Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Dive-a-Thon 2009 (Now in July!)

Dive-a-Thon is SDOF's largest fundraiser of the year, with the goal to "get divers diving" - while spreading our message of ocean stewardship. Similar to a walk-a-thon, divers seek financial pledges from friends and family to support their diving goal during the month of July. Divers choose to set fundraising goals and compete to log the most minutes underwater. ANY diver in the world can register for this event, and registered divers can get credit for dives completed ANYWHERE in the world during July.

Whether you are newbie, a professional, or not a diver at all, you can help SDOF and win great prizes in the process! You can choose to be in either the Competitive, Social, or Non-Diver category.

Prizes are awarded based on points: Each $1 raised earns you 2 points. Each 1 minute logged earns you 1 point. The tax-deductible registration fee is $25 and includes a FREE event t-shirt. Registration opens on June 1st! Fundraising begins July 1st - runs through August 9th at 11:59PM

FREE AIR FILLS for all Dive-a-Thon participants! Register/Login to learn more!

Click Here to Register

Already registered? SDOF DAT Portal Log In

Click here if you do not see a list on the left of participants

Ways to Donate:
Click on the names in blue link on the left
or send a check with the participant's name in the memo section to:
SDOF - 1875 Quivira Way C-5, San Diego, CA 92109

Prizes include:

Fiji Dive Vacation for 2!
Including roundtrip airfare from LAX, 7 nights / 8 days, 5-days of 2-tank diving, unlimited shore diving & all meals
Sponsored by Air Pacific & Matava Fiji’s Premiere Eco Adventure Resort

Many thanks to our generous sponsors:

Air Pacific, Matava Fiji’s Premiere Eco Adventure Resort, Whites Diving, Baja Expeditions, Ocean Enterprises, Pinnacle Aquatics, Underwater Kinetics, Atomic Aquatics, Waterhorse Charters, Aqua Lung, Marissa Dive Charters, Chammyz, Stahlsac, SeaWorld San Diego, Hornblower Cruises & Events, Roddenberry Dive Team, Sempra / SDG&E, California Dive News, Outdoor Travel Adventures, DiverWire, Renegade Designs.

The San Diego Oceans Foundation | Member Portal

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Major first for resorts - Fiji Times Online

DIVE students of Matava Resort will not only learn how to dive but given an opportunity to participate in conservation projects.

This is after the Kadavu-based resort became the first in the Asia Pacific region to sign up for Project AWARE C-Card scheme.

Project AWARE Foun-dation works in partnership with divers and water enthusiasts to combat challenges facing underwater environments.

The project inspires conservation by incorporating its messages in dive training materials as well as creating awareness and education campaigns.

The AWARE certification card scheme ensures that all of the resort's PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) students, whose cards are processed online, automatically receive one of the three new Project AWARE versions of their PADI certification card.

"The donation will be paid for out of Matava's profits, and not be charged to the student.

"The student will be given the chance to further donate to Project AWARE at the end of their course, as is normally offered on every PADI course worldwide.

"This effort shows Matava's support for underwater conservation by issuing Project AWARE's limited edition c-card as every PADI certification or replacement card." Matava director Richard Akhtar said.

The donations will support underwater and shoreline clean-ups and marine debris prevention, coral reef monitoring and conservation, shark protection, research and education improved resource management, environmental education for divers and children.

"This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Project AWARE and they depend on support from divers and dive centres such as us to enable them to continue with ongoing projects that are essential for the long term protection of the underwater environment." said Mr Akhtar.

Major first for resorts - Fiji Times Online

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Hold onto your dive buddy's hand in Fiji | Stuff.co.nz

In the silent blue depths of the Fijian coral reef, having my hand grabbed by the diver next to me was the tactile equivalent of a shout in the ear.

The diver happened to be my husband and the signal he was urgently passing on was the presence of a green turtle swimming just metres away from us.

The turtle lazily crossed our path and glanced at us with glassy black eyes before disappearing around the corner of a coral-covered outcrop. But my hand was not released from the vice-like grip my appointed dive buddy had chosen to apply.

Instead, it was yanked and pumped even harder as another creature had been spotted gracefully gliding across the sea floor below us.

It was a black-tipped reef shark moving with effortless guile some 10m away. The slow sway of its lithe grey body was enough to propel it through the water at a far greater speed than we could muster with the collective thrashing of our fins; an indication of the coiled power it held in perpetual anticipation.

Our dive trip seemed to have turned into a dive safari but without the ability to zoom off at top speed if things got hairy.

Thankfully the reef shark is virtually harmless to divers, and spotting one is just part of the pleasure of exploring the underwater world which divides and surrounds the Fijian archipelago.

