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July 2011    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 26, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the July, 2011 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The Most Whales Ever Recorded. Undercurrent was the first dive publication to report the summer whale shark circus happening in Mexico, between Holbox and Cancun. Scientists at the Smithsonian recently made an accurate count of the group north of Cancun: 420 individuals, all in search of their favorite food, zooplankton, which is the world's smallest organism. A less dense gathering, known as the Cabo Catoche aggregation, off the northern tip of theYucatan, prey mostly on shrimp and small crustaceans called copepods. Apparently, the same animals are involved in both aggregations. Last year, Undercurrent subscribers contributed more than $30,000 to provide buoys that keep tankers and other ocean vessels away from these gatherings.

Diver on a Mission to Find the Dead Bin Laden. A California salavage diver is preparing a two-week trip this month to the north Arabian Sea to make sure Osama bin Laden is really dead. Bill Warren, 59, vows to scour the sea bed to find the al Qaeda's leader corpse and take photographic evidence. Warren, who has discovered more than 200 wrecks, said he wanted to expose the truth. "I'm doing it because I am a patriotic American who wants to know the truth. I do it for the world." He expects to spend $400,000 for the trip, renting a ship in India for $10,000 a day, and another $1,000 per day for a remote-operated submarine.

More Shark Protection in Latin America. Honduras is declaring its waters, both Pacific and Caribbean, to be a permanent shark sanctuary. President Porfirio Lobo Sosa signed the bill banning commerical shark fishing into law during a visit to Roatan last month. Legislatures in Chile unanimously backed a bill to ban shark finning in its waters; it now awaits action by the Senate before President Piera can sign it.

Diver's Death by Propeller. Hitomi Shibata, 22, died instantly after her head struck a boat propellor while she was diving near Phuket, Thailand, on May 4. She was taking an openwater course with Kontiki Divers. Apparently, Shibata pushed the inflator button on her BCD too hard, causing it to inflate rapidly, carrying her headfirst into the propeller of the dive boat, which was maneuvering to pick up another group who had just finished their dive. While this was diver error, when will boat captains learn to keep their engines in neutral when there are divers down? Moreover, what crew members failed to keep a lookout?

Terrorizing Bear Gets Away Scot Free. Brian Horch was diving in Puget Sound last month when he saw what he believes is the suspect in terrorizing events that forced the lockdown of three schools in Port Orchard, WA. Officials were trying to track down a black bear roaming the town streets, hence the school shutdowns. They baited a trap with doughnuts and marshmallows drenched in syrup, but the bear ignored it. They got close enough to hit it with a tranquilizer dart, but the bear ran off unharmed. Perhaps he sensed his luck was running out - - Horch saw the bear swimming from Port Orchard to Bainbridge Island, which hopefully has more unpopulated space for him to roam.

We're Appreciated - - and We Appreciate It. Undercurrent just received a $1,000 grant from the Singing Field Foundation, a family foundation in New Hampshire that gives grants in the areas of environment, animal welfare and health, and other causes close to family members' hearts. Jonathan Scott, Singing Field's president, wrote us that the grant is for "continuing support for your coverage of environmental issues, advocacy and fundraising for marine conservation causes." And that's what we'll be using this money for. Flotsam & Jetsam

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