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Current Upwellings
The Latest Dive News

Last updated April 16, 2002

Help Save Grand Cayman
Fire in the Turtle House
Diving aboard the Nai'a in Fiji with a Discount
Your Help is Requested
Help Your Dive Buddy Out
Tahiti Aggressor
This Device is Capable of Killing You without Warning

Help Save Grand Cayman April 16, 2002

On one day in January, 14,000 cruise visitors from six vessels went ashore in Grand Cayman, a number equivalent to half the island's population. The hordes kept traffic at a standstill, but delighted the businesses, including dive ops who take hundreds of these folks daily to visit the reefs. Not all dive operators are happy and now the government wants to serve even more cruise ships, so it's seeking to move the Georgetown cargo port to the East End, at Half Moon Bay, near the Blowholes. The new terminal would affect such dive sites as Ironshore Gardens, Maggie's Maze, Kellie's Caverns, Little House, Big House, Fantasy `Land and Crusher's Wall, says Steve Broadbelt, General Manager of Ocean Frontiers. These are among Cayman's best shallow dives, often the only sites available during certain times. A new East-West Highway is under consideration to handle the trucks that will be carting containers from one end of the island to the other. Broadbelt says "Every East Ender I have spoken to has told me they will lay down in front of the bulldozers and concrete trucks if they have to stop this from happening." But that may not be enough because cruise ship dollars are bigger than diver dollars and East End votes. And, to hell with the environment. Register your complaint about the new terminal by writing, faxing or calling the Hon. McKeeva Bush , Ministry of Tourism Government Administration Building, George Town, Grand Cayman phone #: 345.949.7900, Fax #: 345.949.7544.

Fire in the Turtle House: The Green Sea Turtle and the Fate of the Ocean April 16, 2002

Here's a remarkable book. In the mid seventies, scientists and divers see tumors on green turtles, first in Hawaii, then Florida, then elsewhere. While the tumors at first seem superficial and can be removed, they soon spread into the turtles organs . . . Turtle populations plummet. And the race begins to find the cause? What's in the water? Why aren't fish seemingly affected? What does this portend for our seas, as the problem expands and continues today. Journalist Osha Gray Davidson has written a medical detective story that will fascinate any diver who has ever seen a turtle beneath the surface. Davidson gives us an inside look at the Cayman turtle farms -- and the history of Cayman's turtles and turtle fishing since Columbus' time -- and dives with turtles at Maui's Turtle House. He tells us what was behind the big Caribbean sea urchin die off a decade ago, what's happening in the dying waters of California's Monterrey Bay, and Alaska's sea cow slaughters. Davidson's keen eye produces a marine biologist's thriller for the lay reader, while touching on plenty of topics dear to a diver's heart. While you may not be aware to the plague facing our turtles, Davidson makes it apparent how it's a serious indicator of the threats to our oceans and its critters. An extremely well written, informative and suspenseful book, you'll have a hard time putting it down. Fire in the Turtle House (published last October) is available here, which will deliver you Amazon.com's best prices and send a hunk of the profit directly to the Coral Reef Alliance. The current price is $18.20 (1258 pages, hardbound).

Diving Aboard the Nai'a in Fiji with a Discount April 16, 2002

Undercurrent's incognito reviewers -- as well as scores of our readers-- have always sung the praises of Fiji intimate and comfortable liveaboard, the Nai'a. Now, they're offering Undercurrent readers a $400 discount on a special 14-day exploratory Fiji expedition, which runs September 28 - October 12. The itinerary will take you through the heart of Fiji's diving paradise, Lomaiviti, and onward to find new underwater gems in uncharted reaches. Divers on similar exploratory excursions have pioneered several now-famous NAI'A dive sites, such as E6 and Cat's Meow. And yet the Bligh Water basin in the middle of the Fiji Islands has hundreds of miles of reef still entirely untouched. For real adventure, exploratory cruises are unparalleled.

Or, if you want to visit Fiji's recognized sites and dive and dine with the legendary filmmaker Stan Waterman, join him on a September 21-27 cruise and receive a $200 discount . For more than forty years, Stan has enlighted audiences with his underwater cinematography. The "Man Who Loves Sharks," will present videos from his many expeditions and assist and advise on underwater shooting techniques. To book your space on these or any 2002 Nai'a charter, contact explore@naia.com.fj and tell them Undercurrent sent you.

Your Help is Requested April 16, 2002

David Colvard, MD (Wake Research Associates in Raleigh, NC) writes: I am conducting a follow-up survey of 12,000 divers; the first survey will be presented at the June scientific meeting of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. I need to better understand divers and their experiences. Ideally, I would like to be able to follow the same group of divers each year for three consecutive years. You can complete the survey by visiting: http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?8V4F4CVB7M1NXFVYT1EY9QD9

Help Your Dive Buddy April 16, 2002

No doubt your dive buddies would be happy to receive free Undercurrent newsletter each month. Encourage them to sign up by sending them this URL and telling them they can sign up here.

Tahiti Aggressor April 16, 2002

A 106-foot catamaran will carry 16 divers and the flag of the Aggressor fleet in Tahitian waters, beginning this September. It will sport a hot tub, offer Nitrox, and all the amenities one usually associates with Aggressors. www.aggressor.com . . . The Air Tahiti Nui flights out of Los Angles also fly as QANTAS code share flights, so you can either use your American Airlines AAdvantage miles to fly free or upgrade while earning more than 10,000 miles -- but, only if you book the Qantas code share.

This Device Is Capable of Killing You Without Warning April 16, 2002

That pronouncement accompanies every KISS rebreather produced by the Canadian-based Jetsam Tech. In a letter to New Scientist magazine, they say, "There are three major hazards regarding rebreathers. Hypoxia, caused by lack of oxygen, gives no warning whatsoever. It may be preceded by a slight feeling of well-being, followed by unconsciousness. Oxygen toxicity, which may or may not give warnings of its onset, results in convulsions that in themselves are not fatal, although their occurrence underwater is not conducive to survival. Carbon dioxide build-up (hypercapnia) tends to manifest as air hunger before it reaches serious levels. Although the warning may seem brutal, it is, in fact, the absolute truth. Adding warning bells or alarms will not lessen the danger and may even increase the risk through complacency. Rebreathers, by their very nature, will never be completely safe. The only way to enhance their safety is with a high degree of awareness, even paranoia, in the diver."

-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher

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