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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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June 2009    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 24, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the June, 2009 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Undercurrent Blogs and Bulletin Board. We’ve started running blogs on our Web site, and more will come. You can read original pieces by the likes of Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock, Bret Gilliam, John Bantin, Doc Vikingo, even me, Ben Davison. Or go to our online bulletin board, post your questions, advise others, run a commentary. Take advantage of the Undercurrent community at Undercurrent.

Far-Reaching Lawsuit Against The Aggressor Fleet. In May 2003, two divers disappeared on a dive from the Okeanos Aggressor off Costa Rica’s Cocos Island. They were never found. This April, a lawsuit by the family of one missing diver, citing negligence among other things, was heard in New Orleans. The Aggressor Fleet prevailed on all charges but one. The jury hung on that one, and it will be retried in August. When the final verdict is in, we will provide a full report.

Karuru Dive Voyage Owner Dies. Tragically, Sascha Dambach, the fellow who owned the Cheng Ho along with his wife, Lisa, died in a motorbike accident in Bali on March 21. In Dive Karuru’s monthly newsletter, Lisa says the team she and Sascha built will continue to run cruises. We hear general manager Stein Zahl is now in charge of diving operations.

Seven-Foot Octopus in 14-Inch Box. Staff at the New England Aquarium were stunned when Truman, an 18-month-old octopus, squeezed himself into a 14-inch square box in March. He pushed his 30 pounds of mass through a two-inch hole on the locked box, which contained a smaller box filled with crabs. Because Truman usually unlocks box latches to free his food, his caretaker gives him boxes within boxes to keep him active and challenged but apparently Truman got impatient. He stayed inside the box for 30 minutes without penetrating the food box, although he often saves food for nighttime.

How Long Have They Got? While the Maldive Islands has some of the world’s best diving, a future generation of divers will need to take a liveaboard from India to reach the area. A NASA model estimates that global sea levels have a rise of up to 80 feet by 2100, assuming that feedback mechanisms will accelerate melting in Greenland and Antarctica. Conservative scientists predict only a rise of 4.5 feet by 2100, still enough to put most of the island country underwater.

Shy Diver. On an Indonesia liveaboard trip, reader Wilt Nelson (Leesburg, FL) recalls a diver in his 40s who was very finicky. “On the dinghy return trip from a dive, he complained of having to urinate and wished we would hurry back to the mother ship. He said he had never urinated in his wetsuit but would need to now as we were still 10 minutes from the big boat; could we put him in the water? So we stopped and he dropped into the water. After five minutes of difficulty in ‘starting,’ he asked us not to watch him or he couldn’t go. We turned our heads but that still wasn’t ‘satisfactory,’ so we had to motor 100 yards away and not look at him. Finally, he accomplished his task and we resumed the return trip. Lucky there were no other boats in the area or he would still be in the water trying to go.”

Caymans’ 11 Deaths in 16 Months. The Caymans get top marks for Caribbean diving but has more than its share of dive-related deaths. In 2008, eight divers and snorkelers died. This year, it has been two snorkelers and a diver. The most recent death was Brendan Neilson, 58, from Colorado Springs, CO. He was on a Divers Down boat on April 28 with four other divers and disappeared during the dive. The 911 center got a call from a fishing boat, reporting it had found a diver floating off Dolphin Pointe, West Bay. Moments later, 911 got a call from Divers Down reporting Neilson as missing. CPR was unsuccessful, and Neilson was pronounced dead at the hospital. All the divers and snorkelers who died so far in 2008 and 2009 were over age 45.

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