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Thailand Mourns Venerated King Bhumibol Adulyadej

King Bhumibol AdulyadejThai King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away peacefully on the Thursday, 13th October 2016, at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok. King Bhumibol was much loved by the Thai people and was the world’s longest reigning monarch. He was coronated in 1946 at the age of 18 and was the Thai constitutional monarch for seven decades.

The King’s passing will be recognised with flags flying at half-mast for 30 days and the country will observe a year of mourning. His body will lie at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew, inside the Grand Palace complex for an undisclosed duration. No date has been set for the cremation. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will ascend the throne, however he has requested time to mourn with the country before his coronation.

While the Thai nation is in mourning, the government has requested that “joyful events” are avoided and that the public not hold any “entertainment activities” during the month. Sombre, black or dark, clothing will be worn by the Thai nation during the mourning period and visitors to the country are advised to do the same.

If you have already planned your diving holiday to Thailand, there should be no reason to change your plans. Along with your dive gear, sun block and guidebooks, it is more important than ever to pack some cultural sensitivity. The advice for UK citizens, “if possible, wear sombre and respectful clothing when in public; check local media regularly and follow the advice of the local authorities”. “Access to entertainment, including restaurants, bars, and shopping areas may be restricted and you should behave respectfully when in public areas,” says the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). There may be some disruption of commercial and public services, especially during the next 30 days. Thailand’s lese majeste laws are among the strictest in the world. The Dutch foreign ministry also reminds travelers to Thailand to avoid any “declarations or discussions critical of the royal family”.

During your diving vacation to Thailand be respectful in dress and conversation when in public areas, keep updated with local announcements and seek confirmation on appropriate attire in resorts and on liveaboards.

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.


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Maldives Manta Mania!

Most divers have a ‘must see wish list’ and if I was a gambler, I’d bet that diving with majestic manta rays would feature in the top 5 of every diver’s list. Who wouldn’t want to swim with gentle giants (that can reach an incredible 8 metres in length and up to 2,300 kilograms) yet glide effortlessly as if performing an aquatic ballet? To help you satisfy your dreams, look no further than the Maldives for exhilarating manta ray experiences.

Carpe Vita ExplorerThe tropical paradise that is the Maldives is home to 1,192 coral islands forming 26 atolls and include 31 protected areas. Azure seas, white sandy beaches and a tropical climate provide the perfect destination for leisure diving. Dive The World offers you sublime choices for your Maldives liveaboard diving safaris.

Diving with manta rays are possible year round in this magical paradise. The Ari Atoll is where divers go to experience big marine life. Here currents are strong, coral reefs are few, the water is rich with plankton and fish life abundant. The result is the perfect combination for manta ray, whale shark and hammerhead encounters.

The Maldives are filled with opportunities to witness these incredible creatures, however Ari Atoll is the front runner. Head to one of the cleaning stations (Donkalo Thila in west Ari, Rangali Madivaru in the south west, and Kudarah Thila in the south east) where frequent manta sightings occur. The far North Atolls are the adventure playground of experienced divers. Here the nutrient rich waters of Haa Alifu Atoll and Haa Dhaalu Atoll are populated with reef predators and manta rays. If this is your chosen Maldivian diving location, we are happy to share with you that mantas appear more frequently in larger groups during the September – November period.

Mantas in Maldives with Thomas PeschakIf the feeling of solitude is a consideration when booking your Maldivian liveaboard safari, consider visiting the Northern Atolls. When diving Baa, Raa, Lhaviyani and Noonu, there may be fewer liveaboards at your dive sites. We recommend that you consider an itinerary that includes snorkeling at world famous Hanifaru Bay. During the months of May to November, when the lunar tide occurs, the bay experiences an enormous plankton buildup. This occasion ushers in up to 200 manta rays and whale sharks. An experience every diver needs to witness.

The Maldives are vast, the seasons varied and the experiences unforgettable. Contact our knowledgable team today for guidance on where and when you should book your Maldivian liveaboard cruise.

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.


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Join The Philippine Siren Shark Behaviour Research Cruise in Tubbataha

The SY Philippine Siren liveaboard is collaborating with LAMAVE for an exciting research project. You can be one of the 16 lucky divers to have the privilege to assist the LAMAVE researchers (Large Marine Vertebrates Project Philippines) during their beneficial work.

