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Diving With… Matt Reed, Evolution Diving Resort, Malapascua Island, Philippines

Asia DTA Team

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In this ongoing series, we speak with the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer….

What is your name?

Matt Reed.

Matt Reed by David Mogam

What is the name of your business?

Evolution.

What is your role within the business?

Managing Partner/Instructor Trainer.

How long has the business operated for?

We were due to celebrate our 10 year anniversary in March. Sadly, this was cancelled due to the pandemic.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

My first dive was in 1988, aged 12, I certified as a PADI Instructor in 1998, and immediately began working as a professional instructor. I’ve been an instructor trainer with SDI/TDI since 2003.

What is your favourite type of diving?

My passion is technical diving, deep, wreck and rebreather diving. I enjoy the complexity involved in the equipment and the planning, and being able to access dive sites that others rarely see.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

Malapascua is the only place in the world where you can have an almost guaranteed sighting of a Thresher Shark, plus the island is remote and beautiful with a true “paradise” feeling.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

Monad Shoal, where the Thresher Sharks are spotted, is an amazing sea mound, with not just several species of sharks, but also schools of fish, rays, deep walls and just an excellent ecosystem to showcase marine biodiversity.

A pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) circles a cleaning station at Monad Shoal, a popular dive site near Malapascua Island, Philippines. Every morning these sharks gather at this sea mount to get cleaned at the various cleaning stations. This has turned into a mayor tourist attraction and has helped the locals a lot with rebuilding and recovering after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) destroyed the island on November 8. 2013.

What types of diving are available in your location?

We have diving available for everyone from kids and total beginners, up to the most complex types of deep and technical dive. Whatever you need we can offer it.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

I enjoy very much being part of a team that makes dreams come true. Our team teaches people at all levels and the smiles on faces of new and old divers is so rewarding. It is also brilliant to be able to be part of a small community that benefits so much from tourism and diving, and being able to watch the locals grow and thrive due to the industry here.

Mandarinfish at Evolution, Malapascua

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Cuttlefish – so intelligent and I’m always amazed by the changing shapes and colours that these creatures can produce.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

Hopefully we’ll be open again soon!! Currently we are working on a project to install improved mooring buoys at all our dive sites.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

No customers. Other than that, we are always fighting to control illegal fishing in a country which is very poor and where people often use illegal and destructive methods to catch fish as they are trying hard to feed their families.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Yes, we have long been a top ten member of Green Fins, and always push for sustainable dive practices, and quality underwater diver control to avoid damaging the environment. We are also leaders in funding, managing and encouraging the local group of ‘anti-fishing’ patrols by the government, to stop illegal fishing. We regularly run underwater cleanups and beach cleanups, and donate towards local community projects.

Nudibranch

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

The industry has great capacity to positively effect remote communities, and bring improved quality of life to poor areas. This needs to be combined with quality diving protocols to avoid damage to the environment and to educate and guide both tourists and locals to ensure the amazing marine life is not negatively impacted.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

Malapascua has it all – paradise white beaches, amazing reefs with shallow dives, caves, wrecks and deep diving, as well as sharks and rays – what more could you want?

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

Website: www.evolution.com.ph

Email: info@evolution.com.ph

Facebook: @evolutiondivingmalapascua

Instagram: @evolutiondivingresort

News

Book Review: Secret Seas

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Secret Seas: Discover Oman’s Unique Underwater World by Paul Flandinette and Michel Claereboudt 

I do not usually agree to review a book without having a physical copy in my hands, as it is impossible to judge what the quality of the final product is going to be. However, in this case I made an exception, as the book is going to be printed and distributed based on pre-orders. What I can say is that if the publishers put as much care into it as the authors clearly have, it is going to be well worth a look. The book will be a 240 page hardback containing 295 beautiful photos of the 160 marine species featured within.

