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Capturing Critters in Lembeh Underwater Photography Workshop 2018

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Once again, Lembeh Resort’s “Capturing Critters in Lembeh” underwater photography workshop produced some incredible imagery. As usual, the workshop featured three world-class underwater professionals who hosted daily presentations, workshops and one-on-one sessions with participants.

The 2018 professionals—Tobias Friedrich, Brandi Mueller and Lilian Koh—shared their knowledge and expertise with everyone taking part, and joined them underwater for some truly amazing critter spotting in the Lembeh Strait.

Capturing Critters grows from strength to strength each year and the images portray some of Lembeh’s most iconic muck diving highlights. The participants dived Lembeh hotspots such as Nudi Falls, TK, Hairball, Aero Bajo and Serena. Lembeh Resort’s dive guides were put to the test and they certainly delivered. The critter sightings were quite remarkable, with blue-ring octopuses, flamboyant cuttlefish and other flashing cephalopods posing on the sand.

Lembeh Resort’s dive centre manager, Brigitte Gassner, reported the following: “26 participants, 13 dive guides, 4 world-class photo pros, 2 in-house marine biologists, 66 boat dives, over 650 tanks, and countless smiles along the way.”

Tobias Friedrich is a world-class photographer; his images are seen globally. Tobias hosted some incredible presentations and explained the art of capturing the perfect split image and how to take winning bokeh and close-focus wide-angle shots. Tobias’s 2019 “Below Surface” calendar and his underwater photography book can be bought through his website, Below-Surface.com.

Lilian Koh is an expert in black-water photography and she shared her expertise and knowledge with participants. Lilian regularly makes black-water dives in Southeast Asia and her award-winning images are breathtaking. To see more of Lilian Koh’s stunning underwater imagery, take a look at her social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Brandi Mueller not only shared her Adobe Lightroom skills with participants, she also gave an incredible presentation about how underwater photographers can really make a difference to marine conservation. Her “Take Photos, Save the World” presentation was certainly inspiring. Brandi has recently published the book The Airplane Graveyard: The Forgotten WWII Warbirds of Kwajalein Atoll. In her book, Brandi’s images tell the story of the forgotten American World War II airplanes that lay at the bottom of the Kwajalein Atoll.

Lembeh Resort looks set for another incredible workshop in January 2020: With photo pros Joe Tepper, Saeed Rashid and Todd Winner, this promises to be a showstopping event. Find out more on the Lembeh Resort website.

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PADI meets with Maldivian Ministry to confirm protection of sharks

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Over recent weeks, there has been speculation about the possibility of the Maldivian government lifting the ban on shark fishing in the country’s waters. PADI®, and the dive industry at large, were instrumental in establishing these protections over a decade ago.

With concern for the continued protection of sharks in the Maldives, the PADI organisation and Project AWARE®, along with 200 concerned local and international stakeholders opposing the lifting of the shark fishing ban, called on the government to continue to enforce the legal protections of sharks. PADI staff met with Maldivian Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture Zaha Waheed to reinforce the position of the dive community and critical role sharks play in dive tourism.

In those meetings, Minister Waheed assured PADI that the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture has no intentions to lift the ban on shark fishing. She affirmed that they remain committed to sustainable and responsible management of fisheries and marine resources in the Maldives. On 20 April 2021, the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture released a statement asserting that “the Maldives does not intend to permit a targeted shark fishery in the Maldives.”

“Sharks are a dominant force in dive tourism in the Maldives. We congratulate the Maldives’s commitment to their ongoing protection,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “The Maldives continues to lead by example, among the most progressive countries on this critical issue.”

There are currently 17 shark sanctuaries in the world; the first established in Palau in 2009 and others in popular dive destinations including French Polynesia, Honduras, The Bahamas and several others in the Caribbean. The Maldives shark sanctuary was established in 2010 and covers 916,000 km2 (353,000 square miles).

Tourism accounts for an estimated 25 percent of Maldives’ GDP (according to 2014 figures), with diving and snorkeling being the most popular tourism activity. Prior to the formation of the Maldivian sanctuary, shark fishing was worth US$0.7 million to the Maldives’ economy, compared to US$2.3 million from shark tourism. In 2018, the shark sanctuary increased dive-trip demand in the Maldives by 15 percent, raising an additional US$6 million. Consumer research indicates that any re-opening of a Maldives shark fishery could potentially decrease dive tourism demand by over 50 percent, which could result in a loss of US$24 million.

Sharks are some of the most endangered species in the ocean, with recent research showing that the global number of oceanic sharks has declined by 71 percent. Over a third of shark and ray species are threatened, facing an increased threat of extinction, primarily due to overfishing.  There are an estimated 600,000 shark watchers globally spending $314 million per year and directly supporting 10,000 jobs. Research indicates these figures are expected to rise as global tourism returns to pre-pandemic levels.

As part of its commitment to ocean conservation, PADI will continue to stand up for sharks and advocate for their protection. For more information on responsible shark tourism, read Project AWARE’s Guide to Best Practices. To learn more about PADI’s efforts and how you can join the community of PADI Torchbearers working to save the ocean, visit padi.com/conservation.

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The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Rosemary Lunn

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Ian and Gemma chat among themselves and are also are joined by well-known Dive Industry Professional Rosemary Lunn.

We talk about dive fitness and entering the CrossFit 2021 open games and being members of our local CrossFit Box. You can also listen to our new member of the team – Rosemary Lunn – answer some scuba diving questions.

Find out more about Rosemary at www.tumc.co.uk.


Find more podcast episodes and information at the new www.thebigscuba.com  website and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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