[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The paradox of diving lies with the ardent desire to protect our environment but at the same time, the act itself is destructive in its own way. I mean, it is really a chicken and egg situation here. The positive spillovers versus the negative spillovers, in my opinion, outweighs the latter. And in this case, perhaps some intervention in the form of persuasive suggestions might help to increase some awareness.
1. Adequate weighting
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Do a weight check before descending, if you have made any adjustments to your thermal protection get-up. You should be floating at eye level on the surface when your lungs are full of air and you have none in your BCD. Exhale fully and you should begin to sink. Tanks vary in buoyancy when they are empty, so make sure you take that into consideration when you decide on the number of weights that you are wearing. You still want to be able to hover comfortably when doing your safety stop. [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
2. Buoyancy control with breathing
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The end goal is to be able to hover comfortably by controlling the rhythm and the pace of your breathing. Being able to sink and float at will is the real trick to hover and glide over reef formations with grace. Avoid touching the reef with your fins. When easing through a narrow space such as a tunnel or gully, make small and efficient movements so you could move through the limited space. If you are near the sandy bottom, stay a distance away from the bottom, so that you do not kick up any sand or silt from the bottom. If you have not dived for a while, practise and refresh your skills at a place where you would not cause any damage.
3. Do not touch the reef
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Other than the fact that there are some organisms that might cause skin itch and rashes, one of which is the fire coral, that gives a real sensational sting when touched, there are many other ones out there that might give the same effect. In the event that you need to stabilize yourself, look for the dead spots in between corals or even the underside of the coral cranny, try using two fingers instead of the entire hand. If you need to adjust your equipment, do it at a sandy area away from the reef.
4. Keep your equipment streamlined
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Unsecured equipment that hang loosely from your body, might drag across the reef during moments of carelessness. They can do as much damage to the reef as your hands. Streamline your equipment by keeping it close to your body; tuck them into BCD’s pockets or use a retainer clip. [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
5. Leave the marine animals alone
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Do not go chasing after the animals. Do not touch them. Do not harass them while they are at rest or in the midst of doing something. Imagine someone doing either of the above to you – unsolicited touch, harassment, disturbance, either one is either pure petrifying or annoying. If they had a voice, I am sure they’d have no problem hurling a profanity or two. Do not move them for photography purpose. Some of them are curious by nature, if you leave them alone, they will come for you.
6. Not participate in any commercial activities that are held in expense of the environment
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Do not buy shells, corals, starfish or any other marine souvenirs. Or participate in any spearfishing for sport. Even acrobatic shows. Wildlife captivity and trade is a serious issue, with the reduction in demand, so will the supply.
7. Dive with only environmentally-conscious companies
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The bigger environment is one that we cannot control. The ecotourism industry needs to do a lot more and ultimately be regulated for continuous sustainability. As an individual, however, we can make individual decisions that can be a collective force of change. The ecosystem depends on each one of us as much as the dive operators. Do not book trips with boats or companies that has bad practices or encourages bad practices.
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]It only takes a moment of carelessness to destroy this very fragile ecosystem of ours. And only a moment to make the dive site less spectacular for others. Thankfully, it only takes a little more care and preparation to preserve it for the generations to come.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]