Monday, 31 December 2007

Top Ten Scuba Diving Trips

"The Fiji Islands make the list also. They are called the Soft Coral Capital of the World and are a favorite of undersea photographers."

2008 issue of Diving Almanac and Yearbook (D.A.Y.)

The 2008 issue of Diving Almanac and Yearbook (D.A.Y.) and Diving Pioneers & Innovators: A Series of In-Depth Interviews are two great new diving books available to International Training members.

“Diving Almanac and Yearbook is the definitive general reference books on diving, and I have had a copy on my desk since the inaugural issue in 2006,” said Steve Lewis.

Lewis, director of product development for International Training explained that D.A.Y. has sections on diving history, world records, a who’s who of diving, statistics, listings of dive sites by country and much more an easy-to-read, illustrated 616-page format. “For anyone even remotely interested in knowing a little more about diving and the dive industry,” he said. “This is the best desktop reference I know of.”

The second publication is Bret Gilliam’s lavishly illustrated coffee-table book on diving’s history. It features a foreword by Stan Waterman, and takes readers through a series of lively and insightful interviews with the likes of Bob Ballard, Peter Benchley, Dick Bonin, Ernie Brooks, John Chatterton, Mike deGruy, Al Giddings, Howard Hall, Michele Hall, Bob Hollis, Paul Humann, Greg MacGillivray, Bev Morgan, Chuck Nicklin, Ron & Valerie Taylor, Zale Parry, Wes Skiles, Stan Waterman, and Bret himself.

“The book is worth owning for its beautiful, full-color photographs alone,” explained Lewis. “But in Bret’s usual style and flair the text is written with wit and insight, making it the perfect special present and an exciting read for anyone who dives, but most especially anyone with an interest in the history of underwater image making from the early days of scuba to the present.”

International Training has worked out exclusive distribution agreements with Porbeagle Press, publisher of D.A.Y. and with New World Press and Bret Gilliam for Diving Pioneers & Innovators: A Series of In-Depth Interviews.

Contact Headquarters to order copies for your customers now at 1-888-7778-9073 or Or contact your local International Training representative to place your pre-holiday order.

To find out more about International Training’s innovative educational programs, and other dive business opportunities visit

Scuba Diving International (SDI) is the sport diving certification branch of the world’s largest technical diving agency, Technical Diving International (TDI). Also included is Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI), the only global public safety certification agency.

Material posted and distributed through DiveNewswire

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Zip Fiji

Saturday, 22 December 2007

"If you see this place, you would consider yourself the luckiest person on Earth." - Divester

Naduri villagersThat’s what marine biologist Aaron Jenkins says about Fiji’s Great Sea Reef. And it’s only getting better. That’s because Fiji is at the forefront of nations establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) in her territorial waters. By the year 2020, in fact, Fiji plans to have 30% of her waters under protection, which will make that island nation the largest system of underwater sanctuaries in the world.

Fiji’s Cakaulevu (a.k.a., the Great Sea Reef and the world’s third largest barrier reef) – is getting numerous waitui tabu (prohibited fishing zones) to provide sanctuary for thousands of marine species, including marine turtles, dolphins, sharks, and 43 new hard coral species. Similar MPAs have been implemented in other parts of Fiji. Locals agree that, as a result, not only do the flora and fauna appear healthier and happier, but personal incomes have risen by 35%.

I’m impressed with the fact that it isn’t just far-off government officials imposing strict regulations on remote islanders who fish for their livings. Rather, communities worked with the WWF, local politicians, NGOs and local village chiefs to help set up the MPA outside Naduri, the first of the network of marine protected areas in this part of the reef. As conservation practices spread, underwater communities are bound to become even more beautiful, meaning: Fiji will, no doubt, become even more of a premiere dive spot.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Fiji - Scuba Diving Magazine

Fiji - Scuba Diving Magazine:


may be Fiji's signature dive attraction, but there's much more to the underwater story here. With more than 320 islands to choose from, divers never run out of options.

The largest island of Viti Levu offers easy access to the widest range of sites (including the world-famous Beqa Lagoon and the shark encounters off Pacific Harbour) and has the most extensive diving infrastructure.

Vanua Levu and Taveuni, to the north, feature otherworldly walls of snowy soft coral. And the smaller islands of the Yasawas, the Lau Group, the Mamanucas, the Lomaivitis and Kadavu each have a distinct underwater appeal.

Acres of plate and staghorn corals have colonized the Yasawas and Mamanucas, considered to have some of the best vis in all Fiji. The bommies off the outer Lomaivitis are known for pelagics drawn to their shoals of baitfish, and the Great Astrolabe Reef of Kadavu is a top spot for big animal encounters.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Data for 2008 "Status of Coral Reefs of the World"

A call from Ms Helen Sykes of Marine Ecology Consulting...


We are now calling for data from anyone who wishes to contribute to the 2007 Fiji report, which in turn will be included in the 2008 "Status of Coral Reefs of the World" edited by Clive Wilkinson of AIMS. All contributors will be acknowledged in the reports, and also help us to
increase the representation of more regions of the Fiji Islands. Data need to be with me by 15 DECEMBER 2007.

You can send me raw data if you wish, but I know many organisations need to hold on to original information. All I need are averages in the form of summaries. The reef should be as representative as possible of the area you work in, and it's great if you have data at two depths, one between 3 and 6 metres and one betwen 9 and 12 metres, but we will take any data you care to share. If you do not measure all the criteria below, send what you have - not all sites contribute to all categories.



Site name

GPS reference


Reef Type


Water Temperature

Organisation name

Surveyor name

Survey method used

Please give means of at least 4 samples with standard deviation if possible:

Percentage substrate cover at the most complex level you record:

(Corals, Algae, Sponges, Abiotic substrate types)

Number of macro-invertebrates per 100m2 of reef Sea Cucumbers, Diadema Urchins, Tripnuestes Urchins, Pencil Urchins, Lobster, Banded Coral Shrimp, Crown of Thorns Stars, Giant Clams (Giant Clams with a size estimation)

Number of fish in these groups per 100m2 of reef Butterflyfish, Snappers, Sweetlips, Parrotfish over 20cm long, Moray Eels, Surgeon and Unicornfish, Goatfish, Jacks and Trevallies, Groupers (Groupers with a size estimation)

Any sightings, whether on a transect or off it, of Bumphead Parrotfish, Humphead Wrasse and Turtles. Turtles to species if possible, plus any notes on habitat and behaviour which may be possible.

Thanks and best regards,

Helen Sykes


marine ecology

Fiji's leading company for Coastal & Marine Ecology Assessments

Resort Support

PO Box 2558, Govt Buildings

Suva, Fiji Islands

t: +679-336-3625 / +679-359-2136


Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Change in name for ROC

Change in name for ROC
10 DEC 2007

Republic of Cappuccino (ROC) cafes located around Fiji will soon be known as Esquires coffee houses.

