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.

 

 

Are You Covered?

With litigation constantly on the rise, comprehensive liability protection is critical for today’s dive professionals.

Maintaining current liability insurance is not only good risk management, but it is also required in many (although not all) areas in order to remain in Teaching status. Although many members feel that liability insurance is only really necessary in the United States and maybe Canada, in recent years we have seen that this is not the case. These days, dive litigation is a truly global issue, with dive-related lawsuits being filed not only in the United States, but in many other locations.  Even in countries where civil litigation isn’t all that frequent, coroners’ inquests often are. Defending one’s self or business in a coroner’s inquest involving a diving death or serious injury can be an extremely expensive proposition without insurance.

Dive professionals need professional liability insurance to cover them for claims resulting from accidents while training divers and snorkelers, supervising and guiding dive excursions, or even assisting an instructor during a training course. In addition, those providing the equipment for their student divers and course participants also need equipment liability coverage, because professional liability coverage alone will not defend accidents in which the equipment provided was alleged to be the cause.

Dive operations should also maintain general liability insurance, covering accidents resulting from products sold, rentals and repairs, air fills, slips-and-falls and so on. In some areas, stores/resorts may purchase group professional policies that insure the store and all the store’s associated professional staff for teaching and supervisory liability.

Given the increasing frequency and global reach of scuba-diving lawsuits, it’s recommended that every PADI Member obtain the information necessary to make wise insurance decisions. Having insurance coverage when a dive accident occurs can make the difference between being properly defended or being financially ruined even when, as is usually the case, you have done nothing wrong. You can still be sued, and you still need to be defended. In today’s world, every active dive professional and dive operator can benefit from dive insurance.

Sign up for the PADI endorsed V Insurance Professional Indemnity Policy today.

Paddle against Plastic

On Global Recycling Day, Sunday 18th March 2018, a team of our best watermen and women from Gili Lankanfushi completed a 14km Stand Up Paddle to raise awareness about the overuse of single-use plastic. During the endurance event, the team collected all floating litter they encountered along the three-hour paddle. The majority of the haul was plastic, so our message is clear: If we can SUP 14km around our island; you can give up using single-use plastic in 2018.

At Gili Lankanfushi, we encounter a large amount of ocean plastic arriving with the tide every day. Some arrives with the current from distant countries, but a lot appears from neighboring islands and the capital Male. Despite Gili’s No Plastic Policy and the plastic recycling program we have in place with Parley, we still face a tidal wave of plastic over the year. Our team wanted to tackle this problem head on.

The event began at day break as we hit the water at 7:15am stocked up with high energy food, water and cameras. The conditions were extremely favourable with low wind, little swell and high cloud cover. The first quarter of our paddle took us against the current, so it was slow going but this allowed us to collect as much floating plastic as possible. We found the majority of marine litter in the corners of Himmafushi Harbour so we set about collecting as much as we could carry. Those working at the harbor watched us approach and a few men jumped into action and helped us collect plastic from the water. They gave us a few extra bags when we ran low. These positive reactions made our hard work feel extremely valuable.

As we turned the corner behind Himmafushi Island, we had the wind and current with us, so we completed almost six kilometres in just over an hour. Being out on the open ocean and looking down to see the fish and coral beneath our feet was a real highlight. The final paddle back to Gili was the hardest, but we were met with the smiling faces of the rest of our team.


The entire experience was a great example of perseverance and team work. It was a great success and we were able to recycle a lot of litter, yet the overwhelming feeling was that we need to do even more next time. In just three hours we collected 200 items which included 90 plastic bottles, 20 bottle tops and 5 plastic bags and this was just the plastic we happened to paddle close to; a lot has been waterlogged or broken down and is found just below the surface or on the ocean floor.
The seven-man paddling crew was made up of Beau, Tropicsurf Manager and SUP surf champion; Naseef, Ocean Paradise Dive Instructor and marine mammal magnet; Emma, Assistant Marine Biologist and official team photographer; Tula, Head of Security and pretty much the toughest guy I know; Ibrahim, Ocean Paradise Boat Captain and life saver; Clare, Marine Biologist and event organiser and Jinah, Hotelier journalist and newly inspired sustainability supporter.

