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Marine Life & Conservation

Get ready for PADI’s fourth annual AWARE Week

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PADI®and PADI AWARE Foundation™ have announced the fourth annual AWARE Week. Hosted by PADI Dive Centres, Resorts and Professionals around the world September 18-26, AWARE Week empowers and inspires the dive community to take part in events, activities and courses – virtual or in person – to advance conservation awareness and engagement at the local level.

“AWARE Week 2021 brings together eco-conscious divers and ocean enthusiasts to advance PADI’s conservation blueprint, charting a decade of ocean action to achieve a balance between humanity and ocean,” says Kristin Valette Wirth, Chief Brand and Membership Officer for PADI Worldwide. “By uniting as a community of PADI Torchbearers™ who explore and protect the ocean, we work as a global force for good taking meaningful action for the ocean to drive lasting change.”

The weeklong event leverages the collective influence of divers and dive industry professionals, as well as the general public, to address key threats facing the marine environment through citizen science, public policy and education. AWARE Week 2021 will take the organisations’ current programme to the next level and build on them by tackling additional marine conservation issues such as: climate change, marine protected areas and coral reefs. These new programmes, coupled with the flagship programme – that address marine debris and vulnerable marine species – represent the five key components of PADI’s Blueprint for Ocean Action, in direct support of the United Nations Decade of Science for Sustainable Development.

One of the key highlights is PADI AWARE Foundation’s flagship citizen-science programme, Dive Against Debris®, the only programme of its kind, which helps divers not only remove debris from the ocean but also report data that can inform ocean friendly policy change to prevent further pollution from entering the ocean.

As a proud sponsor of PADI AWARE Foundation’s marine-debris programme, Seiko joins PADI to amplify PADI AWARE Week to its audiences, helping to build awareness. The annual week invites the global dive community to make a concerted effort to gather this critical survey data so they can be used by marine researchers and policymakers for conservation action.

“Protecting the ocean requires the actions of everyone around the globe working together,” says Valette Wirth. “Together with PADI AWARE Foundation, Seiko and our other partners in conservation, we recognise that anyone with passion for the ocean can become an ocean ambassador and contribute to worldwide efforts to save the ocean as a PADI Torchbearer. AWARE Week 2021 will inspire people with a clear and effective path to action for the planet.”

Throughout AWARE Week 2021, divers, ocean advocates, water enthusiasts and the global community at large may also support and protect the ocean by participating in AWARE specialty courses, which educate participants on the importance of a clean and healthy ocean, and via fundraising, donating and taking part in local conservation activities hosted by PADI Dive Centres, Resorts and Professionals.

Dive Centres in the UK are taking part in the event including:

  • Blue Ventures: This UK based PADI Dive Centre has created a sub organisation called Salt Water Britain, led by marine scientist and presenter Charlie Young. Salt Water Britain hosts a series of ocean adventures that drive local impact and change perceptions of the marine life that can be found in the surrounding waters. Their first summer series of events will conclude with an AWARE Week event—which will take divers out to the Farne Islands diving with seals on the 25-26 September, where they will also participate in a Dive Against Debris. See www.scubaverse.com/marine-wildlife-experiences-you-never-knew-existed-in-the-uk/
  • Fifth Point Dive Cente: This UK based PADI Dive Centre is running a virtual PADI AWARE Week challenge from the 18-24 September, where participants will be transformed into eco divers in 7 days. Led by PADI Course Director Nic Emery, there will be daily videos and live Q+A’s that cover topics including why the ocean (especially the cold UK waters) needs protection, ways to participate in conservation and be a citizen scientist, and tips for how to make sustainable choices both above and below the surface. See www.fifthpointdiving.com/awareweek/#register

To take part in AWARE Week 2021, visit padi.com/awareweek2021. For more information about the PADI AWARE Foundation, the community of PADI Torchbearers and how to get involved year round, visit padi.com/conservation.

Header Image: Rayna O’Nan-Ocean Rays Photography

Marine Life & Conservation

Shark Trust’s Ali Hood wins IFAW Marine Conservation Award

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Director of Conservation at the Shark Trust, Ali Hood, has been awarded the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)’s Marine Conservation Award for her outstanding dedication to protecting sharks.

The ceremony, held at the House of Lords, saw IFAW present the 2021 Animal Action Awards to an inspiring group of true animal heroes. The awards recognise their steadfast commitment and dedication to animals during difficult times. Their ‘never giving up’ attitude and passion for animals is why IFAW are so proud to honour them this year. IFAW’s 2021 Animal Action Awards honours those who have made incredible achievements in the animal welfare and conservation community.

©IFAW: Left to right: Baroness Gale, James Sawyer (IFAW UK Director); Ali Hood (Shark Trust Director of Conservation), Mark Beaudouin (Chair of the IFAW board of Trustees)

Ali has headed the conservation team at the Shark Trust for nearly 20 years and tirelessly works to secure management and protection for vulnerable shark and ray species, and to hold governments and industry to account for their commitments.

