Made up of a group of 80 rugged, volcanic islands that have been pushed up from the edge of the Pacific Rim, Vanuatu is one of the most popular offshore diving destinations for Australians.
With clear water, fantastic scuba diving, snorkeling, underwater photography, excellent facilities and a mutitude of species to discover, its no wonder scuba divers and eco tourists return year after year.
Vanuatu is made up of a group of 80 rugged, volcanic islands that have been pushed up from the edge of the Pacific Rim. These mountainous islands are on the subduction zone of two tectonic plates far below the surface and as such the continuous movement causes persistent tremors with minor earthquakes and permanently active volcanoes.
Shaped in a northwesterly shaped "Y" the combined land mass is calculated to be around 12,189 square kilometres surrounded by a vast ocean area of 450,000 square kilometres.
Very young in geological times it is thought they were first inhabited by the ancestors of people migrating from south-east Asia who moved down along the shores of Papua New Guinea and other Melanesian Islands to Vanuatu where evidence suggests they settled over 3000 years ago.
Each island area settled has evolved its own traditions with over 115 different languages in existence.
In May 1606 Pedro Fernandez de Quiros was the first European known to discover the group but individual islands were not claimed with names until 160 years later by the French National Antoine de Bougainville.
James Cook of the HMAS Resolution made the first maps and named the group New Hebrides. White settlers appeared in 1825, followed by adventurers, blackbirders and planters from England and France.
The Anglo-French condominium lasted from 1906 till around 1980 when Vanuatu became an independent republic, a nation unto itself.
Today there are around 200,000 mainly ni-Vanuatu inhabitants with over two-thirds living on the four main islands of Efat, Santo, Malekula and Tanna.
Mari Lava custom dance group from Santo performing
at Deco Stop Lodge, Luganville. (Santo)
(photo: Neville Coleman)
Port Vila is the capital of Vanuatu, gateway for visitors and an important business and commercial centre for Vanuatu and the South Pacific. The town of Port Vila is
a lively mix of services, offices, banks, duty free shops, restaurants, gift shops, boutiques, handcraft galleries, cafes, Chinatown and the colourful Port Vila market. A great place to meet the locals with their fruit, vegetables, shells, flowers, crabs, artefacts and souvenir stalls; the market operates every day except Sunday.
Port Vila is a wonderful potpourri of cultures, blending elements of Melanesia, English, French and Asian.
Set on a natural harbour, the seawall is a mecca for visiting cruising yachts and charter boats which provide easy access for reef or game fishing, diving, or cruising expeditions.
Cascades waterfalls at Vila are a must for every visitor.
Crystal clear freshwater pools for snorkelling or swimming.
( photo: Neville Coleman)
A trip around Efat by bus, rental car, or scenic flight will enhance your Vanuatu experience. Within one hour of Port Vila you can bathe in cascading waterfalls, ride a horse, or play golf. At the end of the day choose from dozens of restaurants, cafes and bars offering a variety of European and Pacific cuisines.
Traditional cultural life or "kastom" varies from island to island in Vanuatu. Pigs, particularly those with circular tusks (a national emblem) are an important part of the traditional economy used for exchange, rituals, ceremonies, and food as a sign of one's power and prestige. Traditional life revolves around ceremony and birth, death, marriage, status achievement; initiation, and the farming calendar, are significant celebrations.
Vanuatu is a land of diversity. Coral seas, tropical Islands and fish, volcanoes and rainforest. Snorkelling and wreck diving, game fishing or soft adventure, it's all there to enjoy in a country with a colourful history, a rich culture and a warm welcome.
Every island has its own history and unique traditions, so visiting one or several will enhance your Vanuatu experience.
Espiritu Santo Island
More commonly called Santo, this is the largest island in Vanuatu. Luganville, Vanuatu's second urban centre, was an important operations base during World War II. The American army left behind airfields and bomber wrecks, and sank their military equipment after the war providing the famous dive site Million Dollar Point, now inhabited by colourful fish and corals.
Sunk by a friendly mine during the second world war the President Coolidge is one of the most dived wrecks in the South Pacific. The captain, aware of its fate, ran it aground so that those on board could escape to land.
When the ship eventually sank it slid back so that its stern now lies in 70m of water, while the bow is in 16-18m.
For experienced divers the 200m long SS President Coolidge, a 1930s luxury liner, converted into a US troopship, lies in 20-70 metres of water. With consistently good visibility this is an impressive sight and only a five-minute drive from Luganville.
