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Updated February 20, 2015
These brief news articles below were sent out via email to all divers who signed up for our free email list.
You can sign up here to receive future Undercurrent Online Updates and get news alerts and special offers like these every month.

Aqua Lung Is Recalling All SureLock II Weight Pocket Handles
Subscribe to Undercurrent for Accurate Information - and No Ads
Have You Had a Run-In with an Unruly Diver?
What You're Missing in This Month's Issue
This Dive Shop Charged $140 and Up for Fake C-Cards
How Is Your Dive Equipment Insurance Working Out for You?
Coming Up in Undercurrent
Turning Oil Rigs into DiveableReefs
Last Chance to Attend a Sport Diver-Specific Show
See Great Whites in Person Without Getting Wet
Diver Discovers Ancient Underwater Forest
A Hot Spot for Whale Sharks
Russian Divers in an Antarctic Volcano

Aqua Lung Is Recalling All SureLock II Weight Pocket Handles:  February 20, 2015

In the April 2013 issue, we reported that Aqua Lung was doing its second recall of BCs with SureLock II weight pocket handles. It recalled 110,000 of them because the company received more than 200 reports of the rubber handles detaching from the pockets. (Its first recall was in fall 2012). Now there's a third recall, and Aqua Lung has expanded it to cover all SureLock II handles, because it received 50 more complaints from divers of detached weight pockets. The recall is for its BCDs sold since September 2008. Whether you have an original rubber handle or one of the revised rubber handles from the previous recall, Aqua wants to replace it with the latest generation handle. Bring it to your dive shop for an on-site replacement. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission notice lists the BCD models affected, and you can call Aqua Lung for more information at (855) 355-7170.

Subscribe to Undercurrent for Accurate Information - and No Ads:  February 20, 2015

We always appreciate it when readers write in to say why they like Undercurrent. James Upton (Corona, CA) says, "I get several diving publications and with Undercurrent, I love that I'm not looking at an advertisement every other page. I love what you guys do." As an independent source of information, we are not beholden to anyone in the dive industry. Unlike most magazine reviewers who visit dive sites, we pay for our own rooms and our own diving. We accept no favors, and we accept no advertising, while most dive magazines, on the other hand, get 50-90 percent of their revenue from ads. Our revenue comes from our subscribers, and we know that unless we provide them with accurate, insightful, and useful information, we won't stay in business. And we've been in business for nearly four decades. Become a subscriber to Undercurrent and get access to thousands of reader reports on hundreds of worldwide dive destinations, critiques and commentaries from veteran dive experts, and the most accurate news on new dive equipment, health, bends prevention, safety, overseas travel, recalled dive gear and more. Your satisfaction guaranteed with Undercurrent or your money back. Subscribe now here.

Have You Had a Run-In with an Unruly Diver?:  February 20, 2015

If you read this month's issue, then you know how our undercover writer aboard the Fiji liveaboard Nai'a had her dive trip ruined by one angry diver (one example: after bumping into her on a dive, he flipped her off and screamed "F*** you" through his regulator). To make matters worse, the Nai'a cruise director didn't do a great job handling the obnoxious fellow -- or other passengers' complaints about him. Has something similar happened to you -- was your dive trip affected because of a really bad diver? If so, how did the dive operator handle the matter? Send me your stories at BenDDavison@undercurrent.org

What You're Missing in This Month's Issue:  February 20, 2015

Nai'a, Tonga and Fiji: one trip to seek humpback whales, another ruined by an annoying diver . . . will you join Sylvia Earle and not eat fish? . . . a British report on dive deaths: the aging diver is at risk . . . to dive by land or by sea: which is best on the Caribbean island of Curacao? . . . the battle over "Miss Scuba" . . . how is your dive insurance during a medical emergency overseas? . . . John Bantin tries to save a diver's life but still gets attacked in court . . . a Bahamas shark attacks a Texan snorkeler . . . can Jennifer Lawrence turn freediving into a blockbuster film? . . . and much more. Subscribe now to read these stories, and 10 years of back issues too.

This Dive Shop Charged $140 and Up for Fake C-Cards:  February 20, 2015

Florida's Attorney General filed a complaint against Ocean Hunters Dive Center in Doral and its owner, Abdiel Falcon, for issuing fraudulent scuba diving certification courses, faking being an authorized PADI instructor and dive shop, and charging 300 people between $149 and $399 for fake certification cards. A former customer wrote on the website RipoffReport that the PADI c-card he received from Ocean Hunters had 11 digits (PADI cards only have 10), meaning he never showed up in the PADI database, and Falcon's instructor number was listed under another name. He wrote, "When I contacted PADI, all I had to do was say his first name and they knew who we were talking about," Anon wrote. Falcon is facing civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, another $15,000 penalty for each violation involving senior citizens, and reimbursement for fees and costs associated with the investigation and litigation.

