little things

Little Things in the ocean are exciting too

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I often wonder, is it a lack of education, or a lack of interest? When I take people diving I always like to show them the signs for the marine life we are likely to encounter. Yet it seems that usually, whenever I mention frogfish or nudibranchs I am met with looks of confusion. Other times I show people a small nudibranch and they hover 5ft above me and nod giving me the ok signal. Meanwhile, I know full well there is no way they really saw the tiny creature from that far away. It all makes me wonder; is it weird to like the little things?

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It Not Just Nudis

While guiding I also like to show people more common creatures that are easy to glance over. One of my favourites being the Panamic Barnacle Blenny, a small goggly-eyed fish that lives in holes in the reef. (See Video Above) I also point out Star of David Urchins, Christmas tree worms, and other small goodies on our reefs. Yet I never know if I’m going to get a ‘wow face’ or an ‘oh that’s nice face’.

Personally, I love discovering these little, hidden treasures. No matter what face I get underwater, once we return to the surface the main excitement always falls first and foremost to the big guys. The rays, the turtles and the sharks. Not that I don’t enjoy these beautiful animals, but they always take precedence over the little guys. But why? Isn’t a neon coloured sea slug who can survive through photosynthesis just as interesting?

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There Are Some Exceptions

When it comes to seahorses there is always excitement. Everyone knows what a seahorse is and everyone wants to see one. Divers love them and they will oftentimes take the lead in after-dive conversations. So what makes them different from the other little guys? Is it because they seem so mythical? Or are they just well known?

Some Say The Little Things are Boring

I’ve met plenty of dive professionals who find even seahorses boring. Originally, I would just look at them like they were crazy. However, I have come to understand why they believe this, though I don’t think I will ever agree. When you see a large animal it’s almost always doing something, even if it’s just swimming. While, in contrast, the little things seem to be just sitting there, not moving or really doing anything perceivable. 

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Perceivable being the keyword. Frogfish and even barnacles are always doing something, though you don’t always see it. It takes good buoyancy and patience to be able to observe the miniature world. A set of good eyes or a magnifying glass doesn’t hurt either. If you watch closely you can see the tentacle-like arm of a barnacle shooting out and capturing food before pulling it back into its mouth. You just need to take the time to look.

Small Creatures are Exciting

The first part of the excitement is actually finding and seeing these little animals. It is easy to spot an animal that is the same size as you but its another story entirely to find a sea slug that’s less than 1cm in length. After the initial sense of accomplishment, there is admiration and curiosity. Admiration for an organism so small to live in an ocean so big, and fascination for how strange and unique these creatures are.

In my experience, it is the little things that are the most colourful, and the most complex. Each of them has a unique strategy to survive, whether it be camouflage, venom, or mimicry. Oftentimes they also hunt differently than large marine organism as well. For example, the frogfish uses a lure to entice its prey.

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The Next Time You Dive

I implore you, that on your next dive or snorkel trip, that you try to enjoy the little things. Though they may not be as apparently interesting as finding a large animal, they are just as mesmerizing. Who knows, you may look into a crevice and find two crabs having a boxing match, or you may look into a coral and find a seahorse blending almost seamlessly into the branches. I implore you to find out more. The next time you find a new creature, or even familiar one, find out what it is. Read about that animal, how it lives and survives, and it will amaze you all the more.