This special cruise is only available for 29 March – 4 April 2017 bookings aboard the Philippine Siren. Confirm your cabin now and experience more than any other Tubbataha liveaboard holiday.

During your cruise you will be invited to join the following activities:
Philippine Siren liveaboard, special research cruise to Tubbataha
Assist the LAMAVE research team in monitoring tiger and grey reef shark behaviour
Join in for exploratory dives to deploy new acoustic receivers to track individual whale sharks, manta rays and analyse the gathered data from existing receivers
Help with identifying individual tagged species of whale sharks, manta rays and turtles and to count their numbers
Attend several presentations by Gonsalo Araujo (LAMAVE Executive Director)

The traditional gaff-rigged phinisi-style liveaboard offers guests luxury and safety (Lloyds standards). The Philippine Siren has been designed to ensure that diving guests are well catered for, from the beautifully appointed ensuite cabins, the well designed, spacious dive deck to the well trained crew of 12 all your diving holiday requirements will be met, and then some. Certified divers may also enjoy complimentary nitrox during your 6 night cruise.

Special Research Liveaboard Diving Trip to Tubbataha Reefs National Park
29 March – 4 April 2017
Standard double/twin bed cabin: US$ 3,338 (per person)
19 Dives

Do not delay, contact our friendly and efficient Dive The World team to confirm your cabin aboard the Philippine Siren and be part of this extraordinary opportunity to make a difference.

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.


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Layang Layang Island Resort – 2016 Operator of the Year!

The only diving operator on a small Malaysian island in the South China Sea, Layang Layang Island Resort is the Dive The World Operator of the Year for 2016.

We at Dive The World, continually communicate with the owners and management of the resorts and liveaboards that we promote to ensure that they provide you, our customers, the best possible service they can. We value our customers opinions and listen to your feedback about your scuba diving holidays. Your feedback, which includes all aspects of your vacation experience, (from accommodation to food, diving safety to staff service) determines who is recognised as our (your) operator of the year.

This year many customers have shared with us the exceptional service they received at Layang Layang. The magic of diving with the 3 star Layang Layang Island Resort is in part due to the main attraction, schools of hammerhead sharks! There are many other reasons to visit Layang Layang; diverse and healthy corals, an abundance of fish life, deep-water manta rays and even a protected bird park.

You can be assured of receiving top-notch service. Upon receiving the award, Lawrence Lee, Layang Layang General Manager responded: “Thank you for the recognition and support from Dive The World. We will continue with our efforts to provide the ultimate dive experience @ Layang Layang Island.”

The dive season at Layang Layang is short and numbers are limited due to the low availability of flights, do not miss your opportunity to visit this incredible dive destination. Book early!

They also have an awesome special for 2017 where they are giving away free nights!

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.


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Celebrate with Belize

September is celebration month in Belize. In true Caribbean style, the partying starts in late August and continues until the end of September.

Carnival BelizeCarnival celebrations kick off on St. George’s Caye Day, the 10th of September. This date marks the victory of the short battle back in 1798 between the Mexican invading forces that intended to assert Spanish claims over present day Belize. Independence day is also celebrated in the same month. On the 21st September 1981, Belize was declared an independent nation and was no longer a British Crown Colony.

Belizeans love a good party, not that any encouragement is needed for this diverse and spirited nation. Carnival and Independence Day provides extra special reasons to sing, dance, eat delicious food from a variety of local food stalls and hold vibrant parades in celebration of their multi-cultural society.

This small nation is no bigger than Israel yet it packs a punch. It has created its own spin from Latin American and Caribbean influences while seamlessly integrating its diverse cultures of Belizean, Creole, Mestizo, Garifuna and Maya. Belize is sandwiched between Mexico (north-northwest), Guatemala (south-southwest) and the Caribbean Sea on their eastern shore.

Blue HoleHere all travellers’ interests can be met. From museum visits, enjoying local delicacies (apparently the gibnut is delicious), forays into the jungle, excursions to ancient archaeological Maya sites, adventure activities (such as zip-lining, rappelling down waterfalls or exploring caves) and of course with such a long coastline beach activities and exploring the world under the sea is a must.

Belize is home to the world famous Blue Hole. Diving this acclaimed site is a must for many divers, however if this is not your cup of tea, the world’s second largest Barrier Reef offers a variety of spectacular diving opportunities for scuba enthusiasts.

