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New Philippines and Maldives Liveaboards from Regaldive

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Liveaboards

regaldive_logo_rgbWith liveaboard diving holidays continuing to grow in popularity, diving specialist Regaldive has added two more liveaboards to its extensive worldwide programme.

Atlantis Azores is a spacious 16 person liveaboard perfectly designed for the needs of divers. With high standards of service and cuisine, this vessel already attracts a high number of repeat guests. Atlantis Azores follows a seasonal schedule of four different itineraries to ensure divers experience the best of the Philippines underwater whenever they travel.

Running from March to June, the Tubbataha Reef itinerary is one of the most popular trips – six days diving in remote, pristine National Park waters that are one of Asia’s best diving spots and on the ‘wish list’ for many keen divers. Tubbataha is home to no less than 573 species of fish, 373 species of corals, 11 species of sharks, 12 species of dolphins and whales and hawksbill and green sea turtles.

Divers can explore the wonders of Tubbataha aboard Atlantis Azores from £2,434 per person to include seven nights’ cabin share, all meals / snacks, local soft drinks and some alcohol and up to five dives per day, tanks and weights. Flights are not included but can be arranged through Regaldive.

LiveaboardsRegaldive also feature seven night trips on board Atlantis Azores to the Visayas and Malapascua Island. Longer 10 or 12 night itineraries on the route Malapascua – Cebu offer the chance to dive multiple world class dive destinations which would take weeks to dive from land. With certain trips departing from the liveaboard’s sister resort Atlantis Dive Resort in Dumaguete, the Atlantis Azores is easily combined with a land-based stay to maximise your Philippines holiday.

Maldives liveaboards are a top holiday choice for Regaldive guests and it’s easy to see why. With so much seasonal variation in currents and therefore marine life, liveaboards ensure divers get to dive where the best underwater action is at any moment in time.

New to Regaldive for 2015 is the luxury M/V Carpe Vita, sister vessel to the popular M/V Carpe Diem. The 20 berth Carpe Vita is well-appointed and the use of a diving dhoni ensures divers have plenty of space to relax on board between dives. Additional touches such as the on-board hot tub, fine dining and optional suite upgrades offer guests a little extra luxury.

Seven night itineraries aboard M/V Carpe Vita explore the waters around Male and the central atolls, with extensions on the 10 night trips to northerly Baa and Raa, or south to Ari and Felidhu atolls. Deep South Shark trips operate during the peak high season of February and March. For 2015, Regaldive guests will also have the chance to be amongst the few who have dived the far north of the Maldives on board M/V Carpe Vita’s first exploratory trips to the remote northern atolls.

Regaldive guests can benefit from an introductory saving of £200 on selected trips plus free Nitrox aboard M/V Carpe Vita. A seven night liveaboard holiday costs from £2,259 per person departing on 11th or 18th January 2015 to include return flights, transfers, seven nights’ cabin share, full board, snacks, soft drinks and some alcohol and up to four dives daily including tanks and weights.

For further information or to book, visit www.regaldive.co.uk  or call +44 (0)1353 659 999.

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Mares EOS LRZ Torch Range

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What does LRZ stand for I hear you ask? The answer is: LED lights, Rechargeable, Zoomable. Mares have created a versatile set of seven underwater lights in the new range to suit all needs and budgets.

I tested the most powerful of them – the EOS 32LRZ at Capernwray on a cold but bright spring day. I was diving with Alex Mustard, and so all the underwater images are by him, showing me trying out the torch in both the shallows and in some of the wrecks at this site.

All the torches in the new line have an LED visual battery charge indicator that allows you to keep the battery level under control.

Want to use it out of the water? No problem! The new EOS LRZ torches feature an innovative temperature control system that allows you to use them both underwater and on land. I can see myself using this on gloomy dog walks later in the year!

As you can see from the video I filmed just after getting back from a dive, the torch is easy to use, even with thick gloves in cold water. The zoomable light beam means that you can highlight a particular spot, or have a wide beam, which is great for both modeling for a photographer, and exploring different underwater environments.

The EOS 32LRZ has a powerful beam with 3200 lumens of power and 135 minutes of burn time. Perfect for some of the darker dives you can experience in the UK, but also for exploring overhead or enclosed environments. I easily got 2 long dives out of a single charge, and then was able to recharge it in my car using a USB cable on the way home, ready for the next day of diving.