This follows a newly-established partnership between the locally-owned ROC cafes and a Canadian based investor.

“The change in name will be done sometime this Thursday or Friday,” says ROC managing director, John Philip.

Philip explains that the partnership deal is the best way to move the business forward.

“When we get together we will be stronger and this will be better for business,” he said.

Philip said he believes the partnership will help them benefit from the advanced point of sale system and Esquires ambitious nature.

“The Esquires coffee houses are rapidly growing and now they own a chain of hundreds of cafes around the world,” he said.

Philip stated that the ROC cafe has got a strong tradition of coffee and the Fijian market to offer its new partners.

Philip says they hope to run twenty cafes and kiosks in the next 5 years.

According to Philip, the upgrade maintenance of the ROC cafe has been going on for the past 2 months and they hope to put in the final touches by this Wednesday.

Philip said that they have invested $350 000 in the upgrade process.

The ROC cafe has already undergone some interior change in color, background settings and design.

Philip elaborates that the ROC cafe will still maintain its culture and continue to sell coffee drinks that have been profitable over the years while introducing some other drinks that are sold by Esquires.

The ROC cafes have been running in Fiji for nearly 10 years.



The DAN Europe safety and prevention campaign aims at increasing safety awareness and cautious behavior by boat operators and drivers.

The Problem
Whoever dives with a certain frequency knows only to well the danger of surfacing due to heavy boating, which quite often with high speeds, criss-crosses over into scuba diving areas, despite the presence of diving warning buoys or dive support boats equipped with dive warning flags.
Vain are the screams and gestures in warning those on dive boats from those monitoring their companions in the water, as often the noise of arriving boats cover up the cry of warning or simply because the boat pilot isn’t paying any attention. . . .
The snorkeler, who contrary to scuba divers, who effect repeated dives, are more prone to such accidents, since they are more often at the surface.
Thus, every year, unfortunately, there are recorded cases of divers run over by boats in transit and even more cases of near misses.

The Regulations
All this despite legislation regulating each Nation, with precise standards concerning dive warning buoys and the required minimum distance to be kept of such warning signs.
The diving community is perfectly aware of these norms of which the large majority of divers scrupulously apply.

The Consequences
When a motor boat, even of small dimension, hits a diver, the injuries caused by the boat and propeller are devastating and often result in death.

What can be done
The only way to reduce the number of these tragic deaths is through an awareness campaign and the advertising of the minimum distance standards to be kept, in such a way the majority number of boat operators are aware of the fact that the diver buoy and/or diagonally white striped red flag means a diver is in the water and therefore warned to avoid hitting them with the boat or worse yet, with the propeller, and is required to transit at a distance.

The DAN Europe Safety Campaign
DAN Europe (Divers Alert Network) has for years promoted a campaign in offering free of charge and for the asking, dive warning stickers to attach at dive centers boards, resorts, the entrances of piers of tourist ports, boat rental areas, or where ever they may be most visible by the majority of people who operate boats in any tourist area where divers may be present.
The campaign is based on the wide and capillary distribution of a simple message of immediate visual warning effect which conveys at first sight, vital information on the prevention of accidents and the observing norms set in place.

How to participate?
The invitation we are extending to all divers and those who love the sea, is that of distributing this message on safety as much as possible and collaborating with us by indicating newspapers, magazines, organizations, web-sites, TV shows who could become involved in this safety prevention campaign of boat propeller accidents.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Coral Reef Color, A Fish's-Eye View - National Geographic Magazine

Coral Reef Color, A Fish's-Eye View - National Geographic Magazine

"Startling greens, blues, yellows, and reds paint the creatures of the reefs. Scientists are learning to decipher the messages these colors convey and to see them the way fish do.

Gaze at the vivid yellows, blues, and psychedelic swirls of a single emperor angelfish and you'll sense the whimsy of evolution. Go on to explore its home in lush coral reefs and you'll soon hit sensory overload, assaulted by colors and patterns that range from sublime to garish. Coral reefs are unquestionably the world's most colorful places. But why?

Scientists have long known that color plays a role in sexual selection and warning of danger. But only in the past decade or so have we begun to understand how wavelengths of light (and therefore color) appear at different depths and how various marine creatures' eyes perceive this light and see each other—far differently than humans see them.

To document how reef animals use color, I joined photographer Tim Laman for a total-immersion course off Fiji and Indonesia. It was an eye-opener, with virtuoso dis-plays of color at every turn. Beyond the world's reefs, where waters are turbid or murky, most creatures use nonvisual means of communication such as smell, taste, touch, and sound. But in the clear, sunlit waters of coral reefs, light abounds, vision predominates, and animals—both sighted and blind—drape themselves in blazing color not only to entice mates or threaten foes but also to advertise their services, evade predators, catch prey, even hide in plain sight."

Read whole article: Coral Reef Color, A Fish's-Eye View - National Geographic Magazine

Fiji's Tourism Development Plan

Building Sustainable Tourism

© Brent Stirton/ Getty Images/ WWF-UK. Construction site for Marriot Hotel in Tikina Wai, Sigatoka, Fiji.

This was a proposed marine protected area. According to community members, at times, one could see upto 31 reef herons when this site was a wetland/marsh land.

For conservation of biodiversity to be fully appreciated and actively pursued at national and regional level, WWF also supports efforts to mainstream conservation into national and sectoral plans, policies and programmes. The Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) of Fiji's Tourism Development Plan exemplifies this approach.

The objective of the SEA was to assess the environmental and sustainable development impacts of the Plan to enable the Ministry of Tourism and its partners to make future plans sustainable.

The SEA indicated a major need for the present policy to be reviewed in order to protect Fiji's environment and people. There were concerns about Fijians benefiting economically from tourism. The planned expansion of the tourism industry in the Plan threatened to cause irreversible environmental damage and could lead to tension between tourist developers, landowners and local communities.

Based on these findings, the report was published and an Advisory group was established to guide the SEA process. The group comprised representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of National Planning, Fiji Hotel Association, USP, tourism consultants, The Fiji Visitors Bureau and WWF. This process was a three way partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, the Asian Development Bank and WWF South Pacific.

» Download A Strategic Environmental Assessment of Fiji’s Tourism Development Plan

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Fathoms Magazine - the magazine of the underwater world

Fathoms Magazine - the magazine of the underwater world:

dolphin leaping

In Fathoms Magazine #21, you'll get an insider's view of one of the world's most luxurious dive resorts - The Wakaya Club.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Book on the status of coral reefs in the Pacific launched at USP

Book on the status of coral reefs in the Pacific launched at USP


IMR Director Dr Ken Mackay
at the launch of the book
The health of coral reefs in the Southwest Pacific is the subject of a new book which was launched at the University of the South Pacific this week.

