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Updated December 4, 2008
|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 these news alerts and special offers like these once a month or so.|
Disaster in South Florida's Reefs
It's not a good time to dive Palm Beach's Breakers Reef. It's believed a tugboat line cut a swath about 200 yards long and 70 feet wide at the site a mile off the Breakers Hotel in early November, and divers who saw the aftermath say damage is extensive. We also heard that in John U. Lloyd State Park, south of Port Everglades, sponges were sliced, and soft and hard corals were cut and turned over. Palm Beach County Reef Rescue is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the prosecution of whoever damaged Breakers Reef. State officials are asking divers not to flip, move or try to restore damaged corals because that will damage them more, but they're hoping some of the hard corals can be reattached to the sea floor with marine cement.
In this new book, edited by Chris Santella, a bevy of well-known divers wax about 50 top dive destinations, most of which are on everyone's list: the Galapagos, Fiji's Bligh Waters, Cocos Island, the Caymans, British Colombia. The descriptions are brief and to the point; the perfect book to stimulate your fantasies. 224 pages, hardbound, $25. Go to Undercurrent to order and you'll get Amazon's best price. Our profits - the profits from anything you buy at Amazon via our Web site - will go toward projects to save coral reefs.
Check National Geographic's eerie video (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/11/081124-giant-squid-magnapinna.html) of this rare "elbowed" Magnapinna squid floating around an oil rig in the Sea of Mexico. It's rare, primarily because it lives thousands of feet down, so you won't see it on any recreational dive. As more oil rigs are built in new waters (including the U.S. coasts), it'll be interesting to see what other new forms of marine life will show up on deep-sea video.
Ladies, MissScuba.com (http://www.miss-scuba.com/index.html) has several female-focused dive trips for 2009. The first is a two-day kelp-diving trip in California's Channel Islands in April, starting at $375. Other destinations include the Philippines during whale shark season (8 days for $1,785), Roatan's Turquoise Bay Resort (8 days for $1,030) and a six-day Girls Getaway to Playa Del Carmen ($2,200; six-person maximum). Packages are all-inclusive except for airfare, and some offer shopping days, of course, and yoga classes as surface intervals.
We've written extensively about the case against Gabe Watson for the murder of his wife Tina while diving the Great Barrier Reef on their 2003 honeymoon. On November 28, Australian prosecutors filed a murder indictment against him. It comes five months after the coroner found it likely that Watson killed Tina, 26, by holding her underwater and turning off her air supply during a dive to the Yongala wreck near Townsville, with the presumed motive of getting her life insurance policy. The presiding judge said Watson is required to appear in court on February 3 but he has no power to force the Alabama-based bubble-wrap salesman to return to Queensland. Watson's lawyers are planning to oppose his extradition. Meanwhile, after dating a string of girlfriends, Watson married another woman in August who apparently bears a striking resemblance to his first wife.
Scores of Undercurrent articles, including resort and liveaboard reviews and stories about diver safety, are available for free on our website. You can read them by going to Undercurrent and clicking on "Past Issues." A good example of our good advice is our article "Proper Liveaboard Hygiene." What can be more upsetting than to spend big money traveling halfway around the world, only to come up sick in the middle of a trip and have to miss dives? The reason that may happen is because on a small boat where everyone touches the same handrails, the chance that a sick diver will infect others is high. Read where germs congregate on liveaboards and how you can protect yourself from them by clicking here: (http://www.undercurrent.org/UCnow/articles/ProperLiveaboardHygiene200805.shtml).
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Papua New Guinea, the Solomons and the northern part of Australia's Great Barrier Reef are most at risk for coral bleaching in the first part of 2009. Over the next 15 weeks, they're "most likely to suffer thermal stress with the potential for severe bleaching," with the worst occurring in late January through February. Less likely to be thermally stressed are the Coral Triangle region, Fiji and perhaps French Polynesia.
Has your dive computer blanked out on you? Has the battery run down too fast? Has your automatic inflator gotten stuck? Had any regulator problems? We occasionally hear about significant problems, so we're asking you to help us research a story by reporting any problems you may have had in the past year or two. Let us know the problem details, the specific piece of gear, and whether you got the equipment problem resolved. E-mail me at PublisherBenD@undercurrent.org.
This 512-page book filled with hundreds of current reviews of dive resorts and liveaboards around the world goes in the mail January 15 to Undercurrent subscribers. Nonsubscribers can order a copy for $16.95, plus shipping, at https://www.undercurrent.org/secure/UCnow/chapbook2009_cc.html. Better yet, you can get a trial seven-month subscription to Undercurrent, plus the Chapbook and online access to past issues, for $29.95. Go to https://www.undercurrent.org/secure/UCnow/UserNewSub_7i2995b.php to order. The Chapbook supply is limited, so you must order now.
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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