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Updated March 12, 2021
These brief news articles below were sent out via email to all divers who signed up for our free email list.
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Tiger in Trouble
Booked to Bonaire? Think again
Vandenberg Fatality
Middle Eastern Clean-Up
Medical Services for Travelers Abroad Severely Limited
Scuba Steve Goes Down
Uh, Oh! Tanks for Telling Us
Canned Underwater Sculptures
Hotspots for COVID-19 in the Caribbean
Cold Record Made to be Broken
Octopuses Continue to Amaze
Are You More Concerned with Sharks than Jellyfish?
Tragically Preserved in Frigid Waters
Israel's Ecological Disaster
Shark Rivals Practice Social Distancing
Try an Inland Dive Site Near Your Home
Why I'm Not Going Diving in China
Just Desserts?
An Unlucky Find?
Illuminating Shark News
The Big Swim
Cuttlefish Passes Cognitive Test for Toddlers
Not Often Seen nor Photographed
Turtles Returned to the Sea

Tiger shark with rope in Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Tiger in Trouble   March 12, 2021

Ghost fishing continues. Photographer Jason Lafferty has capture tragic and depressing photos of the approximately 1400-pound tiger shark of Kailua Kona, Hawaii. This image shows a circle of rope cutting deep lacerations into the animal's back. In another, the thick rope appears to have burrowed under the shark's skin, pushing the joint of its right fin away from its body. Lafferty was unsuccessful trying to remove the rope. Later that week, locals spotted the shark and tried unsuccessfully to cut the rope. Report Door

Booked to Bonaire? Think again   March 12, 2021

Because of rising COVID-19 infections on the island, on March 8, Bonaire implemented its Phase 5 risk measures, closing non-essential businesses, diving included. While hotels may serve meals to guests, only take-out is otherwise available. Travelers arriving in Bonaire from high-risk countries, including the U.S., require a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours and a rapid antigen test taken no more than 4 hours before departure from the last landfall before arriving. That may be tough, since few American airports have rapid antigen tests in or nearby.

Vandenberg Fatality  March 12, 2021

Divers recovered the body of Texas diver Jordan Jay Fisher, 50, of Rockport, near the wreck of the Vandenberg off Key West, FL, on March 3. A passenger on the dive boat Emerald See, she disappeared while diving with her husband, two others, and a divemaster the previous day. They lost sight of Fisher during ascent on the mooring line, and despite searching the 140-foot-deep seabed until he was out of air, the divemaster was unsuccessful in locating her. Miami Herald

Middle Eastern Clean-Up  March 12, 2021

The world is finally waking up to the enormous amount of waste material we humans have deposited in the sea. In the United Arab Emirates, the Extreme Diving Centre collected two tons of fishing waste off city beaches abutting the Arabian Sea in February. Fishermen recklessly dump their damaged or torn fishing tools, nets, and ropes in the sea, while others dump metal, plastic, and glass, polluting the ocean and endangering the marine environment. A few days previously, 52 divers fished out more than 77,000 pounds of waste from the seabed of the Umm Al Quwain port. Khaleej Times

Medical Services for Travelers Abroad Severely Limited  March 12, 2021

Due to the stress that COVID-19 is placing on medical facilities and evacuation service providers worldwide, be aware that medical treatment and access to medical facilities and emergency medical transportation may be delayed or unavailable overseas. And DAN members should note: expenses for services, treatment, or transportation related to a pandemic, epidemic, or exposure to contagious infectious diseases are excluded from DAN insurance coverage. DAN

Seabob DPVs

Scuba Steve Goes Down  March 12, 2021

Glen Mousseau of Windsor, Canada, became popularly known as Scuba Steve after he was found floating unconscious last June in the Detroit River, tethered to 185 pounds of marijuana. He later confessed to operating a collection of sophisticated Seabob DPVs (egg-shaped, Wi-Fi-equipped, electric scooters capable of silently propelling a diver along the bottom of the Detroit River at more than 13 mph -- and with two cameras providing lookout), for his smuggling business and to avoid law enforcement. In October, Mousseau pleaded guilty to illegally entering the U.S. and drug trafficking and drew 71 months in federal prison, forfeiting one of the Seabobs, which cost as much as $16,500. As for the photo above, that's not Scuba Steve, but rather, Undercurrent editor John Bantin with a Seabob preparing for some murky adventure.

