The Ambergris Caye Hotel Run by a Former Ku Klux Klan Leader
Our Dive Forum is Open for All (Except Spammers)
The Perks You'll Get as an Undercurrent Subscriber
What You're Missing in This Month's Issue
A Tragedy of Dive Errors
This May Change How You Perceive Dusk Dives
"One of the Best Articles on Rebreather Hazards I've Ever Seen."
Trying to Turn the Kids into Divers?
Coming Up in Undercurrent
Honor the Late, Great Dive Guide Larry Smith by Joining This Discounted Liveaboard Trip
You Know It's Abalone Season When . . .
Where is The Best Dive Resort Snorkeling?
Divers Hold Underwater Protest to Free Maldives' Former President
The Ambergris Caye Hotel Run by a Former Ku Klux Klan Leader: April 20, 2015
Over the years, several Undercurrent readers have stayed at the Seven Seas Resort on Belize's Ambergris Caye. Let's hope never again. It seems a fellow named Bill Wilkinson, who served as Imperial Wizard of the Invisible Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan from 1975 to 1984, owns this little run-down tourist resort. As the Daily Mail reported last month, "Wilkinson organized hundreds of marches across America . . . and set up a para-military-style training camp to equip Klansmen with combat skills needed in the event of a 'race war.' Then in 1984, Wilkinson resigned from the organization, left America for Belize and acquired the Seven Seas Resort . "Read the entire story and see the photos here.
Our Dive Forum is Open for All (Except Spammers): April 20, 2015
You no longer need to be a subscriber to ask a question, or answer one, in our Divers Forum. Dave Eagleray, our webmaster, says, "We want to encourage more communication among the divers in the Undercurrent community. To discourage spammers, all posts from users not logged in must await approval before they will appear. So register and login to get the full benefit of our forums' features." The latest posts include one from a diver seeking information on diving the Abacos islands, and another looking for housing for his Coolpix camera. Ask a question, give an answer, put your commentary on our Divers Forum for others to read and learn.
The Perks You'll Get as an Undercurrent Subscriber: April 20, 2015
When I send out these monthly e-mails, I often set aside some special news items – typically exclusive travel deals and discounts – for our newsletter subscribers. In the January e-mail, my subscriber-only tip was about how one can get enough miles for a free off-peak ticket to Caribbean, Mexican and Hawaiian dive destinations by paying the $89 annual fee for the Barclaycard US Airways Premier World MasterCard. Subscriber Giancarlo Malchiodi (Brooklyn, NY) wrote in to say thanks. “My 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles just posted today, thanks to your tip about the US Airways Barclay's card and the merger of the two mileage programs. An awesome bonus to your already great coverage.” Become a subscriber to Undercurrent and get access to exclusive travel deals), thousands of reader reports on hundreds of worldwide dive destinations, critiques and commentaries from veteran dive experts, and the most accurate news on everything and anything related to the dive industry. Your satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Subscribe now here and receive a free copy of my 232-page book, There’s a Cockroach in My Regulator, a compendium of startling stories from past Undercurrent issues.
What You're Missing in This Month's Issue: April 20, 2015
Magic Resort and Atlantis Dumaguete, Philippines: incredible sea life at affordable prices . . . a former KKK leader's dive resort in Belize, an Aruba dive shop's faulty rental gear . . . the best way for divers to avoid hypothermia . . . what's to become of Jacques Cousteau's Calypso? . . . a study shows that many dive computers aren't as conservative as they claim . . . two good reads for reducing your dive risks . . . how do you handle a bully on a dive boat? . . . the regulator-ripping diver is sentenced in underwater attack in Hawaii . . . and much more
A Tragedy of Dive Errors: April 20, 2015
When dive industry professionals gather to create a quality film, you would think they'd know how to do it well, and do it safe, right? But in this case, there was a total lack of common sense in the planning for a dive film to be made in French Polynesia, and that led to a gasp-inducing inept dive -- as well as what could be the largest payout ever to settle a dive-injury-related lawsuit. Read all about it - our feature "A Tragedy of Dive Errors' is this month's free-for-all read at www.undercurrent.org.
This May Change How You Perceive Dusk Dives: April 20, 2015
A new study states that great white sharks exploit the sun's angle to hunt down their prey, perhaps concealing themselves in the reflected glare. Charlie Huveneers from Flinders University in Australia wanted to test if the sun's low position on the horizon plays a role in why they hunt at dawn and dusk. So he and his team sailed 18 miles offshore from South Australia, threw chunks of tuna into the water and watched how sharks approached it when attacking. It turns out they tended to come in from the direction of the sun: in the morning, they were more likely to approach from the east and in the evening from the west. When the sun was hidden by cloud, there was no association between the sun's position and the angle of approach, another indicator that sharks intentionally exploit the sun's direction when it's useful. It could be prey is better lit from that angle, or perhaps the glaring sun obscures their view of the shark. Just remember where the sun is located when you go on your next early morning or dusk dive.