Diving in Belize can be divided into three main areas. Lighthouse Reef, Turneffe Reef Atoll, and Ambergris Caye. Diving is year round, with February and March being the driest months and August through October the ‘wet season’, the more likely period for hurricanes. This August Belize unfortunately experienced Hurricane Earl. All our resorts have either reported no closures and are fully operational, only a few will close for a short time in order to make repairs.

Belize Aggressor IIIThe good news is that all our Belizean resort and liveaboard personal are all well and looking forward to welcoming loyal customers. Magical images of calm seas and spectacular coral life adorn many of our resorts’ Facebook pages. Book your liveaboard or resort holiday now and celebrate your confirmed Caribbean diving vacation!

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.


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Hawaii Is Home To The World’s Largest National Park

United States President, Barack Obama, has focused on his home state of Hawaii as part of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The White House announced the monumental decision to increase the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Ghost Octopus Hawaii_1The expansion of the marine park has resulted in it being the largest protected area anywhere on earth! The park was created President George W. Bush in 2006. It is located around the uninhabited northwestern islands of Hawaii and covered an area of 140,000 square miles. The marine park’s size will be more than quadrupled and will now include over half a million miles (582,578 square miles) of remote Pacific waters.

This single marine monument is now bigger than all the USA national parks combined! President Obama used his executive authority under the U.S Antiquities Act. He extended the monuments boundary and ensured that all commercial fishing and mineral extraction would be prohibited within the monument. Noncommercial recreational fishing, removal of fish and other resources for Native Hawaiian cultural practices, and scientific research will be allowed if the appropriate permit is acquired.

Hawaii_Spinner_Dolphins_1The expansion of the marine park was formally proposed by Sen. Brian Schats (D-HI). “This is one of the most important actions an American president has ever taken for the health of the oceans,” he said in a statement. “Expanding Papahānaumokuākea will replenish stocks of ‘ahi, promote biodiversity, fight climate change, and give a greater voice to Native Hawaiians in managing this resource. President Obama’s declaration is only the beginning. To create continued success, we will need to follow through with management, research, educational opportunities, and enforcement. This declaration sets us on a strong path forward for our irreplaceable environment and the generations to come.”

Hawaiian Monkseal_Mark_Sullivan_1Endangered species, including blue whales, short-tailed albatrosses, sea turtles and the last Hawaiian monk seals seek refuge in the Papahānaumokuākea park. More than 7,000 species inhabit the deeper waters. The park is also home to some of the world’s healthiest coral reefs. It is theorized that these reefs are the most likely to survive through the expected increase in the ocean temperatures due to climate change. Black corals, the world’s oldest animals on earth have lived here for more than 4,000 years!

“We are so deeply grateful for our President Obama’s leadership on protecting our great oceans and the saved realm of our seas,” Kealoha Pisciotta, founder of Kai Palaoa, told NBC News. “It is a win for the children of Hawai’i and for all the children of the world! Ola I Ke Au a KanaLoa (life to the realms of the Sea).”

Such a protected zone will have benefits to the waters well beyond its confines. This means Hawaii’s already rich seas will continue to thrive and flourish and you can enjoy them by joining a Kona Aggressor II liveaboard trip and experience it all for yourself!

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.


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Lionfish Invade The Americas

The alluring lionfish draws in both photography enthusiasts and prey alike. These unique fish are native in the Indo-Pacific, here they have natural predators and their numbers are kept in check. Unfortunately there are now established populations across a vast geographic area, including the southeast coast of the United States of America, in parts of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

Their burgeoning numbers are a huge concern. Their flamboyant appearance conceals a voracious predator. In the tropical Atlantic they have virtually no natural enemies, breed prolifically (a single female can produce 2 million eggs per year) and they view the reef as a personal buffet. They are non-selective and glutton feeders. Lionfish have been known to consume 50 different species of fish and their stomachs can expand up to thirty times their normal size after a meal. Mark Hixon et al (2009) determined that a single lionfish can reduce juvenile fish populations by 79% in just 5 weeks.

How did this beguiling and hazardous species invade and spread across such an extensive range? One theory is that 6 lionfish were accidentally released from an aquarium during hurricane Andrew in 1992. As far fetched as this sounds, genetic research supports this notion. It is however likely that many more of these hunters have been intentionally released by thoughtless aquarium enthusiasts.

