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The Current Undercurrent 

Vol. 14, No.7

July, 1999

 

Here's a brief description of each story from this month's issue along with the full story on the Anse Chastenet, St. Lucia, Where Dive Experience Doesn't Count.

Attention Undercurrent Online Members:
see this note to find the complete stories described here.

COVER STORY

Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia, Where Dive Experience Doesn't Count

"The steps up from the sandy beach were a climb, but when I reached the balcony for our dive orientation, the dive staff gave us a cheery greeting. The basic rules, however, were much less appealing: by law, all dives must be guided by St. Lucia-licensed dive guides; no gloves, no knives, no exceptions." Balancing these restrictions are dive sites in view of the fabulous Pitons, great volcanic cores climbing from the shore to well over 2,000 feet, and open-air cottages planted on the jungle-shrouded hillside and linked by paths to scenic lookouts. Our correspondent weighs the most restricted diving in the Caribbean from his room in a luxury retreat and how the rest of the trip, from food to bugs to after-dive activities, affects the balance.

Get the full story on Anse Chastanet

Diving Into the Interior of the Yucatan

Staying at the Villas DeRosa and Diving Into the Cenotés
The fast currents and big reefs of Cozumel are the big lure for divers traveling to the Yucatan peninsula, but for bad weather days or a change of pace, the Yucatan mainland is less than an hour's ferry ride away. There you'll find a totally unique diving experience: cenoté diving (pronounced say-no-TAY). Cenotés are sinkholes, pools of water leading to underground rivers that have carved their way through limestone. Check out what a purebred open-water diver thought of his Yucatan cave certification course as well as the resort, the food, and the experience of viewing the cathedral-like ornamentation and negotiating the convoluted passages of the caves themselves.

Plantaris: Another Pain

Richard Nelson, M.D. writes in response to our May, 1999, article to let readers know that Achilles tendon rupture is not the only injury that causes sudden pain to the back of diver's legs after pushoff entry, leaving the ankle feeling powerless.

Cozumel Ferry Robbed

Waving grenades and firing assault rifles into the air, half a dozen hooded pirates targeting a money shipment from Cozumel businesses attacked Cozumel's ferry as it made its evening trip to Playa del Carmen on May 31.

The End of the Edge, Skinny Dipper, Marathon & Phoenix

It hasn't been that many years since you could look around a dive boat between dives and see divers who were wracking their brains, desperately trying to recall how to work surface intervals into repetitive nitrogen times. Then, in 1983, Orca Industries introduced the Edge, and multilevel diving and dive computers were in. Now the company's made a bottom-line decision to effectively get out of the scuba market.

The Outlook for Orca Products

The service available on Orca products depends on what you own. Find out where you stand when it comes to servicing your Edge, Skinny Dipper, Marathon, Delphi, Phoenix, or Pilot unit.

After Divers Die, Part III: Waivers and Releases

No matter what operation you dive with these days, it's almost certain you'll be asked to sign a waiver, most likely saying that you'll be unable to hold the operator responsible for any accident, no matter what role he has in it. Period. And, whether you like it or not, most often these waivers hold up in court. Are there any circumstances under which releases aren't binding?

No Talcum Powder Please

A 34-year-old English diver died when his drysuit inadvertently inflated, sending him nearly 60 feet to the surface in 30 seconds. The cause of the stuck valve? A buildup of talcum powder on the inside of the drysuit inflation valve and salt deposits on the valve stem on the outside. Learn what to do if a valve sticks open and how to prevent stuck valves in the first place.

The Sinking of the Komodo Plus

The Komodo Plus I, a traditional Indonesian live-aboard that has been departing Bali for dive trips to the Komodo Islands, was struck by a storm on March 20. The boat sank about a mile off the island.

World Underwater Photographic Competition: You May Have Won and Don't Know It

The Second World Underwater Photographic Competition was held in the Turks and Caicos from May 1 to November 15, 1998. But contest administrators have been slow to notify winners and to send them their prizes.

Problems for Female Divers?

Preliminary data is in on Britain's Diving Disease Research Centre's study on "Scuba Diving and the Menstrual Cycle," which seeks to determine whether there is a correlation between incidents of DCS and female divers' menstrual cycles.

The Trouble with Going to Bonaire and Curaçao: Getting There is the Hardest Part

Caribbean airlines have been a perennial reader complaint over the years. While TACA is seen by many as the worst, my hunch is that ALM's service into Bonaire and Curaçao is a strong contender. But there are alternatives to ALM as well as steps travelers can take to reduce missed connections and lost luggage.

Flotsam & Jetsam

Read about yet another fish we're eating to extinction, how to get two first-class tickets for the price of one, and why drugs like Zyban and Wellbutrin may be risky medications for divers. Israel announces that it's building underwater archaeological parks off its Mediterranean coast, while tourist facilities for those hoping to see whale sharks at Australia's Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth suffer cyclone damage.

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