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Updated May 21, 2021
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.

Iconic Galapagos Diving Landmark Collapses
Florida’s Plastic
Help Protest Another Big Threat to Cozumel's Reefs
Are You Fully Vaccinated?
Mammoth Find in Arcadia
A Hell-of-a Down Current!
Tragedy Strikes a Well-Known Dive Industry Professional
Planned Ferry Sinking Meets Opposition
DAN Recommends Divers Stay Dry for Seven Days after Vaccination
New Proposals to Destroy Sharks
Sevengill Shark at La Jolla Cove
Scalloped Hammerhead Tracked from Space
Nautilus Explorer Takes Firefighting Seriously
DEMA Show Goes On

collapse of Darwin’s Arch

Iconic Galapagos Diving Landmark Collapses  May 21, 2021

On May 17, passengers aboard the Galápagos Aggressor III witnessed the natural collapse of Darwin’s Arch, the famous surface landmark of Darwin Island, where divers encounter scalloped hammerheads, whale sharks, and other spectacular marine life. Caused by erosion, the collapse left the two supporting pillars, which are already being dubbed “the Pillars of Evolution” by some in the diving industry. www.aggressor.com

Florida’s Plastic  May 21, 2021

John Fine, a veteran environmentalist, journalist, and diver, has been checking out the reefs of Florida forever and lately is even more disturbed with the abundance of plastic he has spotted and what it means to the fish and the marine life. He’s written a short piece on the problem, illustrated with his photographs showing how easily a turtle can mistake a plastic bag for a jellyfish. You can read his important blog right here on the Undercurrent website.

Help Protest Another Big Threat to Cozumel's Reefs  May 21, 2021

What are they thinking of? With tourism already shattered by the effects of the pandemic, the government is contemplating adding a fourth cruise ship dock on Cozumel. Not a single ship has disembarked passengers since June 2020, and residents and environmental groups say it is inexplicable that yet another dock is planned for an area that is home to a coral restoration project. While the island's reefs have been ravaged by hurricanes and coral bleaching of late, years of effort have been spent by volunteers to transplant small pieces of living coral to structures anchored to the seabed to grow new reefs. German Mendez, a biologist who founded the Cozumel Coral Reef Restoration Project, says the three cruise ship docks built since 1994 have already destroyed much of the coral for which the island was once famous. The island simply does not have the capacity for an extra 3,000 cruise ship passengers daily, added to the 100,000 inhabitants. YOU CAN PROTEST. A petition has already gained over 38,000 signatures. Sign it here.

Are You Fully Vaccinated?  May 21, 2021

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends against travel to all but 31 countries, but rules differ from one destination country to the next. If you are fully vaccinated (which means it's been two weeks since your last required dose), entry requirements can be simplified. Here's a current list of destinations open to vaccinated travelers.

Mammoth Bone Find in Arcadia

Mammoth Find in Arcadia  May 21, 2021

Often, exciting diving discoveries are waiting at your doorstep. Two divers found a giant Colombian mammoth bone in Florida’s Peace River at the end of April. Derek Demeter and Henry Sadler were scuba diving when they came across the giant leg bone, possibly 100,000 years old. Their original plan had been to hunt for shark teeth, but bad weather forced them to change their plans. Their unique find was reported to the Florida permitting program and will aid scientists who are tracking where and when mammoths lived in Ice-Age Florida.

A Hell-of-a Down Current!  May 21, 2021

Many divers have experienced the powerful and sometimes unpredictable currents squeezing between the Indonesian islands. In April, an Indonesian submarine that went missing was finally discovered broken up on the bottom, all of its crew dead. It was apparently pulled down and sunk by a powerful underwater wave caused by the difference between the density of the waters off the coast of Bali and in the Lombok Strait. These strong oceanic waves have pushed divers down hundreds of feet within minutes, with some unlucky ones never to return. Interesting Engineering

Tragedy Strikes a Well-Known Dive Industry Professional  May 21, 2021

At the end of April, two children, aged 7 and 9, drowned in a bizarre scuba equipment-connected accident when visiting a house with their father, who was there to work on or demonstrate a DPV. While Rodney Nairne, a popular figure in the scuba industry with his Submerge Scooters, was busy working with the woman who lived on the property at Jensen Beach, FL, the children were allowed to enjoy the pool. Alas, there was a scuba tank nearby, filled with an anoxic mix including helium, intended for use at depth, which the children confidently but unknowingly took advantage of. Zale Dudas (aged 9 and named after Zale Parry) and Saxon Nairne (7) quickly became unconscious and drowned in the pool. We wonder how this helium mix could have been pool-side, presumably with a regulator fitted, since it would only be used at extreme depths. MSN.com

