Updated February 11, 2009
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Send Your Kids to Camp in the Caymans
The Central Caribbean Marine Institute is hosting its 10th Caribbean Sea Camp on Little Cayman from July 12 to 18 to teach students ages 14-18 about the marine sciences (they don't have to be divers). Campers work with marine scientists to collect data, map habitats and discuss reef and ocean preservation. The cost is $2,300 and applications, which must include a letter of recommendation, are due in April. Get more details at www.reefresearch.org/ccmi_website/edufield/edufield_04.htm
While surfacing from a dive in the St. Lucie Inlet on January 9, Rob Murphy, 26, was struck by a passing boat, which severed both his legs. The boat was operated by Roger Nicosia, ironically an emergency room physician. Murphy, who lost nearly half his blood, was spared from death because his dive buddies acted quickly and applied a tourniquet before the helicopter ride to the hospital. Even though doctors couldn't save his legs, Roberts told the Treasure Coast News he is "trying to make a sad situation into a positive." Now he is doing physical therapy and intends to dive again one day. On January 31, volunteers at boat ramps around Florida talked to boaters and anglers about dive flag safety laws, and also carried a petition to create an official state "Dive Flag Awareness Day" that they intend to present to the governor.
Out of a job? Apply for this one offered by the tourism department in Queensland, Australia: a $100,000 contract to relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef for six months while writing a blog with videos and photos to promote the island. Besides the salary, free airfare and an oceanfront villa, you will be required to perform such arduous tasks as strolling the beaches, snorkeling its waters, and exploring other islands along the reef. As of mid-January, 2,200 people have sent in video resumes, and a million people have logged on to the website. You've got until February 22 to apply at http://www.islandreefjob.com
John R. Niles, a 50-year-old house painter from LaBelle, Florida admitted in court on January 21 that he was one of six divers who illegally harvested more than 1,100 lobsters from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary last August. The other defendants include two charter fishing captains, Rob Hammer of Miami and Mike Delph of Key West. After watching the six divers place artificial habitats in the water, then dive down to harvest lobsters from the sites, federal agents made their arrest on opening day of lobster season last year. The defendants allegedly stored the illegal catch in underwater cages to sell them later. Niles is free on bond and will be sentenced on April 2; he could get up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The British Sub Aqua Club reported that the number of diving deaths in British waters dropped last year to 10 fatalities, compared to 12 dive-related deaths in 2007 and a national average of 17 over the previous decade. The total number of dive accidents dropped to a below-average 359 in 2008. Decompression illness was the most frequently recorded type of incident, with 132 cases, but there were a high number of incidents involving free-flowing regulators and divers rushing to the surface. How do American divers compare? Find out when we do our annual "Why Divers Die" articles, starting in the March issue.
This 512-page book filled with hundreds of current reviews of dive resorts and liveaboards around the world has been mailed to all subscribers. Nonsubscribers can order a copy for $16.95, plus shipping, at /cbook2009 . Better yet, you can get a trial seven-month subscription to Undercurrent, plus a copy of the 2009 Chapbook and online access to past issues, for $29.95. Go to /sub2995 to order. The chapbook supply is limited, so you must order now.
If you want to know how one feels and whether you'd be interested in diving in one, Diving Unlimited International is taking its line of wetsuits in a 38-foot trailer on a year-long road trip across the country. A free BBQ lunch is included with your drysuit fitting and trial run in the water. The first stop is San Diego on March 21, and the road trip ends in November at Terrell, TX. Tickets cost $10 in advance; $15 on site. Get the itinerary and order tickets at UWI's website
You may have missed the first three episodes of this 11-part series about deep ocean shipwreck exploration, but you can catch it every Thursday night at 10 p.m. until March 26. The reality-show stars are a team from the Florida-based company Odyssey Marine Exploration (it just announced it found the wreck of the HMS Victory, a major player in British naval history). They explore various shipwrecks worldwide, such as the 17th century Merchant Royal in the English Channel with a cargo worth hundreds of millions, to solve their mysteries. Think Cold Case set under the sea. Get the show's backgrounder here:
In this time of recession and budget crunches, don't cotton to unnecessary charges and hidden fees. They can add up to 30 percent of your total bill. To avoid them, pay careful attention to dive trip costs - - and ask the right questions about them - - before you reach for your checkbook. Read our January article "What You'll Pay on Your Next Dive Trip" for free to find out some financial aspects to consider when you plan your next trip. Go to Undercurrent, click on "Back Issues," then on "2009." The article is marked with a blue and yellow "Free" button.
Subscribe now, and this is what you can read in our latest issue: Akumal, Mexico: an alternative to Cozumel diving . . . why two Florida dive boats were charged with illegal spearfishing . . . did a California diver fake his own death? . . . some good new dive operations in Cabo, Cozumel and Dominca, and some others with poor customer service . . . a review of dive pioneer Stan Waterman's memoir Sea Salt . . . how a diver got speared in the groin . . . a must-have for Nitrox divers . . . the latest recall: hookah air compressors . . . the inadvertently inflating power inflator . . . did diver error or product liability cause a rebreather diver's death? . . . abalone: why are divers killing themselves over it? . . . thumbs down on a Panama City tour operator for making a diver pay nearly triple the price of a standard dive . . . 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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