President Coolidge with its amazing collection of jeeps, trucks, cases of rifles and abundant sea life is the largest in-tact shipwreck accessible to scuba divers in the world.
The destroyer USS Tucker lies of Malo Island, another of about 20 good dive sites in the area. Renowned for its famous scenery, for example, the Blue Hole, Oyster Island and Champagne Beach, one of the finest beaches in the South Pacific, Santo also boasts Vanuatu's first national park which opened in 1993.
Picturesque by any standards, the Riri Riri River blue
pool at Santo is a mecca for macro wildlife.
(Photo Neville Coleman)
Vatthe Conservation Area. Set in over 2,300ha of protected jungle, this natural wonderland is home to native birds, coconut crabs, flying foxes, boa snakes and turtles. Santo's cocoa, coffee and coconut plantations provide key exports for Vanuatu in addition to cattle producing export quality beef.
Tanna is a unique combination of culture, adventure and mystery. Mt Yasur, one of the most accessible volcanoes in the world, is an exciting natural phenomenon and an outstanding fireworks display on a night visit. 360 metres above sea level and surrounded by an ash plain, Yasur is a fiery cauldron of molten rock spurting from the three vents.
As the most accessible active volcano in the world Mt Yasur's firey cauldron is a real eco-adventure experience.
(Photo: Dr John Platten – White Grass Ocean Resort – Tanna)
Every few minutes nature exhibits an expressive display. A cannonade of booming sound is followed by wild reverberations as eruptions shoot glowing ash and stones into the air. Many local people believe that the spirits of the dead live in Mt Yasur.
The "Family Beach" is a protected lagoon site at White Grass Ocean Resort, a perfect snorkel site for beginners.
(Photo: Dr John Platten – White Grass Ocean Resort)
Most Tannese people live a traditional lifestyle practicing the ancient customs of their ancestors including Kastom medicine, initiation and circumcision rites and the colourful Nekowiar.
Living separately from other Tannese, the John Frum Cargo Cult in Sulphur Bay observe strict community rules and celebrate their customs every Friday.
Beach Stone-curlew's Esacus giganteus generally inhabit undisturbed areas. They have an eerie nocturnal call and are regarded as uncommon.
(Photo: Dr. John Platten – White Grass Ocean Resort Tanna)
Tanna is also a minefield of adventure – the wreck of the Fijian, a sailing ship which sank in 1916 lies in 20 metres of water, wild horses inhabit White Grass Plains, there are white sandy beaches and the black sand of Imlao Beach, waterfalls, hot springs and the spectacular Yapilmai Cascades.
A favourite snorkel venue is the "Blue Hole" underwater lake, an incredible natural formation.
(Photo: Dr John Platten – White Grass Ocean Resort)
Port Resolution, a popular yacht anchorage was named by Captain Cook when he landed in 1774, attracted like most people by the great glow of Yasur in the night sky.
A rarity in the South Pacific, this dugong Dugong dugon is seen regularly at Epi Island; another visits Santo's President Coolidge.
(Photo courtesy Dr Franz Schmollerl EPI Island Resort)
Epi is the largest group of 12 islands, the Shepherd Group, immediately north of Efat.
Regarded as one of Vanuatu's most beautiful islands, Epi has plenty to offer: rainforest, white and black sand beaches, and a coconut plantation lined west coast.
Mountains, lakes, two submarine volcanoes and a resident dugong (sea cow) to swim with in Lamen Bay, add to the intrigue of Epi.
The original bungee jump; this yam harvest ceremony has been
seen by thousands of visitors to Pentecost Island.
(Photo courtesy – White Grass Ocean Resort Tanna)
Pentecost is famous for the Naghol or land diving ritual, which usually takes place on Saturdays in April and May, its significance being to guarantee a plentiful yam harvest in the following year.
Jumpers select their own vines and construct their platform on the jump tower, which can reach to 30 metres.
Pentecost is also known for its ritual dancing, mat and basket weaving and symbolic sand drawing.
With over 900 species of flowering plants known to grow on the islands there are a large number that also occur on other island groups in the Pacific. Some were distributed by natural occurrences (seed distribution) and settlers brought others in from other places.
Hibiscus flowers Hibiscus sp. have become part of
island life throughout the entire South Pacific.
