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Updated January 27, 2015
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.

Get a 1 in 10 Chance to Win a Cocos Island Dive Trip?
Let Us Help You Enjoy Diving More
Have You Submitted Your Underwater Photos Anywhere?
What You're Missing This Month in Undercurrent
Dive Shows for Divers
Should Diver Certification Last Forever?
Death by Dive Propeller in Thailand
Why Divers Should Avoid Sunscreen
Dive for Free in the Philippines
Coming Up in Undercurrent
Severe Coral Bleaching in the Pacific
Don't Forget to Reconfirm Reservations

Get a 1 in 10 Chance to Win a Cocos Island Dive Trip?:  January 27, 2015

If you're free between February 11-21, consider a Cocos Island trip aboard the Undersea Hunter to study sea turtle and shark migrations, hosted by the Turtle Island Restoration Network. The nonprofit is currently offering raffle tickets for $500 to win a berth, and it guarantees a 1 in 10 chance for winning. The trip, regularly priced at $6,035, includes all meals and nitrox refills, transportation from your hotel to the dock, and a Cocos Island marine park permit. The drawing will be held this Wednesday, January 21, so order your ticket ASAP. E-mail Madeline Rose at or call her at 415-663-8590, ext. 101. More info about the trip is at

Let Us Help You Enjoy Diving More:  January 27, 2015

Undercurrent subscriber William King (Isle of Palms, SC) wrote us to ask if there was a dive operation in Kona, Hawaii that we could recommend. "I had an unhappy wife who needed someone who would handle her with care, not the 'hairy-chested' types to which she had been exposed in the Caribbean. Those types had ruined her attitude toward diving, and I wanted to convert her into a competent diver who enjoyed diving, not one who endured it only for my pleasure. Shortly afterward I received a personal phone call from Ben Davison, in which you not only had a recommendation (Dive Makai), but offered a lengthy discussion on how to help my wife overcome past experiences. Subsequently, we dove most of the world's oceans and have had an enjoyable aquatic life together. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to personally call and to offer counsel which made our diving lives happier. Your efforts made me a lifelong subscriber to Undercurrent." Let me convert you into a happier diver - become a subscriber to Undercurrent and get access to thousands of reader reports on hundreds of worldwide dive destinations, critiques and commentaries from veteran dive experts, and the latest news on new dive equipment, health, bends prevention, safety, overseas travel, recalled dive gear and more. I can't guarantee you'll get a phone call from me with pearls of wisdom, but I can guarantee you satisfaction with Undercurrent or your money back. Subscribe now here.

Have You Submitted Your Underwater Photos Anywhere?:  January 27, 2015

Have you ever sent one of your photographs into a contest, submitted one to a magazine, online publication or any type of professional organization. Did you get paid? Did you not get paid? Did your photo show up elsewhere . . . and did you know about it beforehand? Let me know your experience - I may use it in a story we're considering about the financial pros and cons of underwater photography. Write me at

What You're Missing This Month in Undercurrent:  January 27, 2015

Caribbean Explorer II: a full dance card in Nevis, Saba, St. Kitts and Statia . . . the high-tech search for a dead diver in a quarry . . . why don't pre-dive checklists and North Carolina mix? . . . where -- and when -- to go diving, weather permitting . . . why judges thumb their noses at some disability-seeking divers . . . more shark-stopping devices on the market, but do they work? . . . the latest -- and some not-so-greatest -- new dive offerings at DEMA . . . and much more.

Dive Shows for Divers:  January 27, 2015

Start the New Year by seeing the latest trends, gear, workshops, films and travel destinations for sport divers at the shows hosted by Our World Underwater. If you're in the Dallas area this weekend, head to the show at the Embassy Suites in Frisco. The next one is in Chicago February 27-March 1. More information at

Should Diver Certification Last Forever?:  January 27, 2015

Instructors and divemasters are required to complete continuing education courses, and show legitimate evidence of diving activity. But the regular "diver" population is not obligated to any such requirements, and they can continue diving on their original c-card forever. Basically, once you're in the "club," you're in for life. But is that a good idea in today's reality? Read our veteran commentator Bret Gilliam's take on why -- and how -- that outdated concept needs to change. Free for you to view at /

