The Ocean of Colour

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TH

ED YU SCUB 7 CO BLA MO ISSUE 1 | FEBRUARY 2023
ENTREPRENEURS
TURTLE CONSERVATION
As diverse as our oceans BLUE
The Blue Economy
Two Oceans Aquarium
Bridging the gap in narratives
Diver: Ed Olu Yusuf Photo Credit: Katie Storr
05 Editors Note 10 Black History Month 17 Corals 14 Black in Marine Science 19 TurtNews 22 Blue Entrepreneurs 26 27 Local Travel 28 Expeditions 33 Going against the grain EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Katie Storr Zandile Ndhlovu ART DIRECTION Katie Storr Zandile Ndhlovu WRITING & COPY EDITING Katie Storr Zandile Ndhlovu SPECIAL THANKS Alex Kaufmann Sophu Qoma PUBLISHED BY The Ocean of Colour - Issue OnePhoto Credit: Jacki Bruniquel 07 08 Katie & Zandi's Take 44 1th Hour Newest Ambassador 42 Film maker of the Month 47 Tea Time 49 Brands we Trust PHOTOGRAPHY/DESIGN Katie Storr Zandile Ndhlovu INQUIRES oceanofcolour@gmail.com CONTRIBUTORS Marsha Ahmed Elle Jimenez Ed Olu Yusuf Dr Tiara Moore Jamilla Janna 37 Mermaiding Full Time 50 Yoga Retreat 52 Health & Wellness

THEOCEANOFCOLOUR

Dear Ocean Tribe

Dear Ocean Tribe,

Welcome to our first issue of 2023, that celebrates Black History Month but also celebrates the return of this publication, stronger and more inspired

3 things,

First, we hope you've had an incredible start to the year, second can you believe its almost March already, three, how is your self care commitment going?

As we pursued the work to put this publication together, we were led by where our hearts live - the need for diverse representation in Ocean spaces, the need for diverse expression in the voices that live in the ocean space, and also, the expansion of narratives that live around the ocean and what is possible in this space.

What we realize is this, the diving market is niche and perhaps closed, and when we speak about the need to expand representation, it is off the mark of knowing how small the BIPOC community is in diving

And so this hearts work is in the hope to not only grow our numbers, where this is a monthly read you look forward to, but it is compiled in hope that when a little human dreams about anything ocean facing, they may find themselves represented enough to believe that 'they can too' This is all we could ask for

Love,

A S D I V E R S E A S O U R O C E A N S
M E S S A G E F R O M T H E E D I T O R S Mermaid Katie Zandi The Mermaid
Zandi Ndhlovu aka Katie Storr aka
COLOUR AS DIVERSE AS OUR OCEANS OceanOf 5 THE OCEAN OF COLOUR
Photo Credit: Zandile Ndhlovu

Take K A T I E ' S

Being a Black Business Owner from a global perspective has shown me that there is a lack of access to community networks, funding and economic opportunities Especially networks in the ocean space, there aren't many options for BIPOC Blue Economy Entrepreneurs This must change!

There were quite a few moments I wanted to give up when faced with what felt like unnecessary challenges brought on by jealousy (in my circle). But those were short lived after Zandi reminded me how far we've come and WHO I AM in the world. I am extremely grateful for her and we also realised we have never met in person (it's been 4 years now) and so, have made it a goal that in 2023, she would come to visit me in The Bahamas for an epic adventure (Does anyone want to join?)

A laser focused year - and Reflection

2022 was nothing but amazing I spent the entire year focusing on building up the foundation of my business This was my main goal for 2022 because building a strong foundation makes a strong home After all, no one wants a sandcastle

I spent 2022 defining my brand voice in the oceans blue economy and it was the most difficult year I have ever had as a business owner One of my goals was to implement sustainable practices and products (No more printed receipts - we are now fully digital)

The business plan I started from 2014 has been completed and I learned how to create financial reports YEAHHH ME & MY VILLAGE!!!

Ultimately, hard work pays off and no matter how challenging it may get remember "you got this baby!" Be humble, be kind, spread love, smile with gratitude and most of all just keep swimming Your passion is your energy Pass that on to others Don't fight the flow The ability to adapt to whatever is thrown your way, always seeking the positive from what might have been uncharted territory or an uncomfortable situation is a precious gift It starts with your mindset WORK ON THAT

Be AUTHENTICALLY YOU and be encouraged

Our ocean community may be small but we are making waves, and 2023 is the year of The Ocean of Colour, a diverse sea of endless possibilities You belong here too, so whatever your dreams are, always remember to speak your truth

ONE LOVE - Katie

Katie Storr, PADI MSDT & Oceanpreneur
"Success should not be measured by your money or status It's the difference you make in your communities and the lives of those around you."
7 THE OCEAN OF COLOUR

Take Z A N D I ' S

I keep saying ‘what a time to be alive’ because early on in my life, I realised that the world behaved strongly as though Black voices were tolerated and not heard, and so ‘best to behave’ or assimilate, or behave in proximity in order to exist and thrive, and for the first time, probably since 2020, has been efforts and finally a liberation of Black voices and bodies, to be, without apology, at least this is my experience

My skin rests, my voice has never been clearer and my mind is sharp and there is a readiness and intentionality like I’ve never felt before, which is incredible

And so, as we boldly show up, my celebration in this issue, is Black History Month, a gent asked me why I celebrate Black History Month when its an ‘American thing’, why does it matter to you? he asks,

I say 'we share a collective history, how is what is being celebrated there any less to what all Black and Brown people have been through in times past and present?'

He says I hear you, I say the narrative must change for the collective This skin stays going through the most and even when you rest, still

Beautiful people

I am beyond excited for Katie and I to have come back to actively choosing to continue with this publication, the thing is this, we ’ re gonna have to create the worlds we hope for, and this is easily one of the spaces that I’ve always dreamed we'd create, a place where explorers, surfers, divers, and scientists are Black too, and are actively celebrated, and so here we are

And so, this issue could quite literally be called Black Joy in the water, something I dream about daily, and look to create in all the moments I can when underwater, whether I am infront of camera, behind camera or out with the kids in the Foundation, their joy spurs me into all the new worlds that are possible as we change narratives, expand worlds and live in the fullness of our humanity.

In closing, don’t forget to take care of you, strong is not the only thing we are

Xx
Zandile Ndhlovu, an Ocean Human
"Strong is not the only thing we are"
8 THE OCEAN OF COLOUR
Location: Tofo Mozambique Photographer: Zandile Ndhlovu

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

CHANGING THE NARRATIVE

Black History Month is a celebration of Black achievements that were not acknowledged or celebrated due to oppression and various systems that indoctrinated an entire globe to perceive Black people as less. And so, this is a celebration of time, progress and the reminder to current generations and those to come, of contributions to the World by Black people, seen and unseen, and as we have come to see, the world of firsts continues to unfold, and so, Black history is continuously being made and celebrated.

This topic is large and complex, and so I would like to start here, where fellow PADI AmbassaDivers wrote about their own experiences and the collective challenges faced by BIPOC divers globally and a deeper dive into what Black History Month is about. This article moves us forward from there. The Ambassadivers assertions/quotes referenced below, link back to the article here

I use BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and Black interchangeably through this writing,

for the primary reason that I realize that there are people who may not be white but don’t identify as Black but as Indigenous or People of Colour, and even still, realize that this does not encompass all identifiers of a people, but would like to premise this discussion with the acknowledgement of how Black and Blackness is cascading, and in this cascade, is the orifice of different experiences of Blackness, in the hue of our skin, the curl of our kinks, our proximity to whiteness and this relational exchange with access.

SPECIAL REPORT
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Photo Credit: Craig Kolesky

We use Black to speak of a collective, where the collective experience is oppression by colonial systems that are still at play today.

I often wonder why this is, the question of diversity and its importance is known. We know our shared history of slavery and oppression.

We know the challenges faced here in South Africa from the hangover of apartheid, this said tongue in cheek,

Each year, this time comes around where the attempt to amplify Black voices and Black history comes around, and Black bodies are grabbed in all directions in hope to be the aesthetic of Brands that assert to be inclusive, care about Black people, Black struggle and seemingly echo the plight of Black people while allyship precedes all conversations.

