In the eyes of the mantis

The secrets of the Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Photo: W. Schmit

Photo: W. Schmit

If you join Blue Marine Dive guides, you might have witnessed them gesticulate trying to show you something, mimicking eyes on the head, punching the water with their fists, to finally explain that the creature has disappeared in a hole. Well most likely, they were trying to show you a peacock mantis shrimp. Rare animal to see in some ocean, here diving from Gili Trawangan or Gili Air, it is not at all uncommon to see this colorful shrimp. "Mantis shrimp belongs to the group of marine crustaceans. There are around 400 species of mantis shrimps that inhabit shallow subtropical and tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. They spend most of their life hidden in the rock crevices and burrows on the bottom of the sea. They have colorful shells and body posture that resembles posture of praying mantis." (http://www.softschools.com/facts/animals/mantis_shrimp_facts/620/ )

Photo: W. Schmit

Photo: W. Schmit

One of the coolest thing in those shrimps, be the peacock mantis or the spearing mantis, are their eyes. Each eye can move independently and each eye is divided in 3 compartments, with three individual iris. This means that each eye is like three eyes! It is known to be the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom, and one other crazy fact is that they can see ultraviolet and polarized light. One experience was done with a peacock mantis shrimp in an aquarium with two tunnels. One of the tunnels had polarized light and if the shrimp went there it was given food. It quickly learnt that choosing the polarized side meant food, and repeating the experience in different setting showed that it could recognize that type of light (and likes to eat!!!). Why is this interesting? Well medical research is trying to use specific lights to cure cancer. So maybe one day we will hear that the peacock mantis shrimps have helped discover the cure to cancer!

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 A second really cool fact about those shrimps is whether they are spearers or smashers. If they are smashers like the peacock mantis shrimp, then you will find out that they have a punch almost too fast for your eyes to see . So fast that it creates void. The molecules of water separates and leave an empty space. It is said to be 50 times faster than a blink of an eye, so definitely you will have to put your video in slow motion if you want to see that. Oh yes, you can also compare their punch with the speed of a .22 caliber bullet. Cool no?

At Blue Marine Dive, we like to share our knowledge about underwater creatures. If you do your Advance Course with us, you might choose to do a Fish ID Adventure dive. And with a slate in your hands, you will record all about what you see during your dive, and spend a nice moment with your instructor looking in the fish book and hearing stories about all those animals. If you are not sure about the course that you want to take, have a look on the padi website: https://www.padi.com/padi-courses/padi-course-catalog

 

To hear all that and see images as well, have a look at this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5FEj9U-CJM

 

See you soon on Blue Marine Dive Blog, on facebook or instagram, for more cool facts or infos about the life on the Gili Islands.

All photos by our instructor/cameraman Walter G. Schmit.

In Diving or in Yoga: Never hold your breath!

Never hold your breath, you must have heard this on your first Blue Marine Discover Scuba Diving, and again so many time if you did your Open Water Diver Course. And if you have already followed some yoga classes, you might as well have heard your professor telling you not to hold your breath, even as you are sweating to keep your balance on a difficult pose. So as you can see, diving and yoga have a very big connection: Breathing is the most important thing.

Mandalablue yoga in Blue Marine Dive Gili Air

During yoga, you learn how to calm your breathing, to calm your mind, to be in the present moment and not be disturbed by any invading thoughts. Scuba diving will bring you the same kind of peace, a moment out of time where you will be fully in contact with yourself and conscious of the experience that you are living. Samantha Allen, a diver and yogi explains her experience like this: "Yoga and scuba diving both produce a sense of tranquility that’s like a vacation from the stresses of ordinary life. Both can create a meditative state of mind that allows you to live fully in the present moment.When I dive, my mind goes quiet so I can enjoy the natural world and the sensation of soaring above the sea floor. Even on land, diving can act like a shortcut to the meditative mind." (http://www.doyouyoga.com/why-yoga-and-scuba-diving-are-the-perfect-pair/#)

After diving, you usually come out with a feeling of happiness, and inner peace, realizing how lucky you are to have lived this special experience. Many say that they get the same feeling after meditation or yoga practice. Doing both activities can only be of benefit. As you learn to master your breathing through yoga, you will enjoy longer dives and extend this well being brought by the no gravity world.

