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July 2006 Vol. 21, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the July, 2006 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dont wear a weight belt: At least when youre walking around a dive boat without a BCD or wet suit. Why? Susan Sampson (Renton, WA) was at the Brac Reef Resort in March and writes, We were still at the dock and a sturdy young man donned his weight belt and simply got klutzy and fell in. He had the presence of mind to shuck his belt and pulled himself out of 15 fsw. Later, when we had barely completed the days dives, the two divemasters were occupied with helping divers. A diver in his mid 50s, who had already shucked his fins, BCD, and tank but was still wearing his weight belt, walked to the stern, lost his balance, and fell in. He didnt scream, he only yelped, and nobody noticed except me. He immediately surfaced (through forceful kicking) and grabbed the dive platform. The divemasters called for the diver to drop his belt, but he did not; he came up the dive ladder, belt and all. Years ago, we were diving at Grand Turk and the diver ahead of me handed up her BC but was still wearing her belt. She lost her hold on the ladder and began to sink. Smitty, the legendary Grand Turk divemaster (his BC is full of holes and just holds his tank; he uses rocks if he gets light; he lifts four tanks at a time to load a boat), jumped in and pulled her to the surface. (A few years ago, Undercurrent reported the death of a diver who, wearing only his weight belt, fell off the boat and couldnt release the belt).

Thanks Undercurrent: Last July, we did a Thumbs Down on DeSoto Divers of Florida and its owner, Floyd Rice, alerting readers that Rice had kept deposits for dive trips he didnt run. Our piece helped reader Mac Cauly, who wrote to say that he lost his money to Rice after he canceled the trip, but after our article he was able to obtain reimbursement from my credit card company for the amounts I put on my card but had no recovery on my airfare or on my deposit ($632.00). Four months ago, I filed criminal fraud charges against Rice in Florida, and I recently received a check from the State Attorneys Office for the remaining amount. It took a year of pursuit but it was worth it! Thank you for your help.

Preserving WWII history: Five Palau divers ripping off WWII wrecks, the Amatsu, Chuyo, and Ryuko, got caught. They were working from the boat the Lionwind and removed a porthole, compass, frame, lanterns, light bulb covers, and porthole frames. Two were found guilty of violating the Lagoon Monument Act and face fines up to $10,000 and 10 years in jail. The owner of the Lionwind paid Palau $40,000 to settle a lawsuit. Shipwrecks throughout Micronesia are protected, and divers ignoring the law face stiff penalties.

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