Teams of enthusiastic divers from across the UAE joined forces with Hilton Worldwide in Ras Al Khaimah this weekend for their second annual underwater clean-up drive as part of a worldwide event organised by Project AWARE to help protect the marine environment.
Over 50 divers from around the country geared up in wetsuits, dive equipment and tanks, trash bags and gloves to join the biggest volunteer programme of underwater clean-up in the country to help rid the sea off the Ras Al Khaimah coastline of debris and trash. Working in pairs, the dedicated teams recovered over 200kg of trash in just one hour. The haul contained a range of discarded items including plastic bottles and bags, ropes, nets, and other forms of debris. Meanwhile, non-diver volunteers assisted on land to receive the team after their clean up and to assist in discarding the collected rubbish.
Mohab Ghali, country manager, Ras Al Khaimah, Hilton Worldwide said: “This year’s underwater clean-up is one of the most high profile exercises in promoting sustainability ever seen in Ras Al Khaimah. The dedicated team of divers have a passionate interest in protecting their marine surroundings and I am delighted they have made such an impact in their second major initiative.”
Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa sponsored and hosted the event with over 80 divers and volunteers together, ranging from beginners to instructors and spanning 20 different countries.
After the morning’s clean-up, tired and hungry volunteers enjoyed a peaceful afternoon in the sunshine on the beach of the Hilton Resort & Spa where they enjoyed complimentary lunch and refreshments. A whole host of supporters donated various raffle prizes including hotel stays from all over UAE, Salalah in Oman and even the Seychelles, dining vouchers, spa, seaplane, cruises and more. Adventure Sports Centre, main partner of the event, provided the diving equipment, boats and, importantly their invaluable experience throughout the process ensuring proper set-up, organisation from boats to equipment, manpower and more.
Project AWARE is now in its second decade of underwater conservation and supports an unprecedented global movement of divers acting in their own communities to protect oceans and helping to implement lasting change. The committee members have now created Ras Al Khaimah Coastal Council to focus on the beautiful 65KM coastline in the Emirate, enjoyed every year by thousands of visitors to Ras Al Khaimah.
Emille Artigas, founder of the project, commented, “Our message and passions are clear, and our sole purpose is to make a difference. We want to protect the fragile marine environment, share the importance of reef ecosystems and contribute to the longevity of this beautiful underwater kingdom. It’s amazing to see that many share our passion, and finally, I applaud every member of the committee, who dedicated their time and enthusiasm to this worthwhile cause.”
The newly formed Ras Al Khaimah Coastal Council have lined up a series of conservation led initiatives for this year and will be calling on additional helpers to lend a caring hand throughout 2014 and 2015 to join in the building and funding of an artificial reef and also to protect baby turtles at hatching time.
Diving with Frogfish in Costa Rica: A Hidden Gem Underwater
In the vast and vibrant underwater world of Costa Rica, there’s a peculiar creature that often goes unnoticed but holds a special place in the hearts of divers: the frogfish. This enigmatic and somewhat odd-looking species is a master of camouflage and a marvel of marine life. Diving with frogfish in Costa Rica is not just a dive; it’s an adventurous treasure hunt that rewards the patient and observant with unforgettable encounters. Let’s dive into the world of frogfish and discover what makes these creatures so fascinating and where you can find them in Costa Rica.
The Mystique of Frogfish
Frogfish belong to the family Antennariidae, a group of marine fish known for their incredible ability to blend into their surroundings. They can be found in a variety of colors, including yellow, pink, red, green, black, and white, and they often have unique spots and textures that mimic the coral and sponges around them. This camouflage isn’t just for show; it’s a critical survival tactic that helps them ambush prey and avoid predators.
One of the most remarkable features of the frogfish is its modified dorsal fin, which has evolved into a luring appendage called an esca. The frogfish uses this esca to mimic prey, such as small fish or crustaceans, enticing unsuspecting victims close enough to be engulfed by its surprisingly large mouth in a fraction of a second. This method of hunting is a fascinating spectacle that few divers forget once witnessed.
Where to Find Frogfish in Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is dotted with dive sites that offer the chance to encounter these intriguing creatures. Bat Islands (Islas Murciélagos), Catalina Islands (Islas Catalinas), and the area around the Gulf of Papagayo are renowned for their rich marine life, including frogfish. These sites vary in depth and conditions, catering to both novice and experienced divers.
