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October 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the October, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Update on Post-Tsunami Sulawesi. Dive resorts in Manado, Bunaken and Lembeh are 650 miles away from Palu, scene of the devastating earthquake and tsunami last month, so they're unaffected. However, Mount Soputan, in North Sulawesi, erupted on October 3, sending a plume of ash 12,000 feet into the air; flights into Manado are not affected as of press time. If you wish to donate money to the relief aid, Americares, which is sending humanitarian aid to Sulawesi, is a good option (

Want Some of Our Old Issues? Many of you will recall that Undercurrent used to be sent out as a hard copy. Reader Lori Southard has got copies of issues dating back many years and is offering them up for sale. If you are interested in this historic collection, contact her at

Hugyfot Pitches the Plastic. No more singleuse packaging for this camera maker. The parts currently made from plastic will be replaced by 3D printed parts by 2020. The material will be made out of formic acid, which is entirely biodegradable. With this move, Hugyfot joins Mission 2020, a dive community project aimed at eliminating single-use plastic in product packaging by 2020 (

There's Plastic and Then There's Plastic. Reader Bill Van Antwerp (Los Angeles, CA) writes, "In your recent tips, you suggest that glass is better than plastic for magnification. Simply not true. Water has an index of refraction of 1.33, while crown glass has an index of 1.52 and polycarbonate has an index of 1.58. This means a polycarbonate magnifier will magnify a bit more than a glass one while in water."

Sargassum Weed Reaches Mexico. Massive rafts of weed that have floated in and piled up on the beaches of Caribbean islands (see our July issue about this) have reached the Yucatán Peninsula. However, Isla Mujeres, famous for whale shark encounters, has been spared, due to the way currents flow, says Jim Silver, owner of Aqua Adventures Eco Diving. Farther south in Cozumel, dive guide Paulo Maçarico says sargassum has had little effect on the diving, because most gets blown over to Playa del Carmen.

A Florida Dive Gone Wrong. After two divers went missing last month during a dive on the RJ Thompson, near Tarpon Springs, FL, local law enforcement and the Coast Guard searched more than 1,700 nautical miles of the Gulf of Mexico before finding them. Michael Pavlich spent seven hours in the water, five miles southeast of the wreck. Terry Hayes was spotted nearly a day later, 12 miles farther away. Hayes kept his BC on to give him flotation, and he drank rainwater he collected with his mask. He was finally spotted by means of his surface marker buoy.

Update on Hawaii's Fish Trade. We wrote last month about Rene Umberger, director of For the Fishes, and how the Hawaii Supreme Supreme Court agreed with her claim that the impact of the aquarium trade on the state's reefs was not being properly documented. She writes us about good and bad news since the ruling. "Because Hawaii's government is sidestepping the spirit and intent of the court opinion, we're reaching out to [aquarium] suppliers and having great success. eBay has agreed to prevent the aquarium trade from selling Hawaii's marine life on its website."

Diving and Dehydration. About the article we did on this topic in last month's issue, Neal Pollock, research chair in hyperbaric and diving medicine at Laval University in Quebec, would like to add that although reasonable hydration is important for dives, excess hydration carries its own risks -- it can increase a diver's susceptibility to immersion pulmonary edema (IPE), when fluid leaks from the bloodstream into air sacs in the lungs and can lead to heart failure or other cardiac problems. IPE, which causes rapid shortness of breath, coughing and sometimes blood-tinged sputum, resembles drowning, but the fluid comes from within the body rather than from inhaling water.

Send Us Your Reader Reports. We're preparing for the 2018 edition of the Travelin' Diver's Chapbook, Send us reviews of dive operators, liveaboards and resorts you've visited this year by filling out our online form at Also follow the link "File a Report" on the left side of our homepage ( or after logging in, follow the "Reader Report" link in the top navigation bar. Thanks for telling us about the good and bad dive travel experiences out there.

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