Friday, 9 June 2017

Our Happy Place in Fiji


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Fiji Shark Dive - The Wandering Diver

If you are fortunate to visit Fiji’s beautiful Coral Coast, you are a qualified scuba diver and you have some disregard for danger, then you should consider booking a place on one of the most exciting dives in the South Pacific, and one of the few dives in the world where you are guaranteed to see a bull shark.


Fiji’s amazing Coral Coast runs along the bottom of the main island, about an hours drive from the airport at Nadi. There are many great resorts and beaches along the coast, most of which are affiliated with a scuba diving outfit.
I was staying at the five star Warwick Fiji, which is home to Spad Fiji, a Padi Diving outfit that specialises in Coral Coast diving. I booked my shark dive with them at the resort, paying $395 FIJ for two dives. Diving in Fiji is not cheap, averaging around $125 AUD per dive, but in this case well worth it.
The shark dives are on Monday’s and Wednesday’s, meeting at the shop front at 7:15am. We sorted out gear then were transported ten minutes to a nearby pier where our dive boat awaited.
If you have been following my Fiji trip you will know weather has not been the normal tropical bliss you would expect in October, in-fact it has not been good at all. It has been windy and the sea was choppy to say the least, which made for a rough 40 minute ride out to the site. Worse still for most people is when the boat stops, especially the one hour stay between dives, the swaying got the better of most of the divers aboard our boat. If you are prone to sea sickness, then you will want to select a calm day for this trip.
Once at the site, we were given our dive brief.. basically 18 metre dive for forty minutes, with a safety stop. We were told to stay behind the line and not to approach the sharks.
The water was a warm 24 degrees, our party of six entered the water and met on top of the coral bommie at 10 metres, before descending to the lookout area.
This is a fairly inactive dive with minimal swimming. We were led to the viewing platform, which was a roped off rock wall overlooking the feeding area, and motioned to stay put, which was fine by us. A team is on site that feeds the fish and sharks and we basically looked on.
The show was exciting to say the least. The video I compiled below gives a very good idea of what you see, so you can make up your own mind by watching below.

Fiji Shark Dive - The Wandering Diver

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Freediving in Fiji: Adventures on One Breath #4

Saturday, 20 May 2017

What Is Project Baseline?



Project Baseline empowers passionate citizens to observe and record change within the world's aquatic environments in a way that fosters public awareness and supports political action.

Project Baseline is a grassroots, environmental conservation initiative. Our organization exists to support people who are invested in water quality and availability by providing a platform that gives voice to otherwise under- or undocumented aquatic areas. We started as an organization built around underwater cave and open water divers.

Project Baseline encourages people to use pictures and dive logs already being collected for personal records, and upload that data into our database. Observations that are cataloged in an accessible, defensible and consistent manner can be used over time to gain a deeper understanding of each place visited by everyday adventurers. We are thrilled to be part of the Citizen Scientist movement that, when managed effectively, can be extremely influential in any number of scientific or public policy applications.

Project Baseline: www.projectbaseline.org
Global Underwater Explorers: www.globalunderwaterexplorers.org

Nonprofit Diving Group Supporting Underwater Conservation In Fiji

The project, called Project Baseline, is documenting coral reef ecosystems in Fiji to better understand the health of Fiji’s deep and shallow reefs and how they may be changing due to climate change and population pressures.

Global Underwater Explorers began with a group of divers whose love of underwater exploration grew into a desire to protect those environments. In 1999, they created a nonprofit organization dedicated to high-quality diver education with the goal of supporting aquatic research that advances conservation and safely expands exploration of the underwater world.
A team of GUE technical divers from the United States and New Zealand is working with marine biologists from the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Florida-based Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in a Triton 1,000-meter submersible. The team is working from the motor yacht Ad-Vantage and will be supported by her crew along with submersible pilots and engineers. The Ad-Vantage’s owners donated the vessel for the duration of the project.
The project’s primary objectives are to collect photographic and video surveys of coral reef and deeper ecosystems in water depths between 5 and 1,000 meters (16 and 3,281 feet) at several sites near the islands of Kandavu, Beqa, and Viti Levu. Scientists will use the surveys to establish coral and fish species distributions and densities. The project began on May 13 and is expected to run through May 27.
Nonprofit Diving Group Supporting Underwater Conservation In Fiji



