Green Sea Turtle Nesting on Earth Day 2018

In the early hours of Earth Day, 22nd April 2018, a female green sea turtle was coming to an end of her journey as she finished laying the last of her 150 ping pong ball sized eggs in the sand close to the tree line at Gili Lankanfushi.

The adult turtle was around one meter in size with her carapace (shell) measuring around 80cm. After arriving on the beach just before high tide (at 4:30am) she searched for a safe spot to lay her eggs in an area where the sand was soft enough to dig a hole around 50 cm deep.

She succeeded on her second attempt and went into a trance to deliver her clutch. We did not want to disturb her but used this opportunity to assess her size and check the hole was deep enough for her eggs.

After a two-hour process, she began to make her way back to the ocean. Her energy levels were high and her timing impeccable as she re-entered the water at 6:15am, just before first light.

The nest is in an area that could be disturbed by hosts or guests walking, so we constructed a make shift boundary to protect the eggs from the pressure of human feet above.

After a 60 day incubation period we hope to witness the emergence of the hatchlings as they make their way down to the ocean. Turtle hatchlings follow the light of the moon to reach the ocean so we will be sure to turn off external lights during this time as any light pollution could cause the hatchlings to make a wrong turn and reduce their chance of survival.

Female green sea turtles nest three to five times per season and they lay their eggs on beaches within a 100kilometre radius of where they hatched. We hope she is planning to nest again on Gili’s shores in the next few months. We noticed a unique marking on her carapace and we will try to use this white mark to identify her in the future. However, we were not able to get clear photographic identification as we did not want to disturb her behaviour by shining a light on her.

As she entered the water, we became acutely aware of the responsibility we had been given – to keep these eggs safe from disturbance and predators for around two months until they emerge as hatchlings.

As only one in 1000 turtle hatchlings make it to adulthood we can safely say that Gili is carrying precious cargo into the months ahead.

PADI’s guest blogger Clare Baranowski introduces herself:

I am a marine zoologist from the UK who has worked throughout the tropics researching mega fauna and reef ecosystems in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. I have experience monitoring and restoring coral and surveying manta, turtle and dolphin populations. I began my career as a science communicator before moving into research and management roles, this is why I incorporate outreach and education into every project I work on and I hope to continue this at Gili Lankanfushi

Earth Day – Sunday 22nd April

On Sunday 22nd April, the Prodivers team and guests of Hurawalhi joined the largest civic-focused day of action in the world – Earth Day! The campaign for Earth Day 2018 was ‘End Plastic Pollution’, a movement dedicated to providing information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behaviour towards plastics.


Plastics are a substance the earth cannot digest. The very qualities that made plastics such an attractive material initially; durable, flexible, versatile and inexpensive, have ultimately generated rubbish with staying power – a huge environmental issue. Our voracious appetite for plastic goods, coupled with our tendency to discard, litter and thus pollute, has led to an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic entering our oceans every year. Plastics not only threaten our wildlife through entanglement, ingestion and habitat disruption, but their ability to absorb chemicals and accumulate in the human food chain has also led to plastics negatively affecting human health.


So, instead of diving with sharks or snorkelling with manta rays, the 48th Earth Day saw Hurawalhi staff and guests dive and snorkel for debris instead! They were let loose to clean up as much plastic and rubbish they could find off a nearby reef. Whilst they may have made only the tiniest dent in removing some of the debris currently be in our oceans, every action counts. There are so many simple ways to reduce plastic consumption in our day-to-day lives, here are some of the tips our Marine Biologist, Kirsty, shared with all of our volunteers this Earth Day:

1. Refrain from using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable one.

2. Forget the plastic bag. Purchase a reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often.

3. Give up gum. Chewing gum is made of a synthetic rubber, i.e. plastic.

4. Ditch bottles for boxes. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.

5. Leave the single-use plastic bottles on the shelf. Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering from a to-go shop.

6. Don’t buy foods in plastic containers e.g. berries, tomatoes etc. Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers back.

7. Disregard the disposable nappy. Use cloth nappies to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save money.

8. Stop purchasing single serving products. Buy bulk items instead and pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags.

