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Current Upwellings
The Latest Dive News

Last updated February 1, 2005

How Pure is the Air in Your Tank?
Trouble With Travel?
Divers and Tsunamis
Headed for the Red Sea? Here Are The New Rules
Paints with the Fishes

How Pure is the Air in Your Tank? February 1, 2005

To determine whether divers were getting good air, researchers ordered 27 air samples and 11 EAN Nitrox samples ranging from 32 to 36 percent from local U.S. dive stores. In this random sampling, three air-quality discrepancies were found. Additionally, there were three significant discrepancies between store-measured EAN and actual TRI-measured oxygen percentage. Two of the three discrepancies would have decreased the acceptable maximum depth of the dive.

What is apparent here is that air from some compressors does not meet air-quality standards and that gauges testing EAN Nitrox mixes can be inaccurate. Keep in mind that these are American stores, where one would expect air and Nitrox quality to be superior to that purchased in many foreign locations. (The full text of this article can be found in the January issue of "Undercurrent".

Trouble With Travel? February 1, 2005

In a disturbing trend, we are hearing more "Undercurrent" readers' accounts of being charged excess luggage fees from airlines when they travel, being denied permission to check some scuba equipment with their checked luggage, being subjected to extensive searches, and having bags or items stolen. If you have had any recent problems with traveling with scuba gear, your input could be helpful to an upcoming "Undercurrent" article. Please e-mail us at and let us know.

Divers and Tsunamis February 1, 2005

Drs. David Colvard and Tom Skalko are proposing a research study of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in divers who were in, under, on, or near the water on December 26, 2004, when the Indonesian tsunami hit. They believe PTSD may become a barrier to returning to the water for some of these divers. Participation in the study will be entirely voluntary.

If you know of any divers or snorkelers who were impacted by the tsunami, please ask them to contact about participating in the study.

Headed for the Red Sea? Here Are The New Rules February 1 , 2005

In order to dive the Red Sea, live-aboard divers will now be required to:

* Show evidence of at least 50 logged dives

* Possess one SMB (surface marker buoy) per diver and, within buddy pairs, possess at least one dive light, no matter what time of day the dive occurs;

* Possess medical certification of fitness to dive, issued less than one year before the start of the trip;

* Possess diving accident insurance.

Red Sea day boat divers will now be required to:

* Present diving logbook and agency certification;

* Possess medical certification and accident insurance.

Paints with the Fishes February 1, 2005

In our last e-mail, we mentioned the French painter Jean–Mare Cadoret, who specializes in oil-on-canvas underwater paintings, some of which he says he actually paints while underwater.

Long-time Undercurrent reader Stanley Meltzoff wrote to tell us we did not have to look so far afield to find a painter who paints his canvases while underwater. Meltzoff, who is 87 has been diving since 1949, says he still goes diving wherever he can find the fish he wants to paint. Check this out.

Free Undercurrent Pocket Knife February 1, 2005

Become an Undercurrent Online member within the next five days, and we will send you an Undercurrent pocket knife with blades, scissors — you name it. It's a free gift from us for trying out our online service, but the best part is you will have instant access to years of back issues and reader's reports on dive travel from around the world — all the information you need to make critical travel choices, find the off-the-beaten-path dive destinations no one else reports on, and stay up-to-date on dive safety and equipment issues. Sign in now and get your FREE Undercurrent pocket knife.

-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher

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