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August 2006 Vol. 21, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the August, 2006 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Maybe They’ll Listen to Jean Michel: In Moorea, Tahiti, says subscriber Peter Joseph (San Anselmo, CA), Top Dive “is destroying the coral reef with their anchor! Rather than hire a skipper to man the boat during the dive, they throw out an anchor to grab large staghorn coral. During a swell, it snapped off a large piece. When I mentioned this, the guide rudely said, “What do you want me to do, eh? Lose the boat?” Memo to the owners of Top Dive: While you many not give a hoot about the environment, how about your business? If you destroy the coral, you won’t have customers.

Outgross This: One of our readers — we’ll call him Santa Monica Joe — reported to us on his June dive trip to Divi Tiara on Cayman Brac. “Surfacing from a dive a tad earlier than expected, I had the luxury of catching a boatmaster giving himself a pedicure with the cooler knife used to slice oranges by guests during surface intervals.” A call to fellow readers: got any similar YUK stories to share with us?

Who supports whaling? Some of your favorite little diving nations, that’s who, because Japan promises development dollars if they join the International Whaling Commission. You see, Japan wants to end the moratorium on commercial whaling. Currently, Japan, Norway and Iceland kill more than 2000 whales annually under a loophole allowing scientific research (much meat turns up in markets, some as sushi). At the June IWC conference on St Kitts, Japan engineered a 33 to 32 vote to pass a nonbinding declaration that changes the commission’s purpose to ensuring that whales are “not over-harvested,” rather than from protecting all whales. This sets up a vote next year to legalize whaling and convert the IWC from a conservation organization to a manager of whale culling. Some of your favorite Caribbean dive venues are supporting whaling — Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Antigua. In the Pacific there is Palau, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Kiribati. Boycott anyone?

Cozumel: A longtime diver-oriented hotel, the Barracuda is no longer, says Jerrord Harrision (Austin, TX), who stays there because “we prefer a laid-back, quiet vacation. It now has a pool with swim-up bar that serves snacks. They have knocked out walls through the hotel to create an entrance from the street to the bar. Therefore, tourists constantly flowed from the street. My wife and I had room #104, literally 12 feet from the bar. Now, if I were 19 and on spring break, it would have been great, but I could never get away from the noise. Every time I went into my room on the weekend, I had to clear people off my patio because they treated it as part of the pool area. The crowd got downright rude, loud, drunk and obnoxious.” Be forewarned.

Pardon our narcosis. In a May article on diving health issues, we misquoted DAN’sTM Joel Dovenbarger as saying that many central nervous system meds contain nitrogen, so risk is relative to depth. Before Dovenbarger had a chance to correct our error, subscriber Damon Martin MD, Ph.D. (Colstrip, MT), emailed us to say that no medicines contain nitrogen or the nitrogen molecule (N2), nor do any have a biochemical metabolism in the body that converts the nitrogen atoms in the medicine to a nitrogen gas. Dovenbarger concurs with Dr. Martin that the side effects of medications can worsen at depth, “but it has nothing to do with nitrogen in the molecular makeup of the medicine.”

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