Antelope orchids Dendrobium att. antenatum grow on tree trunks and branches in the forests. (Vila)
Of the 160 estimated species of orchids so far recorded 31 appear to be endemic species. Although there are many ground-dwelling orchids most of the endemic species grow as epiphytes attached to trees in the forests and lowlands.
Over 160 species of orchids have been recorded from Vanuatu, with at least 31 known to be endemic. Tokai orchid Dendrobium tokai
(Photo Neville Coleman)
As can be expected, the orchids of Vanuatu have an affinity with those in other areas such as Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Australia, the Malay Archipelago and other Pacific countries.
Vertebrate land fauna is made up with 12 species of bats, three species of rats, 19 lizards, two snakes and at least one species of frog (thought to be introduced from Australia).
Thought to come from South America, the Banded Green Iguana Brachylophus fasciatus is seen in local gardens and inhabits forest areas.
(Photo Neville Coleman)
Some species are widespread and also known from neighbouring island groups. Of the 124 insects, 64 butterflies and 73 species of land snails little has been published, though a large number appear to be similar to those inhabiting other South Pacific island nations.
Rainbow lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus occur across Vanuatu and can be seen wherever there are flowering trees.
(photo Neville Coleman)
There are around 121 species of birds recorded and of the 74 land and fresh water species, seven are known to be endemic.
Unfortunately, these are rarely seen due to their habitats being inland or around the mountain peaks on the larger islands.
Now endangered on the Australian mainland, Green
and Golden Bell Frogs Litoria aurea are plentiful in Vila and Santo.
(Photo Neville Coleman)
On road eco-tours around Santo a number of bird species were recognised including land rails, kingfishers, swallows, honeyeaters, finches, silver-eyes, falcons and emerald doves.
Many of the highland birds are very specialised and only found in narrow areas of habitat and although the avifauna has been very well researched, some species remain elusive and little studied.
Coconut Crabs Birgus latro are protected for
short periods during breeding season, but still remain on the menus.
(Photo Neville Coleman)
The 47 species of sea birds and shore birds are widespread. Eleven species nest on the islands and others are periodic visitors stopping over on their annual migrations.
Known locally as 'mullet', Jungle Perch Kuhlia rupestris
is one of the unique fish inhabiting the Blue Holes, Santo.
(Photo Neville Coleman)
During low tides, guides may take Eco-experience groups out and about around the reefs pointing out the various species and sharing the experience of learning and the wide diversity of creatures.
Walking upright across rubble banks through sandy pools rimmed with sharp coral and on slippery surfaces coated with microscopic algae requires some skill to avoid damage to persons or inhabitants.
In order to give their patrons the best and safest reef walk adventure some eco-minded resorts provide a box of protective footwear (sandshoes or gym boots) with lace up fronts and thick soles. Thongs and sandals are not adequate protection from sharp coral, or the spines of sea urchins or venomous fish, which may be hiding beneath the sand.
Reefwalking is a rewarding eco-experience.
Always ask permission and take nothing but pictures.
When choosing a path across the reef flats it is best to walk on the firmer flat areas and avoid walking directly on the corals.
This is just as much benefit to the reef walker as the coral, as many corals are fragile and will often collapse under the weight of a human often causing injury to unprotected ankles or shins or dumping the reef walker into the water or at worse onto the surrounding reef.
When walking in the shallows through pools or on submerged rubble try and shuffle each foot along rather than taking big steps where the foot comes down with the full body weight on it. In this way, small sting rays or stonefish can sense your approach and either move out of your way, or by shuffling you move past a stonefish instead of stepping directly on its raised spines.
Caution is the key element in reef walking.
Always wear a hat and a shirt for even if the breeze seems to be cooler or the sun weaker on an overcast day this is not the case. Every day in the outdoors is
a potential burn day. The surface water reflects the sunlight upwards so it is best to take precautions.
(Always obtain permission from operator, or village before reef walking).
Without doubt, the waters surrounding Vanuatu support a rich natural heritage of many thousands of species of sea creatures. Most of the larger forms are widespread and well known with at least three species of giant whales visiting offshore waters.
Two species of dolphins are regularly observed, as are three kinds of marine turtles, several sea snakes and even a dugong or two.
One of Vanuatus most beautiful species the flame angelfish Centropyge loricula
occurs in shallow and deep water. (Photo: Roger Steene)
There are over 500 species of marine fish, though this list is expected to increase substantially in the future.
