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The Latest Dive News

Last updated November 26, 2001

Two Travel Agencies Belly Up
DUI BC Recall
More Pelagian Discounts
Belize Hurricane Damage
Wave Dancer Update
Poseidon's Mistress Sinks
Dirt Cheap Week in Cozumel
Looking for a Last-Minute Getaway at Christmas?
Digital Imaging for the Underwater Photographer
Small Hope Bay
No More Iced Regulators?
2002 Chapbook

Two Travel Agencies Belly Up November 25, 2001

Citing the events of 9/11 and the downturn of dive travel, both Tropical Adventures in Seattle and Dive Tours in Houston announced last week they have closed their doors and stopped taking calls. While both agencies have recorded messages that assert customers will be taken care of, many traveling divers have found that the money they have paid has not been forwarded to their destination. While it's still too early to find out whether any divers will get stiffed, there are many worried travelers. Note: right after 9/11 Undercurrent urged our readers to get travel insurance since many dive businesses were too marginal to survive. Our warning continues.

DUI BC Recall November 23, 2001

DUI is recalling approximately 3,500 BCs because molding variations in one component of the over pressure valve (OPV) could prevent it from sealing properly and create a potential drowning hazard. Neither DUI nor the Consumer Product Safety Commission has received reports of injuries. While this variation is not present in every OPV, they cannot determine which OPVs are suspect so they are requiring that all OPVs be updated with new assemblies. The old OPVs are equipped with red pulls. All new OPVs are equipped with yellow pulls. All DUI BCs sold prior to Nov. 1, 2001 use this OPV. Consumers should stop using these units and contact DUI immediately at (800) 325-8439, (619) 236-1203 or customer service at www.DUI-Online.com. DUI will send you a new OPV with installation instructions immediately.

More Pelagian Discounts November 23, 2001

The 114-foot Pelagian, the in boat among serious divers and photographers, is headed for its' year long Discovery Voyage, and Undercurrent readers can now get 10% off any segment of the trip. As we've written earlier, she will offer a series of two and three week expeditions to remote atolls, islands and reef's of Micronesia and Melanesia. She'll travel far south of Palau, explore the reefs between Yap and Chuuk, hit the remote parts of New Guinea and the Solomons and visit Ninigo. Divers pick the part of the itinerary that interests them, then hook up. Dive Director Larry Smith, who is expert at critter finding, has such a personal following he's about the only celebrity dive master in the business.

Discounted prices for standard cabins for the Micronesia/Melanesia portion are $3654 for 15 nights, $5481 for 22 nights, plus air. Given the crew, boat and itinerary, this is perhaps the most unique and best liveaboard journey ever. They're 85% full now so book soon if you want in on this. More info on these trips is available at their website www.dive-asiapacific.com To take advantage of this special offer email diveasia@diveres.com for the US reservations office or info@dive-asiapacific.com for the Phuket office, and mention this special offer to Undercurrent readers.

Belize Hurricane Damage November 23, 2001

BELIZE FIRST magazine compiled a list of damage due to Hurricane Iris and these are a few that may be significant to divers headed to southern Belize. Dock at Hamanasi was destroyed, but the hotel is operating normally. The center of the hurricane came ashore near the south end of the Placencia peninsula, causing severe damage to wooden structures in Placencia and Seine Bight villages. Electricity, water, telephone (except cell) and Internet service is out in most areas and may be operating again by late November, but could take longer. Maya Playa: Destroyed. Maya Beach Hotel: One building heavily damaged. Singing Sands: Cabins damaged, pool destroyed. Inn at Robert's Grove: Little serious damage. Kitty's Place: Restaurant open and most units including beachfront cottages ready for guests. Francis Ford Coppola's Blancaneaux's Turtle Inn: Mostly destroyed. Serenity: Main buildings okay. Rum Point Inn: Some damage; newer quad units only minor damage; ready by Thanksgiving. Pool will not be ready. Sea Horse Dive Shop: Destroyed. Monkey River village was almost completely destroyed. Glover's Reef: Slick Rock's facility received some damage -- three cabins were knocked down but probably can be repaired; expect units to be ready late November. Manta Resort received significant damage -- reopening date unknown. Total estimated damage in Belize: US$150 million, leaving 12,000 to 13,000 temporarily homeless with 3,179 homes destroyed. While three crew members and 17 members of the Richmond Dive Club died when the Wave Dancer was capsized, no other deaths were reported. The local residents were aware that swells from the sea provide much of the danger and headed to safe sites on land. For complete information go to www.belizefirst.com.

