Wednesday, November 8

FIHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2006

Well it was last weekend, and an all out success as well as one heck of a good time! I just had to put a sentence up here about it, and Laura has the photos which i'll start posting next week!

Friday, October 27

ScubaDuba Forums

One of the most comprehensive lists and also a good forum to look at for impartial advice on the dive reosrts and ops.

TravelMaxia site with most ops and resorts

Cool web design company that cover many of the Fiji Dive Resorts websites. Irene and Neil used to live and work in Fiji and so have a good overall handle on the country. Check out the specials...

Thursday, October 26

FIHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2006

Well it's almost time for the big event, the FIHTA Dive Fiji EXPO 2006.

The fourth Dive Fiji Fiesta will take place in Fiji from October 28th to November 3rd 2006. The event is aimed specifically at showcasing Fiji's awesome diving to key wholesalers and media from Fiji's key dive source markets. Dive Fiji Fiesta has shaped up to be the biggest dive event in Fiji's yearly calendar.

The Dive Fiji Fiesta is made possible through the collaboration of Air Pacific (Fiji's national airline carrier), the Fiji Visitors Bureau and Fiji dive operators through the FIHTA DiveComm.

The past 3 years have highlighted:
2003: the Yasawas and West
2004: Savusavu, Taveuni & the North of Fiji
2005: Kadavu, Beqa and the Coral Coast
This year the Dive Fiji Fiesta is returning to the West highlighting Nananu-i-Ra, Yasawas and Mamanuca’s.

The 2006 event is the largest to date with the FIHTA Dive Fiji EXPO again planned as the finale of the week's program. FIHTA Dive Fiji EXPO is an event that creates the opportunity for the entire Fiji Dive Tourism industry to showcase itself to invited international Buyers.

The Final Gala Dinner is the Fiji Dive Industry Social Event of the year. Speakers from the international dive industry and the Fiji Tourism Industry are expected.

Wednesday, October 25

Scuba Diving Fiji: Scientists go hi-tech to save coral

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Scientists go hi-tech to save coral:

Scientists go hi-tech to save coral
Cold coral (TVE)
At cold depths, the rate of growth is very slow
Less is known about the floor of the world's oceans than the surface of the Moon.

It is only in the past few decades that technology allowing humans to peer into the previously uncharted depths has become available to scientists.

Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and manned submersible craft have opened up to exploration a whole new world of deep marine ecosystems.

One of the most startling discoveries has been the number of coral reefs living hundreds of metres beneath the surface, in temperatures ranging from 4-13C (39-55F).

The existence of cold-water corals has been known since the 18th Century, but the vast number of reefs found in the deeper reaches of the world's waters has amazed researchers.

Yet just as scientists are beginning to understand the significance of the coral to the surrounding environment, they are also witnessing destruction.

'Glacial' growth

Environmentalists point the finger of blame at the fishing industry and the practice of bottom-trawling with drag nets.

This method of fishing involves scouring the sea bed with huge nets that are some 60m-wide; they are held apart by two huge metal plates weighing up to five tonnes.

Submersible (TVE)
Submersibles have brought a revolution in understanding

"It's heavy gear, and the reefs and the coral colonies are very fragile and easily damaged," Jan Helge Fossa, chief scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, tells TVE's Earth Report programme for BBC World.

"So it was quite obvious that this was an activity that couldn't go on," he adds.

Cold corals are very slow growing. Some individuals are estimated to be up to 1,800 years old, and many reefs began forming at the end of the last Ice Age.

Damage inflicted by bottom-trawling can result in catastrophic consequences for the species living amid the reefs.

Onboard the institute's research vessel, Dr Helge Fossa is leading a survey for cold corals off the northern coast of Norway.

Robot eyes

The Institute provides advice on the marine environment to the Norwegian government, which is one of the few nations that have introduced laws to protect cold-water corals.

After performing a multibeam sonar sweep that provides a real-time map of the search area, the team launches a ROV through the side of the ship.

Shrimp (TVE)
I have never heard a person in Norway, after looking at the videos, who objects to protection
Dr Jan Helge Fossa,
Norwegian marine scientist
Once the vehicle reaches the site 200m below the surface, its four powerful lights allow the onboard camera to beam pictures back to the scientists on the surface.

"What we see here is only coral rubble, and it's trawled out to small pieces," Dr Helge Fossa observes. "We have so far seen no live coral."

It is not long before the prime suspect is located: discarded trawling equipment. Closer inspection reveals that the nets and gear are likely to be about 20 years old.

Norway's Coral Act 1999 protects all coral reefs in the nation's waters from intentional damage, and bottom-trawling has been completely banned in areas surrounding five specific reefs.

However, the country has the longest coastline in Europe, making monitoring and policing the region a tough task.

Video campaign

To date, there have been no prosecutions from data gathered by the space-borne Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), but Dr Helge Fossa's team hopes images obtained by its high-definition submersible-camera system will help change that.

Discarded gear (TVE)
The Norwegian expedition finds evidence of discarded gear
"We know that it is important to get our results out, not only to the government but also to the public," he says. "That's why we use a lot of videos, it tells more than a thousand words."

He said it made people understand why the complex ecosystems needed protecting: "I have never heard a person in Norway, after looking at the videos, who objects to protection."

Some scientists believe that other nations should adopt similar protection measures as Norway, otherwise many more deep cold-water reefs will resemble a lunar surface.

The Television Trust for the Environment's (TVE) Earth Report - Cold Corals Deep will be broadcast on BBC World on 21 and 23 October 2006. Please check schedules for further details

Diagram showing how bottom trawling works (BBC)

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/10/20 12:17:05 GMT


Tuesday, October 3

Jason and Lau Basin

I'm now playing with AdWords and templates. I like the feel of this one, if not the theme.

Off to see a presentation about JASON and exploring the Lau BAsin tonight. Underwater ROV for those who don't know one of the greatest u/w toys ever developed!

They have been doing surveys of the black smokers and u/w volcanic life for 5 years now in Lau Basin between Fiji and Tonga. Very cool stuff if you like going up and down on aship by 30ft every 5 secs for a month! YES me, me!