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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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October 2009    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 24, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the October, 2009 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Keep an Eye on Your Spearfishing Buddy. He may shoot you by accident, as one Australian diver experienced in September, when his friend’s three-footlong spear pierced his chest just centimeters from his heart. Brett Clarke and Jim Bigness were diving off Melbourne’s Cape Schanck when Bigness mistakenly launched his stainless-steel spear in Clarke’s direction, puncturing his left lung. Clarke, 39, didn’t realize he had been shot until he saw the spear sticking out of his chest. He swam back to shore but when he got washed onto a rock shelf, the spear caught on the rocks and went in further. “I kept trying not to black out. I forced myself to stay awake, calm down and concentrate on my breathing.” Firefighters cut off the shaft, then doctors removed the barb at the hospital. Clarke will keep diving with Bigness but says, “From now on, he’s at one end of the beach and I’m at the other.”

Warmer Waters Make Fish Crankier. Australian scientists say climate change is making fish become more aggressive and also vulnerable to predators. They studied damselfish from the Great Barrier Reef in their lab, subjecting them to changing water temperatures. They found that if water temperature rose by as little as three degrees Celsius, the fish were up to six times more active, bold and aggressive. That meant they ate more, and they were also more likely to be eaten themselves.

You Europeans Save the Ocean, Let Us Yanks Destroy It: On October 4, a group of guys were fishing off Fort Lauderdale when they spotted a 10-footlong, 750-pound shark feeding on a swordfish. As any American good ol’ boy would do, they chased after and captured it, with one of the guys saying, ‘We might as well get this thing. Someone’s dying today.’” They didn’t fish for it, just grabbed it and killed it. “Our kids will be talking about that fish for who knows how long,” one said. A couple of days later, a proud Dutch fisherman caught and then posed with a monster skate, but he missed out on breaking the UK record because he threw the 249-pound catch back. Three shipmates helped Hand Dykman haul in the ray, measuring six feet across, out of the Irish Sea. The charter skipper, Hamish Currie, said “You can’t kill a fish like that - it’s just wrong. This thing will fight another day.”

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