Conservation

June 2017 Dive Against Debris

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June 11 was a good day to do a deep dive against debris. The team started with a dive down to 27m. Happy to say there was not much debris in the deeper columns. Most of the debris were collected on the way back to the shallower part of our adopted dive site. We managed to collect 6kg of debris comprised mainly of (you guessed it!) plastic. Sadly, we have collected a small dead crab among the rolls of plastic fragments. You may access the full report submitted to Project Aware here.

From 6 kg of debris to 3/4 of a 2L ecobrick.

We’re also happy to report that of the 6 kg of debris collected, we were able to stuff most of them to make almost one complete 2L ecobrick. Most of the debris in the ecobrick are fishing lines. This is our contribution to The Plastic Solution PH.

We would like to remind all patrons that each participation to our monthly dive against debris gets you a chance to earn a free certification. Please be guided accordingly by the promo duration below:

  • May 2017 to April 2018 – at the mark of our second year of the activity, the patron with the most dedication to the Dive Against Debris program will be  honored with a FREE Specialty Certification as an official Project Aware Dive Against Debris Specialty Diver.
  • June 2017 to December 2017 – the patron with the most dedication to the program from the period will get one (1) FREE Specialty Certification. He/she may choose among the following certifications:
    • Enriched Air
    • Underwater Photography
    • Peak Performance Buoyancy
    • Emergency First Response
  • January 2018 to December 2018 – the patron with the most dedication to the program from the period will get 50% off his/her next core certification. This applies to the following courses only:
    • Advance Open Water
    • Rescue
    • Master Scuba Diver

We will be posting the next event on our Facebook page so watch out for it. Until then, keep diving, don’t let your dives go to waste, don’t litter and keep bubbling and creating ripples of change!

Underwater Photography Course Cebu by Dive Funatics

How Much Destruction Did Your Underwater Photos Cause?

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Learning underwater photography is a rewarding skill, that can turn easily into a hobby, and may even give considerable returns on investment for the few gifted ones in the process.

Dive Funatics

Clown fish Looking the otherway – by Kae of Dive Funatics

But unlike top-side photography, underwater world is more challenging to conquer and master simply because most subjects are not stationary, water columns are moving, and the photographers are using bulky and specialized equipment like scuba gear, camera housing, strobes with extended arms, and other considerations.

Due to the emergence of sophisticated digital point and shoot cameras, availability of cheaper underwater housing, and the growing popularity of social networking sites, so does the rise in newly certified divers itching to take their compact cameras with them underwater. Now Houston, we have a problem!

In the real world, divers newly certified, just freshly out of their Open Water Courses do not have good enough buoyancy, stable enough to take underwater shoots without damaging any sensitive marine life or sensitive bottom! Most of them hang-on and grab whatever they can just so they are stable enough to capture those to-die-for shots! At this point, all repetitive briefings about not touching corals, being responsible divers, about respecting the life and its habitat gets thrown out the window. Nothing exists but that moment, and that desire to take something “instragramable”!

 

 

Dive Funatics

Playful anemone fish by Kae of Dive Funatics

As a diver, as a photography hobbyist, I understand that getting the right foundation in everything that I do in pursuit of my craft is everything to be better and successful than the rest. As a dive professional who spends the last decade enticing people to take up scuba diving, educating divers to be responsible underwater, and taking steps to actually practice what I teach, I can’t help but frown upon those who disrespect scuba diving as a sport, photography as a hobby, and leave trails of destruction along the way.

You don’t have to be like me. All I am suggesting is try and make less negative impact when you dive. This is the least that you can do as a diver.

 

 

So what do bad divers do when taking photos? Watch this short clip captured by the good guys at Wet Monkeys.

How would you feel if someone walks into your property, takes a picture of what they want to shoot at, with no regard for how they wish to accomplish what they set out to do? How do you think this turtle feel at this moment? What about those tiny, sensitive life at the bottom?

Do not be part of the problem, be a better diver first before you think of getting into something beyond your head. You may be an accomplished photographer but unless you can hover properly, and more importantly, having the mindset to be responsible, develop heightened situational awareness, and becoming respectful, sensitive and responsible diver – do not take up underwater photography yet!

Develop good skills and habits. If you need help, invest in lessons, find a mentor, dive more. We at Dive Funatics can ease the transition, choose our flexible and reasonably priced Underwater Photography Packages.

Please watch the video carefully crafted by PADI to emphasize how great diving in the Philippines really is.

 

Photos of anemone fish are choosen in this article as they are commonly used as starter subjects for underwater photographers.

May 2017 Dive Against Debris

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This month marks the 13th Dive Against Debris we have made in our beloved adopted dive site, Kontiki Marina. We started the day with the clean up dive at 10AM. The water was a good 28.3 degrees and we went down to a maximum of 13.7m. We surfaced 47 minutes later and 15 lb heavier. Crazy talk during what feels like a very short surface interval and then we made just a chill dive at around 12:15PM.

Yesterday was a fun day for us as we made new friends, Michelle and Mike. We were also joined by fresh-from-open-water-certification Abi and fresh-from-advance-open-water-certification Andrew. And as usual, we were joined by our ever supportive patrons, Tanya, Karl and Paula. This month’s program was backed by the support team made up of James, Hilbert, Darwin and yours truly, Kae.

