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Floating Asia 2017 | Summer Edition


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YEARS OF EXPERIENCE

TROPICAL ISLANDS

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AD__

Safaris

AGENCIES REPRESENTED

Voyages Maldives, Narugis, Chandhanee Magu, Male’ 20191, Maldives T: +960 332 2019, F: +960 332 5336, E: info@voyagesmaldives.com, W: www.voyagesmaldives.com


FLOATING ASIA, the annual magazine, is still the only of its kind showcasing Liveaboards and trends exclusively from the cruising and Liveaboard holiday market of Asia. Our readership is a premium blend of over 40,000 travelers and those who visit our website www. floatingasia.com to find more details in their search for the best Liveaboard holiday experience with the assurance that FLOATINGASIA would serve the purpose. On this very special edition of FLOATING ASIA 2017, our team has applied modern concepts and designs to present the publication in such a fashion, that it meets the expectations of the fourth Generation Traveler. Furnished with the most up-to-date information for those who seek their ultimate Liveaboard experience, from Budget to Luxury that are available in the Asian Hotspots for Scuba Diving, Surfing and Liveaboard Vacations. There is more to come every year on FLOATING ASIA, as we cruise along the coasts of Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Maldives and Sri Lanka in our publication. Begin your journey and explore www.floatingasia.com

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CONTENTS DESTINATIONS

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WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR LIVEABOARD DIVE TRIP

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FLOATING RESORT BY SCUBASPA

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HOWOCEAN  POLLUTION AFFECTS HUMANS

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MARINE SAVERS

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SCUBA DIVING ASIA

ISA CELEBRATES INCLUSION OF SURFING AT 2018 ASIAN GAMES

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10 THINGS SCUBA DIVERS NEED TO KNOW LEIA CRUISE -

A HOUSEBOAT FROM HOLIDAY KERALA

MALDIVES LIVEABOARDS DIRECTORY 5


TEAM EDITOR IN CHIEF Ismail Hameed (lssey) lssey@floatingasia.com CONTENT EDITOR Mariyam Maaisha Shujau (Maai) manager@highriseint.com WEB EDITOR Hamid Yamyn CONTRIBUTORS Mariyam Maaisha Shujau (Maai) Mohamed Shaamin Mohamed Seeneen Shafraz Naeem Hussain Sendi Rasheedh SPECIAL FEATURES Online Scuba Diving Magazine (DIVE.in) PADI Website - www.Padi.com Four Seasons Press Room Website (press.fourseasons.com) Marine Savers Website (marinesavers.com) www.asiansurfingtour.com

LAYOUT AND DESIGN Nasrulla Shakeel Hussain (Nasr) Naafee Ibrahim (Maathey) design@highriseint.com

HEAD OF SALES AND MARKETING Mohamed Shamin (Shamin) gm@highriseint.com sales@highriseint.com

MANAGING DIRECTOR Ismail Shlfraz shifraz@highriseint.com

PRODUCT MANAGER Mariyam Maaisha Shujau (Maai) manager@highriseint.com

DIRECTOR FINANCE Mariyam Niuma (Neuma) niuma@highriseint.com

OPERATIONS MANAGER Mohamed Nawaaf Rasheed (Nawaaf) Marketing@highriseint.com

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Rushan Nissanka (Rushan) cfo@highriseint.com

COLOMBO MEDIA Nishan Senaviratne cmb@highriseint.com

ACCOUNTS & ADMIN OFFICER Yusra Naseer (Yusra) accounts@highriseint.com DIRECTOR SALES (HIGHRISE INT) Tuan Saabir Vaflor (Tuan) tuan@highriseint.com

SALES ENQURIES Highrise Private Limited G.Kiyavaage, Shabnam Magu, 20089 Male,’ Republic of Maldives Tell +960 330 6606 Fax +960 330 6676 Email info@floatingasia.com www.floatingasia.com HOTLINES Maldives : +960 9991191 , +960 7986626 Sri Lanka : +94 (77) 474 7080

Facebook.com / floatingAsia Twitter.com / Floating Asia

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PARTNER EVENTS AUSTRALIA INTERNATIONAL DIVE EXPO Level 1, Hall 3, International Convention Centre, Darling Habour Sydney, Australia Tel: +60 3-7980 9902 info@australiadiveexpo.com www.australiadiveexpo.com ASIA DIVE EXPO Asian Geographic Magazines Pte Ltd 1 Syed Alwi Road #06-01 Song Tlin Building, Singapore 207628 Tel: (65) 6298 3241 Fax: (65) 6291 2068 adex@asiandiver.com www.asiandiver.com MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL DIVE EXPO 50-1, Jalan Kuchai Maju 6 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: +03 7980 9902 info@mide.com.my www.mide.com.my THAILAND DIVE EXPO N.C.C. Exhibition Orgainizer Co., Ltd. Queen Sirikit National Convention Center 60 New Rachadapisek Road, Klongtoey, Bangkok, Thailand 10110 Tel: +66 2 203 4221 Fax: +66 2 203 4250-1 E-mail: tdex@qsncc.com www.thailanddiveexpo.com DIVING RESORT TRAVEL EXPO Tel: +852 2961 4565 marketing@divingandresorttravelexpo.com www.drtexpo.com

DRT Show Shanghai: 1099 Guo Zhan Road,Shanghai, China Tel: +86-21-20893600 www.chinadiveexpo.com DRT SHOW HONG KONG 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai, Hong Kong Tel: +852 2582 8888 www.divingandresorttravelexpo.com DRT SHOW BEIJING No.8 Beichen Dong Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing Tel: +86 10 84980105 www.beijingdiveexpo.com DRT SHOW TAIWAN No.1, Yumen St., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City 104 Tel: +886-2-21828886 www.taiwandiveexpo.com DRT SHOW PHILIPPINES Julia Vargas cor. EDSA, Wack-wack Village, Mandaluyong City 1555, Philippines Tel: +63 2 633 1697 www.philippinesdiveexpo.com DRT SHOW SINGAPORE 1 Raffles Boulevard, Suntec City, Singapore 039593 Tel: +65 6337 2888 www.singaporediveexpo.com DRT SHOW MAYLASIA 41, Jalan Tun Ismail, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Contact Tel: +(603) 2614 6999 www.malaysiadiveexpo.com DRT SHOW INDIA Western Express Highway, Goregaon East, Mumbai, India Tel: +91 22 66450123 www.indiadiveexpo.com

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FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

INDONESIA The name “Indonesia” is formed from two Greek words: “Indos” which means “Indians” & “nesos” which means “islands”. The Indonesian name for Indoneasia is “Tanah Air Kita”. -Our Land and Water

WWW.INDONESIA.TRAVEL

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QUICK FACTS

Location Archipelago stretching along the equator between the South East Asian mainland and Papua New Guinea, with which it shares an island.

