TWARS (This Week at Reef Seekers) - November 21-28

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Ken Kurtis

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Cayman, Tires, Sylvia Earle, and more
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Turkey Day is almost upon us . . .

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY - Everyone knows about Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving and usually the busiest shopping day of the year) but don't forget about Small Business Saturday, which is the following day. It's meant to encourage you to ditch the madness at the mall and patronize smaller mom-and-pop type stores, and our local dive shops certainly fit that description. So if you're got dive gear on your holiday shopping list for someone, this coming Saturday will be a great day to swing by your LDS and check that item off.

I'VE CLEARED POST-COVID DIVE PROTOCOLS - I'm involved in a diver-specific post-COVID study through UCSD where they lay down specific markers to pass for you to be able to resume diving. In my case, considered a mild infection, that includes having a clear chest x-ray and a normal-range spirometry test, both of which I took and passed last week. I've still got to wait a few more weeks to clear Aquarium of the Pacific protocols (90 days regardless of the severity of your infection) but I hope to get back in the Pacific Ocean water soon. So if any of you have your eye on the December 8 Avalon Underwater Park trip, that's a distinct possibility.

COVID IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS - Cayman is been scheduled to re-open to international tourism as of today (Sunday) and that seems on-track despite a surge in their COVID cases in the last month or so. Although 78% of the island's population is fully vaxxed, they seem to be seeing a number of break-through infections. In this past week, their positivity rate for those getting tested was 15%. To put that in perspective, the positivity rate in L.A. County for the past seven days was 0.98%. Although those infected seem mainly to be locals, if you've got a trip planned to the Caymans in the near future, exercise caution and follow CDC mitigation precautions like wearing a mask and social-distancing. You can read more about the Cayman situation here: CAYMAN COVID.

ABANDONED TIRES TRAP HERMIT CRABS AND KILL THEM - We've all doubtless seen tires lying on the ocean floor in some of the places where we dive. (Something Special in Bonaire immediately comes to mind.) Because of the shape of the tire, the crabs can easily crawl up and in, but then they can't get out. A study of 1300 hermit crabs placed inside tires showed that none of them were able to escape. (They were released by their minders later on.) These tires are sort of like ghost fishing nets that keep on killing once they've been discarded. So the next time you see a tire in the ocean, check for hermit crabs and set them free. Here's more info: HERMIT CRABS AND TIRES.

SOBERING REMINDER - I was alerted to a dive fatality this past week that was apparently triggered by running out of air. So it's a good prod to remind you to always check your air. You can't over-check but you can certainly not check often enough. My rule of thumb is that if you've consumed more than 500psi since you last looked, you're not looking often enough. Especially as we head into the holiday season, your demise from an easily preventable accident is not a burden you want your loved ones to have to bear.

CONFIRM ITINERARIES - If you've got travel coming up in the next few months, especially if it's foreign travel, make sure you confirm your itineraries a week or so before your trip. The flights you booked months ago may have been re-routed, changed, or canceled. This may be especially true if you're flying into (or through) a place that's only recently re-opened for foreign tourism. Also make sure that you check entry & exit COVID requirements, as well as any mitigation measures - quarantine upon arrival, masks, business closures, etc. - that will be in place while you're visiting as they could have changed in the time since you planned your trip. Too much info is a good thing and most countries now have a COVID page on their websites.

WANNA SPEND SOME TIME WITH DR. SYLVIA EARLE? - It's electronic time, but time nonetheless. Her Deepness is giving a Zoom/FaceBook talk on Wednesday, December 1, at 4PM Pacific Time, sponsored by the National Aquarium of Baltimore. It doesn't appear that you have to have a FaceBook account to view the live talk. This is the link. I'll be there and hope you will too: SYLVIA EARLE SPEAKS - DEC. 1 @ 4PM.

And that'll do it for now. Have a great week and let's go diving soon!!!

- Ken​
 
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