"One of the Best Articles on Rebreather Hazards I've Ever Seen.": April 20, 2015
John Bantin, our expert dive gear tester, appears regularly in our issues, but he also writes commentaries and thought-provoking pieces for our blog. In fact, Bret Gilliam, another top Undercurrent contributor, wrote in to say this about Bantin's latest post, "This is one of the best articles on the subject of primary rebreather hazards that I've ever seen. . . All aspiring rebreather divers need to print this and save it for future reference." Read our blog to see the post Gilliam is referring to -- "Near Misses with Rebreathers" -- as well as other good commentary by Bantin, Gilliam and other dive veterans.
Trying to Turn the Kids into Divers?: April 20, 2015
Send them to the ever-popular kids Sea Camp, which is hosting sessions at various Caribbean dive spots, as well as Palau, Fiji and Yap, from late June to late August. Kids ages 5-17 get to learn about diving and the ocean through classroom teaching and hands-on programs (e.g., scuba math, the food-chain game), as well as age-appropriate courses from snorkeling to advanced programs for certified teen divers. The calendar is here.
Coming Up in Undercurrent: April 20, 2015
How you can find reasonably priced dive destinations with less-stressful travel . . . and how you can negotiate good group travel deals on your own . . . why some divers should consider taking a stress test in the doctor's office before the next dive . . . John Bantin explains how you can get the most from a GoPro underwater . . . Ben Davison gives more information about that amazing Petit Mustique getaway (it's for sale!) . . . and much more.
Honor the Late, Great Dive Guide Larry Smith by Joining This Discounted Liveaboard Trip: April 20, 2015
Gabrielle Villarino, who books trips aboard the Indonesian liveaboard MSV Amira, sent me this e-mail about a special liveaboard charter in August 2016 to honor Larry Smith, who helped put Lembeh Strait and Raja Ampat on the map and on divers' bucket lists. "It's August 1-12 of 2016, and we will be visiting areas Larry pioneered, and many dive sites he discovered." The trip will start in Bali and go through the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Komodo region, ending in Labuan Bajo, Flores. It's $3,950 per person, plus $130 for the national park fee. If you're interested, e-mail Gabrielle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You Know It's Abalone Season When . . .: April 20, 2015
You hear about diver deaths along the California coasts in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties happening this month. A weekend abalone hunt turned deadly for a group of friends on April 12 when three of them drowned in the rocky waters off Mendocino's Caspar Cove. The episode marked the first deaths of this year's red abalone season, which began on April 1 and is often marred by a host of emergency rescues and occasional fatalities. Two of the victims were Tae Won Oh, 49, of Dublin, CA, and Hyun Kook Shin, also 49, of Suwanee, GA. A 53-year-old man from Fort Lee, N.J., also died, but was not immediately identified. Their group ran into trouble in choppy waters before 2:40 p.m.; witnesses said the rough surf had seven- to eight-foot swells. After a nearby fisherman called 911, the survivors were found stuck, uninjured, on rocks at the south end of the cove. But two others were found unresponsive in the water, and the final diver was found shortly after 7 p.m., floating in a small cove. He was brought to the top of the cliff with a winch system and declared dead.
Where is The Best Dive Resort Snorkeling?: April 20, 2015
Many of our readers like good snorkeling when they go diving, either as a way to spend the afternoon or for an activity to share with their non-diving partners. Can you send us a paragraph or two about the resorts you find with the best snorkeling, preferably off the beach, but maybe a short boat ride away? We want to compile them for an article in an upcoming issue. Send your comments to me at BenDDavison@undercurrent.org.
Divers Hold Underwater Protest to Free Maldives' Former President: April 20, 2015
A hundred divers submerged 16 feet near the Maldivian capital of Male on April 9 to demand the release of jailed ex-president Mohamed Nasheed, who became popular worldwide as an environmental activist during his term. The divers held banners reading "Free the Climate Hero" and "Democracy in Jail." Nasheed campaigned to raise awareness of global warming, because his country is threatened by rising sea levels, and he famously held an underwater Cabinet meeting to dramatize the threat. Nasheed was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment last month for ordering the arrest of a judge he claimed to be corrupt, but his defenders say the case is politically motivated and casts doubt over the Maldives' transition to democracy, which began after Nasheed was elected in 2008, ending 30 years of autocratic rule by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Nasheed resigned in 2012 after public protests over the judge's arrest, and in elections the following year, he lost to a half-brother of Gayoom. While not many bystanders can view an underwater protest, Maldivian and regional media were all over it, making the news global.
Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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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