Connect with us
background

News

An Epic Dive Trip to Komodo

Published

on

Komodo

Having always dreamed of diving in Indonesia, I booked a trip to Komodo over a year ago. I decided to go with the Arenui because it was sponsoring a Ray of Hope Expedition (Marine Megafauna Foundation) and Dr Andrea Marshall, aka Queen of Mantas, was on board as the resident expert. As many of my readers know, I have been on several trips with Ray of Hope, doing Citizen Science Volunteer work, and I love the Foundation’s mission to save marine megafauna from extinction.

Andrea and I shared a room… and what a room! The Arenui is absolutely luxurious. The stateroom was large and roomy and so Indonesian! We stayed in Garuda, the stateroom named for the Hindu deity Garuda, a large humanlike bird who served as Vishnu’s mount. The carvings in the room were beautiful, as you can see! The Arenui is definitely the most luxurious boat I have been on, and I am now absolutely spoiled.

Komodo

With Andrea Marshall, the Queen of Mantas!

The mission of the trip was to identify as many Reef Mantas as possible. Of course, along the way we would dive several other dive sites too. The diving was out of this world and eclipsed my imagination. The trip map below shows our journey from Bali, past Lombok and Sumbawa to Moyo Island and the Sangeang Volcano, to Komodo and Rinca Islands in the Flores Sea. It was an incredibly beautiful journey, both above and below the surface.

Komodo

Our Trip Map

Komodo

A Manta ID shot I took. Mantas are identified by the spots on their bellies…they are unique to each individual.

Why do I travel with Ray of Hope Expeditions? Because I admire their work, passion, and dedication. Andrea Marshall was the first person to do a PhD on Manta Rays. Until her research, very little was known about them. She discovered two species, and a large population off the coast of Mozambique, where she makes her home. She has advocated for protection for Mantas everywhere in the world. Indonesia, once the main fishery for Manta Rays for Chinese medicine, is now protecting Manta Rays as they have realized they are worth more for their economy alive than dead. Sadly, the once flourishing colony of Reef Mantas off Mozambique has declined by 95% due to Mozambique’s refusal to protect the animals. Manta encounters drew many to Mozambique’s dive centers, and the disappearance of the mantas will have a negative effect on Mozambique’s economy. Andrea has witnessed the decline of mantas in Mozambique over the last 12 years, and it has been heartbreaking. The species is very vulnerable to extinction because of the slow reproduction of the animals. Females give birth every 2 or 3 years to only one pup; rarely there are twins.

Fishing Mantas can destroy entire populations because they are taken faster than they can reproduce. These gentle, intelligent ocean giants must be protected in order to save the species from extinction. Andrea devotes her life to advocating for Manta Rays and other pelagics such as Whale Sharks, Mola Mola, and turtles.

Our first stop was Moyo Island and Angel Reef. I have to say that Angel Reef was heavenly, indeed! My first Komodo dive…and how gorgeous it was!

Komodo

Diving Indonesia was an unbelievable experience for me. The sheer amount of life in the seas is almost mind blowing. Stay tuned for photos and reports on this fabulous journey. I will be posting frequently to show you the wonders of Komodo (yes, there will be dragons!).

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

News

Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Dive Training Blogs

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

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

More Less

Instagram Feed

Facebook Feed

Facebook Pagelike Widget

Popular