The Transportation Security Administration requests that when you're flying, you keep your bags unlocked, otherwise they may break your locks to inspect the contents. Now, Travel Sentry has a TSA-approved locking system that allows travelers to secure their bags using traditional-looking luggage locks, but also allows TSA screeners to open the locks -- which are identified with a red diamond logo -- using a series of codes and a special master key. Locks using Travel Sentry's technology are $20 a pair at Brookstone.
Here's a great chance for kids and their scuba parents to enjoy our oceans together. Curacao's Royal Resorts with Ocean Encounters will host several week-long Kid Sea Camps in June and July 2004; Grand Cayman's Cobalt Coast and Dive Tech host the camp in late July and August. 4- to 8-year-olds will learn to snorkel/SASY, and 8- to 11-year-olds will become PADI Seal Team members. Parents can join Jr. Openwater divers ages 10 and up on their graduation dive, and teens will have their own private boat. Parents can enjoy daily 2-tank dives and a night dive on their own private boats. Each child and adult is presented gifts from the PADI Diving Society, including T-shirts, hats, tote bags, and toys. Scuba Pro presents fins, mask, and snorkel sets and wetsuits to children. Kids Sea Camp is in its fourth year. Margo Chornlesky, Scuba Mom, hosts weeks with her own children, Robbie, 9, and Jennifer, 7. Combining her skills as a mother and a travel specialist allows her to create a complete program. Call 800-934-3483, or log onto www.kidseacamp.com. For info on his and other trips, see www.worlddive.com. If you sign up, tell Margo that Undercurrent sent you, and you'll get a free backpack.
While a new study of Hawaii's coral reefs shows them to be in serious danger (a limited number of copies of the Hawai'i Coral Reef Initiative Research Program's report are available: call 956-7479), tourists are discovering what locals have always known; shore diving can be just as rewarding -- and a lot less expensive -- than boat diving. With a C-card, you can rent tanks at shops on any island, and most shops will give you directions and a map to local sites. On Maui, Undercurrent subscriber Leo Dioguardi (Apollo Beach, FL) tells us that his group "decided to just rent tanks from Maui Dreams Dive Co. in Kihei, and we found the beach dives great, turtles on every dive, some approached us rather than the other way around. We found several frogfish, lots of eels (this is Hawaii after all), and some interesting lava formations."
One of the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted fugitives, Sidney Marvin Lewis, has been arrested after 13 years at large at a dive shop he ran in Eilat, Israel, on the Gulf of Aqaba. He had been charged with intent to distribute more than 2,200 pounds of hashish after being detained in Columbia City, Ore., in September 1989. Given a furlough to visit home, he disappeared. In the next issue of Undercurrent, we report on a diver who surfaced in Costa Rica years after he faked his death.
A whopper of a new hardcover book by Norbert Wu, one of the world's preeminent underwater photographers. In this 384-page coffee table book, Wu displays 350 fascinating images from the world's most beautiful dive locations, from the well-trodden California coast to the remote outposts of Antarctica and the tropical shores of the Revillagigedo Islands, Palau, and French Polynesia. Ken McAlpine's colorful and informative text is an honest appraisal of everything a serious diver needs to know along Wu's journey: the best seasons for diving, unique aspects of the geography and sea life found, popular dive destinations within a specific locale, suggestions for getting there, the best time and places to see extraordinary species and behaviors, and topside tips. Diving the World lists for $75, but Order it now and the price is $52.50, plus shipping, and a ubstantial part of the profits will go to preserve coral reefs.
A host of a History Channel series "Deep Sea Detectives" drowned during a 250-foot dive to the USS Perry, a World War II wreck in Palau. Michael Norwood, 36, an experienced British diver, died as two fellow divers tried to bring him to the surface, producer Christopher Cassell told the Pacific Daily News. During the first two days of diving, the crew reached the wreck but was unable to film because of strong currents. On the third day, Saturday, December 6, the currents subsided enough to film, but when Norwood reached 250 feet, he signaled "he was out of air, but he had reserve tanks," Cassel said. "We are not sure why he did not switch to his reserve tanks." The two other divers attempted to bring him to the surface while sharing their air with him. But Norwood lost consciousness during the long, slow ascent, and drowned. (A Palau Ministry of Justice statement said it is unknown whether the death occurred because of "diver error or health problems.") The History Channel crew cut short its filming. In all, 12 episodes of "Deep Sea Detectives" have been filmed, some of which already have aired. Norwood participated in nine episodes.
502 pages of reviews of hundreds of resorts and live-aboards: It went into the mail today to all newsletter subscribers! Not a subscriber? Sign up now.
-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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