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Diving with… Norman M. Lopez, Atlantis Dive Resorts and Liveaboards, Puerto Galera, 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 Norman M. Lopez from Atlantis Dive Resorts and Liveaboards who feature in our publication Philippines Dive Adventures – download your FREE copy here!


What is your name?

Norman M. Lopez

What is the name of your business?

Atlantis Dive Resorts and Liveaboards

What is your role within the business?

Dive Shop Team Leader

How long has the business operated for?

More than 25 years.

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

More or less about 14 years. Currently an active PADI Instructor.

What is your favorite type of diving?

Mostly reef diving and also interested in wreck diving, muck diving and drift diving.

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

Arrive as a Guest, Leave as a Friend.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

The Canyons. Well known for drift diving with its abundance of different varieties of soft and hard corals, and home for either solitary or schooling big fish.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Reef diving, wreck diving, muck diving, wall diving and also some places for technical diving.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

The ocean is my office. I get to see it mostly everyday, while scuba diving and teaching courses.

What is your favourite underwater creature?

Harlequin Shrimp.

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

It will be a big challenge for all of us at this time however we will find a way to make it better as we slowly move on and get to a new beginning.

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

Coronavirus and the Pandemic.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

We work with the local dive shop association on clean-ups and alike, and have also hosted the California Academy of Science.

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

We should work together to protect the environment and encourage younger people to get involved in diving.

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

There is almost nowhere on the planet like Puerto Galera – the most biodiverse part of the coral triangle just a five minute boat ride from the resort.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

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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

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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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