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Diving With… Matt Reed, Evolution Diving Resort, Malapascua Island, Philippines

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In this ongoing series, we speak with 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?

Matt Reed.

Matt Reed by David Mogam

What is the name of your business?

Evolution.

What is your role within the business?

Managing Partner/Instructor Trainer.

How long has the business operated for?

We were due to celebrate our 10 year anniversary in March. Sadly, this was cancelled due to the pandemic.

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

My first dive was in 1988, aged 12, I certified as a PADI Instructor in 1998, and immediately began working as a professional instructor. I’ve been an instructor trainer with SDI/TDI since 2003.

What is your favourite type of diving?

My passion is technical diving, deep, wreck and rebreather diving. I enjoy the complexity involved in the equipment and the planning, and being able to access dive sites that others rarely see.

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

Malapascua is the only place in the world where you can have an almost guaranteed sighting of a Thresher Shark, plus the island is remote and beautiful with a true “paradise” feeling.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

Monad Shoal, where the Thresher Sharks are spotted, is an amazing sea mound, with not just several species of sharks, but also schools of fish, rays, deep walls and just an excellent ecosystem to showcase marine biodiversity.

A pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) circles a cleaning station at Monad Shoal, a popular dive site near Malapascua Island, Philippines. Every morning these sharks gather at this sea mount to get cleaned at the various cleaning stations. This has turned into a mayor tourist attraction and has helped the locals a lot with rebuilding and recovering after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) destroyed the island on November 8. 2013.

What types of diving are available in your location?

We have diving available for everyone from kids and total beginners, up to the most complex types of deep and technical dive. Whatever you need we can offer it.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

I enjoy very much being part of a team that makes dreams come true. Our team teaches people at all levels and the smiles on faces of new and old divers is so rewarding. It is also brilliant to be able to be part of a small community that benefits so much from tourism and diving, and being able to watch the locals grow and thrive due to the industry here.

Mandarinfish at Evolution, Malapascua

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Cuttlefish – so intelligent and I’m always amazed by the changing shapes and colours that these creatures can produce.

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

Hopefully we’ll be open again soon!! Currently we are working on a project to install improved mooring buoys at all our dive sites.

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

No customers. Other than that, we are always fighting to control illegal fishing in a country which is very poor and where people often use illegal and destructive methods to catch fish as they are trying hard to feed their families.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Yes, we have long been a top ten member of Green Fins, and always push for sustainable dive practices, and quality underwater diver control to avoid damaging the environment. We are also leaders in funding, managing and encouraging the local group of ‘anti-fishing’ patrols by the government, to stop illegal fishing. We regularly run underwater cleanups and beach cleanups, and donate towards local community projects.

Nudibranch

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

The industry has great capacity to positively effect remote communities, and bring improved quality of life to poor areas. This needs to be combined with quality diving protocols to avoid damage to the environment and to educate and guide both tourists and locals to ensure the amazing marine life is not negatively impacted.

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

Malapascua has it all – paradise white beaches, amazing reefs with shallow dives, caves, wrecks and deep diving, as well as sharks and rays – what more could you want?

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

Website: www.evolution.com.ph

Email: info@evolution.com.ph

Facebook: @evolutiondivingmalapascua

Instagram: @evolutiondivingresort


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Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Christian Horras

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Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The March winner was Christian Horras and you can see their winning image at the top of this page.


What do you love about diving & underwater photography?

For me it is all about showing the beauty of our world underwater to people that don’t dive and thus can’t see it for themselves. I want to share my own passion for the amazing ecosystem that is so much older than everything we know living on land. As I am from Germany, there are only a few people in my surroundings that have ever seen a coral reef or a shark with their own eyes. It is a big privilege to be able to go diving all over the world and in return it should be our task to arise awareness of this fragile and endangered ecosystem.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Nikon D810 in a Isotta Housing and various lenses, depending on the subject: a Sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye, a Nikon 16-35 mm F4 and two Nikon Macro lenses (60mm and 105mm), as well as a WeeFine +13 Diopter. The Fisheye is my main lens, as it allows me to get really close and still cover a big field of view. For lighting I use two Retra Pro Strobes and a Retra Snoot.

Where can our readers see more of your work?

Website: www.christianhorras.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/christian.horras/


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award

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Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to heroes@emperordivers.com.

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact heroes@emperordivers.com for details.

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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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