Despite the obvious challenges of reducing ocean plastic, we have seen such positive reactions to our war on plastic at Gili Lankanfushi. After visiting in November 2017, the inspirational Merle Campbell kindly shared:

“For many years now, I have daily walked the beach and never picked up any litter. Since visiting Gili Lankanfushi Maldives and listening about the importance of keeping plastics out of the waterways, I now walk the beach solely for the purpose of collecting rubbish to contribute to saving our sea life.”
We hope our Paddle against Plastic will inspire others to reduce their plastic dependence by taking small steps to reduce plastic use at home or at work. If we all participate, there will be a huge reduction in the amount of plastic that enters our oceans. Well done to Gili’s Paddle Against Plastic Team and Happy Global Recycling Day to Everyone.


A special thank you to everyone who assisted us in the Paddle Against Plastic! Thanks to Ocean Paradise for the boat, equipment and crew, the culinary department for the amazing food, the Sales and Marketing department for sharing our work and getting up early to see us off, the gardening team for recycling our plastic, Shifzan for the awesome photos, and the Gili Lankanfushi Management team for their amazing support!

 

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

Training Bulletin Live – Webinar Schedule 2Q2018

Please find below the dates for the next round of Training Bulletin Live Webinars:

As always, we will be discussing the latest standards changes, providing background information on the updates and insight into how these can be integrated into your training. We will also be reviewing new products and providing business and marketing advice.

2nd Quarter 2018:

24/04/18 English

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7839064196215400195

25/04/18 French

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7603107901475808771

26/04/18 Italian

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1567667576097658114

01/05/18 Dutch

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2106645976039839233

02/05/18 Arabic

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3571879361440354818

03/05/18 Polish

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6347696520440875010

07/05/18 Scandinavian

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7929177971619022594

08/05/18 Spanish

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/886614679682627587

09/05/18 Portuguese

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4978906799319278850

16/05/18 Russian

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2943718472887247362

16/05/18 German

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4462673994655468033

If you have any questions regarding the webinar you can email training.emea@padi.com. We look forward to speaking to you during the webinar.

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>>.

Diving with Hazardous Marine Life

Written by DAN staff

Diving, swimming and even just going to the beach offers the opportunity to observe marine animals in their natural environment. Unfortunately, inappropriate or unintentional interactions with some marine life can lead to serious injuries. The good news is that most injuries are largely preventable with some forethought, knowledge and awareness. However, accidents do happen and each year a number of divers sustain marine life injuries. Below are best practices for dealing with some of the most common marine life injuries:

Urchins

Sea urchins are echinoderms, a phylum of marine animals shared with starfish, sand dollars and sea cucumbers. They are omnivorous, eating algae and decomposing animal matter, and have tubular feet that allow movement. Many urchins are covered in sharp, hollow spines that can easily puncture the skin and break off, and may penetrate a diver’s boots and wetsuit.

Urchin

Injuries caused by sea urchins are generally puncture wounds associated with redness and swelling. Pain and severity of the injury ranges from mild to severe, depending on the location of the injury and the compromised tissue, and life-threatening complications do occur but are extremely rare.

Divers can prevent sea urchin injuries by avoiding contact with good buoyancy control and being cautious of areas where sea urchins may exist, such as the rocky entry points while shore diving.

Treatment for sea urchin wounds is symptomatic and dependent on the type and location of injury. Application of heat to the area for 30 to 90 minutes may help. Sea urchin spines are very fragile, so any attempt to remove superficial spines should be done with caution. Wash the area first without forceful scrubbing to avoid causing additional damage if there are still spines embedded in the skin. Apply antibiotic ointment and seek medical evaluation to address any embedded spines or infection risk.

Stingrays

Stingrays are frequently considered dangerous, largely without cause. Stingrays are shy and peaceful fish that do not present a threat to divers unless stepped on or deliberately threatened. Stingrays can vary in size from less than 30 centimetres/one foot to greater than two metres/six feet in breadth, and reside in nearly every ocean.

From DAN_stingrays_iStock_000019476594_WEB

The majority of injuries occur in shallow waters where divers or swimmers accidently step on or come in contact with stingrays. Injuries from stingrays are rarely fatal but can be painful. They result from contact with a serrated barb at the end of a stingray’s tail, which has two venomous glands at its base. The barb can easily cut through wetsuit material and cause lacerations or puncture wounds. Deep lacerations can reach large arteries. If a barb breaks off in a wound, it may require surgical care. Wounds are prone to infections.

Injury treatment varies based on the type and location of the injury. Clean the wound thoroughly, control bleeding and immediately seek medical attention. Due to the nature of the stingray venom and the risk of serious infections, seek professional help for stingray wounds.

