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Updated August 18, 2023

Maui is Open, Just Stay Away from the West End
Trouble at Wetpixel?
Divers Relocate Marine Life
A Living Legend Lost
Florida Dive Instructor Disappears
Military Museum Sunk in Egypt's Red Sea
Check it In
Shark Bytes by Undercurrent's John Bantin
It May Not Seem Deep
What You're Reading is Our Free Mid-month Email
Last Month in Undercurrent
Free to Read
Use A Surface Marker
What? A Child Master Scuba Diver?

Maui is Open, Just Stay Away from the West End:   August 18, 2023

West Maui councilwoman Tamara Paltin said, "We don't want to be seeing people on vacation when we're trying to pull our lives back together. We don't want our roads closed because tourists can't follow directions. If you're a tourist, don't come to Lahaina. I don't care if you have reservations, now is not the time. Go someplace else, please."

Maui Snorkeling, which just a few days after the Lahaina fire took tourists to snorkel in waters off the main highway into Lahaina the same waters crews were searching to find missing residents who jumped in the sea to flee the flames -- was lambasted on social media. They issued an apology, adding their intent was to donate 100% of the proceeds to the Maui Food Bank. Several snorkeling and scuba boats have been delivering supplies to Lahaina.

The Mayor of Maui, Richard Bissen, says, "Don't go to West Maui. There's so much going on with trying to rebuild it, but the rest of Maui is still open." So the leaders are saying that someone could be on vacation 20 or 30 miles away from the burn zone and not negatively affect the recovery. That means Kihei, where several dive operations have reopened, is a safe bet. Maui needs your business.

If you want to aid recovery, click here for groups that can use your financial aid.

Trouble at Wetpixel?   August 18, 2023

Wetpixel.com, a website for enthusiastic underwater photographers, runs many dive trips just for photo buffs. We received complaints recently that divers who paid in advance saw their trips canceled without notification and haven't been refunded, and that some dive centers and liveaboards haven't been paid for completed trips. If you have an issue with a Wetpixel trip, we'd like to hear about it. Write to BenDDavison@undercurrent.org, not forgetting to provide your name, town, and state or country.

Divers Relocate Marine Life.  August 18, 2023

To build a new breakwater in Port Townsend (WA), an old one had to be removed. But what about all the invertebrates that made it home? In July, sixteen volunteer divers came to their rescue, relocating 1,450 critters. They carefully removed shiny orange sea squirts, sponge clumps, anemones, six-rayed sea stars, leafy hornmouth snails, mussels, crabs, and other invertebrates from their old haunts on Hudson Point's south, relocating them to basalt stones explicitly placed to create a rock nursery.

A Living Legend Lost.   August 18, 2023

Stan Waterman, the iconic underwater cameraman who shot footage for Peter Gimbel's 1971 classic Blue Water, White Death, The Deep with Jaqueline Bissett, Nick Nolte, and Robert Shaw, as well as other big Hollywood movies, died at the age of 100 on August 10. He hung up his fins at a youthful 90 after a trip to dive with Great White Sharks around Guadalupe Island. No diving dignitary has been as well-loved as Stan, and the diving world will miss him. More in the next issue of Undercurrent.

Florida Dive Instructor Disappears.  August 18, 2023

A scuba diver separated from his dive boat off the Florida Keys had a lucky break in late July thanks to two vigilant law-enforcement officers (see Undercurrent August) -- but a Keys diving instructor, Tommy Faulkenberry, 44, disappeared while diving on the wreck of the U.S. Navy Vandenberg off Key West (FL) on August 2. (More on this and other incidents in the next issue of Undercurrent.)

Military Museum Sunk in Egypt's Red Sea.  August 18, 2023

To keep divers from degrading the Red Sea coral reefs, the government is preparing to divert their attention to 15 examples of obsolete military hardware, each with its own unique history, which they will carefully sink in the next few years. They will create three underwater military museums off Hurghada, creating new fish and critter habitats and protecting the Red Sea's marine ecosystem. Jordan has already sunk several armored vehicles near Aqaba.

