Manta Rays Fly High in Indonesia

On 21st February, 2014 the government of Indonesia declared the entire Archipelago as a Manta Ray Sanctuary.  This new protection for these gentle giants of the marine world is a great win for conservation and diving tourism in the extensive island nation.  There is approx 5.8 million square kilometers of ocean in Indonesia.

This decision has also been made in light of growing regional support in key marine tourism destinations, for protection of the species – with recent provincial decisions in Flores and Komodo and the Raja Ampat regencies to announce local sanctuaries.

Recognising that the recent CITES listing will work to limit the trade and that the benefits of Manta Ray tourism mean they are more valuable alive, than dead, the government has not only made a smart decision for conservation, but also a wise economic choice for tourism.

Komodo National Park is already a hotspot for manta viewing in Indonesia due to the protection afforded by the national park status.

Manta Ray 2
Greg Heighes from Dive Komodo, a PADI Dive Boat operator, estimates that manta tourism, both diving and snorkelling, is worth at least one million dollars per annum to the local economy.

“Manta’s are loved by all, because of their gentle and curious nature. There are few wildlife experiences that equate to swimming with a manta ray in the ocean!”

“Diving and snorkelling with manta rays is our most popular and highly requested product, and plays a big role in supporting the diving industry here, as well as the livelihoods of local tourism boat operators. Many of these local operators have converted from fisheries to serve the tourism market.”

“Manta watching tourism is worth an estimated US$15 million to Indonesia’s economy every year. The chance to see a manta ray draws divers and snorkelers from around the world,” said MantaWatch director Andrew Harvey. “I applaud the Governments visionary leadership, this is a great example of how governments and the diving industry can work together to achieve positive impacts for the environment and the economy.”

Manta rays are slow to mature and reproduce, meaning that they are very vulnerable to over fishing. The recent CITES listing confirmed that the scientific basis for their protection was valid and that action is needed to prevent their decline.

Manta Ray 1

A lot of work still needs to be done to make the newly enacted law effective and accepted throughout the archipelago. Conservation groups will work to teach fishermen, businesses and enforcement officials about the benefits of the new law.

MantaWatch is a not-for-profit marine conservation company based in London, United Kingdom that is working actively in Indonesia to protect threatened manta rays by applying technologies and education to support local conservation actions.

Going the Distance to Save the Apex Predators

This week ultra swimmer Gene Girardeau was interviewed live on Korean Radio about her epic swim challenge and the danger sharks face. Gene talks about her passion for swimming and her drive to protect sharks and bring awareness to their plight.

After great success and support during Master Divers 23km relay Finathon in 2013, this year they’ve upped the ante and Gene will complete a 43km open water solo swim between Koh Phangan and Koh Tao! Gene is training every day and all donations will boost her motivation and help protect sharks.

Gene said “I love a challenge and I love open water swimming, my dream was to swim the English Channel but I don’t swim well in cold water so have chosen to swim between Koh Phangnan and Koh Tao. It’s very important to save sharks because they are the apex predators, sharks maintain fish populations and keep the ocean healthy.”

“The thing that scares me most is the jellyfish” added Gene whose Master Divers support crew will kayak  alongside to keep her on track and hydrated.

Starting at 2am on the calmest day in a 3 week May/June window, it’s anticipated that the swim will take around 16 hours. During this time Gene will have to support herself in the water. She will not be allowed to touch the boat or any flotation device.

Did you know, this swim has never been attempted before!

  • The English Channel is 36 km
  • A standard marathon is 42 km
  • The distance around Koh Tao is 23 km
  • Master Divers Finathon 2014 is 43km

If you are interested in sponsoring the swim or making a donation, you can emailor make a gift donation at

You can view the original article on the Project AWARE website.

Product Announcement – PADI Deep Diver Material

Deep Dive with confidence

The PADI Deep Diver course has always been a popular PADI Specialty Course for your divers to gain more confidence and for you as PADI Professionals to give them the opportunity to explore the deep. Because as you know – it’s exhilarating.

Not only do they have fun, they also focus on making smarter decisions for a stress free, deep diving experience with an emphasis on safety.

To assist you schedule your next deep diver course – available for shipping from PADI Asia Pacific are the following PADI Deep Diver Speciality Course material:

Deep Diver Manual

For the Instructor:

Deep Diver Specialty Instructor Guide (product number 70238)

DVD – Conducting and Marketing PADI Speciality Courses (70846)

For the Diver:

Basic Deep Diver pak, contains the student manual and PIC, paper / online (79300SP/P79300SP)

Complete Deep Diver pak, contains the manual, DVD, speciality course completion certificate and PIC, paper / online (60016SP / P60016SP).

The Basic Deep Diver Pak is currently available in the following languages:

English, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Polish – if you want to order or  know if other languages are available –  contact the PADI Sales Department  (tel + 61 2 9454 2888).