9. Refuse to buy disposable razors and toothbrushes. Purchase replaceable blades instead.

Abstain from buying frozen foods. Even though those that appear to be packaged in cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic, plus you’ll be eating fewer processed foods.

A great quote from Marine Biologist, Sylvia Earle, sums up perfectly the importance of looking after the ocean: ‘No water, no life. No blue, no green’

PADI’s guest blogger Kirsty introduces herself:

Growing up in Mallorca, surrounded by the riches of the Mediterranean Sea, Kirsty’s ambition to pursue a career in marine biology was ignited from a young age. Kirsty completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Newcastle University in England. During her studies she had the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Maldives. It is not surprising then that her research interests to date have focused on tropical reef ecology. More specifically, Kirsty is interested in studying the movement patterns and habitat use of sharks and rays. Kirsty is currently part of the Maldivian Manta Trust research team, collecting data around the country’s manta population, its movements, and how the environment and tourism / human interactions affect them.

 

 

The Adaptable Prevail – A Message from PADI’s CEO

Put “adaptive” and “PADI” together and it conjures images of people overcoming disabilities and challenges, and rightly so. Diving is one of those rare, rich experiences that can help heal the body, heart and soul, whether someone’s dealing with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), paraplegia, cerebral palsy, amputation – the list goes on, as you know. With its performance-based design focused on what people can do instead of what they can’t, the PADI® System’s adaptive approach has opened diving and the underwater world to thousands.

Thousands? I should say millions. The PADI System’s adaptability isn’t new, and it benefits 25 million of us and counting – that’s every single PADI Diver. It has made PADI the world’s dominating force in diving because we all have challenges, needs, interests, preferences and desires. Only a system that adapts to the infinite individuality of learning and teaching can address all of these distinct variables.

What makes the PADI System stand apart is its ability to fit a standardized diving instructional system to so many people individually, in so many ways. It is international, cross-cultural, multilingual and transgenerational, so that beyond accommodating varied learning needs and preferences it builds a bridge that makes us one amid our differences. Take five PADI Divers from China, Italy, Mexico, Russia and Vietnam and put them on a boat for a day. They share a language even if they don’t, because they “speak” diving and the ocean, thanks to the PADI System you and your fellow PADI Professionals apply every day.

The PADI System succeeds because it stands on a solid, unshakeable but adaptable philosophical and instructional foundation that retains our core values while evolving as emerging technologies and social trends change how we meet individual needs, one student at a time. As the PADI family stands up for ocean health and marine animal protection, and champions the power of diving in community, and health and wellness, we need to recognize that, hand in hand with tenacity, this is where our strength lies. Overcoming challenges requires adapting what we do, whether it’s to help one person with an individual need or one planet with a social need.

The Chinese philosopher Lao-tsu said, “An army that cannot yield will be defeated. A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind. The hard and stiff will be broken; the soft and supple will prevail.” The PADI family has emerged as a force for good because we don’t try to live in someone’s idealized version of what the world should be. Rather, we are supple. We adapt and change to meet what the real world blows our way. Together, we always have, and I expect, always will.

Good luck, good teaching and good diving,

(Drew Richardson Ed.D.
PADI President and CEO)

Dive site topography in Lhaviyani Atoll – Part 1

The underwater topography of the Maldives is dramatic, varied and perfect for exploring. Scuba divers visiting the Lhaviyani Atoll in particular have a huge variety of reef formations awaiting them on the dive sites – the first glimpses of which can even be spotted from the seaplane window. In this, the first of a three part series, the underwater islands of giris and thilas are explored.

What is a giri?

Giris are shallow underwater islands with a top reefs lying at around 5 meters and appearing as blueish-green spots when viewed from the seaplane window. Typically found inside the atoll, they are perfect for beginner divers and macro lovers.

One of Hurawalhi’s favourite giris is Maa Giri. It means Flower Island and it is usually described as ‘fish soup’. On the front of the giri are thousands of lunar fusiliers catching food in the gentle currents that flow around the dive site. Once the divers descend a little deeper they can explore small overhangs and crevices where nurse sharks are sleeping or moray eels are getting cleaned. All around the giri are schools of yellow snappers, humpback snappers, and sweetlips. Occasionally, at the right time of the year, there is a glittering swarm of glass fish that divers can swim into the middle of – this is an enchanting experience that will be remembered for a very long time. Along the walls there are macro creatures like the mantis shrimp, whip coral shrimp and nudibranchs.

