Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

Secret lives and secret worlds hidden in Singapore's most popular coral reef.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reef Friends EXPLORE!

It is done! After 3 weeks and 18 participants later, the trainers have selected 12 individuals who, according to the first round of screening, have the potential to become reef guides for the public.

Once again, it was very exciting to meet a group of new individuals with different expectations and interests, with with one common goal - to develop their knowledge of our local waters and progress to communicate that knowledge.

Without doubt, the participants will admit that some of the skills were a bit challenging, but definately were useful in gaining a better understanding of their dive competency skills.

The Reef Friends EXPLORE! program is intended to train suitably competent divers to lead guiding sessions in our local waters. The past few weekends truly mark the beginning of discovery, whether of themselves, of the local underwater environment, of science, or of the conservation movement in Singapore. The course that is to follow will undeniably lead to a growth in capacity, of course, largely dependent on the motivation and committment each individual has given to the course.

Participants will be notified soon if they have been successfully screened to proceed with the remainder of the course, and if they haven't been, how they can enrich themselves to allow future success.

All the trainers have invested several weekends over months to plan this program, and while we are all well practiced in the field, this program is a first for us as well. Therefore, a learning opportunity for us as well! And we are thoroughly enjoying it! Though sometimes with a lot of sweat, caffine, and debating! We look forward to beginning of the theory sessions and hope that all candidates will be well prepared for the classes as high expectations are running! It isn't actually the trainers who decide who the guides are going to be, but the participant, with determination and conviction. Show us you're a guide.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Reef Friends EXPLORE!

Though I missed the 1st weekend of the Reef Friends EXPLORE Program, it was extremely encouraging and motivating to meet this weekend's reef guide candidates, because for a long time, one of the challenges of keeping the Blog's dive activities in progress was locating enough committed individuals capable of investing time in both training and guiding. One of the reasons why the Blog has been less able to conduct its educational dives every weekend is because there have not been guides available to assist in the trips.

Together with the BWV and Gilldivers, this shortfall might actually be finding its remedy. First of all, the over whelming response from the public after the BWV posted the recuitment drive was fantastic! After meeting this weekend's candidates, ambitions have been recharged! It is very progressive for the movement to expand in such a direction to include new, powerful and enthused individuals to breathe life and a future into marine conservation in Singapore.

During this weekend's intiation dive, 6 divers of AOW and DM certifications shared their reasons for signing up for the program, and that ranged from wanting to discover our local waters to wanting to take the next step, and sharing with others what they already knew and loved about marine life in Singapore.

They were briefly introduced to our Southern Islands and the expectations of a EXPLORE reef guide. They were also asked to perform dive skills such as mask removal and hovering, simple but essential skills that affect the ways you interact with the reef and other divers underwater. For some it was an opportunity to become more self aware, while for others, it was re-assurance of their readiness, but for all of them, it was a reflection of their concern and social-responsibility towards protecting out blue environment.

A round of applause to all the candidates and I am truly excited to meet more of you next weekend! The EXPLORE program is the beginning of the process to becoming an effective reef guide, and it will take a good amount of initiative with a whole lot of passion to achieve the kind of critical mass the movement is aiming for.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Reef Friends Program - FULL

Blue Water Volunteers (BWV) Reef Friends is looking for divers to be trained as dive guides for our new Reef Friends Explore programme! Reef Friends Explore is a collaborative effort between BWV, The Pulau Hantu Blog and Gilldivers.

Reef Friends Explore intends to better showcase our local underwater marine life to divers, increase awareness and educate the public about marine conservation issues in Singapore.

Reef Friends are are currently looking for 10 divers who have the right attitutide and aptitude to be trained as dive guides for this programme!

If you're interested to try out to be a dive guide, or just want more information, email reeffriends@bluewatervolunteers.org with the subject title REEF FRIENDS EXPLORE.

You don't have to be an Instructor or Divemaster to sign up! We are looking for people who are:

Confident divers with good dive skills
Able to commit to the timeline given for the programme, i.e. commit to compulsory theory and practical classes,
pass the theory and practical tests that follow,
can commit to dive guiding at least 6 times in a year,
have the correct attitude and aptitude.

Check Out Dive
You are required to come down for a check-out dive to see whether you have the skills essential to be a dive guide.

Initial Costs
The actual training itself is free, but payment is neccesary for your own dives (gear, boat, tanks, other logistics etc), your trainer's dives and the training material. For a total of at least 3 theory and 3 practical sessions, and a check-out dive, we need you to pay a fee of S$350 up front. It includes a $50 deposit which will be returned upon completion of the dive guide training.

All your subsequent official Reef Friends Explore dives will be covered.

This program received an overwhelming response! As spaces for this program are now full, please join the The Hantu Bloggers Yahoo Group if you'd like to be informed of another recruitment run in the future.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hantu's heartbeat

Voice, eyes and heart. That's you.

Ever so often, we like to recognise the people that participate and support our activites. Your time and attention already means Hantu's had another day in her life.

Thanks to Ricky for sharing the above pictures.