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March 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 30, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the March, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Beware Mosquitos in the Pacific. If you're traveling to a Pacific dive destination, take every measure to avoid mosquito bites, as the number of travelers returning from there with dengue fever or chikungunya is on the rise. Both viral illnesses are transmitted by mosquitoes and have similar symptoms, including high fever, severe headaches and vomiting. Last year, 68 cases of dengue fever were reported in Fiji. Last month, Tonga declared an official dengue fever outbreak, and there are also cases of travelers returning from Indonesia, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia. There is no vaccine for either virus, and as one doctor told the New Zealand Herald, "The only thing people can do is to protect themselves from getting bitten from mosquitoes." Apply insect repellent containing DEET at all times, and wear protective clothing and shoes.

Divers Find A Trove of Gold Coins -- and Don't Keep Them. Some unsuspecting divers found what is now the largest discovery of its kind off Israel's Mediterranean coast -- a glittery trove of 2,000 gold coins exposed during recent winter storms. Members of a local dive club were in the ancient harbor of Caesarea National Park when they spotted what looked like a gold coin from a game. It didn't take them long to figure out it was the real thing. They immediately showed their discovery to the club director, who then notified the Israel Antiquities Authority. The coins range in age from the mid-900s to 1036 A.D. Authorities hailed the divers as "model citizens, for reporting the find instead of taking any of it home.

Farewell to the Ultimate Shark Lady. Eugenie Clark, who perhaps did more to help us humans understand the importance of sharks to our oceans than anyone else, passed away last month at age 92. A founder of Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, FL, Clark's early experiments proved lemon sharks could learn, and she found a previously unknown breeding site for nurse sharks off Key West 10 years ago. Clark authored two best-selling books, Lady with a Spear (1951), on her early work in Micronesia and the Red Sea, and The Lady and the Sharks (1969), along with 175 research papers. Several species of fish are named for her. Mote Marine Lab's executive director David Vaughn accompanied Clark on the last trip she made to her beloved Red Sea last year. "[We helped her up from her wheelchair and put the tank on her back," Vaughn said. "When we got Genie out to waist-deep water, she kneeled down and just took off. We had a hard time keeping up with her."

He Sucked My Blood Underwater -- Then We Started Dating. Nose bleeds are common when diving and there's not much blood, so if a fellow diver tries to suck the blood from your nose, well you'd think this guy is either a vampire or one sick puppy, right? Not Shu Pei, a diver who tells the Malaysia Chronicle how she fell in love with a fellow scuba student named Richard. "At our first openwater dive, in Pulau Dayang, I had a nosebleed due to the pressure at sea, and Richard did something very unexpected. He brought me to a corner, used his mouth to suck up my nose blood, and spat it on the floor. After a few minutes of that, I felt much better and was no longer choking on my nose blood. He placed a cold compress to ensure my nose no longer bled. And that's actually when we started dating!" Shu Pei and Richard are now happily married, with two kids in tow.

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