Updated August 5, 2008
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Australia Says Dive Boat to Blame for Abandoning Divers
In our July issue, divers Allyson Dalton and Richard Neely gave us their account of being adrift for 19 hours on the Great Barrier Reef after their dive boat, the Pacific Star, failed to pick them up (Online Members can read the story at Undercurrent in our "Back Issues" section). OzSail, which operates the Pacific Star, publicly tried to discredit the divers and blame them for disobeying rules. Now the Queensland government is about to release a report stating the mishap was due to operator error. It's expected to recommend charges against OzSail and the boat's dive trip director Kylie Irwin, recently fired by OzSail. Penalties include up to six months' imprisonment, individual fines of $37,500 and a company fine of $187,500.
Leave from San Diego August 28; Special deal for Undercurrent; Book the Nautilus Explorer's 6 days/5 nights (4 days of diving) Guadalupe Island great white shark cage diving trip and receive a free stateroom upgrade (space available). Undercurrent readers regularly praise captain Mike Lever and the crew of his 116- foot, 16 passenger modern, comfortable, stabilized liveaboard (they even have 40 micro-brews and 50 different labels of wine) that caters to highly experienced divers, photographers and rebreather divers. Prices start at $2380. If you can't make this trip, they go north to Alaska and south to see the mantas of Socorro island other times of the year. www.nautilusexplorer.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for the special deal.
Ten years ago we launched Undercurrent Online Membership on our then-new website. As an Online Member, you now have complete access to
To mark this occasion, we're offering a special introductory price for Online Membership -- $29.95/year. This is a ~25% discount off the standard price of $38.95/year. To join simply enter your information, and then you can immediately browse through our 10,000+ pages of reliable diving information from serious divers like yourself. This offer is for a limited time only, so join now.
The full moon on August 16 is expected to kick off annual coral mass-spawning rituals. Millions of sperm and eggs will be released into the water to unite at the surface. Branching corals like finger and staghorn typically spawn three to five days after the full moon, two hours after sunset. Star and boulder corals spawn six to eight days after, about three hours after sunset. Marine researchers suggest booking with Florida Keys dive operators for night dives August 19 to 24. One dive shop, Atlantis Dive Center (www.captainslate.com) in Key Largo, is predicting spawning times at 11:20 p.m. on August 22 and 23, and has set aside two boats for each dive.
Wherever you dive, you need good ID books for fish and corals. We've got the best, covering the Caribbean, Indonesia, Fiji, Hawaii, Mexico and other points. Go to Undercurrent and click on "Diving Books and Guides." You'll get the best price Amazon.com has to offer, and our profit will go to save those fish and coral reefs you'll be reading about on your next trip.
Dive instructors do make mistakes, but rarely do they lead to murder charges. But in this unfortunate case, Allison Rainey Gibson, a former instructor at the University of Alabama, faces charges of criminally negligent homicide involving the death of her 21-year-old student Zachary Moore in April 2007. Moore's father is also filing a civil lawsuit against her. It alleges that Gibson, 44, was in charge of a dive training class at the university but was giving a private lesson to someone not enrolled in the class, while her official students were practicing taking off their gear at the bottom of the 18-foot pool. Moore had trouble on the surface after the drill and died; an autopsy showed the cause as barotrauma. More details about this incident in a forthcoming issue.
In this month's free article online, one of our undercover writer reports on "dive camp" at CoCo View in Roatan, and why it's worth frequent repeat visits. One tip: book way ahead as rooms fill up a year in advance. When you become an Undercurrent subscriber, you'll get immediate access to reader reviews of the island's resorts and dive operators in our Instant Reader Reports. There you'll also find hundreds of reader reviews about dive destinations around the world.
When you're flying low-cost airlines, reconfirm your flight. A subscriber purchased tickets to Turks and Caicos for a July trip, and called before departure and learned that Spirit Airlines had rearranged her family's flights to an earlier one and, they would have to overnight in Atlantic City before flying to Provo, thereby missing a full day of diving. Because Spirit didn't notify her, the family would have arrived at the airport to find their flight had departed, but luckily they were able to make better arrangements. With airlines like American cutting flights to the Caribbean, stay abreast of your schedule if you have travel plans.
The faltering housing market and the soaring price of oil mean more jobs for commercial divers, especially around oil rigs. The Underwater Centre in Fort William, Scotland, expects up to 400 new divers to qualify this year for work in places like the North Sea. There, air divers make $900 a day, while those who must live in decompression chambers can get up to $2,000 a day. The International Diving Schools Association (http://www.idsaworldwide.org) has listings for U.S. and international dive training schools.
Since most housings suspend the camera in the middle of the space on a platform mount, any absorbent material in the housing bottom will capture the water before it reaches the camera. While you can stuff an old sock in your housing, a feminine hygiene pad is more compact and far more absorbent.
We have launched an exciting, new feature on our website to help serious divers obtain the best, most complete and latest diving information: The Divers' Forum. This forum offers the thousands of Undercurrent readers a means of directly communicating with each other. You can post questions or replies to others' questions on virtually any aspect of diving. Unlike other forums, here you interact only with other Undercurrent subscribers and Online Members -- as knowledgeable, well traveled, and experienced a group of serious divers as you'll find anywhere. . . If you are not a current print subscriber or Online Member, you can become one in just a minute and get immediate access to the Forum and thousands of pages of solid dive info -- see the offer above. Then log in and join in the dialogue at The Divers' Forum.
Read it online now. In this issue, you'll find out about:
* CoCo View, a dive camp for hardcore fans in Roatan;
Ben Davison, editor/publisher
Note: Undercurrent is a registered 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization donating funds to help preserve coral reefs. 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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