And yes when February is done, we find ourselves back in places and spaces that are undiverse, our faces shuffled down the IG grid, billboards taken down, because like Alannah so beautifully said, ‘Diversity is hot right now’

We know that Black people and people of colour don’t have equal chances of accessing opportunities, and in diving, an even further reach, because of the costs associated with being able to access the sea, explore the sea, have the experience of having dived worlds for years barriers to entry. And while the resources required are more than money, there are the basics that are always overlooked - having parents that can swim as Dr Tiara rightfully mentions fears that surround waters in generations before us, if this is the case, how do we learn as young people entering the space, and then, time currency, where parents work 2 or 3 jobs to keep up life as we know it.

The idea of recreational living is a small sliver of our existence when survival remains at the core of the Black lived experience, we are still just trying to live to see another day, place food on tables, and ensure school fees are paid, in ‘good’ schools.

The ocean carries so much history, and so much of it, centres around people that were dispossessed of their homes, identities, cultural richness and motherlands, to build worlds we now call first worlds and yet the systemic holds across these worlds around who belongs where and the paperwork to prove said belonging.

Part of the first world experience is access to resources that the global majority cannot access, including ocean exploration, and the endless tick boxes required to live and work in the ocean space,

Become an ally. For Black people to exist in Ocean spaces, what feels so radical is how slowly, we are also working to film underwater - by the cost barrier to entry alone, this is ground breaking! And so, create space to house and empower Black creators with hopes to work professionally on and in the water - the luxury of worlds chartered and years shooting underwater is the exact barrier that keeps Black people out when just the gear required to capture anything underwater costs lifetimes

Use your voice. There is no shortage of moments where I have gone diving and not had to face racism, prejudice, bias or othering. Whether it is to hold safety, or to protect the human, be that person.

Partner Black creators, we should not only qualify for ‘budgets’ in Black History month when we stay Black all year, consistently living within worlds that assume us less. Partner creators, actively engaging in having a voice in your organization that brings a wider lens than the current normative. We are all a normative.

Representation and inclusive normatives change perceptions, this creates room in incomplete stories, it allows us to believe that we belong too, and in this belonging and connectedness is a greater protection of these incredible oceans, by the global majority too,

It is to actively speak, to actively hold multiple spaces including embodying the humanity in being angry as the time calls for it, because we are not only monotones of white acceptance, where we assimilate to exist, or speak in ‘palatable tonality’ , read as ‘speaking in the normative of power’ , in English, speaking in ‘white’ There is power in diverse spaces, diverse backgrounds and diverse minds, tap into the gold this is.

And so, what happens when it stops being ‘hot?’ We then cease to matter, and continue to attend events that will have panels of only white people as experts in diving and exploration, or the best part, ticking BIPOC boxes, this means, 2 or 3 Black people (One Black, One person of colour, One indigenous person) at an event with over 10 even 20 speakers.

This Black History Month, my call to action is the following 5 things, 1 2

Follow more Black creators, intentionally choose to widen your lens of Ocean contributors. Learn. It is not for Black people to educate you about their hair, their bodies, and their lived experience, nor why your perception is harmful when it is.

This is how we bridge the gap that exists in who an ‘explorer’ is, and who a ‘diver’ is. It expands equality, equity and ownership in, it changes the narrative definitively, not only at convenience.

Black History Month is not only American, but encompasses all Black people and People of colour, because part of the story of Black history, lives on multiple continents. We should embrace this.

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"There is power in diverse spaces, diverse backgrounds and diverse minds, tap into the gold this is."
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2. 3
Model: Katie Storr

COFFEE TABLE BOOKS

Book cover image of Zandile

"This inspiring collection combines breathtaking photography with powerful narratives from women who swim, surf, kayak, study glaciers, advocate for water conservation, carry forward their ancestral fishing traditions, and more... These first-person stories explore themes of independence, strength, healing, and self-discovery in nature

Helpful how-tos on everything from cold water swimming to taking underwater photos are interspersed throughout the book, making it easy for readers to get outside and get their feet wet The result is a joyful tribute to the strength women exude in and on the water in a beautiful, chunky volume that makes an empowering gift for teenage girls, new graduates, and outdoorsy women of all ages"

Tap Here to Pre-Order

13 THE OCEAN OF COLOUR

BLACKIN MARINESCIENCE

TiaraMoore

Black In Marine Science, now globally referred to as, “BIMS” is a 501c3 nonprofit aimed to celebrate Black marine scientists, celebrate environmental awareness and inspire the next generation of scientific thought leaders

Founded in 2020 the main goals of the organization have been to increase ocean literacy in the most impacted communities while also changing the face of who people see as scientists by providing barrier free programming and operating a thriving YouTube Channel, BIMS TV. Our two top programs BIMS Week and our BIMS Immersion Program (BIP Week) has provided a network and professional development to hundreds of Black marine scientists around the world and through BIP Week, 17 participants have received SCUBA certifications free of charge

BIMS TV houses over 200 educational marine science videos featuring Black marine scientists across the world, has over 18 thousand subscribers and has received over 32,000 views

What I’ve noticed over the past few years is the uptake in diversity initiatives but rarely is there a plan for retention of these initiatives outside of the timeline of a 1-5 year grant I am cautiously hopeful though with the UN Decade of Ocean Science By 2030 there are major goals aimed to decrease our impact to the ocean and there is a large human centered component to the sustainability goals

While there are no specific goals to specifically address racial equity or the lack of diversity in marine and ocean sciences, I’ve been able to travel two UN meetings in Egypt and Portugal and share about the work we are doing at BIMS

I retain hope simply because of the use of the platform and know that whenever I am invited to speak the message will at least impact one person in these thousand people filled rooms and they take it back to their own institutions

For me and my work, I don’t need a timeline or big event to think about the needs deeply on a daily basis I often say people are burnt out or give up because they are doing diversity work and simply box checking As for me and mine, we doing justice work and I’ll simply never get tired of freedom and liberation

As I do this work, I’m distinctly see and almost hear Audre Lords saying, “The masters tools will never dismantle the master's house” So my motto has been how do we use the masters tools, resources, network to simply build a new house? It’s honestly not my job or my mission to dismantle to centuries of white supremacy rooted in the academy and ultimately in the foundation of the STEM workforce, but I can create something better

For More Information on BIMS please visit our Website

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"Black In Marine Science reminds me everyday that the lack of diversity in marine science was never about a lack of interest among Black people; it was always about a lack of access and resources in the field itself to ensure the success of Black people "
THE OCEAN OF COLOUR
Photo Credit: Katie Storr

CORALS

THE MOST IMPORTANT CREATURES ON THE REEF

Continue reading at next page >

TYPES OF CORALS

There are two main types of Corals:

Hard Corals

Known as reef-building corals, hard corals use calcium and carbonate ions from the seawater to build their internal skeleton structure made from lime stone (calcium carbonate).

Most reef building corals are made up of hundreds of thousands of individual polyps, a tubular sac-like animal with a central mouth surrounded by a ring of tentacles. These tentacles are covered in stinging cells called nematocysts.

Soft Corals

Soft corals although resembling trees, bushes and grass are not plants at all, they are animals. They are non-reef builders and do not form the reef by producing calcium carbonate skeletons. They are fleshy and soft, but contain small calcium carbonatelike formations in their tissue. These formations are known as sclerites.

Zooxanthellae

Coral tissues contain photosynthetic algae that forms a symbiotic relationship with them. The coral provides a home for the zooxanthellae, and in return the algae provides essential nutrients and colour to the coral.

There are many threats to this beautiful relationship, including ocean acidity, the increase in water temperatures and sea level rise. These threats can stress and affect the health of this forged relationship. Causing the zooxanthellae to leave the tissue and the coral begins to turn pale which we know as coral bleaching.

HERE'S HOW YOU CAN SAVE OUR CORAL REEFS!

