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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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March 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 39, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the March, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Another Place to Recycle Dive Gear. After writing about where to take old equipment when you're done with it, Undercurrent readers are popping up with more places to sell stuff to. The latest is from David Steinberg, who recommends Discount Divers Supply in Seattle. Box up your equipment and ship it to the shop, which will give an estimate once the package arrives, and can offer cash or credit. They're looking for quite an assortment of stuff, including non-working rebreathers and antique dive gear ( )

Witch-Burning Alive and Well in PNG. Papua New Guinea is safe enough -- if you're headed straight to your dive resort. In her review of Walindi Plantation last October, our reporter described the arrest of 29 cannibal cult members in the Western Highlands for eating raw human brains. That regi on is in the news again after a mob stripped, tortured and bound a woman accused of witchcraft, then doused her with gasoline and burned her alive on a pile of tires in front of hundreds of people last month. Kepari Leniata, 20, was accused of sorcery by relatives of a six-year-old boy who had recently died; the connection between the two is unclear. The country's big newspapers printed grisly photos of the burning on their front pages. Police were outnumbered by the mob and couldn't save Leniata. The United Nations said the killing "adds to the growing pattern of vigilante attacks and killings of persons accused of sorcery" in PNG.

Does Wine Age Better Underwater? Mira Winery of Saint Helena, CA, is testing that theory by submerging four cases of 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon in Charleston Harbor to see how the ocean affects the aging of the wine. Some European wineries have produced underwater-aged wine, but it's still a novel idea in the U.S. Winemakers have long known that wine recovered from sunken ships has a unique taste, and the ocean is thought to play a role, but Michael Kaiser, director of communications for the National Association of American Wineries, suggested that wine recovered from ships may simply taste better because the wine is really old. Once Mira's wine is pulled from the ocean in late May, it will be chemically compared to wine aged in a cellar, then tasted and compared by wine experts.

First It Was Lionfish . . . Now it's giant goldfish that are the latest threat to marine life. Biologists with the University of Nevada at Reno are finding a growing number of them in Lake Tahoe, probably due to people dumping their aquariums into the lake. Some of the goldfish have grown to 18 inches, and they pose a threat to the lake's ecology because they eat a lot, creating competition for native trout, and excrete "lots of nutrients" that stimulate algae growth. There have been no prior studies on goldish, so researchers are catching the giant fish and bringing them back to the lab for research.

Join the Search for Treasure. In 1985, Mel Fisher found the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha, which sank in 1622, 35 miles southwest of Key West and 55 feet deep, and he uncovered an estimated $500 million of treasure. But there's still more to discover, and the late Fisher's family is offering divers the opportunity to help professional salvage experts during week-long dive trips between June and August. You'll be searching for the ship's sterncastle, as well as the gold and silver bars and coins listed on the Atocha's manifest that are still missing. Anyone who discovers something precious will be awarded previously conserved Atocha pieces of equal value, up to $2,500. The trip cost, including lodging, is $2,500, and trips are limited to six divers ( ).

Good Job, Indonesia. Last month, government officials announced the opening of a new shark and manta ray sanctuary in Raja Ampat, the first of its kind in the Coral Triangle, which will measure 18,000 square miles. The government also issued guidelines to abolish the fining and fishing of sharks in the area.

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