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May 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 29, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the May, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Business Class to the Cook Islands for $1,928. A tropical paradise for New Zealand divers, but not many American divers visit the aquarium-like reefs that have plenty of tropicals and a bit of shark action. If you're looking for a unique dive destination, here's your chance. Until May 19, Air New Zealand is offering this business-class deal from Los Angeles, and you can fly anytime up to October 26. Details are at www.airnewzealand.com/special-offer-business-class-flight-to-rarotonga

Indonesia and Palau Are Doing It, Why Can't We? "February was a banner month for marine conservation and sustainable marine tourism," writes underwater photography pro and Undercurrent contributor Maurine Shimlock. "Indonesia announced that the entire archipelago would become the world's largest manta ray sanctuary. Palau declared a ban on all commercial fishing within its exclusive economic zone. What, if any action has been taken elsewhere, especially by the U.S., to protect sharks and manta rays within its waters?" Read Maurine's commentary on America's efforts -- or lack of them -- in her latest blog post for us, "Taking a Stand," at www.undercurrent.org/blog

Hawaii Boat Captain Ditches Divers, Gets DUI. Imagine paying $100 to do a nighttime manta ray dive in Hawaii only to be stranded in the dark waters when your boat captain inexplicably ditches your group. Some 30 confused divers experienced just that in March when Spencer Erwin, a boat captain for the tour outfitter Iruka Hawaii, abandoned the group during their dive. Luckily, another boat was in the area and took the divers back to shore. Erwin, 30 and his boat, the Sea Wolf, were later found drifting offshore; he was in a daze, but unhurt. Another tour boat captain towed the Sea Wolf back to Honokohau Harbor, where police were waiting to arrest Erwin on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence. Iruka Hawaii released a statement apologizing for the incident and stating that its tours will be suspended until it can be sure such an incident won't happen again.

Another Drunk Employee, A Worse Outcome. A British man who recently opened a dive shop in the Philippines was shot dead by what the International Business Times calls a "disgruntled employee." Tony Gilchrist, 35, who owned Fish Buddies on the island of Malapascua, was shot four times in the chest and twice in the head by his own security guard after he had fired him for turning up to work drunk. Melchor Alciso Jr., 42, was arrested on suspicion of murder. Described as a "gentle giant" by his family, the 6'8" Gilchrist moved to the Philippines from Surrey, England two years ago, and he recently raised nearly $17,000 for the Philippines relief effort following the devastating Typhoon Haiyan that struck the nation in November.

Another Critter for Divers to Worry About. Doctors have saved the life of a Russian woman who was left paralyzed after being attacked by a needlefish in Vietnam's resort area of Nha Trang. Kalinina Oxana, 44, suffered severe neck and spinal cord injuries while swimming near the island of Hon Chong on April 13. She could not move her limbs or urinate after the incident. After a seven-and-half-hour operation at the local hospital, Oxana recovered feeling in her limbs and the ability to make slight movements with them, but she had to have another surgery before her condition stabilized. Doctors recovered numerous pieces of fish bone and teeth still lodged in her neck. And the same group of doctors saved the life of a local fisherman whose throat had been pierced by a needlefish while he was fishing at sea last December.

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