Sunday, July 23, 2006

Undercurrent Online Update

Dive News
July 18, 2006

Malaria Risk in the Bahamas: In June, 18 people tested positive for malaria on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas. Of these, 2 were from the U.S., 1 from Canada, and 1 from Germany. The Centers for Disease Control ( is temporarily recommending that travelers to Great Exuma take chloroquine, an antimalarial medication, as a preventative (it requires a prescription), and use mosquito repellents containing 30 to 50 percent DEET. No cases of malaria have been reported beyond Exuma and there are no health advisories for other islands. (Centers for Disease Control, July 17)

See also: Travel Medicine
Biting Insects, Malaria and Lariam

Scubapro Recalls X650 Second Stages: A serious manufacturing error could cause the cover and diaphragm to become dislodged, interrupting air flow underwater: Affected X650 regulators have been sold overseas since 2004 and in the U.S. since mid-2005. Owners should contact Scuba Pro at (800) 808-3948 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PDT, Monday through Friday, or visit their website at The company promises to send out a free replacement regulator within 30 days.

Dangerous Error in Suunto Computer Software: Certain models of Suunto's D6 and D9 wrist computers have a software bug that may cause them to track time wrong when the computers automatically recalibrate to the correct time, or when the user updates the seconds in set mode. Suunto estimates these models will malfunction one out of 167 dives. When the error occurs, the computer shorts a dive by 25 percent and the surface interval by 25 percent. An hour dive would show as 45 minutes, an hour surface interval as 45 minutes. The error could seriously affect decompression requirements. The products affected are: D9, serial numbers 62102582 and below, and D6, serial numbers 62103693 and below. See Return it to your dealer or e-mail the Suunto Help Desk at Or call 1 800 543 9124 in the USA and Canada. Suunto is also providing the free update for computers purchased through gray marketers such as Leisure Pro.

Big Animal Encounters: No trip leader offers more thrilling trips for serious photographers than award-winning photographer Amos Nachoum. He's offering two in May 2007 to Malpelo and Cocos Islands, the first led by Dr. Sylvia Earle, a leading marine environmentalist and National Geographic resident scientist, the second by Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, astronaut and environmentalist. Boats are the SeaHunter and UnderSea Hunter. Undercurrent subscribers will get a five percent discount and free Nitrox. Contact him at or phone 415 923 9865. Visit

Fiji Fish Poisoning: Ciguetera poisoning can provide severe bends-like symptoms – heavy legs, exhaustion, tingling, prickling or numbness of the skin, abnormally low blood pressure, and slower than normal heart rate – that can last for months. It comes from eating affected fish, normally barracuda and larger fish that get it by ingesting smaller fish carrying the toxin. Though uncommon, it occurs worldwide cannot be detected in the flesh of the toxin-carrying fish. Undercurrent readers and others at the Kadavu Dive Resort in Fiji were struck after a fish dinner in late June. They didn't get proper treatment and are still reporting serous symptoms . See the full story in the August issue, as well as how to treat it should you encounter it.

See also:
Ciguatera references
50 references concerning ciguatera. ... [Ciguatera: from the etiology of the phenomenon to the treatment of its symptoms] ...

Ingested Toxins
CIGUATERA. The toxin, icthyosarcotoxin, is heat stable, lipid soluble and comes from the dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus. It is common in the tropics, ...

Help Save Coral Reefs: Undercurrent has raised more than $7000 for important projects to stop poaching and preserve reefs in Belize and Fiji. We need to double that amount. Please give back to the reefs you love my making a tax deductible contribution at We will send you a receipt acknowledging your tax deductible donation.

Reproduced with permission from Ben Davison, editor/publisher