Based on article by DocVikingo
Look, Dont't Touch
Scuba diving is traditionally a look, don't touch kind of sport, but even careful divers can inadvertently run into trouble. By far the most common diving injury is the common scrape, usually from coral. Marine aware divers dive without dive gloves and many marine protected sites ban the wearing of gloves so that divers will not be tempted to touch marine life. So the chances of an accidental scrape become more likely to occur.
Types of Injuries
Irritations often occur as a result of a brush with coral or sponges. Coral scrapes can be painful and sometimes difficult to heal because the living organisms in the coral can get into the wound and cause infections. Contact with a sponge can leave irritating fibres in the skin, producing an itching rash that can range from mild to severe, possibly with pain and blistering.
Prevention & Treatment
Even if you're careful, it's likely you'll come into contact with coral someday. My first encounter with fire coral gave me an inflamed hand that lasted one week. If and when you get a scrape, here's what to do:
1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure your body is covered, even if just by a dive skin.
2. Regularly irrigate a scrape with copious amounts of vinegar over a period of about 30 minutes.
3. Apply triple-antibiotic to the wound twice a day for a couple of days.
4. Scrapes can become infected even with proper initial care. Watch for hotness to the touch, redness or red streaks around the site, swelling, discharge of pus, or fever. If you see them, contact a doctor.
5. Fragments of coral sometimes become lodged beneath the skin and the body mounts a prolonged allergic reaction to them. In some cases, debridement is required to resolve the reaction.
Even in the absence of embedded coral remnants, it is not unusual for a marked hypersensitivity response to a coral injury to continue for three to four weeks before significantly improving. Sometimes the lesion will resolve but then return.
If a scrape doesn't substantially resolve within a month, or gets worse, you should consult a dermatologist.
Worst Case Scenario
Even innocent injuries can turn deadly if you have an allergic or severe reaction. After any accident, watch for severe swelling, dizziness, blurred vision, breathing difficulties, weakness, muscle pain, cold sweat and a rapid heartbeat. If any occur, call DAN’s emergency hotline immediately. CPR may be necessary until help arrives.
The Turtle Bay Dive Boat and Dive Centre carry first aid kits that can be used for on the spot treatment; however the nearest large hospital to Moalboal is South General Hospital which is 90 minutes drive from Moalboal. So my advice to all divers coming to Moalboal, or to a remote dive location in the Philippines, is to make sure you are a paid up member of DAN (Divers Alert Network) so that expert advice is just a phone call away.
Adapted from an article by Jim Bartlett in Scuba Diver Magazine
Anyone who has taken a few scuba vacations knows that anything bad that can happen on a scuba trip is likely to happen unless you take steps to ensure Murphy’s Law doesn’t apply. Her are 5 simple tips to help you prepare.
1. Visualize Your Destination
Think about and research your destination for unexpected factors such as different line voltage, plug configuration, type of tank fitting. Consider taking things like power adapters, spare batteries and spare pins for your dive-watch/computer wristband. Note at Turtle Bay Dive Resort we can provide plug adapters and our tanks can take DIN or yoke fittings. Common batteries and some computer batteries are available in Moalboal.
2. Inspect the Gear You are Taking
Go through every piece of gear and inspect it carefully. Check dump valves on your BCD, test or replace all batteries, breathe from your regulators using a spare tank and ensure that your camera housing seals are in top condition by following the manufacturer’s maintenance steps. Note at Turtle Bay Dive Resort we have a comprehensive range of Aqua Lung gear available for rent just in case something malfunctions with your gear or you decide to go light on the luggage.
3. Use a Check List
Better to everything on a comprehensive check list you check off than to forget to pack something you really need.
4. Copy Key Documents
Make photocopies of passports, dive certifications, last few completed pages of dive log book, driver’s licences, credit cards, airline tickets and itineraries and pack the copies separately from the originals. Spouses travelling together should carry copies of each other’s key documents.
5. ID Bags Inside and Out
What if the luggage tag comes off in transit? To ensure airlines know who owns the bag and how to get the bag to you, put a copy of your itinerary (with name, phone number, hotel information, etc.) inside each bag.
Scientist Against Whale Shark Feeding
Dr, Lemnuel Aragones, a marine mammal expert, recently told reporters that, in his opinion, the feeding of whale sharks at Oslob is putting them at risk. He stated that the practice feeding the whale sharks could easily be mismanaged and abused. He claimed that it is the sound of the feeders knocking on the sides of their small wooden boats that attracted the whale sharks which are feed krill from dawn to 1:00pm.
