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New conservation initiative launched in the Dominican Republic

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TUI Care Foundation and Reef-World Foundation empower local Youth Ambassadors to protect coral reefs in the Dominican Republic.

The TUI Care Foundation and The Reef-World Foundation are launching an initiative to help protect coral reefs in the Dominican Republic. The partnership will encourage environmental stewardship by bringing together key members of the community to focus on the protection of these sensitive and fundamental ecosystems.

Catalina Island. Photo: The Reef-World Foundation

Over 300 people from a variety of local reef-based businesses will receive specialised training on how to work more sustainably. More than 65,000 tourists will receive information on coral reef protection and over 2,000 members of the community will also learn about reef protection through the environmental activities of Youth Ambassadors.

With 20% of the Dominican Republic living in extreme poverty and 80% of the island’s 10 million inhabitants living on the coast, coral reefs are an important source of food and income. The ocean supports half of all livelihoods, mainly through fisheries and tourism, but these sensitive marine ecosystems are seriously under threat. As well as the damaging impact of climate change, activities like intensive scuba diving, snorkelling and sailing can directly damage the coral, which in turn impacts its delicate ecosystem.

The initiative is part of the international TUI Junior Academy programme and will deliver tailored marine environmental education courses to Youth Ambassadors, inspiring them to champion coral reef conservation projects and lead activities within their local communities. As part of a multi-faceted approach to protecting coral reefs, it will also introduce environmentally friendly guidelines to promote sustainable diving and snorkelling. This will help to reduce any local deterioration of the coral reef and build its resilience to wide-scale global challenges.

In partnership with Reef Check Dominican Republic and the Ministry of Environment of the Dominican Republic, the project aims to significantly reduce any direct detrimental impact to coral reefs by building awareness of, and facilitating, environmentally friendly best practices for diving and snorkelling activities.

Reef Check Dominican Republic. Photo: The Reef-World Foundation

Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the TUI Care Foundation, said: “The Dominican Republic is surrounded by extraordinary coral reefs which constitute a key component of the island’s unique natural heritage and biodiversity. Local economic activities, such as fishing, and marine life in general, rely on strong, healthy reefs. We are very excited to be launching this new project with Reef-World that brings the local community together and puts education at the very centre of future environmentally sustainable solutions.”

Educational leaders, local resource managers and representatives of reef-based tourism in the Dominican Republic will be empowered to deliver tailored marine educational programmes to young people, which will improve their awareness of environmental issues and help them understand how they can protect the environment. Working with local teachers and the Ministry of Education, the initiative will also strengthen the marine environmental education content within the national curriculum. As a result, this project aims to help to strengthen livelihoods, reduce poverty and protect the environment in the Dominican Republic.

Meeting a Green Fins Dive Centre. Photo: The Reef-World Foundation

JJ Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “As well as being a precious natural ecosystem, the Dominican Republic’s coral reefs provide food and livelihoods for many people in the country and so represent a valuable financial asset worth protecting. By building the capacity of the marine tourism industry to follow best environmental practice, our Youth Ambassador Coral Reef Conservation Programme will engage over 1,000 teenagers across 15 schools with the ripple effect reaching approximately 1,800 community members and over 2,000 family members. We’re proud to be working with the TUI Care Foundation to empower citizens of the Dominican Republic to protect their natural assets for many years to come.”

The Reef-World Foundation also runs the Green Fins initiative in the Dominican Republic, which is implemented through a network approach led by Reef Check Dominican Republic in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Auxiliary Navy, the Coastal Biodiversity and Tourism project and local community and conservation group CEBSE.

To find out more, visit www.tuicarefoundation.com and www.reef-world.org.

Gear News

Jeff chats to… Sean Webb, Director of O’Three, about diving in the UK and the O’Three brand

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Sean Webb, Director of O’Three, the well-known UK-based manufacturer of custom drysuits and wetsuits.

After a bath time quarrel with his sister, Sean’s Mum taught him a lesson.

She held his head underwater for what she thought was long enough for that lesson to sink in (We are talking the mid 60’s here), but the lesson learned wasn’t the one that was intended. It was then that Sean realized he was comfortable, in or under the water. He was six.