When engaging in ocean activities, one of the things I educate my guests about is their skincare products As an ocean explorer are your skin care products marine-friendly and environmentally friendly? (Refer to the favorites section, we've got a few products for you!)

It's in the ocean and planet's best interest to purchase 'Reef Safe' sunscreens and skincare It's also advisable to use lotions rather than sprays - oxybenzone and octinoxate are toxic to coral reefs. Check the 'active ingredients' on the label because it is not always true that a product is reef-friendly, eco-friendly, or eco-friendly Be sure to purchase sunscreens that use non-nano zinc oxide as their active ingredients do not contribute to coral bleaching.

Check the label to ensure your sunscreen of choice does not contain the following ingredients from the HEL List. If it does, it is time for a change:

Oxybenzone

Octinoxate

Octocrylene

Homosalate

4-methylbenzylidene camphor

PABA

Parabens

Triclosan

Sunscreens with "exfoliating beads" are microplastics

18 THE OCEAN OF COLOUR

RESTORING SEA TURTLE NUMBERS

TURTNEWS

I recently had the most incredible opportunity to witness turtles being released back into the wild, by the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation Team, 3 things stood out for me that I'd like to expand on,

And so, Ive always held a curious duality around Aquariums, one, the idea that all life must be free but also, to be able to witness marine wildlife and all wildlife quite frankly, requires the highest level of access to make it possible, and so, Aquariums are important in fostering and expanding dreams for the greater collective, bringing home worlds that in all our imagination, could never quite fit to form, like how an aquarium gives us eyes to.

And then second to this, is the Turtle conservation Centre at the Two Oceans Aquarium, we know that a large part of our turtle species are endangered, but we don’t often see the why and the how. Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation brings us closer to this reality, whether we are talking about Bob, a Turtle that came in and was rehabilitated over 8 years, helping Bob regain his eyesight, his strength his health and his ability to fend for himself in the wild. When Bob was found, he pooped plastic amongst many other tings, and I cannot imagine anything that could bring us closer to the reality of the harm that plastic causes than this moment.

And then Nobomvu, who was trapped in a 50kg fishing net while her own body weight was about the same when she was found and so, a clear inability to swim and fend for herself as any wild animal would be able to, bringing home the question of our food choices, awareness of where our food comes from and how it was caught. And then of course the little hatchlings that battle to make it out to sea, whether from tyre treads at the beach after hatching, or mother nature being hard, you very quickly come to realize that we cannot deny human impact when observing the stories of the turtles that have needed help.

The second part, the work.

Witnessing the commitment and passion from the team at The Two Ocean Aquarium towards the care rehabilitation of these turtles commendable. It tells me of a collective hope for a better tomorrow for these animals, but also for humanity.

And last, the Ocean.

The invite to witness the turtles be released back into the wild was emotional for me. A mixture of being worried for the little hatchlings and the amount of plastic waste and micro plastics that are in our Oceans and how this becomes an active challenge for these little ones, rising the question of if they will make it to adulthood and be able to reproduce, in this, restoring the numbers of our turtle populations, and wondering if they are safer at the aquarium.

I know the end in mind for the team is always to take the rehabilitated turtles back into the wild, this is crucial, but also the question of how do we make their home safe for them too… how do we keep ours out of the sea, how do we do even better?

There aren’t conclusive answers because context matters, but perhaps we start with the individual work, Saying no to single use plastic in every moment we can, this means - reusable bags, reusable cups, reusable straws, and in the plastic we already have, ensuring to reuse and find places where perhaps this plastic can take on another form - like a swimming costume or the pair of Adidas running shoes I have made from repurposed plastic waste, and last, how intentionality is everything, conscious consumption is everything, and in every single moment, you can be the change that creates the ripple effect in your own community.

There is no thriving humanity without thriving oceans.

"There is no thriving humanity without thriving Oceans."
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Photo credit: Katie Storr
The Turtle Conservation Work The Ocean as a Marine life habitat 1 2 3
How
the Aquarium being where it is brings us collectively closer to Marine life that we would not ordinarily be able too see if your life doesn’
t revolve and live with the sea,
THE
Photo credit: Craig Kolesky
OCEAN OF COLOUR

Did you know the carbon sequestered by kelp forests is comparable to that of mangroves, salt marshes and seagreass meadows combined? Reduving the amount of CO2 in the water also reduces local ocean acidification, making the seaforest a refuge for marine life.

Ref : Sea Change Project

Photographed: Kelp Forest, South Africa Photo by: Zandile Ndhlovu

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BUSIN BUSINESS ESS

OCEAN INNOVATION

Investing in our planets future through ocean-related industries that improve economic value, sustainable development, ocean governance and policy making.

OPERATING IN THE BLUE ECONOMY

Katie Storr

Now Now

BLUE ENTREPRENEURS

OCEAN INNOVATION

Reducing our carbon footprint and improving the quality of our experiences in and on the ocean is extremely critical to our customer service and logistics "Our future depends on healthy oceans and as a business owner I want to ensure that I am taking action to minimise our carbon footprint The choices we make today have huge long-term impacts on our future, that is why we have implemented sustainable billing options (paper less invoicing) digital business cards, reusable glassware and plates (no single use here!) Hay Straws (which we reuse for our composting pile in our own back yard garden to grow our rosemary, mint and basil used to garnish our drinks onboard), we encourage reusable water bottles Recycling of beer bottles, and most importantly we shop at our local farmers market for the freshest produce Every small bit counts and small changes to your lifestyle matter I do believe if we set the bar and educate our clients they will do so as well and pass it on to those around them For future generations, The Mersquad will continually innovate and improve It is one of the most significant things we can do for the economic development of our country What are some of the things you have implemented to reduce your carbon footprint in the blue economy? Do you have a business in the Blue Economy? If so I'd love to hear about it! Email us at oceanofcolour@gmail com

DETAIL >

INDUSTRY >

DIGITALINVOICING

Paper invoices produce three times more CO2 than digital ones Digital Invoicing is the change for better, improving efficiency and cutting costs It reduces your company ’ s carbon footprint and is an easy way to aadd to your sustainable business goals Oh and lets not forget the best part digital archiving, no more filing cabinets There are programs like Quickbooks that allow direct client emailing straight from the ams SAVES TIME!

MEETTHEOCEANPRENUER

Hi there, I'm Katie Storr the owner of The Mersquad Yachting a unique services company founded by yacht industry professionals, with an extensive and diverse body of work in the marine blue economy, scuba diving and yachting industry Our vision is to connect adventure travel seekers scuba divers and luxury yacht owners/crew with quality services and activities Providing innovative and sustainable private tours scuba diving, and yacht support services

What was your first job?

My first official job in the yachting industry was at the age of 18 working onboard a 70ft sport fishing vessel

What is the most valuable traits to have as a novice yachtie?

Eagerness to learn No matter how much you know there is always room to improve

What would you say to someone who is interested in this career?

It can change your life! You pretty much have no overhead, so you can save ALL of your money if you play your cards right And you'll get to live and work in the most incredible places people only dream How did you land the job?

I won't sell you a dream you won't always get the job The best thing to do is network I flew to the USA to meet the yachting crew agents face to face to check in I also "dock walked" handing out my CV, staying consistent and professional at all times Even when you feel like giving up you must be patient Job hunting in this industry is like playing a professional sport it is very competitive You have to be persistent and have perseverance

THE BUZZ >
B U S I N E S S N O W
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GETTINGSTARTED

The truth is starting your business can be very time consuming Therefore, this is something you ought to prepare yourself for However running a sustainable business takes heart and passion It could be quite intricate there are a lot of moving parts When I first started I had absolutely no idea how to run a business let alone a sustainable one It's still a learning experience 5 years later! It is important to always be open to learning something new EVERYDAY! We had to do a lot of research, sleepless nights, and selfexploration at the beginning of it all There is no correct way to do this If you want to explore your options starting a side hustle/business can be an alternative way to make money until the day you are ready to set sail from your 9-5

At the start of this journey I promised myself that I would get as much experience as possible I studied hard volunteered got side jobs that were directly related to the ocean industry Knowledge is a powerful thing and it will take you a long way as a budding entrepreneur Be innovative! There are so many ways to save our oceans while being a blue entrepreneur All ocean-related careers and businesses aren't necessarily related to science or marine science

The “Blue Economy” is an emerging concept that encourages better stewardship of our ocean or “blue resources” Blue entrepreneurs play a vital role in transforming ecological challenges into economic opportunities while developing innovative and sustainable business models We are the ones that will invest in our planet's future through ocean-related businesses that improve economic value sustainable development ocean governance and policy making In The Bahamas we rely on the blue economy for jobs income and food Globally approximately 350 million jobs are linked to the oceans through fishing aquaculture coastal and marine tourism, eco-tourism and research activities

We are the future of ocean innovation

E X P L O R E

Authentic and Intimate Experiences

Connecting adventure travel seekers, scuba divers, and luxury yacht owners/crew with quality services, and activities. Providing innovative and sustainable private tours, scuba diving, and yacht support services Let us show you first hand why we say it’s Better in The Bahamas.

