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February 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 39, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the February, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Sorry, Gladys. In last month's article "Post-Op Diving" about diving after major medical operations, Gladys Howard, beloved owner of Pirates Point Resort at Little Cayman, wrote us about how she celebrated with a dive on her 80th birthday after enduring cancer treatments and a knee replacement. But we screwed up the photo caption in the print article. Gladys is actually on the left, and it's her dive instructor, Martha Steinhagen, who's the one holding up the "80" whiteboard. Apologies, Gladys, but hope you're doing well and diving regularly.

Flotsam & JetsamPaul McCartney and Richard Branson Support the Turtles. The Cayman Turtle Farm on Grand Cayman is under fire after the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) went undercover there, filmed a catalogue of failures, and alleges that the turtles, bred for their meat, are kept in inhumane conditions, suffer illness and injury, and tourists are in danger of illness from handling them. The WSPA wants to stop the breeding program and have the turtle farm dedicated completely to rehabilitation, research and conservation. McCartney publicly stated that he backed WSPA, and Branson says he's awaiting the farm's independent review with interest.

Looking for Treasure? Underwater treasure hunts are always intriguing, especially if you get a share in the profits. Bobby Pritchett, CEO of Global Marine Exploration, wrote us to say his company just got a contract in the Dominican Republic for salvaging shipwrecks 200 to 500 years old. That may be a good area to search -- Deep Blue Marine announced back in spring 2011 that it found what it thinks is the Caribbean's oldest shipwreck, on the northern coast, after finding jade statues, Mayan jewelry and gold coins dating back to 1535. The salvager split its profits, probably worth millions, evenly with the Dominican government. Pritchett is seeking investors, so if you like high-risk diving from a financial standpoint, contact him at

Money Dispute Leads to Dead Dolphins. Villagers on Fanalei in the Solomon Islands have slaughtered approximately 1,000 dolphins after a fallout with the conservation group Earth Island Institute. They say the Berkeley-based nonprofit failed to pay them $400,000 as agreed for stopping the traditional hunt. Earth Island says the money had been seized by a few renegade villagers, who weren't distributing it. Whatever the miusunderstanding, it's a huge setback for conservation efforts in a "hot spot" for the dolphin trade -- the Solomons were notorious as a source of live dolphins for aquariums in China and Dubai, selling them for $150,000 each. Tourism operators are calling for the Solomon Islands government to get involved, and one unnamed dive operator told Radio Australia he feared that "people will become more and more disgusted when they realize what's happening."

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