PADI Sea the change

March 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Sea the Change

People like you are doing things large and small to protect the underwater world you care about. That’s why PADI created a conservation contest to let you see and share what fellow ocean lovers are doing to help.  Be part of the change. Submit a video. Vote on your favorite videos and send to your friends. Help ignite a viral conservation effort.

PADI Sea the Change Conservation Contest

Prize Details

Do you love the underwater world? Would you like to see it better protected?

Put your conservation into action and you could be the $5,000 USD grand prize winner, plus PADI will donate an additional $5,000 USD on your behalf to Project AWARE Foundation.

Simply grab your video camera and upload a short clip about what sea life you love and what you’re doing to make a difference. Every little action counts. By sharing what you’re doing, you may inspire others to take action. Be part of the change and help ignite a viral conservation effort. Submit a video. Vote on your favorite videos and send to your friends.

Contest Instructions

Yes, cash is nice and the public will vote for a grand prize winner. But, every video submitted spurs people to help our beloved aquatic life. That’s why you are permitted to upload as many video entries as you want. A beautiful ocean for generations to come is WAY better than cash, right? So, take a few minutes to submit a quick video—it doesn’t have to be a polished, professional looking clip. You’ll feel better knowing you did your part to help. Plus, you might see your video featured on the PADI blog at www.padi.com/blog where interesting conservation messages are shared often.

Contest Starts

March 08, 2011 @ 12:00 am (PST)

Contest Ends

December 15, 2011 @ 11:59 pm (PST)

Need more Details?

Read the Official Rules

About the Company

PADI: Professional Association of Diving Instructors Welcome to the World of Scuba Diving. PADI is the world’s leading scuba diving training organization. With more than forty years experience, over 133,500… [more

What should you make your video about?

We want to wake people up! We all know the ocean (and lakes, rivers, quarries) need our support.  But exactly what type of support?  How can one person affect change and actually see it happen?  You have to combine what you’re passionate about with what you’re good at.   Ask yourself these four questions:

1. What do YOU love about the underwater world?
2. What do YOU do to protect it?
3. How do YOU make a difference locally or otherwise.
4. If you’re a PADI Diver, how has scuba diving changed YOUR view of the environment?

Remember, your message is most important.  A handheld, quick video snippet is extremely compelling to spur people into action…so don’t worry about trying to make a slick, professional video. This is NOT a video contest.  It’s a conservation movement!  You can submit as many video entries as you wish.


Yes, cash is nice and the public will vote for a grand prize winner. But, every video submission spurs people to help our beloved aquatic life.  A beautiful ocean for generations to come is WAY better than cash, right?  So, take a few minutes to share what’s going on in your part of the world and see the change spread globally. Vote for a few videos you like. Share with friends. You’ll feel better knowing you did your part to help. Plus, you might see your video featured on the PADI blog where interesting conservation messages are shared often.

Consider these ideas on how to help:

Have you ever:
– picked up trash while scuba diving?
– participated in a beach cleanup?
– taken part in a marine research project?
– completed a mission trip focused on aquatic conservation or protection?
– started a local conservation initiative in your community, school or business?
– helped a local Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop with caring for aquatic conservation?
– raised awareness with your local news channel about a marine animal initiative?
– launched a petition that successfully impacted underwater conservation?
– raised donations for Project AWARE Foundation or other non-profits affecting change for the sea?
– helped establish a protected marine park or preserve?
– helped run an eco-tour?
– helped clean-up pollution of our ocean, lakes, or rivers?
– published an article, book, website or video raising awareness about protecting aquatic life?
– shared beautiful underwater imagery to wake people up about “what’s down there”
– trained or certified divers who work together on an underwater conservation project?
– ignited a group of people to take action of any kind to better the aquatic world?

What skills are you using to turn your passion into action to help the underwater environment become better protected?  Are you into underwater photography? Are you a strong writer, organizer, influencer, doer or promoter? Of course there many ways you can do your part, so get creative. If you’re 13 years or older, then make a video and submit it.  Anyone around the world can participate (from non-divers to scuba professionals), so start recording, sharing and voting!

