After the initial launch here on the 18th of November we started the assessments and training presentations of the individual dive centres. We received a huge amount of support from the dive shops and learnt a great deal about local pressures on the reef. We dived on some great locations here around Moalboal but damage on the reef is always visible. Most of the Dive Guides are very aware of the threats scuba divers can do to the corals. The shy personality of the pinoys will always be the reason why foreigners will continue the way they dive ( e.g. using gloves and holding on to corals ) etc. We provided all Green Fins members with the ICONS ( the do’s and don’ts) and really hope they use them after all to introduce their guests to the rules underwater. It is essential that the managers continue the briefing-training with the Dive guides to build up confidence and ensures the ongoing livelihood for the entire community. We were witnessing one group saying that the Filipino dive guides are 2nd class people and have nothing to add towards the dive activities. In fact these very people were then seen underwater breaking corals, poking mucksticks into softcorals and resting huge cameras on top of corals. What a disaster!
However, there is Hope. The Municipality of Moalboal recently introduced an ordinance which fines bad diver behaviour and could even shut a dive operation down if they repeatedly damage the reef and got caught. The rules are quite specific and many dive-operators agreed. The BIG Q is, who are the Scuba Police ? We are both very happy with what we achieved so far. Almost all dive Centers are now Green Fins Members, have their materials and have received their training presentation and communicate with us or each other. We just extended our Visas for another 2 months and want to finish what we started. It is a great place on the blue planet and inhabits lots of very friendly and enthusiastic people.
You have to see it with your own eyes and get a mask, go scuba diving or snorkelling. Today we went to Oriental Negros (neighbouring Island) and on the ferry we saw so much plastic garbage in the water. A nightmare! How can we change this attitude? The Zoox Experience Programme which Lucy and I joined opened my Eyes and made me very aware of all the Thrtats which affect our Environment. For me in particular how to be a better Dive Instructor. Now I can teach people how to Dive and show them fantastic and exiting creatures and educate them about Global Marine Conservation, Reef Monitoring, Blue Carbon and of course friendly Diving behaviour. Since I participated in this programme, my impact on the environment has reduced in many ways. For example; when I smoke cigarettes I make sure my ciggy butt always goes in a rubbish bin and not along the road. Also since I dive in the Philippines, I haven’t touched anything underwater. Lucy and I are real passionate about this project. Our Assignment is actually already finished but we continuing our work here as long as possible.
So keep on Track and with this Blog and check out what is happening next. Enjoy the pictures from here.