YACHTING est. 2017
Tap Here to Learn More

Cape fur seals are endemic to Southern Africa. they are found as far north as the Southern tip of Angola, with colonies occuring all along the coastlines of Namibia and South Africa, up to Algoa Bay near Port Elizabeth.

Ref : Animal Ocean Photographed: Cape Fur Seals, Cape Town, South Africa Photo by: Zandile Ndhlovu

LOCAL TRAVEL

VIBES MOZAMBIQUE

TOFO, MOZAMBIQUE

Traveling to Tofo

Travel in Africa remains some of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had, and definitely more of the travel I hope to do, the continent has so much to offer, particularly in marine wildlife encounters and I'm here for all of it!

This trip was incredible for me because I’ve often driven to Mozambique and this trip was all planned around using public transport, and so flying from Cape Town to Maputo, and then taking a bus to Inhambane, and then a Chapa (taxi), to Tofo, the experience was different but in all ways, safe and reliable aside from the endless stops by the police to check vehicle registration I assume

My Advice

My advice for when you visit,

carry cash, it makes you interactions easier, especially in the fresh food markets!

The Ocean

I went out with a dive school called Peri Peri Divers to Scuba dive and snorkel where we had incredible encounters with whale sharks and dolphins, and on Scuba, I easily had some of my best dives ever! Beautiful diversity of life and beautiful topography! It was also here that I finally saw a manta, a little in the distance and stillthemostincredibleexperience!itreallywasspecial!

You can also hire all gear needed both for Scuba and the Safari and learn ti dove if you wish! We also surfed endlessly while wakingtothemostbeautifulhumpbackwhalebreaches!

Cape Town VIBES

Enjoy the copious amounts of coconuts and fruits that come around everyday!

Support a fisherman on a day you decide to do a fish braai, Support local - there are beautiful hats dresses, and kapulanas (yes I bought a few more)!

And visit the many little restaurants that serve delicious food!

A F R I C A N C O N T I N E N T
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LOCAL TRAVEL

VIBES BAHAMAS

SCUBA DIVING, THE BAHAMAS

More than one destination within a destination

It's imperative to remember that The Bahamas is more than just Nassau (the capital) This archipelago of islands boasts endless adventures by boat or by plane The Bahamas consists of 2500 cays and 700 stunning islands waiting to be explored It is a cultural experience with delicious food, rich history, impeccable weather (year-round), more than one destination, within a destination, and much more! As you all know we came here for the ocean, so let's talk diving

Let’s talk about Blue Holes! The Bahamas is the Blue Hole Capital of the World One of the most fascinating experiencesof my life was scuba diving into a blue hole Did you know there are more blue holes on Andros than anywhere else on earth? 175 of them inland and another 50 scattered around the shallow waters offshore. The Bahamas National Trust which established Blue Holes National Park in 2002 has created a spectacular adventure trail for adventure seekers to explore They can witness the preservation of these impressive natural wonders

Shark Time is the best time! (My fav!!) I love spotting sharks on dives and it makes me so proud to educate my students on their importance I am so grateful to my country for having declared over 600,000 km2 of ocean waters as a shark sanctuary This prohibits any commercial fishing of sharks, possession, sale, and trade of any shark products. Isn’t this wonderful? Scuba diving is much more exciting with these impressive animals gracefully swimming throughout our waters. The Bahamas has paved the way as an example for many countries This is because it is a leader in shark conservation and Marine Protected Areas

Cape Town VIBES

You must experience a shark adventure in The Bahamas! There are about 40 different species of sharks in The Bahamas Some of the most common ones you may have heard of are, the Grey Caribbean Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, Bull Sharks, Lemon Sharks, Tiger Sharks, and the White Tip Sharks Sharks are worth more alive than dead in The Bahamas, the home of shark tourism. Sharks keep our ecosystems healthy and our dive industry thriving. Protectingthem keeps our coral reef systems healthy which in turn supplies food and jobs for Bahamians

It is my passion to share The Bahamas with you through Adventure, Scuba Diving, Bahamas Destination Travel, Eco Tourist Adventures, and Underwater Photography Let’s plan your next adventure vacation to The Bahamas today!

When it comes to adventure in The Bahamas, my favorite activity would have to be exploring the Tongue of the Atlantic Ocean on scuba Its dramatic wall drop-offs start at 40ft and drop off to about 6500ft running throughout The Bahamas Showcasing underwater canyonswithoverhangsandschoolingfish,amazingtopographywith cascadingsandyslopes,andpelagicmarinelifecheckinginafterlong Atlanticcruisingtrips,thereissomuchtoexplorehere

The Bahamas has the third largest barrier reef in the world located east of Andros Island It is approximately 35 nautical miles from the capital, New Providence Island. Andros is the largest island within The Bahamas archipelago. It's not only known for its barrier reef, but alsoforitslargeareaofforestry.

T A K E A P L U N G E D I V E R I G H T I N - C R Y S T A L C L E A R W A T E R S
Email us at oceanofcolour@gmail.com Exploring the Underwater World
Katie Storr 27

EXPEDITIONS

FEATURING ALASKA

REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NOT GO SCUBA DIVING AROUND THE WORLD NO, BUT SERIOUSLY, CAN YOU EVEN SWIM?

Scuba Diving Around the World with Ed

Are you ready for an exciting underwater adventure around the world? OK, Let's put on our scuba gear and explore some very diverse oceans of color!

We’ll start with Southern California, my home base, where I blew my very first bubbles underwater. The water is vividly green and abundant with sea life. One can dive alongside friendly sea lions and spot colorful Garibaldi fish hiding in the kelp forest But be warned, the water is deceptively chilly - so make sure to bring your thickest wetsuit and a thermos of hot cocoa California divers typically weave the diving lifestyle into their everyday routines A quick dip before or after work, endless weekend adventures exploring the easily accessible dive sites up and down the coastline or a short distance offshore

extreme Iceland! My first dive experience outside North America: is Silfra in Iceland, where I got to swim between the tectonic platesofNorthAmericaandEurope Thewaterissoclearthatyou canseeforover300feet,thevisibilitybasicallyextendsoutallthe way until the fissure turns a corner - which is great if you want to spotthecreepytrollstatueslurkingatthebottom Spoiler, there are not - it’s mostly just rocks and algae And did I mentionthatthewaterisonlyafewdegreesabovefreezing? And what’s to be said for the 8-11 degrees Celsius Hout Bayside? Well on the best days you can have the most incredible visibility, with Kelp Forests looking like 3D versions of magical worlds unimagined!HereyoucanfindSeals,Fish,andSharks Thoughthe crispwatermightbeaforcetoreckonwith,onceenvelopedinthe bigfeelsyoucanbegintoenjoyyourdive!

Don't worry, though - just throw on a dry suit (training required) and you'll be as cozy as a polar bear in a parka I’ll be honest though, diving Silfra is a bit of a novelty But it re-inforced what I felt after diving for the very first time I can do anything! Now having made my all the way to the Land of Fire and Ice to dive, I might as well check out some of the many outdoor excursions Iceland had to offer Or perhaps, I had way to much bookmarked from Instagram influencers Glaciers, black sand beaches, frozen craters, geothermal pools, and wild nights out in the capital Reykjavík. I was starting to formulate my dive travel modus operandi and I didn’t even realize it.