Take action and share

Even if you’re not ready to submit a video today…if you just spread the word about this campaign, then you’re doing something good for the environment. Every little action counts towards change.  Wake someone up. Tell them about this conservation effort:

– Share the links from these inspiring videos with your friends
– Comment about your favorite conservation efforts on the
PADI blog
– Share the
PADI blog with your friends on Facebook or Twitter

Enviromental Asia Pacific and Koh Tao

March 19, 2011 1 comment

We seem to be answering a lot of questions in our Emails about dive site closures, not here on Koh Tao, but on the other coast and near the Burmese border.  The closures are due to the severe Bleaching Event which occurred in April and May of last year.  Our region was hit hard, with up to 78% bleacing of corals but has recovered very very well. (Corals pictured below have greatly recovered since these photos were taken)

This Bleaching Event has caused a few closures and of course with the help of the “trusty” media it seems that all of Thailand is closed for diving.  Well here’s my distorted view (cause I’m right here on my little island). Divers can be a threat to the reef, but only if they are learning, have poor abilities, like buoyancy control, or do not use eco-friendly diving pratices.  We can’t discount the amount of damage that is done by boat traffic and improper disposal of waste on marine vehicles which in any case can be linked directly to the diving community.  However, what role do these things play in bleaching the reefs??? At what stage does a diver contribute to the overall warming of the oceans???  So divers are not a real cause of the bleaching and true enough if we keep the divers away from the reefs most affected as they recover, it will help them recover faster… (Maybe, ours are doing quite well and look great!)   But why not point the finger to the real problem.

As we were told not to dive on certain sites (18 sites on the Andaman Coast of Thailand have been closed, (a very small percentage of reef area in MPA) and within weeks of these closures the Thai government holds meetings in Bangkok to allow Salamander Energies to begin a new oil drilling operation just 55km from Koh Tao’s reefs. If you happened to see the news last year about the environmental impacts of drilling in the gulf of Mexico you might want to think about the Gulf of Thailand next.   It is favourable to note that in these meetings held in Bangkok, Koh Tao’s Environmental Group “Save Koh Tao” was favourably mentioned and acknowledged for their activities.

Koh Tao is on the Western gulf side

 

So what is Ban’s Diving Resort doing?  And what is the rest of Koh Tao doing?  This year we are getting involved in projects headed up by the ‘Save Koh Tao’ Group such as monitoring our waters, implementing restoration techniques, conducting visitor surveys, continuing with turtle and whale shark databases, conducting water quality tests around the island, conducting underwater, reef and beach clean ups,  creating artificial reefs like biorock, monitoring, maintaining and installing mooring buoys, creating, monitoring and expanding giant clam nusery programs as well as coral nurseries, tree and grass planting for control erosion issues on the island.. and on and on.

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So to recap, seasoned divers in coastal areas of the world are probably the most informed people in reef management and reef conservation.  Not many divers would be diving if there was nothing to see.  Take a look and ask questions of the real reasons and concerns affecting our reefs these days and how you can help.  And in closing, keep your eyes peeled for PADI’s changes to their Project AWARE Program coming very very soon! (teaser 😉 I know).  AND IF YOU’RE ANYWHERE AROUND KOH TAO MARC H 25th-26th DON’T MISS OUR SAVE KOH TAO UNDER WATER FESTIVAL!  Will cover happenings in future blog.

other articles to check out….

http://www.projectaware.org/content/index.php?pid=79

http://projectaware.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/bans-eco-create-coral-nurseries/

PADI FORUM 2011 KOH TAO style

March 18, 2011 Leave a comment

PADI rocked Koh Tao few weeks ago during their IDC Staff Instructor update and Member Forum.  Tony and Colin were on the Rock that day updating Instructors and fielding questions, mainly on the new changes to the Divemaster Program that will be manditory as of July this year.  It’s an exciting time for us here at Ban’s with one of the worlds largest Divemaster Programs with over 50 participants and already 15-20 certs for 2011.

The day started with an update lead by Colin Melrose from PADI’s Head Office for Asia Pacific.  The update looked at the the Divemaster course as well as a lot of PADI’s new Online programs including Online DM and theory classes.  This new online programming is a fantastic way for travelers to save their precious holiday time for the beach in a classroom and get alot of their theory accomplished before they even arrive.

Later that evening Tony, the Regional Manager for Asia-Pacific, opened the floor to all the members in the first members’ forum for 2011 here on Koh Tao.  Our attendance was great with a lot of Ban’s DMT’s showing.  This event may not have been as formal as forums from other places in the world but was done in true “Koh Tao Style”.  Tony had lots to give and many questions were asked.  One new event that PADI was looking at is creating a PADI PRO NIGHT! but that’s info for another day.

