How's Your Dive Insurance Company During an Emergency?
There's a Good Reason Why We've Been Around for 35-Plus Years
Scuba Diver Plunges Down to New World Record
What You're Missing in this Month's Issue
Dive Shows for Divers
Trapped Under the Sea
GoPro's New Cameras: Cheaper, More Powerful
Coming Up in Undercurrent
Obama Creates World's Largest Marine Reserve
Wakatobi Resort's Customized Service: All It's Cracked Up to Be?
Indonesia Follows Through on Manta Ray Protection
And Speaking of Watching Mantas
What to Do with Your Camera Batteries on Flights
Fish Apps for Your iPhone and iPad
How's Your Dive Insurance Company During an Emergency?: October 20, 2014
Have you ever had to contact Divers Alert Network, or other dive insurance providers, for medical information or treatment? Have you been on a dive trip where someone else needed to? We'd like to know your experiences. Send me an email at BenDDavison@undercurrent.org
There's a Good Reason Why We've Been Around for 35-Plus Years: October 20, 2014
We're proud to say we've been in business long enough now for parents to pass on their love of diving - and of Undercurrent - to their children. Dive instructor Todd Emmons (San Francisco, CA), a second-generation Undercurrent subscriber, wrote us his story. "My father has subscribed to you for years, and has what looks like a metric ton of your back issues since before you went electronic. I have been poring over them since I was a kid diver, long before I made it my profession. Coincidentally, my last job I got by doing my research in one place: your Travelin' Divers Chapbook. I wound up finding the best dive job I've ever had through you guys. I also had an excellent dive experience with a company I found through you guys recently. I don't normally put digital pen to paper, but you deserve a nod." Indulge your love of scuba diving by subscribing to Undercurrent. Or give the gift of a susbscription to a diving buddy or relative. Join the other subscribers who, like Eammons, find great dive tips, news and experiences through us. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Subscribe now here.
Scuba Diver Plunges Down to New World Record: October 20, 2014
An Egyptian scuba diver set a new world record last month when he reached a depth of 1,066 feet - about the height of New York's Chrysler Building. Ahmed Gabr, a former member of Egypt's special forces who now works as a Red Sea dive instructor, took 14 hours to dive down into an abyss near the Egyptian resort town of Dabab. When he came up, he was met by a Guinness World Records representative, who handed him a certificate for the world's deepest male scuba dive -- he beat the previous record, set by South African Nuno Gomez, by 16 feet. Gabr traveled with nine tanks containing mixes of trimix, nitrox, oxygen and air specially prepared by friend and tech dive trainer, Sam Hewlmy, who's keeping the exact mixes under wraps. Gabr's most magical moment: A baby white-tip oceanic shark hung out with him for six hours.
What You're Missing in this Month's Issue: October 20, 2014
Rocio del Mar, Baja California: a sturdy liveaboard in the remote, fish-filled Sea of Cortes . . . Scubapro recalls some Aladin Square computers . . . good and bad Bahamas dive shops, and the best week to dive Bonaire . . . new life-saving gear for freedivers . . . how coroners figure out why dead divers met their end . . . John Bantin's advice for choosing a liveaboard that won't sink . . . .how PADI threw a dive instructor under the bus and colluded with plaintiffs in a dead-diver lawsuit . . . and much more.
Dive Shows for Divers: October 20, 2014
Sport divers complain that they can't gain admission to the big DEMA show, but Our World-Underwater is putting on three excellent dive-specific shows this winter just for sport divers: Phoenix (December 6-7), Dallas (January 24-25) and Chicago (February 27-March 1). New gear, new travel destinations, demonstrations, film festivals -- they're not-to-be missed get-togethers for sport divers and their friends. More information at here.
Trapped Under the Sea: October 20, 2014
In 1999, hundreds of feet under the ocean, five divers traveled to the end of the new Boston sewer tunnel -- devoid of light and air -- to complete the construction; one didn't return and another was sentenced to a life of trauma-induced drug addiction and prison. It was a "dry penetration," but commercial divers were selected for the job because they were trained in mixed gas technology and could handle construction in dark and dangerous circumstances. Neil Swidey, a staff writer for the Boston Globe, tells the compelling tale of the harrowing and deadly task, against the backdrop of bravery, corporate greed, political infighting and construction incompetence. A great book for mixed-gas divers. Click here to order Trapped Under the Sea through Undercurrent and you'll get Amazon's best price -- and our profits will go to save coral reefs.
