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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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January 1997 Vol. 12, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the January, 1997 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

DRIVING THE HIGH SEAS. Tired of lugging your dive gear on the plane? Next trip, drive to Cozumel. Empress Cruise Lines says it will launch regular ferry service from Tampa, Florida, to the Yucatán Peninsula in February. Drive your car onto the ferry in Tampa and 27 hours later you're in the Yucatán. From Cancun you can catch a ferry to Cozumel. An introductory offer will charge $550 for a family of four to take a car on the ferry, spend three nights at a beachfront hotel in Cancun, Mexico, and return to Florida.

TAKE MY FISH -- PLEASE. Divers going further down the Yucatán coast to Xcalak, Mexico, might notice the paucity of large fish and wonder why. One of our correspondents dived recently in Xcalak, which is down near the border with Belize. Although he was the only diver that day, Adventuras Chinchorros was kind enough to take him out. But there was a price to pay: two dive guides accompanied him and both brought spear guns. To add insult to injury, one handed him a dead hogfish half way through the dive, so he could then shoot a seemingly tame grouper. The paying customer had to carry the dead fish around for 15 minutes, keeping a wary eye out for sharks. On the second dive, he watched guides switch hats and feed the fish. Guess it makes them pretty easy to shoot.

THE MAN IN A POLYESTER SUIT -- and you didn't even know it. O'Neill Wetsuits of Santa Cruz, California, had to cough up a $10,000 fine to the Federal Trade Commission for selling wetsuits labeled "100 percent nylon bonded with neoprene," even though they also contained some polyester -- and you wonder why you never had to iron your wetsuit.

THAT'S NOT YOUR REGULAR PIPEFISH. The boat traffic at your favorite dive site may not all be due to divers. The Drug Enforcement Administration is pointing its finger at the islands of the eastern Caribbean as the major entry areas for cocaine and heroin heading for the United States, calling Puerto Rico the epicenter and naming Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, Aruba, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic as islands where drug traffickers have penetrated the highest levels of society and government.

HAPPY AND GOOFY IN ORLANDO. The annual Diving Equipment and Marketing Association show is happening this month in Mickey's Town. Should be interesting, considering some of the pre-show announcements I've been getting. I'm looking forward to previewing the Volume Control Module, a device that will provide computer control of the volume of air in our BCs (beeezt, going up, beezt, going down), and the Air-Buddy, a replacement for the octopus that's to cost a fifth of the price.

SHARKS IN THE NEWS. Hawaii researchers announced that sharks can get a tan if exposed to sun. Whether bronzed or pale, we can count on fewer sharks around Australia; local authorities say that illegal Indonesian fishing boats are raping Australian waters of shark fins. They have spotted as many as 50 to 60 of these boats, all finning sharks. There's big money in it for the fishermen because of the demand for this essential ingredient of shark-fin soup. Right now a bowl of the stuff costs around $200 in Hong Kong, but some relief may be in sight. A new study reports that the shark fins are laden with mercury and may cause male infertility. Pass the word.

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