DMT’s Back-to-School

March 14, 2011 1 comment

During our last Divemaster Meeting at Ban’s we had a request from a local school on the main land to come over and introduce ourselves to the kids!  They wanted us to come over and show the children what it is we do and what we learn as a scuba diver.  The request was given to us just before the start of our meeting.  By the meetings’ end we had a handful of volunteer Divemasters-in-Training and off they went that evening on the night boat to Chumphon a small city 4-5 hours away by night boat.  Once they arrived they were greeted by the schools’ staff and given an area to set up.  By the end of the day Ban’s Divemasters were the number one story at the school, getting over 12 classes in in just one afternoon.  The children were able to ask all the questions they wished and with the help of some awesome interpreters some of the kids even had the opportunity to try on some of our gear.  The day was such a success we were immediately invited to come back and do it all again.  Just wanted to give a shout out to all that helped in the planning, transportation and overall involvement in this event.  We put it together in less than a few hours and it went off better than if we were to plan it for days!  Thanks again!!

Here are a few pics of what took place….

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Where can we start to help…. Save Koh Tao Land Branch

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Are you wondering what’s being done on the island to combat a growing population and a soaring economy?  Have you just arrived and have questions about the islands’ recycling program?  Spent a few days lying on the Beach and looking for a more rewarding activity tomorrow?  Well you are in luck!  Save Koh Tao’s Land Conservation Branch has a number of activities you can participate in!

This past month alone Save Koh Tao Land Branch has accomplished many important tasks with the help of many capable and enthusiastic volunteers.  Some of these goals and tasks included removing 80 Kilos of Rubbish and 28.5 Kilos of recyclables from Sairee Beach, performing a Waste Mapping Assessment of the island, testing Waste Water Run-Off in Mae Haad and Chalok, building a fence around SKT’s Organic Garden and Grass Nursery, removing 87 bags of Rubbish from Chalok Canal and completing just over 100 surveys for Suhkothai University here in Thailand (this survey aims to put an economic value on our coral reefs and other natural resources).

Thanks to all our volunteers from this past month and from previous projects!!

If you have sometime while here on the island and wish to help out with some of our activities, here is a list of upcoming events and activities.

  • Weekly Beach Clean-Ups of Sairee Beach, Every Thursday at 10:30am, meet outside of Ban’s Dive Shop
  • Weekly Beach Clean-Ups with School Children, Every Friday at 3:00pm, varying locations
  • Monthly Land Clean-Ups, last Saturday of every Month, varying locations
  • Garden Planting & Maintenance, every Tuesday at 9:30am, meet at Koh Tao Info in Mae Haad
  • Waste Water Testing/Mapping every Tuesday at 1:30pm, varying locations

For more information on Save Koh Tao’s Land Branch projects or to find out about meeting points to join up please see www.landconservationkohtao.com or contact us at kohtaovolunteers@gmail.com.

There Be Corals Here!

January 25, 2011 3 comments

In the face of the rising need for more environmentally friendly practices on Koh Tao Ban’s Diving Resort, formed ‘Ban’s Eco’, to keep both the island and its’ surrounding marine habit both beautiful and healthy for the future.

Koh Tao is, located in the Gulf of Thailand, is a small but busy island of only 21 square kilometers and receives 300,000-400,000 tourists annually (predominantly visiting for a scuba diving holiday or to begin their carrier as a dive professional).   Due to Koh Tao’s rising popularity not only as a tourist destination but as a location for travelers seeking to obtain their dive certification, there continues to be a great strain put on the islands’ land and marine-based natural resources.

Among Ban’s Eco’s ongoing activities and projects, we run weekly Beach Clean-Ups of Sairee Beach   (which is home to Ban’s Diving and is under heavy stress due to tourism and development), monthly Underwater Clean-Ups of the Sairees’ Coral Reef, installing mooring buoys (to prevent boats from dropping anchor on corals) and educate and spread awareness of eco-friendly diving practices amongst our divers.

Our newest endeavor towards lessening the environmental strain put on our island was to construct a Coral Nursery.  This project was undertaken with the help of Prince of Songkla University in Hat Yai and Save Koh Tao, our islands Environmental Conservation Group.  This method of reef restoration has and continues to show success in projects in Egypt, the Philippines and other regions of Thailand (J.C. Delbeek   2001, Yeemin et al 2006).

Coral Reefs are complex and diverse eco-systems which provide food for marine life, storm and flood protection and livelihoods for coastal communities, such as ours, which relies almost solely on the diving industry.  They play a necessary role in maintaining the health of our worlds’ oceans which in turn maintains our health and longevity.

Our Coral Nursery was born through Ban’s Eco’s involvement in the ‘Adopt-a-Reef’ Program, run by Save Koh Tao.  This program enlists its’ members to maintain and be responsible for a specific Koh Tao reef which they themselves choose.   There are a total of seven coral nurseries surrounding the island as a result of this program, which are managed by six of Koh Tao’s 42 Dive Schools.  For more information on the ‘Adopt-a-Reef’ Program please see http://www.marineconservationkohtao.com.

