Updated May 09, 2007
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The Northern California coast has been a deadly spot this spring - six California divers have perished there in March and April. Kawika Chetron, a 35 year-old underwater photographer from the Bay Area, disappeared March 11 while diving alone at Blunts Reef near Cape Mendocino. The Coast Guard located Chetron's 17-foot boat but found no trace of him after a three-day search. Four abalone free divers died within five days of each other, either from drowning or heart attacks. Their ages ranged from 36 to 70. The latest victim was Victor Smith, 50, from Petaluma who went spearfishing on April 29 in rough waters at Stillwater Cove, north of Jenner in Sonoma County. He drowned after being wedged between rocks and pounded by heavy surf before a rescue helicopter could reach him. Smith went diving alone, wore old scuba gear and did not have on a BC.
Five divers have died in the Caymans this year, two in separate incidents at the Little Cayman Beach Resort. More in the June issue.
Various diving organizations have come up with their own estimate for the number of active North American divers, ranging as high as five million. We did some digging around and came up with what we think is a more realistic number. See our estimate and the reasoning behind it - read the story for free at Undercurrent.
Share your summer dives with Divers Alert Network for its Project Dive Exploration Extravaganza. The goal of PDE is to record one million dive profiles for accurate analyses of characteristics and behavior. DAN has recorded 133,000 dives to date and now it wants info about your dives between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They prefer divers using Level 3 dive computers, but those with other types can get special instructions on how to send their data. For the first 10 dives you submit, DAN will send a commemorative T-shirt and enter you in a drawing for a $250 grand prize. To enroll, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we wrote about global warming in January, many naysayers said that one study showed the seas were cooling and global warming was baloney. It turns out the study was wrong, which the researchers themselves have acknowledged. When John Lyman from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle and his colleagues reviewed the study published in Geophysical Research Letters, they found that the cooling was an artifact caused by calibration errors and faulty measuring devices. Calculations are ongoing, but it now looks like no cooling occurred. Luddites may reeducate themselves by reading the April 28 issue of New Scientist .
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Diving Safety Board has just issued its report about the USCG Healy incident last August when two Coast Guard divers perished during an ice dive near Barrow, Alaska. Part of the report recommended actions for working divers. It prohibits the use of split fins and has surprising requirements for drysuits and weight integrated BCs. More in the June issue of Undercurrent.
Do you have any travel tips for divers traveling alone about how to make the most of a solo dive trip? Have you had bad experiences that should be avoided, like getting an incompatible roommate, having to pay more for lodging or diving, or not getting to dive because you have no buddy? E-mail your anecdotes and advice to us at PublisherBen@undercurrent.org for a story we plan to run about single divers traveling solo in an upcoming issue.
The Tragedy of the Dive Ship Wave Dancer In 2001, the Wave Dancer capsized during Hurricane Iris, killing seventeen American divers and three local residents. Moored alongside, the Belize Aggressor weathered the storm. Aboard the Aggressor was Joe Burnworth, whose carefully researched story produced a chilling account of a cavalier captain, arguments among the crew, and failed instructions that led to a tragedy that could have been avoided. Must reading for serious divers. Order by clicking on Undercurrent and Undercurrent's profits from the sale will go to save coral reefs.
Undercurrent recently received one of Forbes' "Best of the Web" awards. Find out why by subscribing now at Undercurrent. Your subscription will begin with the June issue, plus you'll get the 512-page 2007 Travelin' Divers Chapbook absolutely free. Or you can become an Online Member and have access to over ten years' worth of Undercurrent's back issues and fellow divers' Chapbook reviews online.
** indicates articles available to the public
Ben Davison, editor/publisher
We've recently made a number of significant improvements to our site search to make it much easier for you to find the information you need on our website. The results display the approximate date each result was published and you can specify any of several parts of the website to restrict your search, e.g. only the issues, Chapbooks, Instant Reader Reports, ... . The results now show you which area of the website each link is in: Public, Online Members' or Subscribers' Area (there's a few inaccuracies here that we're working on yet). Also you can sort the results by their date, and search within the results just obtained. We have a few other tweaks yet to do with it, but give it a whirl -- either from the Advanced Search page (recommended) or from the site search box on any page of our website.
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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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