What is being done to reduce this destructive population? National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association of the United States (NOAA) researchers have concluded that invasive lionfish populations can not be curbed and will continue to expand. The diving community has stepped up to find safe ways to catch lionfish. One such method is the ‘zookeeper’, a plastic cylinder to store lionshfish underwater that protects divers from being stung, another diver has developed an adapted pole spear to safely catch lionfish. Researchers in the Caribbean are proactively ‘teaching’ sharks to prey on these predators. Time will tell if these unusual methods will have an impact on diminishing the population.

We salute the members of the diving community who are working together to eradicate this unwelcome ‘alien’. Despite the dire situation that lionfish are causing in the American waters, divers can choose to experience lionfish in their natural habitat in one of the many superb diving locations in the Indo-Pacific.

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.


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The Threatened ‘Rio Dolphin’ Needs Your Help

All eyes are on Brazil as the host country of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Sea Shepherd Legal is making the most of the media attention and timeously staged its online campaign to save the Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis). This is the same species that is depicted on the coat of arms of the host city of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, or Rio 2016.

Guiana Doplphins_Image Courtesy of Instituto Boto Cinza (1)The Guiana dolphins are locally known as boto cinza. They are similar to the bottlenose dolphin, however they are smaller and live in pods of 2-10. An estimated 800 Guiana dolphins are thought to remain, and approximately 10 are killed every month. Catherine Pruett, Sea Shepherd Legal’s Executive Director, “What we are fighting for here is to ensure that the Guiana dolphin doesn’t go the way of Mexico’s vaquita porpoise – a species moments away from extinction due to the same threats.”

The Guianas are threatened due to fishing, pollution, loss of habitat and shipping and port development in the Bay of Sepetiba in Rio. Sea Shepherd Legal is working together with the Brazilian Federal Prosecutors Office and two local non-governmental bodies to ensure that this species of dolphin remains in the seas and not just an image on a flag.

While the international spotlight is on Brazil, help make them accountable for the protection of this species. Support Sea Shepherd Legal by adding weight to the campaign, include your name on the petition now!.


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See Where Cenderawasih Whale Sharks Are Now!

Cendrawasih Whale Shark “The Galapagos of Indonesia’s reefs”, Indonesia’s Cenderawasih Bay earned its name due to the diversity of marine species that calls this incredible area ‘home’.

An innovative project by Conservation International has highlighted that many young male whale sharks, literally do consider this area to be ‘home’. Conservation International has been collaborating with Cenderawasih fishermen to tag the world’s largest fish. Previous attempts to collect data (location, diving depths and temperatures) have been unsuccessful due to the high rate of tags coming detached from these gentle giants. Up until now, fin-mount tags were not used as whale sharks are simply too big to ‘capture’ and bring along side a vessel and mount the tags.

Whale sharks are inadvertently captured in Cenderawasih fisherman’s silverside baitfish nets, a favourite food of whale sharks. Before the whale sharks are safely released, Conservation International researchers attach custom designed Wildlife Computers finmount SPLASH10-346A satellite tags (with a 2 year battery life) to the whale shark’s dorsal fin.

Whale Shark Tagging_1To date, 16 individuals have been tagged; 5 of these have been tracked for more than a year. Each time the fish surfaces; data is transmitted providing scientists with a wealth of information about the enigmatic whale shark. Despite their size and potential for long distance migrations, the data has shown that the Cenderawasih whale sharks are largely ‘home-bodies’. You too can follow the whale sharks movements via Conservation International’s live-tracking site.

If diving with whale sharks is on your must experience list, then this is a destination not to be missed. Seeing a whale shark here is literally a sure thing! Dive The World offers you a number of liveaboard diving cruises to Cenderawasih. Our friendly and efficient sales team are available to assist you with your Cenderawasih liveaboard diving holiday booking.

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.


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Is The Term Jewfish Offensive?

Jewfish has been the colloquial name for the goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara) for quite some time. Is it still being used? Is this naming a bit out of step with our politically correct times? Do you think that the term is offensive? Have we ‘evolved’ into such a sensitive society that we have lost sight of what is truly important?

Where did the term jewfish come from?

There are a number of theories out there on the origin of this name, some are benign and others offensive. Let’s look, as we must, for the proper context….

