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For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
July 2021    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 47, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Back in the Water Again

Contents of this Issue:
All publicly available

Back in the Water Again

Undercurrent is Saving Olive Ridley Turtles

Living Underwater, Cozumel Mexico

The Risk of Selling Second-hand Dive Gear

The Tragic, Unnecessary Death of an AOW Trainee

Editorial Office:

Ben Davison

Publisher and Editor


3020 Bridgeway, Suite 102

Sausalito, CA 94965

Contact Ben

and a look at the options for dive travel

from the July, 2021 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dear Fellow Diver,

At last, divers are getting wet again, and many are packing their bags for flights to warm water destinations. Not many countries are wide open, so while the CDC tells us that fully vaccinated travelers are good to go, it's not much help if some countries don't let us in. Mexico and the Caribbean are generally open and, of course, Hawaii and Florida are hosting divers. And on the next page, you'll find our first complete travel review in 15 months.

COVID rules for every country are changing rapidly, so before you travel, do your homework. We've received reports of divers who take COVID tests before flying to Maui but were sent right back home because they failed to use a state-approved testing facility. In fact, this is a great time to use a dive travel agent because it's their job to do the homework for you.

A few early travelers have submitted reader reports, so if you want to see where they're going and what they're experiencing, go to and catch up. If you're traveling, by all means, submit a report.

One of our long-time subscribers, Mary McCombie (New Haven, CT), headed to Cabo San Lucas as soon as she was was fully vaccinated in April, for a trip aboard the Nautilus Undersea, a craft familiar to many of you when it traveled to Cocos Island as the Undersea Hunter; it's since been extensively refurbished and now travels to Mexico's Revillagigedo Islands. McCombie reports that the dive operation was terrific. She had some of the best diving of her life, encountering whales, schooling hammerheads, Galapagos and silvertip sharks, and huge Pacific mantas. While it's a lengthy 36-hour one-way open-ocean journey (which can be rock and roll all the way -- something the vessel was always well known for) and the diving conditions can be challenging, McCombie's Thermalution heated vest mitigated the cold water temperature, and she loved the trip.

In May, Gary and Robin Schiendelman (Limerick, PA) made their third trip to the Revillagigedos and Socorro Island. While they were slightly disappointed with the sea conditions, they could not fault the Nautilus Belle Amie. The crew dealt well with COVID restrictions, but, alas, there was a medical emergency on board when one of the passengers suffered what was probably a minor heart attack at San Benedicto island, which meant they had to divert to the Navy Base at Socorro Island to evacuate him. Rough seas on the route back to Cabo San Lucas resulted in poor underwater visibility, which meant that things were not as good as they had hoped, and on their last day they had no interesting underwater action to speak of.

Rik Pavlescak (West Palm Beach, FL) headed to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands for shore diving with Mitchell and Andrea of Adventures in Diving STX; he thought they were fantastic, taking care of him and his gear throughout his week's stay. They transferred his gear to the boat of St. Croix Ultimate Blue Water Adventures for boat dives. He particularly enjoyed diving the pier next to his accommodations at Victoria House, where no two dives were ever the same, with plenty to photograph, he reports.

In May, Michele Jacquin (Encinitas, CA) made her first trip to West Maui, Hawaii, but while she enjoyed the underwater topography, she was disappointed at the absence of bigger animals. She saw turtles on a cleaning station and a solitary eagle ray, but no mantas like she'd seen elsewhere in Hawaii. Diving Lanai with Extended Horizons, she likened the lava tube diving to visiting French gothic cathedrals. So despite some initial disappointment at the lack of bigger marine life, she says she'd "go again in a minute."

The islands of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean look enticing, but COVID provides what may be an enduring hazard. We've had several reports of people testing positive before their departing flights and, under Maldives law, having to be quarantined in less than salubrious surroundings for 14 days. Terry H. Anderson (TX) reports that one of his group was detained after a dive trip on Carpe Novo in May, despite being fully vaccinated. The diver tested positive, although she had tested negative on several occasions previously; the assumption is that she caught the infection from a crew member who might have been an asymptomatic carrier. She was charged $1200 for her quarantine in a government-run hotel in Male (a slum in the sun), and Terry says she missed a second liveaboard trip and got no refund. The rest of the group tested negative and were allowed to go, but that hasn't always been the case for others. For example, Debbie Wallace (Jupiter, FL) wrote on Facebook on May 23, after a 2-week trip on the Maldives Aggressor, that her whole group suffered a mandatory additional 14-day quarantine on Male, in what she describes as a "hell-hole of a hotel."

When you arrive at the airport in another country -- or even in another state -- you are under their rules. Do your homework before you go, and keep in mind that if one person in your group, at your resort, or on your liveaboard isn't vaccinated, that person's health may disrupt your trip. Be prepared.

And now, for our first review since last May.

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