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Songkran Festival Koh Tao 2011

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

The Songkran festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year’s Day from 13 to 15 April. Songkran has traditionally been celebrated as the New Year for many centuries, and is believed to have been adapted from an Indian festival. It is now observed nationwide, even in the far south. However, the most famous Songkran celebrations are still in the northern city of Chiang Mai, where it continues for six days and even longer. It has also become a party for foreigners and an additional reason for many to visit Thailand for immersion in another culture. Here on Koh Tao there’s no exception as the streets and beaches erupt in an all-day water fight. The festival only lasts one day here on the island but what a day! (Usually taking 2 more days just to recover)

Here at Bans we had one of the best parties on the island as we were visited by many other dive resorts during the day. The biggest group of visitors came from up the beach from Big Blue Diving Resort. A great day had by all. So next year if you don’t mind getting a little wet come for a visit!

Of all the feasts and festivals in Thailand, which are many, the Songkran Festival is the most striking, for it is widely observed not only in this country but also in Burma, Cambodia and the Lao State. Songkran is a Sanskrit word in Thai form which means the entry of the sun into any sign of the Zodiac.

The Songkran is in fact the celebration of the beginning of spring when the sun crosses the equator is now on the 21st of March which is due to the precession of the equinox. The Songkran Festival is in a certain sense like April fool’s Day just wetter.

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/

Do you have YOUR ticket to world travel?

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

So now you’re a Divemaster or you’re just about to finish your DMT course.  Now what?  What are the opportunities out there for you?  What can you expect?  Where can you go to find out more?  One of the main focuses we use our Facebook group for is to assist new DM’s find there perfect jobs around the world from the Caribbean to South America (and don’t forget Asia-Pacific.)  For instance this month alone we have found 40 new jobs presented to us for DM positions all over the world!  Being a Divemaster is a great way to travel!  It could be your ticket to see the world and arrive home debt-free.  Another route a lot of Divemasters take is to become  Underwater Photographers (did you know you can teach underwater photography as a DM??) or Videographers.  Here at Ban’s every Open water course it filmed, by an Underwater videographer (many trained in our DM program) so the students may share this with their friends and family back home.