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Follow Me

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_social_media_follow _builder_version=”3.14″ background_color=”rgba(15,15,15,0)” text_orientation=”center”][et_pb_social_media_follow_network social_network=”instagram” url=”https://www.instagram.com/seareinascall/” _builder_version=”3.14″ background_color=”#078773″ border_radii=”on|3px|3px|3px|3px” border_color_all=”#078773″ follow_button=”off” url_new_window=”on”] instagram [/et_pb_social_media_follow_network][et_pb_social_media_follow_network social_network=”facebook” url=”https://www.facebook.com/SeaReinasCall/” _builder_version=”3.14″ background_color=”#078773″ follow_button=”off” url_new_window=”on”] facebook [/et_pb_social_media_follow_network][et_pb_social_media_follow_network social_network=”twitter” url=”https://twitter.com/SeaReinas_Call” _builder_version=”3.14″ background_color=”#078773″ follow_button=”off” url_new_window=”on”] twitter [/et_pb_social_media_follow_network][et_pb_social_media_follow_network social_network=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFgrcUN1Xa8-B_zlRtEcrNg” _builder_version=”3.14″ background_color=”#078773″ follow_button=”off” url_new_window=”on”] youtube [/et_pb_social_media_follow_network][et_pb_social_media_follow_network social_network=”pinterest” url=”https://www.pinterest.com/seareinascall/” _builder_version=”3.14″ background_color=”#078773″ follow_button=”off” url_new_window=”on”] Pinterest [/et_pb_social_media_follow_network][/et_pb_social_media_follow][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text (author bio)” _builder_version=”3.14″ text_font=”Lato||||” text_text_color=”#0c0c0d” text_font_size=”16″ text_line_height=”1.4em” text_orientation=”center” module_alignment=”center” border_style=”solid”]The ocean is my biggest passion. As a SCUBA instructor I have a unique opportunity to show people exactly how precious the ocean is.  I aim to inspire others to love and respect the sea through education and diving. 
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Let Others Know

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rich coast instructor course experience

My Rich Coast Instructor Course Experience

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Ranelle Ivens

SITE AUTHOR

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Ranelle’s addiction to SCUBA started in 2004. From a young age she has been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living within it. Her Ultimate dive dream is to swim with Orcas and to dive the world. Ranelle is a certified PADI Specialty Instructor and spent 3 years in university studying Science and Biology.

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[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”2_3″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”no-repeat”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.14″]Who doesn’t want the perfect job? For me the job includes connecting with nature, inspiring others, traveling the world, and most important, diving. It was for these reasons that I chose to become a PADI instructor, and it is because I wanted a proper education that I decided to study through Rich Coast Diving. To this day, I do not regret my decision which is why I’ve decided to share my instructor course experience.

Below you will find my step by step experience and overall opinions of the course. Please know that all thoughts and opinions are authentic. That being said, Rich Coast has offered to give me commissions if you decide to take their course through my article. This is at no extra cost to you but it does help me out, so please let me know if I was helpful to you.
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Lots and Lots of Choices

When trying to decide which Dive school you want to attend the choices can be overwhelming. There are so many options, and if you have any dive experience you know that there some outfits that cut corners, there some that have questionable safety, some mediocre but still good places, and then there are the gems and pearls. When trying to make up your mind you need to first decide what you want. Do you want cheap, sloppy, and potentially dangers? Or would you prefer average pricing, safe diving practices, and a concrete education?

When trying to make up your mind you need to first decide what you want.Click To Tweet

 

If you decide on the second option then you want to start by looking for a 5 star Career Development Center (CDC). These are PADI dive schools dedicated to training professionals and need to follow safety and standards to uphold their rating. After that it’s about location, and personal preferences. Rich Coast was not only a 5 star CDC, the lead Course Director, Martin, has a Platinum teacher rating. Being that I wanting to train inn Costa Rica Rich Coast was the best option.

Before It All Started

I wanted to make sure that I was prepared to start the actual Instructor Development Course (IDC) training. Brenda (the other Rich Coast Course Director) made this easy by supplying me with the PADI Instructor Crew pack well in advance so that I could study and prep. She even told me what I should focus on which proved to be a big help. The crew pack comes with many materials and as exciting as it is to crack it open like its the biggest present under the tree, it can be a little overwhelming.

Her recommendations were to complete all parts of the work book and get familiar with the encyclopedia, especially in sections that you find more challenging. In addition to this, I was told to study my instructor manual (which you receive during Divemaster Training). All the suggestions she gave proved very useful as they were some of the key focuses of the course.
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The quality of training

I found the Rich Coast instructor training to be top notch. As someone who has witnessed other IDC courses I can say that Martin’s class was very organized, he went through every piece with you, and challenged you with scenarios often. He also places a huge focus on standards and makes sure that his professionals know proper conduct. This keeps things legal and safe, which is key to your success as a PADI professional.

