With so much going on, there’s barely been a chance for everyone to recover from the festivities of Turtle Week. The diving around the Mabul and Sipadan area has continued to prove itself as one of the best, and most diverse, areas to dive in the world. Whilst on land we’ve been working hard with Dive Master Trainees (DMTs), relocating Turtles nests, releasing hatchlings and reef and beach cleans. It feels like we have had non-stop action in the last few weeks.
A few weeks ago we had a group of 5 DMTs ‘graduate’ from their Eco Divemaster Course. Over the past 6 weeks these dedicated people have worked hard to prove themselves as capable and professional members of the diving community. The Divemaster course can be undertaken in either 4 or 6 weeks, and it one of the most intense courses you will go through in your diving career. The weeks are spent bringing your skills up to demonstration quality, assisting with courses, practising briefings and helping set up boats with equipment and tanks – gaining a true insight into the workings of our dive shop.
Assisting courses and shadowing Divemasters and instructors is a truly eye-opening experience. Of course, the Rescue course teaches skills that make you more aware of those around you in the water, but assisting courses brings in a whole new level of understanding. Shadowing and assisting allows people to see the problems that divers face, and how you as a dive leader can overcome these difficulties – ultimately helping someone become a better diver. Whilst assisting an open water course you watch, and aid, someone in progressing from knowing nothing of the underwater world and how to control yourself in it, to someone who can choose a buddy and dive independently. Helping people overcome difficulties during these courses is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a Divemaster trainee. And of course, let’s not forget the look on someone’s face when they see their first ever turtle!
Everyone who took part in last month’s DMT course also signed up for the Reef Check course. This fascinating course teaches students about how to identify the health level of a coral reef system. They look at the ways to identify various families of fish, and learn which of these fish are indicative to the health status of the coral reef. The course teaches you about various substrates and how to identify hard corals from soft corals. All the information culminates in learning how to conduct a Reef Check survey. This process involves laying down a 100m transect lines. Divers swim along this line and record the level of indicator species, invertebrates, corals and substrates. This information, once gathered and analysed, provides an idea of how healthy the reef system in that area is. We have had several Reef Check surveys in the area in the past year, and are planning more.
If you are interested in taking on the challenge of the Eco Divemaster Training course then just drop us as email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll get back to you with all the information you need.
We can’t discuss the events of the last few weeks without mentioning some of the incredible diving we have been having. Around Sipadan we have been seeing Schooling Hammerheads – the video of which can be seen on our facebook page. It was the third dive of the day, and the divers dropped down at the famous ‘Southpoint’. Just a few moments into the dive, they turned to see at least eight Scalloped Hammerheads cruising past them, with several more dark shapes below them. So many people dream of seeing just one Hammerhead, many would be happy with just a glimpse. These lucky divers saw a school, and it was not just a fleeting glance! It’s not just Sipadan where we have incredible diving, the Sipadan Barrier Reef also provided some incredible underwater encounters. In just one day our divers saw a School of Spine Tail Devil Rays – over 80 of them! And on the last dive the were luck enough to see the rare and beautiful Hairy Frogfish. From graceful pelagics to intriguing macro, there is diving here to satisfy everyone’s needs!