Updated February 11, 2008
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Skip The Sunscreen While Diving
It can damage and even kill coral reefs, says a study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Italian marine biologists have linked four UV-blocking chemicals in sunscreens to coral bleaching because they cause viral infections in the symbiotic algae that live inside reef-building coral. The viruses replicate until their algae hosts explode, infecting neighboring coral. The researchers estimate that 5,000 tons of sunscreen wash off people in oceans annually, and that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.
The liveaboard company is offering a limited number of free cabin upgrades to Undercurrent subscribers who travel on February 23 or March 1 aboard the Caribbean Explorer I, or aboard the Turks & Caicos Explorer II on March 29. Call (800) 322-3577 for details. You can also enter Explorer Ventures’ Reservation Roulette, which lets three divers travel for free this March. Book a Caribbean dive trip on the Caribbean Explorer I for March 8, 15 or 22; aboard the Caribbean Explorer II on March 15 or 22; or aboard the Turks & Caicos Explorer II for travel on March 8, and you’ll automatically be entered into a random drawing for one of three free berths on those trips. Details at www.explorerventures.com.
Get the all new 2008 edition of The Travelin' Diver's Chapbook for free, as well as online access to back issues and current travel reports from scores of destinations. Sign up now for an Undercurrent subscription and we'll send you a free issue of the 448-page Chapbook, with more than 1,000 resort and liveaboard reviews and details about water temperature, best times to dive, whether there really is unlimited diving, if the food is palatable....everything you need to know. Go to Undercurrent and sign up on the bottom right-hand side of the home page. Never seen a copy of Undercurrent? You can read the July 2007 issue for free from a link on our homepage. Undercurrent IS a nonprofit organization.
Join a research team from the New England Aquarium on the Coral Reef II in the Bahamas from May 3 to 13 to learn how to responsibly collect reef fishes and invertebrates for the aquarium’s Giant Ocean Tank. The trip is approximately $3,500 and includes up to five dives a day. For information, contact Sarah Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. A second trip will be run from September 14 to 23, 2008; for details, contact Sherrie Floyd at email@example.com. Subscribers and Online Members can read a review of a previous trip here using their username and password.
What should divers do when on trips with guides who have no qualms about manhandling marine life? The February issue of Undercurrent tackles that issue, with complaints from subscribers who pinpoint dive operators that go so far as flipping over nurse sharks, and replies from the dive operators. Read the article “Those Guides Who Manhandle Fish” for free at www.undercurrent.org. Click on "Past issues", then "February 2008" and select the PA link.
If you got into diving before the mid 90s, you may have met this diving legend who called himself “The Last Pirate of the Caribbean.” A diver for eight decades and the operator of a BVI dive operation for 30 years, Kilbride is credited with developing the first resort course. But it was his wit, crustiness and style that made him a living legend. In 2004, when he was age 90, the Guinness Book of World Records proclaimed him the oldest scuba diver in the world. There will be a celebration of his life on March 9 in the South Florida area. Get more information at www.bertkilbride.com, where you can also see pictures of artifacts he claimed from the wreck of the Rhone.
If you purchase your dive books through the Undercurrent website, which is linked to Amazon.com, all the commission we receive goes directly to saving coral reefs and the ocean’s critters. In fact, we receive a commission from Amazon for anything you purchase – DVDs, polo shirts, flat-panel TV sets – through the Undercurrent portal. In our latest project, we paid for Chinese subtitles for the shark finning documentary “Sharks: Stewards of the Reef,” so it could be shown on Chinese television stations and Hong Kong public TV. Go to Undercurrent and click on “Dive Books” on the home page.
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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