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February 2000 Vol. 15, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the February, 2000 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

ANOTHER LOST AUSSIE DIVER: Drift dives are one thing, but 37-year-old Paul Lucas from Leicester, England, spent 24 long hours in the grip of a giant eddy off Australia's east coast before washing up on Split Solitary Island, a small desert island about 5 miles off Coffs Harbour. Lucas clung to his tank in the water, then spent the night on a stony outcrop. A passing ship saw him waving his arms.

DOWN UNDER ON THE CHEAP: Air New Zealand is offering 44% off normal fares to Auckland, Fiji, and Sydney for travel between April 17 and August 23. Tickets must be purchased by May 31, and other restrictions apply. Call 800- 262-1251 for info.

ONE EIGHTY ONE BREATH: Its hard to imagine pulling yourself down a rope to 180' and then back up again in under 3 minutes and on a single breath of air. But thats what 26-year-old Tanya Streeter of George Town, Grand Cayman, did to establish a free-immersion dive world record last December 4. Its hardly anything new for Streeter: shed already set three world's records.

DURACELL BEATS THEM ALL: What brand of alkaline batteries should you buy for your dive gear? According to December tests published by Consumer Reports, in flash tests the Duracell Ultra MX was the clear winner. The AA Ultra survived from 20 to 65 percent longer than its competitors; the AAA size did even better, surviving from 33-76 percent longer. That advantage is important to a traveling photographer who needs to cut weight and keep the flash operating through 36 shots underwater. As for other uses, there was little difference between the batteries, though Duracell Ultra still was on top. If saving money is important, the AA Kirkland Signature 93637 from Costco is a best buy as is the Energizer Advanced Formula E92 for a AAA.

Consumer Reports discovered new alkaline batteries remain good for at least five years. Storing batteries in a refrigerator only very slightly extends shelf life.

P.S.: Mercury is no longer a component of alkaline cells, so if a dive operation asks you to take home your used batteries so as to not contaminate the island (as they do in Bonaire), you need not feel guilty if you refuse.

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