Communications The international access code for Indonesia is +62. For operator assisted international calls, call 101. Roaming and IDD services are available by most mobile operators. Internet cafes are abundant in main areas and resorts.

Timezone

Coordinates

Currency

GMT + 7- 16

7 0 0 N, 81 00 E

National Currency: Rupiah Central Bank: Bank Sentral Republik Indonesia Currency abbreviation: Rp

Coastline 54, 716 kilometers

Language

Indonesian, Balinese. English is spoken in tourist areas.

Culture Living on more than 13,400 islands, the Indonesian nation today counts some 200 million population comprising more than 200 ethnic groups. After Independence in 1945 inter-marriages among people of different ethnic groups have welded the population into a more cohesive Indonesian nation. Each of them has its own art, architecture and housing, cuisine, traditional dress, festivals, music, dance, tradition, ritual, myths, philosophy of life, even language. The cultural identities developed over centuries, and influenced by Indian, Arabic, Chinese, and European sources, resulting in many cultural practices being strongly influenced by a multitude of religions.

Climate Being a tropical country, Indonesia is blessed with two seasons, namely dry and rainy. Dry usually occurs from June to September and the rest is rainy season. It is advisable to visit Indonesia during dry season. The uniformity warm waters that make up 81% of Indonesia’s area ensure that the temperatures on the land remain fairly constant, with the coastal plains averaging 28° C, the inland and mountain areas averaging 26° C.

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FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

ATTRACTION LAKE TOBA Lake Toba on the island of Sumatra is an immense volcanic lake about 100 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide. Formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago, it is the largest resurgent caldera on Earth. Genetic estimates suggests that there were only a few thousand humans that survived

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the catastrophe. The island in the middle – Pulau Samosir – is the largest island within an island and contains two lakes. Besides visiting “a lake on an island within a lake on an island” tourist also come here to kick back and relax and swim in the volcanically warmed waters.


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FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

MALDIVES The Maldives is one of the most dispersed countries in the world, despite being Asia’s smallest country in terms of population and land area. WWW.VISITMALDIVES.COM

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QUICK FACTS

Location Indian Ocean, South Asia

Communications All islands have mobile network coverage and Wi-Fi is also available in most island. Mobile Broadband dongles are also available from both network operators. The country code for Maldives is +960.

Timezone GMT +05 Language Dhivehi, although most of the people speak fluent English

Coastline 644 Kilometers

Currency National Currency: Rufiyya Central Bank: Bank of Maldives Currency abbreviation: Rf or MVR

Coordinates 3 15 N, 73 00 E

Culture The customs and social behavior of the Maldivians have been greatly influenced by the Indians, Sri Lankans, Arabs and North Africans who visited the Maldives while traversing through the trading routes of the central Indian Ocean. The Maldivian culture is rich and vibrant due to the infusion of various other cultural elements. Though Maldives was culturally influenced by other traditions, Maldivians have built and preserved an exclusive cultural identity. Accordingly the Maldivians converse using a language of their own; in 1153 AD Maldivians converted to Islam and the religion has transformed and introduced new fundamentals to the Maldivian culture.

Climate Maldives is typically bright, hot and humid all year round, except for the occasional rainy day hardly accompanied by thundershowers. The monsoonal rain usually arrives on the sunny shores during midyear. However, light rainfall is unpredictable and could happen at any time, but it is always followed by sunny skies. Temperature of Maldives range between 24° C and 33° C throughout the year. 13


FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

ATTRACTION ISLAMIC MARUKAZ / CENTRE The Islamic Centre opened in 1984, is a popular attraction for tourists. The Islamic Centre is known for excellent architecture fused with traditional Maldivian and Islamic concepts. The magnificent golden domes of the Centre ornament the skyline of Male’. The interior of the mosque is adorned with intricate wood carvings and Arabic

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calligraphy. The building houses the largest mosque in the Maldives named after the national hero of the country Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam. It also has a large conference hall, numerous offices and an Islamic library.


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FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

SRI LANKA Before Sri Lanka became famous for Tea, it was famous for Coffee - but the coffee fields of Sri Lanka were wiped out by leave light in the 1870’s.

WWW.SRILANKA.TRAVEL

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QUICK FACTS

Location Indian Ocean, South Asia, South of India

Language

Communications

Sinhala is official and national language. Tamil is also considered as a national language. English is widely spoken and used.

The international access code is +94. Most areas of the island have mobile network coverage with IDD, and the internet cafes are found in the main areas and resorts.

Coastline

Currency

1340 Kilometers

National Currency: Rupee Central Bank: Central bank of Sri Lanka Currency abbreviation: Rs or SLRs

Timezone

Coordinates

GMT +0530

7 0 0 N, 81 00 E

Culture Culture and values of Sri Lanka is based around the fusion of traditional forms of art, dance and music. It is one that fascinates many due to its uniqueness and mystifying diversity. Nourished by Buddhism in the early 2nd century B.C and also influenced by ancient Indian invasions. Customs and traditions are deeply ingrained in Sri Lankan society and have been passed on from one generation to the next, over a period of 2,500 years. These traditions are intertwined with day to day life of the island’s four ethnic groups, the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers and their religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.

