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January 2001 Vol. 16, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the January, 2001 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A Hawaiian free diver, who three years ago was hit by a 21-foot boat, has been awarded $400,000 by a federal judge. The boat driver said diver Dana Moss surfaced just 12 feet in front of his boat, making it impossible to avoid hitting him. But Moss said he was not submerged and was floating on top of the water. The Big Island prosecutors office ticketed Moss for diving without a flag, but the charge was thrown out. The judge found that Moss was 10 percent responsible for his injuries, and the boat driver was 90 percent responsible because he was driving the boat unreasonably fast and was too close to shore. Moss, who had reconstructive surgery, may not be able to regain full use of his injured wrist and arm.

Emboldened by their unpunished protests of the sea cucumber quota last May, commercial fishing interests on several Galapagos islands took to the streets in November to protest the 50-ton limit on lobster harvesting, despite having already received a special 30-ton extension. Local authorities protested with the fishermen, using municipal trucks to obstruct roads. On Isabela, they damaged National Park and Darwin Station offices, stealing cars, computers, cameras and radios. In other places, including Hood, divers and tourists have been prevented from landing or leaving their boats by protestors. Reminiscent of previous protests, no arrests have yet been reported. Those wishing to donate funds or equipment should contact the Darwin Foundation at comments@galapagos.org.

DAN and Skin Diver have entered a joint agreement, in which DAN members will now receive 12 issues a year of Alert Diver, but wrapped in Skin Diver magazine. A few days after the announcement, Skin Diver issued a statement that its DAN edition will not carry direct mail dive product advertising, an anathema to retail stores. The arrangement has raised a few eyebrows. Dave Kasper, owner of Huron Scuba in Ann Arbor Michigan told Undercurrent that DAN should not be in the business of promoting one major competitor in the dive industry over another. The retailer/sponsors have played a major role in building DAN up to its enormity, and maybe thats to our ultimate detriment. DAN says the savings they accrue will allow them to increase research, telephone service and recompression chamber assistance.

While Florida shark attacks get press in the lower 48, snorklers should be aware that Maui harbors a few of the big guys. In October, a woman snorkeling off Olowalu was bitten on her upper and lower back by what is believed to have been a 6 - to 8 - foot tiger shark. Snorkeling about a half-mile from shore, she was able to cling to a nearby kayak. It happened less than a mile from where a Maui woman was killed by a shark in 1991. A couple of years ago, a woman was seriously injured by a shark while snorkeling off Kaanapali Beach. Snorkel in groups and keep an eye out for one another.

Chapbook update ... Efra Figueroa, long time owner of Puerto Ricos Parguera Divers has sold the operation to his divemaster, Angel Rivera, who is expected to maintain the same high quality of service, reported by Undercurrent subscriber Tom Daly ... Our full review of Flamingo divers last August is no longer valid, the operation is now in disarray; manager Andrew Watts has departed for Saba Deep.

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