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April 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 30, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the April, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Can't Get Enough of John Bantin? You know our expert dive gear tester appears regularly in our issues, but have you seen the commentaries and thoughtprovoking pieces he writes for our blog? In fact, Bret Gilliam, another top Undercurrent contributor, wrote in to say this about Bantin's latest post, "This is one of the best articles on the subject of primary rebreather hazards that I've ever seen. . . All aspiring rebreather divers need to print this and save it for future reference." Read our blog ( www.undercurrent.org/blog ) to see the post Gilliam is referring to -- "Near Misses with Rebreathers" -- as well as other good commentary by Bantin, Gilliam and other dive veterans.

Cayman Dive Pioneer Bob Soto Passes On. Since he opened one of the world's first dive resorts in Grand Cayman in 1957, Soto was revered as one of the founders of the Caymans tourism industry. After serving in the Home Guard as a 16-year-old during WWII, Soto was introduced to the underwater world as a hardhat diver in the U.S. Navy before returning to Grand Cayman to establish Bob Soto's Diving. In a 2013 profile in Grand Cayman magazine, Soto recalled bringing five sets of scuba gear to the island and charging tourists $7 per trip. There was no dive certification training at the time, so he used his navy training guides to teach the basics to adventurous tourists. "I built my own backpacks out of plywood and aluminum metal, and I would break up batteries, get the lead out and melt them down to make lead weights," he said. Soon he was taking out 100 to 150 people a day, and was made a Member of the British Empire in 1997. Longtime friend Ron Kipp, who bought Soto's dive operation in George Town 20 years ago, told the Cayman Compass, "Without Bob Soto, there would have been no diving industry." Soto died March 17 at age 88.

This May Change How You Look at Beach Sunsets. A new study states that great white sharks exploit the sun's angle to hunt down their prey, perhaps concealing themselves in the reflected glare. This is the first time any animal has been shown to use the sun as part of its hunting strategy. Charlie Huveneers from Flinders University in Australia wanted to test if the sun's low position on the horizon plays a role in why they hunt at dawn and dusk. So he and his team sailed 18 miles offshore from South Australia, threw chunks of tuna into the water and watched how the sharks approached it when attacking. It turns out sharks tended to come in from the direction of the sun: in the morning, they were more likely to approach from the east, and in the evening from the west. When the sun was hidden by cloud, there was no association between the sun's position and the angle of approach, another indicator that sharks intentionally exploit the sun's direction when it's useful. It could be that prey are better lit from that angle, or perhaps their view of the shark is obscured by the glaring sun. Just remember where the sun is located when you go on your next early morning or dusk dive.

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