Martin has loads of experience in many faucets of diving and loves to share his knowledge and experience, especially with aspiring professionals. The man’s even been underwater in a diving suit. Big metal helmet and all! I still use the knowledge he passed on through his experiences on a regular basis while teaching and diving. You can assure that in choosing this IDC program you are being taught by someone who knows what they’re talking about.

What you need to know before you start

The Rich Coast IDC is a great program but it is not all rainbows and butterflies. If you are looking for an easy breezy experience this is not the right place. That being said an IDC course shouldn’t be easy. It should challenge you, it should make you think, and should not be a breeze. When you become an instructor you are not only responsible for the safety of your students today. You are responsible for making sure they dive safely for the rest of their diving life.

When you become an instructor you are not only responsible for the safety of your students today. You are responsible for making sure they dive safely for the rest of their diving life.

 

During my IDC course I felt nervous and stressed and there were even points that I really despised my teacher.  Martin can be really intense and knows how to put the pressure on. However, when I got to the Instructor Examinations (IE) I almost laughed at how easy it was. Rich Coast had trained our class to excellence and you could see the difference between the caliber of students from various IDCs. Suffice to say, at the end of the day if I had to choose where I did my Developmental Course all over again, I wouldn’t change my original choice.

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What is expected of you

If you are taking this IDC or any other for that matter you should take it seriously. Above all else you are expected to act like a professional. What does this mean? It means you are not a kid anymore and it’s time to pull up your sleeves and dig in.

  • Get to class early: class starts on the dot, and it’s highly unlikely that the teacher will hold up the class for one person.
  • Be prepared: have your instructor manual, guide to teaching, and any other relevant materials on hand. Remember your note paper and a pencil!
  • Do your homework: people who fail to complete their homework hold up the class and/or fumble more on presentations. The tasks aren’t that hard so just do it
  • Pay attention: if you aren’t paying attention you are setting yourself up to fail. You will be tested on this information later.

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Loosen up!

  • The IDC can be stressful but do your best to relax and enjoy it. Remember you are a diver, and you are learning how to introduce others to our magical world. The IDC only lasts a week or two and the Instructors Examinations two days. The whole thing will be over before you know it so make sure you buckle down and do your best! Have fun with your classmates and don’t forget to joke around a little. Even your instructor could probably use a laugh once in a while.
  • Your classmates will likely become good friends of yours as you all share an unforgettable experience. During my IDC my classmates and I would get together once in a while after class to take a break and have a few laughs. Sometimes Martin would even join us. These experiences really helped me to take a step back from the more stressful days and remember despite it all I did enjoy learning everything in the IDC.

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You Will Succeed

One thing I remember very clearly from my IDC was a short chat given by Martin. Simply put, he would tell you if you were ready for the IDC or not. If you tend to struggle or happen to be a slow learner, or even if you get a lot of anxiety over tests, you can relax a little. Despite the stress and push you will feel in the development course if Martin does not believe you ready to take the Examination then he will let you know. He and Brenda will also take the time to help you become ready, and that is something you can count on

 

Have more questions about my Rich Coast Instructor Course Experience? Ask away in the comment section!

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The divers were arrested

Cenderawasih Bay divers were arrested

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Ranelle Ivens

SITE AUTHOR

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Ranelle’s addiction to SCUBA started in 2004. From a young age she has been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living within it. Her Ultimate dive dream is to swim with Orcas and to dive the world. Ranelle is a certified PADI Specialty Instructor and spent 3 years in university studying Science and Biology.

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Welcome to post one of Mermaid Musings! Where you get to hear my personal thoughts and opinions on random dive/ocean stuff and happenings. To kick things off we’re going to start with a video that went viral this month and I’m gonna give you all the juicy deets. Let’s dive in and find out why these divers were arrested.

Earlier this month a video started circulating of several divers fin riding a whale shark a young whale shark. In the video it is very clear that the animal is stressed and struggling under the added weight. People everywhere were very upset seeing this endangered species being so abused, and rightly so. Luckily the authorities were on our side and several of the Cenderawasih divers were arrested.

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When I saw this video It made my heart hurt. Part of me wanted to cry for that young whale shark seeing him desperately trying to free itself from the clutches of those people. While the other half of me was absolutely livid with the divers riding him. Each of them smiling and posing for the camera like animal abuse is so cool.

