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October 2021    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 47, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the October, 2021 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Sand Tigers, Grey Nurse Sharks, or Ragged Tooth Sharks are essentially the same species with names differing worldwide. In Eastern Australia, their numbers are increasing, despite being endangered. This year at Wolf Rock off Queensland's Rainbow Beach, between 70 and 100 pregnant grey nurse sharks were spotted, the most in the past 13 years. While grey nurse sharks hold up to 80 embryos in two uteruses; only the fittest embryos survive because of intrauterine cannibalism. There's some serious sibling rivalry going on inside there. ABC Australia

A Hazard of COVID for Travelers. Operators of an Undersea Hunter Fleet vessel, during a 36-hour crossing to Cocos Island last month, discovered one of its crew was infected with COVID. They returned to port, and further testing revealed two more crew members were infected. No passengers were infected, but they lost their long-awaited trip as well as valuable vacation time. The operator offered them full refunds, or they could reschedule to a future trip and covered expenses for rescheduling as well.

What Worries You Most About Foreign Travel? Travelers appear to be less worried about catching COVID than the risk of being quarantined for an extended stay in some developing country. Mandatory quarantine can be both uncomfortable and expensive and extend vacation time beyond what was planned for and add the costs of rescheduling flights. But, keep in mind: even vaccinated travelers are not fully immune to the virus so mask up when you need to.

Fire in Guanaja. A fire roared through the quaint stilt town of Bonacca in Guanaja, Honduras, October 2nd. Many of the residents - including the staff of dive resorts Clark's Cay and Dunbar Rock - lost everything. Homes are gone, clothing gone, personal effects gone, everything burned. The people are hurting, and a GoFundMe account has opened if you would like to contribute.

The Joys of a Scottish Summer. The crew of a dive boat operating out of the Scottish island of Orkney, home to the iconic Scapa Flow wreck site, lost sight of 11 divers and their surface marker buoys when engulfed in thick fog in mid-September. They called for help from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and searchers located all the divers when they surfaced and returned them to the safety of their dive boat. The Press and Journal

Adopt a Manatee? No, you can't take it home with you, but for a $25 tax-deductible donation, the Save the Manatee Club will allow a symbolic adoption of a real living animal, which helps support efforts to rescue the sick and injured. You'll receive an adoption certificate with a color photo and biography of your Florida manatee. The manatees need help, and every dollar counts.

Want to Dive with a Purpose? Terra Sub Aqua operates a for-profit coral farm five miles off the Florida Keys in the Atlantic Ocean. The live corals it grows are sold to compete with the unsustainable reef harvesters of the Pacific and Caribbean who serve the aquarium trade. It offers opportunities for volunteer divers. Should you be interested, go to

Amateur Divers Strike Gold. Two free divers off the coast of Portitxol, Costa Brava, Spain, stumbled across eight gold coins and alerted local archaeologists who later discovered another 45. One of the largest collections of Roman coins discovered, they were in such good condition that the inscriptions were legible. It turns out, they were from the reigns of six different emperors. Jaime Vidal, a professor at the University of Alicante, said they were probably hidden by a wealthy local landowner to protect them from invading barbarians.

Two DANs on Diving and the Vaccine. We recently reported that DAN recommends avoiding diving for seven days after being vaccinated, but that's DAN Europe's recommendation, not DAN U.S., says Brian Harper, Director of Communications. DAN U.S. says: because many people tend to feel unwell . . . for a few days after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, it . . . would be wise to avoid planning dives for those days." As for the side effects of the vaccine on freediving and scuba, "we at DAN U.S. would . . . be concerned about the possibility of fatigue, discomfort, or mental fogginess contributing to a dangerous mishap underwater. It's possible that soreness or other side effects of the vaccine may mimic (or mask) symptoms of DCS after a dive, leading to diagnostic confusion."

If You Didn't Think It Was Expensive Enough. The Atomic T3 all-titanium regulator is a top performer. Some say it's the world's best. For most divers, $1900 or so puts it out of their league, but it's evidently not expensive enough for others. Atomic Aquatics has upped the ante with its Atomic T25 Limited Edition, celebrating its 25th anniversary. It's based on the T3, with a burnt titanium finish provided by a diamond-like coating with a unique, radiant iridescent color sheen. It will set you back about $2800.

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