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Earth Day 2016: Cayman’s Next Generation Focuses on Sustainability

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Under the mentorship of Cayman’s dive operators, young Caymanians are motivated to protect the environment every day

As Earth Day activities are being planned in the Cayman Islands, 24-year-old Gabriella Hernandez is involved in meetings with the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, the National Trust of the Cayman Islands and other organizations. An active member of Save Cayman, a non-profit geared to sustainable tourism, Hernandez is advocating for focus on protecting Cayman’s reefs and teaching students about sustainability.

“I try to be involved with local initiatives and I work with other people and groups to advance sustainability − volunteering, speaking with students, writing educational and critical pieces, blogging, organizing events, taking part in community initiatives and sitting on the charity board at my company,” she says. “I studied law and am doing my masters in public policy and management so I can approach problems from an informed position. There are options for people to get involved and effect even a small amount of change in their every day lives.”

Hernandez is part of a core group of young Caymanians and island residents focused on sustainability, and Save Cayman (www.SaveCayman.org) has given them a platform. A grassroots organization, Save Cayman sprang up in protest to a government approved cruise berthing facility in George Town, but its broader mission is sustainable tourism.

“These young Caymanians have helped organize events, provided energy for the cause, and have helped get the message out via social media,” said Keith Sahm, General Manager of Sunset House and one of the founders of Save Cayman. “They need to be involved – it’s their future at stake.”

Cayman’s dive operators make it a priority to work with local schools throughout the year on programs aimed at educating students about conservation.

“We try to expose kids to the marine environment every chance we get to show them what’s underneath the water, so they can learn to appreciate it,” says Red Sail Sports Operations Manager Rod McDowall. “As they say ‘out of sight out of mind’ so we try to remedy that by taking kids out on our Catamarans and dive boats as often as we can to get them in the water.”

“We especially need young people as they seem to understand that ecosystems are quite literally the life-support systems that enable humanity to thrive (fresh air, clean water, pollination of crops etc.),” said Alistair Yeomans, who is an advisor to Save Cayman.

“This is in part due to advances in school curricula (certainly in the UK) embracing the concept of sustainability.”

Yeomans works for an environmental organization and is a research associate at the University of Oxford with a strong interest in evidence-based policy making and environmental governance. He got involved after hearing about the proposed berthing facility prepared documents for Save Cayman. Yeomans says humans view the world in two ways: (1) humans are superior to all other species and Earth provides unlimited resources for humans (2) humans represent one among many species on Earth; that human activities are determined by the environment as well as by social and cultural factors, and that humans are strongly dependent upon the environment and its resources.

“The first is old school thinking and clearly not the case − many politicians and corporations still view the world through this lens,” he says. “I believe young people are more likely to get the second view as it is logical and time dictates that the consequences of short-term unsustainable actions can negatively effect people in the long-term. There are many examples the most prominent global issue being climate change.”

This message is loud and clear to the young people carrying the Save Cayman banner into 2016, and as they watch other island nations balance economic diversification with responsible usage of limited natural resources.

“In the Pacific there are island chains focusing on a ‘Green and Blue’ economic model, in which sustainable utilization of aquatic resources are ensuring their population’s economic well being,” says Rory McDonough, another young Caymanian involved in sustainability. “The Seychelles serve as an example of such a drive, with stringent marine controls and a commitment to the preservation of the marine life in their waters.”

McDonough says communication with other island nations, including Cayman’s Caribbean neighbors, and sharing research that can be used to educate the next generation will strengthen Cayman in the future.

“Increased community involvement in local food production and domestic renewable energy production will enable avenues for Caymanian employment to be opened as well as a national reduction of reliance on imported food supplies and fossil fuels,” he said.

“I believe that Cayman will have no choice but to embrace sustainability,” says Gabriella Hernandez. “We need a vision and to develop a national plan in which government officials are obliged to commit regardless of their party affiliations. A serious commitment to renewable energy, intelligent land use, increased protections for our natural resources, and a heavier investment in education so that young Caymanians can compete in a diversified and globalized economy.”

Hernandez and McDonough both say government needs to take a more active role in sustainability, and that without collaboration on all fronts, Cayman will fail to ensure that present and future generations can create a living in their homeland.

“Cayman is a small place and community willpower is a powerful force for change,” says Gabriella.

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World Rivers Day: Go with the flow during these river Drift Dives 

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Going with the flow is something we’ve all had to get better at doing this year. And becoming a PADI Drift Diver lets you take those skills to the next level, and just in time for World Rivers Day which is celebrated this Sunday 26 September. 

Drift diving can be both relaxing and exhilarating. The course teaches you how to enjoy going with the flow as you scuba dive down rivers or use ocean currents to glide along safely. It feels like flying – except that you’re underwater using scuba equipment. 