Picture by Ray van Eeden

On Tinga Giri, close to Hurawalhi, there is currently a large red frogfish that can often be seen fishing with the lure, which comes out from the top of its head.

What is a thila?

A thila is a deeper underwater island usually starting around 12-14 meters. Two of the Hurawalhi team’s favourite and most fascinating thilas are Anemone Thila and Fushivaru Thila.

Picture by Ray van Eeden

Anemone Thila gets its name from the incredible amount of anemones that have made themselves at home there. It is a very small thila and can be dived all they way round its circumference 2-3 times in one dive. This site is great for underwater photography and experimenting with macro photography. The most spectacular part of the dive is towards the end when divers arrive at the shallowest part of the thila and see the clownfish swimming above all the anemones along with bright blue and pink damselfish. For a good part of the year this site is also completely covered in ‘baitfish’ – so many that visibility can be reduced to 1-2 m with the fish parting to make way for the passing divers.

Picture by Ray van Eeden

Fushivaru Thila is a manta cleaning station and from November to January divers can witness the spectacular sight of the majestic mantas as they cruise in and hover over the station as small cleaner wrasse come and cleanse them of parasites. When the mantas are elsewhere, Fushivaru Thila is just as beautiful with huge schools of snappers and hunting grey reef sharks, nurse sharks sleeping under coral blocks, and large stingrays on the sand.

Picture by Ray van Eeden

There are many underwater island dive sites in Lhaviyani Atoll waiting to be explored. In Part 2 of the Dive Site Topography series all will be revealed about the differences between East and West sides of the Atoll.

 

PADI’s guest blogger Paige Bennett introduces herself:

I am an American Scuba diving instructor who has been living in the Maldives for the past 2 ½ years. I have been travelling and working for the past 6 years and have been to Koh Tao Thailand, Playa del Carmen Mexico, Marsa Alam Egypt and have now settled in the Lhaviyani Atoll working with Prodivers Diving center. I love the abundance of textures and patterns in the ocean and am very interested in underwater macro photography. I also have been involved with several conservation/restoration projects such as ReefCI in Belize, Eco Koh Tao in Thailand, and the coral transplantation project for the 5.8 undersea Restaurant on Hurawalhi Island Resort.

 

Adaptive Teaching Techniques Instructor Course – Dubai

At the beginning of March 2018 and concurrently with the Dubai International Boat Show, PADI has organized the first PADI Adaptive Teaching Techniques Instructor Course in EMEA Territory.

This course is designed for PADI Pros who want to become more aware of some considerations when working with people who have physical or mental challenges.  Techniques can apply during PADI DSD, Open Water Diver or Continuing Education course; or when supervising certified divers with disabilities on a fun dive!

Under the guidance of PADI RM Teo Brambilla and PADI Advisor Adaptive Techniques Fraser Bathgate, the course was organized over two days and included knowledge development presentations, Dive Center Accessibility Workshop, Challenge Course, confined and open water workshops.

Read here below some testimonials of the attendees:

Ammar Hassan: <<PADI prove that nothing can stop anyone from getting in the water and dive, in fact, everyone can do it  no matter what its location, gender or disability.
The biggest learning I got from PADI Adaptive Teaching Techniques Instructor Course is concentrate on things that disability does not prevent you from doing well, and no one is disabled in spirit , and it was well proved during Adaptive Teaching Techniques Instructor Course in Dubai>>.

M. Basheer: <<It was a great experience with loads of useful information and hints. In the course we learned skills as first-hand experience to feel how do disabled students feel so, we learned skills explanation and performance being blind folded to know how a blind student would feel like. We also used a wheel chair and web gloves. Trainers were very careful that every candidate would play the role of a disabled student and instructor in each case.I learned a lot of useful things not only for my career but also for my real life.It’s an add on to my CV. Many thanks to the trainers and colleague candidates that turned that experience great>>.

Steven Kittrell: <<Great course that helps to open your heart, eyes, and mind. Look forward to utilizing the ideas presented here to help disabled veterans open the doors to a new and gratifying life adventure>>.