For more details about the profile of the debris collected this month, you may access the report at Project Aware here.

Next month, our event will be on June 11, 2017, Sunday. We would like to remind you that each participation to our monthly dive against debris from June 2017 onward contributes to two chances of getting a free specialty or a subsidized cost of your next core certification. Please be guided accordingly by the promo duration below:

  • May 2017 to April 2018 – at the mark of our second year of the activity, the patron with the most dedication to the Dive Against Debris program will be  honored with a FREE Specialty Certification as an official Project Aware Dive Against Debris Specialty Diver.
  • June 2017 to December 2017 – the patron with the most dedication to the program from the period will get one (1) FREE Specialty Certification. He/she may choose among the following certifications:
    • Enriched Air
    • Underwater Photography
    • Peak Performance
    • Emergency First Response
  • January 2018 to December 2018 – the patron with the most dedication to the program from the period will get 50% off his/her next core certification. This applies to the following courses only:
    • Advance Open Water
    • Rescue
    • Master Scuba Diver

Until then, keep diving, don’t let your dives go to waste, don’t litter and keep bubbling and creating ripples of change!

 

Cheers,

Dive Funatics

Your Chance to Earn a FREE Specialty Certification

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This May 2017 kicks off the second year of our commitment to Project Aware’s “Adopt A Dive Site” Program. For twelve straight months, we have religiously conducted monthly Dives Against Debris and collected over 123.32 kg (271.89 lb.) of underwater debris! In terms of piece count, this translates to 2,179 pieces of debris offloaded from our favorite underwater backyard, Kontiki Marina. We couldn’t have possibly done this without patrons supporting the cause.

 

This year, as we strive to continue our efforts, we hope to give back to our most loyal patron. We will still be doing at least 1 dive against debris every month and from the period May 2017 to April 2018, the patron with the highest attendance will earn the “Diver Against Debris” specialty certification for FREE. That’s right, at the end of our second year of collecting underwater debris, one truly dedicated underwater warrior will earn the Project Aware Diver Against Debris certification, honoris causa. That’s the least we can do for our beloved ocean warrior. This certification will bring you closer to achieving Master Scuba Diver rating later. We will be posting the Dive Against Debris schedules as events on our Facebook Page so watch out for that. The first event will be on May 28, 2017.

 

We continue to hope we get to a point where we would be proud to say we have no debris to report. To add more meaning to our efforts this year, all underwater debris collected which can be upcycled as ecobricks will be used as such. Look out for our upcoming post on the dos and don’ts of ecobricking!

 

Until then, keep diving but don’t let your dives go to waste and don’t ever, ever litter.

 

Cheers,

Dive Funatics

Dive Against Debris on Earth Day 2017

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We have been consistently gathering underwater warriors every month to help us clear the ocean from debris one dive at a time. To commemorate our commitment to helping keep our ocean trash-free, our twelfth monthly dive against debris was done on Earth Day 2017. We were graced by the presence of fellow dive pro Greg and his wife Ivy, Earl and his son Ethan, Hilbert and Doc Karl.

It being Earth Day, there were a few efforts made in our adopted dive site, Kontiki Marina, during the morning. A group of local divers did a clean up dive for the local government unit (LGU) of the City of Lapulapu. Since our scheduled Dive Against Debris was set at 2PM, we were kind of excited by the prospect that we might not have anything to report for the dive. As pointed out by Greg we have to remember the clean up was made in the morning and that the time from then and 2PM trash could accumulate considering the boat traffic on one Sunday during summer. Sad to say Greg was right. We were able to harness 27 lbs of trash, despite the fact that the LGU unearthed a huge amount of trash which prompted one standard size garbage truck on standby for the aftermath.

As usual, the profile of the garbage we collected consist mainly of plastic. To get more insights on the type of trash collected, you may click here. Photos taken during the event are up on our Facebook Page.

This being our 12th set of data collected, we will be compiling a year’s worth of garbage collected from our beloved adopted dive site Kontiki Marina. We will be publishing a report on this along with other ways on how we can be of help so look out for this upcoming post!

Our heartfelt thanks to this month’s patrons. We hope to see you again next month!

 

How Green is your Sunscreen | Dive Funatics

Guide to Guilt-Free and Non-Selfish Protection Alternatives for Your Skin as well as the Corals

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Is Your Sunscreen Saving Your Skin  but Harming the Environment?

It’s summer time again on this part of the world. The sun has been meaner more than ever and thus requiring more potent sun-protection additives to sunscreens. When going out to buy one for your upcoming summer adventures in the beach, please also consider the effects this may have on our underwater friends especially the corals. It’s not enough that the label reads “organic”.