Atlantic Goliath GrouperThis grouper’s common name is quite apt. This species can reach lengths of up to 2.5m and weigh as much as 360kg! It is not surprising that it may be perceived that it was named after a giant. (Goliath was a giant Philistine warrior in the bible story, David and Goliath.) Dr Joe Nelson, chair of the Names of Fishes Committee (USA), made special mention that the grouper was named goliath, meaning large and not Goliath after the Philistine. Was the fish inadvertently connected to Judaism when it was first named?

The Atlantic goliath grouper can be found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from the Congo to Senegal. In the Americas its range is generally more southerly and extends from Florida Keys, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean and the majority of the Brazilian coastline. Its location may have more to do with the next theory. This one also stems from a physical attribute of the fish. The goliath grouper has a huge mouth, and the theory goes that it was called “jawfish”. Through southern accents the word morphed into “jewfish”. So it is more a question of semantics than Semitics?

Dewi Nusantara_1One theory that sits at the far left of the spectrum is that back in the 1800s, goliath groupers, were thought of as trash fish, and a certain sector of society declared it was only fit for Jews. This pretty nasty theory is at odds with the writings of famed explorer, William Dampier (after whom the Dampier Strait in Indonesia was named). In his book A New Voyage Round the World (1697), Dampier shares his journey to Jamaica. Here he encountered the ‘jewfish’. Jamaican Jews claimed the Epinephelus itajara to be the grandest kosher fish. It was proclaimed the grandest for it’s obvious size and it met Levitical Kosher law of being a clean fish by having, scales that are visible with the naked eye and fins. So if this theory is to be believed the name comes from it being a highly prized kosher fish. Nothing negative about that, although the term ‘kosherfish’ would likely not offend to the same extent as ‘jewfish’. There is something unsettling about the juxtaposition of a sacred belief system and the word fish appearing in the same term.

‘Impact’ of change?

The Maryland-based American Fisheries Society received some complaints about the name since the 1960s. This organisation’s Committee on Names of Fishes is the USA’s arbiter of names of fishes. This small group of seven, announced in 2001 that although there was no evidence that the name jewfish is being used offensively, it will nonetheless now be officially known as goliath grouper.

The reactions of prominent members of the Jewish Florida community may surprise many. Quoth Art Teitelbaum of the Anti-Defamation League, “Stereotypes about Jews have resulted in everything from murder to social discrimination. [But] in my experience, the jewfish has never been an energizing factor.” Rabbi Bruce Diamond, a Jewish leader in Fort Myers, “I tell you, in the universe of things that need to change, the name of a big grouper is low on the list. . . . I appreciate their political correctness, but people should think about getting migrant laborers a few more pennies for their tomatoes, do something good for the world. And you got that from the rabbi’s mouth.”

Some may think that the decision by the American Fisheries Society will result in the eventual decline of the term ‘jewfish’. This is unlikely, as the Miami Herald noted, at least nine islands or bodies of water are named after the jewfish. These include Jewfish Point in Los Angeles, Jewfish Creek in the Florida Keys and Jewfish Creek bridge (connecting Florida city and Key Largo). Renaming them would involve actions by state legislatures whom surely have more important concerns to occupy their time. The names of these places will on their own, keep the name jewfish ‘alive’, well at least in the State of Florida.

Perhaps the lesson here should be taken from the Jewish community. Be aware and considerate of sensitive issues however focus on what is important in life. Give your time and energy to things that are truly important and focus where change can have a positive impact on issues that really matter.

Consult our experienced sales team on destinations where you can dive with the gargantuan goliath grouper. They have extensive knowledge on all our destinations and can guide you in selecting the perfect scuba diving holiday!

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or E-mail our sales team for informed and professional advice!
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Bali and Phuket – Ranked In The Top 10 Islands Of The World

The votes have been cast and the reports are in. TripAdvisor have published their 2016 Travellers Choice Awards.

Two of our favourite destinations have been recognised and are included in the category Top 10 Islands of the World. Bali is the 5th best island in the world according to travellers and readers and Phuket is not far behind, listed as 8th. Considering that Earth is home to over 100 000 islands these two destinations must be pretty special.