Our divecenter Blue Marine Dive already offers on Gili Air a full range of Yoga courses on site. With its beautiful setting right on the beach you can only unwind by being in this place. Taking a step further and closer to the water, you can also try yoga on a stand-up-paddle board! All those courses are available as well on Gili Trawangan and the SUP yoga course is to be watched every morning from the Blue Marine Dive Center as they start from the beach area there. Don't hesitate to ask your diving instructor about where to join yoga courses or how to schedule your diving after your morning yoga class. You can contact us anytime via our facebook pages : Blue Marine Dive Trawangan or Blue Marine Dive Resort

And if you want to learn more about SUP, stay tuned, an article will come soon.

More info on yoga and diving on the padi website: http://www2.padi.com/blog/2015/03/17/4-yoga-moves-for-divers-to-stay-strong-and-keep-calm/

SUP Yoga @ mandalablue yoga - Blue Marine Dive

SUP Yoga @ mandalablue yoga - Blue Marine Dive

GoPro Diving, get the best from an easy underwater device

Underwater photography is not easy. The divers who have tried it will tell you: blue pictures, blurry or over exposed, the flash picturing all the particles in the water and not the beautiful fish behind, the difficulty keeping your stable buoyancy, adjusting a light... It is not for nothing that we offer photography courses! But in the last 5 years, a new kind of underwater photography has emerged. The GoPro underwater photography and videography. It is much easier because there are no settings to manage. No zooms, no color balance, just a click. Anyhow here are a few tips and advice for those of you jumping in a dive with your stick.

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-get a grip: it is highly recommended to have a handle and any kind of strap around your wrist. You wouldn't believe how many GoPros are being found at the bottom of the ocean. One of our divers found a GoPro 4 in Sunset divesite last week! A non buoyant handle is practical as it is not pulling your camera to the top when you let go of it. A head strap is interesting because your videos won't be so shaky, but it will not be so practical for photos. Also headstraps are lost quite easily, so a mask with GoPro mount is safer. Experience with wrist mounts or back of the hand mounts aren't usually very comfortable. Divers are seen struggling to set their hand in the wanted position to take a picture or make a film. Finally, any kind of pole can be interesting so that you stay further out of the reef and have more space to assure your buoyancy, but remember to pull the pole back to its minimal length after your picture. There is nothing more annoying than having a diver with a one meter pole in the middle of a group.
-add colors: as you will be going down underwater, the first color that you will lose is the red. To avoid having all you pictures and videos looking blue, simply add a plastic red filter on your housing. The difference will be great, but remember to remove it above 5m and when making your way up to the surface!
-keep the focus: as everything moves underwater, you need to stay as stable as possible. But you can't stop the fishes from moving, so I recommend to use rather the camera mode and shoot a film. Then later on your computer, you can freeze the image and make a screenshot to share that nice fish picture. Don't forget that GoPros have a wide angle. No need to try and get too close to your subject. Better keep a minimum of 30cm distance.
-check your seal: a single thread of hair is enough to flood a camera underwater, and it is not rare to see it happening. Always check your o-ring before you drop in the water. And if you see water coming in, turn your camera off and keep it off the whole time. You might save your GoPro by not making any electric connection. Then once you are out of the water, dip your camera in a bowl of uncooked rice. It will help remove the humidity. Keep it in for a day before trying it again.
In Gili Trawangan, the GIli Divecenter Association (GIDA) has set the rules for beginner divers and cameras, so as to keep the divers safe, as well as the environment. Uncertified divers (DSD, Open Water students) are not allowed to use a camera during those training dives. They will enjoy their dive much more by having their full attention on what they are doing, rather than focusing on taking a shaky video, or a blurry picture and will avoid crushing down in the corals.

GoPro photography or videography is just about pressing one button: on/off. If you want to learn how to do the white balance to have the real colors on your footage, to do manual focus to choose what will be the star of your photo, to practice exposure times or exposition, stop by in our divecenter, and you will have passionate underwater photographers to teach you all about it. Taking the PADI Photography Adventure as part of your Advance Open Water Course is one way of getting introduced to that specialty. Enjoy your dives and share pictures with us on Facebook: Blue Marine Dive Resort - Blue Marine Dive Trawangan.

