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March 1998 Vol. 13, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

News on line and in letters

from the March, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

One fewer family member: The names of hundred of readers are familiar to us -- in fact almost like family -- because of being subscribers for years, calling or sending contributions to the Chapbook. Weve read many reports and even talked with a Cairns, Australia lady, Mrs. Bharathi Viswanathan. While I never met her, when she wrote of her last trip aboard the Telita, I somehow imagined a gracious lady, in flowing gowns, an exotic among us ordinary divers. So you can imagine the sadness when we received a letter asking us to take her name off our list because shedisappeared on or about 29 October whilst scuba diving off the coast of Broome in Western Australia.

Fin Funnies: How long can a diver generate maximum kicking thrust? A study of four male divers, 18 to 23 years old, found that for about eight minutes they could maintain 100% performance. If thats all, why all the weird fin design and hullaballo from fin manufacturers? Unless you are out to set a free diving record, consider it all nonsense.

Bonaire Blowout: Bruce Bowker, proprietor of the Carib Inn, tells us that freak waves struck Bonaire in early February, causing damage to several beach front facilities, most seriously the Sand Dollars Green Parrot Restaurant and dive operation. There was no storm, just an odd climactic condition that created the waves without a warning. There were no injuries and by the time you read this, everyone will be operating fully.

Eau de Wetsuit: What is it that makes scuba a hot marketing name? Marketers are gobbling it up. Phillips Electronics has named its LCD-equipped virtual immersion visor accessory for video game consoles Scuba. Radius now sells the Scuba toothbrush, made of flexible rubber to give greater control during brushing. And Gillettes Right Guard deodorant has a new unisex fragrance called Scuba. The only Scuba aroma we can conjure up is a wetsuit after a dive -- an aroma better sprayed on a fire hydrant than armpits.

Big, Big Fish: How about a Blue Marlin dive? Readers Adam and Debbi Wetsel report that while at Laguna Beach Resort on Utila, Honduras in January, their boat spotted a 10 foot blue marlin and six people jumped in and snorkeled with it for 10 minutes. The marlin was not aggressive but more curious, just like us! Wow.

New Age Instruction: Feeling uptight? Just go diving and keep a log book. A gent at Temple University received his doctorate in Education by submitting his thesis to explore the effects of a traditional cognitive behavioral psychological skills training program, self-psychological therapy, and SCUBA training on two beginning SCUBA students who were diagnosed as having Generalized Anxiety Disorder. While they were undergoing a basic class, they wrote their thoughts and feelings about diving in a journal, which was discussed each week. The researcher concluded that the treatment program resulted in reduction in perceived anxiety levels and successful completion of the course.

Never Been Narked? A few years ago, UWATEC president Bret Gilliam wrote in these pages that he had never been narked, even below 200 feet. So whats this from a researcher at the Adler School of Professional Psychology? He took a control group of divers and pressurized them in a hyperbaric chamber to 15 feet, then asked them to work the dive tables. He compared the results to efforts at 60 and 90 feet. Thanks to nitrogen narcosis, he says, there was a significant level of impairment in handling the tables both at 60 and 90 feet. That Bret. Quite a guy.

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