Whale Watching in Santa Catarina, Brazil

30 06 2009

 

Whale watching season in the state of Santa Catarina goes from July to November. That’s when southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) leave Antarctic waters, where they spent the summer, to mate, give birth and nurse their young off the coast of this southern Brazil state. Sightings reach a peak between the second half of August and the first half of October.

The Santa Catarina coast has traversed a redeeming historical path from whaling hub to preservation model. The carcass of the last southern right whale killed in the area was brought to the shores of Imbituba in 1973. When whale hunting in Brazil was finally forbidden in 1987, there were no more whales in the area.

Thanks to environmentalist efforts, southern right whale population has been growing steadily. The old whaling station on Praia do Porto, Imbituba, was converted into the Whale Museum.

See full article including a Whale siting map and other tips here.

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Latin America Top 10

30 06 2009

Brazil enters twice on examiner.com’s list of the top ten sights in Latin America, read about the winning spots below or read the full article here.

Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Brazil is one of South America’s most popular tourist destinations with Rio de Janeiro being the most visited city. Synonymous with Carnival, many guests don’t understand all this city has to offer. The city is packed with sites and activities for visitors to enjoy and one could easily spend an entire trip here. The obvious stops include Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, and the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Visitors can also enjoy historical neighborhoods, amazing cuisine, a strong dance and music culture, and much more hidden beneath the obvious.

Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
For those seeking a less crowded and more authentic trip, Salvador da Bahia is a popular city. Once the capital of Brazil the historical city on the northeast coast was the main port for the slave trade and has a strong African heritage that is visible to this day. The beaches, cuisine, music, and amazing colors offer visitors a relaxing and culturally stimulating vacation. The city is also a great place to experience a less commercialized Carnival than Rio.

Source: examiner.com





Malaysia International Dive Expo 2009

30 06 2009

Scuba enthusiasts will gather in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from July 3–5, 2009 for the fourth annual Malaysia International Dive Expo (MIDE).  The event is the largest dive show in Malaysia.  Organizers expect more than 10,000 visitors for the three-day event, which will feature approximately 155 booths and 120 exhibitors.

MIDE will feature a variety of programs and activities including:

  • Product demonstrations at the MIDE Demo Pool located at the entrance of the Putra World Trade Center.
  • Children’s underwater coloring contest.
  • Workshops and training programs on a variety of diving topics such as choosing and maintaining dive equipment and selecting dive destinations.  Photographic topics include how to shoot macros and shooting with a strobeless compact digital.
  • Seminars on a variety of topics ranging from marine conservation, marine species and diving rescue to photography and technical topics.
  • “Through the Lens” underwater photography competition: Over 1,000 photographers from around the world compete for prizes in six categories: macro, wide-angle, portfolio, young underwater photographer, underwater art and underwater Malaysia.  Prizes include scuba gear, photography equipment and trips to southeast Asia.

The Malaysia International Dive Expo 2009 is endorsed and supported by Tourism Malaysia, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL), Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Eraman Duty Free, Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), National Art Gallery Malaysia, Maritime Malaysia, Sabah Tourism Board, Malaysian Amateur Radio Emergency Services (MARES) and Tioman  Mega Dive.

Admission to the expo is free.  Special room rates including buffet breakfasts, service charges and taxes are available at the Best Western Premier Seri Pacific Kuala Lumpur hotel.  A room reservation form is available on the MIDE website.

Attendees should plan on staying in Malaysia after MIDE to participate in some actual scuba diving amongst the South China Sea’s many reefs.

Source: examiner.com





Places to dive in brazil

26 06 2009
With over 4,600 miles of coastline, no wonder scuba diving is Brazil’s national pastime. There is one special place every Brazilian makes at least one pilgrimage to: Fernando de Noronha. Come and discover Brazil’s northeast coastline, the glistening coral reefs and wrecks of Recife and Fernando de Noronha, the island of the Forbidden, and its incredible marine life and resident dolphin community. In the interior, the Amazon river basin is abundant with jungle wildlife and plants from tiny orchids to towering trees. The best way to experience Amazon river area and the rainforest is the stay in one of the lodges that are devoted to preserving the natural environment. 

