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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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September 2021    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 47, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the September, 2021 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Extreme Heat Kills. The devastating heat dome that affected parts of the west coasts of the U.S. and British Columbia has been blamed for the massive die-off of mussels, clams, and other marine creatures that live in the intertidal zone. They were effectively cooked in their shells. Christopher Harley, a professor of zoology at the University of British Columbia, estimates that a billion animals may have died this way in the Strait of Georgia, the Puget Sound, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Old News is Still News. You may have already forgotten about Hurricane Dorian that swept through part of the Bahamas two years ago, but much of the destruction in the Abaco chain of islands is still very much in evidence. It may be years before all repairs are made and the island is good again.

The Rulers of Dubai are Competitive. Not content with having the world's tallest building, the world's largest mall, and a host of other forward-thinking ventures that include flying taxis and firefighters with jetpacks, Dubai has now opened the deepest swimming pool in the world. Deep Dive Dubai takes underwater explorers to depths of 196 feet) where they can enjoy the make-believe relics of an abandoned sunken city. Located in Nad Al Sheba, 15 minutes from downtown Dubai, Deep Dive Dubai is a freshwater pool filled with 3.7 million gallons of water warmed to a balmy 86ºF. The depth puts Deep Dive Dubai well ahead of the current deepest pool in the world, the 147-foot Deepspot in Poland, and even ahead of the 164-foot Blue Abyss under construction in the U.K.

The Red Tide is Back. As the race to remove hundreds of fish killed by the red tide in Tampa Bay continues, there is a rising concern for the health of the seagrass, vital for life in the bay and providing stabilization for the seafloor. According to officials in St. Petersburg, FL, more than 1,200 tons of dead fish have already been removed from waters around the city.

Goodbye Vaquita Porpoises. The Mexican government has canceled a no-tolerance zone in the Upper Gulf of California and the former refuge of vaquita porpoises is now open for fishing with minimal monitoring. The vaquita have been by-catch to the illegal gillnet fishing for the critically endangered totoaba, and there are thought to be only nine left in the world.

Diveable but Undrinkable. A shipwrecked vessel that has lain 100 feet deep on the seabed in the Firth of Clyde for more than 100 years is drawing the attention of British divers for the many bottles of unopened beer it contains. Of course, it's undrinkable, but beer lovers across the globe are interested in the long-forgotten McEwans product. Its undrinkable nature didn't stop a company called Brewlab from getting hold of some of the bottles to create a 7.5 percent stout using strains of yeast isolated from the beer as an amazing research experiment.

World Shootout. Stymied by COVID restrictions, the Israeli-based underwater photography competition that always rewards its winners with big prizes has amended its rules to include the best pictures you've taken in the past few years. The competition is called Pictures of Your Life. There are 12 categories and you can register to enter until November 1.

A New Ecologically Sound Material for Wetsuits. Neoprene is not a very environmentally sound product since it's oil-based, although many manufacturers now make a material from limestone chips. A new product called Yulex Pure, made in the USA, is a natural rubber made from plants grown without any artificial irrigation and processed with recycled water. Waste plant material is used as biomass for electricity generation. Watch out for this material when choosing your next wetsuit, and try to find one with a polyester lining made from recycled plastic bottles.

Europe Leads the Way in Dive Safety. The Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment is an international program launched in 2018 and led by several DAN organizations around the world, with the goal to significantly increase the safety standards of diving operations, while reducing fatalities and preventing injuries. The first DAN HITA Excellence in Dive Safety Award has gone to the Swiss Lifesaving Society (SSS Lugano Section).

Interview with a Diving Icon. Bret Gilliam, diving entrepreneur, pioneer technical diver and regular contributor to Undercurrent, is interviewed in a webinar by British/Australian diving pioneer David Strike, as part of the ADEX Pixel Virtual Expo. You can enjoy it here:

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