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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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January 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the January, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The Wild Guys Who Dived for Lahaina's Black Coral -- a Documentary: Back in the '70s, a bunch of local hard-living divers routinely went beyond 200 feet on air to harvest black coral trees to sell to jewelry makers. That some of these rogues lived to have their stories recorded in this fascinating and superbly produced documentary is a miracle. Even if you never saw them hanging around that harbor and smelled the dying black coral stench, you'll find this historical documentary on a unique bunch of scuba divers well worth your viewing time.

Apeks Sets a Standard. Part of the Aqua Lung group, the company says that it no longer sends any nonhazardous waste from its manufacturing facility, warehouse or offices to landfill. Instead, it is all turned into biofuel for heating and hot water.

More Photo Cheating. A photograph of an octopus riding on a Hawaiian green turtle's back was displayed on the National Geographic Facebook page until they discovered the photographer, Michael Hardie, had intensively manipulated the octopus, to the critter's detriment. His picture was disqualified and removed. However, at the time of writing, you could still view the picture here:

Vaquita Extinction Likely. The last 30 rare vaquita porpoises found in a small area of the Gulf of California were going to be rounded up and placed in a marine sanctuary, but the $4 million rescue plan by more than 60 international scientists was abandoned after the first specimen they captured showed signs of stress and the second died. The population crashed after years of illegal fishing for totoaba, when vaquita were caught in the same nets, became tangled and drowned. Totoaba swim bladders fetch $10,000 a pound in China. Clearly, this tiny porpoise is no match for the forces of fish mafias, drug cartels, and the Chinese black market.

The Free Divers of Avatar 2: To film the Avatar sequel, Director James Cameron says Kate Winslett and Sigourney Weaver, in preparation for their roles, learned to scuba dive and free dive and "other actors are up to three- and four-minute breath holds. We did a scene with six teenagers, well, actually five teenagers and one 7-year-old, underwater holding their breath for a couple minutes and acting, actually doing a dialogue scene under water because they speak kind of a sign language."

Good News from Mexico. Mexico's government has created the largest ocean reserve in North America around the four Revillagigedo Islands (AKA Socorro), often regarded as Mexico's crown jewel. The measures will help ensure the conservation of marine creatures including whales, giant rays, and turtles. The protection zone spans 57,000 sq. miles (150,000 sq. km) around the islands, which lie 242 miles (390 km) southwest of the Baja California peninsula.

Bad News from the U.S. The Washington Post reports President Trump is considering shrinking two Pacific marine national monuments with unique ecosystems and fragile coral reefs -- The Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument and the Rose Atoll National Marine Monument -- and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off New England. Please write or call the President, asking him to preserve our Marine National Monuments and keep them free from commercial fishing Sign the petition:

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands took a giant stride into Saba's watersRoyal Blunder! What? King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands took a giant stride into Saba's waters on a state visit to the hurricane- torn Dutch Caribbean without wearing their masks? Yup, that's exactly what happened, despite security staff assiduously checking that their air was turned on, nobody checked to see if they had their BCs properly fastened or were wearing their masks before they plunged off the back of their dive boat.

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