Forwarding this to highlight all the things that are wrong about this story.
I thought we had a saying in the diving community: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but bubbles.
Anything you take with you on a dive needs to be secured to you with a lanyard or retractor. It's too easy to accidentally, or intentionally, let go of something on a dive. If it isn't clipped to you, you WILL looses it.
When something is in the water for a period of time, marine life will move in. An old coke can may be junk when it gets dropped off the side of a boat, but after a short period of time, marine life will move in to investigate. It may become a home for a snail, crap, octopus. You cannot remove things from the ocean that have become part of that environment. By the looks of the camera, it has been down there a while, and I'm pretty sure something was living on it judging by the condition of the outside of the housing.
The worst part of this story is the fact that it took the guy several minutes to extracate the camera from the rocks and CORAL. I find it hard to imagine that this could have been done withouth causing damage to the environment. Coral is a very slow growing, fragile ANIMAL. Divers climbing over it, yanking at it, breaking it off, just to get to a lost camera is not worth it!
Two lessons to learn from this then:
- Don't loose your stuff when you go diving
- Don't bring things out of the water if they look like they've been claimed by the ocean.