Updated June 6, 2007
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Apeks has found a potential problem with the yoke clamp-type regulators with serial numbers 7010001 to 7053528. The screw's threads weren't cut cleanly, so there is a possibility for the screw to fall out. You can return the regulator or just the yoke clamp screw to your nearest Apeks dealer for inspection. More information at www.aqualung.com or 877-253- 3483.
Innovative Scuba Concepts (ISC) has recalled 170 regulator swivels made in Taiwan and sold to dive shops between January 2006 and March 2007. The HO110 swivels could separate while underwater and cut off the air supply, which happened to one diver, who had to turn to his buddy for aid. There's no serial number, date or production code listed, so look for the marking "HO110" on your swivel and take the regulator back to the dive shop that fitted it for you. If it was sold by ISC, you'll receive a cash refund. For more details, call ISC at 800-472-2740.
Various diving organizations have come up with their own estimates for the number of active North American divers, ranging as high as five million, but no one in the dive industry can verify if they are true. 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 from our May issue at Undercurrent.
If you're taking a dive trip to the Turks & Caicos this summer, your best shot could grace that country's next set of stamps. Enter its annual underwater photo competition to win up to $5,000 cash, plus your photo and name on a set of commemorative postage stamps circling the globe. Photos must be taken on dives done between now and September 30. Details at www.underwaterphoto.tc.
And you don't have to go anywhere. The US Postal Service has teamed up with Photo.Stamps.com to allow you to create 41-cent stamps with any image you want (well, no booty, among other things). They're pricey ($18.99 for a sheet of 20, but they're fun. Upload any shot you want at http://photo.stamps.com/PhotoStamps/learn-more/real and let that photo of you and that hammerhead adorn a letter to your family or friends.
We have often written about beach divers in Bonaire having their rental car ransacked when they're underwater. Sometimes even gas gets siphoned. We've gotten fewer reports about Curacao, but one of our readers, there in March, gives us a good reminder. He told us two divers found that "local thieves had jacked up the right side of their rental car and stolen both wheels and tires." Our reader, a cautious guy, said, "I forgot to put all my stuff away in the safe before heading out. As luck would have it, thieves found entry into our truck and made off with my wallet holding $5, and sunglasses. I spent two hours on the phone canceling credit cards, and it cost me $120 as my room keys were in the pouch that was grabbed. And because they got our room key, we changed rooms when we got back to the Habitat." So don't leave anything in your car; leave the windows and doors unlocked and enjoy all that good diving.
A widely publicized story earlier this year claimed antioxidants can reduce hazards to divers' cardiovascular symptoms while underwater. Researchers at the University of Split School of Medicine in Croatia said Vitamins C and E can particularly lower divers' risk for acute endothelial dysfunction, the inability of arteries to dilate fully and release nitric oxide, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Doctors at DAN told Undercurrent, "not so." Jake Freiberger, M.D, MPH, DAN's hyperbaric attending physician. "The measurement of endothelial function is purely a research tool. Chronic endothelial dysfunction is probably bad, but this study did not show that." Even though the study showed a relationship between endothelia dysfunction and diving, it did not prove that diving was the cause, nor did it show that diving caused ANY real or measurable pathology. "I would categorize this something that happens alongside of something else. The bottom line here is that this is not very meaningful."
If you're going on a pricey dive trip in a faraway locale, you need to think about hazards besides getting the bends. Late plane connections and sudden family emergencies may make you late for boarding that liveaboard - and you'll also be out a whole lot of money. Read the article from our February 2007 issue for free at Undercurrent to find out what dive travel insurance covers and doesn't cover in the fine print, and how to get your money back from the insurance company.
Have you ever alerted a dive gear manufacturer about an equipment problem? If so, what response did you get? Did it settle the matter? We're hearing from divers that sometimes nobody's home and the can't get answers. We'd like to find out. Send your story -- and the equipment manufacturer's reply, If possible -- to PublisherBen@undercurrent.org.
Perhaps the best single reference book ever published for divers, this 470 page paperback provides capsule glimpses of virtually every diving topic, ranging from diving medicine (diving and women, flying after diving, among 11 sections), rebreathers, diving records (deepest dive on air, 519 feet), navigation, free diving, filmmaking, and bios of notables, oceanography for divers, diving history, absurd stories, even military diving. On top of that, plenty of hard data: population, water temps, vaccinations needed -- country by country. Essential for any serious diver's library. $18.95, plus $5 shipping and handling for US and Canada, $7 for other countries. Order by clicking here.
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Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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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