Climate Sri Lanka as a tropical climate. Upland areas are generally cooler, and coastal areas are coolest by sea breezes. There are two monsoons, although there is hardly any distinction between the seasons. Monsoons visit the country in the May and November, bringing heavy rain fall. Most of the rain falls on the plains on the south of the island. 17


FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

ATTRACTION SRI PADA (ADAM’S PEAK) The mountain is located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands, in the Ratnapura District and Nuwara Eliya district of the Sabaragamuwa Province and Central Province - lying about 40 km northeast of the city of Ratnapura and 32 km southwest of the city of Hatton. The surrounding region is largely forested hills, with no mountain of comparable size nearby. The region along the mountain is a wildlife reserve, housing many species and endemic species. Most local people believe dwarf elephants (kuru ali) live in

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this samanala forest. Adam’s Peak is important as a watershed. The districts to the south and the east of Adam’s Peak yield precious stones - emeralds, rubies and sapphires, for which the island has been famous, and which earned for its ancient name of Ratnadvipa.


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FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

PHILLIPNES The country is the “texting capital of the world”, as 350 to 400 million text messages (SMS) are send daily by 35 million cellular phone users – more than that of the United States and Europe combined.

WWW.TOURISM.GOV.PH

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QUICK FACTS

Location On the South Eastern rim of Asia

Communications International access code for Phillipines is +63. All the major towns, cities and tourist hot spots have mobile network coverage and the internet cafes are frequently found in Manila and the tourist resorts.

Language The two official languages are Filipino and English, the first having eight dialects (tagalog, Cebuano, ilocan, Hiligaynon or ilonggo, bicol, waray, pampango, and pangasinense).

Coastline 36, 289 Kilometers 36, 289 KM

Timezone

Coordinates

GMT +08

13 00 N, 122 00 E

Currency National Currency: Philippine peso Central Bank: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Currency abbreviation: PHP/ PhP/ Php/ P$

Culture Although the Philippines is located in Southeast Asia, its people are commonly deemed to be significantly “less Asian” than those from other Asian countries. This is due to the myriad of inhabitants the country has had throughout the years, including Chinese, Malay, and Islamic peoples to name a few. In a sense, Philippine culture can be said to be a marriage of the East and the West. Spanish influences on Philippine culture are most evident when it comes to religion and religious practices. As the slogan suggests, “It’s more fun in the Philippines”. Numerous “fiestas” or religious festivals are celebrated year-round, mostly in honor of their respective patron saints.

Climate The Philippines experience a dry season from April to June, and a wet season from June to October, with the hottest month being May, and the coolest being January. Heavy rains usually comes between May and October. Philippines is located within the world’s most severe cyclone belt, and is hit by approximately 15 cyclones each year. 21


FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

ATTRACTION CORON, PALAWAN Coron is a tropical paradise in the province of Palawan. The postcardperfect scenery of Kayangan Lake with its towering limestone cliffs and crystalline waters is one of the mustvisit places in the Philippines. Visiting Coron will give you an opportunity to swim at Kayangan Lake, dubbed as the cleanest lake in Asia. Coron is also one of the most visited destinations for

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wreck diving in the country. Palawan’s bountiful resources, abundant wildlife and extraordinary natural beauty are known only to the many ethnic communities that thrive in these islands and few other daring settlers who wanted to live in unpolluted surroundings.


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FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

THAILAND One of the country’s most unusual festivals is the Annual Monkey buffet, held in front of the Pra Prang Sam Yot Temple in Lopburi province. More than 600 Monkeys are invited feast over two tonnes of grilled sausage, fresh fruit ice cream and other treats. WWW.TOURISMTHAILAND.ORG

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QUICK FACTS

Location South Eastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea. And the gulf of Thailand, South East Burma

Communications

The international access code for Thailand is +66, city code for Bangkok is 2, Chiang Mai 53. IDD facilities are available in most areas of the country. And internet cafes are available in the main areas and resorts.

Language Thai is the official language. English is fairly well spoken. A number of ethnic and the regional dialects are spoken as well.

Coastline

Currency

3, 219 Kilometers

National Currency: Thai Baht Central Bank: Bank of Thailand Currency abbreviation: ฿ or THB

Timezone

Coordinates

GMT +07

1500 N, 100 00 E

Much of Thailand’s culture comes from the ethnic Thai people. One of the most important influences on Thai culture has been Buddhism. Many of the traditions and beliefs of the people in Thailand stem directly from Buddhist principles. Hinduism has also made important contributions to Thai culture, and the close links between Thailand and India can be seen in art, literature, and in many Thai customs. The cultures of nearby Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and China have also played an important role in forming the traditions of Thailand, as have indigenous belief systems such as Animism.

Climate Thailand has a tropical climate with a high temperatures and humidity. There are four general seasons; the dry season from January to February. Hot season from March to May, Wet season from June to October, and cool season from November to December. Most of the rainfall occurs in the wet season. 25


FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

ATTRACTION THE GRAND PALACE

The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782. The king, his court and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year. The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand. Rather than being a single structure, the Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions

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set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. Its asymmetry and eclectic styles are due to its organic development, with additions and rebuilding being made by successive reigning kings over 200 years of history. The Grand Palace is currently partially open to the public as a museum, but it remains a working palace, with several royal offices still situated inside.


