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March 2005 Vol. 31, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the March, 2005 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Headed for the Red Sea? — New Rules: Live-aboard divers will now be required by the Egyptian-based Red Sea Association for Diving and Watersports to:

* Show evidence of at least 50 logged dives;
* Each carry an SMB (surface marker buoy) and, within buddy pairs, possess at least one dive light, no matter what time of day;
* Possess medical certification of fitness to dive, issued less than one year before the start of the trip;
* Possess diving accident insurance. Day boat divers will now be required to:
* Present diving logbook and agency certification;
* Possess medical certification and accident insurance.

Helping the Helpless: Lifeguards were training in the water off New Zealand when a 9-foot great white moved in on them. Before bad turned to worse, a half dozen dolphins suddenly appeared and herded the swimmers together, then swam in tight circles for 40 minutes to create a defensive barrier by repeatedly slapping the water with their tails, allowing the swimmers to make it safely back to the beach Researchers say they are not surprised. One marine biologist insisted that dolphins, which are considered one of the most intelligent mammals, “like to help the helpless.”

Short Bottom Time: Marine researchers have discovered the deepest coral reef ever found in the U.S. The 250-foot-deep reef is off the Dry Tortugas, about 70 miles west of Key West. A video of the reef revealed a stunning number of fish, both deep and shallow water species: giant red grouper, scamp, damselfish, angelfish, rock beauty, and hogfish.

How Much is a Reef Worth? A freighter was cited in 2002 for illegally anchoring in the National Marine Sanctuary. Its anchor chain overturned more than 1,000 coral colonies and crushed an area about the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The shipping company has agreed to pay $560,000 for the damage.

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