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Diving with…Jamie Gladwin, Magic Island Dive Resort, Moalboal, Philippines

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Jamie

What is the name of your business?

Magic Island Dive Resort

What is your role within the business?

Dive center manager

How long has the business operated for?

Magic Island opened its doors in January 2005.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I started diving in 2002 and I am a PADI Course Director.

What is your favorite type of diving?

Drift diving along beautiful coral walls.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

The staff are the best thing about Magic Island, always ready to take care of you with a big smile on their faces. Of course, we happen to be very well located next to some of the best diving in the world, especially if you like critters, turtles and coral walls.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

I have two favourite dives; Pescador Island and the Sardine bait ball. Pescador is an islet just a 10-minute boat ride, straight out from the resort. It’s surrounded with coral walls reaching down to 200ft/60m, which in turn are surrounded by all kinds of reef fish. On its west side it has a huge cavern making for some awesome wide-angle shots with great lighting in the afternoon dives.

The Sardine ball is just memorizing and unique. Unlike the famous sardine runs off the coast of the Africa, the Sardines of Moalboal are here year-round and always in the same spot. You don’t get all the big action stuff but, to watch them make their swirls of different patterns as Jacks and Tunas dart in for a tasty mouthful, really is quite a spectacle.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Lots of healthy reef walls filled with critters, colourful fish and a very healthy population of turtles. Sandy bottom muck diving in Moalboal bay.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

I love to teach, that’s why I became a dive instructor. Unfortunately, being a diving instructor doesn’t guarantee you will be teaching all the time, there are many other aspects to the job. However, being a manager is very much, being a teacher, guiding the team to make sure we are all successful. Listening to the comments of our guest or reading the reviews online, gives the feeling of success and that reward is well worth the hard work we all put in. On top of this I still get to teach many of the dive students which pass through Magic Island.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Frog Fish! All of them!

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

We are planning to start a coral reef watch program that will allow our guests to get involved in monitoring the coral reefs, giving them a better understanding of how it all works, while at the same time helping collect data that will help better protection measures in the future. We also plan to make our own Frog Fish Specialty program. Both of these can earn you a PADI specialty and count towards your Master Diver Certification.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

Governmental issues.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Yes, we do regular Dive Against Debris, which is also a PADI specialty you can take at Magic Island. As stated above we will start a coral watch program and we also do regular mooring placements and upgrades. Our next project is to get all the moorings to be a double buoyed mooring; this helps keep the lose line off the reef when its low tide further reducing any negative impact.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

Overall, I think the industry is filled with people who are both passionate about their sport and the environment it is involved in. I would like to see the passion adopted by the newcomers to the industry from other regions of the world that seem to have a lesser education on the environmental problems our world faces.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

World class diving with the world renowned Filipino hospitality.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

Magic Island Dive Resort
Basdiot, Moalboal
6032, Cebu, Philippines
Website: www.magicisland.online
E-mail: reservations@magicresorts.online
info@magicresorts.online
jamie@magicisland.online

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Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

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The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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Dive Training Blogs

Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)

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It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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