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July 2021    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 36, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Living Underwater, Cozumel Mexico

Contents of this Issue:
All Available to Online Members;
Available to the Public = publicly available

Back in the Water Again

Undercurrent is Saving Olive Ridley Turtles

Living Underwater, Cozumel Mexico

The Risk of Selling Second-hand Dive Gear

The Tragic, Unnecessary Death of an AOW Trainee


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Sausalito, CA 94965

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the surprises of getting back in the water

from the July, 2021 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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"íHola!" When Jeremy Anschel's boat Jewfish drew up to the dock at our hotel, the Intercontinental El Presidente, I recognized even under their cubrebocas (face masks) all their friendly faces: Jeremy, Andres, the captain, and Ricardo, the mate, who in turn recognized us under our masks. We carefully stepped onto the gunwale and then onto the towel that had been soaked in a cleansing solution. Jeremy sprayed our hands with another cleaner, and we descended to the deck of the panga. Being a returned customer, it was fist bumps all around, but no hugs. It was mid-May, and given the Mexican age restrictions for vaccination (June 17 it became 40 and above), Pepe, the ebullient and irascible dive guide with whom we dived on subsequent days, was the only member of the Jewfish crew who had been immunized. (Once on the boat or after several days of diving with the same group, we took our masks off. The crew did not.)

Living Underwater's Dive BoatAfter 18 months out of the water, my partner and I looked forward to our private checkout dive at Las Palmas, a nearby reef. Getting back to diving isn't like riding a bicycle, whether you think so or not. It doesn't necessarily come naturally. And it didn't, even though I've made more than 900 dives. Spitting in our masks to clean them was, shall I say, discouraged. They offered J&J's Baby Shampoo, so I used a couple of sprays and rinsed my mask in the sea. I struggled into my backplate-and-wings, draped the necklace from the safe second over my head, and looped the five-foot second stage hose around my neck. My partner, who, as usual, was ready before me, sat upon the gunwale, and at a 1-2-3 signal from Andres, rolled over backward. I soon followed.

Wearing my 3mm wetsuit, hooded vest, and my usual six lbs. of lead, I couldn't get down. Jeremy pulled the power inflator from its Velcro retainer -- I couldn't deflate my BCD -- and handed it to me. I vented (in more ways than one) and descended slowly to 20 feet in the 82-degree water with a slight current. My partner hung at six feet, pointing at her ears. She dropped down to ten feet, then back up to six and back and forth several times before she finally made it to the sand. Displaying her usual perfect underwater form, she gently frog-kicked over the low coral and sponges, looking for critters....


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