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FLOATING ASIA | DESTINATIONS

Boat paints and solutions for dinghies to megayachts and all in-between

Ameenee Magu, Male’, Maldives, +960 331 4932, 331 4933 marine@seagullmaldives.com, www.seagullmaldives.com/marine 28


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FLOATING RESORT BY SCUBASPA 31


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hat makes Scubaspa so special and unique is the combination of the comfort of an island spa resort and the mobility of a safari vessel, which allows to visit dive sites that are amongst the best in the world. Due to this unique concept, it is ideal for divers and Spa lovers alike. Scubaspa has two identical vessels – Ying and Yang. The 50m long Scubaspa Ying and Scubaspa Yang vessels, have been designed exclusively to accommodate the dreams of up to 40 guests in 19 high class cabins and suites. Unlike the majority of other “live‑aboard vessels” in the Maldives, their facilities are more akin to that of an island resort than a boat. Deck space spread over 5 different locations on board, allowing guests to find their own space. The SPA takes massive 300 meters’ space, 5 spa rooms including Ayurveda, couples room, facial, manicure and pedicure and single massage room. There are two decks dedicated for spa lovers, where they can relax after massages. Thai Deck area is dedicated to provide Thai massages. Scubaspa Yang has a small gymnasium as well. The international spa team consists of specialists in different treatments, yoga sessions, Ayurveda, hot stone, lava shell, Swedish, Balinese, Thai, Filipino ‘hilot’ and many more. Both ships are accompanied by state-of-the-art, Nitrox equipped dive ‘dhonis’ which can accommodate up to 26 divers. The SCUBA option is only open to certified divers, however once on‑board, those who have booked the SPA option, can book dives. Those without a certificate are welcome to book a diving course. The spacious “al fresco” restaurant is situated next to the lounge area at the rear end of the main deck. 32


Throughout over three years of operation Scubaspa became famous for exquisite cuisine. It offers fine dining experience, both local and international, all prepared freshly in a professionally designed kitchen more often seen in a hotel than on a boat. Four chefs are making scrumptious, award-winning meals, often offering live cooking sessions and even arranging cooking classes for our guests. Guests enjoy three buffet style meals a day in an environment especially created to provide both light and space. They can also enjoy some of the most beautiful wines and champagnes carefully selected and kept in a dedicated wine storage at the perfect temperature. Complimentary water is served throughout the day. As well as ensuring that our guests have their dreams both in the water and in the spa fulfilled, there are also the extra activities that add to the whole Maldives experience: visits to a local island, romantic BBQ on island or Bodu Beru drummers on idyllic beach. Under the Starry Sky movie night is arrange every tour, when guests can enjoy blockbuster movies in the open-air cinema located near jacuzzi, fresh popcorn and drinks will accompany your entertainment. Awards: In 2016 both vessels, as the only ones in Maldives were authorized by PADI 5*Dive Resorts. In November 2016 Scubaspa Yang won the Best Vessel by South Asian Travel Awards, Maldives Boating Association gave Scubaspa Brand of the Year Award in 2016, German Magazine Tauchen recognized Scubaspa Yang amongst 3 Best safaris in the world for the year 2017.

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MARINE SAVERS


Marine Savers - Seamarc’s marine biology team based at Four Seasons Resorts Maldives. We specialize in coral propagation techniques, to rebuild damaged reefs and encourage re-population by marine life. Our turtle rehabilitation centre can accommodate injured animals whilst we nurture them back to health, and we have large pools for new hatchlings as part of our ‘restart’ program. We also have a fish lab where we breed various species of tropical marine fish, sea horses and anemones. For part of the year, we work with the Manta Trust in identifying the local manta population, to update the largest species database in the world. Four Seasons Resorts Maldives have been working with local environmental agency Seamarc since 2001, under the everwatchful eye of the company’s founder, Thomas Le Berre. Our wildlife conservation projects are run from two Marine Discovery Centres by a team of ten full time Seamarc marine biologists, ably assisted by our interns, apprentices and eco-volunteers.


Thomas le Berre Seamarc Founder French coastal oceanographer and founder of Maldivian environmental consultancy Seamarc, Thomas has been spearheading the environmental projects at Four Seasons Resorts Maldives since 2001. In 1992, Thomas obtained the Baccalaureat-C (Mathematics & Physics) with distinctions in Vannes, France. He was admitted to the ENSTA ParisTech, one of the French engineering “GrandesEcoles”. While studying there, Thomas took part in several exchange programmes and studied at KTH Stockholm (Sweden) and James Cook University of North Queensland (Australia). Thomas moved to the Maldives in 1999 and has been living and working in the country ever since. Along with Marie Saleem, he founded Seamarc (‘Systems Engineering and Marine Consulting’) in the year 2000, and as well as running the company, Thomas is actively and passionately involved in each project.

Sophie Asplin Marine Biologist Sophie started diving at the tender age of just 10 years old, and has been in love with the underwater world ever since. She furthered her education in the field of Zoology, and graduated from the University of Hull with a first. In 2015 she joined the team at Kuda Huraa as an intern, where she assisted in the many turtle and coral projects on the island as well as leading daily guest excursions. Sophie was subsequently offered a full time position with Seamarc and returned to the Maldives in February 2016, initially as Assistant Coral Biologist and then as Marine Biologist.

Akbar Ahmed ‘Aku’ Fish Lab & Aquaculture Specialist After graduating from school, Aku worked for the Maldivian ‘State Trading Organisation’, gaining valuable experience in a variety of roles (sales, legal credit, logistics, inventory, accounts). Aku joined Seamarc in December 2009, and is now one of our longest serving and most valuable team members. Starting as a research assistant, Aku is now in charge of the Fish Lab and leads all of our aquaculture projects at Landaa Giraavaru. These include our Clownfish breeding programmes, as well as refining our techniques in algae, phytoplankton and rotifer production (essential food sources in the Lab).

Sarah Davies Marine Biologist Having grown up by the sea in South Wales, Sarah was never far from the marine world. Destined to be her career path, she studied Marine Biology and Oceanography at Plymouth University, followed by a master’s degree in Conservation and Biodiversity at Exeter University Cornwall Campus. After 2.5 years studying the Mesoamerican barrier reef in the remote regions of Mexico, Sarah joined Kuda Huraa’s Marine Savers team as one of the Resort’s resident marine biologists. Sarah has become increasingly interested in fish and coral biology, and with experience in monitoring techniques she continues to dedicate her time to marine conservation.