When I started diving, I wholeheartedly just wanted to do my basic open water and only dive on warm vacation trips here and there Boy was I wrong One thing led to another then I found myself submerging every other weekend for a couple of years straight Enough to start wondering what else was out there, in those far-away dive sites teeming with all sorts of adventures waiting to be experienced I’m insufferable! So I jump right off the deep end and went extreme.

S I X C O N T I N E N T S A N D C O U N T I N G
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The bone-chilling Silfra water made the halfheartedly promise to only explore warm waters going forward. I would bite my tongue on this later. So next, I head to the Caribbean, where the water is as clear as the rum punch at the beach bar. I dove in turquoise waters with gentle sea turtles in Aruba and drifted alongside majestic eagle rays in Cozumel. But beware of the occasional barracudas in Cuba- they may look friendly, but they have a serious case of RBF (Resting Barracuda Face). And the island time lifestyle was just what my Shaman prescribed for my wellness. Diving in the Caribbean is such a beautiful experience above and under the waves. As such, these experience hold a special place in my heart.

Then the bug bites again. Go somewhere different. Explore more. Next, let's take a trip to the Gili Islands in Indonesia, where the water is just as warm and the vibe is even more laid-back. You can dive with schools of vibrant tropical fish and swim through coral gardens. Just be prepared to share the water with some of the partying backpackers on the island - who may or may not have had a few too many Bintangs, and then some. This is amazing. One goes to dive for the solitude of scuba and come back enriched with a deeper understanding of a people, culture and human nature.

I needed to keep exploring. Moving on to the Red Sea in Egypt, where the water is even warmer and the coral reefs are out of this world. Spotting schools of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even the occasional shark was just as mersmerizing as perring into the abyss of the Blue hole and the graphic history entombed in the wreck of the Thistlegorm. Just be prepared to hear a lot of "Welcome to Egypt!" shouts from the locals trying to sell you trinkets and souvenirs. Some of the warmest hosts I’ve been privileged to engage. At this point the realization sets in. Hold on, we’re four continents deep at this point. Why not push for diving all seven?! A loftly ambition that may have crossed my mind watching the waves on the beaches of Lagos, Nigeria where I grew up without any real thoughts to actually pursue or even try.

Fast forward back to this moment and the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel seemed top spark a little. I had always wanted to set foot on all continents but life happened and I kind of tabled the idea for ‘someday maybe.’ Heads down scuba diving seeking adventure brought to the possibility of actually accomplishing this giant ambition. Challenge accepted. I will dive all 7 continents. One level deeper than just setting foot on them. Wow - my mind is blown - wait, so what next?!

Now we’re in Ushuaia's Beagle Channela cold and mysterious dive site at the bottom of South America - a short boat ride from the southernmost city in the world! Here, I dove the icy waters and witnessed the beauty of the underwater ecosystem within the forests of kelp, like California but much colder. Playful sea lions and freakishly giant crabs and jelly. Don't let the cold water fool you - the sea life is just as lively and colorful as in warmer climates. Plus, there's always the chance of spotting a penguin or two, or a magnificent whale albeit in distress - true story for another day. Having the rare opportunity to help untangle her solidified the Ushuaia dive experience as super extra special. Absolutely unforgettable. Antarctica was going to be next but then... More pandemic - virus resurgencemore confusion - no go this time.

Ok, we’ll switch gears Do some more warm dives before taking another shot at the Icy Continent. Let’s head down under eh? One can't go diving around the world without visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef. You already know! Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef is like entering a whole new world of color, creatures, and wet suits that make you feel like a seal. It's like being part of an exclusive club where you get to hang out with all the cool kids, like clownfish and manta rays. They're like the underwater version of celebrity sightings! But be prepared for some real divas down there. Those sea turtles can be quite sassy, and the reef sharks think they're the bosses of the ocean. They swam right up close and gave that "I'm watching you" look that's equal parts intimidating and comical.

comical. Let's not forget about the incredible coral formations. Diving here is akin to swimming through a psychedelic dream where everything is neon and alive. Like the underwater version of a bustling city, with all sorts of creatures going about their daily lives. As I explored the reef, the damage caused by climate change and pollution because front-center and undeniable. It's like seeing a beautiful garden slowly wither away, and it's a sobering reminder that we all need to take better care of our planet. I left with a newfound appreciation for the beauty and fragility of this interstellar entity we call home - Planet Earth. Plus, who doesn't love swimming with sea turtles and sharks?

Six Continents down, one very cold one to go. Remember what I said about ditching cold dives for good, after diving Iceland? Yea, the chicken’s come home to roost. Next up will be Antarctica. But first, let’s have a quick stop in Alaska - the ultimate destination for hardcore scuba divers who love a good adrenaline rush. Here, you can dive in some bitterly cold waters, alongside some of the most stunning marine life on the planet - including giant Pacific octopuses, otherwordly looking sea-whips (google it) and humpback whales. But diving in Alaska isn't for the faint of heart. You'll need to suit up in a dry suit and be prepared to hop on a helicopter to reach some of the more remote dive sites. Now, I know what you're thinking - diving in icy waters with dry suits and helicopters? Why on earth would anyone subject themselves to that kind of torture? But let me tell you, there's nothing quite like the rush of diving in such extreme conditions. Plus, you get bragging rights for being a certified badass. Alaska has a lot of one-of-a-kind dives. The conditions can be miserably but immensely fulfilling. I left miserably happy!

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a newbie just starting out, there's a dive site out there waiting for you. Everyone should have the opportunity to experience the beauty of the underwater world, regardless of skin color, gender, body type, ethnicity, or nationality. It's time to break down the barriers that prevent people from exploring the ocean and embrace the diversity that makes our world a more interesting and beautiful place.

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Photo credit: Katie Storr
THE OCEAN OF COLOUR

More organizations and individuals - Like Ocean of Colour and the Black Mermaid foundation - are working tirelessly to promote diversity and inclusion in scuba diving. These efforts include promoting education and training for underrepresented groups, mentoring programs for aspiring divers, and outreach programs to communities that may not have easy access to diving resources. The scuba diving industry is also making strides in promoting diversity and inclusion. Equipment manufacturers are developing gear that fits a wider range of body types, and dive operators and travel companies are creating packages that cater to diverse groups of divers.

The benefits of promoting diversity and inclusion in scuba diving are vast. Divers from different backgrounds bring different perspectives and experiences to the sport, which can lead to new discoveries, innovative approaches, and a deeper appreciation for the underwater world. Moreover, by increasing the diversity of people involved in the sport, we can also ensure that the underwater world is appreciated and preserved by a wide range of people. We must continue to work together to break down barriers and create a culture that is welcoming to all divers, regardless of their background. By doing so, we can help to ensure that the magic of the underwater world is accessible and appreciated by all. Frankly, let's face it, the underwater world is just too big for one particular group to dominate. It's only logical that we want to see divers from all works of life exploring the depths. Plus, the sea creatures are probably getting bored of seeing the same old faces all the time. So, let's embrace and celebrate diversity in scuba diving and make the fish happy.

Scuba diving can be an exciting and diverse experience, as each corner of the earth offers unique underwater environments and species. From the clear waters of the Caribbean and the Pacific to the icy depths of Antarctica, you can encounter diverse marine life, shipwrecks, and vibrant coral reefs. Each dive location offers its own challenges, making the experience both exhilarating and educational. However, it's important to keep in mind that scuba diving also requires proper training and equipment, as well as following local regulations and environmental guidelines to ensure safe and responsible dives.

More organizations and individuals - Like Ocean of Colour and the Black Mermaid foundation - are working tirelessly to promote diversity and inclusion in scuba diving. These efforts include promoting education and training for underrepresented groups, mentoring programs for aspiring divers, and outreach programs to communities that may not have easy access to diving resources. The scuba diving industry is also making strides in promoting diversity and inclusion. Equipment manufacturers are developing gear that fits a wider range of body types, and dive operators and travel companies are creating packages that cater to diverse groups of divers.

