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Updated March 24, 2011
These brief news articles below were sent out via email to all divers who signed up for our free email list.
You can sign up here to receive future Undercurrent Online Updates and get news alerts and special offers like these every month.

Habitat Curacao is Closed for Major Renovations
Got a Hot Tip?
Diver Finds Wife in Tsunami Aftermath
Is Raja Ampat Diving Worth the Effort?
A New Marine Preserve near Cocos
Undercurrent Subscription Savings
And the Most Diverse Reef Site is...
Read Our Collection of Dive Books
Solmar V Rescues a Dolphin
The Best Dive Gear Ad We've Read
What You're Missing in This Month's Undercurrent

Habitat Curacao is Closed for Major Renovations:  March 24, 2011

This dive resort, originally connected to Captain Don's Habitat in Bonaire but split off about five years ago, closed March 1 and according to its U.S. booking rep, Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas, it's just temporary, due to major renovations. "All the rooms will be totally redone, as well as the pool and restaurant." That's good news, as some divers have publicly rued the poor service and a rapidly-declining dive facility over the past few years. The resort is hoping that it will be able to reopen in November.

Got a Hot Tip?:  March 24, 2011

That's how we write up many of the stories you read in Undercurrent - from informed sources like yourselves. Know of some shady business going down or emerging trends rising in the dive industry? Or you believe a specific matter needs more of a spotlight pointed at it? Go to Undercurrent , click on the "Hot Tips Line" link at the right-hand side of the page, and select "Hot Tips" on the contact form.. We protect your privacy by request but the paranoid can contact me directly by e-mail at

Diver Finds Wife in Tsunami Aftermath:  March 24, 2011

After days of waiting for help, a Japanese man donned scuba gear to search for his wife and mother. Hideaki Akaiwa was at work when the tsunami hit, and he returned to his town of Ishinomaki to find his neighborhood submerged in 10 feet of water. Akaiwa, 43, got hold of scuba gear, wended his way through debris and underwater hazards and managed to reach his house, from which he dragged his wife to safety. "The water felt very cold, dark and scary," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I had to swim about 200 yards to her, which was quite difficult with all the floating wreckage." When his mother was still missing several days later, he did the same thing, and found her on the second floor of a flooded house, where she'd been trapped for four days. Now Akaiwa is looking for other trapped survivors.

Is Raja Ampat Diving Worth the Effort?:  March 24, 2011

Our feature travel story in the March issue is about the S/V Mandarin Siren which cruises Raja Ampat. Days of rain withstanding, our correspondent, A.E.L., wonders why the area is hot. "I just question why so many divers are spending time and money going there when they can spend less, live on shore and see more in Sulawesi." That got the hackles up of webmaster Dave Eagleray, who knows Indonesia dive sites like the back of his hand. I asked Dave for a reply, and he and A.E.L. got into a lively debate. Read the Raja Ampat debate for free -- Click on the S/V Mandarin Siren link to read A.E.L' travel review, then scroll down next to "The Raja Ampat debate" to see Dave Eagleray's response.

A New Marine Preserve near Cocos:  March 24, 2011

On March 3, the Costa Rican president signed into creation the Seamounts Marine Management Area, a huge new marine park that increases five-fold the area of protected waters surrounding Cocos Island, home to some of the highest abundances of sharks and other large pelagics recorded anywhere. The new six million square-mile area encompasses a group of deep seamounts located 35 miles south of Cocos. While new protections were put in place for the scalloped hammerhead shark and leatherback turtle, a loophole permits long-line fishing for tuna in some of the newly-protected waters, which still threaten the park's sharks and other species. It's progress but because Costa Rica still has no shark-finning ban, more needs to be done.

Undercurrent Subscription Savings:  March 24, 2011

Get the full issue of Undercurrent delivered directly to your email address for the next nine months for just $24. That's right, the inside scoop on dive deaths and safety, no holds barred reviews of resorts, honest equipment reviews (upcoming, a speed test of fins), which dive equipment insurance isn't paying promptly, and much much more. Written for serious, experienced scuba divers. Sixteen pages plus, no advertising, just as honest and fact full as it's been for 36 years!! And you have my personal guarantee; after you read your first issue, if you decide it's not for you, then I'll send your money back. Click here to subscribe (includes full access to all of Undercurrent's website, back issues, reader reports, 2011 Chapbook, ...)

And the Most Diverse Reef Site is...:  March 24, 2011

around the islands of Semporna in the Sabah region of Malaysia, not too far from diver favorites Mabul and Sipadan. That's the result of a marine expedition done in December by 18 scientists from Malaysia, the Netherlands and the U.S., who said Semporna may have the world's highest marine biodiversity. The expedition yielded a rich fish-species count and a record number of 43 species of mushroom corals, and "where we find high richness of mushroom corals, we usually find extremely high richness of other corals," said the team leader. Some new species were discovered, including at least two shrimps and a number of gall crabs. A few dive operators, like Scuba Junkie in Semporna and Scuba Dive Sipadan, dive the islands. But all is not paradise - like other dive sites, Semporna is suffering from human and environmental impacts. Nearly all sites were affected by fish bombs, discarded fishing gear and solid waste.

Read Our Collection of Dive Books:  March 24, 2011

We offer the best dive books out there that are must-haves for serious diver' libraries. One of the latest additions - Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific, by Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach, the definitive guide to 1,600 extraordinary reef creatures in Pacific waters. Also order There's a Cockroach in My Regulator, bizarre, brilliant and true tales taken from 30 years of Undercurrent publications. An added bonus: order books on our website and a portion of the profits are donated to preserve coral reefs.

Solmar V Rescues a Dolphin:  March 24, 2011

Kudos to Rey, a divemaster on this Baja California liveaboard. A group of divers reported on that when diving earlier this month at San Benedicto, they came across a dolphin tangled up in fishing line and having trouble swimming. They say it actually came over to Rey as if to ask for assistance. While he was helping her, she turned belly up and patiently allowed Rey to unwrap the line from around her fins and tail. At one point, the dolphin even swam to the surface for more air and then returned to Rey so he could finish the job. has photos of the rescue

The Best Dive Gear Ad We've Read:  March 24, 2011

A man with the user name "D.H. Morgan" offered his used wetsuit on eBay's British site, and wrote the funniest online classified ad we've read. An excerpt from his sales pitch: "Why am I selling it? Well I've just bought a new one. I just like the feel of fresh neoprene on my soft skin, and well, to be honest, I could do with some cash to pay for prostitutes. No, that was a joke. Now you're going to think the suit is riddled with disease but it's not as I was joking. I do NOT engage with ladies of the night." With all the attention his ad got, Morgan decided to give 95 percent of the money he gets to the Red Cross to aid its efforts in Japan. It didn't stop there -- XCEL wetsuits in Hawaii offered to donate a new wetsuit to the auction, followed by other dive gear makers offering their wares. The final bid was for $14,700.

What You're Missing in This Month's Undercurrent:  March 24, 2011

S/V Mandarin Siren in Raja Ampat . . . a debate about the quality of Raja Ampat diving. . . scuba scooters: the latest smuggling device . . . the cost of search and rescue missions for lost divers . . . seven lightweight regulators that are heavy duty for overseas dive trips . . . has diving become more eco-friendly? . . . the legal complications of dive accidents abroad . . . is closing reefs to divers the best way to protect them? . . . and much, much more.

Ben Davison, editor/publisher
Contact Ben


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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June, 2011

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January, 2010

Online Updates* Archive, 2000-2009

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