March 27, 2003
Air X Nitrox Computers Recalled – At Last
UWATEC AG, of Switzerland, is recalling about 390 Aladin Air X Nitrox dive computers manufactured in 1995. The software "may inaccurately calculate desaturation times, resulting in possible decompression sickness under aggressive dive conditions." UWATEC has received five reports of DCS "allegedly associated with use of the 1995 dive computers." UWATEC has stated, "For safety reasons, we ask that you stop using the 1995 dive computer immediately." To which we can only reply, "What took you so long?" You see, the defect has been known for several years and lawsuits have been filed against UWATEC and Johnson Worldwide (which purchased UWATEC and owns Scubapro) alleging fatal coverups. The full story appears in the April issue of Undercurrent. Meanwhile, if you have a '95 Aladin Air X Nitrox computer, stop using it and contact UWATEC for a free replacement (the $900 Air Z Nitrox). See the firm's website at www.UWATEC.com, or you can call 800-806-0640
In the summers of 1998 and 1999, a 65' dive boat from Montauk, N.Y., lost five divers in separate incidents on the Andrea Doria – about one diver in every four trips! Diver error? Captain error? Bad luck? A continuing, unaddressed problem? Joe Haberstroh, a reporter for Newsday, explores each death in detail, explaining the divers’ motivations, their training, and what happened on their fatal dives. The divers are ordinary guys, some trained better than others, but each diving below 200 feet in search of Doria trophies. What happened on board the Seeker? What was the Captain’s role? Could the accidents be prevented?. This is a fascinating book any serious diver will find difficult to put down. I read it in a day. Just published this month, it’s available through Undercurrent’s link to Amazon.com, where a good portion of your purchase price will be donated to the Coral Reef Alliance. Hardbound, 250 pages, $16.77 currently at Amazon.
An extensive study was conducted in the United Kingdom, involving 2,250 divers, 47% of whom were women. Of the 458,827 dives reported, 31 percent were by women. Differences in diving habits were observed between men and women, which included the number of dives per annum, maximum depths dived, and number of dives with extra stops. The findings were a surprise. When they considered experience, the rate of DCS in men was 2.6 times greater than women. Further studies are needed. (Space Environmental Medicine 2002 Aug)
It has begun appearing at IMAX theaters throughout the country. Featuring spectacular shots from South Pacific Reefs, it’s opening to great reviews and plenty of oohs and ahs on the big screen. Preview the film at www.coralfilm.com. If you live in Northern California, catch a preview and participate in a live auction of fantastic tropical conservation vacation packages to support preserve coral reefs. It's an evening of film and festivities with William Shatner and acclaimed filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall. Saturday night, April 19th, at the Tech Museum of Innovation in downtown San Jose, California. Tickets are $75-$250. Behind the scenes photos of Hall’s shoot and more details at http://www.coralreefalliance.org/benefit/pictures.html.
PADI has discovered errors in their air and Nitrox Recreational Dive Planners (RDPs), which may be included in Open Water and Enriched Air Crew Paks, book and table combinations, CD-ROM combinations, and individual tables shipped between October 1, 2002, and January 31, 2003. If you recently procured a PADI table, contact PADI, at 866-698-0974 for further information or visit their website at www.padi.com.
If you haven’t read Dr. Jolie Bookspan’s classic (it’s in its fourth printing) not only are you missing important medical facts about diving, but also you may be relying on the many myths she debunks. Besides, it’s a fun read about: why decompression bubbles can be helpful in your body. ... Issues for men; effect of pressure on penile and testicular implants, hair replacements, fertility, hernias, and more. ... Information just for women. ... Electrolyte drinks don't dehydrate you as some divers say. ... The dive reflex doesn't conserve oxygen in humans, so what does it do? ... Will antioxidant vitamins protect against the oxidants involved in toxicity? ... Trimix, heliox, hang mixes. ... What to do when you have to `go` on long hangs, gas switching, how to rehydrate underwater. ... Facts and myths about diving in heat and cold. ... Why do you have to `pee` underwater? ... Decompression sickness, oxygen toxicity, headaches, lung injuries, and how to lower your risk. ... Plus lots more. 246 pages illustrated, $30. Order through Undercurrent by clicking on this link – and you’ll get Amazon’s best prices, with much of the profit going to preserve coral reefs.
A British organization, The Full Circle Expedition, conceived by British
dive journalist Monty Halls, has what it calls “the 10 top dives”
in the world: Great white sharks, South Africa; Aliwal Shoal, South
Africa; Lake Malawi, Palau Archipelago; Yap; Great Barrier Reef; Poor
Knights Islands, New Zealand; Galapagos Islands; Blue Hole, Belize;
Little Bahamas Bank. During 2002, expedition participants dived all
10 sites in a three-month period and loved it so much that they're going
to do it again in 2003. If you have nothing but time and money, visit
their website at www.fullcircleexpeditions.com
for more information about the expedition or to apply to join the group.
Have you gone to a dive resort in the past year only to find that the boats were booked or were out of the water, and you couldn’t get the dives you wanted, even if you had prepaid? We’ve heard a few stories and want to look into this more. E-mail me the details and the operation. BenDavison@aol.com
-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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