Death by Dive Propeller in Thailand:  January 27, 2015

It was not a Merry Christmas for those aboard two dive boats near Tao Thong Island on December 23. Silji Macdison, on vacation from Norway, was fatally injured when she was hit by the propeller of another dive boat while surfacing from an afternoon dive with the Scuba Junction dive shop. Witnesses said Macdison, 22, began to surface without checking if a boat was above her. The propeller blades hit her in the head, causing her to sink and tumble feet up, and her left leg then struck the prop. Macdison succumbed to injuries while being transported by boat to the hospital. Natakorn Meekwan, 23, was the captain of the boat that struck her; he was idling with the engine on after unloading another group of divers nearby, and said he didn't know there were other divers nearby. Meekwan was arrested for carelessness causing death, and police are also investigating whether the Scuba Junction divemaster was using an inflatable marker during the fatal dive.

Why Divers Should Avoid Sunscreen:  January 27, 2015

A study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology shows how sunscreen chemicals can wreak havoc on marine life. The problem? Certain kinds of sunblock react with the sun's rays when they hit the water to create hydrogen peroxides. That, in turn, can prove toxic to phytoplankton, a vital source of nutrition for fish and whales. Sunscreens that morph into hydrogen peroxide are made using a process called nanotechnology. In Europe, sunscreen manufacturers must label products made with nanoparticles, but the U.S. has no such requirement. So even if you're using sunscreen that says it's green or environmentally friendly, you have no idea whether it was made via nanotechnology, or its impact on the ocean.

Dive for Free in the Philippines:  January 27, 2015

Starting in March, the Biri Initiative, a nonprofit focused on restoring reefs around Biri Island in Northern Samar, will begin deploying artificial reefs offshore. To get volunteers, it is offering diving free of charge for those interested in helping, plus a 20 percent lodging discount at the Biri Resort and Dive Center. Biri Initiative founder Richard Ewen says, "All we ask is that while there, you assist with either a deployment of reef buds or a Crown of Thorns cleanup in return for free diving." Get more info at, and to book your Biri diving, contact Ewen at

Coming Up in Undercurrent:  January 27, 2015

Our undercover travelin' divers review snorkeling with whales in Fiji and diving the reefs of Curacao . . . why divers should pay attentions to controversy about the national Rigs to Reefs efforts . . . an Undercurrent subscriber gives a first-person account of a dive gone wrong in Indonesia, and a fatality that needn't have happened . . . a study that shows how dive computers vary widely in bottom times, decompression stops and other data . . . why experienced divers should not forget about factors that could cause panic underwater . . and much more.

Severe Coral Bleaching in the Pacific:  January 27, 2015

Record warming of ocean water in the north Pacific has caused unprecedented coral bleaching from Hawaii to the Northern Mariana Islands. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports severe bleaching in Guam, the Marianas, the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the Marshall Islands and Kiribati. The culprit is a developing El Nino in the western Pacific that has caused trade winds to relax, worsening the situation. While the ocean water has begun to cool, meaning the worst of the bleaching is over, NOAA is worried that 2015 may be even worse for many areas, with the bleaching moving south as the sun starts heating up the southern tropics.

Don't Forget to Reconfirm Reservations:  January 27, 2015

If you're traveling a long distance for a dive trip and not using a travel agent, it's wise to reconfirm all your reservations a couple weeks in advance. Subscriber Bonnie MacKenzie (Vancouver, BC) found out the hard way when she booked a trip for the Tropic Dancer in Palau last month, with a stay at the Cliffside Hotel before boarding. "When I made the original booking, I was told the Cliffside had a reciprocal deal with the more luxurious Palau Pacific Resort (PPR) to get complimentary day use of its pool and beach facilities, and access to the restaurants and spa. However, when I arrived, I learned the Cliffside had been leased to a different company, and the reciprocal deal was no longer being honored. It cost us $50 per day per person to gain access to PPR. One of the Tropic Dancer crew members later told me that I was lucky my reservation was honored at all, because he knew of some reservations being cancelled outright."

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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