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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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The Latest Dive News

Updated March 22, 2007
These brief news articles below were sent out via email to all divers who signed up for our free email list. You can sign up here to receive future Undercurrent Online Updates and get these news alerts and special offers like these once a month or so.

Larry Smith Passes On
Scuba with Sailfish for $1200/day
Do You Have Dive Equipment Insurance?
Spiegel Grove Deaths
Dive Computer Recall
Scuba TV
Great New Fish ID Book
Take A Swim with Raja
In the March issue of Undercurrent
Online Membership Special Offer

Larry Smith Passes On:  March 22, 2007

[March 29, 2007 Update: A fund for Larry Smith's wife and 9 year old daughter has been established. Details on this fund as well as his life and death available at He will be sorely missed by many of us.]

Sadly, America's most revered dive guide died in a Sorong Indonesia hospital earlier this week, presumably due to heart and respiratory failure. Larry Smith, an East Texan who started as a commercial diver servicing power plants, spent many years in the Caribbean before moving on to Indonesia in 1989. He was renowned as the most knowledgeable divemaster in the region, finding critters people didn't even know existed, and making Indonesian diving known as some of the very best in the world.

His first Indonesian stint was on the Tropical Princess in Irian Jaya (Papua)in 1989 . A while later he took over running the Cehili live-aboard operating in the Banda Sea out of Ambon, and then on to the Sea Contacts out of Bali where Komodo and Alor diving began to get noticed. Then on to Kungkungan Bay Resort, putting Lembeh Straits on the map and training other critter dive guides there, then most recently with Adventure Komodo cruises.

Larry suddenly collapsed while aboard the Adventure Komodo, then anchored near Sorong. Crew members originally assumed he had pneumonia and got him to the hospital in Sorong, where he died shortly after. His body was then flown back to Bali where his wife and daughter live. Larry wrote daily on "Larry's Log", and his last posting was on March 15, describing two new dive sites with excellent critter-sighting. Undercurrent readers always raved about their dive trips with Larry in our Chapbook reviews, and he will be sorely missed. is compiling a tribute page to Larry and asks divers to send any stories, photos, or video they have of him.

Scuba with Sailfish for $1200/day:  March 22, 2007

You got to be rolling in dough to afford that kind of trip, however, one of the rarest critters for a diver to encounter underwater is a sailfish. Amos Nachoum has three sail fish trip next year off Isla Mujeres, a small island near Cancun. He takes only four divers and one week is already sold out. You can see his January photos here. If you go, may we suggest an armored codpiece?

Do You Have Dive Equipment Insurance?  March 22, 2007

Have you ever filed a claim for lost, stolen or damaged diving equipment? Several insurance companies cover dive equipment (DEPP and DAN are two and home owners insurance also covers dive equipment in many cases). We'd like to hear the experiences of divers who have equipment insurance. Did the coverage hold up? Any hassles? Were you satisfied? Let us know and we'll report on dive equipment insurance policies in an upcoming issue. Please let me hear your story. Email me at

Spiegel Grove Deaths:  March 22, 2007

Three experienced New Jersey divers who had charted a boat from Scuba-Do in Key Largo, Florida, died last Friday. Two who got lost within the wreck were unable to get out, a third finally emerged but died surfacing, while a fourth diver did find his way out and survived. Sadly, their deaths are apparently attributable to stupid errors.They did not have a dive plan. They did not have enough stage tanks placed in appropriate areas. They did not set lines to guide them back out of the wreck. They penetrated an area at 135 feet off limits to divers, where it is easy to disturb the silt and get lost. The three dead divers were Jonathan Walsweer, 38, and Scott Stanley, 55, of Westfield, N.J.; and Kevin Coughlin, 51, of Chatham Borough, N.J. The survivor was Howard Spialter, 52, also of Westfield. According to information he gave investigators, the other three might have survived if they had followed his path out of the wreck, but they chose a different direction. Six people have died while diving the Spiegel Grove, a 1960s-era warship sunk off the Upper Keys in 2002 to create an artificial reef. Already, eight divers have died this year in Florida.

Dive Computer Recall:  March 22, 2007

Pelagic Pressure Systems is recalling about 2,800 Oceanic and AERIS digital dive computers due to a decompression hazard. The recall is for Oceanic-brand Atom 2.0 dive computers sold between August 2006 and February 2007, and Aeris-brand Epic dive computers sold between October 2006 through February 2007. Two German divers found that when switching from one gas to another during a dive, their dive computer's display locked up and did not return to the main dive screen showing dive times. That lack of info could cause divers to ascend prematurely and risk the bends. Serial numbers for the specific dive computers to recall are posted on the Oceanic and Aeris Web sites. If you have one of these, take it to an authorized dealer for a free software upgrade. You can also contact Pelagic's customer service department at (888) 854-4960, or send an e-mail to

Scuba TV:  March 22, 2007

Now there's a show just for divers. Apple's iTunes store offers downloads of "ScubaVisions TV," a videocast that takes 5- to 10-minute underwater tours of a new dive site every week. Previous episodes of the show, which launched in February, show dives at the Turks and Caicos sites of Shark Hotel, Football Field, and the Southwind and W.E. wrecks. The next shows will head north to Florida and along the Atlantic coast.