The key to spotting frogfish is to dive with a knowledgeable guide who can point out these master camouflagers hiding in plain sight. They’re often found perched on rocky outcroppings, nestled within coral, or even hiding among debris, perfectly mimicking their surroundings.
Diving Tips for Spotting Frogfish
Go Slow: The secret to spotting frogfish is to move slowly and scan carefully. Their camouflage is so effective that they can be right in front of you without being noticed.
Look for Details: Pay attention to the small details. A slightly different texture or an out-of-place color can be the clue you need.
Dive with Local Experts: Local dive guides have an eagle eye for spotting wildlife, including frogfish. Their expertise can significantly increase your chances of an encounter.
Practice Buoyancy Control: Good buoyancy control is essential not just for safety and coral preservation but also for getting a closer look without disturbing these delicate creatures.
Be Patient: Patience is key. Frogfish aren’t known for their speed, and sometimes staying in one spot and observing can yield the best sightings.
Conservation and Respect
While the excitement of spotting a frogfish can be thrilling, it’s crucial to approach all marine life with respect and care. Maintain a safe distance, resist the urge to touch or provoke, and take only photos, leaving behind nothing but bubbles. Remember, the health of the reef and its inhabitants ensures future divers can enjoy these incredible encounters as much as you do.
Join the Adventure
Diving with frogfish in Costa Rica is just one of the many underwater adventures that await in this biodiverse paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or taking your first plunge, the waters here offer an unparalleled experience filled with wonders at every turn. Beyond the thrill of the hunt for frogfish, you’ll be treated to a world teeming with incredible marine life, majestic rays, playful dolphins, and so much more.
So, gear up, dive in, and let the mysteries of Costa Rica’s underwater realm unfold before your eyes. With every dive, you’re not just exploring the ocean; you’re embarking on an adventure that highlights the beauty, complexity, and fragility of our marine ecosystems. And who knows? Your next dive might just be the one where you come face-to-face with the elusive and captivating frogfish. Join us at Rocket Frog Divers for the dive of a lifetime, where the marvels of the ocean are waiting to be discovered.
About the Author: Jonathan Rowe
Are you looking to make a splash online? As a seasoned diver and digital marketer, I specialize in crafting bespoke websites and innovative marketing strategies for dive shops worldwide. With my expertise, your business will not only be seen but also remembered.
From deep-sea to digital depths, I navigate the complex waters of web development and online marketing, ensuring your dive shop stands out in the vast ocean of the internet. Contact Scuba Dive Marketing for more information.
Save the Manatee Club launches brand new webcams at Silver Springs State Park, Florida
Save the Manatee® Club has launched a brand-new set of underwater and above-water webcams at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala, FL. These new cameras add to our existing cameras at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida, and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, in Homosassa, Florida, which are viewed by millions of people worldwide. The cameras are a collaboration between Save the Manatee Club, Explore.org, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, who made the new live streaming collaboration possible via support of their interpretative program.
The above-water camera is a stationary pan/tilt/zoom camera that will show manatees and other wildlife from above water, while the new underwater camera provides the viewer with a brand new, exciting 180-degree viewing experience. Viewers can move the cameras around, trying to spot various fish and manatees.
The Silver River, which originates at Silver Springs, provides important habitat for manatees and many other species of wildlife. Over recent years, more manatees have been seen utilizing the Silver and Ocklawaha rivers. “The webcams provide a wonderful entertainment and educational tool to the general public, but they also help us with the manatee research,” says Patrick Rose, Executive Director of Save the Manatee Club. “We have learned so much through observing manatees on our existing webcams, and the new cameras at Silver Spring can add to the existing manatee photo-ID research conducted in this area, as well as highlighting Silver Springs and the Silver River as an important natural habitat for manatees.”
The webcams are streaming live during the daytime, with highlights playing at night, and can be viewed on Explore.org and on Save the Manatee Club’s website at ManaTV.org.
Save the Manatee Club, established in 1981 by the late renowned singer-songwriter, author, and entrepreneur Jimmy Buffett, along with former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, is dedicated to safeguarding manatees and preserving their aquatic habitat. For more information about manatees and the Club’s efforts, visit savethemanatee.org or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).
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