Kathleen Russell: <<Thank you for the great course! We learned allot of very informative techniques and the workshop. Big thanks to the PADI EMEA team, Fraser Bathgate and all the amazing instructors and Course Directors and organizers who made this course a huge success >>.

Ammar Alwesaf: <<The things I had gained during Dubai’s course are not enough to be written within this email. We had such a great company from different part of the world. Also the course expanded our techniques of teaching in a way to adapt the course to students needs. I strongly look forward to establish a society to rehab the disabled disappointed persons to explore their powers and potentials>>.

Peter Mainka: <<I was really amazed what you can do if you were in a situation to handle candidates with determination. It was really a great experience to get to know what you should be concerned about and how to handle the different problems that may occur.It was really helping a lot to put us in real-time simulated situations to think about what to do and how to create solutions. I have learned a lot during this course specially by the response of my “disabled Buddy” and the extensive debriefings from the instructors.This course made me more confident and less hesitating to train students with disabilities. As well as I think I will be able to give this experience on to other Instructors / Dive-masters in future.Thank you for this really great practical and theoretical course and experience>>.

Two new mosaics in the waters of the Archaeological Park Submerged Bay in Pozzuoli – Naples.

Archeo Camp 2017, an exceptional event with over 500 dives in one week dedicated to diving, during which a group of PADI instructors got the“PADI Underwater Archealogical Diver” Specialty by Bruno Mollo – PADI Course Director.

The event was organized by the Centro Sub Campi Flegrei, with the participation of DAN Europe who organized seminars and events dedicated to diving safety.

EXTRAORDINARY NEWS !!!

The Sea of ​​Gulf of Pozzuoli brings backs two new mosaics in the waters of the Archaeological Park Submerged Bay. One of these two is a two-colored black and white mosaic, which represents two warriors and can be traced back to the time of Villa in Protiro, dating back to the 4th century AD. The other is a polychrome mosaic, which still hasn’t been dated, but they suspect chronological links with the Villa dei Pisoni, which dates back to the first century BC.

The extraordinary discovery was made by the scuba diving nucleus of the Superintendence coordinated by Luciano Muratgia, and was officially authorized by the director of the Archeological Park of the Campi Flegrei, the superintendent Adele Campanelli, during the round table “Archeo Camp 2017”, on November 3rd, 2017, during the week dedicated to underwater archeology in the Campi Flegrei organized by the Centro Sub Campi Flegrei with the collaboration of PADI EMEA and DAN Europe.

During the event, the Mayors of Pozzuoli, Vincenzo Figliolia and Bacoli, Giovanni Picone, together with Federalberghi, emphasized the tourism potential of the Flegrean district: the augmented reality (which, with ISCR, will result in using underwater tablets and 3D projections) could further boost the site.

In this place, from the end of the Republican era, the Roman aristocrats went on vacation: their villas and their nymphaeums, as a consequence of the bradyseism typical of this area, are now submerged and protected by an archaeological park, established in 2002. People from all over the World, including Japan, China, Vietnam and the United States, come here to travel through time underwater, which, according to the Superintendence data, leads to a 20 to 30% annual growth of attendance.

Now, two additional mosaics will be discovered, constituting additional pieces of the extraordinary history of this corner of Campania.

The new mosaics will be made available to the public from April 2018, after undergoing safekeeping procedures by the Superintendence and the ISCR.

See you in November 2018 at the Archeo Camp 2018 Week dedicated to Underwater Archeology!

The extraordinary photos are from the Photoreporter Pasquale Vassallo (showing the original colors of the mosaics).

During the event, the first prize “Baia di Ulisse” 2017 was awarded to Carlo Ripa.

Vincenzo Maione

Manager of the Centro Sub Campi Flegrei, a diving center that has been working for the scuba diving tourism industry for 25 years. Diving center authorized by the Superintendence to accompany tourists in scuba diving and snorkeling in the Underwater Archaeological Park Submerged of Baia.  

