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Undercurrent Online Update for Subscribers

For Mr. Ben Davison (with username 'testbd', exp: 2022-06-03, at )

February 13, 2020

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Scuba diving helmet

He’s Now Seen It All!

That’s what subscriber Andrew Falconer (Bunbury, Australia) told us after witnessing a lady climb down the steps of Busselton jetty, Western Australia, in the company of a scuba diver, while wearing a white helmet connected to a scuba tank slung across her back. She then strolled about the seabed in her pink slip-on shoes. Is this the future of scuba or a Coroner’s report?

DAN Dive Accident Insurance

In last month's article, "The Ins and Outs of Trip Insurance," we erroneously confused dive trip insurance with dive accident insurance. DAN's dive trip insurance does indeed cover those 70 and older. Rachelle Deal of DAN now tells us it “offers dive accident insurance coverage options for divers of over 70 years-of-age in all states (with the exceptions of Vermont and Washington). Plus, the Guardian Plan is still available for those of 70 years and older in 39 states.”

Join the New England Aquarium on its Bahamas Reef Fish Survey Expedition APRIL 11-19, 2020. And it's Tax Deductible

You can explore beautiful underwater sites with New England Aquarium divers on their annual expedition to the Bahamas aboard the R/V Coral Reef II. Using techniques that you will learn from Aquarium staff, participants will gather data on fish populations and their habitats while gaining experience with scientific diving methods. It’s a way to increase your knowledge of reef fish identification and behavior while helping to ensure diverse and healthy animal populations. If you sign up, be prepared to spend a lot of time diving with a great group of people! For information, Chris Bauernfeind at or 617.973.5248.

Australian Wildlife in Peril Appeal

Remarkably, Undercurrent supporters have contributed more than $52,000 so far and contributions are continuing to roll in. $20,000 has already been distributed. It’s so hard to see how the animals suffer or even can’t get away from the fires, and tens of thousands of volunteers are helping. The money we raise goes for taking food and water into the bush, paying for transport, paying for all the rescue and medical supplies needed, and vehicle support. Coming up is habitat restoration, because, koalas, for example, have lost their trees. The money is being parcelled out to carefully vetted organizations including WIRES, Wildlife Victoria and Koala Rescue, Queensland. Undercurrent is an approved 501 (c)(3) organization. If you wish to make a tax-deductible contribution, click here. Thanks again.

Coronavirus Update (1)

You may have read our February Undercurrent article about sharing a cabin with someone who gets sick and the coronavirus emergency brings this into sharp focus. Nautilus Dive Adventures (Sea of Cortez, Socorro) is among the first operations to take steps and has sent a message out to all passengers booked that reads, “Any divers scheduled to join one of our trips that have recently travelled to affected regions in China and are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, please contact us. If travel is not advised, we will waive any cancellation fees and rebook you onto a later trip without charge.” Can’t say fairer than that.

Coronavirus Update (2)

If you are traveling to Micronesia be aware that the President of the Pacific island nation has declared that visitors are required to have stayed for at least 14 days in a country or territory unaffected by the coronavirus, immediately before entering his country. That means not traveling via China (inc. Hong Kong) or the Philippines (traveling via Manila is a popular route). Fiji and the Marshall Islands have taken a similar precaution.

A Message from PADI on Battery Charging

There’s a rising prevalence of battery-powered devices being used in diving situations: smart phones, underwater propulsion vehicles, computers, cameras, strobes, drones and other personal equipment. Following recent boating-related tragedies, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) have recommended that owners, operators and masters of passenger vessels consider limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and extensive use of power strips and extension cords due to an increased risk of fire. This fire risk also extends to land-based dive operations, especially when charging batteries in hotel and designated camera rooms.

Sharks Still in Peril

At the beginning of February, wildlife inspectors at Miami port seized an enormous illegal cargo comprising 1,400 pounds of shark fins originated in South America and probably bound for Asia. The commercial value of the shark fins, packed in 18 boxes, was estimated to be approaching $1 million.

Eneloop Battery Info

Subscriber John Ware (Dallas, TX) tells us that the latest Eneloop rechargeable batteries he bought came with the message “Do not use in waterproof flashlight or any device with an airtight battery compartment.” Eneloop batteries have been a favorite with underwater photographers for years.

Coming Soon in Undercurrent

A hidden gem in Utila, Sorido Bay, Raja Ampat, Socorro Aggressor …When you finally break the surface after a dive you expect your boat to be there. It doesn’t always happen. Being afloat and lost in the ocean must be every diver’s nightmare. We look at ways you can avoid this happening. Makes getting found routine rather than a miracle . . . Shark attacks on divers – it rarely happens but when it does, it’s traumatic . . . Is your dive boat left unattended when you’re underwater? We want to know. . . Do you have medical evacuation insurance? Maybe you should have . . . The diver was insured but his wife could not collect. We tell that, and other stories.

Your Reader Reports are the Lifeblood of Undercurrent

Your reader reports are the lifeblood of Undercurrent because they reflect your own experiences. And because they tell both the good and bad, these reports help make our monthly newsletter a unique source for serious divers. You can even add photos if you wish. We’re all getting older so maybe we should mention the availability (or not) of a marine head in any dive resort day boat you write about. Your reports join more than 10,000 others in our online database (and our annual Travelin Divers’ Chapbook), which is easily searchable by any other subscriber. -- this information we’ll use to contact those dive travel operators and compel them to change their ways (and keep those giant garbage patches in the oceans from getting larger). Don’t forget to file your report of your last dive trip at:

Thanks for being a loyal subscriber.

Ben Davison, editor/publisher
Contact Ben


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