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Diving with… Mike Bartick, Crystal Blue Resort, Anilao, Philippines

Asia DTA Team

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

In this post, we chat with Mike Bartick, one of the contributors to our latest publication Philippines Dive Adventures – download your FREE copy here!


What is your name?

Mike Bartick

What is the name of your business?

Crystal Blue Resort or Dive CBR

What is your role within the business?

General Manager – Background operations and client liaison

Global Marketing

Photo Pro – Im a professional UW photographer by trade and host a variety of different workshops based on photo skills, natural history and blackwater adventures. Photo coaching and working closely with guests is a large part of what I do day-to-day.

How long has the business operated for?

14 years of operation; 10 years as a resort dedicated to Underwater Photography

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

I’ve been a diver for more than 16 years with 6k dives and counting, I’m also a PADI instructor but I don’t teach diving. Being an instructor though is crucial for the successful operation of a busy dive center.

What is your favorite type of diving?

Blackwater dives are my favorite but I also love reefs, and really love macro dives. If there are any kind of critters involved, I’m ready to go and explore.

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

We’re a unique destination and a unique dive resort. Easy to get to, private, offer valet-style diving, family atmosphere, professional service, 23 bay camera room, trained dive guides, chef prepared meals, and small guest to boat/guide ratio’s.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

This is tough as I love all of our dive sites for different reasons. We have around 45 dive sites that include pinnacles, walls, coral gardens, sandy macro sites and of course Blackwater dives in open ocean at night.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Macro is the prime draw but we also have fantastic wide angle opportunities here in Anilao as well. We offer a specialized dive service at CBR with guides trained to work with photographers and either 2:1 ratio or 4:1 depending on the package designed for the guests.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

As a marketing person my work is global so it’s always nice to see the folks checking in from far off places, knowing that we’ve met and that they have come to see Anilao for themselves. Normally the guests are expecting a lot and Anilao never disappoints. What makes me even happier is hearing the positive feedback regarding the resort grounds, staff and dive operations, boats or guides.

What is your favourite underwater creature?

This is really hard but most of my friends know that I can’t help myself when I see a hairy frogfish. To me they are the absolute most awesome critter on the sand. Full of personality, photogenic and always up to mischief.

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

We’re looking forward to re-opening the resort post Covid. We have some exciting workshops planned for the remainder of 2021. We’re just waiting for the planet to heal.

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

Covid has been the biggest challenge. We are a destination for foreign travel mostly, so with the world in its current state, were not sure what the future of travel will be. The resort and staff are ready and we have passed our health dept. inspections and approved to re-open. The best news is that our community has not seen a single case of Covid since the start. We are ready to take guests when the world is ready for travel.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

We do clean-ups in the community but we also pick up plastic or remove nets when we find them. We also help install mooring balls on many of the dive sites.

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

What changes would you make?  I feel that nitrox should be a part of the basic open water training and diving on 21% should be a part of tech training. I feel these two are reversed by nature of how the industry has progressed. Nitrox diving is the safest way to enjoy recreational depth diving.

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

Anilao is one of the easiest places to travel to. The diving is easy and the resort offers an experience more then just a dive trip. Many of our guests have visited with us 5 or more times which I feel says a lot.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

Our website is: www.DiveCBR.com
Email: mike@DiveCBR.com

I can be reached and followed on Facebook or through Instagram anytime. I’m happy to answer questions and to assist in any way that I can.

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Save on NEW Emperor Harmoni

Asia DTA Team

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The launch of Emperor Harmoni – Emperor Divers’ brand-new liveaboard in Indonesia – is just a few weeks away with the finishing touches currently taking place. And, to welcome her to their fleet, Emperor have put together an offer as magnificent as the boat herself.

Anyone booking a trip on Harmoni for 2022 or 2023 will receive a 25% discount if they book and confirm before October 1st 2022.

That means the first guests on board can not only explore and dive the Indonesian waters in the finest of style but do so at an incredible price. And sailing on Harmoni really is fine.

She is a 24-berth, traditional Indonesian phinisi-style vessel which has been bespoke made using a combination of Emperor’s vast experience of liveaboards and the expertise of legendary Indonesian boat builder Pak Haji.

Constructed almost entirely by hand using Sulawesi ironwood, Harmoni has been designed specifically to offer the finest diving experiences possible in spacious surroundings of the very highest standard.

The beautifully-finished cabins all have en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning while the deck areas offer plenty of comfortable places to sit and maybe even enjoy a relaxing massage. The dining area is spacious and serves the high-quality food and drink you would expect from an Emperor Divers holiday.