Status of Coral Reefs in the SouthWest Pacific: 2004, which has been edited by Reuben Sulu, brings together reports from Fiji, Nauru, New Caledonia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, prepared under the auspices of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN). It was published by the Institute of Pacific Studies Publications at USP in collaboration with the University's Institute of Marine Resources.

The book was launched by IMR director Dr Ken MacKay who pointed out that book carried important information on coral reefs in this part of the world.

"The book is based on a 2004 coral reef monitoring report results of which were condensed into a global report which came out two years ago, said Dr MacKay.

He pointed out that coral reefs played an essential role in maintaining strong and healthy ecosystems, and which also contribute to local communities by way of providing food supplies, protecting coastlines and generating tourism opportunities.

The book reports on the status of coral reefs of the region and discusses threats to the reefs, before offering suggestions and recommendations for their ongoing management. The major issues in the region were commercial exploitation of marine resources, cyclone damage and coral bleaching. In face of these threats, survey results revealed that overall coral cover has increased since the major bleaching events (2000, 2002) to almost pre-bleaching levels and recognition of commercial exploitation and other anthropogenic impacts has led to awareness programs and establishment of small Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) throughout each island country. A similar report is currently being prepared and results of the 2007 surveys will be published in 2008.

Status of Coral Reefs in the Southwest Pacific: 2004, was financially supported by the Canada-South Pacific Ocean Development Programme, with further editing funded by the Coral Reef Initiatives for the Pacific (CRISP). It is available at IPS Publications, the Institute of Marine Resources and the USP Book Centre (all at the University of the South Pacific's Laucala Campus) or online at (ISBN: 9789820203860, 274pp, illus. col. RRP $34).

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Information and support of the cause to end whaling

We recommend these sites for their information and support of the cause to end whaling.

Many of the sites listed above also have anti-whaling petitions and projects to support and protect whales. I would strongly urge you to help these organisations with all their endeavours. While we may not directly agree with the tactics used by some groups we understand and respect the resolve they show in the campign to save the whales. One thing we all have in common is a love of these amazing marine mammals.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Oceana – Protecting the World’s Oceans: Shark Report

Oceana – Protecting the World’s Oceans: Shark Report

The End of the Line?, a new report by Oceana and WildAid, provides an overview of the factors affecting the survival of sharks, as well as a call to action to reduce the demand for shark products and implement solutions as part of the global effort. The consumption of sharks and shark products are driving shark populations to extinction, and this new report serves as a wake-up call to act now.

Download full report here.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Underwater Journal 5 Available Now!

Underwater Journal's latest release is available for free download

North American online magazine, the Underwater Journal, once again fulfills its quest to provide fascinating, information-filled articles. The latest 57-page issue (JWJ-issue5.pdf) is jam-packed with a wide range of comprehensive features.

Readers can immerse themselves in photo-rich features such as the centerpiece focusing on the lovely mermaids of historical Weeki Wachee Springs in central Florida. Check out “Freedom Divers” to learn how our distinguished war veterans use the underwater world to cope with their disabilities.

Also in this issue learn about:

-Patent Foramen Ovale - PFO, and its link to Decompression Sickness

-Diving California’s San Clemente Island

-Scuba DoRags’ flamboyuant ScubaTubeSocks

-Shearwater’s New Pursuit multi-gas, PO2 computer for rebreather divers

-Olympus E-410 Digital Camera and PT-E03 housing System

-Advanced Nitrox – three gas computers. Do you really need one?

To subscribe or download the current issue, or archive issues of the Underwater Journal FREE of charge, go to

For adidtional information, contact:
Walt Stearns
phone 561-715-3164

Monday, 19 November 2007

WTTC unveils Tourism for Tomorrow judges-30 October, 2007

I wonder if any of our ops are to be nominated this year. SO far the Shark Dive in Beqa is our star.. Wonder who this year...



WTTC unveils Tourism for Tomorrow judges

Judges for the 2008 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have been confirmed by the World Travel & Tourism Council.

The Awards, which focus on best practices in sustainable tourism, have gained international recognition for their rigorous three-step judging process.

Judges on the finalist selection committee are:

*Dr Peter Burns, Professor, Centre for Tourism Policy Studies, University of Brighton, UK

*Tony Charters, Principal, Tony Charters & Associates, Australia

*Nicky Fitzgerald, Senior Director, CC Africa, South Africa

*Erika Harms, Executive Director of Sustainable Development, United Nations Foundation, Costa Rica & USA

*Marilu Hernandez, President, Fundacion Hacinedas del Mundo Mayas, Mexico

*Dr Janne J Liburd, Associate Professor, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark & Chair, BEST Education Network

*Brian Mullis, President, Sustainable Travel International, USA

*Mahen Sangkhrajka, President, Big Five Tours and Expeditions, Kenya

*Mandip Singh Soin FRGS, Founder & Managing Director, Ibex Expeditions (P) Ltd

*Albert Teo, Managing Director, Borneo Eco Tours, Malaysia

*Jessica Hall Upchurch, Director of Sustainability, Virtuoso, USA

*Michelle White, Director, Environmental Affairs, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Canada & Global

The panel will review and select a shortlist of finalists in each of the four award categories to move into the second stage, when on-site inspections will take place.

During the third stage of judging, a final judging panel will choose the winner for each category.

Members of the final judging panel include:

*Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, USA

*Maria Isabel Salvador, Minister of Tourism, Ecuador

*Graham Boynton, Group Travel Editor, Telegraph Media Group, UK

*Fiona Jeffery, Managing Director, World Travel Market, UK

Chairman of the judges Costas Christ said: "The high calibre of our international judging panel and the rigorous on site inspection process is what distinguishes these prestigious awards, bringing global recognition to the world's best practice examples of sustainable tourism.

"Our goal is to encourage the travel and tourism industry to play a larger role in protecting the cultural and natural heritage of our planet while also delivering tangible local economic benefits."

WTTC unveils Tourism for Tomorrow judges

Tuesday, 13 November 2007


Well it had to happen I suppose, even in Paradise. HRC is so bloody expensive in USA and Europe that I don;t even go in in these detsinations... Wonder what the price line will be like at Denarau???


Fiji’s First-Ever Hard Rock Location to Open for Business

Orlando, FL, October 25, 2007Hard Rock International, one of the world's most recognizable brands, known for dining, music, memorabilia and entertainment, is proud to announce the opening of Hard Rock Cafe Fiji. Fiji’s first-ever Hard Rock location will offer guests great American fare in a rock 'n' roll atmosphere.

