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September 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the September, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dolphin Murders on the Rise. Frustrated fishermen have been taking it out on dolphins that approach their boats to snatch catches. In a disturbing trend, another dead dolphin has been found on a Mississippi beach, with a bullet through its blowhole. In an added blow, the necropsy revealed she had been pregnant with a full-term calf, which also died. From Florida to Texas, 21 dolphins have been found dead with gunshot wounds since 2002, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Rumblings about Apeks Regulators. Tom McCarthy, owner of East Coast Wreck Diving (Freeport, NY), posted on social media that he has seen six Apeks DS4 and Tec3 regulators with runaway intermediate pressure failures in two years. Several divers have had similar experiences. Undercurrent's editor has alerted Peter Greenwell of Apeks to the online discussion and we await his comments. Write to benddavision@undercurrent.org if you have had problems.

Philippine Wreck Scandal. Divers cried foul after an unidentified salvage operator removed remnants of the wreck of the MV Doņa Marllyn, near Malapascua Island. The passenger ship, owned by the now-defunct Sulpicio Lines, sank in 1988 during a typhoon; more than 300 people were killed. Since then, the wreck had become a habitat for all manner of fish and was regularly visited by divers.

Lost Your Balls in the Ocean? There are so many golf courses facing the ocean, but who thinks about the lost golf balls that end up there? Alex Weber, 18, from Carmel, CA, has been diving to collect these lost balls for the last two years, and so far, the high school senior has recovered more than 50,000. According to the New York Times, a U.S. golf course may go through 62,000 rounds of golf a year, with three or four balls being lost each round. That means the famed Pebble Beach course, which Weber has dived regularly, can send more than 200,000 balls into the ocean annually.

Plastic Waste: It Gets Worse. After 18 months testing different types of plastic in Hawaii, oceanographer Sarah-Jeanne Royer found that the material used to make shopping bags produces the greatest amount of methane, a climate-warming gas. After 212 days in the sun, it emitted 176 times more methane than it did at the start.

Use T-Shirts Instead. While the island of Dominica has now banned all single-use plastic and styrofoam, the Thai island Ko Tao has gone one step further by encouraging people to turn old T-shirts into eco-shopping bags. Thailand is among the top five consumers of single-use plastic, and a few cuts and a bit of stitching on an unwanted T-shirt can will replace endless plastic bags.

A Diver's Must-Have Bag. Drybags come in an arrangement of sizes to accommodate different needs. Savvy liveaboard divers keep essential items, such as passports and credit cards, in a drybag and leave it for safe-keeping with the skipper in the wheelhouse. Should you have to abandon your boat, you don't want to be searching for these items in cabins below decks.

Whale Shark Riders Get Their Comeuppance. A recent video of divers riding a whale shark in West Papua's Cenderawasih Bay went viral on social media, sparking outrage among sensible scuba divers. Kaka Slank, an Indonesian punk rocker, posted the video on his Twitter page August 9 (https://twitter.com/fishGOD/ status/1027580052387459072), and it immediately got the authorities' attention. Whale sharks are now protected by law in Indonesia, so the culprits have since been identified and arrested, although it is not clear what charges the divers will face.

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