In the face of mounting challenges posed to our reefs and seas, divers have long been at the forefront of efforts to protect, preserve, and understand the issues affecting our beloved underwater ecosystems. The inclination to actively engage in local programs and initiatives while exploring new destinations for diving experiences is gaining popularity, aligning perfectly with our core values. Drawing on our expertise in crafting community-based and immersive excursions, we've developed a series of itineraries that revolve around waterculturalist initiatives worldwide. Our commitment extends beyond the thrill of diving; it's about creating experiences that contribute to your understanding of the ocean's complexities while also taking action to improve its health, both in terms of its fascinating underwater life as well as the communities reliant upon it. Read on to learn more about our specialised Waterculturalist itineraries…
1. Coral restoration in the Philippines
Discover the richness of one of the planet's most biodiverse locations during a 12-day expedition to the Philippines. This trip invites you to peruse crystal-clear waters and vibrant reefs awash with an array of hard corals, sea fans and sponges, teeming with myriad marine life. Complete your SSI Coral Identification Course before working alongside local marine biologists to plant new corals on the reef. All the while, you'll be surrounded by a diverse spectrum of life, both macro and massive, from frogfish and nudibranchs to turtles, eagle rays and a variety of sharks.
2. Marine biology training for teens in the Maldives
Tailored for budding underwater enthusiasts and aspiring marine biologists, embark on an 11-day retreat to the Maldives with your family, immersing yourselves in the wonders of Baa Atoll. Explore vibrant, coral-adorned sites and snorkel the renowned Hanifaru Bay - a UNESCO World Heritage site - where hundreds of manta rays congregate every year. Teens can take part in immersive onsite marine biology programs where they can actively contribute to marine research and conservation efforts, making this Maldivian escape ideal for cultivating a passion for the underwater world among your family's future marine enthusiasts.
3. Building reef highways and exploring soft coral reefs and walls in Fiji
Discover the world's soft coral capital on a two-week adventure to Fiji. You'll have the chance to appreciate the stunning corals on a deeper level by helping the marine biologist team with their conservation efforts. Dedicate a day (or two!) to the underwater construction of reef foundations, contributing to an interlocking system of coral bommies that help preserve this breathtaking corner of the world.
4. Pemba and Zanzibar: coral gardens, pelagic encounters and sustainable sponge farming
Embark on an exotic voyage to the distant spice islands of Pemba and Zanzibar on a two-week escape to Tanzania. Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters and explore cabbage coral reefs that play host to an array of marine life, including sharks, eagle rays and turtles. During your time in Zanzibar, seize the opportunity to visit a thriving and sustainable sponge farm that has not only transformed the local ecosystem but also positively impacted the lives of the surrounding community.
5. Whale shark monitoring on Mafia Island
Indulge in the serenity of a secluded island paradise during a ten-day diving retreat to Mafia Island. Immerse yourself in the tranquil island life while actively contributing to marine conservation efforts alongside dedicated marine biologists. Your involvement will include monitoring, photographing, cataloguing and tracking the whale sharks that migrate through these waters.
6. Underwater safari – diving Pemba Island with an underwater earpiece for audio guide
On a 12-day journey through the Spice Islands off the Tanzanian coast, you'll be transported into the heart of a Blue Planet episode. Revel in leisurely days and immerse yourself in an underwater realm adorned with cabbage corals, sea fans and vibrant sponges. Each dive, you'll find yourself surrounded by turtles, reef fish, rays and an array of pelagics. Accompanied by an expert dive guide in a full-face mask with microphone, you'll navigate the reefs with an earpiece, while your guide narrates the dive, educating you on the habits and biology of everything you see.
7. Shark conservation, diving and culture in Bali and Lombok
Go for a two-week escapade to Bali and Lombok, where you'll delve into the lush jungles of Ubud and the flourishing reefs of northern Bali, before enjoying a luxurious stay in Lombok. Contribute to the local community's conservation initiatives with Project HIU by joining a snorkelling excursion on renovated shark fishing boats. Led by former fishermen turned conservation advocates, this experience supports the preservation of shark populations in the region, showcasing a shift in both careers and mindsets towards sustainable practices.
8. Bubu fishermen and unlimited diving in Alor
Keen to get away from it all? Head off on a 14-day trip to the secluded paradise of Alor, a hidden gem away from the bustling tourist spots of mainland Bali. Immerse yourself in the serenity of pristine dive sites teeming with both macro and mega marine life, and experience local fishing practices first-hand while spending the day with a Bubu fisherman. Watch as he expertly free dives to check his handmade traps (often without fins and wearing homemade goggles) and set new ones on the reef. This sustainable and artful way of fishing, as well as their fishing sites, is passed down from one generation to the next and is impressive to see firsthand.
9. Coral restoration in French Polynesia
Spend two weeks in French Polynesia contributing to coral conservation as you plant your own baby corals on the flourishing restored reef in the waters surrounding Bora Bora. Nestled amid turquoise waters, the islands of French Polynesia boast some of the planet's most vibrant and diverse reefs as well as stunning topography adorned with lush jungles. Your luxurious resort boasts an opulent spa and dining choices where you'll experience some of the warmest hospitality in the world.
10. Seahorse safaris and mega fauna in Mozambique
Explore the pristine emerald coastline of Southern Mozambique on an 11-day adventure where you'll have the extraordinary opportunity to dive with majestic giants and marvel at tiny beauties. Spend your days diving and snorkelling with manta rays, whale sharks, dolphins, humpback whales and leatherback turtles in the crystal-clear waters of this paradise. End this once-in-a-lifetime dive holiday with a seahorse safari, where you'll snorkel in shallow pools in search of one of the most intricate and sought-after creatures in the vast blue expanse.