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July 2009    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 24, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the July, 2009 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Diver Battles Croc in Raja Ampat. A British diver is recovering after fighting off a saltwater crocodile. He was bitten on his neck and hand while diving from the Ondina liveaboard at a remote dive site in Indonesia. His personal story will appear in an upcoming issue of Undercurrent. According to witnesses on the boat, the crocodile appeared from nowhere and began to drag the diver to deep water. Alexander Safonov, the divers buddy, tried to fight off the croc by poking it in the eyes, then surfaced to get help. Meanwhile, the diver managed to stab the crocodile in the eye with his knife, and it let him go. Safonov told Dive magazine: It is a miracle that the diver survived, and I attribute it to his bravery and ability to keep calm and disciplined in this extreme situation.

How Valuable Are Coral Reefs? Marine-focused organizations tried to determine how much economic value they create for the world. Their figure: $29.8 billion a year. Read their explanation in the interesting - - and free - - study Economic Values of Coral Reefs, Seagrasses and Mangroves: A Global Compilation 2008. It describes reef-focused tourisms impact on the global economy, and what countries will be hit hardest by the oceans decline. Contact Giselle Samonte-Tan at gsamontetan@conservation.org to get a free booklet e-mailed to you.

A Seahorses Incredible Journey. A long-nosed seahorse floating in the English Channel was scooped up by a seagull and flown, dangling from its beak, three miles inland. She was then dropped from height to land on a lawn in Weymouth, England, patrolled by a hungry cat. Luckily the cats owner, Karen Warr, picked up the air-deprived seahorse with a slice of fish, placed her in a bowl of tepid water, and rushed her to the nearby marine center. The staff named the seahorse Pegasus and put her into a dark quarantine tank for 28 days. Pegasus quickly recovered and was apparently returned to sea.

Scuba Diving and Paintball? In Quebec, entrepreneurs are launching a nonprofit organization called the Outdoor Alliance, which brings together four businesses: New World Rafting, Arnold Paintball, the Canadian Association of Face-First Rappelling and Mountain-Cross, and Total Diving. Its advertising invites all adventure sport enthusiasts to exceed their limits and to try out new and emerging alternative sports. See www.alliancepleinair.com (in French now, with the English version coming soon) to see how the alliance is taking diving away from being a wuss sport that any idiot can do into pure adventure.

Yanni Gives Up Hair for Diving. You know Yanni, that lion-maned, Greek-born pianist who lights up PBS screens at pledge time? Well, divers, hes trimmed his hair and he blames scuba diving. I was at my house in Greece and I like to scuba dive, but my hair was getting on my nerves because scuba diving and long hair dont go together very well. Eventually I said, Just cut it all off and forget it. Just enjoy the ocean. Apparently, he doesnt know any of the long-haired lady scuba divers who could have taught him how to keep his hair and enjoy the dive.

Red Seas Dive Shop Shutdown. Egypts Chamber of Diving and Watersports is busy. Not only is it cracking down on dive boats chumming for sharks (see our story on page 11), it recently announced that 23 diving centers in the South Sinai area, including 14 in Sharm El Sheikh, were operating without an official Ministry of Tourism license. Dive magazine reports that although the dive centers were asked to operate legally, they did not comply, so the Chamber ordered them to be shut down as a major step in raising standards throughout the dive industry in Egypt.

Blowup Over Sulawesis Reefs. The Indonesian island boasts Takabonerate, a top marine park that received an award from the World Ocean Conference in May, but its sadly downhill from there. Fishery officials say 55 percent of coral reefs in Sulawesis southern waters are damaged due to fishermens destructive use of dynamite, even inside the marine park boundaries. The Indonesian Navy had arrested fishermen in South Sulawesi waters for using bombs to catch fish, but the damage has been done - - nearly half of Takabonerates reefs are reported to be in bad condition.

Diver Caught in Freak Wave. Australian abalone diver Greg Pickering was 36 feet underwater, connected to his boat by a dive hose, when a big, unexpected wave capsized his boat. Suddenly, I got pulled off the bottom and it just kept pulling. Then the air went off and I came up and the deckhand was sitting on the upside-down boat. The two men were unharmed and found in a life raft three hours later.

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