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Diving with…Jessica Stroet, Magic Oceans Dive Resort, Anda, Bohol, 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…


What is your name?
Jessica Stroet

What is the name of your business?
Magic Oceans Dive Resort

What is your role within the business?
I am part of the Dive Center Management.

How long has the business operated for?
Magic Oceans Dive Resort started in July 2015.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?
I got certified as a scuba diver when I was 19 years old and started working in a dive shop in the weekends. I became a Divemaster when I was 22 and an Open Water Scuba Instructor when I was 24.


What is your favourite type of diving?
I guess that depends on what day of the week it is. Sometimes I prefer muck diving and love to stick my nose in the sandy bottom and look for the small stuff. Other days I am more on the ‘adventure’ tour and love to swim far away from the reef to scan the big blue looking for a whale shark, eagle ray or something else big. I love doing both.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
If you want to have a little bit of everything then definitely come to Anda! Whether you want to make easy relaxing dives all day long or do some exploring on the island, WE HAVE IT ALL! The resort is nice, quiet and surrounded by our beautiful green garden. We have an amazing house reef that offers two different kind of dive sites. Our elevated private beach has the best view over Camiguin Island and if you want to have this long beach walk on the white powdery sand than Anda beach is the perfect spot and only 10 min. away from the resort.

We treat our guests like they are family and since the resort isn’t that big, it gives you this intimate feeling. We have dinner ‘family-style’ so even when you are a solo traveller it is easy to meet new people. We share stories around the long tables where everybody is sitting together and enjoying their evenings. The island of Bohol is beautiful and there is so much to see. You can’t say that you have been to Bohol if you haven’t seen the Chocolate Hills and, of course, the smallest primate of the world: The Tarsiers.


What is your favourite dive in your location and why?
I have two favourite dive locations here in Anda. The first dive site is Coral Garden which is, like the name suggests, a beautiful garden full of soft corals. Since there are not a lot of diving operations here in Anda, the dive sites are untouched. The explosion of colours in the shallow parts are amazing and there is a big chance to spot Green Sea Turtles here. My second favourite dive site is Secret Place. It is SO secret, that we didn’t put it on our dive map, but it is there! A beautiful muck dive site with just SO MANY critters to find. A 70-minute dive isn’t long enough. I’m not going to tell you what you can find over there because that is something you have to experience for yourself, but what I can say is that on this dive site it is possible to spot a Whale Shark (Yes.. on a muck dive site!!)

What types of diving are available in your location?
We have a wide variety of dive sites here in Anda. On the west side of the resort the dive sites are mostly wall dives with beautiful reef tops covered by soft corals where you can easily spot hawksbill and green sea turtles. On the east side we have dive sites that offers both walls and sandy slope areas. The dive sites that are further away than 15 min. boat rides are muck dive sites with the chance to spot different kind of octopuses, pipefishes, nudibranchs and many more critters.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
Meeting people again who have been diving with us before. It is so nice to see people coming back to Magic Oceans and hear the stories and experiences they had with us. To hear them say that they had such a wonderful time with us the last time they visited us, THAT is the best reward ever.

What is your favourite underwater creature?
Definitely the Green Sea turtle. These guys look so super cool and chill, they make me laugh every single time I spot one during my dives.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?
Magic Oceans Dive Resort has been up and running for only a few years, so there were a lot of exciting changes already. We got the very comfortable pier to dock our dive Bangka’s so no more walking through waist-high water to reach the boat before diving. We are now a 5* PADI IDC centre and run our own Instructor Development Courses. There are more IDC’s coming up in the near future.


As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?
We don’t have big problems here in the Philippines, but we do have big challenges. I guess that weather conditions here can be a challenge for us, since Magic Oceans Dive Resort is on open sea. I like the policy we have here that we don’t cancel our dives because of bad weather. We will do everything that is needed to make sure our divers can be in the water. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?
We are lucky enough that our waters are not as polluted like some other places in Asia. However, every now and then the local government is doing coastal clean ups and we are supporting these activities in every possible way.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?
The underwater world has become more accessible for every single person. The recreational scuba gear has developed so far that breathing underwater is getting more and more easy. Therefore it is easier for people to see the oceans with their own eyes. I truly believe that people must see it first before they can understand it. Understanding comes with education. If I could change one thing, it would be that underwater activities will get less of a recreational value and more of an educational value.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
If you want to feel like you are the ONLY diver in the world and can’t choose between muck dives or colourful coral gardens, then take the chanve to dive with us and you will feel the ‘Real Magic Oceans Experience!’

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?
Magic Oceans Dive Resort
Candabong, Anda
6311, Bohol, Philippines
Website: www.magicoceans.online
e-mail: info@magicresorts.online
reservations@magicresorts.online
Facebook: @magicoceans.diveresort
Instagram: @magic_oceans_dive_resort

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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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Blogs

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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