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Updated April 22, 2023

Cocos Island Liveaboard Volunteer Opportunity
Has a Dive Operator Ever Stopped You Because You Were Too Old to Dive?
Deepest Fish Ever Seen
More Than Sargassum Washing Up in Cozumel
U.S. Government Failing to Protect Corals
What’s That? A Drowning Diver?
Some Good News for Caribbean Corals
Want to Dive with Sudafed in Mexico? Be Careful
Divemaster or Dive Guide?
Don't Overdo the Antibiotics
Don't Check Your Lithium Battery for a Flight
This Month in Undercurrent
You are reading our free mid-month email

Cocos Island Liveaboard Volunteer Opportunity   April 22, 2023

The nonprofit Turtle Island Restoration Network has two spots left on their May 23 expedition aboard the Sea Hunter at a $500 discount. Besides seven days of fabulous diving, they will be catching sharks to insert internal tags (you can photograph). They expect to capture and tag turtles with the aid of several scientists/activists aboard. Talk to your accountant about the tax deductibility. Contact Todd Steiner at or 415.488.7652. See here for details.

Has a Dive Operator Ever Stopped You Because You Were Too Old to Dive?   April 22, 2023

An Undercurrent subscriber wrote that she and her husband are 77 years old and have about 150 dives, but they haven't been diving in a couple of years and have heard that some dive operations won't take people of a certain age, even if they pay extra to have their own dive master. Have you or your friends ever been turned away from a dive operation because you were too old? We'd like to hear about it. Write to, not forgetting to mention your town and state.


Deepest Fish Ever Seen  April 22, 2023

Scientists have filmed a species of snailfish swimming at the extraordinary depth of 27,349 feet, breaking the record for the deepest fish ever caught on camera. An autonomous lander submersible filmed it in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench, south of Japan. The lead expedition scientist said the snailfish could be at, or very close to, the maximum depth any fish can survive.

More Than Sargassum Washing Up in Cozumel   April 22, 2023

The influx of unsightly sargassum seaweed polluting Caribbean beaches is doing more than upsetting the tourist industry. It's upsetting the drug cartels too. At the beginning of April, military personnel patrolling the east side of Cozumel found 40 kilos (88lbs.) of illegal drugs in black bags tangled in the seaweed. Two weeks previously, officers found 65kg (143 lbs.) of cocaine bricks in the sargassum weed. (Riviera Maya News)

U.S. Government Failing to Protect Corals  April 22, 2023

Two years ago, the National Marine Fisheries Services promised to protect more than 6000 square miles of coral habitat and never did so, says the Center for Biological Diversity. They have filed a lawsuit to force the Service to act, specifying 12 endangered coral species across the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean that have been decimated by warming waters, pollution, and overfishing.

What’s That? A Drowning Diver?  April 22, 2023

A South Carolina jogger thought she saw a man drowning in Lake Jocassee at the "crack ass of dawn" (her words), so she stripped to her underwear and swam out to save him. "This dude looked dead," she posted on TikTok. "His head was tipped back, eyes closed, bobbing like a fishing lure." When she got to him, she found herself surrounded by military divers on a training exercise. Laughing, they offered to help her back to shore, but she said, "Even if I had to dog paddle, I wouldn't accept that defeat . . . . At the shore, I threw my shoulders back and shame-marched out of the water in my sports bra and undies in front of some pretty badass men." (The Mirror)

Some Good News for Caribbean Corals   April 22, 2023

Scientists have discovered a new tool in their fight against the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD), which is devastating the reefs of Florida and the Caribbean. Once infected, large hard coral structures that can take hundreds of years to grow can die in a few weeks. Since its discovery in Florida in 2014, it has infected corals in 72 other Caribbean territories. Led by Smithsonian Marine Station researchers, the study published in April in Communications Biology found that a bacterial probiotic treatment effectively stopped or slowed SCTLD in nearly two-thirds of tested infected coral fragments. It also prevented the infection from spreading in all laboratory transmission experiments. Researchers are actively starting field trials on diseased corals in the Florida Keys. Volunteers throughout the Caribbean are currently using an untested antibiotic paste with some success (

Want to Dive with Sudafed in Mexico? Be Careful  April 22, 2023

It is illegal in Mexico to possess over-the-counter drugs that contain pseudoephedrine (such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers). If you're caught entering with them, they will be confiscated, and you may be arrested (pseudoephedrine is meth's key ingredient). However, if you have a medical prescription, you may carry prescribed drugs; the prescription requires the name of the doctor, his/her signature, contact details, and professional registration, all translated into Spanish. You may carry only the amount you need during your stay. You should also inform your airline before traveling. See here for details.

