Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A BIG THANKS -from the Belgian diving group

Just got back from another great diving safari experience with Dive Master “Searex” of Kontiki Divers Scuba Adventures and 6 experienced Belgian Divers. The safari team spent 5 days around the neighbouring islands of Bohol- Cabilao, Balicasag and Panglao. This was my second time to join a dive safari and it just keeps getting better. Just as every diver would always say “each dive always gives you a fresh and different experience”.  As an adventurer myself, it felt really great being with the group who seeks life’s greatest adventures. This trip was simply a remarkable one.  

Some of the best sightings on this safari were a large banded sea snake (about 2 meters in length) at 20 meters and the pigmy seahorse at 27 meters during the first two days of diving at Cabilao Island, the chance of being able to see 7 sea turtles at a time on one of our dives at Balicasag Island was a site to marvel, 3 Ghost Pipefish near a wreck lying at 30m depth at Atlantis, Alona Beach, Panglao. The Island is located just southwest of Tagbilaran City, and is also famous for its diving locations and routinely listed as one of the top ten diving locations in the world. Numerous tourist resorts dot the southern beaches and cater to divers from around the world. Different kinds of nudibranches were everywhere on each dive that we made. My second best was a colony of mandarin fish. As it gets dark they started to rise up off the corals in pair for a few seconds, discharging their sperm and eggs into the sea. We were really amazed to witness that episode.  And to top it all, an absolute highlight during our night dive, currently recognized as one of the world's most venomous marine animals; the Blue-ringed octopus! It is 12 to 20 cm (5 to 8 inches), but its venom is powerful enough to kill humans. There is no blue-ringed octopus antivenom available. The octopus produces venom that contains neurotoxins and one of them is found to be identical to tetrodotoxin which is 10,000 times more toxic than cyanide. Tetrodotoxin blocks sodium chanels causing motor paralysis and respiratory arrest within minutes of exposure, leading to cardiac arrest due to a lack of oxygen. The toxin is created by bacteria in the salivary glands of the octopus.

The Visayan Archipelago always has something to prove that it has one of the richest places for marine life. Other than that, the Filipino people are gifted with a warm and welcoming character that it gives the Philippines a sense of freedom to explore the islands and experience its culture. As part of the Safari package, the safari team also had the chance to visit a few of Bohol’s tourist destinations like the Loboc River where we did a river cruise with lunch buffet, we saw the 26 ft python- “Prony”, the smallest primate- Tarsier, and of course the country's third National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list- the Chocolate Hills.

Another five days of GREAT DIVING with Kontiki Divers! Time to get myself a new logbook!

Here's an e-mail we received from the Belgian group: Petra, Ingrid, Christophe, Koen, Thierry & Filip:

Dear Karl,

A BIG THANKS from the Belgian diving group, having done  Malapascua-diving & the Dive-safari from 18-27 April 2011. 

The first part, diving Malapascua was really beautiful & well organised. But the safari afterwards had that little thing more to make it excellent... being the superb service from Rex and Albert. 

Sea-Rex is really a first-class-diver, always looking out over us. He organised every part of the planning at our convenience, nothing was too much for him. On top, every underwater-speciality  we could ask to see he managed to show us within 2 dives (eg. Pigmy-sea-horses, sea-snakes, leaf-fish, frog-fish, Blue-ringed Octopus...)... Really top-act from Rex. 

Albert also will become a class-diver very soon: he already had the very good attitude of looking over us without being noticed. On top, he was a very pleasant & intelligent person to talk to. 

Please send our congratulations & deep thanks to both of them!

Kind regards,

Petra, Ingrid, Christophe, Koen, Thierry & Filip..

PS: we will make a selection of our underwater photos and send them to you.

The Belgian Diving Group


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dive For Earth Day!

      As we prepared for the Earth Day celebration last April 22, 2011, we also looked into how much impact we have made on the environment. Approximately 71 percent of the Earth`s surface is covered by the ocean. But over the years our relentless drive for advancement has caused too much stress on the Earth´s underwater habitat. Just recently, a study was done and it turned out that 75 percent of the world`s coral reefs are being threatened by these local and global pressures. Leaving those species whose well being and existence relies solely on the ocean, greatly affected.

For this year's Earth Day celebration, Seven Seas Dive Center, Kontiki Divers Scuba Adventures together with Plantation Bay and 60 divers from the Philippine Navy, PNP, and Airforce joined forces but this time on a different battlefield- The Underwater world. The effort to combat underwater pollution creates a new challenge for these people who spent almost half of their lives to help in keeping our country in peace and order. Now, they cross to a peaceful environment in need of help.The action was headed by Dive Masters; Dario of Seven Seas Dive CenterandRex ofKontiki Divers Scuba Adventuresand P01 Vicente Pio of PNP Information Department.

It was a whole day event done on the Plantation Bay house reef where they were able to collect bottles, fish traps, nets and plastics. These are the debris that causes marine mammals to suffer and eventually die. An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles choke or get tangled by these types of marine debris every year. And 86 percent of all those affected are sea turtles.                                                                                                                        
  “Education and awareness  plays a big role in making this effort to combat against marine debris effective. People need to be taught and be made aware of the consequences to whatever actions they do to our planet, especially the Ocean.  - Rex (Dive Master). 

  Seven Seas Dive Center and Kontiki Divers Scuba Adventures have been working hand in hand with the local government and other NGOs in this annual beach clean-up activity to help provide action and awareness not only to the locals but the foreign tourists as well. 
The day ended with a feeling of accomplishment that somehow we were able to take part of this worldwide effort to bring about change and have a reason to celebrate this year´s Earth Day.