Bonito e Pantanal (MS)

The Pantanal is a vast wetlands with huge concentrations of exotic neotropical wild fauna. Located between the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso du Sul, the Pantanal is a great place to observe wildlife in their natural state.
In the state of Mato Grosso du Sul is Bonito with its incredibly clear rivers and freshwater caverns and caves for divers. Small accommodations that are part of working cattle ranches host travelers and divers. Your dive vessel here looks a lot like a tractor!

Amazon River Basin

Experience the Amazon, its unique, and often, endangered rainforest flora, fauna and cultures. The town of Manaus is the gateway to the Amazon jungle where the Amazon’s tributaries, the Rios Negro and Ariau, and Anavilhanas Creek snake their way into this ecological wonderland. Explore this region on foot, by small cruise ship, motor boat, canoe or on a fishing expedition, all with encyclopedic guides and overnight stays in comfortable lodges, ship cabins or rustic village accommodations. The world’s largest and most important river basin is a living greenhouse to over 10,000 varieties of plants and sanctuary to over 5,000 species of animals and birds. Take guided hiking trips beneath the canopy of the towering trees and cruise the waterways to discover the strange splendor of this exotic world.

Recife

The carefree beach culture that permeates Brazil’s soul was born here. Once fishermen’s village, today’s Recife is golden sand, colonial antiquities, and Carnival’s send-off spot. Cosmopolitan Recife, where baroque-style architecture and ruins of a colonial past coexist with recent developments is one of the great cities of Brazil. With beautiful churches, museums, forts and convents, excellent music and cuisine, Recife offers great touring as well as an unusual dive adventures. The city is name for the reef (Recife = reef) that has claimed ships from colonial days to today and now offers terrific wreck diving. The Atlantic Brazilian Current makes this a great party spot for concentrations of tropical and pelagic creatures. Twelve shipwrecks lie off the coast in warm, clear waters exhibiting a wealth of fish and corals, with excellent visibility and warm temperatures of 78ºF degrees. War galleons, steamships, tugs and barges date from 1887 to 1986, and await discovery. While in Recife, take time to visit Olinda. Built in the early 1500s, Olinda is one of the largest and best preserved Portuguese colonial towns. Bohemian quarters, art galleries, ornate churches, museums, cobblestone streets, shady squares and festive celebrations make up this historical city. There are a number of resort hotels dotting the coastline of Recife. If you’re heading out to Fernando de Noronha, you generally have to spend at least one night in Recife due to airline scheduling.

Fernando de Noronha

200 miles off the northeastern coast lies a mountainous archipelago made up of 21 islands which are sparsely populated and still the much the way it was when the Portuguese settled here in the 1500s. This National Marine Sanctuary is a heavenly retreat for divers and snorkelers. Due to its open ocean location, it provides pelagic fish and ocean mammals a wonderful refuge. The dive sites include shipwrecks, canyons, amazing volcanic rock and coral formations, a permanent wild dolphin colony, reef sharks, turtles, schooling barracudas and all kinds of rays and colorful fish. Cavort with 600 dolphins, the largest and oldest residential school of spinner dolphins in the world. Dive with juvenile sharks at Lage Dois Irmaos, a breeding and nursery area for fourteen species of reef sharks. The sharks come into this protected area to have their young and the newborn stay to play with divers until they are big enough to venture into the open ocean. You may also witness turtles being released into the wild. Explore the Ipiranga, a Brazilian Navy Corvete, a sunken Portuguese frigate and much, much more. The rock formations are brilliantly colored with encrusting sponges and provide a beautiful backdrop for each of your dives. Experience the warmth of the people staying in pousadas, small family-owned accommodations, with warm showers and family-style meals. Pousadas are classified into A-category or B-category, B-category being more standard.

Salvador Bahia

Salvador, the capital city of Bahia, lies on the beautiful All Saints Bay. A strong African influence comes from the slaves brought here to work in the sugarcane fields over 400 years ago. Multicolored homes, red-tiled roofs, wonderful markets and churches and twisting, narrow cobblestone streets make this an excellent place to visit. The state of Bahia has the longest coastline in the country making it appealing for all nautical sports. Among the fine dives you can do in the Salvador area is to visit the wreck of the Greek cargo ship, Cabo Artemides. The diving is best here between December to February when visibility is ideal.

