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October 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 28, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Seeking More Exotic Diving?

how about Russia, the Sardine Run, or an underwater cemetery?

from the October, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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The Okeanos Aggressor. Our readers always report excellent trips on this craft, save the mal de mer that hits some divers during the long crossing from the mainland. That said, Andrew James Gregor (Lafayette, CA), there in August, reports divemaster behavior against which we have railed for years: being more interested in their own personal photography than observing their divers. And in the rougher waters off Cocos Island, where divers have disappeared with too much frequency, that's not the best behavior. As Gregor writes, "Captain Alberto and his crew were stellar. Warren, the other divemaster, is phenomenal. Having said that, these are difficult dives, even for experienced divers -- we had strong currents at times and it was a wild ride . . . It is hard not to like Alberto (or 'Beto' as he is known) and he runs a great operation, but he is generally more interested in taking photographs and video than watching his group. We were split up on more than one occasion, and it was clear he did not know where we were, which pissed off some people. He also does exactly what he and his crew said not to do: rush towards an animal, lights ablaze. Other than that, I highly recommend this boat and this crew -- they took fantastic care of us." ( )

Diving in Russia. If you're looking for the next great adventure, here's a possibility: Russia, Siberia and Lake Baikal. Trips there are being offered by 56th Parallel, a new adventure travel company based in both Australia and Moscow ( ).

Neptune Society Memorial Reef. If you're a serious diver and ocean lover, then perhaps you have decided to spend eternity underwater, like our longtime subscribers Warren and Gilda Sprung (Houston, TX). They went diving to preview their eventual home, and Warren tells us, "Years ago, we decided to spend eternity at a underwater cemetery off Miami called Neptune Society Memorial Reef. ( ). When we checked with local dive shops, one dive shop offered to take the two of us out -- for just under $1,000 for two dives. Then we found Miami Bay Tours, owned and operated by Mike Smith, a fantastic man and a full-time Miami police officer. He took us in his immaculate, twin- 250hp, 28-foot covered boat, complete with rinse bucket and plenty of legal liquid refreshments." The Neptune Memorial Reef has large sculptures as gatekeepers, memorial columns, gates -- it's an unusual underwater park, for sure. Warren reports that though there is some storm damage, it's in "overall good shape, with lots of growth on pillars, and quite a bit of sea life. This is not a trip for a lot of diving, but the memorial was crawling with marine critters. Lobster, green moray, all sorts of reef fishes and critters, plus the cemetery itself is well worth the trip. There is also a small reef nearby; I saw a nurse shark and several large schools of reef fish. Definitely worth adding to your bucket list. Mike charged us $110 each for the two dives, and he refused to accept a large tip (he cut it in half!)." ( )...

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