Scheduled to open in November 2007, Hard Rock Cafe Fiji, operated by franchisee Jack’s of Fiji, will be located in the Port Denarau Retail and Commercial Complex on Denarau Island in Nadi Fiji. Nestled in Nadi, the “gateway to Fiji,” Hard Rock Cafe Fiji will be ideally situated near luxury hotels and great shopping, and a short distance from the international airport, offering a convenient destination for both local fans and travelers.

“Fiji offers a rich culture, as well as some of the most beautiful beaches in the world,” said Hamish Dodds, president and CEO of Hard Rock International. “The timing for a Hard Rock Cafe in Fiji is perfect, and we are proud to bring our world-famous brand to this gorgeous area.”

Hard Rock Cafe Fiji will be one of the city’s premier dining and entertainment destinations, with two levels, including a 150-seat restaurant, a performance stage and Hard Rock’s Rock Shop. The state-of-the-art facility will be adorned with pieces from Hard Rock’s world-famous memorabilia collection, including items representing contemporary stars, such as Shakira’s black and gold pants and Seal’s acoustic Fender guitar, to rock legends, like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith’s “parrot” costume, The Who’s tan drum set and Cheap Trick’s red Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. Other notable items include Bruce Springsteen’s black tour jacket, Jethro Tull’s bass guitar, and the lyrics to Guns N’ Roses “My Michelle.”

About Hard Rock International
With 122 high-energy Hard Rock Cafes and eight Hotels/Casinos in 47 countries, Hard Rock International is one of the world’s most globally recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. In addition to the two flagship Seminole Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., Hard Rock Hotels/Casinos are located in Las Vegas, Biloxi, Orlando, Chicago, Pattaya and Bali, with San Diego scheduled to open later in 2007. Additional hotel and casino projects have been announced in Macau, scheduled to open in 2009, and Palm Springs, scheduled to open in 2010. Hard Rock International, Inc. is owned by Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, Inc. For more information on Hard Rock, visit

See full article here : Hard Rock Cafe

Monday, 12 November 2007

Fiji’s reefs in spectacular condition!

Fiji’s reefs show high coral health after recovering from a coral bleaching event.

Coral reefs have frequently been in the news over the past few years, usually for all the wrong reasons, in articles about dying corals across the globe. However, Fiji has had reason to celebrate, with recent scientific reports suggesting that the reefs here are remarkably resilient, and currently in the best condition recorded. (this millennium!)

Fiji is a large archipelago with a great variety of reef types, spread across the country. While not denying that reefs have their ups and downs, the Fiji branches of the Global Coral Reef Network (GCRMN) and Reef Check have just published the results of eight years of study, where reefs have been seen to recover from events such as Cyclones, Crown of Thorns Starfish and High-temperature Coral Bleaching, within five years.

Dive operators around the Fiji Islands have supported and carried out scientific reef surveys on their dive sites, which have shown reefs affected by coral bleaching in 2000 were back to normal amounts of coral cover by 2005, and even better than normal by 2007.

Many reefs are currently showing a spectacular array of hard corals, with more than 80% coral cover, and 40% Acropora branching and table corals, the most attractive to fish, marine animals, and divers. This suggests that corals in Fiji can survive quite catastrophic events as long as they do not occur too often, a nice cause for optimism for the South Pacific reefs.

Detailed reef health reports can be found at:

By: Helen R Sykes

Director Marine Ecology Fiji

Fiji Co-coordinator Reef Check

Fiji Co-coordinator GCRMN

Friday, 9 November 2007

Hexagon opens flagship

Hexagon opens flagship

Friday, November 09, 2007

THE Hexagon Group of Hotels has re-opened its upgraded West Motor Inn in Nadi as the group's flagship.

The $7million investment is also expected to boost the Hexagon Group of Hotels position within the Fiji tourism market.

The Hexagon International Hotel/Villas and Spa in Nadi consists of newly-built conference facilities, the new Grand Hibiscus Serviced Apartments and the Jasmine Terrace Apartments.

The development has increased what used to be the West Motor Inn's inventory of rooms by more than 30 rooms to a total of 146 rooms.

Hexagon Group managing director, Dixon Seeto said they were very proud to be able to open the new facilities especially during what he said were challenging times for the industry.

"We have certainly come of age with this development and we are now very much a force to be reckoned with now being a major local hotel chain," Mr Seeto said.

"We still envision opening in other urban centres and we have plans for this which has been postponed to the near future," he said.

The Hexagon Group of Hotels celebrated its 25th anniversary last month.


Got to admit that this has been our choice of affordable transfer hotel in Nadi for YEARS!


Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Fiji Travel - Why It Is So Popular

Fiji Travel - Why It Is So Popular

"Are you interested in taking a vacation, a romantic getaway, or a honeymoon? If you are, you may have had Fiji travel recommended to you before. Although it is nice to know that Fiji is a great destination for a vacation, romantic getaway, or honeymoon, you may be interested in learning just why that is. If you are, you will want to continue reading on.

When it comes to determining exactly why Fiji travel is so popular, you will find that Fiji travel is popular for a number of different reasons. This is mostly because tourists are drawn to Fiji for different reasons. A few of the most common reasons why Fiji travel is so popular are outlined below."

Fiji Travel - Why It Is So Popular

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Wetpixel launches Wetpixel Quarterly

Magazine focuses on spectacular underwater imagery and the marine environment.

Wetpixel LLC announces the arrival of a new quarterly print magazine devoted to high-quality underwater photography. Wetpixel Quarterly brings fans of the underwater realm spectacular imagery in a landscape-oriented, high-resolution format. As well as celebrating the beauty of the deep, Wetpixel Quarterly provides a forum for a necessary dialog on marine conservation among photographers, researchers, conservationists, and the general public. To help foster this community, the magazine accepts and encourages contributions from professional and amateur photographers alike. is the most respected online destination for all things related to underwater imaging; Wetpixel Quarterly presents an exciting new venue for showcasing the work of this community in print.

The magazine's founders, Eric Cheng and Elijah Woolery—both avid divers and underwater photographers—hope to foster environmental stewardship by highlighting conservation concerns in Wetpixel Quarterly's theme-based issues. "By drawing attention to the links between the beauty of the underwater world and the action required to sustain these environments," says Woolery, "we're hoping to increase interest in preserving threatened areas around the globe—and to help protect those areas that are still pristine." Through interviews, articles, open contests, and, most importantly, the lenses of its contributors, Wetpixel Quarterly brings to the page a new sense of the fragility and splendor of underwater life.

