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Updated May 14, 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.

Have You Been a Left-Behind Diver?
My Best Subscription Offer Ever?
Another Octopus-Harassing Dive Instructor - But Social Media Gets Him Punished 
Coming Next Month: The Rapa Nui Reef
Molesting Dive Instructor Sees It as "Just Playing" with Female Divers
First It's Shark Fins, Now It's Dolphin Teeth?
How Any Diver Can Negotiate Great Group Discounts
Leonardo DiCaprio's New Eco-Resort in Belize
A New Bar in Cozumel to Check Out
Coming Up in Undercurrent
Even Empty Tanks Are Lethal Weapons

Have You Been a Left-Behind Diver?  May 14, 2015

It's still not uncommon for dive crew to motor away from a dive site and then realize much later they left a diver there. The most recent occurrence (public, anyway) happened in March when Odyssey Charters in Pompano Beach, FL, left a man floating off the coast, realized its mistake and sent out an emergency call that they were missing a diver. The Sea Siren turned around and luckily found him floating unharmed and not needing medical attention. Moral of the story: Dive boats still do not have foolproof systems to count divers before departing. Have you or a fellow diver been left behind -- or been on a boat that left another passenger behind -- in the past couple of years? If so, what system did the dive operator use to account for passengers, and how did it handle a search for the missing diver? Send me your stories and they could end up in an article I'm planning to write on the topic. E-mail me at BenDDavison@undercurrent.org

My Best Subscription Offer Ever?  May 14, 2015

The comments keep on coming from subscribers about why they love and subscribe to Undercurrent. Kim French (Sheridan, WY) told us, "I love this publication and everything about it. I tell all the people I meet when I am on a trip about Undercurrent." And now I am offering you my best subscription offer to date. First, I'll send you an autographed copy of my book There's a Cockroach in my Regulator, filled with the best, most weird, most unusual stories Undercurrent has published. Then, for the next six months, I'll email you the monthly issues of Undercurrent, and you can download the newest edition of the Travelin' Diver's Chapbook, with hundreds of worldwide reports organized by destination. And also have access to thousands more reader reports. My offer? Just $15.95. And if for any reason you don't like or need your Undercurrent subscription, I'll give you back your $15.95 and you can keep our book, with my thanks for giving us a go. And tell your friends. Sign up now here

Another Octopus-Harassing Dive Instructor - But Social Media Gets Him Punished  May 14, 2015

In this month's issue, we called out Seasport Divers in Kauai for its lax policy of letting divemasters mauling octopuses in front of divers. Here's another tale, but this one has a hand-slapping punishment as a result. Mark Scott, owner of Diving Vietnam, dragged an octopus from its shelter and manhanded it, even though it tried to escape several times. Then he uploaded a video of the incident on his Facebook page and Diving Vietnam's website. Fortunately, he was flamed on social media. Diving Vietnam made a graceless, non-apologetic statement online, stating that "eco-terrorists led by a competing dive shop mounted a smear campaign . . . While there are literally hundreds of similar videos . . . , these malcontents decided to focus their vitriol and hatred solely at Mark. What we will not do is bow to eco-terrorists." In response, the dive agency SSI made a public statement that they removed Scott's instructor qualification, and Diving Vietnam is no longer an SSI center. More dive agencies should do the same for dive operators who don't respect the marine wildlife that divers pay them to go out and see.

Coming Next Month: The Rapa Nui Reef  May 14, 2015

On June 1, a barge with 15 concrete Moai Heads (they look similar to the ones on Easter Island) will be sunk a half mile off the coast of Deerfield Beach, FL in 70 feet of water. It's the vision of Margaret Blume, who got a $500,000 grant from the Women's Club of Deerfield Beach to create the artificial reef. Local dive operators are expected to start running charters out to the Rapa Nui Reef this summer. See the heads before they're sunk in this YouTube video.

