Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Undercurrent Online Update for Subscribers

Undercurrent -- Consumer Reporting for
the Scuba Diving Community since 1975

Dive News

June 3, 2009

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Check Out Our New Blogs and Forum: We've started running blogs on our website, with updates coming regularly. You can read original pieces by the likes of Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock, Bret Gilliam, John Bantin, Doc Vikingo and even me, Ben Davison. Or go to our now-public online forum, post your questions, advise others, run your own commentary. Take advantage of the Undercurrent community at Undercurrent .

Belize Island Beachfront Acreage Available:
As Undercurrent has often reported, diving off Saint George's Caye is as good as it gets in Belize. Protected by the Barrier Reef, the nearby reefs are in fine shape with little diving pressure, though it's only a 20- minute boat ride from Belize City. Fred Good, who built the venerable Saint George's Lodge (one of our favorites) in 1977 and sold it in 2004, called to tell us he is selling a large beachfront parcel on St. George's. It's about three acres with 900 feet of beach frontage. It could accommodate a dive resort, up to three family compounds, or be subdivided into 12 building lots, and Fred is willing to actively consult or project-manage because he has already "been there" and "done that." There's a photo of the land above. For more photos and details, click on

Stop Shark Finning in Palau: Diving the famed Blue Corner won't be the same if Palau's politicians approve Senate Bill SB8-44 to permit commercial fishing for sharks and shark finning. A follow-up punch is SB8-50, which would encourage commercial fisheries in Palau's waters by granting them a five-year tax exemption. This would gut the 2004 legislation that banned shark fishing by foreign fisheries, one of the most ironclad laws in the Asia-Pacific area. To stop this nonsense, sign the petition sponsored by to keep the bills from becoming law: .

Take a Great Trip on Fiji's Nai'a and Support the Coral Reef Alliance: Join CORAL to celebrate its 15th anniversary by taking a dive trip from November 21 to 28 aboard the Nai'a, the 120-foot luxury liveaboard sailing vessel that Undercurrent readers love. You'll visit spectacular sites near Lomaiviti, Bligh Water and the Namena Marine Reserve. CORAL senior program staff will interpret what's happening underwater and discuss reef ecology and Fijian culture. You'll visit a village where CORAL is working with the community to preserve its reefs. Experience some of the world's best diving while supporting the people who depend on reefs for daily survival. Visit to learn more or reserve your spot now - the folks at CORAL tell us the trip is filling quickly.

Divers, Pick Paper Over Plastic: Undercurrent subscriber Hilton Fitt-Peaster (Boulder, CO) told us about a slideshow done by the Pocono Record showing how plastic bags make their way to the ocean and seriously harm - and kill - marine life on the reefs we dive.

Are You Unsatisfied with an Equipment Warranty?: We want to know if divers are satisfied with their regulator or computer warranties. Ever have a problem and need to get it resolved under the warranty? Have you had a problem with an item purchased from an Internet seller? Did it or the manufacturer honor the warranty? Has your dive shop handled a warranty problem for you? Let me know your experience, good or bad, by e-mailing your story to me at

Basic Underwater Photography: If you're just getting started or want a refresher course, for $5 you can download this just-published manual by writer and photographer Paul J. Mila. It's got everything you need to get good images by using just your camera's automatic settings. Get details and order the book at

Malaysia Search Called Off for American Diver: Malaysian officials have called off the search for Kenneth Wayne, who disappeared at sea on May 24, because weather conditions were too dangerous for the rescue divers. Wayne, 62, was sailing his 65-foot yacht Sampai Jumpa when it collided with another vessel 31 miles off Kuantan. Wayne, another diver and the three-man Thai crew had to jump into the sea after being rammed by the other boat, which kept on going. The other four were rescued a few hours later by a fishing boat but officials believe Wayne is trapped in the boat, lying some 130 feet deep in the sea.

Florida's Newest Artificial Reef Is Ready For Diving: After a decade of planning and an $8.6 million price tag, the General Hoyt S. Vandenberg was finally sunk on May 27 and is now a public dive site. Forty-four explosive charges sent the 524-foot-long boat 140 feet to the bottom, seven miles south of Key West. The Vandenberg was used to transport WWII troops, bring refugees to freedom, and as a setting for the sci-fi movie Virus. The topmost portion of this former Air Force missile tracker is at 40 feet, making it accessible to divers of all levels. Minutes after it sank, a sea turtle, a pod of dolphins, barracudas and a hogfish checked out the ship. Contact any Key West dive shop for details.

New Flights to Bonaire: American Airlines canceled its weekly flight to Bonaire last month, but Insel Air has stepped in with a weekly Saturday nonstop from and to Miami, starting July 4. Check flight times and prices at .

Lembeh Straits: Been diving there recently? What did you think of the fish life, especially on muck dives? Was it up to your expectations? Let me know by e-mailing your comments to

Coming Up in Undercurrent: Diving in Puerto Rico and on the Solomon Islands' Bilikiki: are they worth the trips . . . . . should you sauna before a dive? . . . where Hawaii's fish have gone - it's not just the fishermen taking them . . . how and where you can recycle used scuba gear . . . learn to master diving from a kayak . . . why what you eat affects how you dive . . . the best website for determining the dangers of certain overseas dive sites . . . and much more.

Ben Davison, editor/publisher
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