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February 2006 Vol. 32, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the February, 2006 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Cruise Ship Dumps. Dee Scarr, owner of Bonaire’s Touch the Sea program, couldn’t believe her eyes when she slipped beneath the island’s town pier in December. The day before, the cruise ship Silver Whisper, from the Silverseas line, had moored there. Scarr and her husband found huge amounts of broken bottles, smashed wine glasses, pottery shards and a Silverseas cabin door key. After photographing the mess, they removed some debris from the coral and sponges. The next day, two marine park rangers and three volunteers helped her and her husband pluck 51.5 kilos of glass shards off the reef. Bonaire authorities are supposedly looking into the illegal dumping.

That Weight Integrated BCD: Captain Fred Calhoun (BackBay, Mass) writes “It is nearly impossible to swim down against the buoyancy inherent in exposure suits, without compensating weights. Instructors and divemasters who at the end of the dive remove their BCD’s with integrated weights (they really shouldn’t be wearing them at all) will be unable to swim down to assist an unconscious diver lying on the bottom. Lead weights belong on a belt at the diver’s center of buoyancy (and center of gravity) not attached to an inflatable harness.”

Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso: The famous vessel has decayed beyond repair. Authorities in La Rochelle say salvage plans have been blocked by the dispute between Cousteau’s second wife, Francine, and his son, Jean-Michel. Mme Cousteau accused her stepson of “irresponsible stubbornness and manipulating the media.” Both run rival associations which claim to perpetuate the work of Jacques Cousteau. His wife heads L’Equipe Cousteau, and his son Les Campagnes Océanographiques Françaises (COF). Each claims to own the boat. Mme Cousteau says she has a deal for the Calypso to be renovated in the Bahamas and turned into a scientific education center. JM Cousteau wants to restore the vessel and keep it in France. In November, a Paris tribunal approved Mme Cousteau’s ownership claim. But the COF has appealed the judgment. French commentators say that jealousies are fueling the row. Cousteau’s first wife, Simone, who shared the Calypso with him, died in 1990, apparently unaware that he had had two children with Francine, an air hostess he had met on the Concorde. Six months later, when Cousteau married Francine, who was 40 years his junior, his son reacted angrily. JM Cousteau’s hostility towards his stepmother increased when she claimed to represent her late husband’s memory. (London Times, December 27, 2005)

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