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February 2023    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 49, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the February, 2023 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

PADI Reacts at Last. PADI instructors must now be educated about what they are teaching. After an eye-popping out-of-court settlement with the family suing PADI over the death of 18-year-old trainee diver Linnea Mills in a cold Montana lake in November 2020, they have changed their requirements for those teaching drysuit courses. To teach any drysuit diver on Open Water, Advanced, and Specialty courses, an instructor must now be certified as a drysuit specialty instructor. PADI will also require their divemasters to have additional certification. More about the tragic Linnea Mills case in the March edition of Undercurrent.

Chuck Nicklin - Another Great One Gone. We seem to be losing lots of pioneering divers these days. Chuck Nicklin passed at the age of 95 on December 7. He was one of three underwater cameramen filming The Deep and a resident of La Jolla, CA, where he had started a dive shop in 1959. His fortunes changed after he freed a whale entangled in netting and became celebrated as "The Man Who Rode the Whale." His other underwater filming credits included two 007 films: For Your Eyes Only and Never Say Never Again. Perhaps his most significant legacy was mentoring future giants of underwater photography Marty Snyderman, Howard Hall, and his son, Flip Nicklin. He continued to dive well into his nineties.

Mosquitoes Chase You on Dive Trips? Pregnant women are more attractive to mosquitoes, as is someone who has had a few beers. Now, researchers at Rockefeller University have found that people with higher levels of carbolic acid on their skin are 100 times more attractive to the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, which haunts you wherever you dive. For unclear reasons, the acid your body generates smells like cheese or smelly feet, which attracts female mosquitoes hunting for human blood. You can't cover it up with perfume or cologne. The best you can do is to take a shower to cut down those juicy compounds, especially around your feet. (Teddy Amenabar, Washington Post)

A Horrific Shark Attack. The British Sun newspaper reports a 19-year-old Mexican diver was decapitated in front of horrified fishermen by a giant great white shark in an attack on January 6. Nineteen-year-old Manuel Lopez had been collecting scallops in Tobari Bay in the Sea of Cortez using surface-supplied air. Local divers and anglers had not been out for several days due to the presence of large white sharks. Another British newspaper, the Daily Star, added, "It is believed that Lopez ignored the warnings because he needed to fish to make money. He is one of many divers and fishermen who pay the local government a yearly fishing stipend of around $385 to fish there." The Daily Mail reported that last February, another diver was killed by a shark in the waters off the Sonora town of Yavaros.

Funding His Dive Trips with Federal Money. Diving in exotic places can prove expensive, but Jeffrey T Parsons-Hietikko, a prominent HIV/AIDS researcher, was caught using federal research funds to take lavish scuba-diving trips in the Cayman Islands, Fiji, and Belize He has agreed to repay the federal government $375,000 You can get a lot of dives in for that kind of cash.

The winner of the World Shootout underwater photography competition

The winner of the World Shootout underwater photography competition announced at the Boat Show in Düsseldorf, Germany, this year is Italian underwater photographer Claudio Ceresi His award for the best photo of the year is a three-week, $10,000 Papua New Guinea diving vaca-tion for two Prizes totaled $267,000 in value You can view the winners' entries in 12 categories at

Murina. The Croatian word for "eel" is also the title of a thoughtful, highly regarded subtitled film, with a back story filled with spearfishing and scuba (wow, those Mediterranean waters are devoid of fish) Murina is the tale of a girl on the cusp of womanhood, struggling to leave the constraints of her dysfunctional family living in a charming Croatian cove Film critics give it high marks, as I do, but I'm a fan of "small" foreign films, so before you jump and rent from Prime or Hulu, check the review

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