Sara Welsh Coral Biologist A self proclaimed ocean addict, Sara first learned to dive in the chilly waters of the Pacific Northwest, USA. She went on to study Environmental Science with a Marine Emphasis at Western Washington University. During her time there she completed a Divemasters course, and also interned in the Seychelles researching invertebrates and coral recruitment. After college, she left Pacific Northwest for the warmer waters of Cabo San Lucas (Mexico) and later Puerto Rico, where she managed an Ecotourism program for children and adults. With her wealth of global knowledge and experience, we welcomed Sara to our Reefscapers team in March 2017 as Coral Biologist.


Carla Di Santo Fish Lab & Aquaculture Specialist Carla holds a Master’s degree in Marine biology, combined with an aquaculture and sustainable fisheries management diploma, obtained at Montpellier University (France). After two marine biotechnology internships in French Polynesia, she joined our clownfish breeding team at Landaa Giraavaru in June 2016 as an intern. Having successfully bred clown fish juveniles during her internship, Carla was offered a full-time position as a Marine Biologist. She returned to the Maldives in December 2016 as an aquaculture specialist, and Carla’s wide range of skills enables her to be proficient in our fish lab and valuable in our wider marine projects.

Stephen Bergacker Coral Biologist

Stephen’s interest in nature started at a young age. His first dive at the age of 13 introduced him to a whole new world and ever since he’s been passionate about the marine environment. While completing a Bachelor in Agronomics at the Haute Ecole Louvain en Hainaut (Belgium), Stephen undertook a 3-month internship with Seamarc at Landaa Giraavaru in March 2016. This enabled him to start a study on molecular delimitation of coral species in collaboration with the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Upon completion of his internship, Stephen was offered a full time position as the Coral Biologist at Kuda Huraa and returned to the Maldives in September 2016.

Gerardo Alvarez Marine Discovery Centre Manager, Kuda Huraa

Gerardo’s passion for marine life started at a very early age, and he knew this would lead to future studies and a life of environmental protection. Gerardo graduated in 2005 from the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Las Palmas (Spain) and completed a postgraduate course in coastal and marine management at the University of Barcelona. Following a year at a Loggerhead Turtle Conservation Project on Boa Vista (Cape Verde), Gerardo started to focus his career on turtle conservation. Various jobs over 10 years took Gerardo to Venezuela, Panama, Spain and the Falklands, where he worked with various NGOs and organisations in roles such as fishing observer, environmental auditor, university professor, water quality director and marine conservation specialist. With such a wealth of experience, we were pleased to offer Gerardo the post of Marine Discovery Centre Manager at Kuda Huraa, and he joined our team in December 2016.

Mohamed ‘Monty’ Ahmed Assistant Coral Biologist Monty was part of the Four Seasons Apprenticeship Programme (graduated 2015), specialising in Marine Biology. During the previous 12 months, he has learned a lot about marine life and our conservation projects. Monty has proved very helpful in the Fish Lab, and has been assisting with our Reefscapers coral propagation and turtle rehabilitation projects. Monty joined us on 9 May as an Assistant Coral Biologist at Landaa Giraavaru, and is learning the theory and practical applications of our Reefscapers coral propagation project.

Sophie Doell Marine Biologist Sophie gained a Bachelors degree with Honours in Marine Biology and Environmental Science at Griffith University (Gold Coast, Australia). Inspired by her travels and work along the coastline, she took part in marine turtle conservation projects along Australia’s east coast (studying epibionts on the carapace of marine turtles), in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. Sophie joined the Kuda Huraa team as an intern in September 2016, assisting with various conservation projects at our Marine Discovery Centre. She was offered a full-time position as a Marine Biologist by Seamarc, and returned to the Maldives in December 2016.


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TDEX AD

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SCUBA DIVING ASIA The top scuba diving in Asia is mostly in South and South East Asia. The top diving destinations are in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Maldives and the Philippines. Scuba diving in Asia can take you to areas that host a greater variety of marine life than anywhere else on earth. You can dive in the South China Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, or submerge in pic: www.scubadivingasia.com

the area where these waters mix to form the epicenter of biodiversity – The Coral Triangle. Wreck diving on historic shipwrecks, wall diving on offshore pinnacles from a liveaboard or shore diving on a house reef are all possibilities when diving in Asia. The diving choices are as vast and exciting as the countries in this region.

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INDONESIA Indonesia is an epicenter of biodiversity, hosting a greater variety of marine life than anywhere else on earth. The South China Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean converge here on the world’s largest archipelago of more than 18,000 islands. Thriving off Indonesia’s coastline are more than 600 coral and 3000 fish species. The scuba diving is nothing short of outstanding. There’s exhila‑ rating drift diving, extensive reef diving, fantastic night diving, unique muck diving and breathtaking steep walls. Tec divers probe the deep trenches and wreck divers love the many World War II relics. Bali is a hot spot for giant sunfish encounters and has some stunning drop-offs. East of Bali is Komodo where nutrient rich currents underpin a

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vibrant ecosystem. Off Lombok, the Gili Islands are casual, beautiful and tranquil, with marine life to delight every diver. To the north, Sulawesi features fabulous diving at Lembeh Strait, Bunaken and Manado. Wakatobi’s worldclass drop-off is famed for its action and color, with everything from blue ringed octopus and ghost pipe fish to resident sea turtles Raja Ampat is liveaboard country with waters that boast more than 1200 marine life species. With more dive sites yet to be discovered, Indonesia has something for divers of all levels.


Photo credit: allindonesiatourism.com komododivecenter.com cruisingindonesia.com

TOP DIVING LOCATIONS IN INDONESIA: USAT Liberty, Bali , Crystal Bay, Bali, German Flag, Komodo, Cannibal Rock, Komodo, Shark Point, Gili Islands, The Magnet, Belongas Bay, Lombok, Molas, Manado, Jahir, Lembeh, Hotsprings, Sumatra, Teluk Mauy, Wakatobi, Boo Rock, Raja Ampat DIVE SEASON: Diving is excellent year round, but the best time is from May to September. Monsoon season is from December to June. Visibility may not be as good during the monsoon, however, certain locations like the Komodo Islands are a diver’s dream during this time due to an influx of mantas.

