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July 2005 Vol. 31, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the July, 2005 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Bye Bye Bay Island Aggressor: It’s been yanked from the fleet and Aggressor chief Wayne Hasson tells us that a new Utila Aggressor will be in service in October. It will be 110’ long and carry 14 passengers. Hasson says it will be built along the lines of new Aggressor boats (e.g., T&CAggressor II, Belize Aggressor II) with a more upscale “yachty” ambiance. Hasson says that Utila Aggressor passengers will be served by weekly charter flights from San Pedro Sula.(

Those Eels Again: Last month we reported that an eel regularly fed by tourists seriously injured a youth at Cayman’s Sting Ray City. This month we’ll tell you about a 32-yearold Brit at the East of Eden dive site in the Similan Islands, Thailand. Diving from the MV Scuba Queen in June, Matt Butcher fed the 2.2- meter “friendly” eel regularly for 18 months. “She will swim between your legs and curl herself around your arms. Divers often feed her food taken from their liveaboard boats. I took a sausage wrapped in a plastic bag from the pocket of my BCD vest and threw it to her.” Butcher said the eel latched onto his left thumb while he was still holding the bag. “I couldn’t get my thumb out of her mouth once she had started biting. The teeth of a moray are angled backward so she got a better grip [on my thumb] every time she bit down. I tried pushing the fingers of my right hand into her mouth to try and force her mouth open but she did not let go; she could taste blood by then. She was shaking her head from side to side, biting harder all the time. Five seconds later, my thumb just came off. She ate it and swam away.”

Controversial Red Sea Diving Rules Dropped: Egyptian authorities have bowed to critics and watered down regulations affecting Red Sea dive boat operators. One rule would have mandated medical fitness certifications for all divers, on live-aboards or day boats. Instead, officials have agreed to accept self-declarations of fitness. A restriction that all live-aboard divers should have logged at least 50 dives was also scrapped, but the rule will remain in force for the marine parks (around the Brothers, Zabargad, Daedalus and Rocky Island.). Questions can be addressed to

PLB to the Rescue: On April 9, two Florida divers surfaced 10 miles offshore to find the current had pulled them away from their boat, according to the St. Petersburg Times. They tried to swim for it, but became separated. A passing boater picked up the male diver and found his boat, but not his female buddy. The diver, aboard his own vessel, activated an AquaFix Personal Locator Beacon that sent a signal to a satellite. When the distress call location had been determined, the Coast Guard dispatched a cutter to run a search pattern. The woman saw the 41-foot cutter and signaled with her strobe. The cutter picked her up. The AquaFix, which costs $600 to $800 depending on the model, is made by ACR Electronics ( or 1.800.432.0227). Although it’s submersible, it’s not dive rated, so it has to stay on the boat.

Recently Extinct Parrotfish: Scientists have concluded that Brazil’s beautiful rainbow parrotfish (s .aff guacamaia), which was last seen in the mid 1980’s, is now extinct. While the disappearance of mangroves for development has a role, the primary cause it seems is spear fishing. (C.E.L Ferreifa, in Coral Reefs, 2005).

CoCoView Tragedy: Both divemaster Tulio Gomez and a CocoView guest died while on the same dive on June 20. There were no direct witnesses to either fatality and the circumstances are being investigated as we go to press.

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