Divemaster or Dive Guide?   April 22, 2023

We commonly refer to the resident dive guide as a divemaster, but is this necessarily correct? PADI Divemaster is a bona fide diving certification earned after demonstrating swimming and life-saving skills. The local guys who escort you on a dive might well be certified as divemasters, but they're more likely simply fulfilling the dive guides role. We delve deeper into the subject in the current issue of Undercurrent.

Don't Overdo the Antibiotics   April 22, 2023

Otorhinolaryngologist Paul Neis, MD (Mountain Home, AR), wrote in response to a subscriber comment about treating a swimmer's ear with antibiotic ear drops (Undercurrent March), "It is always possible for a bacterium to have resistance to whatever antibiotic you choose. It would be better to apply an over-the-counter ear-drying drop with alcohol and acetic acid or mix your own with rubbing alcohol and vinegar. The alcohol will kill any bacteria, and the acidification deters the bacteria and fungi."

Don't Check Your Lithium Battery for a Flight   April 22, 2023

It's safer to carry lithium batteries in a carry-on rather than in the hold of an aircraft because, if a fire started, passengers would be alert to the burning smell in the passenger compartment. This is what happened on March 1: the cabin of a Spirit Airlines flight from Texas filled with smoke and diverted safely to Jacksonville, FL, proving the good sense of airline regulations. When you fly, you cannot check spare batteries. You must carry them with you, but consider carrying all items with batteries.

This Month in Undercurrent:   April 22, 2023

By land and sea in Raja Ampat, Indonesia . . . Taking the blame when animals confront us . . . Divemaster or dive guide; Can you tell the difference? . . . What's going on in Truk Lagoon . . . Punishment abroad for training deaths . . . Whatever happened to dive knives? . . . Strange tales from the deep . . . The weird world of sea slugs . . . Insurance and the traveling diver (part 2) . . . Free-diver Pipin sues Netflix . . . Should divers fear orcas? . . . Lend a hand on your next dive vacation . . . and much, much more.

You are reading our free mid-month email   April 22, 2023

Paid subscribers receive a monthly 16-page ad-free newsletter covering subjects traditional publications avoid for fear of upsetting their advertisers. But we don't accept advertising. We are beholden only to divers. Our travel reviews are written by undercover authors who pay their way. Our stories cover equipment problems, liveaboard safety, the ins and outs of tipping, how dive insurance can fail you, and much, much more. In December, you will receive the Travelin' Diver's Chapbook, filled with hundreds of travel reviews by fellow subscribers. Not only that, you have full access to more than 11,000 Undercurrent independent readers' reports -- opinions and impressions posted without fear or favor by those who have stayed at the resorts or have been on liveaboards worldwide. I am offering you a seven-month trial subscription for just $19.95. And I'll send you a FREE download of the 40-page e-books Eight Great Liveaboards (and One Disaster) and Eight Great Dive Resorts (and One Dog). If you want your money back at any time during this period, you'll get it, a promise I've kept since we started publishing in 1975. Click 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.

Highlights of Previous Online Updates*

Here are past Online Update emails sent out . You can sign-up for free to receive these in the future here.


17 July, 2024

23 June, 2024

4 May, 2024

20 May, 2024

23 April, 2024

16 March, 2024

16 February, 2024

15 January, 2024

16 December, 2023

28 November, 2023

25 October, 2023

26 September, 2023

18 August, 2023

20 July, 2023

12 June, 2023

27 May, 2023

22 April, 2023

21 March, 2023

21 February, 2023

22 January, 2023

17 December, 2022

26 November, 2022

19 October, 2022

23 September, 2022

15 August, 2022

21 July, 2022

21 June, 2022

16 May, 2022

29 April, 2022

30 March, 2022

25 February, 2022

24 January, 2022


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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