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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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September 2004 Vol. 30, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the September, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Great White Attack: A 16-foot great white shark killed a California free diver diving for abalone in 20 feet of water, 150 feet from shore. Cliff Zimmerman, Randy Fry’s buddy, said he “Heard a ‘whoosh,’ like a submarine, like a boat going by fast. I knew it was a shark. I saw its dorsal fin. It was big enough to kill.” The shark struck the 50-year-old Fry and Zimmerman knew from the amount of blood that it was fatal. It was over instantly; no one saw the shark again. Fry’s headless torso was discovered the next day, August 17, north of Fort Bragg on the Mendocino coast. It was the 10th fatal shark attack of the California coast in the past 50 years.

Tank Explosion Kills Dive Shop Employee: A 50-year-old employee of Cave Excursions in Luravile, FL, was killed in July when a tank she was filling exploded. Sara Francis Slaughter died of abdominal injuries and three customers also suffered injuries. Luxfer, the tank’s manufacturer, said “She was attempting to add 98 percent oxygen to the Luxfer 30-cubicfoot scuba cylinder ... when the accident occurred ... the cylinder fell and exploded in a fiery flash on impact. … Investigators attributed the fire and explosion to the presence of an organic contaminant ... any organic material can ignite in the presence of pure oxygen and an ignition source. Investigators said that the cylinder or valve or both either had not been properly cleaned or had become contaminated. Impact from the fall may also have contributed to the explosion.”

Open Water: Filmmakers Chris Kentis and Laura Lau wrote to us: “We’re certified divers and avid readers of Undercurrent. When we read the account of a couple who were left at sea by their dive boat in your newsletter, we were horrified. Several years later, when we decided to make a digital feature, we remembered the story and ... it inspired us to write our script for Open Water.” You can read the original true story of the Americans left behind at Undercurrent.

So You Want to Live on an Island? If you have been to Little Cayman and especially Pirate’s Point, you may find this little book, written by the Point’s Gay Morse, just the ticket. Chronicling her 15 years on what is just about the tiniest inhabited island in the Caribbean, Gay has a fine eye for reporting the endless tourist and diving anecdotes. Paperback, 220 pages, $19.90. You can also find Gladys’ cookbook there, too.

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