To be in close proximity to a shark or a manta ray sends thrills of excitement coursing through the body and ignites a feeling of being truly alive, a near euphoria that can even fill one with surges of creative inspiration. As ocean explorers, we consistently ask ourselves, what can we do to ensure that future generations experience a world as full of wonder and majesty as we have? If you are a diver, a great way to contribute to marine conservation and sustainability is to choose companies that support ethical diving, giving back to the local ecology and people. Wicked Diving is one such company, committed to changing the world one dive at a time.
Sustainable tourism based on Ethical Diving can take a multitude of shapes. In 2013, for example, Wicked Diving was privileged to participate in the creation of the West Manggarai Manta Ray and Shark Sanctuary. We worked alongside MantaWatch to provide data in support of the proposal. Much of this data came from you, our guests, in the form of identification photographs and monetary insight which allowed us to place a value on the mantas in the area.
The entire dive community in Labuan Bajo played a huge part in petitioning the government to show them that mantas count, not only for the tourism industry but also for the health of the ecosystem. The Sanctuary, which has now been in effect for over 3 years, prohibits fishing of manta rays, sharks, and other threatened species including turtles and Napoleon wrasse. This is enforced throughout the district’s 7,000km2 waters that extend up to 12 nautical miles offshore.
Where does your data go?
Thank you to all of our guests who continue to supply us with ID shots of manta rays. We distribute these widely and currently to the following 3 major manta ray conservation agencies:
“I think it is very admirable that your organization or any organization wants to participate in citizen science. Manta Matcher is a great way for the public to get involved and engage in conservation by helping with research efforts while they are on holiday.” – Dr Andrea Marshall, Marine Megafauna Foundation
Since Wicked Diving’s guides do not take cameras on their dives, we can only do this with the support of our guests. In addition to logging data at manta ray hotspots, we are fortunate to witness and report interesting behaviours – feeding and cleaning are commonplace, but we also see many instances of manta courtship, and some lucky divers have even found themselves right in the middle of this mating ritual. We’ve also seen mantas breaching, which is quite an amazing spectacle. On some dives, guests and guides have even watched mantas breaching the surface continually as they sat at 7m underwater! Such wonders are breathtaking and beyond words.
Unique to Wicked Diving is that we certify divers as SSI Manta Ray Divers, a specialty written in-house by our instructor team. We also hold educational talks to raise awareness of the plight of manta rays. Read more on the Flores Tourism Website.
This video contains beautiful footage and describes how Wicked Diving works with Manta Trust to create educational trips about Manta Rays in Komodo National Park.
Whether in a Thailand Divemaster course, on a Similan Liveaboard, or on a Richelieu Rock liveaboard, we continue to be awed by all that we see, so we endeavor to make each dive one step closer to nurturing a healthy ocean for future generations. Citizen science, community development, and marine outreach are all part of Wicked Diving’s approaching to Ethical Diving and Sustainable Tourism. Protecting our oceans is a global and communal effort that we must take on together, and we could not do it without you–we thank you!
and an article about how Wicked Diving Supports Indonesia’s Emerging Generation of Marine Ambassadors