Mid-water Coral Nurseries, like the one we have built, are designed to remove stresses, like moving sediment and predators, from the surrounding environment.  The end goal of these structures is to allow damaged corals the opportunity to flourish, having been relieved from these stresses, so they may be transplanted to a natural reef/permanent artificial reef in the future.  Furthermore, Coral Nurseries create a new habitat for other marine life to flourish and find a home.

In order to construct a functional Coral Nursery, we collected more than a hundred coral fragments (living pieces of coral, between 3-15 cms, which have broken off of their original larger coral colony) from the sandy areas of our natural reef just off Sairee Beach.  Once we had collected our fragments we brought them back to shore and stored them in a bucket of fresh sea water, which was kept in the shade, while we prepared to attach them to the tables.   After trimming the dead portions of our fragments away, we attached them to our nursery tables (which we had built prior to fragment collection), using small PVC tubing and natural fiber ropes.

There are three Coral Nursery types (all of which have been incorporated into Ban’s Eco Nursery); these are Rope Tables, Flat Tables, and Sloped Tables.  These different table designs provide varying environments for an array of coral species to grow.  We used poured cement weights to anchor our initial metal structure, which was bolted together, and then constructed trays for our Flat and Sloped Tables out of PVC piping and thick plastic mesh, which the fragments in their tubes were later attached to.  The trays, once the fragments had been secured, were carefully transported down to the steel structure and affixed with plastic ties.  Ideally the fragments would be secured to the tray underwater, but it can be done from a boat if necessary.  Our Nursery lies between 10-11 meters depth in a sandy patch away from mooring boats and snorkeler/diver traffic.

Given time, the fragments have already started to grow around the tubing and rope and most species which we collected have flourished and maintained a healthy color and growth rate.  We collected three different types of coral, Branching, Foliose(or leafy plate) and Massive, and so far our branching fragments are responding best to the new environment, with healthy white tips, indicating growth and a deep orange color.   We look forward to having the opportunity to transplant some of them out into the natural Sairee reef and collect new fragments to fill their places in the nursery, thus creating a never-ending cycle of marine conservation and restoration.

The Divemaster program at Bans has a goal to offer a full environmental internship program by the start of the start of the second half of 2011.  Although in it grass roots stages right now, Bans welcomes and encourage the enthusiasm of our Divemasters in Training to help create a program that will be at for front of environmental programs offered by Padi Resorts and CDC centers worldwide.

The future of Coral Nurseries of Koh Tao will play a major role in keeping the islands’ waters beautiful and healthy, and will help us spread awareness amongst the islands’ inhabitants and visitors on the need for such projects

If you would like more information on the Restoration Projects underway on Koh Tao, Thailand please see www.marineconservationkohtao.com or www.landconservationkohtao.com.     If you would like to find out more about how the Coral Nursery is doing at Ban’s please email us at thebanseco@gmail.com.   If interested in our Divemaster Program please see www.divemastersintraining.com

By:  Jessica and Dave Dinan

Photos By: Dave Dinan

Please add your own to our… Pro Diver Reference Library

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

The following  will be added as its own page to help it grow.  Please we’d like to hear from you!

As a soon to be Dive professional or if you’re a  Pro Diver already, you should have quite a reference library, most times without even realizing it.  The manuals you’ve collected from all your previous PADI courses and specialties too, Magazines, The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving, Diving Knowledge workbooks, Dive travel guides, maps, videos, books, online articles and yes even dive blogs 😉  These days there is as much online information as there is on paper and many times you can find everything you need online.  This will also improve the impact paper is having on our environment.

The following is a list of articles, companies and other things you might want to take a look at and include in your own personal reference library.  We would also invite you to share any titles you have come across as well.   Let us know what you have found and we’d be more than happy to add them to this page.  Over goal is not just to enhance our own diving knowledge but yours as well.

1.  All PADI course material (Open Water, Advanced, Rescue…)

2.  PADI Videos

3.  Specilty Course material

4.  Undersea journal

5.  PADI.com and PADI PRO

6.  Project Aware

7.  The Underwater Journal Great online magazine

8.  Sea Shepherd Non-profit, marine wildlife organization.

9.  Scuba Board World Largest Online Diving community

10.  Scuba News CDNN World News on diving and the industry

11.  WordPress Great search for all things and scuba

12.  Live 2 Let Dive Find out more about some of the best, most unusual or fun dive spots in the world.

There’s a few to get things started!  Let us know what you use.