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Diving With Seaventures Dive Rig, Mabul Sipadan, Celebes Sea, Malaysia

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?

Pete Hamerton

What is the name of your business?

Seaventures Dive Rig

What is your role within the business?

Dive Team Manager

How long has the business operated for?

Since 1997

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

I learnt to dive in 2003 and became an Instructor in 2009. I am currently a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, Tec Deep Instructor, TDI Advanced Trimix Diver and IANTD Full Cave Diver.

What is your favorite type of diving?

Other than teaching diving, I enjoy Caves, Deep Walls, Wrecks and Muck 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?

Seaventures Dive Rig is the world’s first and only oil rig that has been re-purposed into a dive resort. We offer daily dive trips to Sipadan, regularly voted as one of the best dive locations in the world. And we offer daily diving at Mabul Island – macro-diving heaven! But it’s not just the diving that we love. The whole experience of living on a former oil rig is a one of a kind experience. Rooms are small but comfortable. There is an almost 360 degree view of the Celebes Sea with great sunrises and sunsets. We pride ourselves on having an extremely experienced, friendly, multi-lingual and safety-conscious dive team. Finally, we pride ourselves on providing superb customer service – both topside and underwater – and excellent food.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

The Rig’s house-reef is definitely a favourite if you love macros. Nudibranch, pygmy seahorse, frogfish, and the ornate ghost pipefish are just some that you will see under the Rig. Other than that we love Turtle Tomb and South Point. Both are famous dive sites at Sipadan. Turtle Tomb is a cave system that stretches for several hundred metres under Sipadan Island. It contains the perfectly preserved skeletons of about 20 dead Turtles and a dead Dolphin. We think they have found their way into the cave through a hole in the reef wall and were unable to find their way out. It’s an unforgettable dive and a really unique cave system.

South Point is an awesome wall dive on the South side of Sipadan Island. The wall starts at about 10m and stretches into the abyss – 600m below…! It’s great for recreational diving, Tec diving and Freediving (we are a PADI TecRec and Freediving centre). The wall is covered in vibrant soft and hard corals; we regularly see numerous Green and Hawksbill turtles and we regularly see different types of Sharks cruising past in the blue.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Recreational diving, Tec diving, Freediving, Rebreather diving, Wall diving, Macro diving, Drift diving and Night diving.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Working with people and being in the ocean. Whether that’s a PADI Open Water student learning neutral buoyancy for the first time, guiding an experienced cave diver into Turtle Tomb, mentoring an Instructor candidate about to take their Instructor Exam or working with a diverse, dedicated, talented and multi-lingual group of colleagues.

At Seaventures we’re fortunate to have an awesome dive team who, between them, have over a hundred years of diving experience. I’m constantly impressed by our dedicated and hard-working team who always strive to show our customers the best of Mabul and Sipadan Islands, prioritise safety and make their guests smile. We also have some great customers from all over the world – and it’s a real pleasure to watch their faces as they come on to the rig for the first time (all of the team who aren’t diving personally greet arriving customers).

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Ornate Ghost Pipefish. I love their shape, colours and get a real sense of satisfaction whenever I find one….because they’re quite hard to find!

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

Absolutely. We’ve just become a PADI Freediver centre and are really excited to start offering Freediving courses, as well as guided freediving, for our guests. We’re the first dive centre in the area to offer freediving and one of the few to offer Tec and Cave diving for our customers.

In addition, we’ve just finished our first Ocean Conservation week. As a busy dive resort, we’re acutely aware of some of the threats facing the ocean. We always try and educate our students and guests on the importance of preserving the marine environment – but we also want to have a set period every year where we relentlessly focus on this. We’re not only working with our guests and local community to educate them about some of the threats facing the marine environment, and what they can do to help, but we’re also looking at our business practices. For example, this year, we have stopped providing our guests with plastic bottled water. Instead, we’re providing re-fillable glass bottles. It may seem like a small change, but if you scale that up, that’s a significant reduction in the amount of plastic that we’re generating every year.

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

It’s not a quite a problem but more of a challenge. Our Rig is located 45 minutes away from the nearest town (although we’re only minutes away from Mabul Island and only twenty minutes from Sipadan) so everything has to be transported in by boat. As such, we try and anticipate guest’s needs by having a well-stocked shop on the rig. In addition, because we are located literally above the water, every decision we make to use, install or build something has to consider the environmental impact that will have.

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

The team at Seaventures has over a hundred years of diving experience between them. We have seen many changes in that time. A few that we are especially conscious of:

  • A much greater focus and urgency on the threats facing the ocean, and, with the support of partners like Project AWARE, a means to address some of these.
  • Increased popularity of Freediving and Tec (both of which we offer). Including the recreational rebreather market.
  • Especially in South-East Asia and Australia, there has been a massive increase in the number of Chinese divers. This is great, and has significantly changed the market across every aspect of the business.

Markets evolve for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. Working in the dive industry, we have the ability to both shape and respond to some of those changes. We’ve seen a huge increase in the volume of divers and the speed at which we can get people into the water. That’s great. But we also need to make sure that students, from the very beginning, are learning and mastering good buoyancy skills and safety habits. This should be an integral part of their diving habits and is crucial for environmental and safety reasons.

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

Well, we dive every day at Sipadan and Mabul islands. They are both world-renowned dive locations that never fail to impress guests. And we are the world’s first oil rig that has been re-purposed as a dive resort. But on top of that, we strive to offer three things without fail: un-compromising safety standards; excellent standards of service and experience topside and underwater; and, like any business, sales.

On the last point, we take the time to listen to where customers are in their diving career and match the appropriate diving course or experience to them. If that’s a PADI DSD or a guided cave dive, we can offer it. We offer a wide range of diving courses and experiences, have an experienced and multi-lingual team, and have the benefit of a huge variety of diving options (Caves, Deep, Macro, Walls, Drift etc.)– so we don’t just blindly push the next course on to customers – we work out where they are and want to go with their diving, and try and help them get there.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business? 

If you would like to know more about scuba diving and living on a former oil rig, email us at info@seaventuresdive.com or visit our website at www.seaventuresdive.com. We are also reachable at +6088 251 669 if you wish to speak to us.

You can also follow us on our social media pages for updates at:

https://www.facebook.com/seaventures
https://plus.google.com/107344633898864939260
https://instagram.com/seaventuresdiverig
https://twitter.com/Seaventures

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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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