Sunday, 18 January 2015

8 Quick Tips for Beach Cleans!

A Quick overview of why Beach Cleans are important:
Trash on the beach is not only unsightly, but it also creates threats for many of the underwater critters we love to see. Turtles will mistake plastic bags for jelly fish and eat them. This can cause huge problems for them, consuming plastic can make it difficult for them to eat other foods. It can also block their digestive system leading to painful fatalities. Tangled fishing lines left in the water can lead to entanglement for Manta and Devil Rays, or even sharks. There are many ways we want to protect our oceans, beach cleaning is one that everyone can easily get involved with! 

Rays and Turtles are threatened by underwater trash

Of course, protecting marine life is not the only reason. We also need to protect ourselves. Many people love playing around on the beach. Kids and adults love building sand castles and we want everyone to be able to do that without fearing risk of cutting themselves on discarded metal or glass.


1. Things you might need:
There isn’t much equipment needed for a beach clean. 

  • A bag to put the rubbish is a necessity
  • It’s also a good idea to bring a first aid kit –in case of any scratches. 
  • Depending on where you are, it could be pretty sunny, so it’s a good idea to wear a hat and lots of suncream!!
  • Water! Keeping yourself hydrated is hugely important. Bring plenty of water, and maybe some other refreshments as a treat for when you have finished. 

2. Use Protection!

  • Gloves are an important piece of kit when you want to get involved in a beach clean. Although they are not required, they do just give that little extra bit of protection against sharp objects. If you haven’t got something more durable, it’s fine to use plastic gloves. Although they may not protect you against cuts, they do provide a barrier against bacteria.

  • Shoes (or even just flip flops) are another important thing. Protect your feet against cuts and scratches. 

3. Be careful what you pick up!
Pieces of glass or rusting metal can often be found along the beach. If you choose to pick these things up, be extremely careful! Even if you are just picking up a plastic bag – be careful! In many places these bags could contain substances that you would much rather didn’t explode on you (another great reason to wear gloves!). Be cautious when collecting trash! 

4. Prioritise Plastic!
Not all rubbish you see has to be removed. If you have limited bags then always put plastic bottles and plastic bags in first – these are the biggest threat to the underwater world. 

5. Enjoy yourself!
Some people find beach cleaning a chore, but it can be easy to make it fun. Create competitions and have prizes for people who collect the most rubbish in the shortest amount of time. 

Make a game of who can find the weirdest things!  

6. Remember: Proper waste disposal!
Once you have completed your beach clean make sure all the rubbish is properly disposed of. Getting plastic recycled will give you even more eco-points. Recording the trash that you picked up can also be extremely helpful. There are many different operations that value and use this information. Have a look online to see what organisations near you will want this information and what recommendations they have for waste disposal. 

7. Encourage others
Getting other people involved will make it a lot more fun for you. Explain to people what you are doing and why what you are doing is important. Kids and adults from all over the world can get involved!

8.  Don’t be disheartened – Every little helps!
People often find themselves discouraged when the tide changes and the beach they just worked so hard to clean is, once again, covered in plastic bottles / bags. But don’t be disheartened! It may not feel like it, but everything you do helps! One bag of rubbish you take off the beach is one less bag of plastic that a turtle might try to eat. That bag of rubbish may contain a fishing line that a shark or ray could have become entangled in and died. As one person you may not be able to change everything, but getting yourself and others involves DOES make a difference!

A beach clean doesn’t have to be a huge organised event. Many divers spend times on islands relaxing during their surface interval. If you look around and happen to notice a few bottles or some trash lying around, grab a bag and pick them up. It’ll take 5 minutes, and who knows, maybe it will give you some good diving karma! 


Monday, 5 January 2015

Festive Treats at Scuba Junkie

It has been a beautiful Christmas here at the Mabul Beach Resort. Although Christmas Eve was a little rainy, the sun has been shining the rest of the time. Not only that but we have had some amazing sightings underwater! We have also been getting into the festive spirit of giving and had a pub quiz raising money and awareness for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA)

It seems that in the past few weeks sightings of Scalloped Hammerheads are on the increase. Not only have we been seeing them more frequently, but we have also been having multiple sightings in one day! Although the school has not made themselves known in the shallower water at Sipadan, several have been spotted swimming along together. With Hammerheads being one of the most endangered species of shark there are few areas in the world where they are known to be seen regularly. Sadly, populations have declined by nearly 90% in recent years, so our divers have been extremely lucky to be seeing so many! These stunning sharks can grow up to 430cm and research has shown that they can swim as deep as 275m! Thankfully we don’t have to go that deep to see them, and even our Open Water Divers who go no deeper that 18m have had incredible encounters.

It’s not just sharks taking the limelight this Christmas; we have also seen some beautiful Rays. Devil Rays sightings have been on the increase at Sipadan, but it was the Sipadan Barrier Reef that offered us a truly spectacular dive. Whilst out on the Sipadan Barrier Reef our dives saw a stunningly large Oceanic  Manta – Manta Birostris. This is the largest Ray species currently known and it is a wonderful and beautiful ray. Not shy of the divers this ray glides past them and they swim along the reef. This is an extremely intelligent creature and has the largest brain of the fish population. Research is still discovering new things about their social interactions and behaviour. Most sightings we have of Manta are of the Reef Mantas – Manta Alfredi. There have been few sightings of the Manta Birostris in these waters, so this was an exceptional dive this Christmas!

Of course, we are not just about the big stuff over here; we love the little things as well. This month we have seen an octopus that many Muck-diving-lovers will be envious of. Just 30 metres from our jetty our eagle-eyed guides spotted a Wonderpus! This stunning cephalopod has red and white banded arms and two horns that come off its eyes. This distinct looking octopus can often be confused with the Mimic Octopus. Many struggle to tell the difference as their colour and shape are so similar. However, there are a few subtle differences. The Mimic has a distinct white line running around its arms, and the pattern of its body is slightly different. Can you spot the differences in these photos below? 


For videos of these incredible creatures check out our Facebook page :)

As part of the festive spirit we also had a pub quiz to raise money for the MNDA. Our Christmas Elves created a quiz to help get everyone in the mood. We raised 480rm for the charity and are hugely grateful to everyone who came and took park! It was a great night filled with festive tunes. The winners of the quiz received Scuba Junkie T-shirts, whilst the runners up got Beers and Drinks. 

We hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and we wish you the very best in the New Year!!

Love the Scuba Junkie Team