ReefCheck protocol / comments (fwd)

James C. Hendee hendee at
Tue Jan 7 12:06:55 EST 1997

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 1996 10:52:06 -0500 (EST)
From: Ursula Keuper-Bennett <howzit at>
To: coral-list at
Subject: Re: ReefCheck protocol / comments

At 12:29 PM 12/25/96 +0100, Moshira Hassan wrote:

>* Generally tourists prefer diving at "good sites". One could surely also
>find very dedicated tourists/naturalists who would be ready to also visit
>what are considered "bad dive sites".

I am a Canadian diver who has snorkelled/dived the same reef off West Maui each summer now since 1977.  Back then it WAS a "good site".  Over the years through a remarkable blend of carelessness and ignorance, "progress" has turned it into a "bad dive sit

My husband and I still dive there.  What has disgusted us over the years is the lack of voice on the part of the dive industry whose attitude appears to be, if a dive site turns bad, find another.  This is exactly what we were told when our dive site got 

"Go to South Maui.  It's cleaner and the condos are cheaper too."  This advice came from a highly regarded dive master.

I have heard the same comment from tourist/divers about former good dive sites now degraded  and in decline.  They simply go somewhere else.

What baffles me is neither the dive industry or divers themselves appear to understand that if you keep running (swimming?) away, sooner or later, you WILL run out of good dive sites.  That message needs to be sent out.

Moshira Hassan wrote:

>* The typical tourist likes to visit each site once and then look for
>something new (no comment on that attitude).

OK, so I will.  My husband and I have dived the same location in Maui just over 700 times now.  You can imagine how well you can know an area and how well the inhabitants can get to know you.  Winter '94 we visited Grand Cayman and did some boat dives.

The dive master would offer suggestions for dive sites and the divers would say, "No, been there three days ago".  HOW visiting a place just once planted an idea that they'd actually seen it or had nothing more to experience from the place left us with a 
mixture of bafflement and contempt.  So there's my comment on THAT attitude.

Moshira Hassan wrote:

>I am sure we can convince the diving schools and the tourists to spend an entire day, i.e. >2 dives and snorkeling at a given site.

For many tourists, once they've done the two dives (time usually dictated by the one who hoovers the air faster than anyone else) they are eager to return to the harbour and land so they can go on with the rest of their vacation.

The same people who feel they don't need to ever revisit a site after they've dived it once, find sitting on a boat rather boring because after seeing the blue ocean, scanning the horizon, sighting the occasional flying fish --dolphins too perhaps, they c
rave something new.

There is no remote control on a dive boat and so they can't fast forward or switch channels to relieve the Been There, Done That syndrome.

As you might guess, my husband and I are now exclusively shore divers and only dive at OUR site.. a bad dive site.  We find the ocean inhabitants have considerably longer attention spans than the average tourist/diver and they don't blow air as fast eithe

Still I do wish all of you success in this reef monitoring thrust.  What you are all attempting here is of vital importance.

Forgive the general miffed tone of my message.  I just received word via the Net that our dive site has experienced powerful rains and the concrete channel just to the south has once again spewed thousands of gallons of red soil from pineapple fields dire
ctly into the ocean and our dive site.

The red extends along much of the coast and out to the "boat lanes".  That is 60 feet of water and exactly where a group of turtles suffering from a debilitating disease called fibropapillomas live out their lives.  We have dived through two previous "Red
 Rains" and so we know exactly what they are experiencing right now.

I am left with a helpless rage and a question.

How can we treat our oceans so shamefully?

                       ^                  Ursula Keuper-Bennett
                      0 0                 Email: howzit at
             /V^\     I I    /^V\
           /V     Turtle Trax    V\

            PLEASE SUPPORT Green Turtle Fibropapilloma RESEARCH

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