PADI Underwater Naturalist – January 21st and 22nd 2012.
Every year during The Vancouver Aquarium’s Diver’s Weekend, the Edge Diving Centre conducts a highly successful Underwater Naturalist course as part of the event. Students upon arrival at the Aquarium are handed a dive plan or “celebration of knowledge”, then are buddied up for a virtual dive to explore the Aquarium’s displays and exhibits, discovering and applying the knowledge they have learned during the course. Upon the agreed meeting time we “surface” and review answers collected on their virtual dive. We finish with a review of the ten most common local vertebrates and invertebrates they may encounter the next day during the ocean dives. The Aquarium allows us to discuss key features of the animals in front of the exhibit and encourage local involvement in environmental activities such as Rockfish surveys. Once everyone is satisfied with the “virtual dives”, we grab our boots, gloves and recording sheets and head out for our beach clean-up! This year, among the common debris, we collected a large amount of fireworks presumably from events held in the bay near the beach. After a great day at the Aquarium we re-unite the next day for a local boat charter to use our identification and debris observation skills for our two ocean dives. Exploring the local dive sites, the students use expert buoyancy skills and keen spotting techniques to observe and record the local vertebrates, invertebrates, algae and human influences on the aquatic environment. The most popular creature encountered during the dives was the Giant Pacific Octopus, always a treat to see! The excitement, chatter and many questions after the dives indicated that the weekend has been another success! A newly certified team of Underwater Naturalists protecting our oceans!
The Edge Diving Centre was a Regional Nominee for the 2011 Project AWARE Marine Environmental Award and is a Green Star Dive Centre offering many environmental courses such as the Rockfish Awareness Distinctive Specialty! Think globally, act locally!
Blog by: PADI Course Director Mike Delaney. Video by PADI MSDT Trisha Stovel.