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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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July 1998 Vol. 13, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam 

from the July, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Bad Sport. A couple of Italian fishermen found a hand grenade, and on May 22 decided to use it to enhance their catch by stunning fish. While fishing in the Mediterranean, they spotted bubbles they thought disclosed a school of fish, so one of the guys pulled the pin and lobbed in the grenade. Unfortunately, the bubbles were exhaust from diver Teodoro Zuccaro’s regulator, and the blast killed him. His dive partner was some distance away and was unharmed. The Associated Press reported that the fishermen were apprehended and charged with manslaughter. They complained there was no diver flag on the surface to indicate divers below.

This sounds like another urban myth. Remember the one about the dead scuba diver found in a tree after a forest fire? He supposedly had been dumped there by a helicopter that scooped him up in a lake. But if it gets exposed as such, don’t blame us, blame the Associated Press.

Bad Time. Several researchers have found that women report a greater incidence of decompression illness than men. Researchers at the Hyperbaric Medical Center in Plymouth, Devon, England, analyzed records of 26 women treated for DCS, finding that the data “suggest that women may be at a greater risk of DCS during the early phase of their menstrual cycle.” This is surely not conclusive evidence, so “prospective data are now being gathered to further substantiate these findings.”

Bad to the Bone. Dysbaric osteonecrosis — the “bone rot” of divers — is not a disease associated with sport scuba diving according to most authorities. However, after reviewing a case of a 36-year-old female scuba diver, Australian diving doctor Carl Edmonds is not sure. Most of her diving was well within diving limits, with the only unusual dives being six days of repetitive diving and one ascent faster than it should have been. Her pain progressed over 18 months and she became so debilitated she eventually had a total hip replacement due to dysbaric osteonecrosis. Edmonds says the case concerns him because he wonders whether the medical profession really has the investigative ability to detect the relationship between sport diving and “bone rot.” At the very least, he says, the case implies that there are hazards in computer diving and multi-level repetitive diving.

Six to Zero. If you’re planning a trip to the Atlantic or Caribbean hurricane zone this summer — from Bermuda to the Grenadines — keep in mind that 1998 is looking like a normal hurricane year. Colorado State University professor William Gray, a respected hurricane forecaster, predicts that 10 tropical storms will form in the Atlantic and Caribbean between June 1 and Nov. 30. He thinks six will become hurricanes — winds exceeding 74 miles an hour — and two will reach 111 miles an hour or greater. That makes us wonder where the folks at Beaufort North Carolina’s Discovery Diving Company (they take divers to wrecks in the Atlantic) get their information when they advertise: “no hurricanes are forecast for 1998 ... A dry hot summer.” Hmmm.

The Contact Info. Last issue we mentioned Divers Equipment Protection Program’s expanded insurance coverage for dive and photographic equipment, They can be reached by phone at (1-800-788-4096 or 502-454-4152) or e-mail (

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