The coasts of Devon and Dorset became his playground. 17 years later, with a trip around the world and some incredible diving under his belt, Sean Webb founded O’Three.

Now in its 32nd  year, O’Three has evolved from a business with roots that are unashamedly rooted in UK diving, to a niche brand being enjoyed all over the world by discerning recreational, technical and commercial divers alike.

Find out more at www.othree.co.uk


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Cool Drysuit Dives

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In the mood for a snowy holiday when you can get back into the water? Why not get back to your favourite underwater sport instead of hitting the slopes like everyone else? Check these incredible dive sites and explore a new underwater world in your drysuit!

Rummu Quarry, Estonia

The quirkiest and spookiest ice diving site in Europe is only 45 minutes driving from the capital of Estonia, Tallinn. Rummu Quarry used to be a limestone mining site and a prison. When the excavation labour ceased in the 1990s, pumps that kept the quarry dry were shut down. Soon water started flooding the entire site. After the prison closed in 2012, Rummu became an adventure centre where you can practice different outdoor sports including diving in the crystal-clear waters of the quarry and explore the sunken ruins of the prison. Diving in Rummu Quarry is also available in the winter, making it a one-of-a-kind ice diving spot. Will you dare to do it?

Who to Dive With:

Adventurecenter Rummu

PADI 5 Star Center

Sireli Tanav 11, Harju Maakond, Rummu Quarry, Estonia 76102

+372 588 733 78

info@barrakuuda.ee

White Sea, Russia

Image by Viktor Lyagushkin

If diving in frozen lakes, which have almost no aquatic life, is not exciting enough for you, Russia is the place to go to practice marine ice diving. At the level of the Arctic Circle, the White Sea is the only sea that freezes in winter as all other places are warmed up by the Gulf Stream. Leaving from the shores of the region of Karelia, between St Petersburg and the border of Finland, you can go ice diving from December to April. In addition to impressive ice formations, you can also enjoy on the rocky sea-bed a surprise abundant marine fauna with soft coral, starfish, crabs, shrimps, sea urchins and sea anemones. An important point to remember, salt-water freezes at -1.8°C!

Who to Dive With:

Arctic Circle

PADI Dive Center

Nilmaguba, Loukhski Region, Republic of Karelia, Russia

(7) 495 105 7799

sever@dive.ru

Switzerland

You won’t find salty seas in Switzerland, but alpine lakes and rivers make for unique and mystical scuba diving.

Lake Geneva has a variety of dives to discover. Wall dives and freshwater scenery can be perused beneath the surface. There is even a wreck dive – a stellar spot for more advanced divers to take the plunge.

Another is Lake Zurich, where you can head to excellent scuba spots right from the shore. The lake is serene, with lofty mountains cascading upward from the lakeshore. Glacially fed, the lake has sublime visibility.

River divers will be blown away by the Verzasca, an impossibly clear river found just south of the Alps near the border of Italy.

Who to Dive with at Lake Geneva:

Scuba-Shop Villeneuve

PADI 5 Star Center and Instructor Development Center

Route D’Arvel 106, Villeneuve, Switzerland 1844

+41 21 9601535

phil@scubashop.ch

Austria

Salzburg Lake Image by Manfred Steidl

Landlocked Austria wouldn’t seem a good place for diving, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.

The Salzkammergut region of Austria has almost 170 lakes. A favourite is lake Attersee, where there are dive sites galore to check out, in this, the largest of the area’s lakes. Nazi treasures were once held in Wolfgangsee, and though you can’t take them with you, you can still see them on a dive.

During a trip here you can swim in the cold, gin clear water, checking out park benches, trees, and trails, all on a carpet of green grass. It’s unreal!

Who to Dive with at Salzburg Lakes:

Joe’s Wassersportcenter

PADI 5 Star Center

Innsbrucker Bundesstrasse 53, Salzburg, Austria 5020

+43 662 890259

info@wassersportcenter.at

Inspired to start your own ice diving adventure? Find out more about the PADI Ice Diver specialty and head to PADI Travel to look for amazing destinations.

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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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