The first trip leaves on September 16th and will cruise from Bali, taking in the wonderful scenery of Moyo Island, Sumbawa and Sangean Volcano before finally reaching Komodo National Park. 

The offer is valid on new bookings only and discount is not to be combined with group free places or any other discount or promotion.

Email reservations@emperordivers.com to confirm pricing and availability or speak personally to the Emperor Divers’ reservation team to find out more.

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Reef-World launches Green Fins Japan!

Asia DTA Team

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The Reef-World Foundation, the Onna Village Diving Association, the local government, and Oceana are delighted to announce that Japan is now the 14th country globally to implement the Green Fins initiative – a UN Environment Programme initiative. Onna Village in Okinawa is the first Japanese tourist destination to adopt Green Fins environmental standards to reduce the threats associated with diving and snorkelling on the marine environment.

Green Fins is piloted in Onna Village, Okinawa prefecture, an area renowned for its marine sports and has been working to protect its reefs for many years. Green Fins is implemented as part of the national Sustainable Development Goals project, which aims to manage and illustrate to the local industry how sustainable tourism can play a role in reef conservation. The economic benefits of the reefs benefit not only the fisheries industry but also the tourism industry as it has rocketed in recent decades.

If the project is successful – proving the value of sustainable tourism – the model has the potential to be escalated to a national level. A wide rollout would allow Reef-World to focus on uptake and expansion into other marine tourism and biodiversity hotspots across Japan. Green Fins implementation in Japan would provide practical solutions to many of the common problems faced in the area. It would also help to promote high standards for diving in the country. Improving the quality of the diving industry through Green Fins would demonstrate the added value of Onna Village’s tourism product. This, in turn, will encourage tourists to spend more time and money diving in the region.

Following a week of training by Reef-World (23 to 28 May 2022), Japan now has a national Green Fins team comprised of four fully certified Green Fins Assessors and two Green Fins Coordinators from Oceana and the local government. They will be responsible for recruiting, assessing, training and certifying dive and snorkel operators to become Green Fins members in the country. This involves providing training about the ecology and threats to coral reefs, simple and local everyday solutions to these threats and Green Fins’ environmental standards to dive and snorkel operators. Green Fins membership will help marine tourism operators improve their sustainability and prove they are working hard to follow environmental best practices as a way of attracting eco-minded tourists.

James Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We are really excited to finally introduce Green Fins in Japan. We have been planning this for almost three years, but the travel restrictions related to the pandemic hindered progress. The diving industry in Okinawa and the marine life upon which it has been built is so unique, it must be preserved for generations to come. The Okinawa diving community is very passionate about protecting their marine environment, and Green Fins has given them an opportunity to collectively work to reduce their environmental impact and pursue exemplary environmental standards.”

Diving and snorkelling related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or plastic debris and the effects of climate change. Based on robust individual assessments, the Green Fins initiative helps identify and mitigate these risks by providing environmental consultation and support to dive and snorkel operators. Through Green Fins implementation in Japan, Reef-World aims to reduce negative environmental impacts in the region by reaching 10 marine tourism operators, training 50 dive guides and raising awareness of sustainability best practices among 10,000 tourists in the first year.

Yuta Kawamoto, CEO of Oceana, said: “Green Fins will help to unify all the conservation efforts in Okinawa by applying the guidelines in many areas and raising tourists awareness. We hope this will increase the sustainable value in the diving industry and in turn increase the diving standards in the country.”

Green Fins is a UN Environment Programme initiative, internationally coordinated by The Reef-World Foundation, which aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry. Green Fins provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry and has a robust assessment system to measure compliance.

To date, four dive operators in Onna Village have joined the global network of 600+ trained and assessed Green Fins members. These are: Benthos Divers, Okinawa Diving Center, Arch Angel and Pink Marlin Club. There has also been significant interest from other operators, even those that are not located in Onna Village, for Green Fins training and assessment.

Suika Tsumita from Oceana said: “Green Fins serve as an important tool for local diving communities to move towards a more sustainable use of their dive sites; so that they can maintain their scenic beauty and biological richness to provide livelihoods for many generations to come.”

For more information, please visit www.reef-world.org or  www.greenfins.net/countries/japan. Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up for Green Fins can find the membership application form at: www.greenfins.net/how-to-join.

Dive and snorkel operators in Japan interested in signing up to be Green Fins members can contact the Green Fins Japan team at japan@greenfins.net.

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