August 20, 2002
Shark Tank Follies
An aquarium diver has "escaped with his life," says London's Evening Standard newspaper, after being bitten by a 10 ft. Sand Tiger Shark. Rob Bennet was repairing a million-gallon tank, when suddenly "horrified children saw a cloud of blood envelop the 30-year-old at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire. Two other divers dragged him out of the pool to safety. He received stitches and treatment for tendon damage to his right hand." In the good old USA, ten people on a behind-the-scenes tour at an aquarium plunged into a shark tank after a platform collapsed. No one was seriously injured. The accident happened while donors to the aquarium were on an after-hours tour. The platform was used by keepers to feed a few dozen nurse and sand tiger sharks, turtles, redfish and stingrays. Dan Rooney, who was on the platform, said ''I was just praying none of the sharks got agitated from all of the splashing and everything. I mean, they got sharks in there bigger than me."
If you travel as far as Micronesia, it pays to spend a couple of weeks, which is why the Aggressor back-to-back charters are one great deal for serious divers. Next year, they have told us you can dive both Palau and Truk at $1000 off the normal price, for $3690. You'll get fourteen nights aboard the boats and eleven days of spectacular diving. The price is good anytime between August 3 and December 28, 2003, but if you book the Palau Aggressor II for Sept 28 and the Truk Aggressor II on Oct. 5, 2003 and tell them Undercurrent sent you, they'll give you a Free Dive 44 backpack. In Palau, you'll visit the famed Blue Corner, Ulong Channel, Jellyfish Lake and other signature sites, and in Truk Captain Niall will take you to the best of wrecks in the Truk Lagoon. Call 800-348-2628 for reservations, or book through your favorite travel agent or dive shop. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them Undercurrent sent you.
Tank valves sold by Abysmal Diving (Lake Havasu City, AZ) between January
2000 and July 9, 2002 may contain rubber O-rings that could cause spontaneous
fires when used with pure oxygen or Nitrox mixtures with more than 21%
oxygen. No fires have been reported, but Abysmal was notified by the
Japanese valve manufacturer that their O-rings didn't meet oxygen compatibility
specifications. That has led Abysmal to ask owners who intend to use
them with pure oxygen or Nitrox mixes greater than 21% O2, to return
them to be inspected, cleaned and fitted with oxygen-compatible o-rings
and lubricants. Their press release implores one to "immediately
discontinue such practice due to a risk of spontaneous fire and serious
personal injury or death." The company maintains that the valves
are safe with regular compressed air. Some retail stores may have installed
Thermo valves or manifolds on other manufacturers' cylinders, as well.
So if you're using a tank bought since January 2000 for oxygen or Nitrox,
Abysmal CEO Chris Parrett suggests you check to see if it has a Thermo
valve with a black hand wheel. If your valve is subject to this notice,
contact Abysmal Diving at 2099 Acoma Boulevard West, Suite C, Lake Havasu
City, Arizona, 86403 USA Phone: (928) 854-9470 Fax: (928) 854-9473.
The Sea Turtle Restoration Network, a citizens' group devoted to protecting turtles, is looking for good photos to help promote their conservation work through brochures and advertisements (you may have seen a full page ad in July in the NY Times). They can't pay, but you'll get credit and good feelings about helping protect these favorite critters. Contact Erica Heimberg, Sea Turtle Restoration Network, P.O. Box 400, Forest Knolls, CA 94933; Phone: 415-488-0370 ext. 105; Fax: 415-488-0372 email: email@example.com. www.seaturtles.org
If you visit Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos and don't dive the walls of West Caicos, you'll be missing Provo's best diving. Undercurrent readers have often touted Caicos Adventures, run by Fifi Kunz, as the guy to go with. Though a boutique operation for many years, Fifi has brought in a new 43-ft cat to get him to distant destinations much faster. He's offering a special for the Undercurrent family through December 13, with as much as 35 percent off. Four nights at the Sands Luxury Beach Front Hotel and three days of two tank diving begins at $490/person/double occupancy, depending on the room you select. The longer you stay, the more money you save: seven nights for $636. The packages include 10% hotel service charges, 10% taxes, airport transfers, weekly rum punch party, free use of bicycles, kayaks, and, tennis, gym and spa facilities, and a complimentary Caicos Adventures Cap.