To visit the Underwater Archaeological Park of Baia and the new mosaics, you can contact:

CENTRO SUB CAMPI FLEGREI C/O Lido Montenuovo via Miliscola, 165 80078 Pozzuoli (NA), Italia cell.: +39 329 215 5239 tel./fax:  +39 081 853 1563 email: info@centrosubcampiflegrei.it web site: www.centrosubcampiflegrei.it

 

I love scuba – I love myself by Valentina Visconti President of Diabete Sommerso Onlus.

On October 16th, as Regional Manager of PADI EMEA, I participated in one of the most exciting events of my career, the Blue Week organized by Diabete Sommerso Onlus – PADI Center in the wonderful Ustica Island in partnership with Blue Diving Ustica – PADI Center.

I was honored to meet this very affectionate group of divers, all bound by a great passion: love for the sea and diving, albeit with the difficulty of their illness: diabetes.

CLIP

We have presented to this PADI group and Project Aware and especially the 4 pillars of change of PADI, in particular: “Health and Wellness” in tune with their activities:

Pillar of Health and Well-Being: point the spotlight on incredible stories of success over adversity, illnesses and difficulties that testify the healing power of diving. Through diving, many people have found hope for their future and we want to inspire so many others to experience such personal transformations and healings, both mentally and physically.

I dove with them, and I had the pleasure of meeting Andrea Fazi, one of the leaders and organizers of this group and their President: Valentina Visconti, a woman with a contagious smile, whom I thank for the emotions she gave me with these words:

I love scuba – I love myself

Scuba + Health + Wellness. The message comes strong and clear from the first moment in scuba diving: to dive, you need to be healthy and well-trained to deal with demanding tasks, not eating too much, nor drinking alcohol or smoking. If you are not fit, it is best to postpone the dive. These rules apply to all divers, at any level and anywhere in the world, but they are of greater value to all those people who have health issues but are so in love with the sea that they are willing to get in the game and enjoy it all the way.

Type 1 Diabetes (DT1) is a chronic illness that usually occurs during childhood or early adulthood. For causes that are still unknown, insulin-producing pancreas cells are self-destructing. Insulin is a fundamental hormone because it regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. People who do not produce insulin are forced to take it through injections or I.V.

A person’s life with diabetes is characterized by check-ups of glucose levels in the blood and insulin intake, in an eternal attempt to maintain balance between daily life and correct glycemic values. It’s a bit like keeping the perfect buoyancy underwater: you have to constantly keep an eye on yourself and the surrounding environment, use your head, and make the necessary adjustments. Losing diabetes control is not so difficult, and the consequences can be dangerous. For this reason, underwater has traditionally been denied to diabetics.

Today the taboo has been broken and people with diabetes can live the sea freely. A solution was found. Or, in other words, we rely on the general rule that one should dive only under good health conditions, applying it to the Nth power. To feel really good, a person with a chronic illness like diabetes must be able to perfectly take care of itself, study the rules of the metabolism, and apply them to become profoundly aware of the disease and of itself. A difficult journey that forces you to get out of the “comfort zone” of your daily habits and prove themselves.

It’s not easy. It is not immediate.

But love and passion for the sea are stronger than the difficulties.

It is the desire to fully live the sea, to explore it, to discover the unknown in the blue

It is the desire to fly in the water, to regulate its breath with fluids.

It’s the thrill of confronting a hostile environment.

These are the reasons why divers with diabetes take care of themselves and improve themselves. One improves himself to go underwater, but what you learn in the water becomes everyday life and a better future

Diving teaches us that there is an alternative world. Just put your head underwater.

And then raise it, to face the difficulties

NDR: The Underwater Diabetes Project, from which we have the association with the same name, was initiated 13 years ago and allowed many boys and girls with diabetes to get the scuba diving certificate, and above all to improve their health through passion for the sea .

Be like the sea which smashes onto the rocks and then goes back and tries again to break down that unbreakable barrier never tired of trying. (Jim Morrison)

 

Scuola D’Amare initiative at Messina and “All Together” project.

Messina September 10th 2017– The Dive Village event, organized by the PADI Aqua Element Center of Gioiosa Marea and the MessinAmare Association, was successfully completed within the framework of the Scuola D’Amare project in collaboration with the “Caio Duilio” Nautical Institute of Messina, PADI, Project Aware, DAN Europe and MARES.