Uh, Oh! Tanks for Telling Us   March 12, 2021

Those ubiquitous aluminum scuba tanks available in nearly every dive resort and on every liveaboard may soon become a rarity. You see, Luxfer has announced it will no longer be producing cylinders in the United States and that the existing Luxfer Aluminum Division has been sold. We are waiting to learn if the company that buys the business continues producing scuba cylinders or if another aluminum producer sees a business opportunity in the scuba world. If not, we traveling divers may have to adapt to those heavier steel tanks widely used in Europe. Professional Scuba Inspectors PSI-PCI

Cannes Underwater Sculptures

Canned Underwater Sculptures.  March 12, 2021

Snorkelers and divers off the Mediterranean coast of Cannes, France, might think they've stumbled upon an Easter Island civilization lost under the sea centuries ago. But it's just the latest art installation by sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. The six large heads in ten feet of water weigh at least 10 tons each and measure more than 6 feet high. New Atlas

Hotspots for COVID-19 in the Caribbean  March 12, 2021

Hotspots for COVID-19 in the Caribbean include Mexico, St. Lucia, Aruba and Curaçao, and Antigua and Barbuda. They all welcome American divers, but the CDC has added them to its 'Level 4: COVID-19 Very High' designation. The Bahamas and Bermuda are Level 3, while Granada is considered only of moderate risk (Level 2), and Anguilla is said to be low risk (Level 1). The French Caribbean islands of St. Barts, St. Martin, Martinique, and Guadeloupe have all been shut to non-essential travelers.

Cold Record Made to be Broken  March 12, 2021

Czech free-diver David Vencl swam nearly 266 feet beneath the ice on February 21, breaking the record of 250 feet set by Denmark's Stig Avall Severinsen in 2017. Vencl braved freezing water in a quarry northwest of Prague, wearing only swim trunks and goggles. Vencl held his breath for two minutes and 42 seconds. However, it will likely take months for the Guinness World Records organization to formally confirm the record, so don't hold your breath. Brrr!

Octopuses Continue to Amaze  March 12, 2021

It seems they have a secret sense to keep their arms out of trouble even when there's no light to see by. According to a study published this month in The Journal of Experimental Biology and led by Dr. Nir Nesher from the Ruppin Academic Center in Israel, the octopus's arms can sense and respond to light, even when the octopus cannot see it with the eyes on its head. This light-sensing ability may help the cephalopods keep their arms concealed from other animals that could mistake the tip of an arm for a marine worm or some other meal. New York Times

Are You More Concerned with Sharks than Jellyfish?   March 12, 2021

According to poll results published by the University of South Australia, people are far more scared of drowning, jellyfish stings, and other critter bites than shark attacks when swimming in the ocean. Based on how sharks are portrayed in the media, psychologists were surprised sharks didn't top the poll. The Express

Tragically Preserved in Frigid Waters  March 12, 2021

Parks Canada has now released the first video footage made by divers from inside the HMS Terror, one of the two ships in the doomed 1845 Franklin Expedition. Captain Sir John Franklin led a British expedition with two ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, to traverse the last unnavigated sections of the Northwest Passage. The last European eyes to see the ships were the crews of two whaling vessels that encountered them in late July 1845, crossing from Greenland to Canada's remote Baffin Island. They were never seen or heard from again. The HMS Erebus was discovered in 2014 south of King William Island in northern Canada. It wasn't until 2016 that a Canadian mission located the 80-foot-deep wreck of the Terror. You can see the footage obtained here.

Fin whale - Ecological disaster in Israel

Israel's Ecological Disaster  March 12, 2021

Israel closed all its Mediterranean beaches in late February, days after an offshore oil spill deposited dozens of tons of tar across more than 100 miles of coastline. The oil spill's exact cause is under investigation by Israeli environmental officials. Volunteers took to the beaches to help clean up the tar, and several were hospitalized after they inhaled toxic fumes. A juvenile fin whale and thousands of young turtles fell victim to the pollution. While scuba diving is very popular among Israelis, they mainly dive at Israel's Red Sea coast, not the depleted Mediterranean. The Independent

Shark Rivals Practice Social Distancing  March 12, 2021

Two species of sharks with similar diets and behavior patterns might be expected to be bitter rivals. But sicklefin lemon sharks and blacktip reef sharks populating a Seychelles atoll have worked out a timetable that allows them to co-exist peacefully, according to a study carried out at St. Joseph Atoll by the Save Our Seas Foundation. The sharks take turns to frequent the high water of a tidal lagoon where they hunt for smaller prey. It's a powerful example of how animals carve out specific niches, enabling them to function together within an ecosystem. The atoll is an exceptional habitat in the Seychelles' Amirante islands (which includes Isle Desroches) that provides a vital environment for endangered shark, ray, turtle and seabird species. Frontiers in Marine Science

