Updated June 3, 2009
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Check Out Our New Blogs and Bulletin Board
We've started running blogs on our website, with updates coming regularly. You can read original pieces by the likes of Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock, Bret Gilliam, John Bantin, Doc Vikingo and even me, Ben Davison. Or go to our now-public online forum, post your questions, advise others, run your own commentary -- registration is free. Take advantage of the Undercurrent community at Undercurrent .
After a decade of planning and an $8.6 million, the General Hoyt S. Vandenberg was finally sunk on May 27 and is now a public dive site. Forty-four explosive charges sent the 524-foot-long boat 140 feet to the bottom seven miles south of Key West. The Vandenberg was used to transport WW II troops, bring refugees to freedom, and as a setting for the sci-fi movie Virus. The topmost portion of this former Air Force missile tracker is at 40 feet, making it accessible to divers of all levels. Minutes after it sank, a sea turtle, a pod of dolphins, barracudas and a hogfish checked out the ship.
As Undercurrent has often reported, diving off Saint George's Caye is as good as it gets in Belize. Protected by the Barrier Reef, the nearby reefs are in fine shape with little diving pressure, though it's only a 20- minute boat ride from Belize City. Fred Good, who built the venerable Saint George's Lodge (one of our favorites) in 1977 and sold it in 2004, called to tell us he is selling a large beachfront parcel on St. George's. It's about three acres with 900 feet of beach frontage. It could accommodate a dive resort, up to three family compounds, or be subdivided into 12 building lots, and Fred is willing to actively consult or project-manage because he has already "been there" and "done that." There's a photo of the land above. For more photos and details go to www.belizebeachfrontproperty.com.
Join CORAL to celebrate its 15th anniversary by taking a dive trip from November 21 to 28 aboard the Nai'a, the 120-foot luxury liveaboard sailing vessel that Undercurrent readers love. You'll visit spectacular sites near Lomaiviti, Bligh Water and the Namena Marine Reserve. CORAL senior program staff will interpret what's happening underwater and discuss reef ecology and Fijian culture. You'll visit a village where CORAL is working with the community to preserve its reefs. Experience some of the world's best diving while supporting the people who depend on reefs for daily survival. Visit http://www.coral.org/dive_trip to learn more or reserve your spot now - the folks at CORAL tell us the trip is filling quickly.
A new study reports on high levels of bacteria contamination in rinse tanks at a Bonaire dive shop. In this exclusive article in our June issue, the study's authors describe what rinse tanks had the highest levels of contamination, and what cleaning methods worked best to reduce bacteria. Read it now at Undercurrent.
We want to know if divers are satisfied with their regulator or computer warranties. Ever have a problem and need to get it resolved under the warranty? Have you had a problem with an item purchased from an Internet seller? Did it or the manufacturer honor the warranty? Has your dive shop handled a warranty problem for you? Let me know your experience, good or bad, by e-mailing your story to me at PublisherBenD@undercurrent.org.
Diving the famed Blue Corner won't be the same if Palau's politicians approve Senate Bill SB8-44 to permit commercial fishing for sharks and shark finning. A follow-up punch is SB8-50, which would encourage commercial fisheries in Palau's waters by granting them a five-year tax exemption. This would gut the 2004 legislation that banned shark fishing by foreign fisheries, one of the most ironclad laws in the Asia-Pacific area. To stop this nonsense, sign the petition sponsored by SharkSavers.org to keep the bills from becoming law: http://www.sharksavers.org/get-involved/sign-these-petitions/542-petition-to-palau-stop-senate-bill-8-44-on-shark-fishing.html.
American Airlines canceled its weekly flight to Bonaire last month, but Insel Air has stepped in with a weekly Saturday nonstop from and to Miami, starting July 4. Check flight times and prices at www.fly-inselair.com.
For the best in dive books, from how to improve your digital and fish ID skills to ripping, real-life dive adventures, go to Undercurrent and click on "Books".
Malaysian officials have called off the search for Kenneth Wayne, who disappeared at sea on May 24, because weather conditions were too dangerous for the rescue divers. Wayne, 62, was sailing his 65-foot yacht Sampai Jumpa when it collided with another vessel 31 miles off Kuantan. Wayne, another diver and the three-man Thai crew had to jump into the sea after being rammed by the other boat, which kept on going. The other four were rescued a few hours later by a fishing boat but officials believe Wayne is trapped in the boat, lying some 130 feet deep in the sea.
Been diving there recently? What did you think of the fish life, especially on muck dives? Was it up to your expectations? Let me know by e-mailing your comments to PublisherBenD@undercurrent.org.
Subscribe now and read about: Wanananavu Beach Resort, Fiji: the latest on Bligh Water diving and the resort's dive shop changes . . . our review of an ascent rate alarm gizmo . . . a diver's tale of Somali piracy and the Seychelles army . . . reports of diving in St. Lucia, Vietnam and with Hawaii's sharks, seals and rays . . . an Aussie liveaboard gives divers a wild ride . . . why new divers should reduce their weights . . . four solid, inexpensive regulators we recommend . . . why a bull shark bit a diver in the Bahamas. . . how two divers survived after 24 hours adrift in the Gulf of Mexico . . . why you need trip insurance now more than ever. . . 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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