Monday, November 19, 2007

Clean Up & Scavenger Hunt - more

Sugar Dock - where to start! A few years back there was a big movement to save it, a few months back part of it fell into the sea making access to the end a little more difficult but that does not seem to have made it any less popular with everyone from kids swimming and jumping to fisherman trying their luck. Its also only a short ride to one of the best dive spots on Saipan - Ice Cream.
This past Sunday was no different, lots of people enjoying Sugar Dock

That is till we showed up! Ok, everyone still enjoyed themselves but this morning began by giving the water and beaches around the pier a little make over with the collection of trash and debris. Around 9AM folks began to show up and sign in for the big Marianas Dive & Dive Saipan cleanup / scavenger hunt.

Before long we had nearly 50 people sign in before being set loose to scour the grounds for garbage and golf balls! The golf balls were planted here and there and represented prizes from our donors. Of course there were garbage golf balls in there too so if you found one it didn't mean you would win a prize - it had to be an official golf ball!

Now if there was anyone among us that was sure to find a golf ball in the rough it was this man! After all, practice makes perfect - sorry Harry I just couldn't resist after playing golf with you last weekend. Seriously though it doesn't take long to fill up a bag with trash at this popular hang out, thanks for pitching in Harry!

Now I've never played golf with this man but if I have half the motivation and energy that Mr. Olapai has a at 50 I'll be pretty happy! He's dedicated to teaching his family and others about the traditional ways and how it once was in the islands . I'm sure it must be hard to see your land and home treated with such disrespect most of the time but on the other hand I know seeing another 50 people, who truly care out there doing their part must be up lifting to some degree. Thanks for bringing the boys along Leno!
Then of course what Marianas Dive event would be complete without cupcakes! I think Julie started something at the pumpkin carving contest and here's Rose with an extra little twist, look closely at those cupcakes! Look closely in the background - is that a new dance?

So after an hour or so out there picking up trash on the beach and with our kayak surface support team ready to go it was time to give out a few prizes for the land portion before getting the troops ready for a cool refreshing dip.

Plan - there is no plan really! Go that way stay with the dive float and the kayaker and make sure you come back with garbage and golf balls! Watch out for falling golf balls and only one prize per person!
And they're off
Wait one last picture - oh ya that's a keeper! That's Bev and her Cannon!

So why Sugar Dock. It's not really a dive site so why would a bunch of divers want to clean the waters around the pier. The main reason is the scene below is played out nearly everyday with dive shops bringing students to the area for their confined water sessions or for a quick refresher before hitting an actual dive site. The water is not deep especially at low tide but it is always clear and calm. With extremely easy access it makes a pretty good place to conduct a SCUBA course- except of course it is usually littered with trash! I guess it's just too easy to throw things in the water rather than in a trash container - go figure!

So while a few of us manned the fort, the others gathered more trash, an hour later everyone was back on dry land and eagerly awaiting the awarding of prizes!
Unfortunately, for the visual story here, I did the rewarding so there are no pictures of all the winners but in the end everyone won because we did something positive in making the area a better place to hang out or dive and we spent the morning with fellow divers having a good time!

Ok some also won great prizes like a cell phone from PTI, a 40% off shopping spree from Speedy Tertle dive shop, a $100 gift certificate towards polarized sunglasses from Hardt Eye Clinic . There was also a dive trip for two on the Aqua Jet boats, The Underwater World of Saipan DVD, gift certificates from Porky's bar, PHI Pharmacy and Hamilton's as well as dive masks from Dive Saipan and T-shirts from Guam Tropical Dive station! Thanks to all our donors for helping to make the day that much more fun!

(Photo above curtisy of Jacqueline Hernandez)
In the end these dedicated volunteers and a few more who couldn't stick around for the final picture helped rid the beach and water of all this!

Thanks again to everyone who participated! We'll continue to organize clean ups of popular areas topside and underwater every third Sunday of every month so if you missed this one check the Marianas Dive website for details on future events!

Big Prizes!

I'll write more soon but just wanted to say thanks to all the people who helped out and to the prize donors for yesterdays very successful beach and underwater clean up / scavenger hunt at Sugar Dock.
Here's the picture from the front cover of the Tribune today. Please visit their site so they don't get mad at me and also if you have not already done so you should visit the site of Jacqueline Hernandez who takes most of the great cover shots (including this one) for the only daily news paper on island.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Clean Up & Scavenger hunt update

Ok so it's worth mentioning again....

Sunday November 18th Sugar Dock underwater clean up / scavenger hunt.

Why is it worth mentioning again, ya it's a good cause and you'll have fun with fellow divers but now there are prizes too!

So lets review.

Dinner for two - Porky’s beach bar
Sunset champagne -Porky’s beach bar
The underwater world of Saipan DVD x 2 - Mike Tripp Productions
$100 Gift certificate for polarized sunglasses - Hardt eye clinic
Nokia 6030 Cell Phone with SIM card - PTI
Shopping Spree 40% off voucher, anything in the store - Speedy Tertle dive shop
Pizza from Hamilton’s - 2 gift certificates for a large delicious pie.

And this just in-

Aqua Jet is donating a dive trip for 2 on their big red boats!

All these are up for grabs during the underwater clean up!

You can

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Underwater Clean Up & Scavenger Hunt- Sugar Dock

When: Sunday November 18th
Where: Sugar Dock
Time: 9AM
Who is this for: Beach / Topside Clean Up - Everyone.
Underwater Clean Up - Certified SCUBA Divers only!

