Updated March 21st, 2006
How is Post Hurricane Cozumel Diving?
It was a rough year for Cozumel. Emily struck in July, then in October Wilma, one of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes in recorded history, visited. Topside the island has rebounded remarkably. You can generally expect to stay and play at your favorite establishments and submerge with your favorite dive operators. But, divers want to know what it's like underwater, so Undercurrent's Doc Vikingo visited in February to update our readers. His full report will be in our April issue. To give you a heads up, he says: "Even to a 32-year Cozumel veteran some sites were unrecognizable. Despite contrary reports, the underwater environment has been significantly rearranged and changed forever. The reefs, where not entirely covered in sand or denuded of delicate marine growth (e.g., Chun Chacaab shallows, Dalila, La Francesa), are silted to varying degrees. While some mid level sites like Palancar Gardens and the upper reaches of the Santa Rosa Wall fared better, choking silt on corals and sponges can still be seen. Not surprisingly, the deepest reefs survived best (e.g., Maracaibo Deep, Columbia Deep), but here massive hunks of reef have tumbled off in some sections. On the bright side, many delightful new swim throughs, caverns and holes have been created. These strikingly beautiful alterations in underwater structure put a fresh face on Cozumel scuba. The fish and reef creature life also has been altered, yet there remains much to see." When you go, choose the good operations we report on in Undercurrent with a thorough knowledge of the reefs, tanks and rules that allow you to dive relatively deep for extended times, and a willingness to visit the least damaged sites.
Savvy divers looking for macro creatures carry a magnifying glass to get a fish-eye view The lens mush be glass (not plastic, which has about the same index of refraction as water, so it's useless underwater). Magnifying lens masks are not very useful, so go for a good hand-held glass. My favorite is Edmund Scientific (www.scientificsonline.com). Look for the 4 inch Round Magnifier With 10X Spot Lens. It's $11.95, plus $6.40 for shipping. It fits in a BC pocket and has a hole in the handle for a lanyard.
A Providence RI civil trial jury has unanimously awarded the parents of Shelley Tyre, the deceased wife of David Swain, more than $3.5 in compensatory and punitive damages for her death. During the trial, they heard lawyers for the plaintiff describe how in the British Virgins in 1999, Swain had killed her in 80 feet of water by turning off her air and holding her down. His reason: to inherit her property. Swain, who has never been criminally charged with her death, says he may appeal. The complete story will be in the April issue of Undercurrent.
In a recent issue we noted that there doesn't seem to be scientific evidence that Nitrox makes you less tired, but then we heard from a reader. "My husband and I had been diving for seven years. Each day of diving was usually the same. An awesome morning of two tank dives, back to the room for a hard 30 minute nap, on to more diving and more napping. Then we got Nitrox certified and something amazing happened. After two dives, we went back to the room and had sex. Yep, that's right, sex. Something that had never happened before the nap before that day. This wasn't just a one time thing. We actually had the energy to engage in this extracurricular activity each day after diving. We've been enjoying Nitrox ever since!" And, guess what? More readers have chimed in. Care to share your experiences? firstname.lastname@example.org
Norine Rouse, who for nearly three decades guided dives from her Palm Beach Florida Norine Rouse Scuba Club, has died at the age of 80. In 1966, Rouse moved to Freeport, Bahamas with $125 she had won on a television game show and became one of the world's first women diving instructors. Later, she was one of a handful of people licensed by the state of Florida to swim with sea turtles and would steadfastly record and photograph their behavior for scientists. From the 1970s to the 1990s, she tracked the annual return of two loggerhead turtles to the same local reefs. When Robert the turtle returned each Christmas, Rouse would don her trademark yellow wet suit and take kitchen scrubbies out to clean him. (Palm Beach Post)
Time magazine selected the SeaLife DC500 digital underwater camera as one of the "Most Amazing Inventions of 2005." They said, "The camera eliminates the traditional bulk of underwater cameras, measuring a mere 3.5 in. by 5.5 in. and weighing just under 17 oz. But there's no sacrificing image quality. The SeaLife 500 captures ultra sharp, high-resolution pictures and overcomes underwater photography challenges including poor light, waterborne particles and quick-moving subjects. The camera is waterproof down to 200 ft. and has six modes for land." It's a 5-megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom lens. Price is $550, strobes are additional. www.sealife-cameras.com.
-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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