Dr Aragones, who has been a consultant for environmental lawyers, said that the practice of feeding is conditioning the animals to be being fed and this may result in a change in behaviour. For me, the important word in this statement is MAY. In other words there is not yet an empirical evidence of adverse behaviour change.
Why are Whale Sharks Attracted to Oslob?
Scientists are hypothesizing that the whale sharks are naturally attracted to Oslob due to the upwelling in the area which brings nutrients from the bottom of the sea to the surface.
It was also reported that the president of Physalus – Dr. Alessandro Ponzo – that a study has been conducted in the area and presented to Oslob Mayor Ronald Guaren. The study was on the compliance with the Whale Shark Watching Ordinance and scientific data on the presence and behaviour of the whale sharks in Oslob. The Mayor stated that he has still to study this report.
Moves to Stop Whale Shark Feeding
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (“PAWB”) Director – Theresa Lim - sent the regional environment office a directive to start working on stopping the feeding of whale sharks in Oslob as this was against the protocol on whale shark watching.
The Next Steps
Gwen Garcia - the Cebu Provincial Governor – reacted to these moves directed three agencies and the local government of Oslob to monitor within three months whether the feeding of whale sharks affects their behaviour. Gwen asked the meeting “Why do more whale sharks appear in Tan-awan?” She then instructed BFAR to monitor the waters and find out the reason behind this, so they can come up with a procedure on how to deal with the marine creatures.
The governor, though, believes there are many whale sharks in the area because of their basic survival instinct, as they feel protected in Barangay Tan-awan, Oslob. “First of all, I believe it’s the survival instinct of the whale sharks. They feel that they are now in a safe and secure environment. Second, the whale sharks’ food is there,” Garcia said. Garcia said even Dr. Al Orolfo, Protected Area, Wildlife Conservation Zone and Management Services (PAWCZMS) Central Visayas technical director, also believes that the feeding of whale sharks should not be stopped immediately since there is no empirical data that would prove that the behavioural pattern of the whale sharks has changed. Oslob Mayor Guaren said he does not subscribe to the thought that the whale sharks behaviour was altered.
Do Not Delay your Visit to Tan-awan, Oslob
Clearly there is mounting pressure from some organizations to put a stop to the whale shark feeding at Oslob. This activity is important for the economy of Oslob and for tourism; however, if the scientists can prove that the feeding practice is detrimental to the wellbeing of the whale sharks, we can anticipate that it may well be stopped in the future. Thus if you really want to experience seeing, snorkelling or diving with these magnificent animals, you had better plan your visit soon.
Article by Josephine Bell
Diving is one of the most enjoyable things you can do. By going underwater, you get to see so much wildlife that you just don’t see on land. Here we list some of the best diving locations in the world. Some of them are a long way away though, so you may want to search and compare (cheap holiday deals) before you commit to going, so that you can get the best deal.
Diving in the Surin and Similan Islands, Thailand
This string of islands sits near to the Thailand/Burma border, and provides a fantastic “wilderness diving” experience. There are many small dive sites around this area, which aren’t often visited by other people, so you really feel like you are out in the wild. The island of Koh Bon is surrounded by whale sharks, leopard sharks, mantas and game fish. Another similar site is Richelieu Rock, a popular spot for experienced divers.
Diving in the Maldives
If you want to get the best diving experience in the Maldives, the best way is to go on one of the dedicated live-aboard boats, which offer up to four dives per day. This is a great value way to have a diving trip, and if you go between the months of May and September you will almost certainly see manta rays. South Ari atoll and North Male atoll are two great places where you can see many turtles, sharks and many other colourful sea animals.
Diving in Rocktail Bay, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
Although water here can be a bit cool, you will have the opportunity to see many tropical fish including some very big pelagic species. You may even get to see a humpback whale or a bottle-nosed dolphin or two. You might want to watch out for the tiger sharks and whale sharks though.
Diving in Rangiroa, Polynesia
At 250 miles from Tahiti, the beautiful Tuamotu Archipelago islands are an extremely remote place to dive. Rangiroa, which translates as “Long Sky”, is almost the largest atoll in the whole world, second only to the Saya de Malha Bank. Here you will see many mantas, dolphins, grey reef sharks, and maybe even the odd hammerhead shark. This is diving for those seeking an adrenaline rush.
Diving in Sulawesi, Indonesia
There is a lot of marine biodiversity around the small collection of islands near the tip of Sulawesi, so for the wildlife enthusiast diver this is an ideal spot. If you stay at Froggies Divers on Bunaken you will get a wonderful communal meal at the end of the day where you can chat with other divers about their day’s diving experiences. Indonesia is quite far away though, so as we said earlier, it may be a good idea to search various travel companies online to compare cheap holiday deals to ensure that you get the best value for your hardearned money.
