Updated April 28th, 2006
Those Equipment Warranties
We're doing a piece on warranties and wonder how valuable they are to our fellow divers. So would you be so kind as to email me with your thoughts? Do you consider warranties when you decide between brands? Have you found requirements to keep the warranties effective difficult? Have you ever had service or repair of equipment under warranty rejected? Have you bought on line and had problems getting a warranty honored? Please send any thoughts to me at Bendavison@aol.com
And you don't have to win a contest to do it. The US Postal Service has teamed up with private enterprise to allow you to create 39 cent stamps with any image you want (well, no body parts, no Hitlers, no smut). But, they're pricey: $17.99 for a sheet of twenty, nearly a 300 percent markup. Still, they're fun. Upload any shot you want at http://photo.stamps.com/PhotoStamps/learn-more/real and let that favorite angelfish photo wing a letter to your family or friends.
In southern Belize, the 133-island marine reserve is managed by a small nongovernmental organization with private funds. A ranger station there has led to a decrease in the illegal poaching of manatees and other marine species, but rogue fishermen -- some from Honduras -- target these reserves under the cover of darkness. The reserve is underfunded and fuel costs are making it impossible to patrol the area regularly. The rangers say they can stop the poachers if they get money to repair and outfit their sailboat for silent overnight patrols; they can catch gill-netters illegally fishing the breeding grounds, arrest and prosecute them. The rangers would even overnight on the cays to nab the poachers. You can help them launch their boat by going to www.undercurrent.org and clicking where it says donate. Your donation is fully tax deductible and you will receive a letter thanking you for the specific amount donated to keep with your IRS records. Every penny you give will go directly to the rangers. Stop the slaughter of manatees and gamefish. If divers don't save the reefs, who will? Thanks for your support.
The two parties have just reached a settlement in their recent legal action. DAN America insurance is once again accepted at SSS network chambers as a result of the resolution of the outstanding claims that were the basis for the lawsuit. The terms of the settlement remain confidential.
Sometimes, whether we take a dive trip, especially beyond the Caribbean, depends on whether we can get a free airline frequent flyer ticket -- or get an inexpensive ticket and upgrade. Trouble is, programs are complex, seats are limited, and you might not have enough miles. I found the new book, Mileage Pro, the Insiders Guide to Frequent Flyer Programs, very useful, with plenty of new tips: like how to move miles from one airline into a hotel program than back into another airline program. Why not pay for a cheap flight (and get more miles) and use the miles for another reward? How and where to find the most available seats. Last minute strategies. And how plain old charm can get you what may not seem available. $19.95. Click Undercurrent's Book Picks for more information and to order. Undercurrent gets 10% of the purchase price, which will go to the Belize antipoaching program.
Is it worth going after all the damage? See the full, first hand report - the reefs have changged considerably - featured in our April issue by going to Post Hurricane Cozumel
Wind Dancer, Tobago; Camp Kri, Papua, Indonesia, Saba Banks, Treated like a novice on Grand Cayman, Great diving on Christmas Island, Fine new beach hotel with own dive operation on Grand Turk, and the Spirit of the Solomons; Nekton Pilot plays reservation roulette; Aging aluminum tank explodes -- many still in service; Cayman coral crises; Reverse diving profiles reconsidered; Computers that penalize properly for reverse dives; Medical tests of drugs divers take reveal underwater hazards; When divers get benched for medical reasons and how to avoid it; Divers, the Internet and the Industry -- why online scuba shopping is popular ( Part I); Drink beer to save the reefs, Alabama court lays claim to river artifacts, Cruise ships overwhelm Belize waters, dive shop owner convicted of being a peeping tom, and much, much more.
To get the May issue and the 2006 all new, 450 page Travelin' Diver's Chapbook, you can subscribe by going to www.undercurrent.org.
Note: Undercurrent is a not-for-profit organization. Our travel writers never announce their purpose, are unknown to the destination, and receive no complimentary services or compensation from the dive operators or resort.
-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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