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August 2004 Vol. 19, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the August, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Aggressor Damaged: The Palau Aggressor canceled at least two months of trips in June after a freighter was blown into it during high wind (no one was hurt). Scores of divers had to rush frantically, with the aid of Aggressor staff, to find substitute destinations in Palau and throughout the Pacific, which led to many problems in switching flights (and expectations). The Aggressor is expected to be operating again by mid-September.

Open Water. I saw an early preview of this film, opening August 6, and it's a winner. While accurately portraying day boat diving, it builds enormous tension as the two lead characters drift aimlessly after their boat heads home without them. The constant threat of sharks is understated -- no heavy handed music -- and unexploited, as the couple struggles through an emotional roller coaster while their chances for rescue dim. Based on the true story of an American couple left behind in Australian waters, Open Water builds to a powerful and believable conclusion. Divers could pick a few nits, but why? Just roll back and drift with this powerful and believable story. Then, rush to your dive store and buy yourself a safety sausage.

Jellyfish for Lunch? The depletion of the seas has become so severe that Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia says that jellyfish are being targeted for food. In the wake of the disastrous crash of the North Atlantic's cod stocks, the Newfoundland government is encouraging fishermen to go after jellyfish, Pauly said. Recently he was served jellyfish in Thailand -- "kind of crispy, a noodle-like thing." Fish that were once subpar have become dinner mainstays. Fish from New Zealand known as slimeheads were rechristened orange roughy in the 1980s -- and promptly overfished. Patagonian toothfish became Chilean sea bass and demand drove a thriving poaching business. Unless you're looking forward to a jellyfish sandwich, eat only sustainably caught seafood. For more information, go to: www.thefishlist.org/FishList.pdf or www.audubon.org/campaign/lo/seafood/seafood_wallet.pdf.

People Eat Puffer Fish: Even in Florida they do; however, in the past 30 months at least 28 people have gotten sick eating the southern puffer harvested from the Indian River Lagoon. The type of poison here, saxitoxin, is new to the lagoon's puffers. Japanese prize puffer sashimi -- fugu -- though some diners die even after well-trained chefs trim the poisonous tissue.

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