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MALAYSIA Imagine crystal clear waters surrounding beautiful islands with pure, white beaches. Imagine palm trees swaying in balmy, tropical breezes, all set against a backdrop of lush, green rainforest – this is Malaysia. For scuba divers, Malaysia’s biodiversity is nothing short of stunning. The country is divided into two parts – Peninsular Malaysia, which shares a border with the southern end of Thailand, and Malaysian Borneo, which encompasses the north‑ ern quarter of the world’s third-largest island. The dive opportunities here are rivaled only by the nation’s cultural diversity.

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Around the hundreds of tropical islands are an incredible choice of dive sites and undiscovered beaches. You can pick from a variety of underwater landscapes including sloping reefs, pinnacles and coral gardens for your deep, drift, wreck, cavern and wall dives. World-renowned wall diving, featuring more than 3000 species of marine creatures, and some of the best macro diving sites in the world are found here. From Peninsular Malaysia, you can get to the Perhentian Islands with towering pinnacles, and Redang Island with some of the world’s most developed coral gardens. Tioman Island, off of the peninsula’s east coast, has amazing coral formations and deep water near‑ by that is home to many wrecks for technical divers.


Photo Credit: www.holidaygogo.com /diving-tour-in-malaysia Scuba Diving in Maslalysia with Markscheffel kotakinabaluinfo.com

TOP DIVING LOCATIONS IN MALAYSIA: Pulau Sibuan - Semporna, Tunku Abdul Rah‑ man Park - Kota Kinabalu, Atago Maru Wreck - Miri , Tiger Reef - Tioman, Sugar Wreck Perhentian Islands, WW II Wrecks – Kuching, Pulau Lima - Redang, Pulau Saga - Lumut DIVE SEASON: The country experiences tropical weather year-round. November through February is the rainy season on the east coast, but is considered an ideal time for visiting the west coast, which remains dry during those months.

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MALDIVES Republic of the Maldives is a sovereign archipelagic nation positioned in the Indian Ocean. Notably the South Asian Island nation has no counterpart in the entire world in terms of its unique geography and topography. The Mal‑ dives encompass more than 99% of the sea and less than 1% of the land. The 99% of the sea is home to one of the most diverse marine treasures of the world. Less than 1% of the land is a masterpiece in natural landscaping. Known internationally as one of the world’s best diving destinations, the Maldives has an abundance of dive sites with one thrilling dive opportunity after another. It is easy to see why The Maldives has become one of the world’s premier scuba diving destinations because of the abun‑ dance of amazing white sand beaches, coral reefs, clear warm waters, numerous dive sites and rich marine life. Most holiday resorts in the Maldives have a scuba diving

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facility and there are a number of live-aboard operators offering itineraries all over the Maldives. Many scuba div‑ ers are attracted to the Maldives because of the presence of whale sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, reef sharks, and hammerhead sharks as well as many smaller fish and coral species. Between the 100’s of Islands, there are channels connect‑ ing the Indian Ocean to the Lagoons. This water coming from the ocean is full of plankton and nutrients which, in turn, attracts an incredible marine life. The coral is beau‑ tiful in Maldives but what makes it so special is the high density of marine life! Since the islands are scattered over a large area, and the best diving is found inside and out‑ side the atolls’ lagoons and in the channels in between. The Best Way to see the region is by liveaboard.


Photo credit: nikaisland.com.mv youtube.com/druviskruklis

TOP DIVING LOCATIONS IN MALDIVES: Ari Atoll, Vaavu Atoll, Meemu Atoll, Laamu Atoll, Gaafu Atoll, Haa Alif Atoll, Haa Dhaalu Atoll, Baa Atoll, Vaavu Atoll (Fotteyo Kadu), Lhaviyani (North & South Male Atoll), North Male Atoll (Addu), North Ari Atoll (Rasdhoo) and Foamulah Island. DIVE SEASON: The diving is good all year long, but the monsoon brings significant rain between April and October, especially June to August. The best season for scuba diving Maldives is from January to April with very good visibility and excellent sea conditions. The Wet Season from May to August with rain, winds and waves runs reducing the visibility, but diving is still good. It is usually heavy short rains followed by sunshine. Dry weather is from December to March offering The Best visibility. May has High Plankton density that reduces visibility but does attract Manta Rays and Whale Sharks.

pic: seeneen

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PHILIPPINES More than 7000 tropical islands, clear warm water, vast coral reefs and mind-blowingly beautiful flora and fauna make the Philippines a true scuba diver’s paradise. You can find almost every underwater adventure and experience here. At some dive resorts, shore diving on the house reef is popular, but divers can also hop on a day boat or live-aboard to access the sheer reef walls and atolls offshore.

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A rich WWII history makes wreck diving the focus of areas such as Coron, off Palawan and Subic Bay. The underwa‑ ter ecosystem is an epicenter of marine biodiversity with Dugongs and skittish scythe-tail thresher sharks leading a cast of more than 1200 marine species. And topside, rest assured of a warm welcome as the friendly and relaxed Filipinos embrace visitors.


Photocredit: scubadiverlife.com islandsofthephilippines.com

TOP DIVING LOCATIONS IN PHILIPPINES: Yapak - Boracay, Monad Shoal – Malapascua, The Canyons Puerto Galera, Balicasag Fish Sanctuary – Bohol, Mactan Island – Cebu, Morazan Maru, Coron Bay – Palawan, Apo Island – Dumaguete, USS New York - Subic Bay DIVE SEASON: Diving in the Philippines is all year round but there are three distinct seasons that affect dive conditions. December through March is the northeast monsoon that can bring strong winds. April through June is usually dry with warm days and little wind. July through November is the southwest monsoon, which is wet but the water is warm.

