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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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March 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 48, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the March, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

World Shootout Winners. Announced on January 29, the 2021 winners of the 12 different categories of underwater photographs included two Americans. Martin Broen (New York, NY) won with a beautiful cave shot entered in the wide/angle category, and Tanya Houppermans (Fredericksburg, VA) won with three photos of sand tigers entered in the shark category. You can see the work of all the winners here:

Martin Broen - World Shootout Winner

Dottie May Frazier, the USA's first female scuba diving instructor and dive shop owner as well as one of the first women to become a hardhat diver and dive-suit manufacturer, has died in California at the age of 99. She succeeded in making her name in the relentlessly macho diving world of the 1940s and '50s, despite her gender and diminutive stature.

This July, Scientists Want You to Look for Sharks. The Shark Trust is asking divers and snorkelers worldwide to join their Great Shark Snapshot and record every shark, ray, and skate you spot between July 24 and July 31. That information will be added to the Shark Trust's Shark Log, allowing shark scientists to build a picture of species distribution and any changes that occur. If possible, take photos or videos, but at least write down what you spotted. Go to the website to get more information and register.

Lithium-ion Fire Aboard? In a reminder of the Conception disaster, the fire aboard the Felicity Ace freighter mid-Atlantic, loaded with more than 4,000 German luxury cars, proved difficult to extinguish because of lithium-ion batteries in some of the cars. Fire-fighters would usually use sea-water hoses, but that only worsens a lithium-ion fire. All 22 crew were safely evacuated from the stricken vessel, but if you're waiting for a new car delivery, note that the Felicity Ace sank with $400 million-worth Porsches, Audis, Volkswagen, and Bentleys on board.

World Nature Photographer of the Year. Amos Nachoum, once a resident of Israel and now California, was the 2021 Gold winner and Grand Prize winner in the category 'Behavior - Mammals' with a remarkable underwater photograph of a leopard seal taking a penguin in a shallow lagoon in the Antarctic. Amos entitled it "Facing Reality."

You Can Now Skip the Sudafed.You shouldn't dive with a stuffed-up head, but there may be a new cure for your stuffy nose: good sex. The British Medical Journal reported on a study led by Olcay Cem Bulut of the University Hospital in Heidelberg and colleagues in Heilbronn, Germany, and York, England, involving 18 professional healthcare workers and their partners, one or both suffering from nasal congestion. The study won the BMJ medicine prize, perhaps confirming Freud's thought that the nose and the genitals are connected.

New Site for Tiger Shark Diving. After the harbor at Fuvahmulah Island in the Maldives was built in 2005, fishermen would dump their unwanted fish cleanings and fish bones outside the harbor wall. Once divers noticed that assorted sharks were aggregating to feed there, a shark diving industry developed. Currently, seven dive centers operate there, with more to open soon. It's now been discovered that tiger sharks gather at the harbor's entrance. Meanwhile, The Cayman Islands Department of Environment confirms a 10-foot tiger shark has been seen feeding on the corpse of a turtle off South South, Grand Cayman.

Disappointment with Coral in French Polynesia. In early 2019, mass bleaching devastated coral reefs around the French Polynesian island of Moorea, affecting more than 80 percent of Acropora coral in some areas. A few months later, marine biologists noticed that some of the bleached coral colonies seemed to have bounced back. By the end of that year, they had regained their colorful algal symbionts and appeared completely healthy. But as the adage goes, looks can be deceiving. Scientists led by Sarah Leinbach, a graduate student at Auburn University (AL), show that even though the bleached coral colonies had a seemingly miraculous superficial recovery, they had lower energy stores and produced fewer eggs than their unbleached counterparts. Hakai Magazine

19th Annual International Ocean Film Festival, the first held since 2019, will take place at the Cowell Theatre in San Francisco April 7-10 and will be offered online beginning April 11. Films have been entered in nine categories, including those by female directors, diversity/equity/inclusion, environmental, and wildlife. Tickets will go on sale March 10.

Snorkelers at Risk in Western Australia? Pig carcasses have been found dumped in the ocean at a popular snorkeling spot. Two scuba divers found a dead shark under a jetty in Kwinana with a scaffolding coupling on it as ballast, presumably being used as a lure. Perth scuba divers believe that trophy hunters are scattering chum to attract sharks to swimming beaches, and they want it banned. They're supporting a proposed law in Freemantle to prohibit fishing for sharks using metal hooks or spearguns, or using blood or chum as a lure.

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