The look and feel of these torches are great. In your hand you can feel the quality of the torches. They are solid and well built. They also look great. Each torch in the range comes with a padded case to keep them safe during transport.

For more, visit the Mares website by clicking here.

All underwater images by Alex Mustard

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Marine Life & Conservation

Reef-World launches Green Fins Japan!

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The Reef-World Foundation, the Onna Village Diving Association, the local government, and Oceana are delighted to announce that Japan is now the 14th country globally to implement the Green Fins initiative – a UN Environment Programme initiative. Onna Village in Okinawa is the first Japanese tourist destination to adopt Green Fins environmental standards to reduce the threats associated with diving and snorkelling on the marine environment.

Green Fins is piloted in Onna Village, Okinawa prefecture, an area renowned for its marine sports and has been working to protect its reefs for many years. Green Fins is implemented as part of the national Sustainable Development Goals project, which aims to manage and illustrate to the local industry how sustainable tourism can play a role in reef conservation. The economic benefits of the reefs benefit not only the fisheries industry but also the tourism industry as it has rocketed in recent decades.

If the project is successful – proving the value of sustainable tourism – the model has the potential to be escalated to a national level. A wide rollout would allow Reef-World to focus on uptake and expansion into other marine tourism and biodiversity hotspots across Japan. Green Fins implementation in Japan would provide practical solutions to many of the common problems faced in the area. It would also help to promote high standards for diving in the country. Improving the quality of the diving industry through Green Fins would demonstrate the added value of Onna Village’s tourism product. This, in turn, will encourage tourists to spend more time and money diving in the region.

Following a week of training by Reef-World (23 to 28 May 2022), Japan now has a national Green Fins team comprised of four fully certified Green Fins Assessors and two Green Fins Coordinators from Oceana and the local government. They will be responsible for recruiting, assessing, training and certifying dive and snorkel operators to become Green Fins members in the country. This involves providing training about the ecology and threats to coral reefs, simple and local everyday solutions to these threats and Green Fins’ environmental standards to dive and snorkel operators. Green Fins membership will help marine tourism operators improve their sustainability and prove they are working hard to follow environmental best practices as a way of attracting eco-minded tourists.

James Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We are really excited to finally introduce Green Fins in Japan. We have been planning this for almost three years, but the travel restrictions related to the pandemic hindered progress. The diving industry in Okinawa and the marine life upon which it has been built is so unique, it must be preserved for generations to come. The Okinawa diving community is very passionate about protecting their marine environment, and Green Fins has given them an opportunity to collectively work to reduce their environmental impact and pursue exemplary environmental standards.”

Diving and snorkelling related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or plastic debris and the effects of climate change. Based on robust individual assessments, the Green Fins initiative helps identify and mitigate these risks by providing environmental consultation and support to dive and snorkel operators. Through Green Fins implementation in Japan, Reef-World aims to reduce negative environmental impacts in the region by reaching 10 marine tourism operators, training 50 dive guides and raising awareness of sustainability best practices among 10,000 tourists in the first year.

Yuta Kawamoto, CEO of Oceana, said: “Green Fins will help to unify all the conservation efforts in Okinawa by applying the guidelines in many areas and raising tourists awareness. We hope this will increase the sustainable value in the diving industry and in turn increase the diving standards in the country.”

Green Fins is a UN Environment Programme initiative, internationally coordinated by The Reef-World Foundation, which aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry. Green Fins provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry and has a robust assessment system to measure compliance.

To date, four dive operators in Onna Village have joined the global network of 600+ trained and assessed Green Fins members. These are: Benthos Divers, Okinawa Diving Center, Arch Angel and Pink Marlin Club. There has also been significant interest from other operators, even those that are not located in Onna Village, for Green Fins training and assessment.

Suika Tsumita from Oceana said: “Green Fins serve as an important tool for local diving communities to move towards a more sustainable use of their dive sites; so that they can maintain their scenic beauty and biological richness to provide livelihoods for many generations to come.”

For more information, please visit www.reef-world.org or  www.greenfins.net/countries/japan. Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up for Green Fins can find the membership application form at: www.greenfins.net/how-to-join.

Dive and snorkel operators in Japan interested in signing up to be Green Fins members can contact the Green Fins Japan team at japan@greenfins.net.

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