Turtle Bay Dive Resort is an Aqua Lung Partner
Aqua Lung Axiom i3
The new Axiom i3 is the blending of all the latest research and technology that Aqua Lung has developed over the past few years. If you want one BCD that features all of their innovations then the Axiom i3 is it; it’s got it all. To start it has the i3 inflation system that puts buoyancy control at your fingertips. Then they took some inspiration from their Dimension i3 and included the “Wrapture” harness system. This incorporates a customized back plate bottom half and a soft pack top half providing comfort and stability. Low profile exhaust valves and signature swivel shoulder buckles were included too. A new GripLock tank band and buckle system replaces the ubiquitous cam buckle. It has a familiar look but a different size and feel. It features a height adjustable chest strap and a wide quick release waist buckle with double pull D-rings for an easy fit. The Axiom i3 is also equipped with the latest generation of the SureLock weight system and offers creative options for carrying accessories with pockets and D-rings.
Simply put, it works. Setting up the system is slick as the valve retention strap sets the perfect tank height and holds the Axiom i3 in position while you lock down the new GripLock buckle. The band length can be set to your cylinder’s diameter once and then forgotten. A pre-closed position of the buckle allows you to secure the band and then move your fingers out of the way for the final push to lock down the buckle. Testers who have used a similar buckle liked the fresh take on this familiar design. On the surface the Wrapture harness secures the load on your hips and the weight is taken off your shoulders. While this may be more important on the surface, the snug fit continued under water for a comfortable and stable ride. The i3 inflation system took less time to tame than most of our test divers expected. Ascent control scored high as venting air in either a head up or head down position was very easy as both shoulder and rear valves open when the i3 lever is pressed. The Axiom is also available with a standard inflator for those who want more traditional controls.
We didn’t think the SureLock weight system could get any better but we were pleasantly surprised. The SureLock II has more ergonomic handles, and an even better rail system that guides the weight pouches home without even looking at them. Two rear trim weight pouches are secured on either side of the tank band for a combined weight capacity of 30-pounds. In the test tank we measured just 1.25-pounds of inherent buoyancy, which is considered very good for the ample padding. There are plenty of attachment points and pockets for all your goodies. The left side has a small zippered pocket and knife attachment grommets. The right side has a cool double pocket that has a small top section with a zip closure and a huge drop down pocket underneath. Since this pocket is outside of the weight pouch its volume is unaffected and offers large cargo capacity. There are also plenty of D-rings well positioned to hang other gear and a special octopus pocket to secure your backup breather.
About the best compliment we could give the Axiom i3 is that it doesn’t feel like a Jacket BCD. It has the streamlined, low profile feel of a back buoyancy BCD but with the added stability on the surface that a little air under the arms provides. If you are tired of big bulky jacket style BCD’s but not sure you want to make the switch to back buoyancy then the Axiom or Axiom i3 may be the proverbial best fit.
Municipality of Oslob Controls Whale Shark Watching.
The Municipality of Oslob Now Controlling Whale Shark Watching
The Municipality of Oslob which now controls the whale shark activities at Tana-wan, Oslob recently issued a new ordinance which became effective on April 15, 2012. The Council correctly observed that it is difficult to control whale shark watching, snorkelling and diving in Tana-wan. When there are large numbers of visitors in the water . Overcrowding and poor control may cause possible harm to the whale sharks. The Council have therefore passed resolution 326 amending ordinance 091:2-12. The amended ordinance provides for measures for protection and conservation of marine wild life, particularly whale sharks. There are new regulations and guidelines supported by fees, fines and penalties for violations.
The new rules and guidelines include:
• All whale shark watchers must undergo orientation at the Briefing Center on the rules for interaction with whale sharks;
• Whale shark watchers are limited to 30 minutes (I think this applies to those in boats);
• Life guards will be on site during whale watching hours;
• Dive Centers bringing visitors must be accredited with the Municipality of Oslob (Turtle Bay Dive Resort is accredited);
• No feeding of whale sharks by unauthorized personnel; and
• Only staff from accredited organisations may guide visitors.
Some Tips to Maximise the Experience.
For most whale shark encounters, you will find yourself in the open sea swimming with an animal that can move several feet with just one gentle motion of the tail. Additionally, you are also away from the immediate surface security of the support boat, as vessels should keep a large berth around these gentle giants to avoid disturbance of their natural behaviour, often filter feeding at the surface. You might not need to be a scuba diver, but good water and snorkelling skills are a must for you to be able to enjoy the encounter.