About Wetpixel Quarterly:

Wetpixel Quarterly was founded in 2007 by Eric Cheng and Elijah Woolery to create a high-quality quarterly showcase of the best in underwater imagery in conjunction with news and information about marine research and conservation. Wetpixel Quarterly is printed in landscape orientation using 50% recycled materials. For more information, visit

Friday, 2 November 2007

Fiji Scuba Diving - About Scuba Diving in Fiji

Fiji Scuba Diving - About Scuba Diving in Fiji

"Fiji Scuba Diving Information

Fiji is famous for its beautiful terrain, tranquil sunsets, clear waters, and it's rainbow medley of soft coral. This tropical paradise has rightfully earned the nickname: 'Soft Coral Capital of the World'. No wonder snorkeling and scuba diving are popular throughout Fiji.

While diving Fiji, you'll discover over four hundred species of coral. The most famous being Dendronepthya Klunzingeri, which comes in a kaleidoscope of colors. The coral is found on reefs with moderate to strong currents and at deeper depths. With over 330 islands and 76,000 square miles of ocean, there's an abundance of coral environments for your enjoyment. You'll find drop-offs, swim-throughs, fissures, coral gardens, and the spine and groove type reefs. The reefs attract colorful and abundant marine life. See the table below."

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Reef Ball Foundation Featured in Wall Street Journal by Stephan Whelan on - Fanatical About FreeDiving, Scuba Diving, Spearfishing & Te

Reef Ball Foundation Featured in Wall Street Journal

by Stephan Whelan on

"Todd Barber, Chairman of the Reef Ball Foundation, a charity dedicated to the rehabilitation of Coral Reefs around the world, has told us that the foundation is being featured in the Wall Street Journal on Friday 26th October 2007. This follows on from a major redesign of the Reef Ball website to include more details on how volunteers can setup their own rehabilitation projects. For more information head to the Reef Ball website.

Site Photos Are Linked To Related Points of Interest

Fish on a Memorial Reef BallMillions of Reef Balls5 Year Coral Growth on Reef BallReef Ball Being DeployedLayer Cake Reef BallFloating Reef BallSubmerged Breakwater Reef Ball MoldsReef Ball Mold SystemResearcher Monitoring Reef BallReef Ball With Scuba DiverMangroves In Reef BallsKids Doing Reef Ball Project

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

EarthTalk Reader's Q&A: Coral Reefs And Hybrid Cars

Love it that someone is actually talking about this in real terms!


EarthTalk Reader's Q&A: Coral Reefs And Hybrid Cars

Q: I’ve heard about the die-off of coral reefs due to global warming. I’ve also read that coral reefs themselves store carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the main global warming gases. So if coral reefs are dying out, isn’t that a double whammy that increases the CO2 in the atmosphere? -- Tom Ozzello, Maplewood, MN

According to marine scientists, the world’s coral reefs—those underwater repositories for biodiversity that play host to some 25 percent of all marine life—are in big trouble as a result of global warming. Data collected by the international environmental group WWF (formerly World Wildlife Fund) show that 20 percent of the world’s coral reefs have been effectively destroyed and show no immediate sign of recovery, while about 50 percent of remaining reefs are under imminent or long-term threat of collapse.

Most scientists now agree that global warming is not a natural phenomenon but a direct result of the continual release of excessive amounts of CO2 and other “greenhouse” gases into the atmosphere by human industrial and transportation activity. And the small but prolonged rises in ocean temperature that result cause coral colonies to expel the symbiotic food-producing algae that sustain them. This process is called “bleaching,” because it turns the reefs white as they die.

But researchers working with the Coral Reef Alliance have found that while coral reefs do store CO2 as part of photosynthesis, they tend to release most of it back into the ocean (so they are not what are known as “carbon sinks”). As such, the release of CO2 from dying coral reefs is not a major concern.

Of course, the ocean itself is a large carbon sink, storing about a quarter of what would otherwise end up in the atmosphere. Landmasses (and their plants) soak up another quarter of all the CO2 emanating from the Earth’s surface, while the rest rises up into the atmosphere where it can wreak havoc with our climate.

Recent findings indicate that the Antarctic Ocean is getting less efficient at storing CO2, and this raises serious questions about the ability of our oceans to handle everything we throw at them. The study’s authors fear that “such weakening of one of the Earth’s major carbon dioxide sinks will lead to higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the long-term.”

Not everyone is forecasting gloom and doom. Some Australian researchers believe that coral reefs around the world could expand in size by up to a third due to increased ocean warming. “Our finding stands in stark contrast to previous predictions that coral reef growth will suffer large, potentially catastrophic, decreases in the future,” says University of New South Wales oceanographer Ben McNeil, who led the controversial 2004 study that was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Geophysical Research Letters. “Our analysis suggests that ocean warming will foster considerably faster future rates of coral reef growth that will eventually exceed pre-industrial rates by as much as 35 per cent by 2100,” he adds.

In spite of such theories, the majority of marine scientists remain pessimistic about the future of coral reefs in a warmer world. One can only hope that the optimists are right.

Short of buying a new hybrid or other “green” car, are there ways I can make my existing vehicle more eco-friendly? I bought my car recently and am not quite ready to give it up. -- Bettie Hilliker, Lansing, MI

Choice of vehicle may well be the biggest factor in determining the environmental impact of your automobile-based travels. But a considerable amount of energy is used—and pollutants emitted—in the production of any new vehicle, including hybrids and other more fuel-efficient options. As a result, many environmentalists believe that practicing good driving habits and performing adequate maintenance on an older car are probably better options for the environment than causing the production of a new vehicle.

According to the website, there are many ways to green up one’s driving habits. Obeying speed limits, utilizing cruise control and avoiding jackrabbit starts will maximize fuel economy and minimize tailpipe emissions while also preventing unnecessary wear-and-tear. Staying off roads during rush hours is also advisable, as stop-and-go driving burns excess gasoline and promotes smog. Opening vents and windows to cool off instead of using the air conditioner, an inherently inefficient appliance that consumes more fuel and leads to more emissions, is also good advice.

Drivers can also help minimize their environmental impact by keeping their cars well maintained. According to, getting regular tune-ups—where a qualified mechanic changes fluids and checks for and corrects problems such as worn spark plugs, under inflated tires, dragging brakes, misaligned wheels and clogged filters—can significantly improve fuel economy and minimize harmful emissions. also recommends seeking out low-rolling-resistance (LRR) replacement tires, which are specifically designed to improve a vehicle’s fuel economy, when the original ones wear out.

Beyond regular maintenance, a handful of small companies now sell green-friendly fuel additives that purport to increase fuel efficiency while reducing emissions. Such products—including Bluestar Environmental’s Omstar D-1280X gas additive and Suntec Bio-Energy’s diesel additive—are normally targeted at fleets of vehicles, but individuals are free to use them as well. Owners beware, though: Use of such products could invalidate automakers’ warranties, so read the fine print in your owner’s manual before pouring anything out-of-the-ordinary into your fuel tank.

