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January 2002 Vol. 17, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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from the January, 2002 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Thumbs DownReader Fran Macintyre from Albuquerque,N.M. was aboard the MV Legend i n the Red Sea in July. She reports a litany of horrors, but this one in particular earns our Thumbs Down Aw a rd.

Remember Gilligans Island? Well, we referred to our trip as the Minnow Dive, a little, supposedly scenic, sandy trashcovered atoll. When the dinghy driver was filling the gas tank and using his hands as the funnel, he sloshed a great deal of fuel on the bottom of the boat. After our visit to the scenic island, 13 guests and two crew members squeezed into the dinghy to head back to The Legend. It was dark and our dinghy driver had no idea how to get back through the shallow reef, so he ended up running us aground several times. We began taking on water, lots of water, and began bailing like crazy with the only bucket on board. After the fourth grounding on the coral the motor stalled. While attempting to restart the motor, a spark flew into the fuel on the surf a c e of the water in the dinghy and we were suddenly on fire. Imagine 14 instant and perfectly executed backrolls into the w a t e r, along with the dinghy driver being thrown from the top of the burning motor. We were all fortunate that we landed in water and not on the coral and sea urchins that were close by. The only injuries were a couple of flash burns on legs, a couple of scratches, and one very shook up dinghy driver. A dinghy from another dive boat anchored nearby had already started out to us when the dinghy caught fire and was perfectly positioned to pick us up. Our diveguide Hamada, upon seeing his divers flying out of the dinghy and his dinghy on fire, swam to our rescue ... straight across the shallow reef. He got some nasty injuries from the sea urchins he swam into.

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