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March 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 25, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the March, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dive Weights as Projectiles? When it comes to dive gear, dont mess with the TSA in Atlanta. Returning from a St. Maarten dive trip in December, reader John Dechant (Syracuse, IN) had his dive weights taken out of his carryon and scanned as usual, but this time they were confiscated. They said they could be projectiles. The supervisor said if they had been in my checked luggage, it would be okay. I said I had weights in my carryon for four years with no problem in several different airports. The reply: We do things right in Atlanta. That wasnt enough for Dechant, who wanted to know why Atlanta was so different. Dont follow his example. My unwillingness to accept their ruling got me a discussion with the Atlanta police.

Sinking and Exploding Liveaboards. Red Sea boats have had bad luck lately. In November, the Coral Princess capsized and sank near Egyptian dive site Ras Mohamed. A Spanish couple went missing and are presumed dead. A month later, the Emperor Fraser went aground and sank near Sharm el- Sheikh when stern mooring lines broke free. The captain didnt start the engines because divers were still in the water. Everyone was picked up safely. On January 30, the Typhoon, VIP One, Hyatt and Sweet Dream were damaged by fire in a Suez dry dock; the cause may have been faulty dock electrical wiring. And in Fiji the next day, an explosion on the Naia left one workman dead and two injured (no crew or passengers were aboard). Painters were coating a water tank beneath passenger decks when the explosion happened. The hull and engine escaped damage but passenger cabins need to be gutted and rebuilt, which will take two to three months. Meanwhile, Blue Lagoon Cruises M/V Lycianda has been chartered to take divers booked on Naia, with the same crew and itineraries. Think Twice About Fish Oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for our hearts, but our reliance on them is not great for fish life, says author Paul Greenberg. In a New York Times op-ed, he says menhaden, an algae-eating herring rich in Omega-3 and the basis of the Atlantic Coasts marine food chain, is drastically overfished. Omega Protein in Houston catches 90 percent of them and while 13 Atlantic states have banned its boats, it still fishes in North Carolina, Virginia and federal waters (no menhaden protection bill yet). Greenberg recommends buying fish oil pills made from fish discards, or just use flax oil for picked up safely. On January 30, the Typhoon, VIP One, Hyatt and Sweet Dream were damaged by fire in a Suez dry dock; the cause may have been faulty dock electrical wiring. And in Fiji the next day, an explosion on the Naia left one workman dead and two injured (no crew or passengers were aboard). Painters were coating a water tank beneath passenger decks when the explosion happened. The hull and engine escaped damage but passenger cabins need to be gutted and rebuilt, which will take two to three months. Meanwhile, Blue Lagoon Cruises M/V Lycianda has been chartered to take divers booked on Naia, with the same crew and itineraries.

Think Twice About Fish Oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for our hearts, but our reliance on them is not great for fish life, says author Paul Greenberg. In a New York Times op-ed, he says menhaden, an algae-eating herring rich in Omega-3 and the basis of the Atlantic Coasts marine food chain, is drastically overfished. Omega Protein in Houston catches 90 percent of them and while 13 Atlantic states have banned its boats, it still fishes in North Carolina, Virginia and federal waters (no menhaden protection bill yet). Greenberg recommends buying fish oil pills made from fish discards, or just use flax oil for the same heart benefits.

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