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Current Online Updates*
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Updated April 23, 2024

Overweight Passengers?
What Price Beauty?
Yet Another Liveaboard Burns
Flying from the West Coast to Caribbean Islands
Force Majeure
Son of Famous Diving Family Dies
Fined for Touching a Whaleshark
Plan Those Caribbean Trips Wisely in Hurricane Season
Wreck Divers find Tasmanian Pink Handfish
Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024
Manado Airport Closed by Volcanic Eruptions
There's No May Undercurrent
Who Posts the Most Reader's Reports?
The 2024 Travelin' Diver's Chapbook is in Print!

Overweight Passengers?   April 23, 2024

In line with island hoppers in the South Pacific, Finnair has taken to weighing passengers before boarding to ensure its planes are not overloaded and will operate safely. If the practice spreads, it will be bad news for divers who wear weight belts when boarding a plane to avoid overweight baggage fees!

What Price Beauty?   April 23, 2024

A compound called squalene -- traditionally collected from the livers of sharks -- is a common ingredient in skin moisturizers, make-up, and cleansers and is used in some vaccines and medicines. It's one more reason sharks are overfished. Although many cosmetics companies now use plant-based squalene, shark-based oil is still common worldwide, and shark populations continue to decline.

Sea World I

Yet Another Liveaboard Burns.   April 23, 2024

In what seems to be a regular occurrence, another liveaboard dive boat, Sea World I, was consumed in a blazing inferno near the Thap Lamu pier in the Phang Nga province of southern Thailand on April 2. Officials reported that the boat caught fire while anchored at the pier with no passengers onboard. Someone on board was seen jumping into the water to escape the flames. The vessel formerly visited dive sites in Myanmar.

Flying from the West Coast to Caribbean Islands:   April 23, 2024

To get there, it almost always requires an overnight at some airport or, at best, a redeye flight. Cayman Airways made it a bit easier in 2022 with a nonstop to Grand Cayman from Los Angeles, and a few months ago, Alaska and Jet Blue added nonstops to Nassau from Los Angeles and Alaska now departs Seattle for Nassau. For most Left Coasters, Belize, Mexico, and the Honduras, depending on the day, can generally be reached without overnighting.

Force Majeure.  April 23, 2024

When passengers boarded the Indo Aggressor liveaboard in March, they were surprised to be told they would not be leaving port. However, no money would be refunded because the company invoked the Force Majeure clause in its contract with the passengers, citing the harbor master denying permission to set sail because of bad weather. You can read the full story in April's Undercurrent. The Indo Aggressor is no longer listed on the Aggressor Fleet website.

Jared Hires

Son of Famous Diving Family Dies.  April 23, 2024

The Pluragrotta, located in the Rana municipality of Norway, is Northern Europe's longest cave. It is visited annually by divers from all over Europe. Two Finnish divers died there in 2014. Tragically, this April, it claimed the life of 33-year-old Jared Hires, son of Lamar Hires and heir to the Dive Rite diving equipment dynasty. Jared was a keen motorcyclist, rebreather diver, and cave explorer. Some like to live on more than one edge.

Fined for Touching a Whaleshark.   April 23, 2024

A foreign diver who reached out and touched the tailfin of a whale shark near the Richelieu Rock in Thailand in March was videoed, and it was used as evidence against them. Apparently, the dive leader told the divers ahead of time not to touch the animals but was ignored, so he reported the violator to authorities. Thailand's Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act prohibits hunting or any action that harms protected animals, with imprisonment of up to four years and a fine of up to $1,100. The penalty imposed on the diver has not been disclosed to the public, but Big Brother is watching you.

Plan Those Caribbean Trips Wisely in Hurricane Season.  April 23, 2024

Colorado State University hurricane researchers predict an extremely active 2024 Atlantic 2024 hurricane season. Because of record warm tropical and eastern subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures, they expect 23 named storms and 11 hurricanes between June 1 and November 30. As many as five of the hurricanes reach major hurricane strength.

Pink Handfish

Wreck Divers find Tasmanian Pink Handfish.  April 23, 2024

They are very rare and endangered, so you can imagine the excitement of divers in March who found two of them on the 141-year-old wreck of the SS Tasman, 220 feet deep. Their discovery is one of few recorded sightings of the pink handfish since the first in 1948, with scientists now suggesting the species is confined to deep waters. The Foundation for Australia's Most Endangered Species has a captive breeding program for the red handfish, of which there are about 100 in the wild, and is now caring for 11 babies. Undercurrent made a $1000 donation towards efforts to preserve this fish. If you wish to contribute, go here.

Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024

Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024.  April 23, 2024

The British-run competition, which had several spectacular entries this year, was won by Alex Dawson (Sweden) with his photograph of the remains of a whale with a diver taken in the frigid waters of Greenland. American photographer Kat Zhou won with this image of dive-bombing gannets in Scotland's Shetland Islands in the British Waters Wide Angle category. You can see all the winning photos here.

Manado Airport Closed by Volcanic Eruptions.  April 23, 2024

The eruptions of Mount Ruang on April 17 forced the evacuation of 11,000 people and the closure of Sam Ratulangi International Airport, the main port of arrival for Manado, Lembeh, Gangga, and Bunaken. Mount Ruang first erupted in the morning on April 16 and four times the following day. The airport closed again on the 19th, so travel in and out of North Sulawesi may continue to be disrupted.

There's No May Undercurrent.  April 23, 2024

The Undercurrent newsletter is published 11 times yearly, and May is our month off. We will continue with our regular emails to keep you abreast of issues and events in the scuba world. But Reader's Reports still get referred to as an essential guide to those of us traveling and diving, so don't forget to submit a report of your last diving trip for the benefit of other readers. And we will also include it in this year's Chapbook, which will be sent to readers in early December.

Who Posts the Most Reader's Reports?  April 23, 2024

Since Undercurrent went entirely online in 2009, the most were filed by Michael J. Millet (CA), with 92 individual reports, closely followed by the aptly named G. Tripp Jones (MD) with 72 trip reports filed. However, every report filed benefits other readers, so don't be discouraged if you only file a solitary report. They are your opportunity to tell everyone about your dive trip. Unedited and unmoderated, your reports will brief other subscribers about dive resorts you've visited and liveaboards you have taken. Don't hold back. You can tell both the good and the bad and everything in between. Over 12,000 entries have become essential reading for traveling divers. You can post photos. It's easy to post a report of your last dive trip. And your fellow divers will be thankful. File your report at www.undercurrent.org/SubRR.

The 2024 Travelin' Diver's Chapbook is in Print!  April 23, 2024

You don't have to read it. Get the book! The 864-page 2024 edition of The Travelin' Diver's Chapbook -- containing 546 reader reports by Undercurrent subscribers detailing last year's trips -- has been printed, and you can order it to read, thumb through, refer to it, and next year use it as a doorstop -- it's that large. It's great for researching new destinations or seeing whether the places you've been and the dives you've made are still holding up. Order it here, directly from the printer, and it will be delivered to your doorstep for $39.95 (plus tax and shipping). It's chock-full of information. Go for it.

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.

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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