Spread out across a geographical area more than twice the size of Tasmania, the islands which together form Fiji far from contain the country's natural beauty.

A greater part of the nation's bounty is to be found submerged beneath the oceans and channels which separate the beaches, forests and occasional towns of the land.

Turtles, sharks and other creatures are only a part of Fiji's marine treasures, as there is far more to explore in the pale blue light of the deep.

Spectacular coral reefs with deep canyons and natural swim-through tunnels also abound in this corner of the Pacific – plus a number of shipwrecks.

We had arrived at Matangi Private Island Resort, in the country's north-east, hoping to see just some of these marine marvels in the time we had.

As it turned out, we only needed a single day of diving. The island, located off the mainland of Taveuni, has its own dive shop and a daily program of diving for visitors who want to do more than just laze on the soft sand beaches or snooze in their traditional-style bures.

A resident Fijian divemaster accompanies guests to locally renowned sites such as the Great White Wall, and the remote location means divers are rarely sharing a site with others, which can be common to popular areas closer to Viti Levu.

We had headed out that morning with not one instructor, but two. Bale was the Fijian expert, while Ally was a training instructor whose family had acquired the island as a coconut plantation before tourism became a more lucrative business.

Heading out into the open ocean, the neat rows of the trees on the higher hills had belied the island's history, and Ally had explained why so many divers were attracted to the resort.

"It's unusual for me to see any other dive boats in the places we go to – we say it's like going to your reef," she said. "We're very lucky to have all kind of reef here, with loads of soft corals, and even places where there are resident turtles."

Our marine encounter came just moments into our first dive, at a site called Broken Reef. We had descended to the edge of a circular reef with deep aisles of coral, which had been named after the fact that more exposed areas had been devastated by cyclones.

Despite its moniker, the deeper, sheltered coral was in pristine condition, and massive giant clams waited on the sea floor, like gaping mouths with iridescent gums.

After re-surfacing and changing tanks, we headed to The Wreck - a dive site with a unique tale to it.

The owners of Matangi Island had bought a boat with the idea of creating an artificial wreck by sinking it at a deep and sheltered location. They towed the boat to the island, mooring it near the shore until they decided exactly where it would be best sunk.

The only problem with the plan was that a vicious storm broke out, and the boat broke its moorings and drifted into the open ocean.

It then sank in a shallow and exposed part of the reef and has since been dismantled by a combination of strong tides and severe storms.

The engine is the only major chunk to remain intact, but sits at a depth of just a few metres – making it accessible for snorkellers as well as divers.

Other parts of the ship were strewn across the reef as we began an exploration of the site from a deeper corner. Some of it had already been covered with soft coral, which had tiny tentacles swaying in the swirling current.

We followed the trail of the wreck along the channel on a gradual incline, stopping when some piece of marine life intrigued us. There were pincushion starfish as big as footballs, a blue-spotted stingray and more giant clams.

As we reached the box-like engine in the shallowest part of the reef, the currents swirled more strongly around us. Inspecting the remnants was an ideal way of making the routine safety stop – a divers way of decompressing.

Glancing back into the deep channel, a swaying section of grey caught my eye, tipped with a corner of black. This time, it was my turn to grab my dive buddy's hand.

Hold onto your dive buddy's hand in Fiji | Stuff.co.nz

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Project saves reefs - Fiji Times Online

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TO prevent the reef system from degrading, Treasure Island resort has a program which has been successful.

Environmental Officer Katrina Masitabua said following a site survey for Crown of Thorns Outbreak (COTS) in May 2007 by Ocean Antics Consulting it was decided that a program be put together to try and reduce the overall number of COTS on the house reefs surrounding Eluvuka Island, more commonly known as Treasure Island.

Initially the program started out as a voluntary operation involving all staff who were paid $1 per crown, this then dropped to $0.50 per crown. This quickly degenerated and the program died down.

"This remained so for a short time before management decided there was a high chance that most of the reef system would be degraded and lost.

"Several divers were then employed specifically for COTS diving and the program in still on going today. Monitoring is conducted daily via surveys of frequented reef patches by the islands, she said.

The close proximity of the island's house reefs to other sunken reef patches is a possible means of migration of COTS populations from one healthy reef to the next making control efforts an ongoing occurrence that must be maintained for what would likely be years.

COTS divers on the island started out using injection guns injecting COTS with a solution of Sodium Bisulphate, which is the most inexpensive method apart from physical removal, she said.

In December of 2008, divers began removing them physically and records of COTS sizes ranging from 13cm to 40cm were kept.

