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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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August 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the August, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Samuel L. Jackson Does Dive Research For a New Documentary. The actor - and certified diver -- recently made a visit with a film crew to The History of Diving Museum in Islamorada, FL, as part of the project to make Enslaved, a six-part documentary charting the history of transatlantic slavery through underwater archeology. The museum has an exhibition featuring two slave ships that went down in Florida waters - the Guerrero, which lies in pieces near the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and the Henrietta Marie, 35 miles off Key West. Enslaved will be narrated by Jackson; its release is being timed to coincide with the 400- year anniversary since the first African was brought to the New World as a slave.

The Most Expensive Day Dive Trip Ever? Subscriber Ken Paff (Detroit, MI) wrote to tell us of his shock to discover that a one-day, three-tank dive trip with Fathom Five Adventures to Ni'ihau, off Kauai, HI, costs nearly $500 per person. That's pretty pricey. What's the most expensive day trip you have ever taken? And was it worth the cost? Write to

Cathy Church Charged In Boat Crash. Cayman Islands media reports that the underwater photographer has been formally charged with navigating a vessel so as to cause damage or risk of damage, and committing a reckless and negligent act. Church's boat crashed into the side of a moored Divetech boat, the distinctive pink Atatude, at the Kittiwake wreck site on January 8. Witnesses said nobody was at the helm when the collision occurred. No one was injured, but there were snorkelers in the water. Church, 74, will be summoned to attend court at a later date.

Diving with Great Whites near San Francisco. Just a three-hour boat ride from the Golden Gate Bridge are the Farallon Islands, home to one of the world's most significant populations of great white sharks. From September 15 to November 30, you can take a day trip on the Derek M Baylis to the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, and for $825, you can view sharks from a safe shark cage, the same used by the Sanctuary shark researchers. Bear in mind, average water temperatures there top out at 60 degrees, so bring your layers. Email for more details.

Asia's Disappearing WWII Shipwrecks. As the price of pre-Atomic Age steel increases, so does the illegal salvaging of metal from shipwrecks around Malaysia and Indonesia. Even poor-quality steel can now bring about $1.3 million per wreck salvaged. The latest wrecks to disappear are two Dutch submarines sunk by Japanese mines off Malaysia during WWII. Research divers discovered just a few remains of one and a mere impression in the seabed from the other.

Candidate's Campaign Starts with a Diving Death. Pondering whether to enter the U.S. Senate race, Montana Democrat John Mues, a Navy veteran with dive experience, decided to film a campaign ad in June, which included shooting underwater at Canyon Ferry Reservoir, near Helena. During the filming, producer Jesse Hubbell, 40, had equipment problems in the cold water and began struggling. Mues, 45, tried to save him, but Hubbell submerged and his body wasn't recovered until two days later. Mues launched his Senate campaign on July 11.

Hurricane Michael Uncovers an Underwater Forest. Subscriber Carol Cox tells us that after the Category Five-level hurricane hit her hometown of Mexico Beach, FL in October 2018, it pushed the offshore wreck of a shrimp boat called the Shady Lady into an upright position at 95 feet. More astonishing is the multitude of ancient tree trunks revealed when sand was scoured away. Those trunks could be anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 years old, but because they're not petrified, they'll be eaten away by marine organisms unless the sand covers them again.

No More Plastic Marine Tags in Bonaire. You still have to pay $45 to dive in the island's Marine Park, but it's going digital -- mostly. Register at your dive shop or before you leave home at, but instead of a plastic tag, you'll get a paper receipt, and you'll be expected to have it on you, if asked. Because paper falls apart underwater, wouldn't metal be a better choice? Maybe just leave it in a dry bag on your boat.

Two Jumbo Jets Sunk for Divers. The first stage in Bahrain's plan to establish the world's largest underwater amusement park happened on June 11, when a Boeing 747 was sunk off the island nation in the Arabian Gulf. Not to be outdone, Turkey sunk an Airbus A330 three days later, placing it 98 feet deep in the Gulf of Saros to boost scuba diving tourism in that northern stretch of the Aegean Sea, between the Gallipoli Peninsula and the Greek border.

Class Ring Found Underwater 59 Years Later. Luke Berube from Orleans, MA has spent 13 years diving with a metal detector in local lakes and ponds, and on June 15, he discovered, buried under five inches of muck, a 1960 men's class ring with the insignia "Gate of Heaven" and the engraved initials "WJW." Through the Facebook page of alumni from the now-demolished Gate of Heaven Catholic high school in South Boston, Berube located the owner. Bill Wadel, now 77 and living in Spotsylvania, VA, realized his high school sweetheart must have lost it swimming, six decades ago. He has now given his class ring to his wife of 50 years.

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