Happy New Year
Unique Maldives Photo Expedition
Happy New Whale-Watching Season
Scubapro Nixes Its "Parts for Life" Program
Are Cuba's Gardens of the Queen Really That Great?
Why You May Need Trip Insurance
"Screw the Divers" Backfires
Another Fish-Saving Group to Support
Beware of Cape York Crocodiles
Off the Wall
Sad but Important Photos
Will a Balloon Ban Save the Turtles?
What You're Missing This Month
Happy New Year: January 18, 2012
Celebrate 2012 with a full year's subscription to Undercurrent. Business Week called us the "Consumer Reports of diving". Forbes had us on its "Best of the Web" list because we offer "scuba tips no other source dares to publish." Our sources of information, like veteran dive pros Stan Waterman and Bret Gilliam, are also subscribers. Join them and besides a new issue in your e-mail every month, you'll get full access to all of our issues online, the new 800-page 2012 Travelin' Divers Chapbook and all past Chapbooks available online, and 10,000 travel reviews by serious divers covering 342 destinations and liveaboards. Benefit from all of our money-saving and life-saving articles by subscribing for an 12-month membership for $39.95, or try us out with a one-month membership for $4.95. My personal guarantee: all your money back, no questions asked, if you're not satisfied. Subscribe here.
Unique Maldives Photo Expedition: January 18, 2012
If you want to improve your shooting skills, this special trip, led by Ethan Gordon, is a fantastic opportunity to produce award-winning shots. Gordon, a fine instructor whose work has appeared in more than two dozen magazines, will be your personal tutor aboard the magnificent Maldives Siren for 10 days, beginning March 27. Reef & Rainforest, the organizers, will get you the best airfares possible and arrange every last detail. Tell them Undercurrent sent you, and you'll save $100. For more information, go here.
Happy New Whale -Watching Season: January 18, 2012
If you're in Southern California, move fast because Pacific gray whales are now making their way south to Baja California, and the sightings have started to surge off Southern California. Diver Rebecca Zielger started the New Year right by capturing rare underwater video of a juvenile gray whale off Shaw's Cove in Laguna Beach that came by to say hello. Juveniles are more likely to be curious and hang out for a while, compared to adult males and pregnant females rushing to give birth in the Baja lagoons.
Scubapro Nixes Its "Parts for Life" Program: January 18, 2012
Johnson Outdoors, Scubapro's owner, seems to be thinking about costs far more than it does about customer service. Read our story for free at Undercurrent about the major changes it's making to its longtime "Parts for Life" program.
Are Cuba's Gardens of the Queen Really That Great?: January 18, 2012
If you're a "60 Minutes" watcher, you'll remember Anderson Cooper's great piece on Cuba's "Gardens of the Queen," a dive site he called "one of the most pristine and vibrant coral reefs." If you're dying to go, not so fast. First, the number of divers allowed is strictly limited, so there are no liveaboards doing trips there. Second, as University of North Carolina marine biologist John Bruno states, it's not as pristine as "60 Minutes" makes it out to be. He writes that Gardens of the Queen has more predator fish than he has seen anywhere else in the Caribbean, but the coral is far from healthy, and lionfish far outweigh the sharks. Read Bruno's explanations on his blog SeaMonster.
Why You May Need Trip Insurance: January 18, 2012
If you're planning a major dive trip that requires a good deal of money and flight time (especially abroad), it's something to consider. But the need for trip insurance depends on what type of trip you're taking, and what the insurance will and won't reimburse you for. Read the reasons for and against it - the article is free for all at Undercurrent.
"Screw the Divers" Backfires: January 18, 2012
As Western countries put the kibosh on shark-fin trade last year, the ban is slowly but surely heading east to Asia. A Chinese restaurant owner named Shangguan Junle announced he would stop serving shark fins at his restaurants in the wealthy Shanxi province to "protect sharks and the environment." He said he was motivated by NBA basketball star Yao Ming's efforts to stop shark killing and, although family members and friends don't understand, he intends to uphold his vow. Soon after, Fair Price, Singapore's largest supermarket chain, said it would stop selling shark fin products starting in April after an inflammatory comment by one of its suppliers triggered public calls for a boycott of the store. The supplier wrote "Screw the divers" in a promotion for a new product to be launched at FairPrice stores during Lunar New Year, and that comment went viral on Facebook and Twitter, causing a backlash for a boycott. As a response, FairPrice CEO Seah Kian Peng announced, "This will be the last Chinese New Year in which customers can buy shark fin products at all our stores."
