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Black Water Diving with Magic Resorts

Magic Resorts Philippines

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Floating, weightless surrounded by the blackness of the ocean at night time, that eery sensation of not knowing what lies beyond the glow of your flash light, that’s the first feeling I got on my very first Black Water Dive.

For many, I am sure Black Water Diving is a new term in the diving world, or maybe even something you have never heard of before, so what is it? Well, you head off into the middle of the ocean, where it’s deep. Really deep. At least 300m deep, and deeper seems to be better, of course its “Black Water” so this is at night time.

Diving out in the middle of the ocean at night has its concerns. The main one is the depth, you wouldn’t want anyone sinking down to the bottom. The second, is losing a diver. You’re out in the middle of nowhere and it’s dark. On the first attempts at Magic Island, we had the divers tethered to the boat via a 20m rope with a weight on the bottom and a carabiner clip attaching them to it. This allowed them to slide up-and-down the rope, but they couldn’t slide of the end due to the weight. The issue here is movement. The boat drifts along at a different speed and sometimes direction to the diver, depending on the current and the wind. This results in the divers been pulled along and unable to look at any creatures. In short; it doesn’t work and the freedom you get from diving is gone.

The fix to our issues was somewhat simple and a little scary, at first. After asking around to a few friends (thank you) we discovered you only need one line attached to a small buoy, not the boat, with a weight on the end. Then you need lots of lights and some strobes. The strobes are attached to the buoy, so the boat crew can easily keep watch. The flash lights are attached to the line at certain depths, we chose 7m, 14m and 21m which is the end of the line. Then you jump in and dive around the line. This helps with having a reference and more light to see stuff. And the stuff… that’s why you’re really here at this point, at this time of day.

That eery feeling, been lost at sea, sinking to the bottom of the ocean, all of these concerns soon go to the back of your mind as you become memorised by creatures you never imagined existed. Everywhere you look there’s something to see, the ocean out here is absolutely full of life. Jellyfish, siphonophores and comb jellies are a certain, and they all have their own beautiful display, from neon lights to strange flamboyant dances, or both. Cephalopods are also a common sight, especially small squid that dart around leaving jets of ink in the water as they get spooked. Less common is the paper nautilus, a pea sized animal that clings to debris drifting through the water column. I could fill the rest of the blog with all the critters you can see, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

The best way I can explain the feeling you get from black water dives, is to imagine mixing the nervous excitement you had when you took your first breaths underwater, and the sense of wonder and awe after completing your most amazing muck/critter dive. If your looking for the next adventure in the scuba world, make sure to visit Magic Island and book on a black water dive.

For more information about Magic Resorts visit their website by clicking here.

Written by: Jamie Gladwin – dive center manager and PADI Course Director at Magic Island Dive Resort.

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Introducing Thresher Shark Indonesia

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Thresher Shark Indonesia was founded in 2018. Their work aims to protect endangered pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) in Alor Island, Indonesia through investigating the critical habitat, socio-economic importance of the species for the community and conservation outreach to local schools. They combine research and community engagement to inform policy decision for local protection of the species.

Thresher Shark Indonesia first documented thresher shark sighting around Alor diving sites, they began collecting movement information through satellite tagging studies, and also gained the perceptions about the fisheries dependency of thresher shark fishing. Thresher shark fishing in Alor was previously unknown to local government institutions. Their outreach activities have successfully been delivered to more than 500 Alor communities through radio, community events, and other engagements. This has shifted the perception of the local communities to the importance of conserving thresher sharks and valuing them as a local tourism asset in Alor.

Over the coming weeks we will look into the current projects of Thresher Shark Indonesia in more detail.

To learn more right now, visit their website by clicking here

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5 Great Reasons to Visit Raja Ampat

Asia DTA Team

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Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, has four times more ocean than land and around 13,000 paradise islands to explore. It is one of the best dive destinations in the world to experience a variety of marine life and different dive areas, including the beautiful islands of Raja Ampat. The Raja Ampat season begins in November, so let’s take a look at some great reasons to visit this world-class dive destination.