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/05

THAILAND At the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand, the “Land of a Thousand Smiles,” is a country proud of its unique culture and famous worldwide for its cuisine. Thailand also offers miles of tropical beaches, lush rain forests, exhilarating cultural attractions and excellent scuba diving. With the Gulf of Thailand on the east and the Andaman Sea on the west, diving opportunities include fringing reefs, deep drop-offs, wrecks, walls, caverns, tunnels, pinnacles or open ocean seamounts. The Gulf of Thailand offers divers an amazing range of diving destinations. The beautiful island of Koh Tao, along with the pristine islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, are must-visit dive destinations. Located in the north of the gulf region are the popular destinations of Pattaya and the unspoiled island of Koh

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Chang. These locations are world famous dive destina‑ tions with access to a range of different sites to suit divers of all levels. Many divers begin their adventures in Phuket, as some of the top Andaman Sea dive sites are within easy reach on a day trip or live-aboard. Khao Lak is fast becom‑ ing a favorite for many divers and Phi Phi Island is also a popular destination in this region with easily accessible dive sites to explore. The south-western coastal town of Krabi is the jumping off point for the enchanting Koh Lanta archipelago, as well as stunning Koh Lipe. Thailand is an amazing dive destination and there’s a lot to explore underwater in this tropical paradise.


Photo credit: www.aussiediversphuket.com www.indiaopines.com www.diving-in-thailand.net

TOP DIVING LOCATIONS IN THAILAND: Racha Noi & Racha Yai, Koh Dok Mai, Richelieu Rock, Bida Nok, Koh Haa, Tarutao National Marine Park, Chumphon Pinnacle, HTMS Sattakut, Sail Rock, HTMS Khram, HTMS Chang.

DIVE SEASON: The diving is typically good all year, but the best diving period is from November to April when the visibility is very good. The Gulf of Thailand is at its peak from May through September while the best diving is from October through April in the Andaman Sea.

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ISA

CELEBRATES INCLUSION OF SURFING AT 2018 ASIAN GAMES

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Asian Games announcement shows the clear international growth of the sport, and will give both the ISA and its athletes yet more exposure to national team competition in the Olympic Movement ahead of their 2020 Olympic Games debut.

he International Surfing Association (ISA) has expressed its delight following the announcement that Surfing will be added to the 2018 Asian Games. Confirmed by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Surfing will feature for the first time at the 2018 edition of the continental Games held in Indonesia – becoming part of its 42 sport program.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre, said: “The news that Surfing will feature at the 2018 Asian Games reaffirms how far we have come as a sport following last year’s historic decision to include the sport in the 2020 Olympic program.

The Asian Games commence on August 18, with the Surfing program scheduled to begin on August 22. The competition will run for ten days, with both Cimaja in Java and Krui in Sumatra cited as possible venue locations. Test events will be held at the former, with both short board and long board disciplines taking place.

“These are very exciting times for the ISA. We are seeing extraordinary growth and increased popularity of the sport across the world, and the Asian Games will provide an incredible platform to further showcase Surfing and its core values to a wider audience. With a unique and modern blend of performance, style and youth culture, we aim to stage a world class competition that expresses all these positive elements of the sport.

The ISA, which also acts as the sole international federation in charge of Stand Up Paddle (SUP), has additionally held its official SUP and Surfing Instructor Symposium in Bali, Indonesia, for the past two years, and will do so again in 2017. The announcement of Surfing’s inclusion at the Asian Games comes just six months after the ISA celebrated the sport being added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games program.

“OUR OLYMPIC DREAM BECAME A REALITY LAST YEAR, AND THE ENTIRE SURFING FAMILY IS EXCITED TO CONTINUE TO BUILD ON THIS UNPARALLELED SUCCESS TOGETHER.”

At the time, ISA President Fernando Aguerre hailed the Olympic announcement as a “game-changing moment for Surfing”. This latest pic: surfer.com

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pic: www.thetourspecialists.com.au

WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR LIVEABOARD DIVE TRIP “Eat, sleep, dive” is the motto of liveaboard life. We’ve compiled expert tips and tempting tales of some of the best liveaboard experiences out there to help set your planning in motion.

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WHAT DOES THE LIVEABOARD COVER?

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iveaboards will cover meals, water, snacks, and basic necessities of a hotel stay, like a towel, shower toiletries and bed linens. You will only need enough cash for snacks and alcoholic beverages, which is not covered.

The liveaboard will not have a store or pharmacy, so bring anything you might need in feminine products or medications. If you’re seasick, take motion sickness tablets, although your boat or captain may have some to provide. 1. Take two wet suits. That way one is always hanging up and dry, so you won’t always be putting on a clammy, wet suit.

8. Pack everything in soft-sided bags, as they will be easier to stow in your cabin.

2. Also, take a light sweater or longsleeve T-shirt. The AC is usually kept on the chilly side in the berths and saloon and after diving you’re core temperature is always a little down.

9. And go easy on the clothing. You’ll be in and out of the water all day, so a few pairs of shorts and some t-shirts is all the wardrobe you’ll need, plus a fleece jacket. Yes, even in the tropics. As mentioned before, multiple days of diving daily will lower your core temperature, making evening breezes seem downright cold, not to mention the fact that many liveaboards keep the air conditioning cranking in the lounge and dining room.

3. Check with the operator to find out what water temperatures and conditions you might encounter, and pack thermal protection ac‑ cordingly. Remember that you will probably get colder as the week progresses (your core temp goes down with extended immersion), so throw in an extra vest or hood. 4. A marker float and compact reel is always a good self-rescue addi‑ tion, especially if you will be diving from smaller skiffs instead of from a moored mother ship. 5. Go for smaller, high intensity LED lights to save weight and space in the gear bag. 6. Chargers and extra batteries are obviously important, but don’t go crazy on the spare parts and re‑ dundant gear. You’ll likely overload your bags and end up paying excess baggage charges, and most all live‑ aboards stock a full range of spares and loaners. 7. If you are on any prescription meds, make a copy of the order form, both for emergency resup‑ ply and to satisfy curious customs inspectors.

13. If you are a serious photogra‑ pher, pack a portable hard drive with a viewing screen and plug-ins for usb and flash memory cards. If your laptop dies on the trip, you’re still able to download. And if your laptop doesn’t die, you’ve got your images backed up.