The event began on Friday September 8th in the prestigious Forte San Salvatore location granted by the Italian Navy, with the award of the diving certificates to the boys and girls of the Scuola D’Amare project and the migrants of the project “All Together”.

The Headmaster of the Nautical Institute, Prof. Maria Schirò, the military authorities, the Vice-President of DAN Europe Guy Thomas, the Regional Manager of PADI EMEA Fabio Figurella, the regional representative of MARES Nino Alessi and the diving instructors of the Aqua Element diving center all attended the awarding ceremony.

The Headmaster Schirò gave special emphasis to the project “All Together”, a project created from the Nautical Institute’s will to open to unaccompanied migrants a series of activities in the nautical sector that one day could give these children the chance to find a job and a place in society. “All Together” is a project connected to the sea, that for these children is synonymous with “Death”, whose is to organize a series of activities like scuba diving and first aid courses that can bring the children closer to the sea, as a friend and resource for their professional future.

To get excited each time and get new proactive energy by watching the spark in the eye of those who come into contact with the wonders of the underwater world. A World that has no: borders, masters, diversity” are the words of Giuseppe Pinci, great organizer of the event.

These boys and girls have been introduced to the scuba diving world thanks to the collaboration with Aqua Element diving center through PADI courses and first aid EFR courses.

 

If all the Headmasters in Italy were like Professor Schirò, Italy would be a much more open country to students, and there would be important synergies enabling social growth for our country and for the future of young generations,” commented Fabio, Regional Manager of PADI EMEA.

The event continued on September 9th and 10th at the Gioiosa Marea diving center, with dives, MARES equipment testing, and lots of fun, with barbeques and a final evening at the disco.

Thanks to the valuable collaboration with DAN Europe, all dives were monitored by the DAN research team that included the dive profiles of the participants in their database for medical-scientific research.

Through the collaboration with Dr. Cosimo Muscianisi of DAN Europe free ORL visits were performed during the event.

Guy Thomas, the Vice President of DAN Europe, was enthusiastic: “It was great to see that thanks to the collaboration between the Aqua Element diving center and the Caio Duilio Nautical Institute there are projects that bring young boys and girls underwater. Also noteworthy is the project “All Together” that reveals to young migrants the wonders of the sea, the sea that they always feared”. Congratulations to all the people involved, especially Mario Aiello and Giuseppe Pinci who carry out important projects such as these with devotion and passion. The enthusiasm was certainly not missing during the event: “Dive Village 2017, an event which allowed us to collect useful data for DAN’s research on diving safety”.

The event has ended, but the activities of Aqua Element and MessinAmare within the Caio Duilio Institute at Messina with the activities of Scuola D’Amare and a project that will bring students to Malta to integrate scuba diving and English learning have already begun with the new school year.

Mario Aiello, owner of the Aqua Element diving center, commented: “The (DIVE VILLAGE) comes to an end, an event where we delivered certificates, we dived, tested Mares  equipment, analyzed our profiles and made OTO visits thanks to DAN, and why not “we had fun like crazy at the disco, all of which brings us together in this huge passion “the sea“.

 

Support Sea grass

We all could do with reducing our carbon footprint and one easy way is to support local and global sea grass conservation initiatives.

Known as the lungs of the ocean, sea grass can produce 10 litres of oxygen per 1m2 everyday! Sea grass meadows are also a fantastic carbon sink as they sequester carbon dioxide from the water and this can slow the effects of ocean acidification created by global warming. This beautiful plant could be the key to stabilising the negative effects of climate change.

Yet despite this, 29% of global sea grass beds have already disappeared with 7% more being lost per year. In an attempt to address this issue, the Marine Biology team at Gili Lankanfushi is conducting a sea grass regrowth experiment. At the resort we have sea grass growing in shallow lagoons around the island and in a 10m2 area on the south east side of the island, we have been collecting data on how fast sea grass regrows after it has been removed.

The experiment has currently been running for six months, so it is too early to be accurate, but results currently show that 10% of the area has signs of regrowth. To date, we are only seeing shoots of a robust species of sea grass called E.acoroides. This is a species found in the tropics in water depth of one to three metres with light wave action.