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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

PADI Freediver kickstarted in Fiji

Fiji is one of those holy grail freediving locations where you have perfect conditions for depth training and stunning aquatic ecosystems to play around. I was surprised at the health of the coral and the marine life in general. The local Fijians were so welcoming and accommodating, just as they’re reputed to be. It’s become a place I’ll always return to”.  
– Adam Stern, PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer and PADI AmbassaDiver
Freediving in the Blue
PADI AmbassaDiver Adam Stern visited Fiji for the first time in early April to train PADI Freedivers and kick start training in the area. 13 PADI Instructors from around Fiji came together to complete some training with the 4 x Australian record holder.
The Instructors completed their PADI Freediver and Advanced Freediver courses, gaining additional training and tips to meet the prerequisites to apply for their PADI Freediver Instructor rating.
PADI Freediver Instructors
Adam was joined by 2 other Instructors who assisted on this programme. Bryan Bailey and Mitch Bennett.
Here is what PADI Advanced Freedving Instructor Bryan Bailey from one of New Zealand’s Freediver Centres, Blenheim Dive Centre, had to say about the training:
“Bula! I would like to congratulate and thank Jen Clent and PADI for organizing Fiji’s first PADI Freedive Instructor program which took place on the beautiful Coral Coast of Viti levu, Fijis main island. I enjoyed immensely instructing alongside Adam Stern and freediving with the Fijian instructor candidates in the warm crystal clear waters with sharks, dolphins and turtles. The freediving ability of the Fijian candidates was already very high having grown up swimming and diving in such perfect conditions. With the extra skills they have been passed on they will make excellent freediving instructors. Bula Vinaka”
Freediving in the reef
Mike Agnew had this to say about the course:
“It really started way back with the movie The Big Blue. For decades, there was a niggling thought in the back of the mind that I really was meant to be a dolphin. Then came PADI, promoting their Freediver courses, and I was hooked. 
Our Regional Manager Jen Clent organized a Freediver Instructor programme for Fiji. The course itself was brilliant. No other word for it. Adam was the ultimate professional, reminding us again and again to keep within our comfort level and enjoy ourselves. Our skills improved remarkably over the 5 days. He was an instructor to emulate, performing amazing feats with some of us students that had difficulties in some areas.
His two assistants for the course, Bryan Bailey from Blenheim Dive Centre and Mitch Bennett continued Adam’s calm philosophy of staying within your comfort zone and enjoying yourself, and were both fish-like compared to most of us clumsy, brick like swimmers.
So now my descent line is marked, my safety lanyard is made, and I can’t wait to get my hands on my first students!
Vinaka Adam, Bryan and Mitch!”
Divers on the Line
Jodie Bly –  “The course was exhilarating, scary but within my comfort zone, challenging and rewarding, practical and physical, seriousness with fun, competitive camaraderie. Adam and his team were awesome being both encouraging and patient, with lots of sound advice and suggestions.  It was not as hard as I thought it would be and being able to hold my breath for 3 minutes and 10 seconds was amazing, I never thought that would be possible for me.  Loved every second of it”.
Divers on the line and above
Ashwin Pal – “The first time I heard there would be a PADI Freediver course to be held in Fiji I was very excited and could not wait to start the course. I have always done freediving and spearfishing but have always wondered what I can do to extend my breath hold times and depth. The first day of my PADI Freediver course I learnt the different techniques of breathing to extend breath hold times. I would say I was an average student but with Adam, Mitch and Bryan’s help I could easily reach my goals. The entire PADI Freediver programme was very interesting and loads of fun. Now I can teach PADI Freediver courses, gain teaching experience and can’t wait to move on the next level of PADI Advanced Freediver. A big vinaka vakalevu (thank you) to Adam, Mitch and Bryan for taking the time coming to Fiji to help us Fijians becoming a PADI Freediver Instructors”.
Bryan ascending
Lani & Josh – “We loved the PADI Freediver programme. Adam is wonderful, very knowledgeable and extremely infectious. I found the training very challenging but in a good way. As a scuba diver I have always thought I was connected to my body but the freediver course taught me to develop this much much further. The techniques Adam taught us really helped build on our experience, understand why our bodies react in certain ways and how to communicate this to our future students.
Scuba diving for me is amazing, but less challenging as time goes on, I feel as though this course and certification has really opened up a whole new world, one that is just really taking off, I am so excited to be a part of it. It’s a new reason to get in the water, to view the underwater world from a new perspective, an exciting new way to challenge myself and a rewarding sport to teach”.
Lani
Karen Koens – “Super human Adam Stern, was strongly supported by Bryan and Mitch, who are both outstanding humans and Instructors themselves. The generosity from them to ensure PADI Freediver was brought to Fiji, and to give the locals a once in a lifetime opportunity was enthusiastically received by those of us fortunate to attend the course. Since then, my company Subsurface Fiji has become a PADI Freediver Centre. We are looking forward to help Fiji develop as a recognised and respected Freediving destination”.
Stefan Janjic – “Before starting the course I only had experience in “aggressive snorkelling” as Adam phrased it throughout our training sessions. I had managed to reach a maximum depth on a breath-hold dive of roughly 15 meters. With two days in a pool, and my second day in open water I went from being able to reach 15 meters as a difficult max to comfortably descending 26.5 meters, with only the reef as the limiting factor. I was even able to make a rescue from 15 meters, my former maximum in a calm and comfortable manner. The essential knowledge and skills I learned to train my mind and body to go deeper, coupled with how to deal with any potential risks in the sport gave me the confidence I needed to teach freediving. I am incredibly excited to start teaching this new water sport, and add to the list of ocean activities that we can offer at Kai Wai Ocean Sports”.
With such enthusiasm and passion for Fiji and it’s beautiful underwater paradise I can’t wait to see this destination develop and be added to every freedivers bucket-list!
After the training concluded Adam and Bryan spent a few days exploring the islands. Adam created a short video of his adventures on one breath which you can watch here.




