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April 2012    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 27, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the April, 2012 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Get 32 Percent off a Truk Odyssey Trip. Due to a last-minute cancellation, the dive travel agency Reef & Rainforest is offering $1,000 off this liveaboard trip to Truk Lagoon, scheduled for April 15-22. You'll dive reefs with hard and soft corals, a wide variety of fish, eagle rays and sharks, but the highlight is the ghost fleet of Truk Lagoon, considered to be some of the world's best wreck diving. Book this trip ASAP for $2,095; call 503- 208-7500 for details.

A Great Dive Buddy Gets Severe Bends. Renowned underwater cinematographer Mike Prickett, known for his work on award-winning documentaries like Riding Giants and Step Into Liquid, is currently suffering from severe decompression sickness. While shooting a commercial video for dive gear in Rangiroa on March 14, Prickett, 47, went to the aid of a panicking, sinking diver. "I dove down to 220 feet to save him, but he used up all my air," Prickett told KITV News in Honlolulu. He had no choice but to go straight to the surface without decompressing. After undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Tahiti, Prickett was transferred to San Diego in late March. He is paralyzed from the chest down and though he has since regained some sensation in his legs, his condition is still serious. Funds are currently being raised for his treatment; go to www.prayforprickett.com for details.

Is Diving on the Rebound? According to analyst Caitlin Moldvay of IBISWorld Market Research, the scuba industry has been foundering, but revenue has rebounded since 2009. Luxury expenditures like booking liveaboard trips to Raja Ampat, has rebounded faster than per-capita disposable income. However, the number of certified divers declined at an average annual pace of 1.5 percent over the last five years, and the "number of industry employees is expected to decline at a 2.7 percent five-year annualized rate, to 8,885 in 2012." In the next five years, however, Moldvay expects revenue to rebound "as domestic scuba tourism resurfaces. . . . New technologies like the Nautilus Lifeline, which offers two-way contact for divers and boats, are expected to make the sport safer, drawing more people toward diving."

Do Fastballs and Fish Mix? The Florida Marlins think so, having installed two 20-foot-long tropical fish aquariums on the field directly behind home plate in its new stadium. They think it "screams Miami," while animal rights activists think it screams abuse. Animal Rights Foundation of Florida spokesman Don Anthony told the local press, "Even if the glass doesn't shatter, [stadium noise is] going to cause a tremendous vibration and disturb the fish." To prove protestors wrong, Claude Delorme, the Marlins' head of ballpark development, set up a pitching machine to launch baseballs at the tank with fish inside. The results? "You would see a small reaction, "Delorme said. "They would move because they would sense something in that area." He has no plans to remove the fish, so we'll see if they make it through September.

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