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The Moalboal Sardine Run

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Do you want to go dive with millions of fish today? Well, in Moalboal you can. The area has a permanent shoal just yards from shore and it is an incredible sight to behold. The massive shoal of fish pulses as divers, snorkellers and fish move around it. Occasionally, people see Thresher Sharks here, on a rare foray to shallow water to feed on this mass of fish.

On our dive with Magic Island Dive Resort, we dropped into the water away from the shoal, to avoid getting too close to the many snorkelers you will find in this area. This worked out perfectly, as we soon came across a lovely squid that was willing to pose for our video cameras.

Then it was time to experience the Moalboal Sardine Run. It is a huge school of fish that must be made up of millions of individuals. It can turn the water dark as it blocks the sun as they swim above you. The fish are constantly in motion, feeding and avoiding predators, all moving in perfect synchrony. We even had a turtle swim through the shoal whilst we were diving beneath it.

The dive is a great additional to the wonderful reef and macro dives that are associated with this area. It is a spectacle not to be missed. The dive is in shallow water, where you can dive within the shoal in just a few meters, and then get underneath it at about 10 meters. Underwater photographers can take advantage of this shallow dive and spend their time getting shots of the shoal moving and forming incredible patterns.

The diving is wonderfully varied in this area. So far we have told you about the Mandarin Fish mating at dusk, and the sardine run of Moalboal, next up will be the Whalesharks of Oslob…

For more information about Magic Island Dive Resort click here

For more information about the Philippines click here.

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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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Black Water Diving with Magic Resorts

Magic Resorts Philippines

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Floating, weightless surrounded by the blackness of the ocean at night time, that eery sensation of not knowing what lies beyond the glow of your flash light, that’s the first feeling I got on my very first Black Water Dive.

For many, I am sure Black Water Diving is a new term in the diving world, or maybe even something you have never heard of before, so what is it? Well, you head off into the middle of the ocean, where it’s deep. Really deep. At least 300m deep, and deeper seems to be better, of course its “Black Water” so this is at night time.

Diving out in the middle of the ocean at night has its concerns. The main one is the depth, you wouldn’t want anyone sinking down to the bottom. The second, is losing a diver. You’re out in the middle of nowhere and it’s dark. On the first attempts at Magic Island, we had the divers tethered to the boat via a 20m rope with a weight on the bottom and a carabiner clip attaching them to it. This allowed them to slide up-and-down the rope, but they couldn’t slide of the end due to the weight. The issue here is movement. The boat drifts along at a different speed and sometimes direction to the diver, depending on the current and the wind. This results in the divers been pulled along and unable to look at any creatures. In short; it doesn’t work and the freedom you get from diving is gone.

The fix to our issues was somewhat simple and a little scary, at first. After asking around to a few friends (thank you) we discovered you only need one line attached to a small buoy, not the boat, with a weight on the end. Then you need lots of lights and some strobes. The strobes are attached to the buoy, so the boat crew can easily keep watch. The flash lights are attached to the line at certain depths, we chose 7m, 14m and 21m which is the end of the line. Then you jump in and dive around the line. This helps with having a reference and more light to see stuff. And the stuff… that’s why you’re really here at this point, at this time of day.

That eery feeling, been lost at sea, sinking to the bottom of the ocean, all of these concerns soon go to the back of your mind as you become memorised by creatures you never imagined existed. Everywhere you look there’s something to see, the ocean out here is absolutely full of life. Jellyfish, siphonophores and comb jellies are a certain, and they all have their own beautiful display, from neon lights to strange flamboyant dances, or both. Cephalopods are also a common sight, especially small squid that dart around leaving jets of ink in the water as they get spooked. Less common is the paper nautilus, a pea sized animal that clings to debris drifting through the water column. I could fill the rest of the blog with all the critters you can see, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

The best way I can explain the feeling you get from black water dives, is to imagine mixing the nervous excitement you had when you took your first breaths underwater, and the sense of wonder and awe after completing your most amazing muck/critter dive. If your looking for the next adventure in the scuba world, make sure to visit Magic Island and book on a black water dive.

For more information about Magic Resorts visit their website by clicking here.

Written by: Jamie Gladwin – dive center manager and PADI Course Director at Magic Island Dive Resort.

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