Seaventures Dive Rig is an old oil rig that has been converted into a dive resort. It's a great example of re-purposing on a huge scale! Protecting the marine environment is evident in the day-to-day running of the business but once a year, they bring all their conservation work together for a week of education and action. Seaventures PADI instructor Pete Hamerton tells us more...
Tell us about Seaventures Dive Rig Conservation week?
At Seaventures we're really proud of the conservation work that we do throughout the year. We have tried to incorporate conservation throughout all of our activities as a resort - from reducing our usage of plastics (metal straws, refillable bottles), undertaking Dive Against Debris dives, teaching the two Project AWARE diving courses, becoming members of Green Fins, and requiring all of our guests to watch a conservation-themed video prior to diving.
So for us, conservation week is an opportunity to work more intensively with our guests, colleagues, local community, and local and international NGOs to focus everything we do for one week on ocean conservation. This year this involved: beach cleans and Dive Against Debris dives; talks on ocean conservation from local and international NGOs; showing environmental films; inviting a community market into the resort to sell their locally-made products; free buoyancy masterclasses for our guests; and, a hands-on coral planting workshop delivered by a local NGO for our guests.
Was there an event/activity that went particularly well?
It's really hard to choose! All of the talks from local and international NGOs were really well attended. If I had to single one event out, our guests seemed to really enjoy the coral planting workshop. Watching guests learn how to plant coral on our artificial reef was great, and participants spoke about how they really enjoyed the hands-on nature of the workshop and learning in greater detail about the life-cycle of coral. We also held three sessions on ocean conservation with school children from our local community. Watching them learn about how to protect and enhance the marine environment, and then taking them snorkelling after, was a real highlight. We'll be posting video interviews with the children on our Facebook page soon.
Who were your guest speakers and what did they talk about?
As a business we've tried really hard to build strong relationships with local NGOs. We are lucky because there are some really committed and knowledgeable NGOs working in this area. These include; TRACC (Tropical Research and Conservation Centre) who specialise in Coral restoration; Crown of Thorns eradication; community projects; and Turtle protection; WWF Malaysia who run a number of projects in the local area bringing together those who work in/around the ocean; Greens Semporna who ran our interactive briefing and snorkelling sessions with children from our local community; and, Reef Guardian who gave a fascinating presentation for our guests on their monitoring and enforcement work for an MPA (Marine Protected Area) in Malaysia.
What achievement of the week are you most proud of?
For the whole team on the resort, our biggest satisfaction is two-fold. Firstly, in addition to the day-to-day conservation work that we do, getting the opportunity to work with our guests on making the ocean - which we all care about so much - a slightly better place.
With all of the threats facing marine environments, we want to do our bit to make it a slightly healthier environment.
Secondly, is the opportunity to bring a whole host of conservation-themed activities - coral planting, speakers, improving buoyancy - to our guests, and to offer them the chance of having a slightly different dive holiday. We hope that this empowers our guests to become more conservation-focused in their diving.
Anything else you’d like to say about the week?
Just a big 'thank you'! To all of our team who have worked so hard to make this week a success; to our guests for participating so enthusiastically in our conservation activities; and to our partners, including Project AWARE, for the help and support they have provided in making this week a success, and for the work that they are doing on an ongoing basis.