending it to the surface to signal the dive boat or someone on shore of your presence. It is often used in situations of moderate to high current to let the Zodiac know… Read more →
Tiger shark nursed back to life amid Australia’s controversial shark-culling program. Divers assist dying shark for 1.5 hours before it is revived and swims off. A dying tiger shark off Australia was nursed back to life by divers who took turns swimming with the shark for one and a half hours in an effort to keep it upright and to get… Read more →
Many cold-water divers know how to insulate themselves underwater, but what about after they surface? Winter and cold-weather diving can have many benefits: colder water means less algae growth and thus clearer water; different species are attracted to cooler water; and ice diving holds its own set of thrills, incomparable with other types of diving. Most dry suit and ice-diving… Read more →