Bali_1TripAdvisor describes these magical islands, Bali is a living postcard, an Indonesian paradise that feels like a fantasy. Soak up the sun on a stretch of fine white sand, or commune with the tropical creatures as you dive along coral ridges or the colorful wreck of a WWII war ship. On shore, the lush jungle shelters stone temples and mischievous monkeys. The “artistic capital” of Ubud is the perfect place to see a cultural dance performance, take a batik or silver-smithing workshop, or invigorate your mind and body in a yoga class” and Thailand’s largest island is an international magnet for beach lovers and serious divers, who enthusiastically submerge themselves in the Andaman Sea. Blue lagoons and salmon sunsets make for a dream-like atmosphere, and indeed, a vacation here can feel a bit surreal. Watersports are the most popular activities, though once you’ve had enough sun there’s still plenty to explore at the island’s aquariums, gardens, and Buddhist temples.”

Both are incredibly enticing. Spoilt for choice and not sure which to choose? Dive The World is here and can help you decide which island to select for your next diving vacation. Divers have the choice of either resort or liveaboard cruise holidays in Phuket and Bali.

MV Hallelujah Liveaboard_1It is understandable if you cannot choose between these two amazing Asian destinations. You can always visit both and take advantage of Dive The World’s lowest price guarantee and our loyal customer benefits.

Consult our experienced sales team. They have extensive knowledge on all our destinations and can guide you in selecting the perfect scuba diving holiday! Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or E-mail our sales team for informed and professional advice!.


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Gardens of the Queen – Cuba’s Underwater Garden of Eden

Today’s trending dive destination is Cuba and the diving hotspot is Jardines de la Reina. This incredible dive destination has been a marine park for over 20 years and the protection has paid off. The area resembles the Caribbean at the time when Christopher Columbus named the area, Gardens of the Queen, in honour of his Spanish Queen Isabella.

Fidel Castro, a scuba diving enthusiast himself, declared an area of 2,170 square kms a national park, creating one of the largest marine reserves in the Caribbean. Under park regulations limited, regulated commercial lobster fishing in the north is allowed, there are no inhabitants and there are also minimal tourism opportunities.

The international spotlight shone on Jardines de la Reina in 2011 during Anderson Cooper’s 60 Minute segment featuring his visit to the Queen’s Gardens. During his trip, Cooper dived with and interviewed Dr. David E. Guggenheim, an American marine biologist and senior fellow at the Ocean Foundation in Washington, D.C. Guggenheim believes that Jardines de la Reina is “the most incredibly well protected and flourishing reef I’ve ever seen”. A bold statement from a marine scientist, conservation policy specialist, ocean explorer and educator.

Avalon II AerialAvalon, an Italian company (in a joint venture with the Cuban government) holds the licence for scuba diving, fly fishing and wildlife tours in the park. A maximum of 1200 divers per year are granted permits to dive in the marine sanctuary from one of their liveaboards.

With relations rapidly thawing between the United States of America and Cuba, visiting this Caribbean island nation is becoming less complicated. However with ease comes volume. With limited dive permits available and the spectacular diving on offer, divers are advised to book their liveaboard diving holiday as soon as possible to ensure that they too can experience this underwater garden of Eden.

Book your Jardines de la Reina scuba diving liveaboard holiday now

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.


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Time To Dive The Great Barrier Reef?

Over the past two months, the Great Barrier Reef has received a great deal of attention in the media. How much of this reporting is sensationalism? How much is political jockeying between conservationists, the government and the coal mining industry? And how does all this affect your plans to dive this disputed World Heritage site?

Coral Bleaching: What is it and what causes it?
Coral_Justin Marshall (1)There is no doubt that the recent El Niño has affected the Great Barrier Reef. This is the third time, since 1998, that the reef has been put through tremendous natural stressors resulting in ‘coral bleaching’. Obviously it is not due to Clorox being dumped into the seas – so what does coral bleaching mean and how does it occur?

Coral bleaching is a term used to describe coral that has turned white. Healthy coral is often a deep brown or khaki-green colour. This coloration is due to symbiotic algae (also known as zooxanthellae) that co-exist with the coral polyp and provide it with carbohydrates. When the coral is stressed during periods of increased sea temperatures, the symbiotic algae depart. Their departure is an illusion. The coral polyps now appear beautifully coloured or fluorescent, despite appearing ‘prettier’, these corals are far from happy. As long as the water temperatures are elevated, the algae are not present to provide sustenance to the coral. If the algae do not return, the coral runs out of energy, turns white and will eventually die. If however, the water temperature is lowered, and the algae return, the symbiotic relationship resumes and the corals may recover.

