Connect with us
background

News

Diving with…Andrea Agarwal, Thresher Shark Divers, Malapascua, Philippines

Asia DTA Team

Published

on

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…


What is your name?

Andrea Agarwal

What is the name of your business?

Thresher Shark Divers

What is your role within the business?

Owner/Managing Director/Marketing and Reservations

How long has the business operated for?

15 years

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

20 years, PADI Master Instructor

What is your favorite type of diving?

Muck diving. And of course, sharks!

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

Thresher sharks!  Malapascua is the only place in the world where you can have up-close and personal sightings of this magnificent creature every day!

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

My favourite dive site is Gato Island.  Whilst I adore the sharks, I love my macro more and I originally settled in Malapascua because there is so much macro at every dive site.  But Gato outshines them all and has a superb variety. When I arrived on Malapascua in 2003,  I coined the phrase, “You come for the sharks, but leave remembering Gato,” and we still use that today.

You can see assorted seahorse including pygmies, so many species of nudis, crustaceans of all sorts, several frogfish species, and so much more.  And it’s not just macro.  There are beautiful soft corals, as well as bigger stuff like the mesmerising mating cuttlefish that I could spend all dive watching, and Gato’s famous tunnel under the island, often with whitetip sharks inside! If not, you will definitely see whitetips hiding under rocks and you can get very close up as they open and close their mouths ominously! (Don’t worry, they’re only breathing!)

What types of diving are available in your location?

Sharks and large rays; wrecks and reefs; wall dives and muck dives; beautiful coral gardens, mating mandarin fish, and amazing macro.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

I adore working in an industry where you exist to make people happy and make their dreams come true.  There is nothing I love more than hearing that someone has had the most amazing holiday of their life! And when diving, there is nothing better than finding some new weird and wonderful creature I’ve never seen before.  For example, I’m still on the search for that elusive Bobbitt Worm, and I’m hopeful I will find it one day! They simply have to be in Malapscuan waters!

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Oooh, so difficult to choose!!!

I think I’d have to go for the aforementioned cuttlefish (although you might get a different answer tomorrow!). They are so intelligent, so beautiful to watch, especially when they are flashing  full colours when mating, and with enough patience, once they get used to you, you can even play with them (no touching of course!)

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

We saw a tiger shark this week for the first time ever at Monad Shoal, the thresher shark site! Hoping it will be the first of many sightings!!!

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

That’s a toughie as there are many! The main issues have been ongoing for forever, and include things like waste management and marine protection. Although I’ve tried, it’s impossible to do anything meaningful without government help.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Yes, we always have been. We were one of the first dive shops on Malapscua, and since I first arrived, I’ve pioneered marine protection initiatives. Off the top of my head, among other things, I wrote and implemented the rules for diving with the sharks, have organised removal of hundreds of thousands of crown of thorns during two separate infestations (not a problem now thankfully), and tried to implement a program, funded by business donations, to install litter bins and employ locals to keep the island clean.

For these larger scale issues, it’s an uphill struggle, especially with increasing tourism, and it requires governmental help to succeed… Some things are easier to control – of course we do regular clean-ups, we always insist on proper dive practices to protect the environment, we have a very strict no gloves/no touching policy etc. etc.

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

I wish there was a way to weed out the cowboys. I hate hearing stories of bad experiences with bad dive shops who cut corners to save a buck, or lazy Instructors and DMs who just can’t be bothered and end up giving divers frightening experiences. I’ve always run Thresher Shark Divers with a strong motto of “Safety and quality first”, and in that order. Our reputation reflects that and I’m very proud of my team for always supporting me in this, and upholding my values.

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

“Safety and quality first”!!!

Joking aside, this is our other tag line-

“You want big fish? We got big fish!

You want macro? We got macro!

You want wrecks? We got wrecks?

You want it all? We got it all!

Malapascua Island – your one-stop dive spot!”

I wrote that not long after we opened, because I did and still do believe it with a passion.  I settled on Malapascua because of the tremendous variety of diving – the dive sites are spread out in all directions, with all kinds of oceanic influence, and it means they mostly have very different kinds of diving.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

www.thresherdivers.com

dive@thresherdivers.com

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News

DAN and Indonesia Ministry of Tourism advance commitment to Safe Diving

Asia DTA Team

Published

on

Divers Alert Network and the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism are moving forward with their commitment to promoting dive safety in Indonesia. DAN President and CEO Bill Ziefle and COO Panchabi Vaithiyanathan met with Indonesia Minister of Tourism Dr. Sandiaga Uno on September 1 to further the two organizations’ Partnership to Promote Diving Safety

The meeting took place in Jakarta amid the opening of Deep and Extreme Indonesia, Asia’s largest outdoor adventure, diving, and marine tourism show, and followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding earlier this year in which the organizations committed to working together to promote safe diving.

In the months ahead, DAN’s Indonesia team, led by Ronny Hertiadhi and Bayu Wardoyo, will be undertaking various initiatives including raising awareness for the new DAN Emergency Hotline in Indonesia (which is available in Bahasa Indonesia and English), training physicians through DAN’s Academies of Dive Medicine, conducting inspections and providing support for recompression chambers, training chamber operators, disseminating safety resources for divers (new and experienced), and supporting dive professionals and operators with free safety consultations, safety seminars, and risk mitigation measures.

“We are so pleased to be working with Minister Uno and his colleagues on this bold initiative,” Ziefle said. “Their enthusiasm — and the enthusiasm of the attendees at the DEEP show — was inspiring. The ministry has embraced the importance of safety in promoting Indonesia as a great place to dive, and we are excited to work alongside them to implement meaningful programs and strategies.”

While the effort is ongoing, the next major milestone in the collaboration will take place on September 13, when DAN Vice President, Risk Mitigation, Francois Burman and DAN Vice President, Medical Services, Matías Nochetto will travel to Indonesia to present a series of lectures and safety presentations to dive operators and medical professionals around the country.

Join the DAN community or learn more at DAN.org.

Continue Reading

News

Save on NEW Emperor Harmoni

Asia DTA Team

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Trending