Every day, instructors Cap’n Paul and/or Wayan are standing by to share the wonders of diving with passers-by here in Pemuteran. There’s a brief orientation, some paperwork and then you can experience diving in the waters at Mucky Pirates Bay. If you’re enjoying yourself, you can immediately continue on to do an Introductory Course. This would allow you to dive to a maximum of 12 metres on any of our regular trips with an instructor or divemaster for up to 14 days. Or, if you really catch the diving bug, you can sign up for a scuba or open water diver course–which is what happened with Cornelia.
Did you know that many of the lovely fish we regularly see on the coral reef have the ability to change their sex? The biological term is ‘sequential hermaphroditism,’ and wrasses, moray eels, gobies and clownfish are known to do this.
According to Wikipedia
“A school of clownfish is always built into a hierarchy with a female fish at the top. When she dies, the most dominant male changes sex and takes her place. In the wrasses (the family Labridae), sex change is from female to male, with the largest female of the harem changing into a male and taking over the harem upon the disappearance of the previous dominant male.”
Quintin and Marielle packed a lot of diving in a couple of days. They enjoyed the walls of Menjangan, the local reefs of Pemuteran and even fit in a night dive in Mucky Pirates Bay. Welcome to the Sea Rovers Brethren and hope to see you back here soon.
The wench hasn’t been diving in a few days, so had to go to the archives to get some photos to share with the brethren. These nudibranchs were shot during my 2015 dive safari in Bali.
I see divers and snorkelers slathering on sunscreen every time I go out on the Sea Rovers’ boats. Since there are only a limited number of dive sites at Menjangan and here in Pemuteran, it really worries me about the impact these chemicals may be having on the reefs. Here are some excerpts from an article from National Geographic and PADI. Click on the links if you want to read them in full.
The sunscreen that you dutifully slather on before a swim on the beach may be protecting your body—but a new study finds that the chemicals are also killing coral reefs worldwide.
Four commonly found sunscreen ingredients can awaken dormant viruses in the symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae that live inside reef-building coral species. Even low levels of sunscreen, at or below the typical amount used by swimmers, could activate the algae viruses and completely bleach coral in just four days, the results showed.
The researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide, and that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.
So what’s a diver (or snorkeler) to do?
When it comes to sunscreen, any natural product (organic, biodegradeable etc) is better for the environment then the conventional one. Look for a brand that uses physical sunblocks such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide instead of chemical ones.
Read the label. A product advertising itself as “reef safe” doesn’t necessarily mean what it says. Always look at ingredient lists to make sure reef-damaging substances (such as oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate and 4-methylbenzylidine camphor, all of which have been shown to cause coral bleaching even at low levels) aren’t included.
Apply sunscreen at least 10-15 minutes before going in the water so that the lotion absorbs into your skin.
Now that you’re ready to make the switch to coral reef safe sunscreen (and human-safe), consider the 10 options below, all of which have a “1” rating from the EWG, and positive reviews from online consumers. The products below are not officially endorsed by PADI or Project AWARE; however, if you are reading this article in the United States and make a purchase by clicking a link below, a portion of your purchase will go to Project AWARE via the Amazon Associates program.
- Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin/Children, SPF 30+
- Badger Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 30
- UV Natural Sport Lip Sunscreen, SPF 30+
- Badger Broad Spectrum Sport Facestick, SPF 35
- ECO logical All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
- Elemental Herbs Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30+
- Green Screen D Organic Sunscreen, Original, SPF 35
- BurnOut Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Raw Elements USA Eco FormulaSPF 30
- All Terrain KidSport SPF30*
I wear a thin wetsuit or dive skin whenever I’m on the boat (I do have a noticeable tan line that starts at my wrists; I could wear my gloves if it becomes too unsightly). I try to sit in the shade, and if I can’t, I use a towel over my head to shield my face from the sun. A broad-brimmed hat would also protect your face.
Some of the world’s problems seem so big that there’s nothing we can do; consider making this small change to do your bit to protect our precious coral reefs.