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October 2006 Vol. 32, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam and Jetsam

from the October, 2006 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Brac’s Divi Tiara Beach Closes. The Cayman resort has shut its doors and its 37 employees have been sent packing. Divi officials say, “The decision was based on certain economic realities of continuing a dive-oriented resort on Cayman Brac, including problems with flights, which has affected guests who bring gear for their sport; increased competition from a growing number of nichemarket dive destinations; and weather, which has created real and perceived concerns about travel to the Cayman Islands . . . and pushed insurance costs too high for coverage.”

Aussie Drifters. Two American divers aboard the Nimrod Explorer in September drifted four hours before they were spotted near Lizard Island by a Cairns rescue helicopter, which had been contacted when the pair failed to return from a drift dive. They surfaced far from the Explorer and the current was too strong for them to get back. The helicopter crew spotted their glow sticks, which they had carried on the twilight dive. The incident is reminiscent of the disappearance of US couple Thomas and Eileen Lonergan who vanished off Port Douglas in January 1998 and became the subject matter for the film, Open Water. That led to stringent requirements for accounting for missing divers, which enabled the Explorer crew to react swiftly.

A Better Rescue Device. Writes longtime Undercurrent subscriber Walter Brenner (Wayne, PA): “In your August article about getting lost, you mentioned ‘Signaling Flags.’ I can attest to their great utility. On the Seychelles live-aboard they are issued to each diver. We could see them from at least a half mile away in all kinds of seas. They are not available in the USA. I bought mine in England.” Those Brit flags, to strap to your tank, are available at

More Than Tourista: A dozen Missouri divers and spouses became deathly ill at the Catalonia Riviera Maya Hotel on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula in August, and it was a “serious disease,” reports Bill Schlegel, MD. “Shigella, a gramnegative bacterial pathogen, spread by fecal to oral transmission. . . This is not the cause of classic travelers’ diarrhea . . . .and would strongly suggest a breakdown of the usual standards of hygiene . . ..there were more than a hundred people involved, which suggests a massive inoculation of the pathogen into the food supply.” Terry Henry-Flowers told us “the bathroom was full of people with diarrhea and people were walking around holding their stomachs.” Apparently Mexican health authorities took the problem seriously (they appeared “wearing protective moon-suits and took bacterial swabs of the dinnerware and utensils”) and things seem back to normal. PS: Studies have shown that salsa is often a cause of tourista, not only because of the handling of vegetables but because the vegetables are grown in fields fertilized by manure.

Wynn-win for Cochran Computers. At the Wynn Las Vegas Resort, the hit show Le Reveâ features more than 70 performers moving in and out of a pool. Divers move heavy props underwater, maintain the pool, and escort performers when they finish their routines underwater. They log at least two 90-minute dives each day, and their Cochran EMC-20H computers have logged more than 20,000 dives since the show opened. Although the pool is only 30 feet deep, it sits at an altitude of 2400 feet. That factor, plus the hydrodynamic pressure differences caused by a massive number of bubbles pumped into the water, creates an equivalent operating depth of 46 feet. No one has been bent.

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