Global warming results in minor increases in sea temperatures that in turn has catastrophic consequences for coral reefs. Who is to blame for the global warming? Well the buck stops with us! Human activities that produce heat-trapping carbon dioxide are responsible for global warming and the resulting increase in land and sea temperatures. Scientists have discovered that the oceans are more susceptible than land to even minor fluctuations in temperature. With a slight increase in our oceans, sea levels rise, storm patterns change and increase in severity, the ocean-conveyor belt that is responsible for regulating the Earth’s temperature is disrupted, the health and longevity of life giving coral reefs and even the reproduction of krill – a very important link at the bottom of the food chain are all affected.

Multitude of Great Barrier Reef reports
National Coral Taskforce_1 (1)The media is buzzing with reports about the current state of the Great Barrier Reef. There have been calls for the UN to list the reef as “in danger”. Despite requests for the Great Barrier Reef to no longer have World Heritage status, it retains this title at this time. Prof Terry Hughes, director of ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University has undertaken aerial surveys over seven days criss-crossing the entire Barrier Reef. The reef is approximately 2,300 kilometres long, with the affected area being about 1,100 kilometres in the area between New Guinea to Cairns. Hughes has estimated more than 95% of the northern Great Barrier Reef is “severely bleached”. A shockingly low 4 out of 520 reefs have remained untouched by the recent El Nino effects. This came as a devastating blow as the unspoiled northern section was seen as a critical source of genetic material to reseed the southern Barrier Reef. In an interview with the BBC, Nick Heath, (spokesperson for the World Wildlife Fund), confirmed this “We have been working to save the reef in [recent] years, and we always took for granted that we had the bank in the northern quarter that was safe, and seemed resilient in previous bleaching episodes, but now it’s cooked to an inch of its life…”

Australia’s Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt has also viewed the reef from the air. His take on the situation, “There’s good and bad news – the bottom three quarters of the reef is in strong condition..”, “as we head north of Lizard Island it becomes increasingly prone to bleaching.” Mr Hunt is confident in the assessment by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (the governmental body responsible for protecting the reef through restrictions on fishing, coastal development and other commercial activity). In a statement, the park authority Chairman, Dr Russell Reichelt, explained that the extent and degree of bleaching varies greatly across the reef. The late arrival of the wet season has possibly saved areas of the reef from coral die off. (Unfortunately the late arrival of the wet season also happened to cause devastation to Fiji via cyclone Winston.)

Political – Economic – Ping-Pong
Goggle Gardens_Ribbon 9_Courtesy of L BuckinghamThe Department of Environment announce that the state and federal governments are investing a projected AUD$2 billion (US$1.5bn) over the next decade to protect the reef. The Commonwealth Government of Australia issues a lease for a new coal mine in Queensland – the extraction of coal contributes to global warming and to add insult to injury, the coal will be exported across the Great Barrier Reef, increasing shipping and dredging in the area… The Marine Park Authority plays down the severity and extent of the bleaching in one press statement and later elevates its bleaching alert to the highest level. Conservationists declare that this is the worst bleaching since 1998… A community Facebook page, ‘Capt Trevor Jacksons Coral Bleaching Media Exaggerations Reality Check’ has beautiful, current images taken on the reef. Many of the photographs on the page are from sites that are included in our liveaboard itineraries, as shown on the Dive The World map of The Great Barrier Reef. These areas are fortunately in the bottom three quarters of the reef as per Minister Hunt’s statement and the majority of the worst affected areas are north of Lizard Island.

A diver’s perspective
Spoilsport_GeriMurphyOve Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland postulates that if there is not significant, immediate change, the world will lose ALL coral reefs by 2040! “This is not in the future, it’s happening right now,” he says.

We are not scientists or world leaders. We are lovers of the oceans, its inhabitants and all life it holds. We love experiencing its wonders personally through the recreational sport of scuba diving. We say ‘why wait?’ Make personal life changes to positively impact our climate and make the most of every opportunity. Book that ticket, confirm that liveaboard diving holiday – and start with the Great Barrier Reef – who knows, it may be gone before you know it!

Book your Great Barrier Reef scuba diving holiday now!
Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or E-mail our sales team to seal the deal!.


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South Africa’s Marine Protection – Have Your Say!

South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs is lobbying to establish 22 marine protected areas (MPAs) along the coast. This move is a long time coming; currently less than 0.4% of South Africa’s coastline is protected!

Aliwal Shoals_Photo Courtesy of Lesley Rochat_1World famous Aliwal Shoal is set to be among the 22 MPAs that will increase the total marine protected areas to more than 5%. The entire draft notice by Minister Edna Molewa is available on the South African Department of Environmental Affairs’ website.

