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November 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 43, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the November, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dive Boat Smuggler: The boat captain for Blueocean Expeditions, a Ft. Lauderdale eco-tour agency and scuba operation, was sentenced in October to six years in prison for transporting illegal immigrants. Richard Karl Mork had been arrested in March after suspicious Border Patrol agents came across his 33-foot boat in Florida's Upper Keys. They found five Jamaicans and five Haitians below deck. One said he had paid $5,000 for passage to the U.S. Mork admitted he had left Bimini with the 10 immigrants and knew they were undocumented.

Time for a Macro Lens: In the coming decades, warming ocean temperatures could stunt fish growth by as much as 30 percent, according to a new study in the journal Global Change Biology. Warmer water contains less oxygen, so as oceans heat up, fish need to work harder to get the oxygen needed to sustain their body functions. But fish gills do not grow at the same pace as the rest of a fish's body, resulting in a decline in oxygen supply, and therefore, in growth. Fish are becoming smaller.

Dive Businesses Getting Back on Their Feet. Several dive business were damaged by the flotilla of hurricanes that hit several Caribbean nations, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Florida. DEMA issues press releases once a business is up and running again. For the latest information, visit

Finding Nemo: That will get harder as anemones start to bleach, just like coral, and these iconic little clown fish and anemone fish get stressed and stop laying eggs. Rising water temperatures associated with climate change can severely weaken the anemone host, causing them to evict the tiny symbionts that give them their color, which is where the trouble starts. Nature Communications reports that scientists at Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, suspect that this pattern may hold true for untold numbers of other fish nurtured by corals or anemones, so it's bad news for Nemo's pal, Cory, too.

Stop Using this OMS Regulator. If you have an Ocean Management System Airstream Evoque regulator, stop using it immediately. Taiwanese-made, they were sold between February and June of this year, not only though Diving Unlimited International (DUI) dealers, but also online through and If you have one, return it to where you bought it for a full refund. Three divers, DUI reports, have had serious failures and the regulator is at serious risk of or catastrophic loss of air during a dive. Only 480 were sold, and DUI believes all have been recovered, but if you still have one, get rid of it.

The American Ostrich. France and China, both key leaders of the Paris Climate Accord now that the Trump Administration is pulling out, will be jointly launching a new satellite to model climate change's role with the world's oceans and better predict storms. Any diver who has seen bleached coral and diminishing reefs and fish populations really ought to raise a stink about an Administration that has buried its head deep in the warming sands so it may continue to deny that humans have a role in the warming our oceans.

The Triumph of Will! We asked if you were or knew of any active divers older than British diver Ray Woolley (94), and Max Benjamin, owner of Walindi Plantation in Papua New Guinea, told us that controversial German film-maker Leni Riefenstahl was 96 when he last saw her diving in PNG. And, she was still diving two years later in the Maldives. Benjamin says she liked to dive past 30m (100 feet) because she said it relieved her arthritis. Beat that.

An Incentivized Swim. A British diver, separated from his boat in Western Australia, decided to swim for shore after he had drawn the attention of a large tiger shark. John Craig, 34, had been spearfishing off aptly named Shark Bay when he managed to swim more than four miles in possibly record time, as he said he felt the shark was escorting him. "It was extremely close and curious and kept approaching me from different angles. It was trying to work out what I was and whether I could be on the menu," he later told the BBC.

Top Wildlife Underwater Pictures. Five marine life photographers are featured in the prestigious British Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition 2017 including US photographers Brian Skerry and Tony Wu. To see the winning pictures go to:

Hawaii's Public Hyperbaric Chamber Closes. Located at the Kuakini Medical Center in Honolulu, the chamber has closed for want of a suitably qualified doctor to man it, even though it provided seven divers a total of 17 hyperbaric therapeutic treatments since as recently as July. About a third of the University of Hawaii's research dives have been postponed as a result. Jerrod Kowalski of Aqua Lung Pacific has expressed concern about the ability for recreational divers to get access to fast, high quality treatment should they need it.

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