Updated July 12th, 2006
Malaria Risk in the Bahamas
In June, 16 people tested positive for malaria on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas. One was an American tourist. The Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/travel) are temporarily recommending that travelers to Great Exuma take chloroquine, an antimalarial medication, as a preventative (it requires a prescription), and use mosquito repellents containing 30 to 50 percent DEET. No cases of malaria have been reported beyond Exuma and there are no health advisories for other islands.
A serious manufacturing error could cause the cover and diaphragm to become dislodged, interrupting air flow underwater: Affected X650 regulators have been sold overseas since 2004 and in the U.S. since mid-2005. Owners should contact Scuba Pro at (800) 808-3948 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PDT, Monday through Friday, or visit their website at www.scubapro.com. The company promises to send out a free replacement regulator within 30 days.
Daniel Tibbetts, 52, who built the Little Cayman Beach Resort in 1991, passed away in June. He also built the Conch Club Condominiums and owned Reef Divers, the dive operation for the Brac Reef Beach Resort, a family-owned business. He purchased Bob Soto's Diving on Grand Cayman in 2001, which became a casualty of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. . . .Coco View founder Bill Evans died in April. He founded Coco View in 1982 and managed the business with his wife, Evelyn, until its sale in 2004.
Certain models of Suunto's D6 and D9 wrist computers have a software bug that may cause them to track time wrong when the computers automatically recalibrate to the correct time, or when the user updates the seconds in set mode. Suunto estimates these models will malfunction one out of 167 dives. When the error occurs, the computer shorts a dive by 25 percent and the surface interval by 25 percent. An hour dive would show as 45 minutes, an hour surface interval as 45 minutes. The error could seriously affect decompression requirements. The products affected are: D9, serial numbers 62102582 and below, and D6, serial numbers 62103693 and below. See www.suuntoservice.com/safetynotice/diving. Return it to your dealer or e-mail the Suunto Help Desk at SuuntoD9-D6@nordictelecenter.fi. Or call 1 800 543 9124 in the USA and Canada. Suunto is also providing the free update for computers purchased through gray marketers such as Leisure Pro.
No trip leader offers more thrilling trips for serious photographers than award-winning photographer Amos Nachoum. He's offering two in May 2007 to Malpelo and Cocos Islands, the first led by Dr. Sylvia Earle, a leading marine environmentalist and National Geographic resident scientist, the second by Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, astronaut and environmentalist. Boats are the SeaHunter and UnderSea Hunter. Undercurrent subscribers will get a five percent discount and free Nitrox. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 415 923 9865. Visit http://biganimals.com/newsletters/spring06/page1.html.
Ciguetera poisoning can provide severe bends-like symptoms - heavy legs, exhaustion, tingling, prickling or numbness of the skin, abnormally low blood pressure, and slower than normal heart rate - that can last for months. It comes from eating affected fish, normally barracuda and larger fish, that get it by ingesting smaller fish carrying the toxin. Though uncommon, it occurs worldwide and cannot be detected in the flesh of the toxin-carrying fish. Undercurrent readers and others at the Kadavu Dive Resort in Fiji were struck after a fish dinner in late June. They didn't get proper treatment and are still reporting serous symptoms. See the full story in the August issue, as well as how to treat it should you encounter it.
Undercurrent investigates shady dive operators and shady deals and last July, we wrote that DeSoto Divers of Florida was keeping deposits for trips they didn't run. Our piece helped reader Mac Cauley get his money back. He couldn't get a refund after Rice canceled the trip, but after our article, he "was able to obtain reimbursement from my credit card company for the amounts I put on my card but had no recovery on my airfare or on my deposit ($632.00). I filed criminal fraud charges against Rice in Florida, and I recently received a check from the State Attorney's Office for the remaining amount. It took a year of pursuit but it was worth it! Thank you for your help."
Looking for upscale accommodations with fine diving? Then Dive in Style, a well-presented 288-page hardbound book, with 743 photographs, will help you pick from among 22 luxury resorts and four liveaboards. Author Tim Simond offers a discerning menu of beautiful, sometimes stunning, destinations where one can expect the service of a Four Seasons Hotel -in fact, he includes the Four Seasons liveaboard in the Maldives - while getting well-cared for when diving. From Lizard Island in Australia to Little Palm Island in Florida, Mozambique to Mexico, and Costa Rica to the Caribbean, here is solid information and descriptive photos of destinations for well-heeled dive travelers. Order by going to Undercurrent's Book Picks and all the profits from this or any other book you purchase will go to preserve coral reefs.
For a short time we're offering an introductory four-issue subscription to Undercurrent, our print newsletter, for $9.95. And, you'll receive the 2006 Travelin' Divers Chapbook free. Sign up at www.undercurrent.org. You can also view a sample copy of Undercurrent there.
Subscribers are now reading about Little Corn Island, Nicaragua, a trip back in time . . . The Wonderful Whizzer of Aus - just for women who have to go . . . Fine New Destinations for Divers. . . Is the Nekton Damaging Bloody Bay? . . . Have a Little Nitrox, M'Dear; it creates that romantic feeling . . . Warranties on Scuba Gear, they may not be worth it . . .When a Liability Waiver Doesn't Count. dead diver's family settles law suit in Hawaii . . .Staying Alive until the Boat Finds You, critical techniques for survival . . . Walking around with a Weight Belt; what happens if you fall in. . .and much, much more
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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