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September 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 25, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the September, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Peter Hughes is Now Dancer Fleet. We wrote in the June issue about Peter Hughes leaving his namesake liveaboard business behind. This month, new owner Wayne Brown officially changed the Peter Hughes name to Dancer Fleet. The new website is www.DancerFleet.com, but the reservations number is still the same at 800-932-6237. If you want to reach Peter Hughes instead, he is now managing the M/V Galapagos Sky (formerly the Sky Dancer). The boat is heading into dry dock for regular maintenance but you can get info on future trips at www.divencounters.com.

Indonesias Hard-Hit Reefs. Coral around the world is at risk but some of the worst news is coming out of Indonesia. The Wildlife Conservation Society says rising water temperatures have created a large-scale bleaching event in almost all parts of the country. The hardest hit is divers favorite Wakatobi islands in the Indonesian province of Sulwesi, where around 35 percent of corals have turned white. Malaysian officials recently closed off 12 reefs to divers and snorkelers until November so the coral can recover from coral bleaching (yeah, fat chance.) Meanwhile, those warm waters from Southeast Asia are heading into the North Pacific, with Hawaii as their next likely destination.

A 50-Hour Dive. Ivan Zhelezarov, a 27-year-old diving instructor, has broken the world record for the longest scuba dive in salt water by spending 50 hours submerged. Zhelezarov started his attempt on August 27, going down 26 feet near Kiten on Bulgarias Black Sea coast, and staying underwater - - even though conditions were at times severe - - before emerging at 4 p.m. on August 29. During his time underwater, he took food in liquid form, and was supported by a nine-member team. No word on who had the thankless task of washing out his wetsuit, but you can be certain he wouldnt be allowed to board Captain Charlies boat in Maui, where no peeing in wetsuits is allowed.

Divers Doing Drugs. British researchers surveyed 434 divers (67 percent males and 33 percent females; age range 13 to 70). Seventy-six percent reported regularly consuming alcohol, and 10 percent smoked cigarettes. Twnty-one percent of the divers, ages 16 to 59, had used one or more recreational drugs since learning to dive; these included barbiturates, tranquillizers, amphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, cannabis, heroin and magic mushrooms. In the last 12 months, 3.5 percent had used recreational drugs in the last 12 months, and 3 percent in the last month. The researchers note that recreational drugs change metabolic functions, perception of reality, distance and time, thus increasing the risk of an incident while diving.

Tough Guy Actor Scared of Snorkeling. Ving Rhames is the bad-ass actor who promised to get medieval in Pulp Fiction, and backed up Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible movies. But apparently some little creature freaked him out so badly that he refuses to go snorkeling or diving ever again. While snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, he saw what looked to him like a prehistoriclooking monster. It was a combination of a catfish and something with an oblongish-type head, he told World Entertainment News Network. It came toward me, and I froze, and it just went away. I havent done any scuba diving since, either. Any guesses to what could have scared Rhames, let us know. Ironically, his latest movie is the horror film Piranha 3D.

Big Decline in Diving. Every year, the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association releases its study on the state of sports participation in America. In the latest 64-page report, watersports participation has not fared well over the last nine years: jet skiing (down 18.5 percent), wakeboarding (down 21.5 percent), scuba diving (down 36.7 percent) and water skiing (down 44.5 percent) have seen massive declines. Looks like were going the way of rollerblading, which is down 62.2 percent in the past nine years.

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