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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
January 2009    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 24, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the January, 2009 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Order the Flag We Recommended. In our September 2008 story “Rescue Devices for Saving our Bacon,” writer John Bantin said his favorite rescue device was a big fluorescent yellow flag on an extension pole he straps onto his tank. It was hard to find but subscriber Harvey Cohen (New Brunswick, NJ) just told us about, where it retails for $50, plus $5 shipping. Florida Underwater Sports in Sarasota can also order yellow, orange or yellow/orange flags for you. Contact them at 941-870-4461 or

Electronic Dive Buddy. Your new dive buddy could soon be a computer strapped to your BC that controls whether you sink too deep or surface too quickly. Two engineering students from the University of Auckland have designed a system that monitors a diver’s depth, speed of ascent or descent, and automatically adjusts his BC’s buoyancy if he gets into trouble. It also has a cruise-control feature, allowing divers to automatically maintain a desired depth. Anatoly Kudryashov, one of the inventors, says testing shows the Electronic Dive Buddy works to at least 100 feet. “Further developments could allow it to be built into a diver’s wetsuit, but of course it all depends on financial backing.”

Big Dive Publishing Change. Bonnier Corporation, which publishes PADI’s Sport Diving, has just purchased Scuba Diving magazine from F+W Publications, bringing both major U.S. dive publications under one roof. In a prepared statement, Bonnier CEO Terry Snow said “We serve the enthusiast market better than anyone in the business, so adding Scuba Diving to our existing Sport Diver title will only enhance our relationship with the dive industry and its passionate audience.” What changes will be made remain to be seen, but publishing is a perilous business these days. The well-regarded Fathoms closed a year ago, when the new publisher couldn’t make a go of it after purchasing it from founder Bret Gilliam.

Diving Ruined for Emma Thompson. The British actress from Sense and Sensibility learned how to dive a decade ago in Zanzibar, then did trips to Dominica and the Seychelles, but her work on the 2005 film Nanny MacPhee ruined diving for her. As she told Readers Digest, “I had to have a prosthetic nose made for me [to play the role], and while I was inside the mask as it was hardening, I had a panic attack. And interestingly, the next time I went scuba diving, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t breathe through my nose.”

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