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Undercurrent — Consumer Reporting for
the Scuba Diving Community since 1975

Dive News

October 6, 2009

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Serious Problems with 20,000 Halcyon Over Pressure Valves: Virtually everything Halcyon manufactures with an over pressure valve – BCDs, surface marker buoys, safety sausages, lift bags, etc., has been recalled because of leaking valves which can deflate the devices and eliminate their buoyancy. This recall involves the Halcyon Explorer, Eclipse, CCR35, Evolve and Pioneer BCDs and Halcyon Surface Marker Buoys, Lift Bags, Diver Alert Markers (DAMs) Surf Shuttle and Diver Lift Raft Inflatable Devices. “Halcyon” is printed on the equipment. The recalled items were sold between January 2006 and December 2008. If you’ve got a piece of gear with this valve, return it to an authorized Halcyon dealer for a free replacement of the overpressure valve spring. Contact Halcyon at (800) 425-2966 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday; Web site is; email address is If you had an incident using any of this gear, report it at

The Fragile Edge, Diving and Other Adventures in the South Pacific: Documentary film maker and diver Julia Whitty paints a mesmerizing scientifically rich portrait of the coral reefs of the South Pacific. Her thoughtful and spiritual vision provides unique reporting of encounters with humpbacks, hammerheads eagle rays and the usual reef inhabitants, described in a lyrical, beautiful verse rarely found in book aimed at literate divers. I think the review in O, the Oprah magazine says it best: “The product of a scientist’s mind, a sociologist’s eye, a Zen Buddhist’s soul, and a poet’s heart, it is at once a call to action, a natural history, a love song and a prayer … about our oceans, it’s reefs and critters”. Paperback, 292 pages. Click here ( to get it at’s best prices. Undercurrent’s profit from this sale and anything else you buy during this transaction will go to preserve coral reefs. Current price $10.17.

Well Done, Palau: In our June e-newsletter, we told you about Palau’s Senate bills to allow and expand shark fishing and finning. Now the country has done an about-face. On September 25, President Johnson Toribiong announced a nationwide ban against commercial shark fishing during a speech at the United Nations. While a few countries like the Maldives have initiated some shark protection, Palau takes it to a whole new level as its ban will apply to waters covering an area the size of Texas. With just 20,000 people, the tiny country will have trouble enforcing the ban but in his speech, Toribiong urged other countries to follow Palau’s lead. Bravo.

Special Discounted Introductory Offer: Sign up now for a one-year trial membership to Undercurrent for $29.95, $10 off the standard offer. PLUS that includes a free (hard)copy of our Travelin’ Divers’ Chapbook 2010, with reviews of more than 1,000 dive resorts and liveaboards worldwide (due to postage costs, the Chapbook is only available to US and Canadian residents). Sign up for this special offer to email subscribers now here (

The Cove: This remarkable documentary describes the annual round up in a small Japanese town of more than 2000 dolphins, not only to capture a few to send to circus school, but to butcher the rest for meat. It follows the clandestine effort of film maker Louie Psihoyas and his crew to sneak in under the cover of darkness to film the event. It’s raised international consciousness worldwide, but it needs to be translated into Japanese to motivate the citizens of that country to stop the slaughter. See the trailer at and make your donation.

California Scuba Diver Makes Fatal Error: When you’re on the surface, don’t take off your BCD if you are still wearing your weight belt. Sadly, Daniel Forchione, 46, overlooked that basic rule and died September 29 while scuba diving off the coast of Point Loma. According to Rich Sillanpa, president of Dive Connections in Mission Bay, Forchione had completed a second dive and was heading back to the boat when he became separated from his two companions. Forchione took off his tank at the surface, but still had his weight belt on and it appears he may have panicked and sank, Sillanpa said. Something all we divers must keep in mind.

Divers Descend on The Philippines: We’ve often praised the country for its inexpensive dive tourism and good range of healthy dive sites. The number of visiting divers grew by 63 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Cebu, Bohol and Palawan were the most visited. The number of American divers increased by 37 percent, thanks to recession-friendly prices. We have plenty of reader reports about dive resorts all over the Philippines at Undercurrent. Clicking on “Dive Travel” followed by “Instant Reader Reports,” then scroll down to “Philippines.”

Anatomy of a Dive Lawsuit – Part I: Dive veteran and frequent Undercurrent contributor Bret Gilliam has reported on a recent trial where 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 Undercurrent and click on “Anatomy of a Dive Lawsuit. To read Part II about the ensuing trial and the verdict, you’ll have to subscribe!

Coming Up in Undercurrent: Become an online member ( so you can read these great stories – - Part II of Bret Gilliam’s article about the lawsuit against the Aggressor Fleet filed by families of two dead divers at Cocos Island . . . arguing for and against giving your health history to the dive operator . . . are ear plugs a good idea for divers . . . a handy way to beat airlines’ excess luggage fees and restrictive carry-on rules for your next dive trip . . .can you really use a cell phone underwater . . . and much more. Click here to sign up (

Ben Davison, editor/publisher

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