The benefits of promoting diversity and inclusion in scuba diving are vast. Divers from different backgrounds bring different perspectives and experiences to the sport, which can lead to new discoveries, innovative approaches, and a deeper appreciation for the underwater world. Moreover, by increasing the diversity of people involved in the sport, we can also ensure that the underwater world is appreciated and preserved by a wide range of people. We must continue to work together to break down barriers and create a culture that is welcoming to all divers, regardless of their background. By doing so, we can help to ensure that the magic of the underwater world is accessible and appreciated by all. Frankly, let's face it, the underwater world is just too big for one particular group to dominate. It's only logical that we want to see divers from all works of life exploring the depths. Plus, the sea creatures are probably getting bored of seeing the same old faces all the time. So, let's embrace and celebrate diversity in scuba diving and make the fish happy.

Scuba diving can be an exciting and diverse experience, as each corner of the earth offers unique underwater environments and species. From the clear waters of the Caribbean and the Pacific to the icy depths of Antarctica, you can encounter diverse marine life, shipwrecks, and vibrant coral reefs. Each dive location offers its own challenges, making the experience both exhilarating and educational. However, it's important to keep in mind that scuba diving also requires proper training and equipment, as well as following local regulations and environmental guidelines to ensure safe and responsible dives.

Find your everyday adventure, no matter who you are.

Lean in Embrace it, but don’t let it consume you.

These adventures never get old. Everywhere is on my list and I’m working on it. The best is yet to come. Next up is Antarctica. But that’s a story for another day and another time. Stay adventurous my friends.

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RUN THE BLACK MERMAID THE BLACK MERMAID SIGN UP

Researchers estimate 'The Sardine Run' to rival East Africa's Great Wildbebeest migration. This mass migration draws an array of marine predators. These include the Common dolphin, Cape's gannet, Cape fur seal, Blacktip shark, Dusky shark, and Bryde's whale amongst others.

BLACKMERMAIDINFO@GMAIL.COM JUNE 16-24
FOR MORE INFO EMAIL
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Photo Credit: Katie Storr

Marsha

To persevere.

"Being a small woman, some questioned my ability to guide and be a good instructor"
Ahmed

Going against the grain

As a kid my family always enjoyed a good picnic by the sea. I grew up going to the beach often but had a fear of the deep sea up until I got the chance to do a discover scuba diving in 2012. From that first breath underwater I fell in love with this whole new world I got to experience and that fear vanished and seemed foolish.

I was determined to explore more, so I taught my self how to swim properly and began my scuba journey.

I did more than 100 dives during this time perfecting my skills in and out of the water. I was very lucky to have a job straight out of Instructor development program once back in the Maldives. Since then I have worked in multiple atolls in the Maldives and got to see some of the best dive sites that Maldives has to offer.

It’s hard to to think of just one encounter but I must say the first time I swam with alongside a whale shark was pretty darn cool and will never forget that experience, as long as I live. I’ve got lucky enough to encounter wild dolphins on some dives as well as getting to see manta rays for the first time was magical.

I I worked hard to be here and I belived in my self and my abilities to become an scuba instructor. By cancelling those doubting voices from others and sometimes mine I managed work even harder to get where I need to be. I’m so glad that I didn’t let it get to me. Imagine that world?

Soon I realised this is what I want to do as a profession. What would be better than getting to live your best life, doing something you’re passionate about as your job. I worked my way up to rescue diver here in the Maldives and decided to take a break from my work to go to Philippines to get my Dive master and instructor courses done.

I spent 3 amazing months in Malapascua, Philippines as an intern to get my professional scuba certifications.

When I first decided to become a dive instructor there were some who doubted me. Being a small woman, some questioned my ability to guide and be a good instructor. It can be disheartening at times but I decided that others opinions of me are not of my concern and I knew that I have what it takes to become a professional in this field.

had so much support from my loved ones to pursuit my passion .

Maldives, still is a conservative country in some ways and does have this societal expectation of going down the path of finish school, get a regular job, get married and settle down and a scuba instructor job was not seen as a real job for many people. It was seen more like a hobby especially for a woman. When I became an instructor there wasn’t a lot of female instructors or atleast that I knew of. There were few women I knew who had decided to go down the same path and I saw that they were successful and thriving in this field and I looked up to them. It definitely used to be a very male dominant industry but the gap is closing in close now. Yes, there’s still isn’t as many women compared to the men and a long way to go but there has been a major shift in the industry.

My name is Masha Ahmed and Im from the Maldives and based in the raa atoll, Maldives. I work as diving and watersports center assistant manager at euro divers maldives.
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" ...a scuba instructor job was not seen as a real job for many people. It was seen more like a hobby especially for a woman."
THE OCEAN OF COLOUR

Every year there are more and more women getting in to this career path and it makes my tiny heart so full. It’s seen now a place for men and women alike and if you have what it takes to go through the journey it’s really doesn’t matter. The younger generation is falling in love with the underwater world harder and more intensely and they’re no longer listening to the nay sayers. They’re choosing to follow their heart right into the big blue sea.

I think people had this idea that if you work in this field is all about being in a bikini and you lose your culture and religion once working and start being with people of all walks of life and faiths. But this can’t be more further to the truth. You can be a devout in your faith and still do something you love as your work. The sea and the scuba community doesn’t discriminate if you choose to wear a bikini or choose to dress modestly. It’s all about the shared love and passion for this beautiful world we get to experience together.

For the the girls who want to work in this industry I only want to say, stay true and believe in your self You have as much of right to take space in this place and keep your head held up high Not one journey is the same Most importantly do it with all the love you have and always protect what you love and have fun and stay safe

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Photo Credit: Janik Alheit

M E R M A I D E L L E

MERMAID ELLE

How I made 'mermaiding' my full time job

Shell yeah, you read that right! I have been a mermaid for 7 years, professionally that is It all started while I was a passionate entertainer who loved making crowds smile, laugh and awe at the beauty and energy of dance and circus Mermaiding was far off my radar at the time, in 2016, when mermaids were just a figment of the world’s imagination Compared to now where there has been a tidal wave of change!

One lovely sunny South Florida day, while working on my full service event entertainment business in Miami, I was requested to perform as a mermaid for an event which I immediately declined because I did not know how to swim In fact, I was terrified of the water, the ocean, the depths, and anything deeper than up to my waist Growing up as a little afro-Taíno girl in the mountainous parts of my Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, I rarely saw the beach, let alone went swimming

My friends eventually convinced me to change my mind with a subtle phrase “if it scares you, it might be a good thing to try, that is what growth is all about” So I said yes but with the condition that I would train before the event in just a couple of months I also love a good challenge I knew this one was going to be a tough one

Inevitably, I ended up taking swimming lessons Then I became a scuba diver as part of my research for learning more about this mermaid character I was subconsciously creating Although, while scuba diving I realized my apprehension wasnt really about the fear of drowning or sharks or any other water related fear TV & movies have engraved in our heads It was claustrophobia Being in the depths of the ocean even while breathing from my regulator, I panicked, just being surrounded by all that water and its pressure on me I am grateful for my amazing open water instructor for making me feel safe, helping me let go by being so patient and helping me complete the certification I also took basic freediving courses to work on my breath hold and buoyancy

But not everything goes as planned! Because of the weather and outdoor temperature, the day of the event I couldn’t swim as a mermaid, and rather laid by the pool to entertain Yes, after all of the work leading up to it! The universe works in such interesting ways and even though I didn’t swim my first performance, I was deeply grateful for my training

C A R E E R
M Y F I R S T M E R M A I D A P P E R A N C E 38

After my first mermaid event, I did a couple more and then a couple more added up to every weekend, sometimes 2-3 events per weekend, just performing as a mermaid, adapting the performer in me to the water From kids parties, to corporate events, to venues and hotels, I became Miami’s Mermaid Elle

I had no idea that this was going to take over my life! So much that I started going back to the ocean more and more, for more “research” on portraying a real mermaid but in reality it was a love so deep starting to grow inside of me The ocean was changing me