Ali comments, “As a conservation advocate, I’m fortunate to work with a highly dedicated team of people, both within the Shark Trust, and our trusted partners worldwide. Overfishing is the greatest threat to sharks, and securing essential shark conservation objectives is not a straightforward task, given the commercial interest in many species. But we’ve found persistence pays, and we’re committed to seeing science-based management adopted.” 

“It was amazing to receive such an award, and I’m grateful to IFAW for their recognition of shark conservation concerns.”

James Sawyer, IFAW UK Regional Director said “Our winners this year can teach us many valuable lessons. They teach us that we need to reflect a diverse community of animal protectors to be successful. They teach us that being there for animals remains important but that animals can be there for us too. Critically this reminds us how interdependent we are with the animals of the world and how together we need to continue to work to improve things for all of us.”

IFAW have produced a short video about the Animal Action Award winners which you can watch here:

For more information about IFAW visit their website by clicking here.

For more information about the Shark Trust visit their website by clicking here.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Top 5 Party Guests: The Magic of Night Diving in Cozumel

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A blog by Pro Dive International

*Header image: On the day of our planned night dive at the Allegro Cozumel, we had to reschedule, as any water activity during thunderstorms and lightning is considered dangerous. We still thought it was worth sharing this breathtaking spectacle with you.*


Have you ever gazed out at the open ocean at night wondering what happens down there as the sun disappears over the horizon and darkness sets in? If all marine life will be sleeping, or if there’s anything creeping along the reefs?

Here’s what really happens, including a list of our Top 5 Party Guests that make you want to add night diving in Cozumel to your bucket list.

Brief Overview

While the Caribbean Sea is not calming down at night due to the effectively constant trade-winds in the tropics that drive ocean wave trains and cause waves to break throughout day and night, a vibrant party under the sea is just about to begin, as huge basket stars unfurl their arms into the night, parrotfish create their mucus bubble beds, giant lobsters, king crabs and octopus prepare for hunt, and bioluminescence sparkles up the scene.

TOP 5 Party Guests

1. Basket Stars

These sea stars can only be observed in their true glory at night when they unfurl their many branched arms into the darkness to filter food from the water. Some reach nearly a meter in size! Shine your torch on them and watch them curl their huge arms back towards their mouths as they eat the small creatures attracted by your light. 

The perfect party costume, do you agree?

Basket Star by Elizabeth Maleham @Pro Dive International

2. Cephalopods – Octopus & Squid

These fascinating creatures are rarely spotted during day dives, but at night you can see them out and about hunting the reef for their next meal. Watch as they move about changing colors and patterns in the blink of an eye! Below is a picture of an octopus spreading its body wide over the reef like a net to encircle its prey.

Did you know that octopuses were that colorful?

Octopus by Elizabeth Maleham @Pro Dive International

3. Crustaceans

Safely tucked away in the back of a crevice during the day, these creatures venture out under the cover of darkness to hunt. A fantastic opportunity to finally get a close-up look at all those king crabs and plenty of lobsters you have only seen as small eyes peering out from the back of a cave.

Up for a dance?

Crab by Elizabeth Maleham @Pro Dive International

4. Parrotfish

Many fish only half sleep, needing to be alert to the dangers 24/7, but parrot fish have evolved an ingenious warning system so they can get their eyes shut. As night draws in, they find a nook to rest in and start to create a mucus like a bubble encircling their whole bodies. They can rest safely in this for the entire night, but if anything disturbs this veil, they are off like a shot into the dark!

How did this sleepy guy make it into our Top 5?

Parrotfish in Cozumel by Guillermo Reta @Pro Dive International

5. Bioluminescence

For those not familiar with this natural phenomenon, bioluminescence is a chemical process which allows living creatures like plankton, tiny crustaceans, some fish, squid and algae to produce light in their body to either attract prey, confuse predators, or lure potential mates.

As the bioluminescent sea will glow when it’s disturbed by a breaking wave or a splash in the water at night, for most of our divers the best part is covering up the torches and waving our arms about disturbing the bioluminescence into sparkling blue points of light. 

This makes the perfect party glitter!

Bioluminescence @Dreamstime


Already in a party mood? Pack your dive gear!

How to join the underwater party in Cozumel?

  1. Join Pro Dive International’s Cozumel Night Dives as a certified diver.
  2. Boost your skills and make your night dive one of the 5 Adventure Dives of the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course.
  3. Contact us for guidance.


Contact:

reservations@prodiveinternational.com 

www.prodiveinternational.com/contact-us

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Our special, extended, 14 night charter of MV Carpe Diem in the Maldives will visit some of our favourite sites in the central and near-south atolls. We will be spending 14 nights on-board, specifically because we want to travel and have time to enjoy the sites without rushing too much.

The boat will depart from Male on Saturday 23rd October and guests will disembark on Saturday 06th November. The route will incorporate our favourite manta points, shark diving points and spectacular coral reefs.

 

Please contact us for last minute prices on 01473921888 or email us at info@greatescapesdivingholidays.com

 

 

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