Aerial view of Lankanfushi Island and sea grass beds

In the beds we find nursery fish, crustaceans, worms and sea cucumbers using the leaves as a nursery and haven against the current. We also often see resident green sea turtles feeding on sea grass as it is their primary diet and they consume 2kg per day!

Marine Biologists are very pro sea grass because sea grass beds stabilise sediment and reduce erosion by creating a network of roots. They also increase the water clarity and quality by soaking up nutrients or chemicals that run into the water. If given the choice, we would regenerate the meadows surrounding the island as with an increased meadow size, the resort would benefit from cleaner and clearer water and an increased population of nursery fish species and green sea turtles. By regenerating the full size of our sea grass meadows we would also offset some of our carbon footprint.

We have been in touch with sea grass specialists from Seagrass Watch and SeagrassSpotter and hope to work with these global conservation projects in the future. We have learnt from their wealth of experience that it takes around 3-4 years to naturally replenish a small sized, single species sea grass meadow and around 10 years to replenish a large sized multi-species meadow. If we helped regrowth by planting sea grass seeds, the areas would be replenished in around 2 years.

This brilliant plant could be the key to stabilising the negative effects of climate change. We hope resorts in the Maldives consider regenerating their sea grass beds to help offset their carbon footprint.

PADI’s guest blogger Clare Baranowski introduces herself:

I am a marine zoologist from the UK who has worked throughout the tropics researching mega fauna and reef ecosystems in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. I have experience monitoring and restoring coral and surveying manta, turtle and dolphin populations. I began my career as a science communicator before moving into research and management roles, this is why I incorporate outreach and education into every project I work on and I hope to continue this at Gili Lankanfushi.

Help Improve Our Oceans

Written by Megan Denny

National Geographic estimates 5.25 trillion pieces of trash end up in the ocean every year. That’s about 700 pieces of trash for every man, woman and child on the planet. And, a lot of that rubbish is plastic. The volume and types of trash in the ocean affects all marine creatures, from the smallest zooplankton to the largest whales.

Trash

As a dive professional, you’re uniquely qualified to help turn the tide toward a healthier ocean. There are many ways to make a difference including participating in year-round Project AWARE® Dive Against Debris® surveys or organizing a special event on Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day. Here are a few suggestions and examples of what other PADI® Pros are doing for International Coastal Cleanup Day this September.

Saturday, 16 September

International Coastal Cleanup Day is an ideal way to do important work for the local community and raise awareness about your business. Here are some tips for running a successful cleanup event:

  • Get the word out – Send a short press release to local news organizations (templates and tools are available on the PADI Pros’ Site).
  • Stock up – Encourage divers to get equipped with mesh collection bags, knives and gloves. Invite topside participants to bring gardening gloves, but bring extra gloves for those who forget.
  • Buddy up – Invite local environmental organizations to participate and help get the word out.
  • Create incentives – Jack’s Diving Locker in Hawai’i offers a free rental tank and half off rental gear to divers participating in their shoreline and underwater cleanup. Their 2017 event takes place on International Coastal Cleanup Day at the Kailua-Kona Pier from 9am – noon.
  • Document your activities: create a recap video or slideshow to share on social media and with local news outlets. Here’s an example from Eco Dive Center in California.

This year, Eco Dive Center is working together with two fellow clubs from PCH Scubaand In2Deep Scuba for the 13th Annual Underwater Santa Monica Pier Cleanup on International Coastal Cleanup Day.

Take Action Year Round

You don’t need to wait for International Coastal Cleanup Day to take action. Through Dive Against Debris surveys, divers can remove debris throughout the year at any dive location across the globe. If you dive at the same site frequently, why not adopt it? Project AWARE provides a suite of survey tools and a yearly report on the state of your local dive site. Simply conduct Dive Against Debris surveys once a month and report the marine debris you find. Receive special recognition for your efforts in addition to the feel-good benefits of helping the planet and local community. Learn more at: projectaware.org/adoptadivesite.

EcoDiveBeachCleanup

Make Good Choices

While out of the water there are things you can do to support a clean and healthy ocean.

  • Donate to Project AWARE – Challenge friends, family and your student divers to do the same by creating a fundraising campaign. Get started at org/support. You can also peruse fundraising campaigns from fellow ocean-lovers at Finathon.org.