Invertebrates include over 300 kinds of stony corals, 24 different sea cucumbers, several hundred molluscs, over 60 species of nudibranchs and nine sea grasses.
A regular inhabitant of shallow water, the lemon peel
angelfish Centropyge flavissimus has a blue cheek spine.
(Photo Neville Coleman)
All other phyla of sea creatures are subjects of ongoing fauna surveys by Neville Coleman's World of Water. However, gathering information of this nature is time consuming and presently limited due to the lack of trained personnel. Yet, even though our knowledge is still rudimentary it is already apparent the waters contain numbers of new undescribed species, unknown to the world.
Only discovered at Santo. Vanuatu in 2005, this new species Neville's Sea Whip Shrimp Periclimenes nevillei was found in only 3 metres of water and is fairly common at its type locality. Vanuatu has a very diverse and extensive marine fauna, it just needs more underwater fauna surveys to get it all recorded.
Once fauna survey listings are produced and books provide information on the visual features of known species the job of compiling records will become a continuous process that everyone can share in.
It is hoped that the publication of this book will provide an impetus, which will encourage such procedures to take place in the future. In this way everybody can assist in the discovery of Underwater Vanuatu and maintain a base line study of every dive site, adding value to every visitor and resident's experience.
HIDEAWAY ISLAND MARINE PARK
On night dives and early morning dives on Mele Reef it is possible to find living Pearly Nautilus Nautilus pompilius (which have left their vertical migration down to 600 metres) a bit late.
( photo: Neville Coleman)
The Vanuatu underwater post office is within the boundaries of the Mele Reef Marine Sanctuary. This area (in a similar process to the SS President Coolidge in Santo) is a declared preservation area and, as such, no spear fishing or aquarium fish collecting are permitted within the boundaries of the sanctuary.
Those responsible for having these areas declared as marine sanctuaries and reserves are to be congratulated as one of the most difficult processes associated with getting any marine sanctuary declared in developing countries in the difficulty in rationalising the value no-take areas provide for the entire community.
For marine sanctuaries to become part of everybody's future, methods must be found to provide more education for the traditional owners and their children and explore ways (jobs for the future) so that the villages can all share in benefits from marine eco-tourism besides respective land usage fees, examples of which are already in operation at many resorts.
UNDERWATER POST OFFICE (Marine Sanctuary)
Accessible to most snorkellers, the waterproof postcards
are actually posted in the underwater mailbox.
Situated at Hideaway Island the Underwater Post Office sponsored by Vanuatu Post is the only operational underwater post office in the world.
Only 50 metres from shore and at a mere three metres in depth the Underwater Post Office provides a unique experience to all people to participate in posting of the special waterproof postcards, which are then delivered across the entire world. Post office staff were specially trained by Hideaway Island's dive instructors.
SNORKELLING AND SCUBA DIVING
With 20 or more major tourist operators offering snorkelling and scuba diving adventure experiences from Efat, Santo, Bokissa Island, Epi Island, Tanna and others the opportunities are varied and comprehensive.
Each operator have their own specific dive sites that they visit on a regular basis and these are available on the information sheets or web sites provided by each.
Snorkeling is a wonderful introduction to the world of water.
Many resorts provide equipment and guides for visitors.
Vanuatu is a perfect place to learn to snorkel. Shallow and protected with a wealth of wildlife a mere arm's length away the ocean and its creatures provide a never-ending sense of amazement to all.
With the South Pacific Ocean providing such a wonderful opportunity, anybody can snorkel. It doesn't matter what body shape one has, with a short wetsuit, natural buoyancy or help from a vest or flotation assistance life jacket the lagoon and its wildlife can be everybody's enjoyment, from kids to retired kids.
However, like all adventure activities snorkelling is of greater pleasure if a few things are known beforehand. Always ensure that masks and fins fit properly. Always clean mask glass with soap, drip of detergent or ample spit to make sure it does not fog up and spoil the view.
Safe snorkeling is available on reefs off beaches around many of Vanuatu's larger islands.
Photo: Dr John Platten White Grass Ocean Resort
Remember, if you need to stand up while snorkelling, head for a sandy area. Try not to stand up on the coral, especially in the deeper lagoon areas as the corals are much more fragile and can be easily damaged.
Snorkelling on the surface means you are face to face with hundreds of easy-to-touch creatures. Investigation is fine but always be very careful how you touch animals. Some can sting, spine, abrade or bite. Even small fish being hand fed have small teeth and can draw blood.
