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January 1998 Vol. 13, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Letters from satisfied customers

from the January, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Deja Vu in Sharm

Dear Undercurrent:

I read your August article “Is Underwater Photography a Crime?” [telling Deborah Fugitt’s story about being held by the Egyptian police and having her film confiscated] right before leaving on a September trip to dive the Red Sea. Our group had been diving for 12 days on a live-aboard boat, so a number of us had lots of film. We were to return home through the Sharm airport. This airport has two X-ray security points before you get to the departure gates. With 50 rolls of film in X-ray protective bags in a carry-on case, my bags were Xrayed and subsequently searched. I aged 10 years when they confiscated all my film. Since the security people spoke little English, my main hope was my tour guide. He was speaking Arabic to them. I was then taken with my film to the security office. The tour guide was able to quickly secure the return of my film by talking to a higher-up in command. Our group then proceeded to the second checkpoint, where another member of our group had film confiscated. The tour guide spoke to them in Arabic and the film was quickly returned.

The moral of my story: Deborah Fugitt was traveling without the assistance of a tour guide for transfers. My tour guide saved me from having many problems.

David McCray
Palos Verdes, California

Memory Loss

Dear Undercurrent:

I read with just a bit of amazement in your September issue that the “dive operators” on Fiji had not heard of another shark attack “in the 20 years they had been on Taveuni.” In March of 1995, I was on Taveuni. A week before, a Fijian, spearfishing in chest-deep water, was attacked and killed by 12- foot tiger shark. This attack was witnessed by the victim’s brother, who watched the incident from a tree at the water’s edge. Memory failure in the service of public relations?

William Ungerman
Santa Ana, California

“It has never been our
policy to flog or berate
our passengers for their
mistakes or technique.
What do you think?
Should we start now?”

Should We Start Now?

Dear Undercurrent:

In all fairness, I would like to respond to the article titled “Reef Wreckers” in the October 1997 issue.

I have been operating liveaboard cruises to the Bahamas for 20 years and dive charters for 26 years. For anyone to insinuate that I have anything less than a great concern for the reefs of these waters is more than misguided. It is my living, to say the least, and that of the entire country where we operate.

Any touching of the coral is discouraged as much as possible by our crew. Mr. Lockhart’s description was first a gross exaggeration as to the extent that these two Swiss photographers, of great reputation I might add, touched the bottom and which bottom they in fact touched.

I dove on several occasions to monitor the behavior that Mr. Lockhart objected to and frankly I saw none of what he referred to. I did see them prone on sand bottom several times and in fact did touch some hard bottom while swimming in strong current more than once. “Destroy the reef,” hardly. I did make the remark regarding Bahamian law referred to by Lockhart, in jest of course.

It has never been our policy to flog or berate our passengers for their mistakes or technique. What do you think? Should we start now?

Captain Tom Guarino
Sea Fever Diving Cruises

Letter of the Month

Dear Ben: I have been in the industry too long and have read your negative attitudes on DEMA, products, and resorts too many times to waste dollars on a bird cage floor covering.

Bruce Longman
Beauchat Manufacturers Rep
Mt. Prospect, Illinois

 

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