GoPro's New Cameras: Cheaper, More Powerful: October 20, 2014
GoPro introduced a few new Hero models earlier this month, a higher-end one that shoots higher-quality photos and video at faster frame rates, and an entry-level camera that's cheaper than any previous GoPro. The Hero is just $130, but has the same features as the $200-plus GoPros from years past. Hero4 Silver, in the mid-$400 range, has faster frame rates and new touch-screen controls on the back. Hero4Black, with fast frames and slow-motion options, is targeted for professionals who already have GoPro rigs, and at $500, it's at the top of the line. All these cameras can go down to 130 feet when used inside their (included) housing. http://www.GoPro.com
Coming Up in Undercurrent: October 20, 2014
Our undercover travelin' divers review liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean and Fiji . . . why you should research weather conditions before you book a dive trip . . . should a diver's certification certificate last forever?. . . how to evaluate air fills in tanks when diving overseas . . . do you have $31,000 for this new high-tech dive gear? . . . and much more.
Obama Creates World's Largest Marine Reserve: October 20, 2014
On September 25th, he signed a proclamation expanding the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, adding an additional 370,000 square nautical miles to the already 800,000 square miles. The designation makes the south-central Pacific marine preserve, which contains U.S. territories like Kingman Reef, Kiribati and the Gilbert Islands, six times larger than it was, and puts it off limits to commercial fishing.
Wakatobi Resort's Customized Service: All It's Cracked Up to Be?: October 20, 2014
One of our travelin' divers visited this Indonesian resort and wrote, "Upon arrival, our own concierge welcomed us and checked us in. (We weren't special; this is protocol.) There was no dive group feeling about this place, only individual service -- which, I learned later, does put some damper on socializing." Read this month's travel feature to see how the pricey, personalized service may have some flaws. Free for all to view at Undercurrent.org.
Indonesia Follows Through on Manta Ray Protection: October 20, 2014
Authorities recently announced four separate arrests for attempted trafficking of more than 1,400 pounds of threatened manta rays. Indonesia made reef and oceanic manta rays a newly protected species a few years ago, and trafficking in them (their gill plates are in demand for traditional Chinese medicine) now carries a maximum fine of US$25,000. Wildlife organizations praise the country's efforts to crack down on trafficking and promote the tourism trade of watching them instead. Caleb McClennen, executive director of marine conversation at the Wildlife Conservation Society told the New York Times, "Hopefully Indonesia will be seen as a leading role model that other countries will follow."
And Speaking of Watching Mantas: October 20, 2014
The Marine Megafauna Foundation is running its fifth annual "'Ray of Hope" Manta Expedition, hosting an eight-day liveaboard trip to Burma's Mergui Archipelago and Thailand's Similan Islands aboard the MV Deep Andaman Queen from February 28 to March 8. The foundation does research for manta ray conservation, and each day will be dedicated to diving a new area of the Andaman Sea, with the goal of documenting as many mantas as possible, while offering evening presentations and workshops. The per-person prices range from $2,000 for a quad cabin bunk to $2,900 for the Master Cabin. More info is here.
What to Do with Your Camera Batteries on Flights: October 20, 2014
Undercurrent Subscriber A.B. Alexander (Newport Beach, CA) wrote us, "Last year I had all my batteries taken out of my checked bag by the TSA without a note. This year, all airlines say that transporting lithium ion batteries is forbidden. But more and more divers are taking their cameras and lights with them on dive trips. How do you suggest this be handled? Without batteries, no pictures can be taken." Here's what one photographer advises to do about packing batteries for your next dive trip - the article is free to read at Undercurrent.org.
Fish Apps for Your iPhone and iPad: October 20, 2014
We've written about fish ID apps for smartphones and tablets in previous issues, and here are a couple to consider. Undercurrent subscriber John Hoover (Honolulu, HI) created Fish ID Hawaii for the iPad ($8), which has full descriptions of 324 Hawaiian reef fish, 300-plus underwater videos of said fish, and recommendations for dive and snorkel sites around the islands. Bob Halstead, who pioneered dive tourism in Papua New Guinea, created the Coral Sea Fish Guide ($5), which covers reef fish and critters from the Great Barrier Reef to Vanuatu. It's available for both iPhone and iPad here.
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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