For more information on first aid and safe diving practices, visit DAN.org/Health

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Adaptive Techniques

Written by John Kinsella

It’s five thirty on a Costa Rican morning and Georgia King is talking to me about the PADI® Adaptive Techniques Specialty. It’s quiet, she says, before the rest of the family wakes. I can almost hear the tropical dawn chorus. Georgia is a PADI Platinum Course Director in Costa Rica and her time is precious, but she’s absolutely committed to helping people with disabilities benefit from diving and happy to share her wisdom. Georgia was an advisor during course development and has extensive experience and expertise. In fact, before we finish, Georgia has made another significant time and energy commitment: She’s decided to run an adaptive techniques workshop for PADI Women’s Dive Day.

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Georgia’s commitment is such that since the program launched she has run two Adaptive Techniques Specialty courses right after two IDCs. It was a natural fit. “I think it’s fantastic to be able to incorporate the training with the IDC,” she says quietly. “It makes sense to integrate it naturally with the various course elements. New instructors coming out of the IDC are super excited because we’ve been talking about it. It inspires them to take that next step.”

I ask what she’d say to PADI Pros with no prior experience, who may never have thought of taking or teaching the Adaptive Techniques Specialty.

“Get involved,” she advises, pointing out that one of the major benefits, even if you are not immediately going out and teaching people with disabilities, is that it will open your mind to various teaching techniques and ways to approach all PADI programs. This can completely change the way you teach. “It really does open your eyes to a whole world of possibilities,” Georgia says. “Even in something as simple as demonstrating a skill in the skill circuit, you really just think differently. You are not set in one way of doing something. A lot of people think, ‘You have to do it this way.’ You know? You don’t.”

Georgia feels that a lot of people may be apprehensive about getting involved and offers this encouragement: “It’s kind of like the EFR® program when people worry about helping others. They don’t think they’ll be able to manage it. But everybody who has done the Adaptive Techniques Specialty is absolutely blown away and amazed by it. There’s more to it than people realize. Sure, it’s helping someone in a wheelchair, but that’s just a tiny part of it. The program talks about the attitudes, and how you treat people.”

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And the confidence that insight brings opens up the most significant benefit of the Adaptive Techniques Specialty: It’s so rewarding for everyone. “Just giving people the opportunity, that’s one of the biggest things,” Georgia believes. “In any teaching there’s opportunity for reward, but sometimes I find more so with this. I shed tears after my first Discover Scuba® Diving experience with a guy who was born without legs. It completely amazed him how he felt underwater. He came up and just cried. I was so overwhelmed. It’s an amazing thing.”

PADI Elite Instructor Award 2018

Elite Instructor Award 2018

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE 2017 ELITE INSTRUCTOR AWARD WINNERS

The Elite Instructor Award started over with a clean slate as of 1 January 2018. As a PADI Instructor actively training and certifying divers, you can distinguish yourself by earning the PADI Elite Instructor Award, giving you the opportunity to tout your “Elite Instructor” status to student divers, potential customers, prospective employers and fellow PADI Professionals!

Program Summary

PADI Instructors who issue 50, 100, 150, 200 or 300 qualifying certifications in a
calendar year and who have no verified Quality Management violations within 12 months of the date of the award, will be recognized with the Elite Instructor Award.

  • Qualifying certifications: (Certifications issued by you which will included in your
    tally)

    • Qualifying student diver certifications include Scuba Diver, Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, Master Scuba Diver and all student diver specialties including distinctive specialties. Junior diver
      certifications will be weighted on a one-to-one basis as well as Basic
      Freediver, Freediver, Advanced Freediver and Master Freediver.
    • Qualifying PADI Professional ratings include Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, Open Water Scuba Instructor, Master Scuba Diver Trainer, IDC Staff Instructor, Emergency First Response Instructor and all Instructor Specialty and Distinctive Instructor Specialty ratings. Freediver Instructor, Advanced Freediver Instructor, Master Freediver Instructor and Freediver Instructor Trainer will also be included and weighted on a one-to-one basis.
    • Emergency First Response Participant programs, ReActivate, Discover Scuba Diving experiences, Bubblemaker, Seal Team, Master Seal Team and Skin Diver will be weighed on a five-to-one basis. For example, five Discover Scuba Diving experiences well be weighted the same as one Open Water Diver certification.
    • Referrals will be counted on a two-to-one basis. If you have referred students to another instructor or business but didn’t get the paperwork back from the other party, please submit your completed documents to the certifications department and they will make every effort to see that you get credit for your referrals.

