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September 2007    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 22, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam and Jetsam

from the September, 2007 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

How Much Does Air Cost? Dive Center Business recently surveyed dive stores about the price they charge for air and Nitrox fills. Compared to the same survey done in 2005, air is now more expensive to breathe. The average charge for a standard air fill is $5.67, compared to $4.97 in 2005, a 12 percent increase. The typical Nitrox fill increased 10 percent, to $11.19 from $10.09. The Southwest How Much Does Air Cost? Dive Center Business recently surveyed dive stores about the price they charge for air and Nitrox fills. Compared to the same survey done in 2005, air is now more expensive to breathe. The average charge for a standard air fill is $5.67, compared to $4.97 in 2005, a 12 percent increase. The typical Nitrox fill increased 10 percent, to $11.19 from $10.09. The Southwest typically has the cheapest air fills, averaging $4, while the Southeast has the cheapest Nitrox fills, averaging $10.14. The Rocky Mountain states charge the most for both, averaging $6 and $13.22 respectively.

Skeleton Found in Scuba Gear. Investigators are trying to identify a skeleton found inside scuba gear last month in Commencement Bay near Tacoma, WA. A firefighter doing a recreational dive spotted the body 300 feet from shore. All he saw was a white skull but a complete suit, tank, BCD and weights, says Tacoma detective Ed Troyer. It could have been there for years, and at least nine months. An underwater robot was sent to retrieve the body, 200 feet below the surface, and medical examiners are now trying to identify the body from records of divers gone missing in the Bay, as well as other areas of Puget Sound.

The Downside of Red-Eye Flights. While divers love the Friday red-eye flight from Houston to Bonaire, most who arrive at 6 a.m. find they cant check in till the afternoon. They may even find the front door locked, as did Undercurrent readers Frank Hall and Carole Ott (Floyds Knobs, IN) at Den Laman. The office didnt open until 8:30 am. We sat at a picnic table and waited for two hours, a real bummer after being awake all night. Usually, if you want a room upon arrival, youll have to pay for an extra night. But sometimes you can find a half-day rate not just in Bonaire, but Fiji and any other destination where you arrive at sunrise.

Turtle Farts Can Be Dangerous. A flatulent turtle set off an aquariums fire alarm after being fed a treat of Brussels sprouts. It broke wind and the bubble it created was so strong, it set off an emergency sensor inside its tank at the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, England, indicating water was at a dangerously high level. According to marine biologist Sarah Leaney, who rushed to the tank, I saw the turtle beneath the tube containing the sensor. A few large bubbles emerged from beneath him and rose to the surface next to the tube. Humans can experience similar side effects if they eat too many sprouts.

Speaking of Turtles. Many sea turtle populations are in trouble, but the Pacific leatherback is closest to extinction, its population dropping 95 percent in just 25 years. In his new book Voyage of the Turtle, scientist and marine conservationist Carl Safina travels to leatherbacks nesting beaches and feeding grounds from New Guinea to Northern California and delves into the quirky biology of the turtle, which he describes as dinosaur and whale, with a hint of albatross. Safina also gives an updated status of six other sea turtle species, the threats they face, and what conservation methods are working. Go to Undercurrent, click on Diving Books, then the Amazon icon at the bottom of the page, and Undercurrents profit from any book you buy through our Web site will go to preserve coral reefs.

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