My mermaid performances began grabbing the attention of reporters and writers, even casting agencies All of a sudden I was a mermaid on famous musical artists' music videos as a stunt mermaid diver and mermaid actress, on TV interviews, traveling and performing at upscale events, making a full time living as a mermaid

During my beginning years as a professional mermaid and scuba diver, I realized there was something missing from my artistic work as a performer I couldn’t think “mermaid” and not think “ ocean ” , and my love for the sea was growing bigger dive after dive but also my exposure to all of the threats our oceans face from our human impact were becoming more noticeable and heart breaking This is when my Saving the Seas Project was born

# S A V I N G T H E S E A S

The Mermaid Elle #SavingtheSeas project is an ocean conservation initiative created to provide mermaid edu-tainment and inspire humans of all ages to start saving the seas and become a part of the eco movement My kid’s show mermaid character developed into a mermaid superhero princess who earned her crown for doing a good job at #SavingtheSeas This decision gave my work so much more purpose and my performances evolved into more than just a mermaid performer, but an ocean edu-tainer I studied Marine Ecology and partnered with ocean conservation non-profit organizations to support their work by donating a percentage of my mermaid profits

O N T H E S P O T L I G H T
M E R M
A I D W I T H A P U R P O S E
39 THE OCEAN OF COLOUR
COLOUR AS DIVERSE AS OUR OCEANS OceanOf

This mermaid life continues to make waves in ways I least expected In early 2022 I started working with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), in promoting their new PADI Mermaid Program Working with one of the leading mermaid tail companies in the world, CapeCali, I was already a fin into the world's largest diving training organization While collaborating with CapeCali on mermaid tails and transferring from another diving organization, I became a PADI Mermaid Instructor It all came full circle I open my own diving business, teaching my students how to dive in the ocean as mermaid divers, similar to freediving but in a monofin and mermaid tail Also collaborating with other freediver and open water instructors to grow my dive business

My journey at PADI evolved quickly After just a few months as a PADI Mermaid Instructor I became a PADI Mermaid Instructor Trainer, the highest level in the PADI Mermaid Program where I get to make new PADI Mermaid Instructors and hence, more mermaids The mermaid community is rapidly growing!

I also received a certificate of excellence for helping rescue an unconscious scuba diver found at sea while I taught one of my courses in California, news that traveled all over the world’s media outlets From literal zero to a hero in 7 years My life couldn’t be more serendipitous

Being a mermaid entertainer, edutainer, ocean advocate and a mermaid diving instructor has brought so much fulfillment, struggle, self-discovery, triumph and empowerment I am so proud of where I started and how my journey unfolded so mermagically indeed!

Follow me on social media @themermaidelle @savingtheseasproject

B E C O M I N G A T E A C H E R
40 THE OCEAN OF COLOUR
Photo Credit: Zandile Ndhlovu

BLACKMUSLIMFEMALE STORYTELLERAND SCIENCECOMMUNICATOR

‘My elder’s once told me that we are the land that we walk on, the animal’swecoexistwithandtheGod weoweitto.’–JamilaJanna,Hluleka

I am a black Muslim female storyteller and science communicator currently pursuing my master’s degree in Zoology at StellenboschUniversity.

in KwaZulu-Natal and now I am living in the Western Cape. Somehow, I have moved from one coastal province to another but only truly appreciated the ocean when I started my undergraduate degree in marine biology in 2015 My journey as a marine biologist has been one filled with humbling moments of learning and growth. Sparked from a deep infatuation of the ocean, I became an advocate for healthy oceans and a spokesperson for youthandfuturegenerations.

My advocacy unlocked new knowledge, challenging how I would advocate for the oceansasablackwoman.

FilmakeroftheMonth Feb2023
42 THE OCEAN OF COLOUR

In 2018 I presented my honours project at the Conservation Symposium in Durban I really enjoy translating science and that week at the Conservation Symposium, I received an award for my presentation The award was from NEWF and I automatically became a finalist for the 2019 #NEWPitch Competition This meant that I could turn my science into a short film I always say, wherever the ocean leads, I follow! The film took a life of its own and instead of it becoming a film about invertebrates in a marine protected area (MPA); it was a film about how marine protected areas (MPAs) have marginalized and perpetuated injustices on coastal communities of colour in South Africa

The film titled Hluleka (2020) focuses on the smallest marine protected (MPA) in South Africa, its namesake: the Hluleka MPA It focuses on my journey as a scientist In the film I am at the crossroads of conservation and environmental justice and I am seeking answers on how I (and policymakers) should approach two important topics: marine conservation and environmental injustice The film Hluleka was nominated twice taking the Best Enviro and Wildlife Film award at the Simon Mabunu Sabela KZN Television and Film Awards in 2022 and taking 2nd runner up at the Handle Climate Change Film Festival in 2021 The short film has been selected in 12 film festivals has been referenced in a scientific review paper and has been used by policymakers conservationist activist marine educators and environmentalists as a reference point for inclusive decision making in marine conservation I have submitted a second film proposal and I am awaiting feedback This second film aims to celebrate Africa s indigenous knowledge systems and advocates for this advanced knowledge to be incorporated in marine conservation and policies (I would love to say b h i ll h f )

I have told stories in several forms, taking home awards from two different symposiums (SAMSS and WIOMSA) for my science presentations in 2022 I hope to continue telling stories while collaborating with other amazing Africans Not just science stories but Africa’s stories too At this moment, the two things I am excited for and looking forward to conquering is my freediving course and my master’s degree

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1 1 T H H O U R AMBASSADOR

Zandile “Zandi” Ndhlovu is South Africa's first Black African freediving instructor, TEDx speaker, filmmaker, explorer, and passionate storyteller. She joins the 12strong cohort of 11th Hour Racing’s ambassadors – a community of athletes and creators who act as changemakers and use their influence to rally fans and peers to act for the ocean. Each ambassador has the opportunity to work on an ocean restoration project with an organization of their choice, supported by 11th Hour Racing.

11th Hour Racing

Announces New Ambassador, Zandile

“I looked beneath the surface, and my mind was just blown. I held my breath, and I felt this feeling I’d never felt before, a sense of being home – I had finally arrived,” recalls Ndhlovu of her first time diving. “I believe in the collective’s ability to bring change, I believe in partnership. We're all working to protect our oceans, and so, what a time to be alive as we witness the power and impact of the collective dream. 11th Hour Racing does incredible work to protect our oceans; to join this fold is to be seen and to be partnered in all the ways that matter.”

Ndhlovu aims to change Africa’s narrative about who belongs in the ocean and to diversify representation in ocean-facing careers, sports, and recreation. Her dream of eradicating the fear of deep waters by exposing kids to the ocean became a reality when she founded The Black Mermaid Foundation to create a space where fear expands into love. As an ocean conservationist, and diversity and inclusion specialist, Ndhlovu is helping Black people find comfort in the world beneath the water’s surface -- to feel as at home as she did when she first experienced life underwater, where creatures coexist without borders, race, or gender.

This connection to water, coupled with a shared vision of a healthy ocean, is what led 11th Hour Racing to South Africa in 2022 to collaborate with Ndhlovu for the production of Ocean Hour Film – an artistic film that explores the relationship athletes have with the environment they are immersed in through a seamlessly interconnected dance represented through sailing, freediving, and skiing.

Ocean Hour Film will premiere in May 2023 in Newport, Rhode Island, in conjunction with The Ocean Race’s only U.S. stopover – more information will be available soon on the film’s digital hub, where you can sign up to receive updates.

11th Hour Racing is part of the family of philanthropic organizations and initiatives started by Eric and Wendy Schmidt to make the world a better place for everyone. The Schmidt Family Foundation supports a number of organizations in Cape Town and Johannesburg that work on issues ranging from sustainable fisheries and agroecology to community organizing for clean energy access and human rights.

