Updated January 19, 2009
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Brownie's Third Lung Recalls Its Hookah Air Compressors
While few real divers use a hookah -- air supplied through hoses connected to a compressor either back on the boat or floating in a buoy - their kids might. So be aware that Brownie's Third Lung has problems with components in some models of its compressors that can cause premature wear and tear, and also stop air flow. Brownie's will inspect, repair and upgrade affected compressors at no charge and renew the warranty for another year. The recall is for compressors manufactured since July 2007 with serial numbers 14421 to 15715 (that's for models F280X, F390X, C270, C390, CTD390) and serial numbers 14344 to 15762 (models E250 and EC2). The serial numbers are printed on a metal tag on the rim of the yellow storage case or, for commercial models, on the deck. Call Brownie's sales department at 800-327 0412 for a return authorization and details about shipping back the compressor.
Waterman tops the list of America's best representatives of scuba diving and underwater videography. His marvelous 2005 book, Sea Salt: Memories and Essays, has just been reissued and if you haven't read it, now is the time. Peter Benchley, the deceased Jaws author and one of Waterman's best friends, had this to say about it: "Hang on, because when Stan recounts scenes from the filming of the classic 1971 documentary feature film, Blue Water, White Death, you'll be there beside him, and astonished that anyone lived to tell the tale." You can buy Stan's book at Undercurrent at a low price offered by Amazon.com, and our profits for the sale -- in fact, our profit from any purchase you make while there -- will go directly to projects helping to save coral reefs. (288 pages with 32 pages of photographs, hardbound.)
"All trips have been canceled and they are helping booked passengers with air and hotel cancellations and refunds." Aggressor manager Anne Hasson told Undercurrent the trips were not profitable for the franchisee, i,e., they were losing too much money. If you have booked a North Sulawesi trip on the Aggressor, contact the reservations office ASAP at 800-348-2628. One more reason in these times of economic turmoil to protect yourself with trip insurance.
Undercurrent is a nonprofit publication, and we get 90 percent of our subscribers by mailing information to divers. If you share your dive club's snail-mail list with us so we may mail our standard information about Undercurrent, we'll give you a free six-month subscription.. E-mail me at PublisherBenD@undercurrent.org, and don't forget to include your address, which we will not disclose.
Scores of Undercurrent articles, including resort and liveaboard reviews and stories about diver safety, are available for free on our website. You can read them by going to Undercurrent and looking at the section (bottom left) entitled "Undercurrent Articles Publicly Available". A good example of our good advice is the article "Proper Liveaboard Hygiene" from May, 2008. What can be more upsetting than to spend big money traveling halfway around the world, only to come up sick in the middle of a trip and have to miss dives? The reason that may happen is because on a small boat where everyone touches the same handrails, the chance that a sick diver will infect others is high. Read where germs congregate on liveaboards and how you can protect yourself from them by following the link on that page.
Divers of all levels can join staff from the Boston-based aquarium for a fish-collecting expedition in the Bahamas from May 3 to 13. You'll help them find reef fish and invertebrates for the 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank and other tropical exhibits. The last day is spent in Miami, prepping fish for the trip to Boston. The tax deductible fee will be between $3,200 and $3,500, which includes room, meals and cocktails on the R/V Coral Reef II , up to five dives per day, weights and tanks, and the opportunity to dive in the Aquarium's 200,000-gallon Caribbean reef exhibit. Contact Sherrie Floyd at 617-973-5248 or email@example.com .
First State Bank of the Florida Keys purchased the General Hoyt S. Vandenberg at auction last month, making it possible again for the 524-foot decommissioned Air Force missile-tracking vessel to be scuttled as an artificial reef. A federal judge ordered the auction after a contractor failed to pay $1.6 million to a Virginia shipyard for the boat's cleanup, putting the ship-to-reef project in jeopardy. The bank bid $1.35 million, topping bidders who wanted to buy the Vandenberg for scrap metal or an artificial reef elsewhere. The ship will be towed from Norfolk, Virginia to Key West this month, but the scuttling date has not yet been announced.
