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April 2011    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 26, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the April, 2011 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Were You in The Military? Or know a diver who is or was? Reader Rusty Hubbarth (Austin, TX) shares this story from his buddy, Jim, that could help divers who served save some money on their next dive trip. "Flying back home from South Carolina, I checked in at the American Airlines desk and handed the agent my retired military ID and a credit card to pay the $100 baggage fees for the two bags my wife and I had. When I asked for the receipt for my bag fees, I was told they were waived as a courtesy, because I was military. So whatever airline you fly, always use your military ID card at check-in - - whether you're active duty, active duty or retired - - and you may just get your bag fees waived."

Don't Scare That Sting Ray. Do anything to put one on the defensive and you may get a world of hurt. The latest diver to feel a sting ray's wrath was a New Zealander looking for crayfish in weeds off Pakatoa Island earlier this year. He finned over the ray without seeing it, but the threatened ray's automatic defense was to flick its tail upward and dispatch its barb, which pierced the diver's abdomen. He had to be airlifted to the hospital to surgically repair a serious injury. Remember, this was how "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin perished - - he was snorkelling after a swimming bull ray near Port Douglas, Australia, while filming a documentary, and the threatened ray pierced Irwin with a fatal barb to the heart.

Recall of Full-Face Dive Masks. While full-face diving masks are a wave of the future for sport divers, we ought to note that Ocean Technology Systems has recalled its Guardian full-face dive masks due to a potential drowning hazard. About 1,700 are in use in the U.S., and 80 in Canada. The purge assembly on the mask can disengage from the regulator, resulting in loss of air. This recall involves Guardian masks with serial numbers 9051284 through 100070954; the serial number is printed on the main regulator body. For information, contact Ocean Technology Systems at 877-270-1984, or visit its website at www.otscomm.com

Oil Drilling Near Ningaloo Reef. Shell Oil has lodged a proposal with the Australian government to drill an exploration well 30 miles west of the Ningaloo Reef marine park, Australia's largest fringing coral reef that is famous for its whale sharks. Well drilling would start as early as September. Environmentalists are up in arms but Western Australia Premier Kim Hames replied that there are already other oil rigs in the area. There's an online petition to prevent Shell from drilling at www.thepetitionsite.com/2/stop-shell-oil-from-drilling-near-ningaloo-marine-park/

At Last, FM Flippers for Divers. Jessica Simpson, who, for no rational reason, has developed a $1 billion fashion businesses, says she is adding a scuba line: blue fins with stiletto heels. If you don't know who she is, you're a winner in our book, but you'll be a loser if you try to walk the dive boat transom wearing them. Anyhow, you can see these very hot flippers at http://yfrog.com/h093viqj

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