Diving Aliwal Shoal
The shoal is claimed to offer some of the most exciting scuba diving in the world. Divers across the globe travel to the southern tip of Africa to dive this amazing spot. Aliwal includes both hard and soft corals, two wrecks, a plethora of marine life, including predators. Highlights are Grey nurse sharks (“raggies” in the local lingo), tiger sharks, manta rays, dolphins and whale sharks.

Impacts on local industry and conservation
The marine parks proposal would prevent bottom-fishing by net, however limited fishing by permit would be allowed. Research areas would prevent marine activities, including diving, from occurring in the designated areas.

Arguments for and against the proposal
A hearing in the town of Umkomaas last week was described as reaching ‘fever pitch”. The local fishermen and representatives from the private sector claimed that fishing provided much needed income for the poor and that the community would lose millions if marine activities (including scuba diving) were curtailed in the area.

Sharklife_1Conservationists rebutted the arguments stating that too many damaging demands were being made on the environment. These included taxing the environment by fishing, recreational activities and oil and gas exploration companies that had been setting off underwater explosions in the area. The prevailing view is that by creating a marine protected area, the natural diversity could be restored. Our view, ‘stop the explosions, stop the fishing allow the diving!’

Have your say!
As per the draft notice, members of the public can submit their comments for or against the declaration within 90 days from the date of publication in the Government Gazette. Have a voice and influence the details of the marine protected areas submit your e-mail before the 17 May 2017!.

Dive The World supports shark conservation in South Africa. When you book with Dive The World, a portion of your trip fee is donated to Sharklife.

Book your scuba diving holiday now! Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or E-mail our sales team to seal the deal!.


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The ‘bends’ treatment for Tucker the Turtle

An olive ridley turtle was near death and stranded on the shores of Oregon, USA. Since his rescue, he has been receiving treatment traditionally used to cure divers suffering from the bends. Tucker, as his carers at the Seattle Aquarium affectionately call him, was a long way from his usual ‘stomping grounds’, the warm waters of the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Ridley Sea Turtle_Courtesy of National GeographicThreatened sea turtle saved from death’s door
Tucker could not submerge due to gas bubbles that caused buoyancy issues. Floating on the oceans surface, he was carried into the cold waters that olive ridleys are not accustomed to. He was near starving and his body temperature was half of what it should be, causing most of his organs to shut down. His fortune turned when he washed up on Cannon Beach.

The Seattle Aquarium veterinary team began the mammoth task to ‘bring him back to life’ . This included treating him for severe pneumonia by providing manual ventilation by pressing a bulb on a tube in his mouth every two minutes for a week! His body temperature was painstakingly raised by 2 degrees a day and he was hand fed about a kilogram of seafood, including anchovies, shrimp and squid daily. Once he had recovered sufficiently he was the first non-human to be treated in the hyperbaric chamber at Seattle’s Virginia Mason Hospital. A team of hospital staff and veterinarians from the aquarium prescribed the hyperbaric therapy. This included 2 ½ hours in the chamber while being sedated and breathing 100% oxygen through a breathing tube in his airway.

Collaboration between doctors and veterinarians – a win for conservation!

Two members of the team shared their unusual experience. Dr James Holm, Medical Director at the Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine and scuba diver for over 40 years: “We have treated many scuba-divers over the years… this is the first time we have been asked to assist in the care of a sea turtle, which are excellent divers themselves.”

Aquarium veterinarian, Lesanna Lahner said: “Not only will the treatment potentially help him to be released back into the wild, but it has provided us with valuable information about the diving physiology of sea turtles, as we were able to closely monitor his vitals and blood gases throughout the entire procedure. This has been an exciting collaboration of veterinary medicine and human healthcare providers.”

Tucker’s recovery is being carefully monitored at the aquarium. It is vital that his buoyancy returns to normal so he can submerge, will not be vulnerable to predators or boats and can find food. When his team of carers are confident that he has fully recovered, he will be flown to San Diego and released into the Pacific ocean.

Experience olive ridley turtles and other amazing marine life in the waters off Mexico.

Book your Socorro Island and Sea of Cortez liveaboard diving cruise now.

Contact Dive The World right away on +66 (0)94 582 7973 / (0)83 505 7794 or send us an email.


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