Planned Ferry Sinking Meets Opposition  May 21, 2021

The planned sinking of an old ferry in Lake Champlain for the benefit of scuba divers has run into opposition by environmental groups concerned with its impact on the lake. The now-retired Adirondack constructed in 1913, sailed regularly between Burlington and Port Kent, NY, and is now being cleaned of pollutants before it is to be sunk in an underwater historic preserve that includes nine other vessels. The cost of scrapping would be half the $175,000 preservation cost, but the draw for visiting divers would boost the local economy. WRAL.com

DAN Recommends Divers Stay Dry for Seven Days after Vaccination  May 21, 2021

Their advice is based on current recommendations of the European Medical Agency, which suggest that although side effects are usually mild and that scuba diving or free-diving may not worsen them, there are anecdotal cases of symptoms possibly related to decompression illness after dives within the normal range of decompression safety. Divers with side effects that persist or who are contemplating deep/technical deco diving, should wait 14 days. DAN

New Proposals to Destroy Sharks  May 21, 2021

The Western Australia government has proposed a shark cull in response to fishers’ concerns about their loss of catches to sharks. This would include allowing commercial shark fishing around the famous Ningaloo Reef, the UNESCO-listed Shark Bay World Heritage area, and off the coast of Kimberley. Marine conservation organizations have been quick to ask for the cull to be rejected, saying there is no scientific evidence to suggest reducing shark numbers would reduce depredation. Campaigners have launched a Stop the Shark Cull campaign. You can add your name to the protest here.

Sevengill Shark at La Jolla Cove  May 21, 2021

Professional diver Brian Jack, from Zach's Scuba Shack, took divers out into the La Jolla underwater park and ecological reserve during the last week of April and encountered several rare seven-gill sharks. He said later it was one in a thousand dives but it was a mind-blowing experience. CBS 8 San Diego

Scalloped Hammerhead

Scalloped Hammerhead Tracked from Space  May 21, 2021

Good places to dive with schooling hammerheads include Cocos Island, the outer islands of the Galápagos, and Colombia's Malpelo Island in the eastern Pacific. It's been suspected that these sharks are all part of the same population, and now, researchers from Save Our Seas Foundation, the Guy Harvey Research Institute, and the Charles Darwin Foundation have recorded the 435-mile migration of a pregnant scalloped hammerhead shark from the Galápagos Islands to Cocos Island. The innovative use of towed satellite transmitters allowed researchers to document the exact route and timing of this epic migration. After traveling north of Darwin Island for about 10 days, the radio-tagged shark started swimming eastward until reaching Isla del Coco 14 days later. Charles Darwin Foundation

Nautilus Explorer Takes Firefighting Seriously  May 21, 2021

Previously in Undercurrent (February 20) we published an extensive list of precautions and fire-fighting preparations now taken by the operators of MV Seahunter and MV Argo in light of the disastrous Conception fire. We are delighted to hear from reader Harley Piltingsrud that Mike Lever, proprietor of the MV Nautilus Explorer which makes dive trips to Socorro, has taken similar steps to ensure the absolute safety of his passengers should the unthinkable happen. https://nautilusliveaboards.com

DEMA Show Goes On  May 21, 2021

After a hiatus due to the pandemic, the Diving Equipment Manufacturer’s Association convention for diving trade members and professionals will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on November 16 -19. Those intending to exhibit are reminded that the deadline for payment is May 24. To help with the challenges businesses are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DEMA has compiled a collection of resources available to the entire industry. info@dema.org

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

Ben Davison, editor/publisher
BenDDavison@undercurrent.org

Covid 19 prevention protocol

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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.

Highlights of Previous Online Updates*

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22 December, 2021

3 December, 2021

27 October, 2021

21 September, 2021

August 18, 2021

28 July, 2021

12 June, 2021

21 May, 2021

26 April, 2021

11 April, 2021

27 March, 2021

12 March, 2021

28 February, 2021

9 February, 2021

31 January, 2021

20 January, 2021

5 January, 2021

20 December, 2020

1 December, 2020

15 November, 2020

1 November, 2020

13 October, 2020

1 October, 2020

21 September, 2020

9 September, 2020

21 August, 2020

8 August, 2020

18 July, 2020

8 July, 2020

25 June, 2020

9 June, 2020

May, 2020

April, 2020

March, 2020

February, 2020

January, 2020

Online Updates* Archive, 2000-2019

* Sometimes referred to as Upwellings


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