The Importance of staying hydrated while scuba diving

There are many factors that can contribute to dehydration in scuba divers

We think of running, cycling and triathlons as physical activities where hydration is absolutely critical.  But scuba diving does not seem to have that same critical need, so hydration tends to be downplayed by scuba divers, reduced to just a “good practice” when going diving.  Think again! Here are  several tips for effectively keeping properly hydrated for your dives.

First of all, here are a few symptoms of dehydration you should be aware of:

  • Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Extreme thirst
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded

HOW DO WE LOOSE WATER SCUBA DIVING?
Take a look at some of the well-known and not-so-known factors that reduce hydration levels when Scuba Diving:

Sweating (climate) – Diving often takes us to tropical locations with the greatest abundance of coral reefs, as they are near the equator with good sun coverage and warm waters.  With the lower latitudes comes warm, humid, tropical climates that increase sweating.  But even in the northern latitudes, divers may sweat just carrying gear bags and tanks, and suiting up for their dive.  Sometimes tourists come to the tropics for their once-a-year dive vacation and they are not at all accustomed to the  humidity and do not do such a good job staying hydrated!

Sweating (exposure suit) – Also, no matter the latitude, divers wearing wetsuits will sweat under every square inch of that neoprene.  So when we see a diver wearing a wetsuit or drysuit and he has a few lines of sweat running down his face, don’t be fooled.  Underneath that exposure suit he is sweating more than the exposed skin where air is evaporating sweat and cooling the skin.  A steady increase of body temperature takes place the longer the exposure suit is worn out of the water.  Sweating underneath the exposure suit can be profuse, but it is hidden, making it quite deceptive.

Respiration – Our bodies naturally loose water through exhalation.  You can notice this just exhaling on glass and seeing your exhaled water vapor create a fog on that glass.  But when scuba diving, water loss through respiration is increased significantly due to our breathing of highly filtered and very dry compressed air.  This air, with virtually no humidity, draws even more water out of the body during respiration.

Sun – Our best dive locations have excellent sunlight.  As we engage in this outdoor activity we are susceptible to large amounts of sun exposure.  A mild to moderate sunburn leaves the skin red, hot, and painful.  Just as with any other skin burn the body rushes fluid to the skin.  Being outdoors air will evaporate the moisture on the skin, leading to further fluid loss.

Wind – Because scuba diving is an outdoor activity another natural factor contributing to dehydration is wind.  Not only do the tropics have healthy breezes, but a swift boat ride to a dive site can remove surface moisture and sweat from exposed skin.  The faster the wind, the higher the rate of evaporation.

Salt – The majority of scuba diving takes place in salt water.  So divers have contact with salt directly on their skin before, during, and after their dives.  When we dive we are immersed in salt water and when we return to the surface, unless we rinse off thoroughly with fresh water, there will be salt water on our skin which evaporates leaving small salt crystals on our skin and hair.  Before or after the dive we may be blown with salty ocean breezes or even salt spray when the boat hits waves.  Since salt has the ability to attract and hold water molecules.  When it sits on our skin it can pull water away from the skin tissue, where it quickly evaporates.

Vomiting – If you’ve spent time on a dive boat, you understand the plight of those who are plagued with sea sickness.  Not only is it embarrassing and uncomfortable, but vomiting can leave the body in a severely dehydrated state along with a severe electrolyte imbalance.  The more one vomits, the greater the chance of severe dehydration.

Diarrhea  -  Choosing exotic locations to dive at may also come with an exotic choice of foods, choose where you eat, Diarrhea or "Bali Belly" as we like to call it,  can lead to severe dehydration without having to many of the above mentioned symptoms, so if you do experience a touch of "Bali belly" its very important to make sure you are hydrating yourself correctly!  