About 11th Hour Racing

11th Hour Racing works to mobilize sports, maritime and coastal communities with an innovative approach to inspire solutions for the ocean. Since 2010 the organization has been harnessing the power of sport to promote collaborative, systemic change through three primary areas of engagement: Sponsorships, Grantees, and Ambassadors. Meet all of 11th Hour Racing’s ambassadors who are creating change for the ocean. Learn more at www.11thhourracing.org

Ndhlovu grew up in landlocked Soweto, a township in South Africa. However, she didn't discover the joy of freediving until she traveled to Bali in 2016; upon her return home, she vowed to make the ocean more accessible to Black people in South Africa Today, she is one of the country's most impactful freedivers and is recognized among the Global Top 100 Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) Under 40.

“11th Hour Racing’s ambassadors embody the organization's mission and are in a unique position to influence their communities to become more curious about the ocean and to explore their own connection with nature,” explains Alessandra Ghezzi, communications director at 11th Hour Racing. “We are incredibly grateful for Zandi’s work, which has the potential to reverse years of fear and stereotypes around access to water. Working with Zandi is a real honor.”

Ndhlovu South Africa's first Black African freediving instructor works to diversify representation in oceanfacing careers
THE OCEAN OF COLOUR 45
Photo credit Craig Kolesky Model: Tanika Hoffman

Recap - Hot Tea Topics

Fashion Week : Kylie Jenner was spotted wearing a lion head at Paris fashion Week This whole saga caused a whole stir, our challenge was this, yes the lion's head was not real, but does it then make it okay? And perhaps a little further, do we have an obsession with dead animals to adorn even if they are 'make believe?'

Orcas pillage 7 Gill Cow Sharks: A renown Great White Shark Scientist, Alison Towner, shared her recent work on Instagram, that told of an Orca attack at Pearl Beach near Gansbaai, where 17 dead Cow sharks have washed up There is concerns around the se numbers, if there are more and more we dont know The decimation of teh Western Cape Shark populations remains a curius case as the 2 Orcas causing havoc continue to decimate shark populations Great White Shark numbers have dwindled too What are your thoughts on this matter?

Sustainable Fashion : Fast fashion is seeing us witness mountains of wasted discarded clothes, this is a eminder that slow is often sustainable, and that borrowed/rented can somwtimes be just as good as new for the event that youre shopping for Sustainable is the way of the future, and as always, we vote with our spending, there are many brands doing work to lessen theoir carbon footprint while actively working to source their materials sustainably, vote with your spend!

Oh, there was more hot tea!!! So be sure to follow us to catch up on the latest in news, reviews, and the latest sip sip

The world is changing and we need each other more than ever now not only as an ocean tribe but as Black and Brown people showing the world that we belong here and there is strength in numbers. And, with this understanding, we can invite more BIPOC people to participate in ocean activities, and conversations addressing any pre-existing fears that are ocean-facing, and above all celebrating the ocean and how diverse it could be by seeking out content creators, travel experiences, and putting them in one place to disseminate into the world

We are extremely passionate and blessed to be in this space and sharing it with you is one of our most beautiful gifts brought into existence. Our paths have collided and we are ever so grateful to have found each other and more so to have found our ocean tribe and family

And you, supporting this milestone in our journey as Water Womxn you've truly given us a newfound reason to create more content and diversify representation in the ocean arena

I will see you there on Wednesday sipping on tea, present and ready to receive healing, knowledge, and wisdom from your ocean sisters Zandi and Katie

Love you all, Zandi & Katie

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L I V E O N I N S T A G R A M T H E O C E A N O F C O L O U R P R E S E N T S : JOIN IN The Conversation Send us your Hot Tea Topics The Real Hot Tea W i t h Z a n d i & K a t i e
EMAIL ➤ theoceanofcolour@gmail.com Follow @TheOceanOfColour on Instagram
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Current Favs

B r a n d s w e T r u s t

JULIA BUCHANAN SWIMSUIT

Julia is a Cape Town based designer, doing incredible work to create sustainable fashion items that are not only flattering but quickly become favs too!

FAITHFUL TO NATURE SHEABUTTER

Shopping at Faithful to Nature is a sure way of knowing that your items have been sustainably sourced while getting the best quality. We use Shea Butter to protect our kinks between dives.

SPIERRE FREEDIVING FINS

These composite carbon fins are the best fins for places like Cape Town's kelp forests or when filming udnerwater, mine are slightly shorted and help propel power while enabling fluif movement between the forest.

BIG BLUE & YOU UTENSIL TRAVEL SET

JHaving perfectly packaged utnesils while you travel is a sure way to reduce your single plastic use usage. this is a current fav that is light and easy to pack.

ESSE SKINCARE SUNSCREEN

This sunscrren works incredible for protection from teh sun, it is also Vegan, Organic and Reef safe, all teh things that matter.

NIKON Z30 VLOG CAM

Tell your story your way. This tiny vlog setup is fantastic for travel and capturing your life on the go, the vlog kit comes with a tripod and mic so youre always ready to capture the moment, telling your story, youer way.

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AN EXPERIENCE TO REMEMBER

Let's embark on a journey to Saint Lucia. Over six days, this retreat will be a one-of-a-kind experience deeply rooted in yoga, culture, and adventure. Prepare to experience bold, flavorful, and fresh cuisine and to move and breathe along with the ebb and flow of the Caribbean sea. All levels are welcome as we explore our growth on and off our yoga mats.

June 22 - 27, 2023

FLOW IA

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HEALTHY ROUTINES

HEALTH & WELLNESS

WHY GET A MASSAGE

Oh how we hate that tense feeling or your muscles screaming to just be touched If you have never had a massage, here are some reasons why you should It reduces pain, muscle soreness and tension. Improves circulation, energy and alertness Lowers heart rate and blood pressure If you are anything like me when it comes to lifting dive tanks and dive gear, you will feel it at the end of the day

But, which should you choose, since there are different types?

RELAXATION OR DEEP

A relaxing massage uses lighter pressure and a deep tissue massage uses firmer pressure and is not necessarily relaxing Deep massages are beneficial for those with muscular injuries, soreness, built-up tension and muscle stiffness.

I do prefer DeepTissue Althoughh it issomewhate painful it really does help to relax your muscles in the end I would suggest trying a relaxing massage if you are a newbie to massages

TIP: DRINK LOTS OF WATER AFTER A MASSAGE. THE MANIPULATION OF MUSCLES CAN DEPLETE THEM OF WATER AND LEAVE THEM DEHYDRATED. AND BOOK ANOTHER ONE!

Send us your top 5 tips for Health and Wellness and you could be featured in the next issue!

NATURE'S CORNER:

Nature's Corner is about all the remedies that have been passed down to us or our sure fire ways to heal the body

COCONUT WATER Firstly, it is very tasty and coconut water is very low in sugar and calories Potassium, sodium, and manganese are among the electrolytes found in coconut water Those looking to increase potassium intake (but don't like bananas' taste) should try coconut water Coconut water contains 600 mg of potassium while bananas contain 450 mg.

STEAMING is used for congestion and flu-like symptoms. Here you would boil water, and once it boils, turn off the heat, adding ginger or Vicks to help clear the congestion You would then take a towel or blanket and cover your head, inhaling the steam from the pot at a fair distance, careful not to burn your face You can do this for 10 minutes, with a maximum of 20 minutes This sweat build up will allow your body to expel the hibby's and clear your congestion in a few days

G O G E T A M A S S A G E , Y O U D E S E R V E I T .
52 THE OCEAN OF COLOUR
Photo Credit: Zander Botha

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We want to hear from you! Share your stories for a chance to be featured Let's chat travel, diversity, health, and wellness and your epic underwater stories. Write to Us ➤ oceanofcolour@gmail.com

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TRIPS South Africa Travel with Zandi & Katie For any current trip enquiries, email oceanofcolour@gmail.com Book your trip and travel to the picturesque islands of The Bahamas with Katie aka Mermaid Katie B O O K N O W ➤ H T T P S : / / B I T . L Y / 3 9 D Q N L R DONATE Support our Vision paypal.me/The OceanofColour Paypal LEARN FREEDIVING & EXPLORE SOUTH AFRICA The Bahamas CONSERVATION VACATION & SHARK DIVING COLOUR AS DIVERSE AS OUR OCEANS OceanOf
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