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June 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the June, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Great White Shocker on First Florida Keys Dive. Cody Wabiszewski was making his first dive beyond 60 feet (18m) on the wreck of the Thunderbolt, off Marathon in the Florida Keys, when a great white shark swam by, surrounded by amberjacks, African pompano, and a huge cobia. He and his group did not panic, but marveled at the sight. "When looking at the shark, it is amazing, unbelievable, and freaking awesome, so you are not scared," Wabiszewski told FOX 13 News. The group made a second dive hoping to see it again.

Chinese Tourists like Palau. Doesn't seem that long ago that the only visitors annually to Palau were a few thousand North American scuba divers. Last year, however, 122,050 visitors arrived, with Japan, China, and South Korea as the top three sources. These days, there are direct flights from Taipei and Japan, while American flights hop, skip and jump.

Another Irrelevant World Record or Two. Cem Karabay, a Turkish diver, set a Guinness World Record for the longest ocean dive in cold water on April 24 at Gökçeada, Turkey. He stayed submerged for 30 hours and 20 minutes. American Lindsay Scott set a shorter Guinness Record for the fastest time to put on and take off a wetsuit: 43.13 seconds. (Does anyone care?) Can you think of another scuba diving record that might be set? What about the most weight worn by a neutrally buoyant snorkeler? Or the fastest time to breathe down an 80 cu ft. (10-liter 230bar) scuba tank using a regulator? Send us your ideas.

Sea & Sea YS-D2 Strobe Failures. Four have failed Michael J. Millet (Dublin, CA), so he wrote to Undercurrent complaining about the lack of reliability. He owned the black Chinese-made models, which are no longer being produced because Sea and Sea has switched production back to Japan, and the new model is colored yellow. It is difficult to say what causes it, but the retreat back to production in Japan appears to have solved the problem. A tip: whatever strobe you use, avoid the higher amperage rechargeable AA batteries (2200mAh or more), which might produce enough heat to damage the unit.

Lionfish Go Deep. An Inspiration rebreather diver has logged his deepest lionfish kill. DiveTech's Drew McArthur culled a lionfish 340 feet (104m) deep in Grand Cayman waters. With divers seeing fewer lionfish on the reefs, some believe that they are living deeper, but McArthur says that's not what he's seeing down there. But they are easier to spear because they are not accustomed to seeing humans. McArthur told Cayman 27 that his catch was not particularly big. Good news, but it does mean the intruder will never be eradicated.

I'd Never Do That Again. Recently, Northern Ireland's Belfast Telegraph wrote about a Reddit post that asked: "What's something you tried once, then immediately decided 'NOPE!' for the rest of your life?" We can understand most of the nine "winners," like sky diving, bungee jumping, or smoking cigarettes. But scuba diving was on the list as well, right alongside eating Crisco out of the can (looks like marshmallow crème) or tasting earwax. No doubt, the readers of Undercurrent would rather eat Crisco long before they would give up scuba diving.

Whale Shark Code of Practice. To counteract the effects of undisciplined snorkelers in the Marine Protected Area of Maldives South Ari Atoll, the environmental protection agency has published a video to teach visitors how to respect the animal, and it would sure be useful in similar places such as Holbox, the Philippines and elsewhere. You can see the video here:

A New Smartphone App to Save Florida's Reefs. If you're an underwater photographer, you can collect data to help save Florida's reefs by monitoring the health of coral clusters that the Coral Restoration Foundation has been growing in offshore nurseries. The app will teach you how to spot the differences between living and dead corals and identify whether corals have grown or fused together. You simply take photos and transfer them to your phone before submitting them with information you gathered.

The Most Valuable Treasure Ever Found. An underwater autonomous vehicle, Remus 6000, operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, has discovered a Spanish galleon, the San Jose, laden with $15 billion of gold, silver, and emeralds off Colombia, in the Caribbean. The 62-gun three-masted vessel sank in 1708 during a battle with Royal Navy ships. The location of the treasure, found three years ago, remains a Colombian state secret.

Shellfish with a Drug Problem. As more American communities battle with opioid addiction, Washington State scientists have found evidence that the drug's impact has flowed downstream. Mussels from the waters off Seattle in Puget Sound are testing positive for oxycodone.

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