I have never considered diving in Oman. It has just never come up in conversation before. And yet the opening pages of this book have moved it right up my wish list of diving destinations. I was delighted to read that Oman is an important turtle sanctuary, protesting the 4 species of nesting turtles that visit its pristine white beaches. After introducing the readers to the country, a little of its history, and some information on the marine environment, the book dives right into its main trust which is to show you the beauty and diversity of Oman’s underwater world.

The chapters within cover a range of marine life from macro critters to sharks and are packed with excellent underwater images. You can really get a feel for what it is like to dive there. Whether you love looking for tiny crustaceans or you prefer looking out into the blue for pelagics to cruise past, it seems that Oman has something for everyone.

I was delighted to see that the authors have put in a chapter about ocean conservation and the risks these precious habitats are already facing. It was also good to see a chapter on underwater photography and how to take images like the stunning images in the previous pages, without harming the marine life.

All in all this looks to be a well thought out book filled with beautiful photographs of Oman’s underwater world. You can sense the authors passion for this place as you read and peruse the images.

To learn more visit the website by clicking here

It is available for pre-order by emailing the author Paul directly:

Price is GBP36.85
plus shipping –
GBP 6.50
EUROPE – GBP 16.95
REST OF THE WORLD – GBP 31.95

About the Authors

Paul Flandinette is an award-winning film maker, professional underwater photographer, author and artist. His film making career has included productions for some of the world’s leading companies and government organisations as well as a number of broadcast documentaries.

He is passionate about the underwater world and has dived extensively in the in the Far East, Red Sea, Caribbean and the UK. He has been living in Oman since 2013 and has spent the last seven years photographing Oman’s underwater world.

Michel Claereboudt is Professor of Marine Ecology at the Department of Marine Sciences and Fisheries at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. He is an internationally recognised authority on corals and echinoderms and continues to research the ecology and biology of corals and other reef invertebrates.

Michel has been living in Oman since 1997 where he has made thousands of dives and has an intimate knowledge of Oman’s underwater world that few can equal. He is also an underwater photographer.

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Bunaken Oasis wins Global Tourism Award

Asia DTA Team

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Bunaken Oasis, the award-winning destination on Bunaken Island, North Sulawesi, has been recognised as Indonesia’s Best Boutique Resort by Global Tourism Awards 2021.

For a resort that opened just four years ago, winning Indonesia’s Best Boutique Resort is a massive accolade. With the Global Tourism Awards being recognised globally as one of the travel industry’s most prestigious hallmarks of quality, owners Elaine & Simon Wallace are thrilled to have won such a high-profile award.

“We are delighted to announce that the Global Tourism Awards have voted us the ‘Best Boutique Resort in Indonesia 2021. Given the number of amazing resorts in Indonesia, this is an accolade of which we are hugely proud!

“We have also been voted ‘Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort’ by the World Travel Awards for the past three years, so now to have Bunaken Oasis recognised by the Global Tourism Awards solely as a resort is really exciting, as it demonstrates the all-round excellence which awaits divers and non-divers alike.

 “We’re especially pleased for our team, who’ve worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that Oasis is a safe and luxurious retreat which is fully ready to welcome guests as soon as they are able to travel”

Bunaken Oasis Dive & Spa Resort is situated on Liang beach, on the edge of Bunaken’s National Marine Park which is an underwater paradise for divers & snorkelers alike. Bunaken Oasis has redefined diving within Indonesia and helped to put Bunaken on the map as an internationally recognised dive destination.

The luxurious resort prides itself on being an ecotourism destination, with a zero single use plastic policy, and is proud of the extensive infrastructure designed to minimise any impact on the environment.

Offering 12 sumptuous cottages, all with spectacular ocean views and a long list of amenities including beautiful traditionally handcrafted four-poster beds and organic shower products, as well as the latest in room tablets and coffee makers, it is no surprise that Bunaken Oasis has been recognised for its luxury and world-class service.

For more information about Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort & Spa visit www.bunakenoasis.com.

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