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September 1997 Vol. 12, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Crowds, Cameras, and Cohabitation

from the September, 1997 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dear Undercurrent:

According to the owner of the Sai Mai, the subscriber who reported in your July '97 issue on the overcrowded dive sites in Thailand was here during Chinese New Year. Christmas and Chinese New Year are indeed extremely busy periods, with the entire tourist industry in Phuket working overtime. In addition to the usual liveaboards, each and every local dive club and student organization hires some sort of boat and heads for the islands.

So for two weeks a year you have this extreme situation, but the rest of the season Phuketbased live-aboards quietly go about their business and have the dive sites mostly to themselves.

I think it would be in the interest of both traveling divers and Phuket dive operators alike if we make it official: For some of the most varied and exciting diving on this planet, visit Thailand any time except during Christmas and Chinese New Year!

Best regards,

Jeroen Deknatel
Managing Director, Operations
Fantasea Divers
Patong Beach
Phuket, Thailand.

Salt Solutions

Dear Undercurrent:

Your article in the July issue, "Attack of the Salt Demons," contained a sidebar on the value of a freshwater rinse for cameras in which Bob Warkentin is quoted as saying, "There is no morningafter pill. Once the mineral deposits have hardened, nothing will dissolve them (safely)."

About eight to ten years ago I discovered a product called Salt-X, made by a North Carolina company, Innovate Chemicals, that claimed to do just that, dissolve salt deposits. I tried it, and it worked. I used it on my u/w cameras and the rest of my scuba gear with great success. Three years ago I opened a dive store and I now use Salt-X to clean all of my customers' regulators. It's much kinder to older, chrome-plated regs than the vinegar and other acid solutions sometimes used to clean regs. Don't take my word for it, try and then let other Undercurrent readers know.

John Bowden
Atlanta

When reviewing the article on Salt Demons, I contacted Salt-X and asked them for any studies available on the performance of Salt-X in dissolving salt crystal, along with any other scientific information on salt-crystal buildup. I never received a reply. I think you're right -- we should take a look at it and see if really works. A morning-after pill would come in handy.

Dear Undercurrent:

As a 20-year veteran of Nikonos, I could identify with most of the myths and methods you mentioned in July article on camera O-rings. On the boat, my camera and strobe stay in the rinse tank. When I leave the boat, it's kept in water in a plastic trash bin in my room. If the bin is too small to hold the entire rig, I remove the camera and strobe head from the tray (leaving the cord connectors attached) and just immerse them. Plastic one-gallon water jugs with the tops cut out can also be used in a pinch.

I believe that the salt crystal damage is cumulative. By keeping my camera wet, I have my Nikonos V serviced only every five years instead of once a year. I have already saved enough to buy a second camera, which is, of course, the only reliable way to avoid ruining your trip with a flooded camera.

David Steelman

A Man and a Woman

Dear Undercurrent:

I would like to comment on your articles in the July issue, "Men Not Seeking Women" and "Women Not Seeking Men." The Dancer Fleet has a policy of assigning single spaces only on a same-sex basis unless otherwise requested. If a single male and single female are traveling the same week and there are no other singles traveling, they get their own cabins. A single supplement can be paid to guarantee a cabin to yourself, but chances of getting it without paying the extra charge are pretty damn good.

Peter Hughes
President, Dancer Fleet

Dear Undercurrent:

When I sign up for a dive trip, I always mark the "No" box indicating I would not mind being assigned a member of the opposite sex as a roommate. I fantasize that my roomate will be an attractive, single, intellegent, pleasant, financially secure, middle-aged female diver with a great sense of humor. Her diving would handicapped only by the fact that she has not found the right buddy.

Man Seeking Woman Diver
Dallas, Texas

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