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Updated March 24, 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.

Save $1,200 on a Cocos Island Trip with the Undersea Hunter Group
Get the Unbiased Truth about Diving - Subscribe to Us
Dead Diver's Wife Sues a Shadow Diver Star
Nikon's New, Budget-Friendly, Underwater Camera
Join New England Aquarium Divers
Seen Any "Ghost" Nets on Your Dives?
What You're Missing in This Month's Issue
Beware Mosquitos in the Pacific
What's a Heated Vest - and Do You Need One?
Divers Find a Trove of Gold Coins -- and Don't Keep Them
Coming Up in Undercurrent
Lionfish Putting a Dent in Florida's Economy
Florida Shark Feeder Gets Charged, But Not Found Guilty
How Sharks Can Affect Your Internet Connection

Save $1,200 on a Cocos Island Trip with the Undersea Hunter Group:  March 24, 2015

Been dreaming of a trip to Cocos? Now's your chance. The Undersea Hunter Group is offering $1,200 off two 10-day excursions that will have you diving with hammerheads, tiger sharks, Galapagos sharks, sea turtles, mantas and more. The first trip, regularly priced at $5,445, is $4,245 aboard the MV Sea Hunter April 21 - May 1, 2015. Renowned shark and turtle researchers from the conservation groups Fins Attached and PRETOMA will be aboard. The second trip on the luxurious MV Argo May 1-11, regularly priced at $6,095, is now $4,895. Both trips include all meals, nitrox refills and transportation from your hotel to the dock. An additional park fee of $490 per passenger will be applied to both trips. For details, email info@underseahunter.com, or visit www.underseahunter.com.

Get the Unbiased Truth about Diving - Subscribe to Us:  March 24, 2015

We always appreciate it when readers write us to say why they like Undercurrent. Wally Burke (Jensen Beach, FL) wrote, "Thanks for all your team does in writing the unbiased articles about things I would never have known from reading the big name magazines." As an independent source of information, we are not beholden to anyone in the dive industry. Unlike most magazine reviewers who visit dive sites - and typically rave about them afterwards-- we pay for our own rooms and our own diving. We accept no favors or advertising, so we can tell the unvarnished truth about the dive industry, without fear of alienating any advertisers. All our revenue comes from our subscribers - so our readers are the only people we need to account to. That means we have to provide you with accurate, insightful, and useful information, or else we won't stay in business. And we've been in business for nearly four decades. Keep us going. 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. I'll also send you an autographed copy of There's a Cockroach in my Regulator, our 244-page book filled with scores of the best, weirdest, most unusual stories Undercurrent has published. (You already have one? Well, your buddy will love you for the gift.) Your satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Subscribe now here.

Dead Diver's Wife Sues a Shadow Diver Star:  March 24, 2015

For David Concannon, the defending attorney in this lawsuit, it was one of the craziest, wild cases he's ever been involved in. "The plaintiffs' attorney sued everyone he could possibly think of, and allege everything he could think of," he says. "It was a spray-and-pray, shotgun-style defense." Read about the case a dead diver's widow brought against wreck diver celebrity Richie Kohler in this month's issue, free of charge at www.undercurrent.org.

Nikon's New, Budget-Friendly, Underwater Camera:  March 24, 2015

Nikon is launching the new Coolpix AW130 this month. It's supposed to be good underwater to a depth of 130 feet, shoots 16MP photos and does high-definition video at 1080P, and is priced at $350. Its Snapbridge feature lets you transfer photos straight from the camera to a smartphone or tablet via built-in Wi-Fi. Best of all, it doesn't need a housing, as the camera itself is waterproof. So if you're looking for a beginning-level camera that is moderately priced, this might be something to consider. More details here.

Join New England Aquarium Divers:  March 24, 2015

to help responsibly collect fishes and invertebrates: The New England Aquarium is offering a special price on their week-long Bahamas trip April 24-May 2 aboard the RV Coral Reef II. $3500, much of which is tax deductible. For more information, go here.

Seen Any "Ghost" Nets on Your Dives?:  March 24, 2015

World Animal Protection wants to know. The nonprofit is asking divers to report "ghost" fishing gear, as there's 640,000 tons of it lost or abandoned in the ocean every year, and it's entangling and killing millions of marine animals including seals, turtles and whales. If you see or remove any ghost nets on a dive, you can upload your sighting here, which will then appear on a map, and enable the organization to identify the most common types of ghost nets and where they appear most often. The information will be used as evidence to convince governments and industry to reduce ghost nets and make the ocean safer for its inhabitants.

