May 6, 2003
Cayman Airways is now flying six days a week out of Fort Lauderdale, meaning you can hook up easily with Jet Blue, Southwest, and other low cost airlines, cutting flight costs by hundreds of dollars
Undercurrent reported on some of the best diving on this planet in January, with good critter diving, hordes of reef fish, and electric shark action. All this and a remarkable boat, big and comfortable. That’s Kararu Dive Voyages’ 120-foot wooden bugis schooner, which plies the waters off Indonesia especially Komodo. Now, they’re offering Undercurrent readers 10% off new bookings for any cruise to Komodo in 2003, but you must book before July 31. Better yet, get 20% off cruises beginning June 16, June 29, July 19, and July 30. All cruises begin and end in beautiful Bali. The Kararu folks will see that you get from the airport to the boat and back, as well as to hotels, and they can arrange any touring. Right now there are great airfare bargains to Bali as well. Read the full story, then book online through Kararu's website, www.kararu.com, and tell them Undercurrent sent you to get the discount.
Watch out for your luggage on that American Airlines San Juan flight to Bonaire. There is such a backlog of luggage from previous days’ flights, that each day plenty of luggage is left behind to be sent the following day -- hopefully. An Undercurrent reader had to wait a day for his luggage not only in Bonaire, but again when he returned home. He says that “Divi Flamingo dive shop employees knew about this problem and provided loaner gear without so much as a discussion. On Bonaire, I had to pay for a taxi to and from the airport to get my luggage. Others were also picking up late arrived luggage.” Unless you ship your gear ahead, carry on your prescription mask and computer, so you don’t have to shift computers during the week. You can borrow everything else.
The captain of the MV Koon, a liveaboard out of Phuket, Thailand, refused to board a Los Angeles diver when he arrived on April 10. He mentioned that he had spent two days in Taiwan on the way over, so the owner told him that he couldn't board even though he had paid in advance. Another local operator, Scuba Cat, arranged a boat for him. If you’re traveling through Hong Kong, Taiwan, Ontario, Singapore, Thailand, or Vietnam, you might check with your intended liveaboard to ensure you won’t be denied permission to board, says Undercurrent correspondent Doc Vikingo.
Seacology and Executive Director Duane Silverstein (he’s a 10-year Undercurrent subscriber) are using "win-win" solutions to ensure that coral reefs are protected while islanders receive needed tangible benefits. So far, Seacology has protected 297,615 acres of coral reefs and marine habitat -- all with a staff of three people! No money wasted here. In Waisomo Village, Fiji, Seacology funded a new community center in exchange for the establishment of a no-fishing marine reserve. On Bunaken Island, off Sulawesi, Indonesia, Seacology is providing a landing dock to thank the village for creating and enforcing regulations protecting local coral reefs. Seacology is about to construct a kindergarten -- for $12,000 -- in Naikorokoro Village, Fiji, in exchange for the establishment of a 17-square-mile no-fishing marine reserve. A high school environmental club on Grand Cayman has raised $3,500 to support the Naikorokoro kindergarten. Says marine biologist John McCosker of Seacology's unique approach, "Dollar for dollar, pound for pound, Seacology gets more output than any conservation group that I've seen. They're not giving money away, they're not making grants, they're making deals." Seacology sponsors interesting land-based and liveaboard dive trips to see their projects in action. Learn about them at www.seacology.org. P.S.: You’ve got as much money as those kids on Grand Cayman. While you’re at their website, send a few bucks to support your diving passion and save the reefs.
Take a liveaboard trip and with all the food and snacks you might easily partake in a 4,000, maybe even a 5,000, calorie day. But, you say, look at all those calories you burn diving. If you’re like most sport divers, you think you burn something like 600 to 900 a dive. Wishful thinking. Dr. Jolie Bookspan, the author of Diving Physiology in Plain English told Undercurrent that a diver "burns the same number of calories diving as doing any other light exercise." And she adds, "it's a myth that exposure to cold water burns more. This had been explored some years ago in a study where obese women pedaled stationary bicycles in very cold pools. Beside being unpopular, it didn't work." Think about an easy dive on a coral reef like a walk in the park. If you weigh 200 lbs., you’ll be lucky to burn 200 calories an hour. Dive five times a day, eat up, and go home five pounds heavier -- if you’re lucky.
Ever seen a reef glider, its colorful gills flowing behind, paddling through the greenish waters of an algal reef. Or a huge, 30-foot ocean phantom, whose enormous air-filled sail lets the wind push it along so its enormous tentacles can trap reef gliders. Or duck-sized flying fish, or the swampus, an octopus that leaves the deep to forage on the shore. No you haven’t, because they only exist on the pages of The Future is Wild, A Natural History of the Future. This fascinating book is filled with 110 images of the land and sea creatures we might see in five million or even two hundred million years. By taking characteristics of current fish and mammals and projecting them into various futures, the authors and scientists from Stanford, Cornell, and other leading universities give us divers a remarkable look at what we’ll never see. Read this and the next time you go diving you’ll look upon the fish in a remarkable new way, projecting them many eons ahead. See some illustrations at www.undercurent.org. Order through Undercurrent’s link to Amazon and a good hunk of the profits will go to the Coral Reef Alliance. 160 pages, paper-bound, $17.47.
-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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