Alcohol – Dive trips are often fun, tropical vacations.  It is important to recognize that drinking alcohol is quite common during dive vacations.  Alcohol consumption actually counters water consumption since it is a diuretic.  Alcohol diuresis is increased urine output resulting from the consumption of alcohol.  The alcohol suppresses production of the body’s anti-diuretic hormone leaving the person with a frequent need to urinate, speeding up the loss of fluid from the body, and leading to dehydration. Its very easy to sneak a few beers in over lunch, but remember no Alcohol before diving!

 

TIPS FOR PROPER HYDRATION
Here are some tips on staying properly hydrated when scuba diving, plus links to items I actually use:

  • Hydrate early, at regular intervals, hours before your dive.

  • Carry a re-usable, water bottle

  • Hydrate during surface interval times

  • Remember, fruit contains water, fructose and vitamins and is great both pre-dive and post-dive.

  • Utilize shade as much as possible, especially for equipment set-up.

  • Remain out of exposure suits until absolutely ready to get in the water.

  • Apply sunscreen liberally and every one hour of sun exposure.  Waterproof sunscreen is not waterproof.  Being underwater, rinsing off, and sweating gradually removes sunscreen.  Use SPF 30 or higher (We recommend higher).

  • Cover up.  

  • Rinse the salt off your skin soon after diving.

  • Do your best preventing sea sickness.  Look into medication or using your sea legs.  (Lucky we have a very flat ocean around the Gili's so this is not normally a problem)

  • If vomiting occurs remember to replace fluids and electrolytes soon thereafter. Drink coconuts!

  • Avoid alcohol.

  • Plain water and sport drinks: GOOD Energy drinks:  BAD

Our Motto here at Blue Marine Dive is SAFETY FIRST, for every dive you do, add a bottle of water to your daily intake!

 

Info: Nicholas Manning & www.scubaguru.com

 

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The Bumphead Parrotfish - The Gentle Giants of the Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are located on the south west corner of the coral triangle, off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia, which means if you choose to dive here with Blue Marine, you are choosing to dive  in one of the most marine rich areas in the world with some 3000 species of fish located within the coral triangle

The Coral Triangle

The Coral Triangle

Some of the most eye catching species to come across are the Bumphead Parrotfish, once a  month, just before and after full moon, we experience a gathering of schooling Bumpheads on our reef flats surrounding the Gili Islands, They come in schools of +- 10 - 60 fish, like a heard off buffalo grazing, feeding on the hard corals that make up of most of our reef systems.

Finding yourself engulfed by a large school of bumphead parrotfish as they munch their way through acres of coral reef, is an experience not easily forgotten.

We generally come across these gentle giants cruising the shallow slopes of Shark point, Halik, Soraya reef and Meno slope, and plan our dives accordingly, if you are lucky enough to be diving around the full moon you have a very good chance of bumping into a massive school of them!

You may be busy inspecting the nooks and crannies of a reef or gliding gently along a steep drop-off when suddenly your senses are alerted to the presence of these magnificent fish. Normally traveling in schools they often appear like heard of buffalo filling divers' ears with their noisy crunching and excreting wafts of fine sand onto the ocean floor.

In areas where they are exposed to fishing pressure or high sea traffic, Bumpheads have become wary of reefs near human habitats. In marine protected areas like the Gili Islands these gentle giants are far more approachable to divers. You can often see them tearing   around before your eyes and seemingly not paying you the slightest bit of notice!

 

Images & Info: Nicholas Manning & www.Divetheworld.com

 

 

 

 

The Golden Ticket - How to become a PADI Divemaster

If you enjoy the buzz of breathing underwater, or the feeling of being completely immersed by nature , or just the thought of taking Scuba diving to a professional level- the choice to make it a career is easier than some might think.

We call the Divemaster course the golden ticket as it can literally take you any where in the world, if there is water you can dive it! 

