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July 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 25, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the July, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dont Tattle On Your Buddies. Jason Carey, a British scuba instructor, was too tired on June 6 to get out of bed and answer a late-night knock on his door. It was Derrick Bird, a pissed-off member of his dive club. According to the London Telegraph, when Carey didnt come to the door, Bird walked into the street and shot and killed two strangers. His resentment towards Carey started when Carey reported him for taking a fellow diver too deep. A friend of Bird said that when Carey learned Bird took someone diving deeper than 150 feet, which he was not supposed to do, Jason went straight to the [British Sub Aqua Club] diving officer in charge and told him. It niggled at Derrick a lot. So much, in fact, that he killed 11 more people and injured 10 others before turning the gun on himself.

Underwater Blackout. If you free dive, we trust you know the risk of hyperventilating before submerging. Karl Ng, a neurologist in Sydney, Australia, says that hyperventilating suppresses your natural reflexes, and you wont feel the severe urge to breathe. Youll lack oxygen but youll falsely believe you can stay down longer, so you black out and drown. Ng told the Sydney Morning Herald about two medical students who hyperventilated, then tried to see who could swim the furthest underwater. One went just over a pool length and the other went farther, but both blacked out and had to be rescued. A few years ago, an Aussie dive guide on a day boat drowned after hyperventilating and free diving between guided dives.

Mantas on the Menu. The falling shark population is prompting Asian chefs to look for manta rays and mobula rays to meet the voracious demand for shark fin soup, reports the London Times. Until recently, they have been hunted only by subsistence fishermen, who harpoon them. But in the eastern Indonesian port of Lamakera, catches of manta have rocketed from a few hundred to about 1,500 a year. Mantas and mobulas are being used as shark fin soup filler, said Tim Clark, a marine biologist at the University of Hawaii. The cartilage is being mixed with low-grade shark fins in cheap versions of the soup. So divers, next time youre in Indonesia, raise a little hell about manta fishing.

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