Updated March 10, 2009
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Rebreather Dive Hose Recall
Silent Diving Systems (SDS) has recalled approximately 820 scuba diving hoses that may have been made without crimps, posing a potential drowning hazard. They can allow gas to leak or water to into the re-breather unit. The hoses were sold for Inspiration, Evolution and Evolution Plus rebreathers between January 2007 through August 2008. SDS president Mike Fowler tells Undercurrent that because the company carried a list of each buyer, it was able to contact each person within three days. If you do own one of these SDS models, check the dive hose. If it's uncrimped, call SDS at 603-447-2600 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Fowler, by the way, recently played an underwater bad guy on CSI Miami, filling in for a stuntman who was too short for the director's taste.
We like to keep you apprised of deals from dive operators our readers approve of, and here's a good one. Peter Hughes e-mailed to say that he's so pleased about the refurbishing of the Star Dancer that he's personally directing in Papua New Guinea, he'll rebate $500 of your airfare if you sign up for a trip -- that applies even if you book the flight yourself or use frequent-flyer miles. "Tell Undercurrent subscribers and their friends to come diving on our beautifully updated and completely renovated Star Dancer for the best diving in the Coral Triangle. Amazing reefs and marine life at the Witu Islands and Father's Reef, and luxury they won't believe." Anyone who signs up for a cruise and mentions Undercurrent will get a free safety sausage along with the $500 refund/credit. Call 1-800-9-DANCER or 305-669-9391. You must book before May 15, 2009 for travel done by Dec. 31, 2009. See Peter Hughes' website (www.peterhughes.com) for more details.
Police in New South Wales may make these shark-deterring devices mandatory for its divers after a spate of shark attacks in the territory (five so far this year, compared to eight for all of 2008). One of the most recent victims was Navy diver Paul de Gelder, who lost an arm and a leg after being attacked on February 11 by presumably a bull shark during a training exercise in Sydney Harbour. The makers of Shark Shield (http://www.sharkshield.com/Content/Home) say they have seen a massive rise in demand for the device, a small black box with an antenna emitting strong electrical impulses supposedly painful to sharks, with a 200 percent increase in inquiries from Australian dive and surf shops over the past two months.
White House Bay is no longer such a memorable wreck site because its main attraction, five historical cannons, was apparently stolen overnight. The cannons were from a sunken 18th-century English troop ship lying in 10 feet of water, and were left behind when other artifacts were removed for preservation. Divers reported seeing them until late December, when they suddenly were no longer there. St. Kitts has other wreck sites, but White House Bay is the only one to have been surveyed and studied so far.
If you want to see the latest fish confirmed as a new species, go diving with Toby of Maluku Divers, the land-based dive shop in Ambon, Indonesia. He was the guy who discovered the Histiophryne psychedelica, a frogfish that hops rather than swims. Not seeing the fish in its ID books, Maluku Divers turned to Ted Pietsch, a fishery sciences expert at the University of Washington. Pietsch and team confirmed the new species and gave it the psychedelic name because of "the cockamamie way these fish swim, some with so little control they look intoxicated and should be cited for DUI". Watch a video of this frogfish's swimming style here: http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/12517.php
Seven days on an underwater photography trip to a resort or on a liveaboard requires twice as many days to plan and organize, so if you haven’t done it completely and correctly you can waste a bundle of time and money and shed buckets of tears over missed shots. Not only does this 80 page book by Dennis Adams and Cathy and Peter Swan provide a full 17 page checklist of everything you will need to travel and shoot, but it provides an orderly planning and procurement schedule and scores of insider's tips. Its an essential book for anyone planning a first time photo safari, but just as useful for any of us who have spent a week kicking ourselves about leaving home that one crucial item and having to beg, borrow and jury rig while out of the water missing that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity below. You can buy it 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. (88 pages)
Did you know that any subscriber/member of Undercurrent can read the current issue online? It's available about the first of every month to download onto your computer screen by following the link on our home page. Not the November/December issue, however - that's the Chapbook, which is available in the Travel section pages.
Bret Gilliam, who has had jobs of more impact than any five people in the dive industry, takes no prisoners as he challenges industry leaders in the current issue of Undercurrent. "I lament the days when manufacturing companies were run by real divers. What happened to the spirit of innovation? Where are the new products that should be emerging from this exciting technological period?" Read Bret's outspoken opinion -- and his pointed suggestions for improvement -- online at Undercurrent. On the home page, go to "The March Issue" and click on "A Personal Perspective on Dive Innovation."
It's as easy as going to your local Chinese restaurant and checking out the menu. If it's like most American restaurants, you can buy a bowl of shark fin soup, the product of one more shark butchered solely for its fins. Read this month's story about the sad situation at notable shark dive site Cocos Island, and you'll see how you can follow in another diver's footsteps to cut the demand for shark fins in soup. Go to www.undercurrent.org, scroll down to "The March Issue" and click on "Get Shark Fin Soup off U.S. Restaurant Menus."
Subscribe now, and this is what you can read in our latest issue: Spirit of Niugini and Tawali Resort, Papua New Guinea: Should you skip the liveaboard or the resort? . . . advice for staying alive longer if you're stranded at sea . . .why your old aluminum tank may be rejected for testing . . . readers' recommendations for places to consider for your next dive trip . . . our book review of Scuba Caribbean . . . why a longtime dive insider believes the industry has lost its innovative ways . . .two more American divers are stranded near the Great Barrier Reef . . . why Divetech in Grand Cayman gets a thumbs up . . . an in-depth report of the shark hunt at well-known dive site Cocos Island . . . how you can help get shark fin soup off the menu . . .how a few dead divers made preventable errors . . .an unusual hazard for young divers . . . Uwatec computers that eat batteries like there's no tomorrow. . . good tips for sex while diving . . . and 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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