Of course, getting out of your car altogether—or most of the time—is a far greener choice than driving even a well-maintained new or old car conscientiously. Some employers now offer federally-subsidized “commuter choice” incentives whereby workers can derive financial benefits by telecommuting (working from home), or by walking, biking, using public transit or carpooling to and from the office.

Another option is to join a car sharing service like Zipcar or Flexcar, whereby you pay a modest monthly membership fee and can then rent cars parked nearby by the hour only when needed. The companies operate on both U.S. coasts, as well as in major Midwestern and Canadian cities.

CONTACTS: “Green Driving Tips,”

Bluestar Environmental,

Suntec Bio-Energy,



Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881;
submit it at: , or e-mail:

Read past columns at:

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Sport Diver Magazine - Dive the Best of Fiji with Scuba Travel Ventures

Sport Diver Magazine - Dive the Best of Fiji with Scuba Travel Ventures:

Mention this ad and receive a free day room from Fiji's leading dive travel experts, Scuba Travel Ventures. Our experts will personalize your entire vacation, offering the best values to fit your style & budget no matter if you ideal trip includes a luxurious hotel, an intimate barefoot resort or a live aboard.

We offer complete packages starting from $1990 – including airfare from LAX, Seven nights accommodations, five days of two-tank boat dives, transfers and hotel tax.

Here are a handful of the operations we recommend: Wananavu Resort /Kai Viti Divers, Matana Beach Resort/ Dive Kadavu, Garden Island Resort, Lagoon Resort, Beqa Lagoon Resort, Tui Tai & Aggressor Live Aboards

Fiji & STV offer much more than great diving, including cultural tours, rafting, caving, sailing, cooking schools and much more.

Inquire at 800-298-9009 or

Activities You Can Take Part In on a Fiji Honeymoon

Activities You Can Take Part In on a Fiji Honeymoon:

By Henry Cobb

Are you and your soon to be spouse interested in honeymooning in Fiji? If you are, you are definitely not alone. Fiji is known as a top honeymoon destination. Two of the many reasons for that is due to the beauty of Fuji and the romance that beauty creates. Although beauty and romance is enough to draw many honeymooners in, you may be looking for more. If you are, you may be pleased to know that there are, literally, an unlimited number of activities for you and spouse to participate in.

One of the many activities that you may be interested in participating in, while on a Fuji honeymoon, is surfing. Fiji is known as one of the best places to surf in the entire world. What is nice about surfing is that you do not have to be an expert to do so. In fact, you may even want to use your Fuji honeymoon to learn how to surf. Surfing can be a unique way to add fun and excitement to your honeymoon.

Scuba diving is another Fuji honeymoon activity that many participate in. What is nice about scuba diving is that it is an activity that both you and your spouse can do together. There a relatively large number of scuba diving tour companies in Fuji. These tour companies provide guided tours along the coasts of Fiji, including breathtaking coral reefs. Scuba diving is perfect for your Fuji honeymoon, should you decide to take one, because it is exciting and romantic all at the same time."

Activities You Can Take Part In on a Fiji Honeymoon:

Ten Delicious Ways to Dip into Diving

Diveaway Fiji - Scuba diving on the Coral Coast:

"Ten Delicious Ways to Dip into Diving

On By Paul McMenamin

'The conditions that make for great diving—warm, translucent water, good weather, and tropical locales—also make for a terrific getaway vacation. You'll find great bargains at the big Carribean resorts, while exotic destinations such as Borneo and Micronesia promise true underwater adventure.

Fiji: South Pacific Paradise
Ask divers who have sampled most of the world's leading dive spots where they would go for a perfect dive vacation, and more often than not, Fiji is the answer. Topside, Fiji is Polynesia at its best—unspoiled and uncrowded. The water is warm and clear, and there is every imaginable shape and variety of coral in all colors of the rainbow. The variety of dive sites is staggering—from the air, Fiji appears as a vast patchwork of coral, covering hundreds of square miles."

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Businesses Halt Fish Feeding hawaii fish feeding Help Stop Fish Feeding in Hawaii

hawaii fish feedingFish feeding can have disastrous effects on reef and fish health. Find out more about CORAL's "Take a Bite out of Fish Feeding Campaign" and our ever-growing list of businesses across Hawaii that are banding together to put a stop to this practice.

Send a LETTER OF SUPPORT to participating businesses and encourage other businesses to help ban harmful fish feeding.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

PST Scuba to Exhibit at DEMA 2007 Show in Orlando

PST Scuba to Exhibit at DEMA 2007 Show in Orlando E-Series Steel Scuba Diving Cylinders Return to Dive Market

PST Scuba is pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at this year’s DEMA Show. Please plan to visit us at Booth #601.

On display will be our E-Series diving cylinders, featuring PST’s unique hot dipped galvanized finish.

In addition to unveiling our 2008 product line, we look forward to sharing news about our manufacturing improvements, and customer service initiatives.

Recognized for innovative cylinder design, quality and safety, PST Scuba is excited to bring our original E-Series steel diving cylinders back to the DEMA Show. We look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

For more information on PST Scuba steel diving cylinders, please visit our web site at

Monday, 1 October 2007

Second Edition of Diving Adventure Magazine Available NOW!

SDI, TDI & ERDI released the second issue of the highly awaited Diving Adventure Magazine.

Issue one of Diving Adventure was off-press just in time to be previewed during DEMA last November, and has now been distributed to all active SDI, TDI and ERDI members in North America as part of their membership perks while mailing has gone out to more than 15,000 recently certified SDI, TDI and ERDI divers.

Issue two will exceed those numbers as subscriptions have increased as well as SDI/TDI/ERDI members. This second edition which is 75 pages and includes articles written by Stan Waterman, Bret Gilliam, Brian Carney and Flemming Elleboe on fish feeding and its effect on wild marine life, diving the B-17 Jack Black, resting in the south pacific at 150 ft and exploring Cocos Island – by submarine!! Along with these interesting and greatly educative articles are fantastic photo shoots by world’s renowned underwater photographers Mauricio Handler with a wonderful portfolio of underwater pictures and Rod Klein, who shares his amazing shots of the Dwarf Minke Whales off of The Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

“We feel the second issue raised the bar for a quality diving magazine,” commented Steve Lewis, director of product development for International Training and Editor of Diving Adventure Magazine. “This isn’t a magazine that you get in the mail, flip through once or twice and never pick up again like so many publications out there. You can actually sit down and read the articles, learn a little on the way from the scientific or historic side and be blown away with the photography within.”

Issue three of Dive Adventure Magazine will hit the stands just in time for the DEMA show this year. “It will be our ‘DEMA Issue’,” stated Cris Merz, Advertising Manager for Diving Adventure Magazine. “We are already working hard on it and want to unveil it during the show.”