Another Fish-Saving Group to Support: January 18, 2012
Subscriber A.M. Ruttle (Jackson, WY) recently read "Four Fish," a book we recommend (it's for sale through our website), and offers his pick for a marine-focused nonprofit to support. "I recently became aware of www.fishfight.net . Since I read "Four Fish recently" and am now reading "Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World," this website and issue is of interest to me, and perhaps it would be to other readers."
Beware of Cape York Crocodiles: January 18, 2012
A decision to stop for a spearfishing break near Australia's Cape York proved fatal for David Fordson. A coroner confirmed that the barge skipper from Cairns was attacked and killed by a large saltwater crocodile while spearfishing off Bushie Island on December 5. Fordson, 49, was motoring in the Torres Star to Thursday Island but because they were ahead of schedule, the crew stopped for some spearfishing around noon. The alarm was raised when Fordson failed to return to the boat, and his body was found early the next day. Though he was diving in a shipping channel, crocodiles are all over northern Australia. As a local commercial diver told the Torres News, "You need to know where you can dive, and when to dive, because of the risk of crocodiles around Cape York." Odd stories like this appear in every issue of Undercurrent.
Off the Wall: January 18, 2012
We support divers who turn their overseas dive trip tales into full-fledged books. Sue Webb has done that with her first offering, "Off the Wall." She takes readers around the world, from Australia to the Bahamas, with funny, insightful stories of her experiences with fellow travelers, dive crew, locals and some crazy cab drivers. Hair-raising times mixed with touching moments. You'll relate to a lot of Webb's experiences, or be inspired to take similar dive trips. "Off the Wall" is for sale on Kindle and in paperback - buy it via our site's link to Amazon ( Undercurrent ), and our profits go to save the reefs.
Sad but Important Photos: January 18, 2012
SeaWeb's Marine Photobank announced the winners of its annual Ocean in Focus conservation photography contest of compelling images of human impacts on marine ecosystems, and images that inspire hope for the ocean. The grand prize went to Terry Goss of San Francisco for his photograph of a blue shark off Rhode Island with a rusted hook from a longline fishing boat stuck in its lower jaw. He won a 10-day trip to the Galapagos. Runner-up Peri Paleracio of Quezon City in the Philippines snapped a boat in the Philippines with plastic and trash pollution suspended in the ocean. You can view all the submissions at www.marinephotobank.org
Will a Balloon Ban Save the Turtles?: January 18, 2012
What happens to all those balloons released into the air at football games, county fairs and other outdoor events? Lyndie Malan from Australia's Great Keppel Island, says they eventually come down, drift into the sea and become lethal food for turtles. After seeing 17 turtles perish from eating balloons over the past decade, she wants to end the carnage by calling for a ban on hydrogen-filled balloons along the Capricorn Coast. She already got the town of Noosa to ban balloons at all its functions, and one of its council members said she would press for a widespread ban in Queensland." As Malan told the Morning Herald, "Once we are alerted to these serious events, we have a duty of care to do something constructive to prevent future injury and death." Why not a ban everywhere?
What You're Missing This Month: January 18, 2012
Bora Bora and Rangiroa: the plush, high-end diving and less expensive options . . . Bonaire, Caymans, China, a dangerous Baja dive shop and what, no octopus for your buddy? . . . does high-fat fast food mean a lower risk of DCS? . . . My picks and pans of the DEMA trade show . . . diver dies in sinking boat near Key Largo . . .a new lionfish hazard to worry about . . . . the shark massacre at Malpelo . . . how Lembeh resorts are turning their guests into better divers . . . showdown at Cabo Pumo . . . 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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