Molesting Dive Instructor Sees It as "Just Playing" with Female Divers  May 14, 2015

In the '80s, I reported on two incidents of divemasters groping and harassing their female clients, with little or no action taken by the dive business owner. Thankfully, times have changed. Denial and inaction are no longer the outcome, as you'll see in this story about a woman diver in India who wrote in a blog about a divemaster who molested her underwater. Read it for free at www.undercurrent.org

First It's Shark Fins, Now It's Dolphin Teeth?  May 14, 2015

The Oscar-nominated documentary The Cove shed light on the slaughter dolphins face in Taijii, Japan, but a village in the Solomon Islands does something equally as horrific to dolphins - killing them just for their teeth. Residents of the village of Fanalei killed about 1,600 dolphins in 2013, according to a study in the journal Royal Society Open Science. "Detailed records up to the time of our visit included at least 1,500 pantropical spotted dolphins, 159 spinner dolphins and 15 bottlenose' dolphins," the researchers wrote. They found that at least 15,454 dolphins were killed between 1976 and 2013 by Fanalei villagers, who use the teeth as currency for a bride dowry (a bride equals about 10 dolphins) and jewelry. The practice had stopped in the mid-19th century, most likely due to the introduction of Christianity, but was revived in 1948 and has continued since, despite environmentalists' efforts. And the price is rising, the researchers wrote. "The local price of a dolphin tooth had increased from about US$0.14 in 2004 to about US$0.70 in 2013." So there's no incentive for villagers to stop the practice.

How Any Diver Can Negotiate Great Group Discounts  May 14, 2015

Undercurrent subscriber Jim Willoughby doesn't do dive travel planning for a living, he just gets a group of his diver friends together and handles the bookings, negotiating discounts with dive resorts and liveaboards. "Joe Diver can negotiate," he says. "It depends on the size of your group, and the flexibility of the resort. But if I am bringing 10 divers, I often either pay for eight of them, or negotiate a 20 percent discount." Read our story to see how any Joe Diver can negotiate great dive group discounts - at www.undercurrent.org

Leonardo DiCaprio's New Eco-Resort in Belize  May 14, 2015

>The actor and avid environmentalist first visited Belize in 2005 for a dive trip and fell in love. Now he plans to build an eco-conscious resort on Blackadore Caye, a 104-acre island that's a 15-minute boat ride from San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. DiCaprio is partnering with a New York real estate firm to build 68 guest villas and 48 private houses. Besides setting aside 45 percent of the island for conservation, DiCaprio wants to support a manatee conservation area, replant mangroves, and build an artificial reef to slow erosion. Hotel room prices haven't been announced, but the private homes' price tags range from $5 million to $15 million.

A New Bar in Cozumel to Check Out  May 14, 2015

No cocktails, but this bar promises you'll have no more hangovers if you drink their oxygen-enriched smoothies and inhale lots of scented air. It's Clear Lounge, supposedly the first and only underwater oxygen bar, is opening up in Cozumel's Puerto Maya, the cruise ship dock operated by Carnival. According to the press release, "Upon arrival, guests are equipped with a specialized diving helmet that pumps in oxygen, in addition to an aromatherapy scent of their choice. Then guests jump in the 13,000-gallon aquarium, where they'll be entertained by a bartender and granted access to a handful of different activities, including underwater jenga." The oxygen-enriched smoothies are the only drinks they serve (but not underwater), and the cover charge is $25. Add the masses of cruise ship tourists milling around, and it sounds like the worst Happy Hour ever.

Coming Up in Undercurrent  May 14, 2015

John Bantin explains how you can get the most from a GoPro underwater . . . why amateur divers entering photography contests need to know more about the changing state of professional underwater photography. . . the uproar over Cayman authorities coming to identify a dead American diver - then leaving without the body . . .the shocking murder of a Stuart's Cove dive instructor . . and much more.

Even Empty Tanks Are Lethal Weapons  May 14, 2015

Subscriber Sheila Meadows (Hollywood Beach, FL) wrote in to tell us she just read our 2011 article "Scuba Tanks as Lethal Weapons" (about a filled scuba tank that fell over and blew up in the garage, severely injuring two people), and how the timing was uncanny. "On March 27th, I went to storage with my diver husband and he had seven tanks standing unsecured right in front. We pulled a chair out and BAM! One of his largest tanks fell onto my left foot, crushing and splitting open my third toe. The force was bad, it tore the nail off and split the toe down through my shoe. My bones on the tip were crushed into confetti. I had emergency surgery and bone removed. Still recovering. I sent that article to my husband just now and will be sure that he secures those tanks forever more. Empty tanks are no joke!"

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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