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REEF – Diving that Matters

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On December 5th I joined REEF on a fish survey trip to St. Lucia. If you have never heard of REEF, they have a simple mission:

Reef Environmental Education Foundation is a grass-roots organization that seeks to conserve marine ecosystems by educating, enlisting and enabling divers and other marine enthusiasts to become active ocean stewards and citizen scientists.

They have 3 major projects; they are 1) Grouper Moon Project, 2) Survey Project, and 3) the Lionfish Project. The trip to St. Lucia was a survey trip. It is important to survey the reefs and check the health of the fish and corals. These surveys go into a huge database, and scientists can make recommendations and do research with the data gathered. There were 18 volunteers who went to St. Lucia to dive, and while diving, document the present species and their abundance. We discovered 218 species in St. Lucia! Pretty remarkable, really. It was my first REEF expedition, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was wonderful to be surrounded by people as committed to the oceans and to conservation as I am. You think I know about fish? Not on the level of most of these surveyers! They are amazing.

We stayed at Anse Chastanet Resort, and did our diving with Scuba St. Lucia. I have rarely stayed at an all-inclusive, and I must tell you Anse Chastanet exceeded my expectations. The service is incredible, and the food fabulous. The chef had a different menu every evening, giving us many choices throughout the week. It was fun to discover new dishes, and they had an Indian Food night. There is a significant Indian influence on the island, and this is reflected in the food. When slavery ended in 1838, plantation owners brought in indentured servants from India to take their place as a cheap labor force. After the contracts were up, most of those from India stayed and made their home on the island, and their customs and foods found its way into the culture of St. Lucia.

Scuba St Lucia, the dive business on the resort’s property, is simply one of the best I have ever seen. The boat, Miss Bertha, was big and roomy with plenty of space for 18 divers. The dive masters were knowledgeable and solicitous, adapting their dive style to ours. REEF divers dive SLOWLY in order to find fish. The crew was helpful and on the spot when needed. I thoroughly enjoyed my dives with them, and cannot give a stronger recommendation. Dive with Scuba St Lucia, and you will be as impressed and happy as I was. I guarantee it! My group had Errol as a dive master, and he was superb. One of the crew, Bradley, could not have been more helpful. Because of my back issues (I have eight pedicle screws and four rods holding my spine in place) I cannot lift tanks. Bradley made sure I did not. Everyone working the boat was incredibly hospitable.

For more from Tam, visit www.travelswithtam.com.

Tam Warner Minton is an avid scuba diver, amateur underwater photographer, and adventurer. She encourages "citizen science" diving, whether volunteering with a group or by one's self. For Tam, the unexpected is usually the norm!

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

NEW: White Shark Interest Group Podcast Series – #003 – TOUCHING SHARKS

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Third in an exciting podcast series from Ricardo Lacombe of the White Shark Interest Group.

Episode 3 of the White Shark Interest Group Podcast, Facebook’s largest White Shark specific group, covering science, conservation, news, photography, video and debate.

This episode features Melissa, Dirk, Javier and Ricardo discussing TOUCHING SHARKS and FREEDIVING WITH SHARKS. Is it OK to touch sharks? Does it do damage to the shark? What are the benefits of it for shark conservation efforts? How do modern day social media personalities like Ocean Ramsey differ from the pioneers who began the practice of touching and diving with Great Whites, like Andre Hartman, Michael Rutzen or Manny Puig? Always a hot topic!

Click the links below to listen to the podcast series on the following audio channels:


Join the group: www.facebook.com/groups/whitesharkinterestgroup/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/whiteshark_interestgroup/

Website: www.whitesharkinterestgroup.com

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Marine Life & Conservation

Review: David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

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Regular contributors, CJ & Mike from Bimble in the Blue, review the Netlix documentary: David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

David Attenborough’s latest and arguably most important documentary to date is now showing on Netflix.  It is, in his own words, his “witness statement” of a unique life exploring and documenting the wonders of the natural world.

Attenborough looks back and realizes that the previously gradual changes he witnessed (animal species becoming harder to find and fewer wild spaces) have now become vastly more widespread and noticeable. As the human population increased, so has the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, while the amount of wilderness has decreased.  His conclusion: human activity and man-made climate change have accelerated the pace of biodiversity loss.  This not only imperils the majority of natural habitats and creatures on Earth, but also the very future of humankind.

From images of lush green landscapes we journey with him over time to revisit these places, now wastelands. One of the most haunting is the contrast between early footage of orangutans swinging through the rainforest, to recent images of an orangutan clinging onto a lone tree devoid of all but one branch in the wreckage of a deforested site. Attenborough then makes a statement that has stuck with me since watching “A Life On This Planet”: that though we undoubtably have an obligation to care for the natural world, it’s not just about saving other species.  It is about saving ourselves.  His drive and determination to advocate and spread this message as much as possible at the age of 94 is both impressive and humbling, yet Attenborough manages to make this serious subject an unexpectedly positive learning experience.

In the final chapter of the movie Attenborough turns from the bleak reality of the destruction of Earth’s biodiversity, and offers a lifeline of hope and positivity. We can, he tells us, reverse the damage we have caused, we can save our species and the wonders of the natural world, and it can be done with just a few conceptually simple actions.  It’s enough to enthuse even the most jaded and pessimistic of conservationists!  Attenborough has an amazing ability to awaken our love of the natural world and now he shows us our future is in our hands. It’s time to act.  But we must start now and it must be a united effort.

You don’t have to be a scuba diver to be impressed with the eloquence of David Attenborough’s words, or his powerful yet simple message. We are self-confessed Attenborough super fans, but I don’t think anyone could contest that this is a stunning 1 hour and 20 minutes of hard hitting brilliance. The film closes with the comment, “Who else needs to see it?” The answer is all of us.  We highly recommend this documentary to everyone. Put simply if you watch no other documentary this year, watch this one.

For more from CJ and Mike please visit their website here.

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