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April 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 43, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the April, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

There are Two Types of Divers: Those who pee in their suits and those who tell lies about it, hence the common aura encountered on dive decks. Regardless of your standing, if you're one who likes to jump in the resort swimming pool in your wetsuit after a dive, you may wish to know that a research team testing 31 pools and hot tubs in Canada found evidence of urine in every single one of them. Environmental Science and Technology Letters reports that they found an average of eight gallons of urine in a typical 110,000-gallon pool. As for hot tubs -- you don't want to know. While urine may not be harmful, it can react with chlorine to create by-products known as DBPs that can lead to eye and respiratory irritation.

Cruelty to Nurses. People are rightly outraged that nurse sharks are subjected to exploitation and abuse at a Mexican restaurant called Playa Tuburón on the Isla Mujeres, off the coast of Cancun. Tourists are encouraged to go into a small enclosure where they can hold a normally nocturnal nurse shark out of the water, partially suffocating it, in order to be photographed with it. Sign the petition at to encourage tourists to abstain from visiting the Isla Mujeres until the restaurant halts the abuse.

Another Wreck Dive for Grenada? Already with perhaps the best wreck dive in the Caribbean -- the 600-foot Bianca C -- there may be another. The Grenada Coast Guard, in a heroic act on March 3, rescued the crew from the MV Persia, a small freighter that sank around nine miles off Port Salines. Peter Seupel of Aquanauts Grenada says that all they had to do was find it!

Scuba Boots Meet Main Street? For their latest collection, the fashion gurus at Prada have taken the typical wetsuit boot, redesigned it in several different brightly colored materials for the molded rubber sole, neoprene upper, zip and Velcro strap, and given it a $500 price tag. By attempting to take wetsuit boots out of the sea and onto the street, will they lure the fashion-conscious to endure sweaty feet this summer?

Don't Worry about the Sharks... It's the Crocs You have to Watch Out For. On March 20th, the body of 35-year-old scuba diver Warren Hughes was found near Innisfall in north Queensland, Australia, after he had been attacked by a saltwater crocodile. The attack was the same weekend as an attack on a teenager who had swum in the Johnson River to impress a British girl. He escaped with a serious injury. Rangers later captured and killed a 15-foot (4m) crocodile, an unwitting victim of a silly teenage stunt.

Jacksonville Scuba Program Warning. It takes a lot for PADI to kick out an instructor, but the training agency sent an email in March to all its Florida members notifying them that Scuba Lessons Jax owner Chris Conrad had been expelled for failure to adhere to PADI standards and conducting unethical business practices. Various trainees said they never received their PADI certification cards from the Arlington, FL, dive shop, despite paying nearly $400. According to the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida, 180 people paid through Groupon to take scuba lessons with the company. Conrad is reported to have said that he switched to a different instructor affiliation. (Source: News4Jax)

Eating Plastic? Worried about those micro beads in your toothpaste and shampoo getting into oceans and being ingested by the animals? Well, if you eat seafood, you're ingesting up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year. Researchers from the University of Ghent in Belgium believe that micro plastics accumulate in humans over time and become a long-term health risk. If trends continue, by the end of the century, people who regularly eat seafood could be consuming 780,000 pieces of plastic a year, absorbing 4,000 of them from their digestive systems. It doesn't sound good. (Source: The Telegraph)

Captive dolphins on St. Lucia. Plans to open a dolpinarium on St. Lucia featuring captive dolphins have provoked an outcry, with 25,000 signing a petition saying that it would damage a treasured heritage site. Opponents of the scheme, which is championed by the prime minister, complain that it ignores public distaste for the confinement of marine mammals and could even harm tourism "There is overwhelming opposition . . . the public is listening, but I can't gauge the extent to which our government is listening," said Bishnu Tulsie, director of St, Lucia National Trust. "The prime minister has said that as far as he is concerned, the decision to go ahead with the dolphinarium has already been taken." (Source: The Times)

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