TWARS (This Week at Reef Seekers) - June 3-10

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Ken Kurtis

Reaction score
Beverly Hills, CA
# of dives
5000 - ∞
Want to travel??? Upcoming 2018 vacation trips:

• June 8-20 - Yap Immersion (Leaving this Friday!!!)

• August 18-25 - Isla Mujeres (Whale Sharks, Cancun Underwater Museum, Cenotes)
• October 27 - November 3 - Roatan at Anthony's Key (3 SPOTS LEFT)

Upcoming local dives & classes:

• Thu., June 28 (re-sked) - CLASS - NAUI Nitrox ($25)
• Sat., June 30 - Catalina Express - Avalon Underwater Park ($150)
• Thu., July 12 - CLASS - Fish ID ($25)
• Sat., Aug. 4 - Catalina Express - Avalon Underwater Park ($150)
• Sat., Aug. 11 - Redondo - Navigation (single tank - $25)

To sign up for any of these dives, either call us at 310/652-4990 or e-mail us at

Lovely weekend . . .

WHAT A DIFFERENCE SPATIAL ORIENTATION MAKES - By that, I mean which way a specific beach faces for those doing shore diving. (I couldn't think of another way to phrase it.) But it looked like Redondo - facing west - was a bit chopped up over the weekend and marginally diveable. Malibu - facing south - looked much better and calmer. The point being that just because one area is wiped out, it doesn't mean everywhere is. I remember one time years ago that we drove all the way down to Laguna to what was then called Scotchman's Cove and it was big surf and not diveable. We decided to come back up the coast and check a couple of places along the way, which were also not diveable. But when we got to Malaga Cove, which sort of faces NW and is somewhat protected, it was like it was a totally different ocean. And we had a wonderful dive. So if you're into shore diving, make sure you understand the pluses and minuses of the various beaches you frequent because you may find that when one is not to your liking, another one will be just fine.

LEAVING FOR YAP FRIDAY - We're very excited to be only days away from departing for Micronesia and another Yap Immersion experience (like we did last year). Our group is seven strong this year and we're hoping to be inundated with Mantas, Mandarinfish, Sharks, Stone Money, and all the other wonderful things that Yap and our friends at Manta Ray Bay Resort have to offer. This will be our 11th trip to Yap (#1 was in 2002) and it delights us every single time. It's definitely a schlep to get there, either routing through Honolulu and Guam and then into Yap, or through Tokyo into Guam and then down to Yap. (There's also an option to go through Manila before Guam.) But it's definitely worth it. The people are friendly, the diving is very good, you really feel like you're in a place other than home (I mean that in a good way), everyone speaks English, and the resort is simply world-class. (And yes, we're staying again in the Ken Kurtis Wing which are the rooms I always book for us.) Enjoy the trip with us vicariously as we should have an Internet connection and I will try to post the "Top 10 Pix" each day through both SmugMug and Facebook.

KNOW YOUR ROUTING - As I've said many times, and please always feel free to call us for advice or insights about this stuff, it pays to know your routing and understand the various possibilities. Normally for this trip, we go through Honolulu so it's LAX-Honolulu-Guam-Yap. It's usually an 8:30AM flight out of LAX, with a 3-4 hour layover in Honolulu and a 5+ hour layover in Guam. But I also happened to know that there's also a way to go LAX-Tokyo-Guam-Yap. There are a number of advantages to this. First of all, the flight you're connecting to in Guam is the same Guam-Yap flight as from Honolulu (there's only one). And the fact that the LAX-Tokyo flight leaves at 11:30AM means your total travel time is shortened by three hours. The other advantage comes in eating. For some unknown reason, United not only doesn't feed you LAX-Honolulu (5-hour flight) but they also don't feed you Honolulu-Guam (8-hour flight). So you either buy food on board, carry it on, or starve. However, they feed you TWICE on the LAX-Tokyo flight (11+ hours) and then again Tokyo-Guam. The Tokyo routing priced out about $40 more than through Honolulu and, given the shorter travel time and the food, it seemed worth it. (Plus it's a Boeing 787 which is a REALLY nice plane.) The other advantage is that the plane that flies you from Tokyo-Guam is physically the same plane that then goes from Guam-Yap so once you're on the plane in Tokyo, it's impossible to miss the flight to Yap (and there are only two flights each week). Just things to consider when you're setting up your own trip.

DON'T GET TOO CLEVER - Be careful at how you schedule things though. Again, this is why I'm happy to offer you whatever insights I can. You just need to ask. I know of one guy who booked himself into Yap and found a fare that was about $100 cheaper than the regular fare on United. But . . . it added 30 hours of extra travel time to his trip on the way back because of overnights plus he had to get two hotels, which sort of negated his savings. So the word to the wise is to be careful not to be TOO clever lest you end up making things more complicated than they need to be.

WATCH PRICES TOO - I mentioned this other week in regards to our Roatan trip where the Biz/1st fare has bounced all over the place. We got one ticket at $1,062 and then it shot up to $3,800. We got some other tickets then at $1,162 and then it shot back up. One of my divers saw it bounced back down to $1,600 so she grabbed it . . . and now it's back up at $3,800. So it definitely pays to shop and sometimes to gamble. You generally see more wild fluctuations in the Biz/1st fares than you do in Economy but even there, we were able to get most of our people in for around $600 and now it's at $800. But if you're just shopping price, make you that you know if you got a regular Economy ticket or a Basic Economy ticket. The latter are usually cheaper, but they come with many restrictions like no advance seat assignment, no carry-on, last boarding group, etc. make sure you know what you're buying. Also remember that for ANY ticket you buy, you can cancel without penalty up to 24 hours after the purchase is made. So once you've bought your ticket, keep an eye on prices for the next 24 hours.

TRASH IN THE OCEAN - It's always depressing to realize how much trash there is in the ocean. I read one study recently that was estimating that in as little as 30 years, there will be more plastic and trash in the ocean (by weight) than there will be fish. We CAN turn this around, but it takes a concentrated global effort. The debilitating effects of this floating trash is certainly evidenced by a very sad story coming out of Thailand this week, where a small pilot whale washed up, barely alive, and rescuers tried to save it, but to no avail. A necropsy was performed and it was found that the whale had 17 POUNDS of plastic in his stomach along with EIGHTY plastic bags. Animals mistake the bags for food and consume them, and then they get stuck inside. You can either just accept my word for this or depress yourself by reading the story here: Whale found in Thailand dies from eating over 80 plastic bags.

And on that cheery note, that'll do it for this week. Have a great week and we'll come to you from Yap the next two times. And when we get back, let's go diving soon!!!

- Ken

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