1) Visit the Most Species-Rich Region on Earth

Raja Ampat is within the most biologically diverse marine region on earth; the coral triangle. This centre of global biodiversity comprises an area that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. A dive trip to Raja Ampat is an opportunity to witness a species diversity higher than anywhere else within the coral triangle.

Divers can enjoy an exceptional variety of species when exploring Raja Ampat; from large pelagics to a diverse array of macro life. Over 1500 fish species, 537 species of coral and almost 700 mollusc species have been identified at Raja Ampat so far. Divers can enjoy encounters with sharks, dolphins, mobula rays, manta rays, reef fish, turtles, whales and even non-stinging jellyfish at Misool. It is an ideal dive spot for macro photographers, who can enjoy the exceptional water visibility and light conditions at the colourful reefs. Pygmy seahorses, ghost pipefish and a variety of nudibranchs are often seen.

2) Swim with Whale Sharks, Walking Sharks, Wobbegongs & More

Shark fans can enjoy diving with a variety of sharks at Raja Ampat and the whale sharks of Cenderawasih Bay are not to be missed. This famous dive site is almost completely sheltered from the winds and features one of the best whale shark encounters in Indonesia. The fishermen give fish to the whale sharks to bring luck, and numerous whale sharks can be found there year-round. Cenderawasih Bay is also the location of a number of World War II wrecks, providing an assortment of dive sites.

Epaulette sharks, Indonesia’s famous ‘Walking Sharks’, can be found at Misool – one of the few places in the world where divers can see these sharks and witness their unique walking behaviour. Epaulette sharks can survive extended periods of time with little to no oxygen and use their pectoral fins to ‘walk’ between corals at low tide. They can even be seen walking along the seafloor during dives.

Blacktip and whitetip reef sharks are seen frequently at Raja Ampat and wobbegong sharks are found at Yangelo Island.

3) Sail Raja Ampat’s 1500 Paradise Islands

Imagine sailing amid forest-clad islands and bright turquoise waters, and you’re picturing one of the best ways to explore Raja Ampat. With over 1500 islands scattered across the ocean, you won’t be short of stunning landscapes and white-sand beaches to explore each day.

Indonesia has a rich history of sailing using their traditional phinisi boats; hand-hewn from exotic and rare woods. Phinisi boats were originally used to carry spices and textiles through the ancient spice route and modern phinisi boats are used for cruising and diving. There are a variety of phinisi boats to choose from in Indonesia, as well as sailing and motor yachts, a luxury floating hotel and steel hull boats. Each have their own advantages and are all ideal for a relaxed dive holiday cruising Raja Ampat’s many islands.

The Pearl of Papua is a beautiful luxury sailing liveaboard that offers Raja Ampat cruises all year. The steel-hulled Empress II is ideal for budget-friendly safaris, whilst the True North is the equivalent of a luxury floating hotel.

 4) Dive Pristine Heat-Resistant Coral Reefs

Indonesia has some exceptional coral reefs that are thought to be resistant to the effects of coral bleaching. Raja Ampat is no exception to this and is home to more than ten times the number of hard coral species found in the Caribbean. Scientists have discovered many of the coral species found at Raja Ampat are more resistant to rising ocean temperatures than in other areas of the world. This resistance has left some of Raja Ampat’s reefs in almost pristine condition.

Bird Wall at Waigeo Island is a great dive site for coral bommies and Misool has been nicknamed ‘the kaleidoscope’ for its colourful coral reefs. Wofoh Island has one of the best coral wall dives in the area, with a reef wall covered in a colourful mixture of soft and hard corals.

5) Hang Out with Huge Groups of Manta Rays

There is something magical about swimming with manta rays as they glide through the water and Raja Ampat is a great place to dive with these ocean giants. Mantas are frequent visitors to Raja Ampat and can be seen in large groups as they pass over the reefs.

Manta Ridge has several cleaning stations, where divers can see up to 25 manta rays at any one time as they queue to use the cleaning stations.  Mansaur is another good dive site for groups of mantas, plus turtles and a variety of fish life. November to April is the best time to visit to see manta rays in large numbers, as the warming water and plankton blooms attract them to the reefs.

This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com


Discover liveaboard diving holiday solutions around the world at Liveaboard.com.

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