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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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August 2007    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 33, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam and Jetsam

from the August, 2007 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Sorry, Solo Divers. Undercurrent reader Bob Ayers caught a mistake we made in the July article “When You Decide To Go It Alone.” We wrote that Peter Hughes charges 65 percent of the total cabin price for single divers who want their own room. But because most liveaboards charge by per-person occupancy, we should have fully explained that a diver will pay full price for one bed and 65 percent of the other unoccupied bed. However, Peter Hughes does offer specials at times giving, single divers their own room for $100 over the per-person occupancy rate. Those deals are advertised on the company’s Web site and monthly e-mail newsletter.

The Thorfinn Sinks. Lance Higgs, who has been serving divers in the Truk Lagoon on his funky liveaboard, Thorfinn, for 26 years, ran the boat aground in Pohnpei on June 8. It’s unlikely to serve again as a dive boat. Higgs said the Thorfinn began taking on water and he had to put it on the reef to avoid sinking in the channel, but it contained gallons of oil. Amid the complex legal wrangling over salvage of the craft, oil leaks, moving it from the reef and preventing sinking, Thorfinn does not carry pollution or indemnity insurance. To read the full story, go to and type “Thorfinn” in the Search box.

Chamber Closes. St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida discontinued emergency hyperbaric chamber services July 1, so anyone bent in nearby waters will have to be transported to Miami or Orlando. The chamber was not economically viable since many divers it treated had no insurance and the physicians overseeing the hyperbaric services did not like being on call without being paid by the hospital.

Snorkeler Shooter Sentenced. A man who shot a snorkeler after mistaking him for a water rodent has been sentenced to two years in prison. William Roderick, 60, was standing along the Smith River near Eugene, Oregon when he thought he saw a nutria, a cross between a beaver and a muskrat, in the river, and shot it with a .22-caliber rifle. His target turned out to be John Cheesman, 44, a snorkeler looking at fish. The bullet struck him in front of the ear but did not penetrate his skull. Roderick, who immediately went to Cheesman’s aid, pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm, marijuana and methamphetamine.

Senior Discounts Overseas. Many foreign airlines take 10 percent off most nonpromotional fares on flights to and from the U.S. for travelers 60 or 62 and older. Sometimes they do it for a younger companion, too. Senior-friendly airlines include Austrian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, El Al, Lufthansa, Mexicana, SAS and Virgin Atlantic. You must request the discount by telephone.

Missing Buoyancy Skills. According to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC), poor buoyancy skills are to blame for the dramatic increase of dive-related incidents it recorded last year. In BSAC’s 2006 Diving Incidents Report, Brian Cumming said ascent-related incidents were the highest ever recorded, a total of 99, of which five were fatal. “Typically, these incidents involved a rapid ascent, often including missed decompression stops. Retaining buoyancy is critical, because it could have potentially saved three of the five lives lost.” The final ascent is often the most critical part. Be properly weighted, he says, so that when your tank gets down to 500 psi, you can safely maintain a safety stop at 10 feet with minimal air in your BC.

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