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October 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 31, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the October, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Lethal Italian Dive Kit? A Palestinian man from Gaza was indicted on September 4th at a court in Israel on multiple counts of aiding the Hamas terrorist organization by allegedly importing dive equipment for an elite Hamas naval unit. Abd Saqallah purchased the equipment from the Italian company Cressi, and the shipment included hundred of pairs of fins, masks, and wetsuits. During the 2014 Gaza war, a team of five Hamas frogmen entered Israel before being spotted and killed.

Voodoo Dive. Cristian López, a 22-year-old diver from Les Basetes diving center in Calpe on the Spanish coast, made a spooky discovery when he came across a human skeleton in a bag, together with a doll wrapped in a sheet. Apparently, it was used in ritualistic Santeria, a religion popular in Cuba that combines Christianity with West African cult practices. Investigating divers from the Guardia Civil found a second package containing human bones, feathers, leaves, twigs with names scratched on them, as well as more dolls. Forensic tests have established that the bones constitute almost three complete human skeletons, but found no signs of violence. They were buried for up to 40 years before they were cast into the sea.

Aqua Lung Power Inflators Recall. Aqua Lung is conducting a voluntary product update of select Powerline inflators. Powerline inflators are found on all Aqua Lung Buoyancy Compensators and the Apeks Black Ice Buoyancy Compensator. If you have purchased anAqua Lung BCD/Apeks Black Ice since January 1, 2015, it will need to be inspected to determine if it meets the specific criteria and requires updating. Aqua Lung is concerned that a failure may occur during a dive, causing the Powerline to continue inflating after the inflation button has been released, increasing the potential of an uncontrolled ascent. www.aqualung.com/constant_contact/2016_powerline_c.html

Rings True. A Spanish couple has been reunited with their lost wedding ring after 37 years. Diver Jessica Niso spotted the engraved ring glinting in the water off the coast of the popular holiday resort Benidorm and posted a picture on Facebook that was shared 80,000 times. She did not reveal the content of the inscription to avoid scammers and was delighted when Juani Aliaga (60), from a town near Zaragoza, got in touch.

Dacor Reborn. One of America's first diving brands, Dacor products disappeared from dive shops more than a decade ago, not long after the company was bought by Mares. Now West Marine, with more than 250 retail locations and a thriving on-line business, has relaunched Dacor as a brand with the Dacor Pacer Pro, an integrated regulator with first- and second-stages, an octopus rig, an analog pressure gauge with compass and direct-feed hose for a BCD. Look for a price under $900.

Wonder Why Hammerheads Swim on Their Sides? If you have been lucky enough to encounter great hammerhead sharks underwater, you might have noticed that when not searching for stingrays under the sand, they spend a lot of time swimming on their side. Nature magazine reports research by a group of international scientists who believe that they swim more efficiently on their side. All sharks are negatively buoyant and use their pectoral fins to generate lift, while using their dorsal fin to aid propulsion. The great hammerheads reconfigure the function of these structures by using their super-sized dorsal fins to generate lift as they swim on their sides, thereby decreasing the effort needed to swim and stay off the bottom.

Photo Op. Underwater Photography Guide wants your best shots for its 2016 Ocean Art Photo Competition, with 16 different categories and more than $75,000 worth of prizes. Judges include Tony Wu, Marty Snyderman, Martin Edge and Scott Gietler. www.underwaterphotographyguide.com

Underwater iPhone? Mobile phones have killed the compact camera market, which is a pain for would-be underwater photographers who don't want to sell a kidney to pay for a bigger camera. Instead, people are putting the iPhones into waterproof housings. But, apparently Apple is working on a watertight model that has a color-correction system for underwater pictures. The market for underwater photography is tiny, but a waterproof iPhone might be a boon for those who tend to drop their devices out of their hip pockets when using a toilet. The new iPhone7 is watertight only to three feet deep.

Faster, Daddy, Faster! The Seabob F5S is a high-performance diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) for the man who wants something better. It has a jet power system with six power levels and weighs in at 77 pounds. Full power sends the diver along at 12 mph, but we wonder if anyone could hold on to their mask at such speed, let alone counter the problem of a current-induced regulator free-flow. Likely only to be seen installed on big private yachts, the German-made Seabob will be exhibited at the next DEMA show. If you need to know the price, you can't afford it! It's more than $12,000.

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