10. Unless the shore side itinerary calls for wilderness hikes, a simple pair of flip flops or Crocs may be all the footwear you need. Many divers end up going barefoot during the day and maybe slipping on some comfy footie socks at night. 11. With the exception of an iPod, leave the entertainment at home. Most boats have a good collection of books and DVDs, and you usually end up spending the majority of your surface intervals napping or reliving your diving adventures with your fellow passengers. 12. Bring an extension cord, because the electrical outlets are not always next to the most com‑ fortable place to sit while review‑ ing your images on your laptop.

pic: www.coralgranddivers.com

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A day pack sized backpack

Sarong and/or towel

Two swimsuits

A long-sleeved shirt

Two t-shirt or tank tops

Flip flops

Sunglasses

Facial moisturizer

Dive log book & Scuba diving card

Toiletries

Sun Hat or Baseball Cap

Ear plugs

Hair detangler conditioner

(Eco friendly) Sunscreen

Dive items

Motion sickness pills


AND, IF YOU ARE A NON-DIVER Know that at mealtimes, most conversations will revolve around‌diving! Divers like to talk about what they saw underwater, scuba gear, cameras, anything about scuba diving! Many live-aboards keep a small library of fish identification books onboard that a non-diver might enjoy as much as a diver, and will give them a visual to put to some of the table talk!

Check with the reservations staff. Ask about possibilities for snorkeling. It might not be allowed depending on the itinerary, weather, safety issues, or due to local government regulations. Most live-aboards do allow snorkeling, but it is always good to check ahead.

Check about Internet access and expense. Because live-aboards operate in remote locations, some have no Internet, and some may provide it for a fee.

Make sure the non-diver is prepared with anti-seasick medications and/or patches. Even the strongest stomachs can get queasy after many days on a live-aboard. Good tip for the divers too!

Bring lots to do independently. Books, tablets, movies, music, organizing photos on your computer. (Artistic visualization of a e-books)

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10 THINGS SCUBA DIVERS NEED TO KNOW DON’T TOUCH Even if it feels tempting to touch the turtle’sback or the corals: Don’t. You have no idea how big damage you can cause

WATCH YOUR FINS If you don’t have control of your fins, you have no idea what they are breaking or who you are kicking in the face. If you hit something: Stop,look & if necessary take a stroke with hands

KEEP BLOWING BUBBLES It’s the most important rule in scuba diving & should be on-your mind all the time when diving.

NEVER EXCEED YOUR LIMITS Something pretty a little deeper down isn’t worth dying for. Never exceed what you feel comfortable with or what you are trained to dive.

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DON’T FOLLOW PEER PRESSURE This goes with point 5, don’t dive if you are not Confident that it’s the right dive plan for YOU. Don’t let anyone else say what is right for you.

BUOYANCY SKILLS This is one of the most important skills a diver can master. Breath in to go up, out to go down. Only use the BCD to Compensate for depth changes.

DIVE GEAR Take care of your dive gear & your gear will take care of you. Don’t slack on dive equipment maintains.

WATCH YOUR AIR Stating the obvious - always remember-to monitor your air, as often as you can.

DON’T TOUCH Yes we covered this already, but we don’t mindrepeating. Don’t touch anything underwater.Take only pictures leave only bubbles.

LISTEN TO T  HE BRIEFING There’s nothing worse than a diver who didn’t pay attention to the dive guides briefing, &ends up getting lost or spoiling the dive,because he didn’t know what to do.

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HOWOCEAN  POLLUTION AFFECTS HUMANS THE DEVIL IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA

THE CAUSES

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Leia Cruise A houseboat from Holiday Kerala

The world famous backwaters of Kerala is a chain of lagoons and lakes, is situated in the central region of the state of Kerala, which is on the southern west tip of India is also known as the Malabar coast of Arabian sea. Kerala was placed among the `50 destinations of a lifetime’ by National Geographic Traveler in a special collectors’ issue released just before the turn of the millennium & also the book says the houseboat along the Kerala backwaters are the height of comfortable cruising. The Backwaters are a network of interconnected canals, rivers & lakes. It has a unique ecosystem: Rich in aquatic life, thousands of native and migratory birds, splendid nature and few million human that leave around the region depend on its natural water resources. The best way to experience this region is to sail. A

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holiday on an exclusive houseboat will also give you the comfort of your home and you can witness the magnificent gift of god.

like to feel the surrounding can lazy at our sunset terrace and one can choose to dine under the moon as we offer private candlelight dinners.

Leia Cruise is one of its kind houseboat designed to the most modern comforts and luxury. Unlike the cruise vessels or yachts, it is lavish in space. The houseboat is rented to a couple or a family as exclusive, and hence one’s privacy is never indulged. The boat has well-furnished bedrooms, modern hygienic toilets, cosy living rooms, a beautiful kitchen. Out of the three bedrooms on Leia cruise, one is located on the upper deck of the boat and has a private balcony and sun deck. All rooms and living spaces have an excellent visibility of the surroundings through the glass windows which can also be partially opened. The highlight of this cruise is its unique open terrace and moon dining space. One who

Fresh food and the days catch are cooked by our in-house chef in the houseboat kitchen. The inimitable local cuisine and cooking style is never to be missed though the kitchen can always cater to international travelers palate. “A cruise along the mirrorstill lagoons, picture-book lakeside, palm-fringed canals and shimmering rivulets of `God’s Own Country’ is the most enchanting holidaying experience in the country. With a cruise along the palm-fringed meandering waterways turning to be part and parcel of holidayers’ itinerary, the traditional kettuvallam has emerged as the mascot of Kerala Tourism.”


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LIVEABOARD

DIRECTORY FLOATING ASIA 2017

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Floarting asia 2017 | Summer Edition  

Floating Asia is a Magazine dedicated to those who wish to enjoy, explore and experience the splendor of Asian Liveaboards. With this annual...

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