How Is Your Dive Equipment Insurance Working Out for You?:  February 20, 2015

We received an e-mail from subscriber Jonathan Blake about his latest experiences with dive equipment insurance claims. He dealt with Senn-Dunn when his GoPro housing had flooded and decided that, after a too-long ordeal of getting reimbursed, "if I had it to do over again I wouldn't bother to insure an inexpensive camera like the GoPro." use it." Still, he is holding on to insurance for his more expensive dive gear. How is your dive equipment insurer treating you? Now that DEPP, a former dive gear insurer, closed its doors after being charged with fraud (see our story about that in the August 2013 issue), what is going on with the other dive-specific equipment insurers out there? Are you noticing anything new or notable when you have to contact them about claims and reimbursement? Send me your stories at BenDDavison@undercurrent.org

Coming Up in Undercurrent:  February 20, 2015

An Undercurrent writer gives a first-person account of a dive gone wrong in Indonesia, and a fatality that needn't have happened . . . why experienced divers should not forget about factors that can cause panic underwater . . . how you can find reasonably-priced dive destinations with less-stressful travel . . . and how you can negotiate good group travel deals on your own . . . and much more.

Turning Oil Rigs into DiveableReefs:  February 20, 2015

When an offshore well stops producing oil, what should be done with the rig? Surprise: The cheap option -- leaving it there -- may actually be the environmentally-friendly one, an option supported by nearly all divers who have had the chance to dive oil rigs. And some environmentalists, but not all, agree. There's a nationwide battle over to take the rigs down vs. leaving them as is. Read the story, in this month's issue, free of charge at http://www.undercurrent.org

Last Chance to Attend a Sport Diver-Specific Show:  February 20, 2015

Head to Chicago for the weekend of February 27 - March 1 to see the latest dive trends, gear, workshops, films and travel destinations at the show specifically for sport divers hosted by Our World Underwater. Presenters include top underwater photographer Amos Nachoum, lionfish expert Lad Akins, a founder of REEF, top wreck diver and Shadow Divers book subject John Chatterton, and Aggressor Fleet president Wayne Hasson. Take workshops to improve your photography, video editing, wreck diving, critter spotting, and more. Get information at http://www.ourworldunderwater.com

See Great Whites in Person Without Getting Wet:  February 20, 2015

It just became a lot easier to get face-to-face with a great white shark. Adventure Bay Charters in Port Lincoln, Australia, has launched a new boat, Shark Warrior, which features an underwater glass viewing platform at the rear that can hold up to six wetsuit-free guests -- you can also bring beverages while you enjoy the view. Adventure Bay sales and marketing manager Andrew McKinnon said the platform is the first in the world specifically designed for shark viewing, and crew uses music instead of chum to attract the great whites. In the past, they used AC/DC to get the sharks' attention, but it seems their tastes might be changing. "They seem to really like the Hilltop Hoods' new album this year, but anything with low frequencies will work," McKinnon said.

Diver Discovers Ancient Underwater Forest:  February 20, 2015

Dawn Watson was diving in the North Sea off England's Norfolk coast when she made the unexpected discovery of a 10,000-year-old forest that once connected Great Britain with continental Europe. After being forced off her normal course by rough water, she was eventually swimming in the middle of large oak trees, some with branches measuring 25 feet long, lying on the sea floor. Watson, whose tank was nearing empty, had to turn around quickly, and she told the BBC she was very lucky to make the find: "If I'd been three or four metres to the right we'd never have seen it at all." The forest is believed to be part of an ancient land mass known as Doggerland, which disappeared under rising sea levels about 6,000 years ago. It is suspected that Doggerland was settled by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, and was one of the richest areas for hunting, fishing and fowling in Europe. Now it has evolved into a type of natural reef and is home to multiple types of marine life.

A Hot Spot for Whale Sharks:  February 20, 2015

It's Darwin Island in the Galapagos, according to a new paper published in the research journal PLOS One. One of the mysteries about whale sharks is that no one seems to know where they give birth. Researchers from the Charles Darwin Research Station say that pregnant whale sharks use Darwin Island as a pit stop on their way to give birth. By tracking pregnant whale sharks with acoustic tagsfor six years, they found that the highest abundance of them stayed around Darwin Island during the cool season between July and December , and they had an "intense use of Darwin's Arch, where no feeding or specific behavior has been recorded, together with periodic excursions around the island's vicinity . . . All of our results point to Darwin Island as an important stopover in a migration, possibly with reproductive purposes, rather than an aggregation site." For more details, you can read the study here.

Russian Divers in an Antarctic Volcano:  February 20, 2015

Last month, a group of fivers from the Russian Geographical Society made a record-breaking dive 320 feet down into the caldera of an active volcano at Deception Island. Leader Dmitry Schiller said it was "very hard," which seems like an understatement. "To begin with, passing the Drake Passage on a 16-meter ice class sailing yacht was not the most pleasant event. Almost all the time the yacht literally went at an angle of 35 to 40 degrees, 24 hours a day. It was always snowy or rainy. The weather gave us only one eight-hour window near Deception. It was enough to carry out one dive. So without any estimations, we started working. We planned to dive to the depth of 100 meters. However, the depth was only 97 meters. We reached the bottom, but [this was] perhaps my most difficult mission for the last five years." See a two-minute YouTube video of the dive expedition.

Ben Davison, editor/publisher
Contact Ben

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Note: Undercurrent is a registered 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization donating funds to help preserve coral reefs. Our travel writers never announce their purpose, are unknown to the destination, and receive no complimentary services or compensation from the dive operators or resort.

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