PADI Freediver kickstarted in Fiji | PADI Pros Oceania



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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Oxygen Seizures at PO2 ≤ 1.6 Bar: How Rare? - Shearwater Research

Interesting read, something not commonly taught...



beware of CO2!  If PO2 ≤ 1.6 bar and a diver is breathing easily, the risk of CNS oxygen seizure is extremely low unless the scrubber breaks through


Oxygen Seizures at PO2 ≤ 1.6 Bar: How Rare? - Shearwater Research




Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Best Hotels For Diving in Fiji


Tokoriki Island View | Courtesy of Tokoriki Island Resort

The Best Hotels For Diving in Fiji

"Plunge into a colourful scuba diving holiday in the Fiji Islands by staying at a dive resort. Fiji is famous for its scuba diving sites – warm, clear waters with an abundance of tropical fish and colourful soft coral. Dive resorts are designed with the scuba diver in mind, bringing guests the best spots in the South Pacific. Here’s our guide to the best hotels for diving in Fiji.

"


The Best Hotels For Diving in Fiji:

Monday, 30 January 2017

Colorful Fiji

The South Pacific Fijian waters – known as the soft coral capital of the world – makes for an unforgettable respite from the daily grind.

Fiji is an exotic holiday destination in the heart of the South Pacific with more than 300 islands. The major islands Viti Levu and Vanua Levu is where most of its population resides. Fiji is famous for shark feeding and soft coral diving, white sandy beaches and a pristine natural environment, with something for everyone.