In the January issue, we wrote how the Malaysian island's current permit system of 120 divers maximum per day was screwing up many divers' travel plans, with some not getting a chance to set fin in its waters. After settling a territorial dispute, the Prime Minister is now set to hand over administration of Sipadan to the Sabah state government, and one of the first issues to be scrutinized is the 120-max diver limit. One proposal is to modify the restrictions to allow 120 divers in the morning, and another 120 in the afternoon. A final decision will be made when studies of Sipadan's sustainability, and whether increasing the number of divers will damage the ecosystem, are finished.
Now in its 9th year providing fun scuba vacations for families with kids ages 4 and up.. Divers and those adults and kids alike who want to become divers can enjoy a week full of memories to last a life time with other kids and families from around the world. There are ten weeks to chose from. Each week includes 7 night stays in beautiful ocean front resorts, all diving, courses, meals and many other activities. Destinations include Cayman Is, Roatan, Bonaire, Fiji, Bahamas, Galapagos, Curacao and Costa Rica. Programs include dolphin swims, horseback riding, painting with Ron Rogest, kayak racing, zip lining, snorkeling, land sailing, digital photography, and more. Certified kids have their own boats to dive with other kids. Parents can even take a night off while kids enjoy pizza movie nights or even a night dive. SASY for kids 4+, PADI Seal Team for kids 8+, Certification for kids age 10+ , and Teen diving programs with specialty courses like Sea Scooter and free Sea life digital cameras with photo course. For information, call 1800-934-3483 for or email firstname.lastname@example.org . It's organized by long time Undercurrent subscriber and scubamom Margo Peyton, see <http://www.kidsseacamp.com>. Let her know you heard about this from Undercurrent and receive a 5% discount off new reservations.
We're planning an upcoming story on the pros and cons of organizing your own group dive trip. Have you ever organized a trip for a group of fellow divers? If so, what advice would you pass on to other divers intending to do the same? Let me know of any difficulties, advantages and surprises you've experienced in planning and taking a group dive tip by e-mailing me your stories and tips at PublisherBenD@undercurrent.org.
Sign up now for a one-year membership to Undercurrent for $29.95, $10 off the standard offer. PLUS that includes a free (hard)copy of our Travelin' Divers' Chapbook 2009, with reviews of more than 1,000 dive resorts and liveaboards worldwide (due to postage costs, the Chapbook is only available to US and Canadian residents). Sign up for this special offer to email subscribers now here ( /UCnow/join_2995chap2009em.shtml ).
After reading the hundreds of responses I received from readers for our three-part series on tipping last summer, it's clear most divers don't know what is "right." Most Americans feel guilty if they don't tip big, while just about everyone else in the world tips more selectively, tips less, and often never. So what's a better way? Read my suggested guidelines in the July 2008 issue. The article is a free read and per my rules, there's no need for a tip. Go to Undercurrent, click on "Back Issues," then "2008 " scroll down to the July issue and click on "Last Word on Tipping."
One of our undercover writers took a trip to CoCoView Resort in Roatan and came back with a report that "it's a full-throttle version of summer camp for divers. Every day was packed with boat dives, self-guided dropoffs, meals at the clubhouse and a few extracurricular activities crammed in between. . . Our campground was bordered by undersea walls and filled with fish and critters -- especially macro life." Read the rest of the CoCoView review for free in our August 2008 issue -- Go to Undercurrent, click on "Back Issues," then "2008, " scroll down to the August issue and click on the first article.
Daniel Olsson, was getting some dive time in at a medical conference in Fiji when he got a nasty case of pink eye, or conjunctivitis. When 13 fellow attendees, nearly half of his group, also got infected, he knew it was no fluke. Read our free article in the September issue in which Olsson tells Undercurrent how he narrowed the culprit down to a rinse tank in the dive boat. Go to Undercurrent, click on "Back Issues," then "2008, " scroll down to the September issue and click on "Transferred by the Rinse Tank."
Subscribe now, and this is what you can read in our latest issue: Dive St. Vincent, St. Vincent and the Grenadines: The best critter diving in the Caribbean . . . how a newly-certified diver ended up drifting for 12 hours in Fiji's Somosomo Strait . . . easing back pain while diving . . . Moorea, French Polynesia: is this pricey paradise worth diving? . . . divers' serious impact on the Red Sea . . . new masks to consider for replacing your current one . . .when bad air is pumped into your tank . . . a diver loses three fingers to the dive ladder . . .what you'll pay on your next dive trip in hidden fees . . . Aggressor and Peter Hughes liveaboards are now owned by the same person . . . and much, much more.
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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