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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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May 2007 Vol. 33, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam and Jetsam

from the May, 2007 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Larry Smith Passes On. Sadly, America’s most revered dive guide died in a Sorong, Indonesia hospital in late March, presumably due to heart and respiratory failure. Larry, an East Texan, spent many years in the Caribbean before moving on to Indonesia in 1989. His ability to find critters many people didn’t even know existed led to a large coterie of divers making a pilgrimage each year to follow him. A fund for his wife and nineyear- old-daughter has been established. Get details and view his tribute page at

What Is Kim Basinger’s Secret? In a new book called The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets, Basinger, the blonde actress from L.A. Confidential and 9 &1/2 Weeks, raved about “scuba-diver oil” for her face. The book editors bought this oil from dive shops, saying it worked wonders for their complexions, but they didn’t specify the oil or return our phone calls. While we suspect they’re talking about silicone grease or gel, Sal Zammitti, owner of Bamboo Reef in San Francisco, told us, “I don’t know how silicone filler would work wonders for the face. That stuff is awfully greasy.” Anyone know what Kim’s dive-shop beauty secret is? Please e-mail us at

Dive Instructor’s Ice-Diving Death. The dangerous thrill of ice diving is common up north but a recent fatality occurred in sunny California, of all places. While ice diving in Gull Lake near Mammoth Mountain last March, Michael Dahan, a 41-year-old dive shop owner from Thousand Oaks, CA, went underwater without the standard rope to the surface, a definite no-no. Dahan ran out of air, became disoriented and died before he could find his exit hole beneath 16 inches of frozen water. He had just finished teaching an ice-diving class and then decided to do a recreational dive when the drowning occurred. Mono County authorities needed chainsaws to cut holes in the ice, and the search team found Dahan’s body two days later.

Happy Ending. A few years ago, Undercurrent exposed a dive operator in Canada who was collecting money from hundreds of Canadian and American divers, then sending them to Cuba to find that nothing had been prepaid. Our articles led one of our readers, Harry Hanes of Tombstone, Arizona, to pursue Scubacan and he recently told us, ”We have at last settled with Scubacan for the monies they embezzled from our group in 2001 for our scheduled trip. We received all our monies that we spent plus all our additional expenses we incurred, including legal fees, plus interest. Mr. Keith Bolender paid not only his share but that of his partner Mr. Tony Avella. Mr. Avella ‘skipped town’ after the collapse of Scubacan but his trial for breach of probation is scheduled. We hired a very good lawyer who obtained a writ of seizure on Calendar’s home and that gave him an incentive to settle. Thank you for assisting us with your editorials about Scubacan, and we did, with your help, put one unscrupulous company out of business.”

Bad End for Pot-Toting Diver. When 35-year-old Joseph Campbell left his home in rural Jamaica in early April, he told his family he was heading to Kingston to visit his sick father. Instead, his body was found three days later, floating in Kingston Harbour in full scuba gear. A tool kit, including an adjustable spanner, hacksaw, screwdriver, bolts and nuts, was found in his possession. The police said Campbell was attaching a canister with more than 100 pounds of compressed ganja to the hull of a ship when he was struck in the head by the ship’s propeller. Apparently, divers in Jamaica are offered up to $5,000 U.S. for each marijuana-filled canister they affix to commercial vessels heading for the United States and the United Kingdom.

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