Diving Adventure is available by subscription for $15 for two issues or $25 for four issues. Subscription inquiries can be directed to

For information about advertising in Diving Adventure Magazine, contact David Burroughs or Cris Merz at or 1-207-729-4201.

Please visit us at

For more information about SDI, TDI or ERDI visit:

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Scuba Schools International Business Consultants – Hand Picked for the Job

SSI continues to serve the dive industry with a staff of highly-qualified Business Consultants ready to help dive centers.

Scuba Schools International (SSI ) the premier education and business organization focuses on the needs of Dive Retailers through skilled SSI Business Consultants and just the right tools.

SSI is serious about the achievements of dive retailers and the representatives who deliver that information. The uniqueness of the SSI Business Consultant TEAM is their credentials. Each representative was hand chosen due to their professional background in diving, managing or operating a retail dive store and their rich history in the diving industry. These hand-chosen individuals are experts in diagnosing and prescribing the various SSI business tools and educational programs designed for results.

"When we began our business 15 years ago, we did not research our certifying agency and know now that was a mistake. There was a day when I had trouble selling a single BCD who would have guessed after putting together $1500 - $3000 Total Diving Systems that they would sell themselves. Our gear sales tripled in the first year and we have never looked backed. Now, we only look forward to keep our systems fresh with the newest styles and accessories. If you do not have total diving systems in your store you are letting precious dollars slip out your door" – Debbie Knight, Knight Diver Aquatic Center.

Doug McNeese, SSI Executive Director stated, "We realize that education is the beginning of every sale in a dive store and our business model is designed to maximize that potential! Not only are certifications up, but so are our dealer’s sales. By and large, this comes from the work of our Business Consultant TEAM."

Regions are broken into Western-Ed Salamone, Midwest-Watson DeVore, South Central-Eric Peterson, Northeast-Daryl Bauer, Southeast-Kirk Mortensen, and Caribbean Resorts-Lisa Mitchell.

These skilled individuals truly understand what it takes to run a successful dive store and resort and are dedicated to your success. When you become an SSI Dealer, these professionals will go to work for you. They will meet with you and crossover your staff to help everyone become familiar with the SSI System of products and programs. The objective in the crossover is not to retrain your already qualified instructors. We understand they already have the necessary skills to train divers. Our goal is to familiarize them with the SSI Philosophy and how to maximize the potential of every student.

SSI's goal is to improve dive retailer’s profitability and success by utilizing fully developed business strategies and high quality educational programs. At SSI , we believe your success equals our success.

# # #

For more information about Scuba Schools International visit

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Happiness is a Clean O-Ring

Happiness is a Clean O-Ring

by Michael Boom

Underwater photographers are fastidious about the o-rings and o-ring grooves on their housings for good reason: compromise the integrity of an o-ring and you may be giving the delicate electronics inside the housing a salt-water bath. That's why you'll often see a photographer carefully cleaning o-rings and grooves to make sure there are no errant hairs or grains of sand sealed into place, ready to leak on submersion.

One trick to cleaning o-rings and their grooves is to make sure that cleaning doesn't leave behind leak-prone deposits of its own. For example, cleaning out a groove with a cotton swab may leave cotton fibers behind in the groove. Wiping an o-ring clean with fingers that aren't so clean may add grit to the o-ring.

The cosmetics department of almost any drug store offers an elegant solution: cosmetic wedges or, as they say in chic French, eponges triangulaires. For a few bucks you can buy a bulging bag of small triangular fine-pored sponges designed not to leave traces behind when wiping. Their triangular points fit right into an o-ring groove, and you can easily wrap them around a loose o-ring to remove grit. If they get dirty, you can either throw them away or wash them in soapy water to use again. And if their advertising is truthful, they resist swelling, flaking, and crumbling.

What more can can a fastidious photographer ask for?

Mike Boom shoots underwater video in northern California, Hawaii, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands. He's written about videography for Rodale's Scuba Diving magazine. You can contact him at

Article from The Underwater Photographer

Saturday, 15 September 2007

APEC officials agree on global warming statement

SYDNEY (AP): Pacific Rim nations on Friday reached agreement on a joint statement on global warming, overcoming bickering between rich and poor nations about whether to include targets on emissions, two Asian officials said.

Experts from the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum approved the wording of a final draft statement on climate change that would be handed to leaders at their summit starting Saturday, the officials said.

If the leaders agree to the statement in it's current form, it would be a big victory for the goal of Australia and the United States to have China - one of the world's biggest polluters ”“ and other developing nations commit to quantifiable goals to tackle climate change.

Full article here

From: Associated Press
Published September 7, 2007 07:24 AM

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Marine EIA

Marine EIA

Marine Environmental Impact Assessments

marine ecology consulting is Fiji and the South Pacific's leading company for Marine Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).

After the passing of Fiji’s Environment Management Act 2004, the demand for EIA related Marine Resource Assessments has grown significantly. (click on this link to download a pdf copy of the Environment Management Act 2004 )

Monday, 10 September 2007

Lonely Planet Diving and Snorkeling Fiji (Diving & Snorkeling)

This is an attractive book which the scuba diver will want to order. It maps and describes 74 of Fiji's top dive sites and the color photography is excellent. Despite the title, however, those interested in beach-based snorkeling will find little of use here as almost all of the sites included are accessible by boat only. Even the new Waitabu Marine Park off Taveuni is mentioned only in passing.

There's virtually no practical resort or restaurant information, and the first quarter of the book is devoted to brochure-style hype you can read on almost any Fiji website. Critical reviews of dive facilities are strikingly absent, so this book is of no help in selecting a specific scuba operator. Five pages of listings in the back of the book provide basic contact information, but even this is out of date as all Fiji telephone numbers have increased from six to seven digits since the book was published.

Most of the email addresses are also wrong, so substitute whenever you see Nevertheless, when one considers the cost of a scuba tour to the South Pacific and the lack of any alternative Fiji dive guide, all of the above criticisms are mute and serious divers will click this title straight into their shopping carts.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Increase your Dive Time on Fiji’s Stunning Reefs

Nice set of ideas and articles by Richard



Diving in Fiji: March 2007:

"Increase your Dive Time on Fiji’s Stunning Reefs: a discussion on diving and air consumption: Part 1

Fiji’s reefs are known worldwide as being some of the richest in the world teeming with life and colour. For the purposes of this discussion, the key elements of this ‘life and colour’ are that they occur in tropical waters – generally warm and clear - and also at relatively shallow depths.

Yes, of course, Fiji has abyssal walls and drop offs and pelagic action to suit anyone’s taste but the fact of the matter is the most abundant life on coral reefs is at less than 20 metres. This is great news for those wishing to spend their time under water rather than sitting on the dive boat. We do not have the extreme physiological impact of cold water and rarely are dives limited by no-decompression times but rather by air consumption. Therefore there is a real opportunity to max out on your underwater time.