It’s just so wrong

Truly, there are so many things wrong with this video! I wish I could say that these people had no idea what  was going on but as far as we’ve been told these guys were fully aware of their heinous crime. This makes it all so much worse, and I’m going to go through all the reasons why.

My List of Wrongs

  1. Look at that Whale Shark! The animal is so distressed! its struggling to swim, its trying to get them  off of him and nothing is working!
  2. There are so many riders! Way to many people are hitching a ride on that animal it’s obviously pushing him down deeper into the water.
  3. It is an Endangered Species! The whale shark is an endangered species world wide, and is protected by the United Nations through their CITES program, the ICUN redlist and many others.
  4. This animal is just a baby. Despite the size of the shark this guy quite young. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean reaching up to 12m (40ft) in length. This whale shark isn’t all that much bigger than those divers making it an adolescent. In fact, it hasn’t even reached sexual maturity yet.
  5. What the hell is the divemaster doing? This dive was guided by a dive professional, and generally, divers are told not to harass marine animals. it is the guides jobto enforce these rules. I know that if any of my divers were behaving in this matter I would be actively removing them from the shark. I would also be ending the dive right then and there.
  6. Fin riding is dangerous. I don’t care how fun it is, fin riding is very dangerous and can easily result  in death or severe injury. Especially if you don’t know what you are doing.
  7. The animal could get hurt. Not only is this whale shark stressed to the nines, it could be seriously injured. Most sharks, including the whale shark, need to continuously move forward to breath. This is because they take oxygen from the water that passes over their gills. Moving backwards through the water can actually cause the animal to drown. In the video we can observe the whale shark attempting to swim  upwards,but is pushed back down by the weight of the divers. In these moments the water is moving backwards over the gills, potentially harming the poor thing.

To be honest with you I could keep going on all day but let’s leave it there for now. These are the 7 most important faults. How this was allowed to happen is beyond me. At the very least it helps to know the divers were arrested.

Apparently they were told no touchy

Sometime after the video was released the dive company Sea Safari Cruises was found to be the dive operator. A local environmentalist group, Bird’s Head Seascape, confronted the cruise line about the incident. Read their reply yourself below.

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As a a dive professional I can certainly affirm there are divers who don’t listen to the rules about animal interaction. However, I can also say that it is our job to intervene when such behavior is exhibited. In addition to this, after reading some of the tripadvisor reviews for this company I am left questioning the honesty of their statement. I was dismayed to find several reviews indicating that divemasters were mishandling marine animals and plants, including blatant damage of coral reefs.

Cenderawasih Divers Were Arrested

We have to thank Rocker Kaka Slank and his twitter post regarding the incident for getting the ball rolling. After he tagged minister of marine affairs and fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti and Minister of Indonesia’s environment and forestry Siti Nurbaya investigations began. Immediately after, The Dive Professional also began assisting with finding the divers in question and filing reports to the appropriate dive institutions. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved four of the divers in the video have been arrested.

After reports of arrests had been confirmed many people were celebrating. Yet, there were still a few saying that arresting the divers was a bit much. I even read some comments saying they should only receive a slap on the wrist. In my opinion, a slap on the wrist for the abusing and traumatizing a critically endangered species that is protected worldwide is not a sufficient punishment.

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The Incident Report

Once authorities were made aware it didn’t take long for before the divers were arrested, especially with the help of social media involvement. It turned out that the primary diver in yellow was indeed the dive guide. The others being clients from his group. This means that Sea Safaris outright lied in their release when they stated that their professionals were not involved and tried to stop the divers. I am lead to believe that rather, he was the one that initiated the behavior.

On the 14th of August it was reported that 4 of the divers were arrested. We have yet to hear of their sentencing. Recommendations have been made and speculated by The Dive Professional that seem fair but it is hard to say exactly what will come of this incident. Especially when so many people are requesting that licenses be completely revoked.

 

What do you think should happen to these people?

Do you have an opinion you would like to share regarding the video?

Let’s hear you thoughts! Leave a comment

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