Updated January 1st, 2006
Bold Divers Rescue Fifty Ton Whale
After a 50-ton humpback whale became entangled in crab pot lines 26 miles from San Francisco last Sunday, divers raced to the scene to cut it free. It was both a daring and miraculous rescue. Get the details: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/12/14/MNGNKG7Q0V1.DTL
Two We'll Miss: Popular and world-renowned underwater photographer Rick Frehsee died in late August from a heart attack. He was 63 years old. His photographs have appeared in Sport Diver, Skin Diver, and scores of nondiving publications. He taught underwater photography for Nikon for ten years. . . .Zak Jones, 30, who was technical diving with six colleagues from Fort Lauderdale's Pro Dive International, died Thanksgiving day. At 150 ft., his buddy saw him struggling as if he were entangled in his tank lines. When the partner reached Jones, he was unconscious with the regulator out of his mouth. Jones' buddy sent him quickly to the surface, but Jones never regained consciousness. Jones was course director at Pro Dive International.
If you plan your own air travel to dive destinations (or anywhere for that matter), the website you need is Kayak.com. After rapidly searching more than a hundred travel web sites, from Expedia and Travelocity, to the airlines themselves, you get a list of flights you can organize by price, time of departure, seating class, etc.
Consumer Reports has found two new substances that work as well as DEET to keep mosquitoes at bay: the chemical picardin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Picardin is formulated in Cutter Advanced, and oil of lemon eucalyptus is the basis for Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Spray. Details in the January 2006 issue of Undercurrent.
We have reports of plenty of shallow damage here and there - we read emails from people who found splendid toadfish on the street - destroyed sponges and soft corals, but the deeper Cozumel diving is out of hurricane range. Here's a website that can help you with the status... See a few photos at www.imagestation.com/album/pictures.html?id=2118380855&mode=guest. The Washington Post on December 9 has an interesting update: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/09/AR2005120900567.html
In our April issue, we gave a big thumbs down to Advance Divers in Placencia, because of their safety practices, which included their motors conking out far from land. Unfortunately in October, a motor conked out again, so the four tourist divers aboard decided to swim for land. Failing to make it, they drifted for three days, and eventually one succumbed to the exposure. It's a tragic story and in our January issue, we will have an exclusive interview with one of the divers and look at the incident in greater depth.
In August, a British scuba diver got seriously bent in the Red Sea, and as he recovered in an Egyptian Hospital his Insurance Company refused to cover the nearly $70,000 in treatment costs. The firm said 68 year old Anthony Allen went deeper than the 30 meter limit stipulated in its small print. Allen's sons said doctors had told them their fathers illness was caused by dehydration, and not the depth to which he dived. Lloyds TSB insurance said the terms of Allen's policy exclude coverage for diving beyond 30 meters. The tour company that Allen was diving with confirmed that he reached a depth of 49.5 meters before seeking medical assistance. Egypt threatened to keep the diver, but eventually allowed him to travel home, after he paid much of the bill.
-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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