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May 1999 Vol. 14, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam 

from the May, 1999 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

YOUR FAVORITE BAR: When you go diving in a country where the metric system prevails and your divemaster asks “what’s your bar,” the proper answer is not “TGI Friday’s.” A bar, like psi, is a unit of pressure. 1 bar = 14.504 psi, so a tank filled to 3000 psi is filled to 206 bar. If the divemaster tells you to return to the boat with 35 bar, he’s basically talking 500 psi. A handy way to remember is to consider a bar the rough equivalent of one atmosphere (14.7 psi), since it’s actually 98 percent of that.

FAKING IT: If you go on a glass bottom boat tour off the Greek island of Zákinthos, Dive International tells us, you’re guaranteed to see a turtle — or your money back. The fact that turtles have just about been wiped out here is of no concern to the operators, since they have strategically placed a few lifelike plastic replicas on the bottom to satisfy their paying passengers. No one is the wiser.

LET THE BUYER BEWARE: Reader Sharon Landwehr (San Francisco CA) had a problem with an online travel agency, Visions of the Sea Travel, when she booked her trip over the web. When she decided she preferred a different flight, Visions of the Sea informed her it would take 90 days for Continental to process her $6,600 refund, but she didn’t get her check (minus a $200 Continental “cancellation fee”) until five months later. She checked with Continental, which told her that there is never a cancellation charge on business class tickets and that refund requests received through the mail are processed in 4 - 6 weeks. Landwehr calls herself lucky to have gotten anything, and, since we were unable to reach Visions of the Sea when we attempted to contact them, we’re inclined to agree with her. While there are plenty of reputable travel agencies on the web, there are also those who set up shop with little experience and no capital. Caveat emptor.

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