Undercurrent — Consumer Reporting for
the Scuba Diving Community since 1975
November 22, 2009
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Anatomy of a Dive Lawsuit – Part I: Dive veteran and frequent Undercurrent contributor Bret Gilliam wrote a report about a recent trial for which he was an expert witness and litigation consultant. The families of two divers gone missing and presumed dead while diving with the Okeanos Aggressor at Cocos Island filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the Aggressor Fleet. The case involves issues directly affecting anyone diving with a dive operator anywhere in the world. Read Bret’s summary of the incident for free in the September issue – go to www.undercurrent.org and click on “Anatomy of a Dive Lawsuit. To read Part II about the ensuing trial and the verdict, you’ll have to subscribe! http://www.undercurrent.org/UCnow/join.shtml
Your Ticket to the DEMA Show: Dive shops knocked down the suggestion of having the annual DEMA trade show open to the public but you can skip the time and cost of four days’ worth of conference attendance and see the highlights online. The Underwater Channel filmed four episodes of the Orlando event earlier this month, each approximately 15 minutes long. Two hosts travel the trade floor and interview dive business reps about the latest wares they plan to sell to you, from shark dives and faster scooters to video housings and “diving jewelry.” See all four videos, titled “DEMA Show” on the top of the page here: www.theunderwaterchannel.tv/videos.
Make This Your 2010 Calendar: The British marine conservation group Bite-Back is selling a calendar with 12 shots by the world’s most famous underwater photographers and using the proceeds to fight overfishing and shark-finning. (It persuaded major U.K. supermarkets to stop selling threatened fish species, and convinced the only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant to stop offering shark-fin soup.) Photographers like Amos Nachoum and David Doubilet offer up images of sharks, eels, rays and whales at their favorite dive sites. Buy it at www.bite-back.com/oceans_twelve.htm.
Accept My Special Offer: Accept my special offer to subscribe to the online edition of Undercurrent in the next 24 hours and I’ll send you FREE the all-new, 480 page 2010 Travelin’ Diver’s Chapbook. You just can’t plan a dive trip without the inside information Undercurrent has to offer. You no longer have to wait for an issue to arrive in the mail. — read it online on the first of the month for this new low price. And, with the all new 2010 Travelin’ Diver’s Chapbook you’ll have at hundreds upon hundreds of reviews of more than 200 dive resorts and liveaboards around the world. Water temperature, food quality, whether there are big fish left, is the diving really unlimited or are you held to two tanks a day, what rooms to avoid … everything you need to know to make your trip perfect. And Undercurrent members have scores of new reports, plus, important new stories on diver safety — how our reviewer drifted nearly three hours off the Florida Coast, rescue devices, that big law suit against the Aggressor Fleet, why diver’s don’t tell the truth on their medical forms, and much much more. All this for the special low price of $34.95 — half the regular price. If you’ve never subscribed before, go to http://www.undercurrent.org/halfprice. If you have an old username, you can use that — use coupon c10 and click on this link https://www.undercurrent.org/secure/UCnow/OMaccountCenter.php?omcoupon=c10 , or get a new username at http://www.undercurrent.org/halfprice . As an online member you can use our powerful search engine to access ten years of Undercurrent issues and Chapbooks, chock full of feature on travel, equipment, safety, and health. And, at anytime during the first year if you are dissatisfied for any reason, I’ll refund your full $34.95.
The Travelin’ Diver’s Chapbook: Chock full of hundreds of great dive travel reviews — the good, the bad, the ugly. Everything you need to know to plan your next trip. It’s mailed free to our subscribers but even though you don’t subscribe, you can still buy a copy at https://www.undercurrent.org/secure/UCnow/chapbook2010.html
How to Beat Airplane Carry-on Restrictions: I found a great way to fit all my stuff appropriately and bring it onboard without going over the over the carry-on limitations and luggage weight limits. Read about my solution in the October issue’s “A Smart Way to Beat Carry-on Restrictions,” available for free at Undercurrent
Diving Indonesia’s Raja Ampat, by Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock: Here’s a definitive guide book on what the authors call “the greatest repository of tropical marine life on earth.” And anyone who has dived it knows they speak the truth. This 146-page book is filled with descriptions of mind-blowing dive sites, along with good descriptions of the area, the people and what you need to know to dive there. And the photos of unusual critters will knock your socks off. Whether or not you think you’ll ever get to Raja Ampat, you should own this book just to nurture your dreams. Order it now by going to Undercurrent and clicking on a photo of the cover, and our profits will go directly to tropical reef conservation.