In the month of June, 2009 a total of 403 COTS were removed from the surrounding reef, a lot less than the 862 individuals that were removed in May of the same year.

Project saves reefs - Fiji Times Online

Thursday, 9 July 2009

PADI and The Underwater Channel Launch Video Alliance


NEW YORK / LONDON (July 2nd, 2009) - PADI and The Underwater Channel, which is powered by Babelgum, today announced a new partnership that will bring scuba diving and ocean conservation video content to a global audience on www.padi.com/scuba/video. PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the world's leading scuba diving organization and strongly supports oceanographic conservation efforts globally.

Kristin Valette, VP, Marketing and Communications at PADI Americas said, "We have had a successful partnership with The Underwater Channel for some time.  They share our commitment to diving and to the future health of the world's oceans. This distribution partnership with Babelgum, is both exciting for us and the dive community globally.  We are particularly proud to be associated with a range of compelling programming being produced and acquired by The Underwater Channel from around the world. These include exciting diving and other inspiring films about the importance of marine conservation"

The partnership will result in the showing of a new and already acclaimed film: THE DROP ZONE, which is sponsored by PADI, Body Glove and Sport Diver magazine.

The partnership will also illustrate the commitment Babelgum and The Underwater Channel has towards education and ocean conservation through the medium of web video. 

The Underwater Channel is powered by Babelgum, an established destination for high quality environmental programming and major independent film releases.

"The Underwater Channel partnership with PADI provides us with an exceptional ally in our efforts to inspire and fascinate people with the wonders of the world's oceans," said Nicholas Claxton, Founder and Managing Director of The Underwater Channel. "This is a relationship I have been nurturing together with Terry Cummins, Vice President of PADI Worldwide, for over 2 years and there is so much potential for us to work together as internet video comes of age as a multi-cultural communication tool. Distribution via www.padi.com/scuba/video is only one application of this alliance, and we are looking forward to working with PADI for a long time to come."

www.padi.com/scuba/video will commence on padi.com during the month of June 2009 and will initially be featuring six Babelgum exclusive episodes of the thought provoking documentary The End of the Line.

About PADI:  Professional Association of Diving Instructors

PADI is the world's leading scuba diving training organization with full service offices for its' members and over 5600 Dive Centres and Resorts throughout the world. With more than forty years experience in the dive industry, PADI member services, training materials, and constantly expanding PADI eLearning programs let you experience scuba diving from nearly anywhere. Visit the dive industry's number #1 website: www.padi.com for a wealth of information about diving

PADI Worldwide and PADI Americas | 30151 Tomas Street | Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 U.S.A. Office:+1(949) 858-7234

About The Underwater Channel

The UnderwaterChannel.tv is a free web TV channel dedicated to bringing the mysteries of the deep to the surface and communicating everything underwater. By bringing the experience of diving into people's homes through a dedicated web TV channel, The UnderwaterChannel.tv fulfils a 24/7 need for divers to pursue their passion and tempt "armchair" divers out of their seats and into the water.
For further information on The Underwater Channel please contact:
PR and Marketing
Jill Jessop: Off +44 20 8334 1058; Mob. +44 77327 42621

About Babelgum

An integrated mobile and Internet content platform, Babelgum combines the full-screen video quality of traditional television with the interactive capabilities of the Internet, offering professionally produced programming on-demand to a global audience. Babelgum recently launched an original mobile application in the United States, UK and Italy that brings regionally tailored programming to smart phones (at present iPhones 3G, iPod Touch and Nokia N96, n95 and 6210) via 3G and WiFi. Babelgum's editorial focus is on music, comedy, film, urban culture, nature and the environment.
For further information on Babelgum please contact:

Babelgum's Press Office

Andrea Giannotti, Off. +44 20 7268 2490; Mob. +44 7825 892 640

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Beyond Blue Magazine

Beyond Blue Issue 4

Welcome to the new face of Beyond Blue magazine!

Issue 4 is now available in PDF and ultra-cool Imag editions (see our previous issues page for full details), and showcases Beyond Blue's brand new identity. From the moment Issue 3 was published, our design team at Oceans Interactive got to work on developing a style which would allow us to both add extra depth to the magazine, while also helping us stand out as unique and individual.

With this new facelift comes a variety of new content, including some of our most interesting features and articles to date, and a simply awe-inspiring portfolio of underwater photography featuring the ever beautiful Marlins.

We also have a new web site, complete with community elements such as blogs and online forums, allowing our readers to share their thoughts, suggestions and opinions with one another.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up to the Beyond Blue web site now to gain access to all our amazing features and content.

Thanks for your time, we look forward to hearing from you on the forums!

Beyond Blue Magazine