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Updated April 17, 2014
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.

How Do You Drop the Weight?
"Thanks for Bringing Me Back to Diving"
What You're Missing in the April Issue
NOAA Diving Manual, 5th Edition
Sea Hunter, Costa Rica
Coming Up in Undercurrent
Fund This Dive Documentary, and Maybe They'll Let You Dive There
Fabien Cousteau Starts His 31-Day Underwater Stay on June 1
The Caymans' Newest Dive Attraction
Tax-Deductible Dive Trips Worldwide
Good News about Shark Finning
And the Bad News
Plastic Bag Fund to Fight Lionfish
I Don't Care If a Shark Bit You, Get Out of My Bar

How Do You Drop the Weight?:  April 17, 2014

We're doing a story on making overseas dive trips easier by cutting the costs - and the weight - of dive travel. Luggage charges are out of hand, so how do you trim the weight that you carry when it comes to dive gear, photography hear, and your personal gear? We're looking for your personal stories, comments and advice on how you trim weight, travel costs and all those obnoxious fees that come with it. Write them up and send them to me at BenDDavison@undercurrent.org.

"Thanks for Bringing Me Back to Diving.":  April 17, 2014

Randall Rothenberg was a former head honcho at Time Warner, and now CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, says "I subscribed to Undercurrent for almost two decades and absorbed every issue. But then diving dwindled for me, and I let my subscription lapse. Last summer, I started feeling the loss, and the hankering to go diving. The first thing I did was search online to see whether Undercurrent had gone digital. I was pleased beyond measure that you not only had gone digital, but you'd done it in a way that was entirely consistent with your classic design, voice, and values. Thanks to you, I broke my 11-year dive celibacy at Bruce Bowker's Carib Inn in Bonaire, which was exactly as you described. And your piece on Saba - the island from which I did my first openwater dive 27 years ago - gave me the impetus to return there for the first time in almost 20 years. It, too, was exactly as described (and wonderfully so). I owe you great thanks for bringing me back to diving - and for staying true." Join Rothenberg by signing up for a subscription.

What You're Missing in the April Issue:  April 17, 2014

Sea Hunter, Costa Rica: squadrons of sharks, one bent diver . . . Hollis recalls some Explorer rebreather models . . . pesky politics in Mexico, squirrely harbormasters in Indonesia . . . should you worry about the dengue outbreak in Fiji? . . . legal charges scuttle Buddy Dive's liveaboards in the Galapagos . . . why do divers avoid gas-integrated computer transmitters? . . . divers plus lionfish equals food to sharks . . . how freediving is to diving what snowboarding was to skiing . . . and much more.

NOAA Diving Manual, 5th Edition:  April 17, 2014

For years, the NOAA Diving Manual has been a mainstay in the library of every professional diver and plenty of us serious divers, too. Hands down, it is the industry's major, unbiased diving reference. Last published in 2001, it has now been updated into the all-new Fifth Edition. With 875 full-color pages, it's the most detailed diving reference book available, yet written in lay language for all divers to thoroughly understand and enjoy. Order it through us so you can get Amazon's best price -- and our profits will go to save coral reefs.

Sea Hunter, Costa Rica:  April 17, 2014

"I caught up with the rest of my dive group, and minutes later, a ten-foot-long, heavy-bodied Galapagos shark circled us a couple of times. While this might be the beginning of a neophyte's nightmare, it was exactly why I returned to dive remote Cocos Island." Read the rest of our undercover dive reporter's trip experience aboard this liveaboard (including a bent diver who had to be rushed back to the mainland) - available free on the top of our homepage.

Coming Up in Undercurrent:  April 17, 2014

Our undercover travelin' divers review dive resorts and liveaboards in Cozumel, Maldives, Roatan, and Indonesia's Raja Ampat . . . when do divers cross over the line between "helpful" and obnoxious? . . . how to trim the weight and cut the costs of dive travel . . . and much more.

Fund This Dive Documentary, and Maybe They'll Let You Dive There:  April 17, 2014

In our March issue, we wrote about divers who had recently discovered a primeval underwater forest teeming with fish 10 miles off Alabama's coast, but they weren't telling anyone the location due to research purposes. Well, those researchers are now using Kickstarter to fund a documentary called The Underwater Forest about the underwater site. The Weeks Bay Foundation, dedicated to protecting coastal Alabama, needs to raise $15,000 by May 1 to fund their efforts. If you pledge $2,000, they'll take you and another diver to the site. Based on their description of the site - hundreds of snappers, friendly triggerfish - it could be a unique experience.

