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Updated August 22, 2014
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.

Send Your Selfies to DAN
"Thank You for the Many Years of Enjoyment."
Got $200,000 for a Dive Light that Runs on Seawater?
What You're Missing in This Month's Issue
Smart Divers Sign Up for This Program
When Your Sausage Fails
When Lightning Strikes the Water
Coming Up in Undercurrent
SeaWorld is Taking a Bath
Speaking of Southwest
A New Website about Top Indonesia Dive Sites

Send Your Selfies to DAN:  August 22, 2014

Photos you take of yourself during a dive trip can be helpful to Divers Alert Network. "One common diving injury for which the selfie may be useful is cutaneous decompression sickness, or skin bends," writes DAN's medical director Petar DeNoble in his Dive Lab blog. "It can be confused with allergies, bruising, marine life injuries and other conditions . . . We at DAN have a very limited collection of skin DCS photos, so we propose that divers use their smartphones and digital cameras to document their skin rashes, and send or bring the photos to their doctors for evaluation." Take the photo in an outdoor shaded area, because harsh sunlight might make contrast difficult. If you have any skin changes after a dive, take a selfie of it, send it to DAN and call their emergency line (919-684-9111) for assistance.

"Thank You for the Many Years of Enjoyment.":  August 22, 2014

We always appreciate the letters readers send us about why they subscribe to us, and what they learn from reading about us. Harry and Hana Hames (Tombstone, AZ) recently wrote us a thank-you letter for giving them some very useful information. "You helped us out when we were swindled out of a lot of money from the company in Canada that sold trips to Cuba. Without your help and publicity from Undercurrent, we were able to recover our money plus our legal expenses." Let us help you dive safe and travel smart. Sign up for an annual membership - you'll immediately receive this year's online 2014 Travelin' Diver's Chapbook. You'll also get my personal guarantee: all your money back, no questions asked, if you're not satisfied. Subscribe now here.

Got $200,000 for a Dive Light that Runs on Seawater?:  August 22, 2014

That's how much a group of Hungarian deep-sea researchers are seeking in its crowdfunding campaign. They've developed a dive light powered entirely by seawater and are doing a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo to manufacture and sell it. Their pitch: "The SWES (Sea Water Energy System) dive light is a clean-energy, LED light that powers on as soon as it touches the ocean or salt water. Available in 100 and 300 lumens, the SWES light powers its energy cells from the high concentration of minerals found in salt water with plant-based crystal technology." The SWES team has been doing archeological deep-sea research expeditions for 20 years, so they seem credible. If you're interested in funding the dive light ($1,400 is the minimum donation to get one of your own), visit their campaign page at here.

What You're Missing in This Month's Issue:  August 22, 2014

Indigo Dive and Dive St. Vincent: Bill Tewes is gone, but it's still macro nirvana . . . Jean-Michel Cousteau opens up a new dive operation in Petit St. Vincent . . . Geko Dive in eastern Bali: five-star muck and reef diving for all budgets . . . drop the dive travel weight: Part II -- how to pare down clothes and photo gear to just one bag . . . how John Bantin escaped a burning liveaboard in the Red Sea . . . regulator-removing diver charged with "terroristic threatening" . . . why did this shark diver disappear? . . . fish ID apps for your smartphone and tablet . . . and much more.

Smart Divers Sign Up for This Program:  August 22, 2014

Before he left for a Red Sea trip last month, Undercurrent reader George Constantino (Anchorage, AK) signed up with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service offered by the U.S. State Department to let Americans traveling abroad inform the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate about details of their trip. The benefits: You get info from the embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, and it can contact you in case of an emergency, whether a natural disaster there or a family emergency back home. "It was comforting to know what was happening in the country before we arrived, and that someone in the State Department knew our travel itinerary," says Constantine. . Sign up for STEP at

When Your Sausage Fails:  August 22, 2014

Not only did veteran diver Bob Halstead decide to dive when a cyclone was scheduled to blow in, he surfaced from a dive to find his boat, "Miss Piggy," far away. "The idea was to inflate my BC, turn on my back, use a cloud for approximate direction and swim to the boat with my orange sausage flying bravely above the waves. Great plan except my new (but alas untested, silly me) sausage had a faulty seal in the far end and leaked every breath I blew in." What happened next? Read his Undercurrent blog post "Diving with Cyclone Ita" - along with other great writing from our dive expert contributors - at

When Lightning Strikes the Water:  August 22, 2014

Southern California got a rare summer thunderstorm last month, and it led to one person dead and seven others hospitalized after a lightning bolt hit the water near the pier at Venice Beach, electrifying it and zapping swimmers and surfers in the area. While 75 percent of fatalities by lightning strikes in the U.S. are in open fields or near trees, 12 percent happen in or near water, so potentially, lightning is the biggest weather danger for divers. This brings to mind the July 2007 death of diver Stephen Wilson, who died when lightning hit his tank. Despite a severe thunderstorm warning in effect, he went boat diving with friends near Miami. Wilson resurfaced 30 feet from the boat when the lightning bolt struck his tank and knocked him unconscious. He was pronounced dead from electrocution minutes later. So when there's a thunderstorm brewing near the water, think twice before diving.

Coming Up in Undercurrent:  August 22, 2014

Our undercover travelin' divers review diving in the Red Sea, the Gulf Coast, Fiji and more . . . a new device to make freediving safer . . . why you should research weather conditions before you book a dive trip . . . more of John Bantin's advice on picking the right liveaboard for your needs . . . a province in Indonesia that's only letting one dive operator into its waters . . . and much more.

SeaWorld is Taking a Bath:  August 22, 2014

Talk about the power of a documentary. Blackfish, which raised concerns about the treatment of killer whales at SeaWorld, has stirred up animal activists, who claim responsibility for Southwest Airlines recently ending its 25-year marketing relationship with the theme-park chain. Both companies attributed the decision to "shifting priorities," but their joint press release didn't mention a petition on with more than 30,000 signatures asking Southwest to end its relationship with SeaWorld. Also, when SeaWorld revealed that its revenues for the second quarter of 2014 were $40 million less than Wall Street expected, its stock plunged 27 percent. USA Today says the revenue drop is due to fewer people coming to the park because of the publicity campaign started by Blackfish.

Speaking of Southwest:  August 22, 2014

You may find lower airfares for south-of-the-border diving now that the airline has started flights to the Bahamas, Aruba, Cancun and Los Cabos in Baja California. You can check two bags free of charge on those routes. Hopefully, more competition will mean better prices.

A New Website about Top Indonesia Dive Sites:  August 22, 2014

Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock -- Indonesia experts, pro underwater photographers and Undercurrent contributors -- have just launched Bird's Head Seascape, a detailed website with visitor info, maps, local news and other resources about Raja Ampat, Triton Bay and Cenderawasih Bay. Divers who've been there can give their versions of "reader reports" by adding their photos to the online image library for any of the 200-plus dive sites mapped on the site. Go to

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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