Updated September 8, 2008
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A Nasty Case of Conjunctivitis
One of our free reads in the September issue -- how 13 divers at a Fiji resort caught major pink eye. Here's a hint: Watch where you put your mask. Read what happened and how to avoid conjunctivitis. Go to Undercurrent and click on the article in our September issue's table of contents.
Hurricane Gustav hit the Caymans recently. Grand Cayman sustained little significant damage, but Little Cayman and Cayman Brac lost most of their docks, and dive hotels and condos had some damage, though all are reparable. On Little Cayman, dive boats were tossed onto shore. Over the weekend, Hurricane Ike pummeled the Turks and Caicos islands; at least 80 percent of the homes on Grand Turk were damaged. More hurricanes are coming and the prediction is they will get nasty. A tip of our hat goes to “ASmith2,” who mentioned a good Internet tracker on the Undercurrent forum last week. He recommends the Caribbean Storm Network (http://stormcarib.com) for divers with upcoming Caribbean trips - it gives the latest hurricane updates, and reports from local correspondents on every island. And get travel insurance!
We publish this each year, filled with hundreds of current reviews of dive resorts written by our subscribers, the most serious group of divers anywhere. If you become a print subscriber or Online Member, you too can have your report published, but you must do so now. Go to Undercurrent to become a subscriber or Online Member, then click on "Submit a Reader Report" at the top right to submit your report for the next chapbook - the deadline is September 24.
Rob Griffiths, a diver and editor for Macworld, gives a thumbs-up for Dive Planner, an electronic alternative to standard dive tables that is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.0 software update. "It's a simple tool with three vertical sliders - Pressure Group, Depth and Minutes Down. A fourth horizontal slider lets you set the planned surface interval between dives. Two buttons toggle between readouts in feet or meters, and two boxes contain pressure group after the dive and after the indicated surface interval. Compared to using a dive table, this is simplicity in action." And at $3, it's a bargain. DivePlanner is based on the Navy Dive Tables and can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store.
You're just about guaranteed to see manta rays if you dive Yap, and now that Micronesian island has passed a law protecting their habitat out to 12 miles offshore. The new manta ray reserve will be 8,243-square-mile area, comprising 16 islands and atolls.
Our other free article in this month's issue is a review by our guest columnist, DIVER magazine's technical editor John Bantin, about the role that certain types of rescue devices play if you're lost at sea. Are flags better than flashlights? What about beacons with GPS? Read about those, plus what Bantin's favorite rescue device is, by clicking on "Rescue Devices for Saving Your Bacon" in the September issue lineup on Undercurrent.
As least eight aquariums, including those in Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, and Tampa, allow divers to dive in their tanks, generally for a hefty fee. Atlantis Marine World Aquarium on Long Island opened a shark-dive program last June to anyone ages 12 and up - they're in a cage and wear a full-face mask helmet. The aquariums say this gets people more interested in marine life and saving the oceans but Jean-Michel Cousteau questions the stress this puts on whales, sharks and the like enclosed in the tanks. Holdouts that refuse to offer paid dives include the New York Aquarium, Boston's New England Aquarium and Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.
Some hoses fitted to products from this UK company could be unsafe due to insufficiently crimped connector fittings. The fittings should be crimped so that eight flats are clearly visible on the fitting collar. If the collar is smoothly rounded, crimping has not been done. There is a risk of the hose fittings coming away from the hose. Potentially affected are low-pressure hoses used on Inspiration, Evolution and Evolution+ rebreathers; the Buddy Blast Hose (air horn end only); second stage regulator hose (second-stage end only); and gas connection system (second stage/ADV end only). Among the rebreathers, the hoses to examine are the ADV hose (ADV end only); buzzer hose (both ends); oxygen supply hose (solenoid end); and handset hose (lid end). It is thought that the problem relates to a small number of hoses made between April and July 2008, but APD suggests that customers who purchased hoses after January 2007 - either as part of another product or as a spare - check their hose-crimping. APD hoses that employ screw-together fittings are not affected by the recall. To obtain a replacement or make an inquiry, call 603-447-2600 or email Nicky@apdiving.com. More details about the products are at www.apdiving.com.
Dr. Lawrence Blair, Indonesia expert and author and co-producer of the book and PBS documentary film Ring of Fire and more recently the series Myths, Magic and Monsters, has two remaining cabins available for an adventure cruise with 30 people aboard the luxury vessel Indies Trader IV (http://www.indiestrader.com/indiestrader09/indies4.html) to central Papua and the Raja Empat Islands off West New Guinea for October 11-24, 2008. It's both an exploratory diving and cultural cruise, with a visit to the Asmat tribe, famous for its tribal art. The two double cabins cost (for a couple) $35,100 and U$ 32,500 respectively. If you have that kind of money, then you'll be pleased to know that 10 percent of your fee will be donated to Undercurrent and our effort to save the reefs. For further details, e-mail RingOfFire@banjartamu.org, or go to http://www.banjartamu.org/LawrenceBlair.html.
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. Or if you're a former Online Member, you can rejoin instantly using your old username and password here. Then log in and join in the dialogue at The Undercurrent Online Divers' Forum.
Read it online now - take advantage of our trial membership for just $1 for the first month. In this issue, you'll find out about:
* Palau diving, is it better on land or a liveaboard;
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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