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Updated October 18, 2013
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.

Have You Ever Needed to Use a Recompression Chamber?
Spotted a Seahorse? Yeah, There's An App for That
He Doesn't Dive Anymore, But He Still Subscribes
Save Mexico's Revillagigedos
Are Facial Scrubs Killing Ocean Life?
New Liveaboard Destinations
What You're Missing This Month
Shark Finning in the Caymans?
One Reason for Fewer Divers: Wimpiness
Coming Up in Undercurrent

Have You Ever Needed to Use a Recompression Chamber?:  October 18, 2013

In the September issue, we wrote about recompression chambers, and how divers are losing access to them in the U.S. But because many divers have the need for a chamber when they're overseas, we're wondering how easy or hard the experience is when that happens. If you or a diver in your group needed to go into a chamber on an overseas trip, how did the experience go? Did you have payment or insurance hassles? Did treatment go as planned? Anything happen, good or bad, that you didn't expect? Let me know your chamber tales - e-mail them to me at .

Spotted a Seahorse? Yeah, There's An App for That:  October 18, 2013

Marine conservationists have launched iSeahorse Explore, a smartphone app (iPhones only) divers can use to report sightings of seahorses, a hard-to-study species. Of the 48 seahorse species listed as threatened, 26 are considered "data deficient," meaning scientists don't really know whether they're thriving or disappearing, or something in between (approximately 13 million seahorses are traded globally, live and dead, worldwide every year, for use in traditional Chinese medicine, and on display in public and private aquariums.) Download iSeahorse , and visit to learn more about the tiny critters.

He Doesn't Dive Anymore, But He Still Subscribes:  October 18, 2013

Long-time diver and reader Ole Peloso (Albuquerque, NM) sent us a kind letter explaining why he's retiring from the sport. "I have a bad back now, plus diving simply isn't the blast that it was. Still, I have enjoyed your newsletter from its inception. Please don't ever retire, Ben. Undercurrent (a.k.a., the Diver's Bible) will never be the same without you. I dive vicariously now, thanks to you. You are most appreciated!" I don't plan to retire, but I don't want you readers to retire either from reading your monthly issues. Sign up or keep your subscription going for $39.95 per year or $4.95 per month. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

Save Mexico's Revillagigedos:  October 18, 2013

Our good friend Ken Kurtis, owner of the Reef Seekers dive shop in Beverly Hills, CA, alerted us to a petition to get more protection for the Revillagigedos, four islands (Socorro, San Benedicto, Roca Partida and Clarion) south of Baja California. They're really remote -- San Benedicto is 240 miles south of Cabo San Lucas -- and therefore difficult to patrol, and manta poaching is increasing. Diver Alfonso Trujillo of Felicity, CA started a petition on (in Spanish) asking the Mexican government to step up protection and patrols in the region. He needs 2,000 more signatures - sign here.

Are Facial Scrubs Killing Ocean Life?:  October 18, 2013

The nonprofit Fauna & Flora International thinks so. Plastic microbeads, added to face and body scrubs as an abrasive to remove dead skin cells, are washed down the drain after they've done their job. Because these microbeads are so tiny, water treatment plants cannot filter them out, so they end up in the sea and cause big problems for wildlife. Mussels and oysters, for example, filter out their food from seawater, and accidentally catch and eat microbeads. Seabirds are affected too. They also have health implications for people who eat seafood, because plastics attract toxins that can potentially be passed up the food chain. Fauna & Flora International has created a list of plastic-free cosmetic products and scrubs here.

New Liveaboard Destinations:  October 18, 2013

If you're craving more remote, boat-based diving in the Philippines, the Atlantis Azores is serving it up with a new 7-night trip from Cebu starting January 2015. Heading out of Malapascua, famous for thresher sharks, the liveaboard will do a dawn dive at Monad Shoal, then visit the marine sanctuary of Gato Island, the big pelagics at Kemod Shoal, and the remote wall dives of Calangaman Island ( Closer to home, if you want to book your dive club or a group of up to 12 dive buddies on a Bahamas trip, the M/V Spree is now offering charters from Miami to the Bahamas, as well as charters with a Bahamas-only departure and return. Five- to seven-day trips in the Northern Bahamas stop at sites like Tiger Beach and Little Bahama Bank. Seven- to 10-day trips in the Southern Bahamas include Bimini, Cay Sal Bank and the Old Bahamas Channel (

What You're Missing This Month:  October 18, 2013

Easy diving -- and mysterious gnomes - in the Turks and Caicos . . . diving in Russia, diving the Sardine Run and visiting an underwater cemetery . . . GoPro or a standard camera: which one should you use underwater? . . . sunscreen that protects both divers and the reefs . . . the three dive-related nonprofits we donated $1,000 each to . . . how two divers got Washington State to create new protections for marine life . . . can divers' potentially-fatal heart changes really be found beforehand? . . . my advice for avoiding a flight from hell . . . Papua New Guinea liveaboard pioneer Bob Halstead explains how to take care of "offensive" divers . . . and much more. To subscribe go here.

Shark Finning in the Caymans?:  October 18, 2013

Scientists conducting the first ever Cayman "shark census" warn that the shark populations could be at risk from overfishing and shark finning. (Would you believe, shark finning in the Caymans?) There are far fewer sharks there than expected. Marine Conservation International researchers expected to see at least 11 additional species, and higher numbers of sharks, and also found evidence of shark finning. They estimated that sharks are worth $1.6 million to the Caymans annually in terms of their consumptive value as a "fishery," but their value to tourism and diving was estimated at up to $60 million, so a shark is worth 40 times as much to the Cayman economy alive in the water as it is dead on a boat. There's a draft national conservation bill, which includes protection for sharks, but it has yet to be debated in the Legislative Assembly, despite being on the books for almost a decade.

One Reason for Fewer Divers: Wimpiness:  October 18, 2013

The days of the thrill-seeking action male are over, according to a study from St. Andrews University in Scotland. Compared with the action men of the 1970s, today's men are wimps, much less interested in adrenaline-rush pastimes, including scuba diving, and more averse to risk. Psychologists gave men a sensation-seeking test and found their willingness to engage in physically-challenging activities has tailed off dramatically in the past 35 years, since the tests were first carried out. In the late 70s, men were 48 percent more likely than women to say they would seek out thrills. But now, men were only 28 percent more likely, and that's not due to a rise in risk-taking among women. Study researchers say the diminishing interest could be due to lower levels of average fitness today. But we wonder: How does this account for today's surge in high-risk sports ranging from base jumping and 60-foot wave surfing, and high participation in marathons, mountain biking and the like?

Coming Up in Undercurrent:  October 18, 2013

Our incognito writers report on dive trips in St Croix, Tobago and a nonprofit volunteer liveaboard trip in the Bahamas to collect reef life for a public aquarium. . . savvy tips for saving money and preserving your sanity on long-haul flights to dive destinations overseas . . . which dive equipment makers will repair your out-of-warranty gear, and which ones won't . . . the divers who don't have a problem with drinking before - and during - a day of dives . . . places where lionfish culling is actually having some success . . . 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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Highlights of Previous Online Updates*

Here are past Online Update emails sent out . You can sign-up for free to receive these in the future here.

December, 2012

November, 2012

October, 2012

September, 2012

August, 2012

July, 2012

June, 2012

May, 2012

April, 2012

March, 2012

February, 2012

January, 2012

Online Updates* Archive, 2000-2011

* Sometimes referred to as Upwellings

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