Great New Fish ID Book:  March 22, 2007

The newest addition to our must-read list is A Diver's Guide to Reef Life by Andrea and Antonella Ferrari. This 418-page colorful reference guide has 1,300 excellent color photographs of tropical marine species in reefs worldwide. The authors, married marine photographers, also give tips for better underwater photos. This hardcover book's list price is $55 but if you order this or any of our dive book picks through, you'll get's best price, plus we'll donate the profit to save coral reefs.

Take A Swim with Raja:  March 22, 2007

While in the Andaman Islands, Duane Silverstein, executive director of Seacology and an Undercurrent reader, had the pleasure of pairing with the most unusual snorkeling buddy ever-Raja, the swimming elephant. The tallest elephant in the islands, Raja hangs with snorkelers at Beach Number near the eco-lodge Barefoot Jungle Resort ( on Havelock Island, a ferry ride away from the Andaman capital of Port Blair. Accompanied by his mahout, Raja enjoys taking the waters, churning his four legs to swim and lifting his trunk above water to breathe. Silverstein's one caution: Go out in the water past the waves before Raja joins you. "As soon as Raja enters the ocean, he instinctively has a bowel movement, and you do not want to be on the shore side of a wave carrying a cannonball-sized elephant dropping."

In the March issue of Undercurrent:  March 22, 2007

Subscribers are now reading about:
  • Blackbeard's Cruises' Frills-Free Liveaboard "Camping" in the Bahamas . . .
  • Two Inexpensive Weapons Against Jellyfish Stings . . .
  • Doing Multiple Flights After Diving. . . **
  • A Dive Resort Owner on the Run in Panama . . .
  • Kungkungan Bay Resort and Other Lodges Around Lembeh Strait . . . **
  • Strong and Sturdy Regulators. . .
  • The Joy of Freediving. . . .
  • When Medical Insurance Won't Cover Bent Divers' Chambers Costs . . .
  • Is Diving Off Limits for Pregnant Women. . .
  • Divers' Feedback on our Global Warming Op-Ed. . .
  • and much, much more

** indicates articles available to the public

Ben Davison, editor/publisher  


Website News

Online Membership Special Offer:  March 22, 2007

Get a 6 month trial Online Membership for only $12.95, that's 1/3 off the regular price. This gives you nine years of issues and Chapbooks, access to the latest online Instant Reader Reports at the click of a mouse.

* Want to know the water temperature in Honduras in November, Fiji in June, the Bahamas in February?
* Want the scoop on restaurants in Bonaire or Maui, whether you need a car to get to them?
* What about the latest on bends research, what effect free diving has between scuba dives, or whether you should be flying 24 hours after a week of repetitive dives?
* Does that operation have Nitrox? Or just advertise it.
* Where do serious divers who are on budget go in Cozumel? Maui? Honduras? Sulawesi? The Turks and Caicos?
* There are alternatives to DAN insurance. Why they may be better for you.
* The operation that offers unlimited shore diving; is it lying to you?
* Which resorts have good beach front snorkeling?
* Top regulators, top Bcs, fins that aren't worth the hype.
* Where the big fish are.
* ...

Research any upcoming trip online and you'll guarantee yourself that your next dive trip will be exactly what you expect and pay for. Whats the best time of year to go ... do I need to rent a car ... can I get babysitting ... is this macro lens or wide-angle territory ... which operation will give me the most bottom time ... how bad are the bugs ... how do I e-mail or call the operation directly ...

Undercurrent online is a supplement to Undercurrent print. The latest issues are not available immediately and you can retrieve articles but not the entire issue in one piece. It's an information source, the best online resource there is for serious divers.

*Give it a try at and see the difference it will make for your diving.

Instant Reader Reports: Listings of all the Instant Reader Reports are now available to the public on the Undercurrent website, along with the full reports of earlier submissions. These are detailed reports on dive operations worldwide filed by Undercurrent subscribers and Online Members. Since they are available on the website as soon as they are entered, you can get the latest information on virtually any dive operation you are considering. There are several thousand such reports now. Older reports are available to the public -- you will see a symbol next to the "full report", so you can view the report in its' entirety just by clicking on the .

Of course Undercurrent Online Members can view ALL the full reports including the more recent ones, as well as back issues and Chapbooks. Join now using the special trial offer above or for a year , and you can get all the most recent information reader reports on dive destinations worldwide in the Instant Reader Reports section of the Online Members' Area.

Best of the Web: The Undercurrent website has been honored with a "Best of the Web" award from Forbes magazine. Special thanks to our readers for all the suggestions and input to help guide us.

Dave Eagleray, webmaster

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.


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