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July 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 32, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the July, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

O'Neill Wetsuit Founder Passes. Jack O'Neill, the surfer and boating enthusiast who moved to San Francisco, opening his first surf shop in 1952, has died in Santa Cruz aged 94. Known for his beard and his eye patch (the result of a surfing accident), he was founder of the iconic worldwide surfing supply company, and many divers adopted his wetsuits.

Spare-Air Reinvented? The Scorkl is a lightweight breathing device with a demand valve and built-in pressure gauge marketed to people who want to swim underwater for around 10 minutes. We don't believe the instructions explain the difference between interstitial emphysema and pulmonary embolism, but we guess the medics will tell them later, after they are rescued.

Wizard Bails Out of Seven Seas. Bill Wilkson, allegedly a former KKK Imperial Wizard of the Imperial Empire from 1975 to 1984, has sold the Seven Seas Resort in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Undercurrent reported on his ownership in April 2015. The dedicated staff are still there, so now you can enjoy the resort knowing it's prejudice-free.

Flying After Diving: Mike Davis points out that the correct attribution for the source of the article in Undercurrent (June) should have been Cialoni D, Pieri M, Balestra C, Marroni A.: Flying after Diving: Should recommendations be reviewed? In-flight echocardiographic study in bubble-prone and bubble- resistant divers. Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine. 2015 March; 45(1):10-15.

No Chums for Nat Geographic Crew. The Orange County Register reported in mid-June that maritime authorities had stopped a National Geographic film crew from baiting for great white sharks within 100 yards of the coast of Long Beach during an attempt to get spectacular footage. In late April, a woman was severely injured by a shark while swimming at San Onofre State Beach, and now it seems media companies might be chumming to create the very news they hope to report.

Anchoring Error Causes Consternation. A French skipper of a charter boat is in hot water after dropping anchor at a popular dive site in Phuket, Thailand, with the anchor chain hitting one diver in a group on the head. Adding insult to injury, the anchor dragged away a motorbike, part of a popular attraction for divers at the site at Racha Yai Island, when it was retrieved. The marine police were informed. (Source: The Phuket News)

Following in Prada's Footsteps. Giuseppe Zanotti, luxury shoe designer, is known for his sneakers, and this year at the Milan Fashion Week, he showcased his Spring '18 collection, which included scubainspired footwear finished with chunky rubber soles, but otherwise not unlike neoprene beach shoes. In March, Prada showed a derivation of scuba boots using colored panels of neoprene. I don't suspect our female subscribers will be rushing right out.

Dropping Your Weights. Charles Ballinger (Mill Valley, CA) writes to remind us that dropping weights prematurely risks serious embolisms from rocketing to the surface from depth, and the risk of getting bent if you've been down a while and can't pause in the shallows to decompress! As was said, a properly weighted diver needs only to drop weights in an emergency on achieving the surface. Chuck, by the way, was the first to dive in all 50 states and published a book on his adventure. www.dive50states.com

Marine Life Photo Contest. The Ocean Conservancy's Marine Wildlife and Seascape photo contest is officially open for submissions until July 9 and it's free to enter. After that you and your friends will be able to vote for your favorite photos online. https://oceanconservancy.org

Genus Manta Ceases to Exist. A paper in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (London) reports that DNS sequence data has proven that members of the genus Manta actually sit within genus Mobula, revising the taxonomy. Hence the oceanic manta is now known as Mobula birostris and the reef manta should be now known as Mobula alfredi.

Let the Goliath Live: Donald Trump Jr, vacationing in the Bahamas with his family, went scuba diving, saw Exuma's swimming pigs, and fished for and reeled in a 140lb Goliath grouper, not something many divers who have seen the docile fish underwater would likely do. In Florida, if one catches a goliath grouper, it must be released. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) urged Donald Jr. to remember his father's words, who in 2004 said, "Whenever my sons go fishing, they always tell me, 'Dad, it doesn't hurt a fish to get hooked.' Well, I watch and I see and I believe it's painful for the fish."

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