Only four hours from Sydney to Nadi airport, I arrived without jet-lag and headed for the water straight on arrival. I took two weeks to discover some of the many dive sites in Fiji and for good measure, included a liveaboard to the mix.
I arrived a couple of days early just to get myself ready for the liveaboard, and to make sure all my diving gear and camera equipment arrives unscathed. It is important for me as I had encountered problems before when my luggage didn’t arrive on the same flight.
The 40m luxury Fiji Siren liveaboard departs Volivoli Beach resort located in the northernmost tip of Viti Levu, about 2.5 hours from Nadi airport. The Resort has comfortable, clean rooms all with ocean views, and its own dive operator. It is a great starting-point for dive gear and camera equipment checks as well as to reccce Fiji diving conditions.
From the resort I could see the Fiji Siren anchored and waiting for me to go and explore diving with her. The Fiji Siren is a 40 meter luxury liveaboard with a maximum of 16 divers on each trip. The 8 large air-conditioned cabins are luxurious twin or double rooms with ensuite bathroom and hot water. The Fiji Siren has designated indoor and outdoor workstations with charging points and large storage drawers, easy and convenient for every diver with a camera. There is a large dive deck with 12L tanks and nitrox.
My 10-day journey began with “Bula” (or “welcome” in Fijian) and the crew played guitar and sang their hearts out to welcome guests. The crew director Rani had a good sense of humour which kept everyone engaged and entertained on the trip.


EZDIVE/DRT Newsletter



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Friday, 30 December 2016

Fiji - Coral Reef Alliance

Bula mai Kubulau, Fiji! 


Over the years, we have partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society to build local capacity to effectively manage the Namena Marine Reserve within a larger ecosystem based management plan. 


The Namena Marine Reserve continues to be an exemplary program for how local management can benefit both communities and coral reefs.
.
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#savecoralreefs #ocean #oceanconservation #corals #coralreefs #oceanlife#underwaterphotography #underwater #marinelife #conservation



Fiji | Coral Reef Alliance | Coral Reef Alliance:


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

PADI Insurance Applications Now Available in Fiji

The 2016/2017 PADI Asia Pacific insurance program and online applications are now available at padiinsurance.com.au
in preparation for the upcoming September 30th expiry date. Individual
Member premiums remain the same as last year with no increases for PADI
Instructors, PADI Assistant Instructors or PADI Divemasters.



V-Insurance will also contact all current policy holders
directly about renewing their PADI Insurance as per Australian legal
requirements. 2016/2017 premiums for Members located outside Australia
are listed below.
NOTE: PADI Members who renew their PADI Combined Liability Insurance policy prior to Sept 27th 2016 at padiinsurance.com.au will receive a $10 discount.



The Dive Injury and Evacuation insurance policy which
covers PADI professionals if they sustain a dive related injury or
illness has more cover compared to last year, for no additional premium.
Members who choose ‘Option A’ will not only get the addition of Loss of
Income cover, but also four new benefits as outlined in the following
table.
All values are in Australian dollars and include all charges and fees.

(Please note that GST and Stamp Duty charges do not apply to members outside Australia)



Strong support of the PADI Asia Pacific insurance program
results in a policy with competitive premiums, superior coverage and
supports the PADI Risk Management initiatives. In the event of a serious
incident or claim, the claims team behind our insurance program,
located in Sydney, Australia, is the most experienced in the Asia
Pacific region having over 20 years’ experience with dive industry
issues. This is the only policy recommended by PADI Asia Pacific for use
by our Members.



Remember, you are required to hold liability insurance to
be in teaching status when working in Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia
and New Caledonia. If you wish to receive any insurance documentation
via email or post, please contact the PADI Asia Pacific insurance
broker, V-Insurance at padi@vinsurancegroup.com or Ph: +61 2 8599 8660 where Rob Veale and his team can assist.



Please note that PADI Asia Pacific is not and does
not represent itself as a licensed insurance broker by endorsing the
policies highlighted in this email.




Best regards,

The PADI Asia Pacific Team
PADI Diving Insurance | V-Insurance Group



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