October 20, 2002
Coral Park Photos Wanted
Become a month on preserve coral reefs 2004 calendar by submitting one of your super shots taken within any coral park, marine park or marine reserve. CORAL's calendar is the most widely distributed underwater photo calendar anywhere. Deadline is November 15 and submissions must be slides. For rules try the CORAL website or contact Marty Dawson at Mdawson@coral.org or 760-603-9115. PS: The 2003 model is a beauty.
Paradise Villas has a very special deal for Undercurrent readers, many of whom travel to Little Cayman for the splendid diving, but want more space and freedom than a hotel room offers. That's Paradise Villas, where their twelve ocean-front villas have fully equipped kitchenettes, air conditioning, cable TV, large front and back porches and siesta-perfect hammocks. Paradise Divers is a small dive operation that dives Bloody Bay Wall, Jackson's Bay and others. On site is the Hungry Iguana Restaurant, so good it even attracts visitors with prepaid meal plans elsewhere. They are offering Undercurrent readers 15% off of their regular, posted rates. This offer is only good for new bookings and cannot be combined with any other special offers. There are some blackout dates. To find out more about this special offer, e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.877.3CAYMAN, and tell them you want the Undercurrent special offer. See their web site at www.paradisevillas.com for details on their offerings.
After fifty years, Skin Diver magazine has shut its doors, a victim of decreased circulation, less advertising revenue and a business plan that doesn't work in the age of the Internet. Skin Diver was always advertising driven, requiring a hotel or liveaboard to pony up $10,000 or more in advertising to get editorial coverage. It's had two owners since the original publisher, Peterson Publishing, sold it a few years ago. More about the demise in the next issue of Undercurrent.
The U.S. State Department said on October 14:
Peter Hughes says "I must respectfully disagree with the Travel Advisory. No governments, particularly our own, issued travel advisories against New York City after 9.11. In fact, they urged us all to visit NYC, support NY's economic recovery, and show support for our way of life and against the threats of the terrorists. Yet when the same senseless terrorist violence strikes another peaceful island, the first thing the U.S. does is to move AGAINST tourism to the island of Bali. This plays right into the hands of the terrorists by destroying the Balinese economy while the terrorists continue to threaten our country as well. Therefore, Peter Hughes Diving will continue to operate the M/V Komodo Dancer in Bali, and support our partners there 100%! . . . .As for me, personally, . . . I have also scheduled an emergency visit next month. . . .I will also tour "ground zero" In Bali prior to the cruise, extend my personal condolences to the Balinese people, and personally show our support for their peaceful way of life. I feel this is the absolute best response to the terrorists." Sounds to me like a second bad response to an emergency in little more than year from Hughes, Inc.
If you want to know why you get Montezuma's revenge when you travel to Mexico the answer is at Carlos and Charlie's, in the salsa, jalapeno sauces, and guacamole. Researchers from the University of Texas found E. coli in two-thirds of the condiments they tested from Mexico, and on average the levels of contamination were one thousand times what they measured in restaurants in Houston. What's more, they repeatedly found two particularly virulent strains of E. coli that together account for half of all cases of travelers' diarrhea. The bugs come from human feces and contaminate the sauces via unwashed hands, says Herbert DuPont, an expert in infectious diseases. The sauces sit on the table all day. Not only are they unrefrigerated, but many consecutive diners may stick their fingers in them while dipping their chips, says DuPont. Most people think it's the water, but it's not," (New Scientist 27 July 2002)
Nonnative Zebra mussels have been found in a quarry in Northern Virginia. Scientists are concerned because they could "devastate populations of rare and declining, freshwater mussels in southwest Virginia." Officials speculate that scuba divers might have inadvertently picked them up elsewhere in their gear and introduced them to the quarry. To halt the spread, divers should thoroughly check and clean equipment, especially BC's and items that hold water, and rinse them with water heated above 140F, says a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Journalist Kevin McMurray recounts the history of the 1956 shipwreck off Long Island, NY, and its subsequent attraction (too often fatal) for divers in this excellent book. He kicks off with the story of a 1985 expedition to the 250-foot-deep wreck, the Mt. Everest of diving. A seasoned deep diver named John Ormsby, caught up in the fever of salvaging prized first class china from deep within the ship's carcass, gets himself hopelessly tangled in a mass of electric cables. Despite heroic attempts to save him, Ormsby's shipmates eventually have to free his body with bolt cutters. It's a chilling tale, complete with haunting photos and quotes from the other divers. McMurray alternates tales of similar tragedies with stories about the ship and the divers who have become obsessed with exploring her. The book is a compelling read -- a dozen fatal dives are described, and first-hand accounts of the author's own visits to the Doria -- and tackles the history and theories of technical diving, and the pissing contests between the small cadre of skippers and crew who have traveled to the Doria. McMurray does a good job of portraying the unique characters at the cutting edge of tech diving who make up the elite fraternity of Andrea Doria explorers. Order through Undercurrent, get Amazon.com's best price (currently $18.87) and a good hunk of the profit will be donated to preserve coral reefs.
Now that the 2003 Chapbook is at the printer, we have a few copies left of the 530 page 2002 Chapbook with reviews of hundreds of resorts and liveaboards. Send $5 to Undercurrent, 125 E Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Larkspur, CA 94939 and we'll send you one. Add $30 and we'll give you a one year sub -- nine issue -- and send you the 2003 Chapbook in December.
if you're headed to the south pacific, Indonesia, Malaysia or other exotic dive destinations, bookmark this website for gathering information to help you plan: www.seeyouinpacificasia.com....
-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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