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January 2020    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 46, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the January, 2020 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Another Coral Crisis. The problem of stony coral tissue loss disease is not only Cozumel's. It's been raging through the whole of the Caribbean since 2014. It's traveled the entire Atlantic reef off Florida and has been recently reported near Belize in Central America. Little is known about the disease, and scientists are coordinating efforts via a disease advisory panel. A group of coral ecologists from Nova Southeastern University in Florida has been laboriously applying a paste combined with amoxicillin to the coral, which they say has been effective in treatment. Other scientists are ripping out diseased coral elsewhere in an attempt to stop the disease from spreading.

You're Never Too Old to Dive. Those oldies are still battling it out: Bill Lambert (Rockford, IL), now 99 years old, made a dive in Pearl Lake last September, in his quest to be the Guinness Book of Records'oldest diver. The official record is presently held by British veteran Ray Woolley who, at 96, dived this year to 140 feet deep on the wreck of the Zenobia, close to Larnaca in Cyprus where he now lives.

We'll Drink To That. At the height of the First World War, a German submarine stopped and sunk the Swedish steamer SS Kyros in the Baltic Sea, after allowing the crew to return home to neutral Sweden. The reason was because the ship was loaded with cognac and liqueur for Petrograd (modern-day St. Petersburg). In October of this year, Swedish and Icelandic salvage divers teamed up with MV Deepsea Worker to retrieve the cargo, and, recovered around 900 bottles of booze in good condition, resulting in some very happy Scandinavians.

A Massive Ghost Fishing Net found floating off the coast of the Cayman Islands in mid-December has trapped and killed hundreds of sharks and a host of other marine life that got caught in its embrace. Attempts by divers who spotted it to free trapped fish proved fruitless, and it was towed into Harbour House Marina, where it was subsequently lifted out of the water and disposed of.

Dominican Republic Diving. Few of our readers dive the Dominican Republic, though it is a very economical Caribbean destination with some decent diving for beginners or those who just want to get wet. One of our undercover writers visited there not long ago, and we have posted that review as a blog on our website. You can read it here:

Regulator Servicing Advice. Always try on a full tank before leaving the store because replacement internal O-rings need to bed in. Subscriber Burhaneddin Muntasser (Tripoli, Libya) got back home from London to discover his first-stage caused inter-stage pressure creep, making his second-stage weep air.

Mission Impossible? Egypt's tourism authority has announced that visiting divers will be instructed not to feed the fish, break coral, or throw garbage, food leftovers or chemicals into the sea, and they will strictly monitor the work of companies that organize dive tours. The Reef-World Foundations says that in its first year in Egypt it hopes to reach 30 operators, train 150 dive-guides, and through them, raise awareness of sustainability best practice among 30,000 tourists.

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