Be mindful of the ingredient called oxybenzone. This is component found in many sunscreen products as well as shampoo and mascara. It is a very dangerous component which can cause severe deformity in corals and even death to these underwater creatures. Per MarineSafe.Org, one drop of this substance is equivalent to six and a half Olympic-size swimming pools’ worth of water sufficient to damage coral. It’s that harmful to our underwater friends. It could also even be harmful enough to humans as this substance is being tagged as an endocrine disrupter, meaning it affects the hormones and reproductive functions of the user. Oxybenzone is currently being tagged as a product which meets the criteria for substances under high concern and is included in the list of substances which needs to be replaced. MarinSafe.org has published a list of chemicals commonly found in sunscreen lotions which may be beneficial to humans but are extremely deadly to corals. You may access the list on this link.

Military Cap / Hat from Dive Funatics

Next time you use a sunblock when you hit the waters, consider buying green brands. Or you may go to your garden and check your pantry. You can whip up some concoction free of petrochemicals and other artificial ingredients. For a natural water-resistant sun lotion, you may use the gel of an aloe vera and mix it with some beeswax, shea butter, olive oil, and rosemary extract– these are the common ingredients used in marine-approved sunscreens. And just wear a hat!

Dive Against Debris | Dive Funatics

March 2017 Dive Against Debris

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It’s been our tenth consecutive month doing a Dive Against Debris and we are still getting lots of things which don’t belong underwater.  This month we were able to collect 18 lbs of debris off the sea. As usual, this is mostly comprised of plastic. The full report on the  types of debris collected may be accessed here.

As always, we are forever thankful to our patrons who support the cause. Special shout out to Jan, Tanya and Jayvee! We look forward to having more and more volunteers in the future. Our tribute slideshow to this month’s event may be viewed here.

Next month, we are scheduling the Dive Against Debris on Earth Day, April 22. This will be an afternoon dive followed by a chill night dive. Hope to see you there!

Dive Against Debris | Dive Funatics

January 2017 Dive Against Debris

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It’s been a busy month we forgot to post an update on how our adopted dive site, Kontiki Marina, is doing after the 9th monthly Dive Against Debris.

This month, we are very proud to feature a fellow eco warrior, Gringo – more known in the digital world as @gringograss. Gringo is a visual artist who is passionate about many things, ocean art and marine conservation included. Gringo has agreed to help our cause by making his art available to us for sale via t-shirts and proceeds of which will be used to fund the dives of our future divers against debris volunteers. You may check out Gringo’s art at instagram via this link: https://www.instagram.com/gringograss/ and please do look for Mr. Farts, the turtle our hearts just bleed for. And look out for those shirts too! They’ll be coming around real soon.

In the meantime, you may check out the full details of the 6 kg of debris collected in this link. Thank you very much to our amazing eco warriors.

Do Not Litter | Dive Funatics

December 2016 Dive Against Debris and Christmas Get Together

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year to go diving against debris. With the occasional rain showers and tropical depressions the past weeks, the ocean has brewed up another batch of garbage stew. Add the island hoppers making the most of what’s left in their 2016 leave credits and Christmas partying aboard and you’ve got the perfect storm of trash to clean up after.

It was quite sad that despite the poll we did as to the availability of people who can join on the 1oth or 18th, we managed to gather just 7 participants in this month’s event. Those who pledged availability on the 10th ended up busy on the day and those who pledged they can only come if it’s on the 18th ended up showing up on the 10th. It’s okay guys, we can always use another underwater warrior for next month. This month’s effort freed the ocean of another 15 lbs of debris – still mostly plastic followed by a good number of wood materials and then foil mostly from food wrappers. Full details of the debris collected can be accessed here. Dive Funatics would like to give a sincere thank you to this month’s divers against debris.

After the clean up dive we had a little salo-salo over bam-i, bread and soda (carb0 loading for the night dive! :D). This has been one of the most rewarding night dives for 2016. Visibility was extremely awesome and the underwater creatures who came out to play were very wonderful creatures – a number of cuttlefishes, a couple of baby mimic octopi, rock lobsters, orangutan crab, eels and sea kraits, sponge crabs, and a whole other bunch of coral crabs of all shapes and sizes. It’s unfortunate the camera ran out of battery after the first dive. Pictures are posted on our Facebook page. Feel free to tag yourselves.

Volunteer Divers | Dive Funatics

November 2016 Dive Against Debris

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November has been a busy month for everyone but before the it ended, we still managed to squeeze in a dive dedicated against debris on the last Sunday of the month. We were only able to pool 5 people for this month’s event but we’re happy (and sad at the same time) to report we have freed up the ocean of another 25 lbs of debris.

This month’s dive against debris is special despite our modest headcount. One participant was celebrating her 100th dive and we couldn’t be any more proud that she chose to support our cause and dedicated her milestone as a dive against underwater debris.

In a nutshell, of the 25 lbs of debris collected, majority was still plastic. There is an ever rising count of wet wipes and clothing material underwater. This type of debris normally fall on a sizable surface area of coral seriously affecting the lives of these creatures. A huge fishing net was collected and inspected for any entanglement. One little red coral crab was released unharmed and alive. We may have lost the paint cans from previous months but one was back in the ocean  and this time still containing residue marine epoxy. We only found out it was still leaking paint when we were already at the surface. Luckily, the unlucky participant was holding his mesh tightly against his body and the paint was just all over his wetsuit. Cheers to our underwater warriors!

More info about this month’s effort can be accessed here.