Here at Blue Marine dive we certainly pride ourselves in teaching one of the strongest Divemaster packages around, with 17+ years in the industry we have had the time to shape a professional, exciting, fun filled course ensuring that by the time you leave our Divemaster program as a fully certified Dive professional, you would be an employable candidate and excel in all fields of the of the recreational scuba industry

Becoming a Divemaster trainee or "Dmt" is 6 to 8 week commitment where you become a part of our family,  learning all the ins and outs of the dive industry, besides learning the full practical and theory of the  PADI Divemaster course, we like to put in the extra effort such as weekly fish identifying competitions, extensive guide training with our eagle eyed local dive guides, dive sales training and more ensuring by the end of the course you have what it takes to be a full time PADI Divemaster

On the Gili Islands Its not just the tropical bliss you see above the surface, once you get your head under the water you will experience massive bio diversity, Beautiful dive sites, weak to strong currents, and world class facilitys, not to mention a booming social scene to ensure that there is never a lack of entertainment on those no dive days!

Take the professional plunge in the turtle capital of the world, The Gili Islands! 

 

What's coming in December at Blue Marine

Scuba Diving  

Fun dives everyday at 8:30am and 2pm at dive sites around all 3 Gili Islands. 

All PADI courses running everyday.

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Discover Scuba Diving - a one day course to discover the underwater world. Your instructor will take you for a pool dive where you'll experience what it's like to breath underwater, get familiar with the equipment and learn some basic skills to enable you to enjoy your first experience. You'll then head to the ocean to experience the beautiful reefs around th Gili Islands. 

 

 

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Open Water Course - get certified to dive to 18 meters! A three day course where you will learn all the skills in our training pool, 4 boat dives and you'll learn the theory behind diving. After this course you will be a certified PADI Open Water diver where you can then dive anywhere in the world. 

 

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Advance Open Water Course - This is a perfect option after your Open Water Diver Certification to improve your skills. This course offers different experiences and training options that range from simple instructions and underwater activities to more challenging experiences. The course is flexible with 5 boat dives, minimal theory and no test!

 

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 Rescue Diver / Emergency First Responser - this is a 4 day course where you'll get two certifications. The fun part about this course is rising to the challenges and mastering them. Most divers find this course both demanding and rewarding, and at the end, it's the best course they've ever taken. 

 

  

                                               

 

                                                        Freediving 

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Courses run every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  

Freediver Course - learn the techniques to enable you to freedive to 20 meters in 2 days! By applying unique breathing techniques, informative theory and practical water sessions you can realise the ability of the human body to dive to depths you previously thought impossible!

Static Apnea - this one day course will teach you how to hold your breath for 3 minutes and over!! 

Advance Freediver - advance your skills in this 3 day course to enable you to freedive to a max depth of 40 meters! 

 

 

                                                                        Yoga  

   

 

 

Join us at Mandalablu Yoga, located at our resort for a variety of classes everyday. Acro, Vinyasa Flow, Yin, Kids and Family, SUP, Beginners and Flyhigh yoga! They also offer free salsa classes!! Check out the Scheduel for the next month!  Namaste. 

   

 

 

                                           

                                                    Stand Up Paddle 

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Daily sunrise and sunset tours paddling over coral reefs around Gili Air. 

 

SOUL, BODY and MIND: and inspiring yoga session on the ocean.  Classes are run everyday on request.

 

Daily guided tours

 

 

 

                            Splat will be here too, looking for a lap or two for cuddles. 

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Getting to know our instructors.

 

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Julie - Ju Ju. 32. French. 

How did you end up living on Gili air?

I was working in Australia and looking for a new place to work. A friend of mine was working on Gili air and she said it was amazing, so I decided  to come to the island and have a look. I loved it and decided I wanted to stay so I started looking for a job here.


What made you stay?

I found a job at Blue Marine Dive. The reason I choose Blue Marine was because they have so much to offer; yoga, SUP, freediving and it had a great atmosphere. I love yoga and its great that I can practice yoga at the start of my day before going diving. Gili air has such a fun and relaxing atmosphere, it's very peaceful yet there's still a lot to do.


When did you first start diving?

I was swimming a lot in a club when I was younger and there was a suba diving club that trained in the same pool. I was intrigued so I had a few try's in the pool.  I did a DSD when I first went to Australia and I loved it! A friend of mine opened a shop in Madagascar so I went there did all my courses from Open Water to Divemaster in 4 months. After that I knew I wanted to continue to Instructor.


How long have you been an instructor for?