Fabien Cousteau Starts His 31-Day Underwater Stay on June 1:  April 17, 2014

A research team headed by Jacques's grandson and Jean-Michel's son Fabian will live and work in the Aquarius Lab for one month. Aquarius, deployed 63 feet off the coast of Key Largo, is the world's only underwater research lab, and Cousteau's Mission 31 project will be the longest-duration mission in the lab's history. Cousteau wants to do research that highlights climate change, ocean pollution and the decline of biodiversity. His divers will spend up to nine hours diving a day while his production team will be shooting footage for documentaries. In the meantime, the Weather Channel will give live coverage of Mission 31's progress via its Weather Channel App on iTunes.

The Caymans' Newest Dive Attraction:  April 17, 2014

A 13-foot-tall bronze sculpture named The Guardian of the Reef was just sunk at a sandy flat off Grand Cayman's Northwest Point. Divetech, which just celebrated 20 years of business, bought the sculpture from Canadian artist Simon Morris, to sink as an artificial reef to commemorate the anniversary. The half-warrior, half-seahorse was taken out by two boats to be perched onto a 4-foot pedestal at 60 foot depths. Divetech says one dollar from every dive made at the site will go to a local conservation education program, and it hopes to raise $20,000 the first year (that's about 55 divers a day).

Tax-Deductible Dive Trips Worldwide:  April 17, 2014

Take a dive trip, and write some or all of it off on your taxes next year? Indeed, it can be done. Read our list of dive trips done for good causes, and what you can do to get a tax deduction - available for free on www.undercurrent.org.

Good News about Shark Finning:  April 17, 2014

The World Wildlife Fund says that Hong Kong, which used to be the world's largest importer of shark fins, has seen the number of fins drop by nearly 35 percent. The volume of imported shark fin products fell from 8,285 metric tons to 5,412 metric tons last year. China has traditionally been the largest market for shark fins, but demand there appears to have declined significantly, perhaps due to campaigns by environmental groups and government austerity measures. Vietnam has now taken China's place, although it's a mystery why, as there's no culture of consuming shark fins there.

And the Bad News:  April 17, 2014

A Costa Rican judge in Puntarenas ordered the country's government to reimburse businesswoman Kathy Tseng more than $6,600 for the 650-plus shark fins it seized from the hull of her ship and destroyed in 2011. Tseng's case involved the first-ever prosecuted use of a technique known as "spining," where shark spines are kept intact with the fins attached by strips of skin and the remaining flesh cut away. This slice-and-dice finning method was devised to slip through a loophole in Costa Rican law, which requires fins to arrive "naturally attached" to the sharks' bodies. Judge Franklin Lara absolved Tseng of all charges, saying she had not broken the law, and ruled that because Tseng did not unload and sell the finned sharks, she had not committed a crime. In addition to forcing Costa Rican taxpayers to foot the bill for the destroyed fins and Tseng's legal fees to boot, Lara's ruling essentially has once again legalized shark-finning in Costa Rican waters, conservationists say.

Plastic Bag Fund to Fight Lionfish:  April 17, 2014

The Cayman Islands supermarket chain Foster's Food Fair IGA is diverting $20,000 it raised from environmental charges on plastic bags to help fight Cayman's lionfish problem. The funds will go toward lionfish culling tournaments organized by the Cayman United Lionfish League. Foster's has also agreed to sell lionfish fillets in its supermarkets, when stocks are available, as part of a push to put the fish on menus in Cayman homes and restaurants.

I Don't Care If a Shark Bit You, Get Out of My Bar:  April 17, 2014

A New Zealand man who was bitten by a shark calmly stitched up his own wounds, then joined his friends at the pub while still bleeding, and drank a beer before heading to the hospital. James Grant was spearfishing when the shark clamped down on his leg. "[I thought], 'Bugger, now I have to try and get this thing off.'"he said. He stabbed the predator with a knife and headed back to shore, where he sewed up his two-inch-long wound. Apparently the wound did not hurt much -- Grant went to the hospital only after stopping at a bar for a pint, but it was a quick drink because the bartender complained he was dripping blood all over the floor.

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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