Have you or anyone you know filed a claim on for payment on their DAN, PADI or Divesafe accident insurance? . If so, we'd like to know the experience, especially if there are hassles or rejections. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hugh Parkey was a larger-than-life dive guide and instructor, a massive man, with terrific teaching skills, and great to dive with. He certified a friend of mine while he was in Antigua, I reviewed him when he ran Turneffe Island, and he helped me investigate and expose a fraudulent Belize dive boat investment deal, in which he lost a bundle. Lately he ran Hugh Parkey's Belize Dive Connection, and with his wife, operated the Fort Street Guesthouse. Following a shallow water dive in Cancun on July 13, he died of a massive heart attack. Parkey, 56, an American who lived in Belize for many years, had planned to move to Placencia later this year where he was to run the Turtle Inn dive operation. Parkey's body was cremated and the ashes scattered on his beloved Turneffe Atoll.
In the August print issue of Undercurrent, we warn our readers about many resorts that aren't cutting the mustard and should be avoided. As an example, let us suggest that you avoid Bayman Bay Club, in Guanaja, which is what we've been telling our readers for a couple years. Unfortunately, one subscriber Karen Fiedler (La Canada, CA), missed the warning. "I wish we had read our Undercurrent Chapbook before going in June! There were several stories similar to mine. We had rats in our room and no electricity. There we sat at 2:00 a.m. armed with only our dive lights. We demanded they put the generator on so we could have lights to keep the rats at bay. We changed rooms the next day, but there was a tradeoff - no hot water for no rats! The beds were made, but no sweeping the floors or cleaning the bathroom. But the cleaning [E.S.1]girls were happy to eat our food and steal our make-up. The trash cans in the bathrooms in the dining area had tissue with human feces, though the girls had just 'cleaned.' The staff was incredibly lazy! The pseudo-manager was the unfriendliest person I've ever met. The breakfast dishes would be left on the table for hours while the staff played pool. One night, the dinner dishes were left out and a storm came up; in the a.m., there was broken glass and food all over the floor. Mangos were rotting on the ground, but they never served mangos unless we picked them up and asked for a knife. Which we did, because there was no food available between meals. Only on two days were we given fresh fruit. They served us one plate of food at meals and that was it. Most of the time, there were no cokes or beers because the staff or locals drank them all or there was no money to buy any. We gave them $60 to buy diesel for the generator and a bag of ice. We're still waiting to be reimbursed."
Watch out for this scam on Cozumel, writes Roy Kinder, an Undercurrent subscriber: "The Amigos have a brand-new scam they are using as you leave Cozumel. One agent will look through your purse as another looks through your bags. The guy in the bags acts like he has found something, when you look at what he is doing, his amigo nails your cash in the purse. Three women on our plane got a little help with their extra money to the tune of $1,400.00 and didn't know about it until we were in the air over the Gulf. So watch out and keep your eye on your purse ladies or you will be making a contribution to the Mexican Fiesta Fund." b
In the last email, we said that 1700 UWATEC computers had been recalled. We erred. These were not computers, but depth gauges that were sold between January and May. They give inaccurate depth readings, causing the user to risk the bends and been recalled. Four malfunctions have been reported. The recalled depth gauges are produced by Johnson Outdoors and include the UWATEC Smart PRO, Pro ULTRA and Sport PLUS consoles with U-Line gauges. The gray consoles have ``UWATEC'' printed on front, and the following codes are on the back of the gauges: Tested-IL, Tested-JL, Tested-KL, Tested-LL, Tested-AM, Tested-BM, Tested-CM, Tested-DM and Tested-EM. Return them to where they were purchased or call (800) 382-2211. Johnson Outdoors Inc.: http://www.scubapro.com U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov/
-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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