Over 40 years of diving the Asia/Indo – Pacific oceans, Neville Coleman visited many of the dive resorts and dived thousands of dive sites, from Japan to New Zealand and the Seychelles across to Mexico.
This World of Water dive travel introduction is not a critique, nor is it set up as a review. its a compliment to the dive travel industry of the Asia/Indo – Pacific.
Each resort is a singular entity, working under different regimes and one cannot be judged against another as they are all different.
Rather, this introduction recognises the individuality of each resort and concentrate on what a diver (from a diver’s point of view) might expect and what creatures might be encountered, or be seen there.
Copyrights Neville Coleman/ Roger Steene,
Wakatobi Dive Resort, Kapali Water Village
Montage Jorina van der Westhuizen
TEN WAYS A DIVER CAN PROTECT THE UNDERWATER ENVIRONMENT
Neville Coleman OAM: Project AWARE Board of Governors Asia/Pacific
(1)Dive carefully in fragile aquatic ecosystems, such as coral reefs.
Although, at first, they may look like rocks or plants, many aquatic organisms are fragile creatures that can be damaged or harmed by the bump of a tank, knee or camera, a swipe of a fin or even the touch of a hand. It is also important to know that some aquatic organisms, such as corals, are extremely slow-growing. By breaking off even a small piece, you may be destroying decades of growth. By being careful, you can prevent devastating and long-lasting damage to magnificent dive sites.
(2) Be aware of your body and equipment placement when diving.
Much damage to the environment is done unknowingly. Keep your gauges and alternate air source secured so they don’t drag over the reef or bottom. By controlling your buoyancy and taking care not to touch coral or other fragile organisms with your body, diving equipment or camera, you will have done your part in preventing injury to aquatic life.
(3) Keep your diving skills sharp with continuing education.
If you haven’t dived in a while, your skills (particularly buoyancy control) may need sharpening. Before heading to the water, seek bottom time with a certified assistant or instructor in a pool or other environment that won’t be damaged by a few bumps and scrapes. Better yet, take a diving continuing education course such as PADI Scuba Review, the PADI Adventures in Diving course or a PADI Specialty Diver course.
(4) Consider your impact on aquatic life through your interactions.
As every diver soon learns, very few forms of aquatic life pose a threat to us. In fact, some creatures even seem friendly and curious about our presence. As we become bolder and more curious ourselves, we may even feel compelled to touch, handle, feed and even hitch rides on certain aquatic life. However, our actions may cause stress to the animal, interrupt feeding and mating behaviour, introduce food items that are not healthy for the species or even provoke aggressive behaviour in normally non-aggressive species.
(5) Understand and respect underwater life.
Through adaptation to an aquatic environment, underwater life often differs greatly in appearance from life we are used to seeing on land. Many creatures only appear to look like plants or inanimate objects. Using them as food for other animals can leave a trail of destruction that can disrupt a local ecosystem and rob other divers of the pleasure of observing or photographing these creatures. Consider enrolling in a PADI Underwater Naturalist or AWARE Tropical Fish Identification course.
(6) Resist the urge to collect souvenirs.
Dive sites that are heavily visited can be depleted of their resources in a short period of time. Collecting specimens, coral and shells in these areas can strip their fascination and beauty. If you want to return from your dives with trophies to show friends and family, you may want to consider underwater photography.
(7) If you hunt and/or gather game, obey all fish and game laws.
You may be among the group of divers who get pleasure from taking food from the aquatic realm. If you engage in this activity, it is vital that you obtain proper licensing and become familiar with all local fish and game rules. Local laws are designed to ensure the reproduction and survival of these animals. Only take creatures that you will consume. Never kill anything for the sake of killing. Respect the rights of other divers who are not hunting. Avoid spearfishing in areas that other divers are using for sight-seeing and underwater photography. As an underwater hunter, understand your effect on the environment.
(8) Report environmental disturbances or destruction of your dive sites.
As a diver, you are in a unique position to monitor the health of local waterways, lakes and coastal areas. If you observe an unusual depletion of aquatic life, a rash of injuries to aquatic animals, or notice strange substances or objects in the water, report them to local authorities, such as the local office of the Environmental Protection Agency or similar organisation in your country.
(9) Be a role model for other divers in diving and non-diving interaction with the environment.
As a diver, you realise that when someone tosses a plastic wrapper or other debris overboard, it is not out of sight, out of mind. You see the results of such neglect. Set a good example in your own interactions with the environment, and other divers and non-divers will follow suit.
(10) Get involved in local environmental activities and issues.
You may feel you can’t save the world, but you can have a great impact on the corner of the plant in which you live and dive. There are plenty of opportunities to show your support of a clean aquatic environment, including local beach clean-ups and attending public hearings on matters that impact local coastal areas and water resources. Know all sides of the aquatic environmental legislative issues and make your opinions known at the ballot box.