Undercurrent Online Update
For Non-Subscribers September 23, 2010
Consumer Reporting for the Scuba Diving Community since 1975
Videographer Travis Matteson was filming a school of mantas during a night dive at Kailua-Kona, HI, when the biggest manta of the bunch swam by, grabbed his $5,000 Canon underwater rig and swam away. With the camera still rolling the entire time, the manta got an opportunity to do some filming of its own. When it was done, the manta dropped the camera right below the boat, and did not leave a scratch on the rig. See video of the manta’s footage here.
There seems to be no end to the proliferation of websites related to diving, but very few, if any, become financially viable. Undercurrent is looking for merger partners, and if any website creator or owner out there, no matter how large or small the website, sees merit in the idea, email me at BenDavison@undercurrent.org.
Last week, Allen Sherrod of Groveland, FL, decided to break the Guinness World Records mark for longest scuba dive in open freshwater without resurfacing – the world record is five days, and he planned to stay down for seven. He says he decided to do it because, as his family owns a dive shop, he wanted to call attention to the pollution in area lakes. But Sherrod is also running for mayor of Groveland. Unfortunately, Sherrod ended his attempt early on the third day. He resurfaced at 2:30 a.m. on September 15, walking out of Lake David with help from fellow divers. He said he had the flu and became increasingly sicker underwater. Allen, we know politicians will do anything to win elections but next time you decide to go for a world record to gain votes, get your flu shot first.
REEF and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary held their inaugural Lionfish Derby on September 11 in Key Largo, and 100 divers rounded up 534 lionfish. The fish were then sent to Coconuts Restaurant and served fried or ceviche style. One dive team won $1,000 for capturing the most lionfish, 111 of them. Another team won $500 for bringing back the biggest one, measuring 10.6 inches. The next Keys Lionfish Derby will be October 16 in Marathon, followed by November 13 in Key West. Go to REEF’s website for details. And check out our upcoming October issue — we’ll have an article about lionfish in the Caribbean, whether there’s a tipping point for them and if so, what’s the worst-case scenario.
Despite all the Shark Week hoopla on the Discovery Channel that makes people fear sharks even more, an unusual group of people recently came out to support them: survivors of shark attacks. A group of nine survivors went to the United Nations building on September 13 to pressure UN members to halt shark finning. It has been more than a decade since 130 nations agreed to develop “shark management plans,” but only 40 countries have done so. All survivors said it wasn’t the sharks’ fault; they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Says Krishna Thompson, who lost his leg to a shark in 2001, “If I could endure such an attack and lose a limb and still support shark conservation, I don’t see why anybody else shouldn’t.”
In the Flotsam section of our September issue, we reported how Hollywood tough-guy actor Ving Rhames, most noted for Pulp Fiction and the Mission Impossible films, said he would never snorkel or dive again after meeting a scary-looking fish on the Great Barrier Reef. Based on his description of “a catfish and something with an oblongish-type head,” two Undercurrent readers think they know the answer. Elaine Stamman (Berkeley, CA) and John Hollinshead (Houston, TX) both believe Rhames saw a wobbegong. We think they’re right and while wobbegongs do bite, these bottom-swelling carpet sharks are generally not dangerous unless they’re provoked.
Cousteau has been dead for nearly 14 years but he left a profound legacy for every last soul on our water planet. He was committed, full of hopes and dreams, but the Cousteau Society crumbled in the 90s. It’s a sad story, one of many tales told in this excellent new book by Brad Matsen. The author goes into great detail about Cousteau’s development of diving and photography equipment, his outfitting the famous Calypso, and the traumas and joys of his decades aboard his beloved craft, bringing the undersea world to life for worldwide viewers. It’s a great tale of the sea and a must-read for any diver. Go to www.undercurrent.org to order the book via Amazon, and whatever profit Undercurrent accrues from the sale will go to support saving our seas.
This monthly e-mail is a free service to all divers out there but as a subscriber to Undercurrent, you’ll get 16 pages every month of solid information that’s not found in any other dive publication. Subscribe to our monthly batch of dive news you can use, and your next trip will be a better one. Give us a try thru December for only $10.80 here or add $1 and get a copy of the 2010 Travelin’ Diver’s Chapbook sent to you (US/CA only).
Our new book has 240 pages of the best of the unusual, entertaining and jaw-dropping stories Undercurrent has published during the past 35 years. They’re all true, though nearly unbelievable and always fascinating, like the stingray that gave the diver a hickey, an exploding tank that yielded $150,000 of cannabis, and buddy couples fighting with each other. We’re offering autographed copies for just $17.95. (Shipping/handling is $5 for U.S. resident, $9.95 for Canada; California residents add $1.80 for sales tax.) Go to Undercurrent and click on “Editor’s Book Pick of the Month” for details and to order online.
There’s lots of misconceptions about the risks of oxygen toxicity to one’s central nervous system, and the effects of “low dose” exposure. In the September article, free to read at Undercurrent, our longtime contributor Bret Gilliam clears up a confusing subject and describes what the real risks are for Nitrox-using divers.
Castle Comfort Lodge, Dominica . . . the reasons to dive Greece’s Aegean Islands . . . will Katie Price’s breast implants explode underwater? . . . dive operators at Mexico’s Guadalupe Island take shark tours to the extreme . . . California declares diving “hazardous” . . . the risks of oxygen at increased depths . . . two diver-friendly life insurance firms . . . and much, much more.
aboard a Philippines liveaboard . . . a British Columbia dive lodge … the worst-case scenario for the Caribbean’s lionfish invasion . . . a British dive shop was fined for its role in a diver’s death; why don’t we do the same over here? . . . readers tell us about bad dive guides who wrecked their dive trips . . .diving and erectile dysfunction . . . what you can do to help convince Bahamas not to allow shark finning in its waters. . . and much, much more.