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May 1999 Vol. 14, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Dive Site Name Game

from the May, 1999 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

I recently heard from Bob Halsted, who years ago opened up Papua New Guinea to live-aboards and in the process named a good many of the dive sites that today’s boats still visit regularly. He brought up an interesting point that I’d never given much thought: how dive sites first acquired the names that they go by today. Halsted writes: “to discover a dive site means that you dived it before any other diver. There is a simple standard, the one that applies to scientific naming, which is that the name has to be published to be valid and the prior name rules.” Halsted’s complaint is that some of the boats diving PNG today are bringing divers to sites he named years ago, but they’re calling them different names. Take the example of the site he discovered while snorkeling off some property that had been owned for many years by his wife, Dinah, and her family. He says he named the dive, appropriately enough, Dinah’s Beach, but that if you visit the site today aboard the Chertan, the dive is called Lauadi. While I don’t know if such name changes violate scientific naming standards or if they’re similar to the way Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City when the North Vietnamese marched in, I do know that Halsted deserves credit for his discoveries and has a wealth of information about PNG diving. If you’d like to hear more about it, his latest PNG dive guide, co-authored with Tim Rock, is coming out in June as a Lonely Planet publication.

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