For many, however, short dives are the reality and there is the frustration of having to do your safety stop and end the dive whilst other divers are still enjoying being underwater with plenty of air still in the tank. Inevitably, when those other divers return to the boat they are asked ‘how do you do that – what is your secret’. This always prompts the macho ‘how much air"

Saturday, 8 September 2007

James D. Watt – In Memoriam

James D. Watt – In Memoriam

Ken Knezick of Island Dreams provides a tribute to well-known industry photographer who recently passed away.

The community of underwater photographers has lost one of its guiding lights, as James D. Watt has succumbed to lung cancer after a 15-month battle. James Watt was a friend and mentor to many of today’s dedicated underwater shooters, myself included. Though only 56 years old at his passing, James Watt has left behind an enduring legacy of powerful artistic accomplishments, and equally fervent friendships.

I initially met James Watt when he signed on to one of Island Dreams’ first Wakatobi excursions. This was during the “good old days,” when the already arduous journey culminated in a 22-hour boat transfer from Kendari to Wakatobi on a rusty cargo ship. Our first conversations were leavened with Havana cigars, single malt Scotch, and a quartering sea. Jim was my roommate at Wakatobi in a tiny non air-conditioned, long house room crammed with our ice chests and photo gear. When not spending five hours per day underwater, we had plenty of time to share ideas and to begin to come to know one another.

Before the journey, Jim made a big point of explaining to me that he had not joined the trip to pursue photography, but because he was burned out on working and needed a vacation. All that was quickly forgotten as our first Wakatobi day dawned and Jim was out the door on the fly shooting topside photos of pristine beach and palm trees leaning out over the glistening azure sea. He went on to create artfully composed images of local fishermen in hand-hewn dug out canoes, over-unders including baby sharks and beach scenes, amazing sunsets with unique foreground elements, composite panoramas, and some of the absolutely finest underwater images every produced at Wakatobi.

Our friendship began in the golden age of film, but Jim signed on to my following year’s Wakatobi tour, when we both showed up with Olympus 3040 point and shoot cameras. He also brought with him one little plastic Inon submersible housing, just produced, which we proceeded to fight over for the rest of the trip. While the established film photography world was exceedingly skeptical and even condescending, James Watt immediately saw the budding potential of digital, and the future of photography.

Jim was the first of the professional underwater photographers to boldly abandon his complete line of Nikon gear, as he switched to Canon so as to avail himself of that innovative company’s first forays into digital SLR’s. His first housing was a beautiful German job, custom produced for him at no small expense. I looked over his shoulder as he made its first dives on an exploratory cruise to Irian Jaya on the original Kararu live-aboard. It was exciting to perceive Jim’s palpable joy as he explored the possibilities of instant photo feedback, while finally exceeding the austere limitation of 36 exposures per dive.

Due to his well-honed skills and prescience regarding digital, James Watt effectively gained a five-year jump on the rest of the professional wildlife photography world. To my mind, it is the greatest measure of this man that from the very start, he chose to share his hard-won knowledge with the world. While others were proclaiming that “digital will never catch on,” or that the “my stock agency will never accept it,” Jim was posting “how to’s” on the Internet u/w photo chat boards, explaining why it would work, and exactly how he did it.

For those of us in Houston, we were fortunate that James Watt kindly graced our SEASPACE Film Festival on multiple occasions, and presented some of the most valuable underwater photography technique workshops that we’ve ever offered. His presentations to the Houston Underwater Photographic Society contained even more advanced content and precious insight. While other photo pros haggled with me for more money, top billing, or both, Jim was always ready to pitch in and help. Though he was based on the Big Island of Hawaii, all it took was one phone call, and Jim was making flight arrangements. On one occasion he scheduled his first trip shooting white sharks in South Africa, so that he could travel through Houston on his return to participate in SEASPACE. That turned out to be “the year of the flood,” when for good measure his Houston hotel caught fire, and my wife ended up helping carry Jim’s heavy photo ice chests down the darkened stairwells of the smoky Radisson Astrodome Hotel. It is a poignant sadness for us all that Jim’s advancing illness and the rigors of chemotherapy forced him to cancel, at the last moment, his long-awaited participation in SEASPACE 2007. Oh yes, this is a man who will be missed by so many.

James Watt was a professional wildlife photographer of exceptional talent, always pushing the boundaries of possibility. Both a highly skilled technician, and an artist of great creativity, it was an education beyond measure to be Jim’s dive buddy and watch him compose shots of “typical scenes” in completely new ways. While other professionals would have jealously hoarded such hard-won skills as secrets of their trade, James Watt had no fear of sharing the bounty of his vision. Along with his infectious smile, warm way with the local Indonesian children, his love of adventure travel, a good joke, a savored drink, general joie de vivre, it is Jim’s sharing and caring spirit that I will always remember, and strive to hold alive in my own heart.

Good diving brother Jim…we miss you greatly already. But you will not be forgotten. Your creative, artistic images and your unique spirit will live on in your name and in the hearts of many who had the pleasure of swimming with you.

With much love and respect, Ken Knezick – Island Dreams

To learn more about James D. Watt, and to view a wide selection of his work, you are invited to visit:

NOAA study backs up predictions of sea ice loss

From: Associated Press
Published September 7, 2007

Sea ice loss in regions of the Arctic is likely to exceed 40 percent by 2050 compared with the 1980s, according to an analysis of ice computer models by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A 40 percent loss of sea ice off Alaska in the Beaufort Sea could have profound effects on marine mammals dependent on the sea ice such as polar bears, now under consideration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for "threatened" status under the Endangered Species Act because of changes in the animals' habitat from global warming.

Researchers James Overland, an oceanographer at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, and Muyin Wang, a meteorologist at NOAA's Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington in Seattle, reviewed 20 computer models provided through the International Panel on Climate Change in its fourth assessment report released this year.

Full article here at ENN

Award lifts tourism image - Fiji Times Online

Award lifts tourism image - Fiji Times Online

Saturday, September 08, 2007

BEING given the Best Destination award by international accommodation provider is a welcome boost in promoting Fiji's image overseas, says Visitors Bureau chairman, Patrick Wong.

Mr Wong said the award would give mileage to Fiji as a destination. He said all employees and employers in the hotel sector should be congratulated.

"They play a huge role," said Mr Wong.

Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association president, Dixon Seeto said the award would help market Fiji. However, he said Fiji still needed a widespread marketing campaign.

Fiji was voted Best Destination by consumers in the Oceanic region, representing Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.

Read more at Award lifts tourism image - Fiji Times Online