Wave Dancer Update November 23, 2001

The official Belize government report on why the Wave Dancer sank during the October 8 hurricane in Belize won't be ready until January. A theory proposed by the Wave Dancer's insurance investigators -- that a tornado had spun off Hurricane Iris and hit the Wave Dancer -- apparently won't measure up. Carlos Fuller, Belize's chief meteorologist, has examined the wreckage and saw no evidence of a tornado. Tugboat captain Earl Young, who was aboard the tug Miss Gayle at the same dock during the storm, said it appeared the Wave Dancer was tied too tightly at the concrete dock for the high winds and approximate 10-foot storm surge. When the height of the water suddenly increased, lines and cleats holding the Wave Dancer broke. Several law suits have been filed against Peter Hughes Inc. and the boat's captain, Philip Martin, on behalf of the passengers and crews. The suits allege that Hughes and Martin "arrogantly and illegally ignored" government orders to evacuate the boat as Hurricane Iris blew into Belize, causing the deaths of 17 divers and three crew members. The suits also claim Martin did not ask the crew or passengers to put on life jackets or "assemble in a safe area" the night of the storm in case of emergency. (Richmond Times Dispatch.)

Poseidon's Mistress Sinks November 23, 2001

In addition to the Wave Dancer, a liveaboard owned by Dan Stanbro and Barbara Leah Wilson, who own Scottsdale's Desert Divers was sunk by a Hurricane, in this case Juliette, which swept through the Gulf of California on September 30. High wind pushed the 137- foot boot into a rocky area, where the boat's propellers were damaged and rocks tore a hole in the bow. The sixteen passengers and crew bailed out. Mexican search teams found twelve on an isolated shrimp farm, about 13 miles north of where the boat submerged. They had waded in 82-degree water for 21 hours before reaching shore. Four others were spotted by the Mexican Navy. Apparently this escaped much press notice, though it occurred about four hours south of the Arizona-Mexican border, because other than Stanbro, all others aboard were Mexican nationals. The only victims of the sinking were the couple's two cats and a cockatiel.

Dirt Cheap Week in Cozumel November 25, 2001

Undercurrent Reader Steve Wagner is auctioning off a December week at his Cozumel timeshare at the Coral Princess Club, with all proceeds going to the "September 11th Children's Fund" to help the children affected by the attacks. Trouble is, the latest price I saw was but $31 and bidding ends Wednesday. Get a bargain and help those kids: http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1300657470

Looking for a Last-Minute Getaway at Christmas? November 25, 2001

That wonderful little resort, Maya Ha, on the southern Yucatan Peninsula (it dives the legendary Chinchorro reef) has cut its prices due to a last minute group cancellations for December 26 to January 2. One week packages are available for $1245, includes the room, five full days of diving, all meals, and tax. Contact: Maya Ha Resort mayaharesort@aol.com or toll free at 877-443-1600. You can read our recent review of Maya Ha.

Digital Imaging for the Underwater Photographer November 23, 2001

Whether you're converting your underwater shots to digital or shooting digital underwater or on land, this book is what you need to master digital enhancement and presentation. Jack and Sue Drafahl, who have published more than 500 articles, have produced this excellent book to help you master the digital technique you need to create dazzling presentations. They cover basic and advanced techniques in contrasting and saturating images, reducing grain, eliminating backscatter, correcting exposure errors, modifying colors, and enhancing those fish and people shots for truly professional quality work. This 224-page paperback is chock full of photos explaining the computer techniques for top quality images. Save 20% off the $39.95 list price by ordering here (which will lead you to Amazon.com) and our profit from this sale or any other book you purchase will go to the Coral Reef Alliance.

Small Hope Bay November 30, 2001

Small Hope Bay in the Bahamas got nailed by Hurricane Michelle. They report: "The eye passed right over us. The dock is gone, the beach patio is gone, the glass room is gone, the office is gone(again), the beach in front of the cottages is eroded. Aiming to open mid-December. Maybe earlier." [Update: a recent report just in says they are back open again -- DSE]

No More Iced Regulators? November 23, 2001

In cold water, a regulator can freeze when a change in the airflow leads to a sudden drop in pressure and temperature. Moisture freezes in the valve, jamming it open and creating a freeflow. British engineer Francis Kay, has developed a new valve that should solve the problem. The tapered mouthpiece smoothes the airflow, preventing the sharp changes in pressure that make the valve freeze. (New Scientist, July 7, 2001.)

The Travelin' Diver's 2002 Chapbook November 23, 2001

The Travelin' Diver's 2002 Chapbook is at the printer and will be mailed to all print subscribers in December. Look for 560 pages of incisive commentary on more than 350 destinations. This will be available to Online Members in January.

-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher

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