British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021

Try an Inland Dive Site Near Your Home  March 12, 2021

Can't go diving in the ocean? Scottish photographer Mark Kirkland spent an incredible five nights and a total of 25 hours lying in the mud in a small wetland outside his city of Glasgow to get the photograph that was to see him crowned British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021. Glasgow Live

Why I'm Not Going Diving in China  March 12, 2021

Japan has asked China to stop taking anal swab tests for COVID-19 on its citizens when they enter the country. China, which has mostly brought the virus under control, started conducting anal swabs in January. BBC

Just Desserts?  March 12, 2021

A Hawaiian couple faces a whopping $272,000 in fines for an illegal aquarium fishing incident that achieved a level of notoriety after their boat abandoned two women divers in open water last September. The two divers involved found their way to land, even as a rescue operation was being launched. Stephen Howard and his wife, Yukako Toriyama , were assessed the record-setting fine connected with multiple fishing and boating violations related to the Kona incident. The Charlotte Observer

An Unlucky Find?  March 12, 2021

A Florida snorkeler found a bale containing 25 bricks of cocaine weighing 68 pounds, with a street value of $1.5 million, on March 3 near Craig Key. The snorkeler, who wisely prefers to remain unidentified, contacted the local police department. In December, a fisherman discovered 75 pounds of cocaine 15 miles south of Sugarloaf Key, Monroe County. No doubt someone is looking for both bales. Newsweek

Illuminating Shark News  March 12, 2021

Researchers in New Zealand have discovered three new deep-water shark species that glow in the dark. The study, published in the Frontiers in Marine Science, says the kitefin shark, the black-belly lantern shark, and the southern lantern shark were discovered glowing during a survey of the Chatham Rise, an oceanic area off New Zealand's east coast, in January. The kitefin is the largest-known luminous underwater creature. MSN

The Big Swim  March 12, 2021

A North Korean defector used scuba gear to swim to South Korea in mid-February. The man, a civilian in his 20s, appeared to have swum across the maritime border and crawled through a drainage pipe beneath a barbed-wire fence. He was first spotted on closed-circuit surveillance cameras passing a military checkpoint at 4:20 a.m. but was not captured until after a three-hour manhunt. Korea Joogn Ang Daily

Cuttlefish Passes Cognitive Test for Toddlers  March 12, 2021

Cuttlefish have been put to a new version of the marshmallow test, and the results appear to demonstrate that these creatures are smarter than just about anyone anticipated. In the marshmallow test, a child is placed in a room with a marshmallow on a table and told if they can manage not to eat the marshmallow for 15 minutes, they'll get a second marshmallow and can then eat both. It was conducted initially to study at what age a human is smart enough to delay gratification and plan for a better outcome later. Scientists at the University of Cambridge showed that cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) too can demonstrate cognition by refraining from eating a morning meal of crab meat once they learn if they wait, dinner later will be shrimp, a meal they prefer. Are you smarter than a cuttlefish? Science Alert

priapulida or penisfish

Not Often Seen nor Photographed  March 12, 2021

Free-diver Josie Jones, 48, was scouring the waters around Rye Front Beach in Victoria, Australia, when she came across the bizarre marine worm. A phylum of unsegmented marine worms, its scientific name is priapulida, but Australians call it the penisfish. Perhaps, you can understand why. Josie also runs a campaign to stop people littering by the Australian seaside and has spent a whole heap of her own time pulling things out of the water that shouldn't be there. LAD Bible

Turtles Returned to the Sea  March 12, 2021

Last month, we reported that volunteers had rescued more than 2000 torpid turtles from Texas beaches during the state's freak freeze. Nearly all survived their stay at Sea Turtle Inc., the South Padre Island rehab center, and were returned to their ocean home. However, many sea turtles, too weak to swim, are now reported coming ashore on Florida beaches. Is this an unexplained mortality event? Dozens of sick turtles have come ashore over the past few weeks along the Florida coast with lethargy and low glucose. Are these among the same turtles that were rescued? The majority appear to be green turtles. USA Today

Stay Safe
Wear a Mask, Socially Distance, Wash Your Hands
Don’t Share Your Air

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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