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March 2011    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 26, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the March, 2011 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A Hotel Stay that Helps Turks & Caicos Reefs. In our February Dive News e-mail (sign up to get them monthly by going to Undercurrent and clicking on "Dive News"), we mentioned the launch of the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (www.tcreef.org) to raise money for marine environmental programs in the area. You can help the fund out, and get something for yourself simultaneously, by bidding on its fund-raising raffle prize, a two-night stay at the Parrot Cay Resort. You'll get a Garden View room, breakfasts and transfers to and from the airport or Leeward Marina (stay before December 25). The prize is valued at nearly $2,000, you can win it for $20. Enter the raffle before April 22 by contacting DavidStone@tcreef.org., or call 649-346-3111.

That's No Muskie, It's a Diver. Ice fishermen at Lake Waconia, MN, were preparing their lines on the morning of January 15 when one of them said he saw the biggest muskie of his life pass below his fishing holes. Suddenly, a few lines took off. The fishermen began to reel in, assuming they had hooked a Moby Dick-sized muskie. Instead, they were greeted by an air bubble from the dark fathoms below, followed by a hand holding a rope. One of the fishermen had an asthma attack, but the others realized they had hooked a scuba diver. They leaped to pull the man-fish to safety, but the diver's hand gave a thumbs-up, disappeared momentarily, materialized again holding a couple of the fishermen's hooks to give them, and gave another thumbs-up before submerging. An hour later, someone knocked on the fishhouse door - - it was the diver, calling to say hello. He apologized for the fact that the rope that attached him to the hole where he entered the ice to dive and look for anchors had got caught in their hooks. The fishermen never got his name, but the story they told the Minnesota Star-Tribune nearly made up for the loss of a record-setting muskie.

Defeat Enemy Divers by Deafening Them. Underwater terrorists, beware. A researcher at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey has proposed a system that can blanket an underwater area with high-intensity sound directed to the diver's location, and deafening the diver in the process. Alexander Sutin found that using hydrophones to listen for a diver's breathing are easier to use than sonar, and deliver better detection rates. Once a diver has been located, a louder version of the sound picked up at each hydrophone is reproduced by an attached transducer and aimed back at the diver. The sound, a deafening 180 decibles, can be sent out over a distance of 650 feet.

Cave Diver Stays Calm to the End. Agnes Milowka, a marine archeologist and esteemed cave diver who had served as a stunt diver for James Cameron's latest movie Sanctum, died on February 27 while diving Tank Cave in Millicent, Australia, but dive buddies said she remained calm until her last breath as she tried to find her way to the surface. After venturing into a narrow, rocky passage, Milowka, 29, became separated from her buddy and got lost after stirring up silt. Her body was found at 65 feet depth in a tight section of the cave, where she apparently ran out of air, became disoriented and suffocated. She was 1,800 feet from the cave entrance. It took three days for cave divers to extract Milowka and bring her body to the surface.

A Diver Creates an Eco-Friendly Fishing Line. A bane to divers everywhere is fishing line strewn across reefs. But a Japanese company named Globeride has created a fishing line made of special plastic that dissolves into carbon dioxide and water after five years through the work of marine microorganisms. Tokuo Ichikawa, the man who created the fishing line, says the impetus came five years ago while he was taking part in a dive at Lake Kawaguchi to recover discarded fishing line and sinkers. The fishing line was introduced last July, and even though it was 10 percent more expensive than standard line, it quickly sold out. Ichikawa says he will now develop fishing line using natural materials such as rice and corn.

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