Check it In.   August 18, 2023

Some divers mistakenly believe it's safer to take regulators and dive computers in carry-on luggage, but the baggage hold is at the same pressure (between 6000 and 8000 feet) as the passenger cabin, so nothing gets damaged by pressure changes. Some divers believe carrying them on board is safer in case their bag goes missing. It may be, but you can always rent a regulator and computer at your destination. Two things you may not get at your destination: a wetsuit that fits you properly or a mask with your prescription lenses. While taking your suit as carry-on might be onerous, think about it.

Shark Bytes

Shark Bytes by Undercurrent's John Bantin.  August 18, 2023

With first-hand quotes from the likes of Peter Benchley, Stuart Cove, George Burgess, Marty Snyderman, and many more acknowledged experts, Shark Bytes is 220 pages of first-hand experiences, fully illustrated with the author's photos, from three decades of diving with sharks. Available on Kindle ($21.59) or hard copy ($29.79) from Amazon.

It May Not Seem Deep   August 18, 2023

It may not seem deep to a scuba diver, but a 35-foot bottom is out of reach to a non-diver. So when a woman swimming in Bass Lake in Madera County, CA, lost her $9,500 wedding ring in July, she searched online for a scuba diver and found Mike Pelley, aka Merman Mike, who searches for belongings in lakes and rivers. Unable to find it in the silt in zero visibility, he removed his gloves. "After pulling a couple of sticks and cans out of the thick silt, I pulled out what I thought would be another bottle top or pull tab, but instead, I was looking at a giant diamond." Phewww!

What You're Reading is Our Free Mid-month Email.   August 18, 2023

Why not receive our 10 monthly, 16-page, ad-free newsletters and become a paid subscriber? We cover subjects other dive publications avoid for fear of upsetting their advertisers. But we don't accept advertising. We are accountable 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 10,000 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.

Last Month in Undercurrent:   August 18, 2023

Nature Island Divers, Jungle Bay Resort, Dominica . . . Visiting Dominica's sperm whales . . . Visit Dominica's rain forests . . . Miss your connection and arrive a day later . . . MY Vita 2, in Egypt's Red Sea . . . Travel with a UK company, and your money is safe . . . A novel treatment for lionfish stings . . . Guadalupe island closure cost big money . . . That deadly MY Hurricane fire . . . Be ready to drop your weights . . . Apple Ultra watch and Oceanic app . . . The Deepest Breath . . . Be wary of drug-crazed sharks . . . and much, much more.

Free to Read:   August 18, 2023

When Mexico's Guadalupe Island was closed to commercial shark diving operations, three companies refunded the money they had been paid to those who had booked, with one of the companies going out of business as a result of the financial stress. But a fourth company was bullish and, in many cases, refusing refunds, causing many comments by aggrieved people. They went on social media, resulting in the boat operator suing them for libel. It gives a new perspective on negative comments posted on Tripadvisor and Facebook. You can read about it for free here.

Use A Surface Marker.   August 18, 2023

On July 26, a surfacing diver was struck by a speeding boat off Boca Chita Key, about 10 miles south of Key Biscayne, FL. The vessel belonged to the Miami-Dade Police Department, and the victim was airlifted to Jackson South Medical Center for treatment of injuries sustained. It is unclear from news reports whether the diver used a surface marker. But it is a reminder to all of us to use one, especially where there is boat traffic.

What? A Child Master Scuba Diver?   August 18, 2023

Trent Ethridge, who lives in Maryland, became obsessed with scuba as a child but had to wait until he reached the ripe old age of 10 before he could get certified as a Junior Open Water Diver. He then quickly obtained more certifications, including night diving and nitrox diving, while logging 50 dives. Now, a couple of years later, he is a certified Master Scuba Diver, though, at his age, he still must dive with a PADI professional or a certified parent or guardian and not exceed 40 feet. He has achieved the highest certification any sport diver can obtain. Do you think the label "Master Scuba Diver" is misleading?

Ben Davison, editor/publisher
BenDDavison@undercurrent.org

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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*

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

 

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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