As with many sea-related activities, your physical fitness will also play a role in the success of the encounter. Of course, to thoroughly enjoy your trip you need to be comfortable with your snorkel gear. Using a mask and snorkel for the first time on such a trip might prove uncomfortable and compromise your enjoyment; so, if you are new to the gear, practice at home or take a lesson with a professional before your big encounter -- consider swimming and practicing few laps in a pool to improve your overall fitness level.
New Dive Ticket Fees.
With effect from April 15, 2012, the Municiplaity of Oslob increased whale watching fees as follows:
Foreign Visitors (no longer any extra charge for cameras):
• Whale shark watching from a boat = Php 500.00;
• Snorkelling with whale sharks = Php 1,000.00;
• Scuba diving = Php 1,500.00.
Philippine Visitors (not from Oslob):
• Whale shark watching from a boat = Php 300.00;
• Snorkelling with whale sharks = Php 500.00;
• Scuba diving = Php 600.00.
From articles that have appeared in the media, it appears that the Council of Oslob are still reviewing the situation and researching how other municipalities control whale shark watching and so there many well be more changes in the rules to come.
Whale Shark Watching with Turtle Bay Dive Resort.
Turtle Bay now has a slot for whale shark watching every Thursday between 7:00am and 8:00am. We leave the resort at 5:30am and have breakfast on the beach after the dive. The cost for the trip including, transport, breakfast, one shore dive with tank, weights and guide is:
• Scuba divers = Php 4,500.00 (using your own gear;
• Snorkelers = Php 3,500.00 (using your own gear).
These prices EXCLUDE the cost of the dive ticket i.e. Php 1,500.00 for divers and Php 1,000.00 for snorkelers.
We usually need a minimum of four guests before we arrange a trip. We can also apply for a slot from the municipality of Oslob on other days if Thursday does not suit our guests’ schedule.
Extracted from an article by Jeff K. Andrews
Most people start out their morning with a cup of coffee to help them wake up and prepare for the day; thsi especially applies to divers making an early morning dive. It now seems as if people have another reason to make sure they start their days with this tasty hot beverage; the nutrients within it that impart the health benefits of coffee.
Two Main Coffee Species
The two main coffee species being grown currently are called Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee. The more popular coffee type is the Arabica, and it gives a better flavor than the Robusta. The Robusta has higher caffeine content, but its flavor isn't as well-liked.
Health Benefits of Coffee
As people research coffee and the differences between those who drink it and those who don't, they discover very interesting facts about the good things coffee can do for the body. For example, those who drink coffee have fewer instances of the following diseases:
- Type II Diabetes
- Parkinson's Disease
- Some cancers
- Heart Disease
Type II Diabetes
In order to help prevent Type II Diabetes, people will need to drink at least six to seven cups of coffee per day. This amount of coffee each day lowers a person's risk of Type II Diabetes by 35 percent. Because patients diagnosed with Type II Diabetes also have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, coffee is also given the credit for decreasing the amount of heart disease and strokes that people experience.
A further effect of coffee is that it reduces the instances of disturbances in heart rhythm. These disturbances have been found to increase both men's and women's rate of heart attacks and strokes. Because coffee lowers the number of people who have disturbances of their heart rhythms, it also indirectly decreases the numbers of heart attacks and strokes that all people endure.
Parkinson 's Disease and Dementia
Coffee drinkers have a decreased risk of Parkinson's disease. Researchers are confident of the link between Parkinson's disease and the caffeine that coffee contains, although they cannot explain what the effect caffeine has on preventing Parkinson's disease. It also benefits dementia; drinking between three and five cups of coffee per day was found in one study to reduce dementia by 65 percent.
Coffee and Liver Cancer
Researchers can't state definitively how, but coffee appears to decrease the instances of liver cancer. With every test researchers have done on this issue, they have arrived at the same results; liver cancer is less likely in people who are regular coffee drinkers.
Nutrients in Coffee
Coffee is full of antioxidants that are believed to be the reason that the number of people who contract Type II Diabetes can be kept lower. These nutrients, oxygen-free radicals, keep the cells from being damaged. Coffee also contains minerals that are highly important in the body's process of regulating insulin. Magnesium and chromium aid in the body's use of insulin in controlling the amount of sugar that runs through the blood. People with Type II Diabetes lose the ability to control their blood sugar on their own, so the help that magnesium and chromium provide is very useful.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
The body needs omega-6 fatty acids and it's not capable of producing them itself. Coffee is a great source of omega-6 fatty acids containing 27.6 milligrams in each fluid ounce. Omega-6 fatty acids, also called polyunsaturated fats, are essential for maintaining brain function, promoting growth, encouraging the growth of healthy skin, bone growth, keeping the body's metabolism in its healthiest state and keeping the body's reproductive system in good shape.
