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February 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 30, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the February, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Have You Submitted Your Underwater Photos Anywhere? Have you ever sent one of your photographs in to a contest, submitted one to a magazine, online publication or any type of professional organization? Did you get paid? Did you not get paid? Did your photo show up elsewhere . . . and did you know about it beforehand? Let me know your experience -- I may use it in a story we're considering about the financial pros and cons of underwater photography. Write me at BenDEditor@undercurrent.org

Tom Cruise, Openwater Diving Student. Looks like there will be some scuba diving scenes taking place in the next Mission Impossible movie. Tom Cruise, who likes to do his own stunts, surprised Cayman vacationers last month by turning up for their dive certification course as a fellow student. We don't know which dive operator he used (can anyone tell us?), but one of the other divers told British newspaper The Sun that Cruise, 52, was a good sport and took the dive crew's joking in good stride. "The instructor was obviously a huge fan, as he was wearing a Top Gun cap. During his briefing, he poked fun at Tom by saying what speed they were 'cruising' at, and Tom laughed it all off."

See Sharks Without Getting Wet. It just became a lot easier to get face-to-face with a great white shark. Adventure Bay Charters in Port Lincoln, Australia, has launched a new boat, Shark Warrior, which features an underwater glass viewing platform at the rear that can hold up to six wetsuit-free guests -- you can also bring beverages while you enjoy the view. Adventure Bay sales and marketing manager Andrew McKinnon said the platform is the first in the world specifically designed for shark viewing, and crew uses music instead of chum to attract the great whites. In the past, they used AC/DC to get the sharks' attention, but it seems their tastes might be changing. "They seem to really like the Hilltop Hoods' new album this year, but anything with low frequencies will work," McKinnon said.

Diver Discovers Ancient Underwater Forest. Dawn Watson was diving in the North Sea off England's Norfolk coast when she made the unexpected discovery of a 10,000-year-old forest that once connected Great Britain with continental Europe. After being forced off her normal course by rough water, she was eventually swimming in the middle of large oak trees, some with branches measuring 25 feet long, lying on the sea floor. Watson, whose tank was nearing empty, had to turn around very quickly, and she told the BBC she was very lucky to make the find: "If I'd been three or four metres to the right we'd never have seen it at all." Watson co-founded a marine conservation program called Seasearch to map the various types of sea bed found on Great Britain's shores, and she believes the forest likely became exposed after a big storm hit the coast in December 2013. The forest is believed to be part of an ancient land mass known as Doggerland, which disappeared under rising sea levels about 6,000 years ago. Once thought to be uninhabited, it is now suspected that Doggerland was settled by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, and was one of the richest areas for hunting, fishing and fowling in Europe. Now it has evolved into a type of natural reef and is home to multiple types of marine life.

This Guy Gives Divers a Bad Name. Why would a man in a wetsuit and dive mask be assaulting old ladies near bathrooms -- and be doing it so far away from the water, too? Just a few days before Christmas, a man in this get-up was hanging out on the Yakima Greenway, a bike/hike trail running through Union Gap, WA, when he assaulted an elderly woman on the path near the bathroom, and asked her a lewd question. She fought him off and called police, but he got away by fleeing on a bike, still wearing his scuba gear. The woman was unhurt, but God knows what she thinks about divers now.

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