2 years.


What made you want to teach others how to dive?

I want people to understand the beauty of the ocean and how important it is to protect. To want to protect the ocean you need to know and love it. That's some extra that I add to my courses when in teaching my students. Nobody knows what's going on under that blue ocean out there and it's so important to show them this.


What has been your most memorable experience underwater?

Recently when we saw a baby whale shark at one of our dive sites.  I was taking a few students on their first dive  to a site where you really don't expect to see a whale shark. That's what made it so amazing, nobody expected to see it.


How many dives have you done?

450


Where in the world have you dived?

Madagascar, Australia and Indonesia - Bali and Gili


Have you taught in those countries too?

Not it Madagascar, I was a Divemaster at that time.
What's your favourite dive site around the gills From a fun diving point of view I'd say Sunset because it's big, beautiful and we often get sharks.


Do you have an underwater fun fact?

Octopus are so clever, the only thing that stops them taking over the world is that the mother dies when she gives birth. The baby octopus has to learn everything when they are born as their mother isn't there to pass knowledge.


What's next?

Spending another amazing year on Gili air, diving and teaching everyday and then I'd love to change careers and work towards become a yoga instructor.

Getting to know our Instructors

Tony. 28. Indonesian.  

 

How long have you lived on Gili Air?

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28 years, since I was born.


How long has your family lived on Gili air?

More than 50 years.


When did you first start diving?

2005 when I was 18 years.


What made you want to learn to dive?

I wanted to know what diving was about, why people love it so much and what makes it interesting.


How long have you been an instructor?

5 years. I was the second Indonesian instructor on the island.


What made you want to teach diving?

To meet lots of different people from around the world and to be able to stay in one place.


What has been your most memorable experience underwater?

When I teach divers who really want to learn how to dive and they can do everything underwater, it comes naturally to them. They are my happiest days ever.


How many dives have you done?

More than 7000


How did you start at Blue Marine?

I started working in the bar about 10 years ago. The shop owner, Chris asked me if I wanted to try diving and work towards becoming a Divemaster.


Have you always dived with Blue Marine?

Yeah, I really like this place. Blue Marine is the first place I ever dived. I did my Open Water to Instructor here. It's friendly and I really like all the staff.


What's your favourite dive site around the Gili Islands and why?

Simons Reef. It's a quiet dive site with beautiful coral, it's quite hard to find.  It's a new challenge.


Do you have an underwater fun fact?

We have only explored less than 5 percent of the Earth's oceans. We have better maps of Mars than we do of the ocean floor! 

 

 

Getting to know our instructors.

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Matt. 26. British.

How did you end up living on Gili air?

I came to visit my cousin who was on holiday here few years ago, and I then met Chris at blue marine who offered me a job teaching.


What made you stay?

Gili air has an atmosphere that makes people want to stay on the island. The people I've met are great fun with lots of energy and happy vibes.


When did you first start diving?

The first time I dived was in Turkey when I was around 19, but I didn't do my open water course until I was living in the Philippines. I must have been 22.


What made you want to learn how to dive?

I planned to travel around Asia for a long time, teaching diving is a great way to be able to stay in places for longer.


How long have you been an instructor for?

A little over 3 years.


What made you want to teach others how to dive?

I really enjoy showing people the underwater world for the first time. It is like entering a whole other planet that people are very easily captivated by.


What has been your most memorable experience underwater?

Diving with thresher sharks in the phillipines. Watching them swim out of the water and stare at you with their beady eyes was incredible.


How many dives have you done?

Over 500


Where in the world have you dived?

Australia, Turkey, Phillipines, Thailand, Vietnam, UK and Indonesia.


Have you taught in those countries too?

No, only in Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia and UK.
What's your favourite dive site around the gills The harbour at night. Whenever I dive there I find something that I'm genuinely excited about finding.


Why did you choose blue marine to dive and teach?

Blue marine is very much a family rather than a typical dive shop business. You don't feel like your just working for a business and its in a great quiet location. Everybody that works here is great fun.


Do you have an underwater fun fact?

Octopus have three hearts and blue blood.


What's next?

Tec diving and moving into underwater film.