Like with anything, coffee has its good side and its bad side but when taken in moderation, the health benefits of coffee outweigh the bad.
You can enjoy a freshly brewed cup of Arabica coffee at Turtle Bay Dive Resort
Turtle Bay Dive Resort is an Aqua Ling partner Dive Center. Our Dive Center is equipped with new Aqua Lung dive gear. If you want to try out the new Aqua Lung Legend regulator for yourself, come and rent one at the resort. Look for reduction in your air consumption
The Legend LUX regulator crafts the future with innovative technology and sleek cosmetic appeal. The new Legend LUX is smaller and lighter than its predecessors and features the all new Master Breathing System (MBS) technology. When you dive with a Legend, you’re diving with the best. So why not get one that looks the best too? There is no mistaking the rich look of Legend Lux’s tougher than-nails pink gold PVD finish.
The MBS (Master Breathing System) adjustment is a new, simple and effective way to adjust the breathing performance of your Legend LUX. The MBS controls two functions at one time. It controls the direction of air, which alters the venturi effect, and changes the opening effort. One control – two functions, it doesn’t get easier.
The Auto-Closure Device (ACD) seals the regulator’s inlet fitting, both yoke and DIN, as soon as the regulator is removed from the cylinder. Thus, the ACD keeps water and contaminants out of the first stage, prevents internal lubrication from washing away, and allows the first stage to maintain peak performance over time.
Pneumatically – balanced second stage results in smooth easy breathing. Lateral hydrodynamic openings prevent unwanted free flow in strong currents. The ergonomic design of the new DIN and yoke screw allows for easy removal from the cylinder.
Well the results are out from the 2012 survey of divers carried out by Sports Diver Magazine (USA). The Philippines was in the top five destinations in nearly all categories. This is how the Philippines scored in the Pacific and Indian Ocean Region
- Best Destination for Diving = 1st place (tied with Malaysia);
- Best Shore Diving = 2nd place;
- Best Destination Overall = 3rd place (tied with Thailand);
- Best Marine Life = 3rd place;
- Healthiest Marine Environment = 4th place;
- Best Macro = 4th place;
- Best Wreck Diving = 5th place.
Photograph of pygmy seaqhourse compliments of Estelle Giorand-Bucaille
Best Shore diving
The survey results noted that Cebu’s Moalboal has a handful of mini walls that offer some of the best diving in the country
Healthiest Marine Life
In December 2011, the United Nations Environment Program launched the Green Fins Project to all the dive centers in Moalboal. This project, which has already been successfully implemented in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines (Puerto Galera), aims to:
- “to protect and conserve coral reefs by establishing and implementing environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving tourism industry”.
This has been done by introducing a Code Of Conduct for good diving practices and protocol for all divers who dive in Moalboal. This is done with the support of the Dive Center owners, through education of all of the dive masters and other dive staff making them aware of diving does and don’ts. The education is backed up by posters and briefing guides that are shared with visiting divers.
The national government agencies (Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving) are backing this project. The local government of Moalboal has given their full support to this project by passing a new ordinance that gives a penalty divers and dive centers who cause damage to the coral reef.
Just offshore from a small beach on the south east coast of Cebu, is a unique experience waiting for every diver (and snorkeler) who is willing to make and early start so that they can be in the water just after dawn. After a simple shore entry, divers swim out over the sandy sloping bottom to the area where up to 9 whale sharks come each morning to be fed krill by the local fishermen. At the moment, all of the whale sharks are males as the two pregnant females have recently left the area. There are a few juveniles in the group.
The whale sharks follow the few fishermen who are feeding them and who bring them in front of divers and snorkelers. The whale sharks appear to be oblivious of the divers, snorkelers and boat riders who swim around them. All visitors are reminded to follow good diving practices by:
not touching the whale sharks;
keeping a distance of 3m; and
not using flashes or strobe lights.
Everyone is able to have a close encounter with these gentle giants and see first hand how gracefully they cruise through the sea with their cavernous mouths. Patient photographers will be able to get some special shots when the whale sharks break away from feeding and swim away from the boats and the snorkelers.
For divers who can drag their eyes away from the whale sharks, there is very interesting marine life just off-shore in 5m of water - I have seen dragonets, large trumpet fish, schools of jacks, lionfish and much more. There are reports of manta rays in the area but I have yet to see them.