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Current Upwellings
The Latest Dive News

Last updated January, 2004

Special Deal on Little Cayman
Getting Easier to get to Little Cayman and Grand Cayman
Puffer (de)Fingers Diver
BCDs Recalled
A Diver's Guide to Underwater Malaysia Macrolife
Divers Disappear on Bonaire
Sea and Sea U.S. Goes Out of Business
Grand Turk Arawak Update

Special Deal on Little Cayman January 26, 2004

Paradise Villas has a special for Undercurrent readers who want Little Cayman’s splendid diving and accommodations with more space and freedom than hotels. Their twelve oceanfront villas have fully equipped kitchenettes, air conditioning, cable TV, large front and back porches, siesta-perfect hammocks, and bicycles. Paradise Divers has the fastest dive boat on the island to get to the best sites on Bloody Bay Wall and Jackson’s Bay before others. On site, the Hungry Iguana Restaurant is so well regarded that it attracts diners who have prepaid meal plans elsewhere. Dine inside the air-conditioned bar, outside on their large waterfront porch, or in their new, nonsmoking dining room. They feature American and Caribbean specialties and an extensive wine list. Mention Undercurrent when you book and get 15% off their regular, posted rates. Mini Group Special: Pay for six divers and get two spots free, or pay for nine spots and get three free. These offers are only good for new bookings and cannot be combined with other specials. There are some blackout dates. E-mail undercurrent@paradisevillas.com or call 1.877.3CAYMAN and mention the Undercurrent special offer. Visit their web site at www.paradisevillas.com.

Getting Easier to get to Little Cayman and Grand Cayman January 24, 2004

Cayman Airways has begun 18-seat Twin Otter flights from Grand Cayman to both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, seven days a week. The planes are equipped with quick-convertible seating, which gives the airline the capability of getting all baggage on board, a problem with the current sole operator, Air. The competition for the government-owned Cayman Air puts the privately owned Island Air at risk. Said a spokesman: “We cannot compete with Cayman Airways.” United Airlines has begun nonstop service between Chicago and Grand Cayman, every Saturday through April 24. Northwest now operates flights from Minneapolis.

Puffer (de)Fingers Intruder January 5, 2004

In November, Randy Jordan, who runs Jupiter Dive Center in Florida, was leading a group through a local underwater cavern, when he spotted a large porcupine puffer fish in a hole. He stroked the fish’s head with one Kevlar-gloved finger. The puffer stayed put. So he waggled his fingers in front of the puffer’s face — “to entice him to come out and play,” Randy says. “He launched forward and got hold of my pinkie. Playtime over! Man that hurt.” This cute little fish has teeth like a parrotfish and the ability to crush shells if necessary. When Jordan took the glove off underwater, “I realized half my finger was still in the glove. The stump that extended from my hand was clouding the water with green smoke. I grabbed the base of my finger to attempt to stop the blood cloud and was shocked to see the damage inflicted.” Jordan underwent plastic surgery to close off the stump, and was back in the water ten days later, a humbler diver. He told Undercurrent that “touching fish is not good for them and may not be good for you. All fish will do what they need to do to defend themselves.”

BCDs Recalled January 26, 2004

If you purchased a Sherwood or Genesis BCD after July 1, you might have a defective inflator valve that could continuously inflate, a serious problem. The affected models have a black or
gray inflator button and are on Sherwood Silhouette, Magnum, Avid Luna, and Freedom models, with serial numbers 90010001 to 90350167, and the Genesis Cayman, Cobra, Athena, and Phantom (same serial numbers). To find the serial number, check the “Important Notice” label, which may be inside or behind the BCD pocket. A spokesman said they discovered the defect during quality control checks at a Thailand manufacturing facility. About 90 percent of the affected units were still in warehouses, and so they were upgraded with a blue colored button before being shipped. If you believe you have a defective BCD, return it to your dealer or call 800-815-9740, ext. 233.

A Diver’s Guide to Underwater Malaysia Macrolife January 20, 2004

We just discovered the ultimate guide to Indo-Pacific macro life. It was published late last year by marine photographers and writers Andrea and Antonet La Ferrari, who have several other winning books in their portfolio. They picture and describe in full detail 600 different species, focusing on those found in the South China, Sulu, and Sulawesi seas. From colorful nudibranchs to cleaner shrimps and pipe fish, to larger species like cuttlefish and clown fish. Each description offers an insight on distribution, habitat, size, life habits, and U/W photo tips. Illustrated with more than 800 extraordinary color photographs and written in a clear, concise, informative style, this book is both a macro and fish field guide for all serious divers from the Maldives to Australia. A must for traveling divers. $45, paper, in a handy 6”x7” travel size. Buy now through Undercurrent and a chunk of the profits will go to preserve coral reefs.

Divers Disappear on Bonaire January 6, 2004

Two Atlanta divers, 53-year-old Thomas Ennis, who had more than 140 dives under his belt, and his 30-year-old son, Brandon, left their pick-up-truck at Karpata on January 2. When they didn’t return to the Lion’s Dive Hotel by 11 p.m. that night, two other children of Ennis notified the resort and authorities. The Coast Guard immediately began a search — using boats, a plane, and helicopters — and the next day did deep search dives using an underwater scooter. A Cessna searched the open ocean between Bonaire and Curacao. The search was curtailed several days later without a trace of the two divers, other than their truck. Speculation is a stiff current swept them away.

Sea and Sea U.S. Goes Out of Business January 22, 2004

The U.S. distributor of Sea and Sea underwater photo gear has closed its doors, but Tabata U.S.A. will handle Sea and Sea warranty and service issues at four professional camera service centers: Underwater Photo Tech (New Hampshire, 603-432-1997), Underwater Camera Repair (Florida, 305-234-0903), In-Depth Camera Repair (Colorado, 970-224-1071), Sub Aquatics Camera Repair Company (California, 831-484-6230). Or call Tabata at 562-498-3708 for more information.

Grand Turk Arawak Update January 20, 2004

A fire destroyed the restaurant, bar, and office of that nice diver’s hotel, Arawak Inn on Grand Turk Island last fall. While management provides a van for guests to drive into town for dining, it’s a hassle (though the Inn’s 15 rooms include kitchens). The Arawak’s Tiki Bar is open for refreshments and light snacks. Many websites featuring the Arawak still advertise an on-premises restaurant, so beware.

-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher

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