Elite Instructor Award Program, continued.

  • PADI Instructors achieving “Elite” status will receive a recognition decal to display on their PADI Instructor certification cards along with an e-badge to include on emails, websites, blogs and social media pages. Every recipient will also get a certificate recognizing them for the number of qualifying certifications they issued during that year: 50, 100, 150, 200 or 300.
  • PADI Pros in PADI Americas, PADI Canada, PADI Asia Pacific and PADI EMEA with a rating of Open Water Scuba Instructor or above will automatically be included in the program and their productivity will be tallied by PADI.
  • Certifications issued 1 January through 31 December qualify for the award program each year. All certifications must be processed by 15 January to count for the award.
  • The Elite Instructor Award qualifying certifications winners are tallied on an annual basis. Awards will be tallied and the winners will be notified during the first quarter of following year.
  • Instructors associated with a PADI Dive Center or Resort may authorize the business to display the instructor’s Elite Instructor Award on the business’s digital site pages.

For More Information

Will you be a PADI Elite Instructor? Visit the “My Account” tab and then “Awards” tab at
the PADI Pros’ Site to see how many certifications you garnered.

For more information about the Elite Instructor Award program, please visit the Member Toolbox at the PADI Pros Site to read a list of frequently asked questions, or email customerservices.emea@padi.com or call +44 117 300 7234. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL PROGRAM SUMMARY

 


PADI“Congratulations to the PADI Pros who achieved Elite status during 2017. This is an outstanding achievement and a testament to your hard work and commitment to PADI. As an Elite Instructor, you are able to promote your success by showing your Elite Instructor e-badge on your Social Media pages. This is also an excellent opportunity for PADI Dive Stores to take advantage of the increased marketing potential that Elite Instructors bring to them.” – Mark Spiers, Vice President Training, Sales and Field Services, PADI EMEA.

 

 

New PADI Adaptive Techniques Instructor Specialty Course in Dubai

PADI’s philosophy towards diver education has always been inclusive. As long as students meet the prerequisites of a course, they are welcome to enrol regardless of physical or mental challenges. To build on that foundation, PADI has recently launched a series of new courses aimed at techniques to apply when training or diving with physically and mentally challenged divers.

PADI Adaptive Techniques Instructor Specialty Course – open to PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors and above, this course allows successful candidates to teach the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Course (details below) to other PADI Pros, and also teach the sub-course, PADI Adaptive Support Diver Specialty (details below), to divers.

PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Course – open to PADI Master Freedivers or PADI Divemasters and above, this course focuses on increasing awareness of varying abilities, and explores adaptive teaching techniques to apply when training and diving with physically and mentally challenged divers.

PADI Adaptive Support Diver Specialty – a subset of the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Course, the PADI Adaptive Support Diver Specialty is open to divers who want to learn how they can best support dive buddies who have physical or mental challenges.


Sign up for the Instructor Specialty Course


As part of the launch of this series of courses, PADI Staff will be conducting EMEA’s first PADI Adaptive Techniques Instructor Specialty Course in Dubai on 2nd and 3rd March 2018. This new course is aimed at PADI Instructors wanting to not only learn adaptive techniques themselves, but who also want to teach the Adaptive Techniques Specialty course to other PADI Professionals.

To sign up for this unique course, please complete this application form and return it to id.emea@padi.com.


Find out more


 

1st Quarter 2018 Edition of The Undersea Journal Now Available Via PADI Library App

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Every quarter The Undersea Journal is filled with stories and articles that help you stay informed and inspired as a PADI Professional. In addition to choosing a printed magazine there are several digital reading options for this useful publication:

1. Using the PADI Library App (Apple App Store | Play):

  • From your mobile device, open your Library in your PADI Library App, download and view.
  • On your computer, select Certification Paks from the Log In tab at the top of padi.com. From there you’ll be able to view the magazine in the Online Manuals portal.

2. Via the Zinio app on your computer or mobile device.

3. As a PDF on the PADI Pros’ Site. Log on to the Pros’ Site and click on the References tab. You can download the entire magazine or choose to download it in sections.

Each quarter, the latest edition of the publication will be added to the PADI Library.

If you’re a digital subscriber, you’ll continue to receive an email notification that your publication is available for viewing on Zinio. If you’ve opted for the printed version, it will continue to be delivered to your mailing address.