A PADI Project Aware Event
Tanks and certificates of participation provided by Dive Saipan
Includes a scavenger hunt with prizes!
International recognition

Hello Divers!

As you know Marianas Dive has begun a series of underwater clean ups at popular dive sites around the island. On the third Sunday of every month we meet in the morning to clean a topside area followed by a cool refreshing clean up underwater! So far we've managed to pull out a considerable amount of trash from the beach and dive sites at Lau Lau Bay and Obyan while having a good time doing it!

This coming Sunday November 18th we will be meeting again at 9AM, this time at Sugar Dock. Although not well known as a "dive site” many people, including tourists, take their first real breaths underwater right here- right next to one of the most popular piers on island! While other agencies such as DEQ, CRM, BCNMI and NMDOA have made great strides in keeping this area clean there is always more that can be done, especially underwater.

That's why we are calling on all divers, dive shops and organizations to help support this effort. In addition to being good for the environment and our tourism industry we will also be seeking international recognition by making this a PADI Project Aware event open to anyone that wants to pitch in. Thanks to Mr. Lee at Dive Saipan each participant will receive a Project Aware certificate and a group photograph will be sent to PADI for publication in The Undersea Journal giving individuals and businesses involved worldwide recognition for their help in keeping our environment pristine!

In addition to the Project Aware materials Dive Saipan will provide tanks for anyone that needs one while DEQ will provide trash bags and a limited number of mesh bags for use underwater. At this time we are also looking for surface dive floats and additional mesh bags as we are anticipating a good turn out of volunteers. If you, your dive shop or organization can help out in this regard it would be very much appreciated and recognized in the official press releases.

Another exciting twist to this event will be the placement of prize vouchers underwater turning the clean up into a real live scavenger hunt rewarding those with sharp eyes and attention to detail.

As always the underwater portion is restricted to certified divers but the topside trash collection is open to anyone that wants to help out. As Sugar Dock can be a busy place with boat traffic we are also in the process of coordinating surface support with DPS and boating safety. In addition we plan on having a few kayaks patrolling the surface ensuring divers and boaters don’t meet unless it's for transport to one of our fabulous offshore dive sites following the clean up!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions and if you are able to help out including donations of prizes for the scavenger hunt please let me know. Also, I encourage you to circulate or forward this to anyone who may be interested in helping make this event a success! Together we can make the Marianas a better place to live and dive!

Thanks again for your support and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday for a dive and a morning of fun with fellow divers!


Mike Tripp

Marianas Dive

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Underwater Pumpkin Carving - Finally!

Ok so it's well over a week ago that Marianas Dive held it's first annual underwater pumpkin carving contest!
If you have not already checked out the posts on the forum go here. Mark has some pictures on his site here and Brad did a video in a much more timely fashion than I have so he's already posted a video here.

All in all it was an excellent day. I learned a thing or two about carving pumpkins underwater AND had some of the best cup cakes I've ever had. Julie says they came from a box but they were pretty tasty, the cup cakes that is! - I digress.

I also learned that some people take their carving very seriously complete with an assortment of tools and gadgets designed to get things just right. It was therefore fitting that our judges also took their job very seriously and deliberated over the entrants for quite some time before deciding on the winner based on criteria they only know!

In the end it was Tammy James with the winning creation and resulting new large dive beach towel. A close second was Rusty followed by the tool lady herself Rose Callier.Of course honorable mention also must go to Doug for his work on the smallest entry and Susan who didn't sell out her design by adding a dive flag or Marianas Dive AND had to over come judging bias!
So after an hour of carving and about 25 minutes of video (captured while dodging the rest of the pumpkin paparazzi including Mark and Mark with still cameras and Brad with his video) it was time to sit down and get to work on the editing.

Here's what came of it all!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Death at Lau Lau Bay

The news papers and TV are reporting on a "SCUBA" diving death at Lau Lau Bay on Saturday. The Tribune here, the Variety here.

From these reports and a few discussions with people privy to more direct information than I it appears that the lady had either entered the water and was at the surface before deciding not to go down or that she never actually entered the water but was preparing to do so just before canceling her dive because of chest pain.

It also appears she did not make it all the way back onto the beach before collapsing and in fact was assisted from the water to the beach by the instructors where CPR was preformed.

Although extremely unfortunate this does not appear to be a "SCUBA" diving death beyond the possible contribution of physical exertion required to don a tank and walk to the edge of the reef. I've heard the lady was in her late 50's and although there may have been heightened anxiety about diving and the exertion factor this diving death is likely a sudden cardiac arrest that has no more to do with diving than someone collapsing at golds gym and saying the tread mill caused it.

The other spin as reported by the papers is that the dive instructor or the shop he was affiliated with does not have a business license to operate dive tours. This has ramifications well beyond the SCUBA industry as the Department of Immigration and Commerce are sure to be involved. It has also been suggested that the accident may have been prevented if the divers were part of a smaller group and that the dive industry needs to do a better job in regulating it's self. Although I agree with the latter point in general the first is likely just not true in this case. Not much can be done to prevent an elderly person from having a heart attack whether they are part of a one on one course or a larger group. Likely a bigger factor in this particular death was the limited and difficult access to Lau Lau bay, a result of the horrible rode conditions which would make the trip quite long for emergency response teams.

With regards to the dive industry regulating its self it appears in this case that any set of regulations on diving would likely have been ignored just as the regulations for owning and operating a business were. It also seems to me a certain amount of the blame should be focused on how this particular "business' continued to attract divers, or why business was directed their way if they were not a legal entity and why there is no safe guard in place to identify and eliminate operations that don't meet even the most basic of standards.