Kudos to Undersea Hunter: We have to give this Cocos Island liveaboard a thumbs-up based on the story subscriber Bernadette Latin told us about her July trip, and how the crew went out of their way to help a struggling turtle. Read the details in our “Thumbs Up” piece from our October issue at Undercurrent
Disgusting Diners Eat Fish Alive: British newspapers are highlighting this sad-to-watch video (www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6595481/Chinese-diners-eat-live-fish-in-YouTube-video.html) of a live fish, partly fried and still breathing and wriggling as Chinese diners laugh while eating it with chopsticks. It’s not a laughing matter, as scientific evidence shows that fish and other marine life do feel pain. The upside is this video has gotten 120,000 clicks on YouTube in just one week, and PETA is up in arms. A quoted Chinese embassy spokesperson was on the defensive, stating that Westerners do fox hunting and bullfighting. True, but laughing while eating a live fish is disgusting no matter what culture you are from. We can only hope PETA and other groups keep putting the pressure on China and other countries that cause overreaching damage to marine animals and their habitats.
Mexico Diving: I just made a brief trip to Baja, which I’ll soon write about, but if you’ve been south of the border and you have a heart for dogs, it has to get broken every time you’re in Mexico. OK, so this isn’t about diving but I still want to turn you on to a fantastic group of gringos, headed by a magnanimous young female veterinarian who regularly takes volunteers to Mexico to spay and neuter hundreds of dogs at a time, and rescue and bring back scores that are ready for adoption. I support Compassion Without Borders, both with my money and my time. Get details about the group and the “Meximutts” they care for at www.compassionwithoutborders.com.
See Video of Fish at 25,000 Feet: An international team led by the University of Aberdeen has photographed the deepest-living fish ever, swimming at levels of 25,000 feet below the surface. The bizarre-looking, pale-pink creatures have been found in the Pacific’s Japan Trench north of the equator, and a similar-looking but different species in the Kermadec Trench near New Zealand. See video of them swimming around in this BBC News article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8353329.stm
Ben Davison, editor/publisher
Divers’ Blogs: See what you’ve been missing from leading industry pundits: Bret Gilliam lambasts the “scuba police”, gives you the skinny on some maritime trivia, and recounts a horrifying incident and how one diver handled it all; Bob Halstead will keep you in stitches with his modeling tale and makes the case for brief dive briefings; John Bantin gives us the low-down on closed circuit rebreathers and why training is so important; and Doc Vikingo debunks the use of oxygen as a sure-fire speed-up in healing. These and other posts are available now for free at www.undercurrent.org/blog. [Note that you can comment and/or rate all of these posts – make your voice heard.]
The Divers’ Forum: If you have a question about which liveaboard to choose, or which dive computer I divers prefer, or looking for a buddy for a trip, or basically anything relating to diving, and haven’t found the answer yet — just post it on our Divers’ Forum (www.undercurrent.org/diving_forum). It’s available to the diving public for free. Or you may find the answer there already — there’s been lots of activity lately with posts about Cozumel to Comores Islands, and everywhere in between.
Website Tip: Our subscribers publish detailed reviews on dive trips around the world every day. There’s over 5,000 on our site and hey’re organized for efficient searching and retrieval. Start either at one of the reader report pages (start at http://www.undercurrent.org/UCnow/dive_reviews/all_destinations.html ) or dive destination guides (linked from http://www.undercurrent.org/UCnow/WorldIndx.shtml )
Dave Eagleray, webmaster
Note: Our travel writers never announce their purpose, are unknown to the destination, and receive no complimentary services or compensation from the dive operators or resort. Dive trips listed in our emails must be offered by a well-regarded operation that has been reviewed positively by our readers. The operator must include a special offer for Undercurrent subscribers and supporters. Undercurrent is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization and in some cases the operator has made a donation.