Don`t forget you can order anytime from the online shopping cart – log onto the PADI Pros’ Site and click Shop Online

Don`t forget to direct your students on your website to for more information on the PADI Deep Diver Course and here for some deep diving tips

PADI 5 Star Dive Resort membership awarded to Sairee Cottage Diving, Koh Tao

50022_5Star_DiveResortPADI Asia Pacific is thrilled to welcome our latest 5 Star Dive Resort Sairee Cottage Diving in Koh Tao, Thailand.

Located on the stunning Sairee Beach, Sairee Cottage Diving facilities include modern classrooms purposely built with multi-language teaching aids and flat screen TVs, and a dedicated swimming pool for scuba diving training.

PADI 5 Star Dive Resort membership is awarded, on an annual basis, to progressive PADI Dive Resorts that provide a full range of PADI diver education programs, equipment selection and experience opportunities, while actively promoting aquatic environmental awareness

PADI 5 star facility

Sairee Cottage Small Logo

Sairee Cottage Diving offer courses from beginners to advanced levels including a comprehensive choice of PADI specialties and professional levels such as the PADI Divemaster rating. 

Business owner Trevor, when opening Sairee Cottage Diving back in 2007, had 2 goals: provide excellent scuba diving training and emphasize quality rather than quantity.

About the recent PADI 5 Star award Trevor says “I’m very excited to be part of the PADI family and to represent the leading diving organisation in the world”.

Congratulations to Trevor for achieving this important rating. Well done!

Sea Sanctuaries Trust: Protecting the Coral Triangle

Given our alliance with the Project AWARE Foundation, we love seeing great conservational work throughout the world. We wanted to share the below video as not only a ‘Thank you’ to the Sea Sanctuaries Trust for the work that they do in Indonesia but to also continue to share the message that as divers we all have a part to play in marine conservation.

Sea Sanctuaries is a conservation organisation primarily focused on protecting the vulnerable ecosystems in the heart of the Coral Triangle in Indonesia. As a charitable trust, Sea Sanctuaries works with local and national government and Non Governmental Organisations together with local people to develop a comprehensive strategy for conserving some of the most important coastal and marine habitats on Earth.

For more information on Sea Sanctuaries work you can visit

For more information on PADI’s partnership with The Project AWARE Foundation and to how you can get involved as a business within the dive industry, visit

Facebook Tip: Graph Search

In March 2013 Facebook introduced the new and improved ‘Graph Search’ feature. As put by Facebook, Graph search lets you search for more than you’ve previously been able to find, including photos of and friends or co-workers, interests, or likes meaning you can discover things friends have in common that you never realized before, find new activity partners, discover great music similar to bands you already listen to, make your own travel guide, and more.

There are, however, many users who still do not have this feature enabled on their personal profile and we are regularly asked how to enable it.

To enable this feature on your Facebook page simply do the following:

  • Navigate to your ‘Setting’ by clicking the gear icon in the top right of your Home Page.
  • Change your language to ‘English (US)’
  • See the graph appear!

Facebook language

For more information on the Facebook Graph Search feature you can view this Facebook Help section.

AquaMarine Diving, Bali – 2014 PADI Divemaster Internship for Indonesians

In early January 2014, PADI 5 Star Dive Resort – AquaMarine Diving – Bali (AMD-B) welcomed 4 young interns onto their “11 Month PADI Divemaster Internship for Indonesian Citizens: 2014” program.

AMD-B started this programme in 2012, making this the third year – previous graduates have gone on to work in other parts of Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia, including the world-famous Wakatobi Dive Resort in south east Sulawesi.

Liza (south Sumatra), Farhan (Jakarta), Alif (central Java) and Jaka (north Bali) are all Muslim, and each brings new skills, life experiences and high levels of energy to the programme. They are clearly all very excited at the prospect of becoming PADI Professionals and members of the worldwide dive community.

AMD-B Interns

During the Internship, each candidate is assigned a PADI Instructor to act as mentor during their training.

All four interns were certified as PADI Open Water Divers at the end of January. The month of February is taken up by the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, which requires them to undertake all available electives; it takes a while to cover the theory (and learn the English vocabulary) and to achieve competency.

In March they will take the Emergency First Response and PADI Rescue Diver courses, before commencing the PADI Divemaster program which is scheduled to take three months.

Annabel Thomas, owner and Director of AquaMarine Diving – Bali commented “We are very pleased and excited that this year we have four interns – including a woman, Liza. Around the world, scuba diving tends to be a male-dominated industry. I hope more young women will see what Liza is doing and follow in her footsteps”.

Alif, 22 years, the youngest of AMD-B’s interns, said “I had experience of diving at my university before and I want to continue my skills to be a professional diver. The program is free for Indonesian Citizens and it is an interesting challenge to increase my knowledge and skill. I wish by joining this program to be a PADI Divemaster and work around Indonesia”.

Khotaman, who completed the Internship in 2013, is a friend of Liza and encouraged her to apply for a place on the program. Khotaman has recently finished backpacking in Vietnam/southern China and is currently considering offers of employment from Pulau Weh, Lembeh Strait and Komodo.

More news to follow