Sea urchins are not good to touch as the spines are needle sharp and break off in careless fingers. Some sea cucumbers have sticky, noxious defensive organs, which are shot out from their anus when they are handled, so don't harass them.
Common sense should be applied at all times. If you are not sure, leave it alone and just look. Quite often dive guides give demonstrations on how to use mask and snorkel and this service is really necessary for beginners.
Diver observing a sea fan on the President Coolidge at Santo, Vanuatu.
( photo: Nigel Marsh)
Neville Coleman's diving expeditions, fauna surveys, photographic fauna surveys and marine life identification courses include every major group of marine life.
Neville Coleman's expertise in marine life identification extends to the identification of Algae, Sea Grass, Forams, Sponges, Stony Corals, Soft Corals, Sea Anemones, Sea Jellies, Zoanthids, Corallimorphs, Black Corals, Flatworms, Segmented Worms, Crustaceans, Barnacles, Shrimps, Rock Lobsters, Hermit Crabs, Squat Lobsters, Molluscs, Chitons, Univalves, Bivalves, Cephalopods, Octopus, Cuttlefish, Squid, Opisthobranchs, Nudibranchs, Sea Slugs, Bryozoans, Sea Mosses, Echinoderms, Sea Stars, Feather Stars, Brittle Stars, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers, Ascidians/Sea Squirts, Marine Fish, Sharks, Marine Reptiles, and Marine Mammals, all found in the waters around Vanuatu Islands and reefs.
( Copyright Neville Coleman)
Tanna people, White Grass Ocean Resort, Tanna.
( photo: Dr. John Platten – White grass Ocean Resort- Tanna)
The ideal tropical weather is the dry season (May to October). With temperatures around 23 this is known locally as winter. June, July and August are the coolest months with less humidity. November to April is the wet season or summer with temps up to 32, it is hot, humid with periods of heavy rain.
Offices and shops open 7.30-11.30am and 1.30-5.00pm Monday to Friday. Many shops open on Saturday morning. Local general stores open seven days. Siesta (lunchtime) is 11.30am-1.30pm when businesses and shops close. Restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, banks and the Port Vila market remain open.
The post office opens Monday to Friday 7.30am-4.30pm and Saturday 7.30am-11.30am for stamps, parcels, postcards, packaging, express mail service, facsimiles, phone cards, stamp collection and souvenirs.
Visitors do not need vaccinations, but anti-malarial medication is recommended. There are several private doctors and Port Vila and Espiritu Santo have hospital facilities. There are no dangerous land animals or insects. Urban water is safe to drink. Bottled water is readily available.
220-280 volts, mainly three-point plugs in hotels.
Neither tipping nor bargaining are practiced in Vanuatu.
Driving in Vanuatu is on the right-hand side of the road, so please take care. Cars and 4WD vehicles are available for hire. Buses are a great way to get around town. Any minibus with a Red B on the number plate will take you on its route in central Port Vila for 100VT and trips further afield cost 200VT. Taxis are metered, but for long rides negotiate the price in advance. Some taxis can be hired for a full or half day for sightseeing or trips around the island. Vanair flies to the other islands of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu's local currency is the Vatu (VT). Australian dollars and credit cards are widely accepts in Port Vila, however, the outer islands prefer Vatu. There are branches of the ANZ, Bank of Hawaii, NBV and Westpac in Port Vila where currency can be exchanged from Monday to Friday. VAT of 12.5% is charged.
Visas and entry requirements
All visitors must have a return/onward ticket and a passport with a four month minimum validity beyond their arrival date. For stays up to 30 days, nationals of Commonwealth and EU countries, Fiji, Japan, Norway, Philippines, South Korea, Switzerland and USA do not require visas. To extend permits (up to four months maximum) contact the Immigration Department, PMB 092, Port Vila. Tel: 22 354 Fax: 25 492.
Visitors' personal effects are duty free. Passengers over 15 years of age may bring into Vanuatu duty free: 250 cigarettes or 250g tobacco or 50 cigars; 1.5 litres of alcohol or wine; 250ml eau de toilette; 100ml perfume. Duty free goods can be purchased on all Air Vanuatu international flights, at airport or the duty free shops in Port Vila.
TEN WAYS A DIVER CAN PROTECT THE
Produced by PADI for Project AWARE
(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
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
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 toys or 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 Project 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
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.