If you’re a PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver who is at least 12 years old, you can start your journey at home with the PADI Drift Diver eLearning course and then complete the specialty course with your local PADI Dive Centre or Resort.  

EXCLUSIVE: WIN a PADI Drift Diver eLearning course – click HERE to be in with a chance to win one of two eLearning courses from our friends at PADI to celebrate World Rivers Day!

Once you are certified as a PADI Drift Diver, you are ready to explore rivers, amongst other currents, all over the world. Here are some of the most remarkable river dive sites across the globe for you to seek adventure in. 

1. Valle Verzasca, Switzerland 

See a whole new side to Switzerland while doing a drift dive through the Valle Verzasca, which has some of the clearest diving in all of Europe. It is both an ideal place to learn to drift dive and still offers plenty of adventure for the more experienced divers. Exploring Valle Verde can be arranged through a range of PADI Dive Centres in the region and combined with mountain lake dives in the area as well. 

2. Rainbow River, Florida 

The clear, shallow and warm waters of Rainbow River in Dunnellon, Florida make it the perfect drift dive location for scuba divers, snorkelers and freedivers alike. PADI Dive Centres in the area can help organize pick up and drop offs so that you can drift down one of Florida’s most outstanding waterways. 

3. St Lawrence River, Canada

Drift diving in the St. Lawrence River can provide access to thousands of shipwrecks, including the RMS Empress of Ireland. Plus, the riverway is known to have surprisingly warm temperatures of up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and have friendly visitors that include salmon, beluga whales, Greenland sharks and grey seals. If you plan it right, you can even dive between the two countries of Canada and the United States. 

4. Waikato River, New Zealand 

Zip by boulders and rainbow trout during a drift dive through the Waikato River on a guided dive with a PADI Dive Centre in the area. While the river water is likely to be a bit chilly, the drift dive ends at Hot Water Stream, where you can warm up and relax in a natural hot spring. 

5. Local Rivers Inspired by other PADI Drift Divers 

You don’t have to venture far to seek adventure with a drift dive. As Youtuber Scuba Jake explains on PADI’s recent Dive Stories Podcast, there is always something to discover beneath the surface—with rivers offering some of the most unique dive sites in the world. All you have to do is look below the surface and go with the flow. Your local PADI Dive Centre or Resort can give you additional insight on the best places near you.

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Win a PADI Drift Diver eLearning Course – two to give away!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at PADI to give away a couple of their Drift Diver eLearning courses!

The PADI Drift Diver Specialty course teaches you how to enjoy going with the flow as you scuba dive down rivers and use ocean currents to glide along. It feels like flying – except that you’re underwater using scuba equipment. Drift diving can be relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. If this sound like fun, then the Drift Diver course is for you.

You can find out more about the PADI Drift Diver eLearning course here.

To be in with a chance of being one of our winners, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent ‘Creature Feature’ on Scubaverse.com by The Shark Trust (which you can read here), it is revealed that Porbeagles look like what other species of shark?

Is it:

  • A) Tiger Shark
  • B) Bull Shark
  • C) Great White Shark

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

PADI Drift Dive eLearning Course x2 September 2021

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of PADI and their families. This prize is for the eLearning element of the PADI Drift Diver course and does not include any of the course's practical elements). A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 05/11/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Red Sea Northern Wrecks & Reefs plus Tiran

Custom built itinerary scheduled to include Abu Nuhas wrecks, the SS Thistlegorm, the fabulous reefs at Ras Mohamed including Shark Reef, then over to Tiran to dive Gordon, Jackson, Thomas and Woodhouse reefs.

You’ll visit any number of other wrecks including the beautiful Carnatic and the wrecks of the Giannis D, the Chrisoula K and the Marcus, all at Abu Nuhas.  And you can’t miss the Rosalie Moeller and the Dunraven!

 

But this trip isn’t just about wrecks – far from it! Ras Mohammed, the protected marine reserve of the Red Sea, delivers schooling fish, spectacular corals, and we drop-in numerous times on the best sites before heading over to Tiran to dive the immense reefs of Gordon, Jackson and Woodhouse.

 

What are you going to see? The most stunning corals, abundant marine life, and exceptional wrecks. Turtles, Napoleon wrasse, morays, dolphins, maybe a manta, and perhaps even whale sharks. Hammerheads off the back of Jackson Reef are a possibility, and don’t forget the little critters either! This trip delivers, time and time again.

 

From £1599 per person based on double occupancy.  Full 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 £695pp.  Stay in a deluxe chalet on a soft all-inclusive basis and enjoy 10 guided shore dives and unlimited, unguided house reef diving.  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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