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Sustainable Tourism: Tiny changes that make a big difference

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What is sustainability? Why is it important? Here is the dictionary definition:

noun

1.

the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.

2.

Environmental Science. the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.

Do you ask yourself these questions prior to making a decision about what dive center to dive or train with?

A few years ago I realized quite how much damage some Tourism practices could be for the environment.  I watched on the dock as a sailing adventure company loaded boxes and boxes of drinking water of small plastic bottles on to their boat. 47 boxes of water, each with 24 bottles containing less than 500 ml in each. Providing the guests drank all the water that would be 1128 single use plastic bottles between only 6 people, in less than a week. That is a huge amount of plastic waste.

I decided to start investigating how I could make our dive center more environmentally friendly by adopting sustainable practices. As divers we should not just be ambassadors for the Oceans, but for the planet.

We strive to ensure that our business practices and services are environmentally sustainable and that we safeguard the ocean environment for generations to come. These decisions are not taken lightly: they involve commitment, time, and funding. Our team has invested in finding and following standards and protocols that have propelled us forward as a sustainable leader in the dive industry. The most important decision is knowing how and what information to choose and decipher prior to embarking on becoming more sustainable. It is not simply a question of “googling it”.

We have partnered with Ocean First Institute and Sustainable Travel International to keep us moving in the right direction.  Through these organizations, we have joined the “Blue the Dive” movement.  Cortez Expeditions complies with the requirements set forth by this movement, striving to maintain them while simultaneously adapting our company to incorporate further eco-friendly practices on a daily basis.

The heart of our business plan is sustainable tourism – we realize that by being stewards of the natural environment we are not only protecting our livelihoods but allowing future generations to enjoy the same natural wonders we are privileged to experience in the Sea of Cortez.  We welcome any questions and discussion about our standards because we know that only through collaboration can we effectively protect the Ocean for those who come after us.

  • We guarantee the following environmental practices at Cortez Expeditions:
  • Our facilities and boats are 100% free of disposable plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
  • We use refillable jugs for water and tea and encourage guests to either use our reusable aluminum bottles or come with their personal reusable bottles.
  • Our food is organic, sustainable, and locally sourced.  Not only is our food tasty, it is ethically sourced, transported, and treated. www.smartfish.mx
  • Our staff maintains the best environmental practices above and below the water. Our dive briefings provide guests with necessary information for better understanding of the dive sites and how to minimize our impacts on the site.

In addition, our staff practice diving protocols that help guests improve their techniques in the water, enabling guests to get the most out of every dive while cultivating a respect for the marine environment.

Find out more about Luke and Cortez Expeditions at www.cortezexpeditions.com.

Luke Inman is a Photographer, Film Maker, Writer, PADI Course Director, Techincal Instructor Trainer, Dog Walker and owns Cortez Expeditions, the only PADI 5 Star IDC and TDI Dive Center in La Paz Mexico.

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Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

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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.

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Dive Training Blogs

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

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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

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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!

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