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source dares to publish" -- Forbes
July 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 29, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Costa Rica, Montserrat, St. Eustatius . . .

hidden gems, bad air and the jerk of the month

from the July, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Our reader reports, emails and letters sent to me, plus my conversations with divers, have yielded a trove of information. From time to time, I think it's wise to share unusual items with you, in hopes that you will be able to find enticing new experiences, while avoiding nasty problems that you might learn about only when you arrive. Diving isn't cheap -- no, it is damn expensive -- and if I can save you from a bad trip, I'm doing my job. Here are a few tips.

The Maldives Aggressor. "Of the 22 liveaboards I've done, this was one of the three most beautiful," writes longtime Undercurrent correspondent Pat Wikstrom (Warne, NC). But larger-than-average divers should be forewarned, he writes. "I was surprised at how small the cabins were . . . My cabin mate and I took turns standing up to access the closet, bathroom or sink. I was assigned one of two 'value twin' cabins in the bow, along with the vessel's owner, a big, burly Italian businessman known as George O. The forward cabins have the narrowest bunks, at 28 inches, with the top one having a minimal amount of head space. No way could you sit up on that bed. I was unable to hold a hardbound book on my chest without it contacting the ceiling. There was a reasonable amount of headspace in the lower bunk, but George O. had laid claim to it before my arrival. Other cabins had larger bunks, and the deluxe cabins had wide lower bunks so that couples could sleep in one and use the upper for storage." Regardless, "the mostly Maldivian and Sri Lankan crew of 10 was service-oriented, friendly and genuinely interested in our having good dives and a pleasant trip. Their Ari Atoll and North and South Male itineraries provided a great mix of dive sites within the 21 dives they served up." (P.S. Go to the website -- www.aggressor.com/maldives.php -- to look at cabin configuration so you can pick the proper cabin for you and your buddy).

Other Aggressors. The Aggressor fleet is a collection of liveaboards owned by individual investors, and not all are keeping their crafts up to Aggressor's standards. Last year, we had reports of the poor condition of the Thailand Aggressor, and in April, Elizabeth Russell (West Mifflin, PA), who had just returned from the South Andaman Sea itinerary, wrote, "We booked cabin 1 and ended up in cabin 9 due to lack of air-conditioning in cabin 1. The sewer backed up several inches into our shower room. We had a sporadic water supply for two days."...

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"On the first dive, my wife suffered
from carbon dioxide poisoning --
disorientation, hyperventilation
and nausea, and she nearly lost
consciousness at depth."

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