What You're Missing in This Month's Issue:  March 24, 2015

Kona Diving Company, Hawaii: cool endemic critters and -- with luck -- a manta show . . . Aqua Lung recalls all BCs with Sure Lock II weight pockets . . . Komodo Resort Diving Club, Indonesia: exciting diving at resort prices . . . "Ship of Gold" treasure hunter captured in Florida . . . the story of an Indonesia dive gone wrong in so many ways . . . lionfish aren't the only invaders in Florida waters . . . simple panic-reducing exercises every diver should do . . . the crazy lawsuit filed against Shadow Diver star Richie Kohler . . . how much money you'll need to get a reef named after you . . . and much more

Beware Mosquitos in the Pacific:  March 24, 2015

If you're traveling to a Pacific dive destination, take every measure to avoid mosquito bites, as the number of travelers returning from there with dengue fever or chikungunya is on the rise. Both viral illnesses are transmitted by mosquitoes and have similar symptoms, including high fever, severe headaches and vomiting. Last month, Tonga declared an official dengue fever outbreak, and there are also cases of travelers returning from Indonesia, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia. There is no vaccine for either virus, and as one doctor told the New Zealand Herald, "The only thing people can do is to protect themselves from getting bitten from mosquitoes." Apply insect repellent containing DEET at all times, and wear protective clothing and shoes.

What's a Heated Vest - and Do You Need One?:  March 24, 2015

In this month's travel story on Hawaii diving, our reporter envies the heated vests she sees fellow divers wearing, and how toasty they look while wearing them in those cool waters. Are these battery-powered vests worth spending up to $1000? Read some reviews from our veteran dive gear tester, John Bantin - click on the "Heated Vests" link on our homepage.

Divers Find a Trove of Gold Coins -- and Don't Keep Them:  March 24, 2015

Some unsuspecting divers found what is now the largest discovery of its kind off Israel's Mediterranean coast -- a glittery trove of 2,000 gold coins exposed during recent winter storms. Members of a local dive club were in the ancient harbor of Caesarea National Park when they spotted what looked like a gold coin from a board game. It didn't take them long to figure out it was the real thing. They immediately showed their discovery to the club director, who then notified the Israel Antiquities Authority. The coins range in age from the mid-900s to 1036 A.D. Authorities hailed the divers as "model citizens," for reporting the find instead of taking any of it home.

Coming Up in Undercurrent:  March 24, 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 . . . a study that shows that not all dive computers are as conservative as they claim . . . why some divers should consider taking a stress test in the cardiologist's office before the next dive and much more.

Lionfish Putting a Dent in Florida's Economy:  March 24, 2015

The fish is a serious threat to Florida's saltwater fishing industry -- the second largest in the nation -- according to an economic commentary from the non-partisan research institute Florida TaxWatch. It reports that the invasive lionfish could be putting more than 109,000 recreational fishing jobs and more than 64,000 commercial fishing jobs at risk. What makes it a huge threat to the fisheries is that the exploding population is competing with native fish, including grouper, for the same food source. Rick O'Connor, agent for the Escambia County Sea Grant, told the Pensacola News Journal that scientists studying the stomach contents of lionfish in the Northern Gulf are finding them full of the same bait fish that snapper and grouper rely on. "A lot of divers are reporting juvenile Mingo snapper being consumed by lionfish, and we're watching them to see if their numbers drop," he said. How this translates to the volume of fish being caught by vacationers or commercial fishermen is unknown; O'Connor says he knows of no local or national studies measuring those impacts. "We need an economist involved."

Florida Shark Feeder Gets Charged, But Not Found Guilty:  March 24, 2015

In Our May 2014 issue, we reported how authorities went undercover to film Randy Jordan, owner of Emerald Charters in Jupiter, FL illegally feeding sharks by hand and with bait-filled milk crates within state waters. The State Attorney's office charged him and three other men with second-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. He pleaded not guilty, but a jury convicted him on March 12 of three misdemeanor charges, including unlawful fish feeding. Palm Beach County Judge Sheree Cunningham sentenced Jordan to a year of probation, a $1,500 fine and 100 hours of community service, but she withheld a finding of guilt. That keeps Jordan, 60, from having a criminal conviction on his record. His attorney Jonathan Wassermann tried unsuccessfully to argue that there was insufficient evidence showing the divers were in state waters (Jordan attributed his shark-feeding location to a faulty GPS system). After the jury verdict, Wassermann told the Palm Beach Post, "There's no barbed wire fence out there that keeps fish from going past a certain point. If Mr. Jordan wants to feed sharks, they're going to go where he is."

How Sharks Can Affect Your Internet Connection:  March 24, 2015

When companies plan to span the entire Pacific Ocean with fiber-optic communication cable, you need to do what it takes to ensure they remain protected and intact. Google, for one, is apparently taking no chances, even protecting their cables against shark attacks by wrapping them in a Kevlar-like material that keeps sharks' teeth from piercing the cable jacket and severing the fibers. If that sounds like an unnecessary precaution, check out this video of what looks like a cow shark testing out a cable as its next meal. Undersea cables must carry high-voltage electricity to power the signal-amplifying repeaters placed atop them every 60 miles or so, resulting in the electric fields that can attract sharks' attention. So next time your Internet connection with overseas friends cuts out suddenly, consider that it may have been a hungry shark interrupting your conversation.

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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