Abrolhos

Ideal for diving, the Archipelago of Abrolhos, located 45 miles off the southern coast of the state of Bahia, boasts the largest group of cliffs with a great variety of coral and hydracorals. These rock formations harbor one of the largest, rarest and healthy coral reefs in the South Atlantic. Between June and December, the humpback whales, having mated near the equator, migrate to Abrolhos where you can scuba dive and snorkel with them.

Iguacú Falls

A side trip to Iguacú is a must on a Brazil adventure. The Iguacú River flows at amazing speeds over a dramatic ledge a mile and a half long. There are catwalks leading you through the mist to the falls and small boats navigating the bottom of the falls. There are a number of small hotels in this area to explore the falls from. 

Source: http://www.diveguide.com/braz-scuba.htm





Open Water Course – All you want to know about scuba diving

17 06 2009

If you’re thinking about learning to dive or you want to know a bit more about what to expect in your certification course I’ve answered the most common questions here.

What is the Open Water course?

The Open Water course is the basic scuba diving certification course taught by all certification agencies. There are small differences in course content between agencies, but they all cover the same basic skills and knowledge you will need to know as an independent diver.

Who can enroll?

Children as young as 10 years old (12 years old in some countries) can enroll in the Junior Open Water course and those 15 years and older can enroll in the Open Water course. Junior Open Water certified divers are automatically upgraded to Open Water divers on their 15th birthday with no need for recertification. You’ll also need to be in good health with no major health problems.

What does the course qualify you to do?

When you’re certified as an Open Water diver you’ll be able to dive to 60 feet / 18 meters (40 feet / 12 meters for 10-12 year olds) whenever you’re accompanied by a fellow of the same or higher certification level (the other diver must be 18 or older for Junior Open Water divers). You don’t have to be accompanied by a Divemaster or Instructor, but can be if you’d prefer. You’re also eligible to do the Advanced Open Water course and many specialties.

How long does the course take?

The course is usually taught over 3 to 5 days in dive vacation destinations, but can also be taught over weeks or even months if taken as a part-time course. The course content is the same but the daily workload is much greater, although still quite manageable, on the shorter course.

What do I have to do to complete the course?

* Knowledge Development

You will be given a text book and videos to watch and will either study independently in your own time, with the assistance of your instructor, or online with guided e-learning. You will learn the basics of diving techniques, how diving affects your body, diving safety, equipment selection and maintenance, dive planning, and preview the skills you’ll learn in the water. There will be a test at the end but if you’ve studied your material you should have no problems passing.

* Confined Water Training
Your confined water training will be conducted in a swimming pool or swimming pool like environment, such as a calm beach. Beginning in water shallow enough to stand up in you’ll learn all the basic skills you’ll need to confidently and safely enjoy scuba diving. As you gain confidence you’ll gradually move into deeper water and learn some more advanced skills and safety drills.

* Open Water Training

This is what it’s all about – open water diving. Over four or more dives you’ll practice all the skills you’ve already mastered in confined water out in open water, which means the open ocean or another large body of water that is used for diving. You’ll practice the skills with your instructor until you’re completely confident and can perform them with ease in a real diving situation. Of course you’ll also get to check out everything the underwater world has to offer and hopefully develop a life-long love for diving.

Do I have to renew my certification?

The Open Water certification is forever and never needs to be renewed. However, it is recommended that if you haven’t dived for a while (usually a year or more) or feel the need to brush up your skills to do a Scuba Review. This review is a short refresher course with a professional that can be integrated into your first regular dive.





Scuba Diving in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

5 06 2009

 

Arraial do Cabo Marine Reserve is considered the best scuba diving on the southern coast of Brazil.

Located 2 hours by car from Rio de Janeiro, Arraial do Cabo is part of the Costa do Sol (Sunny Coast), which also includes Búzios and Cabo Frio.

The turquoise water of Arraial do Cabo is teeming with marine lifeturtles, sea horses, moray eels, colorful coral and some exotic tropical fish like the famous Holacanthus Ciliaris (Queen Angelfish).

Source: Rio Turismo Radical