Saturday, August 30, 2008

If you are a diver, what you can do to protect the marine environment?

Photographer: Linda Wade

by Charles Roring

The above question does not need spoken answer. It needs actions.  Keep that question in mind while you dive. Coral reef is a beautiful underwater marine environment. It is the place where the fish feed, hide from predators and grow. Coral reef consists of soft and hard corals. They are the home to most of marine creatures.

When diving, you can take as many pictures or video shots as you want but don't collect sea shells or any part of the corals as souvenirs. Respect the coral reef as a whole marine ecosystem which supports human life. Healthy corals support sustainable fishing and eco tourism industries which are worth billions of dollars to our economy. We, as scuba divers, must support the preservation of coral reefs and marine life for future generations.  

Coral reef grows slowly. Many need tens of years to grow and form even a small part of them. When you dive near the corals, make sure that your camera or other diving equipment does not hit them. Although soft corals such as Christmas tree and sea broccoli look beautiful, gentle touching can be harmful to them.

Sometimes fragile marine organisms experience harassment from recreational divers through touching, turning and caress. Don't do that. Control your buoyancy so that you will not cause injury to aquatic creatures every time you dive.

Beautiful fishes or corals are tempting. You might want to touch, feed and even riding on them. Avoid such acts as they will stress the animal. When they are disturbed, they can be aggressive to human. Some jellyfish can release deadly venom. Playing with ray-fish can be dangerous too.  It might look gentle and harmless like butterfly but the "horn" at the back is a deadly weapon.

Scuba divers are first hand eyewitness to any disturbance or destruction of marine environment. We can prevent it by taking real actions. First, we have to be good examples through our own interactions with the coral reefs and marine creatures living in them. Second, we can participate in the monitoring, reporting and cleaning up activities. Third, we can also give financial contribution to such activities in our communities. And the last, we can encourage others to do the same.

Also read:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Unexploded WW II ordnance still pose threats to human population and fragile marine habitat

by Charles Roring

The northern part of West Papua has many dive sites. Shipwrecks in Manokwari are considered the best in Indonesia. Coral reefs with abundant fish species can be found in Mapia islands, Cendrawasih National Marine Park, and Raja Ampat islands.

Photographer: Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program

During WWII both the allied forces led by the Americans and the Japanese forces dropped thousands of bombs in West Papua. Their targets are their enemy’s military bases, ships and even caves in the jungles. These bombs destroyed ships at sea and everything on the ground.

Today, sunken ships and airplanes in West Papua have become wonderful diving sites which attract recreational divers from around the world. In my previous article I wrote about the marine pollution threat posed by sunken tankers in the Pacific region. There is another threat left by WWII legacy from its ordnances.

Not all of the bombs, during the air raids, exploded. Some did not explode and stay intact for years. Time passed by and these bombs are corroding rapidly. Although the outer skin looks corroded but the ammunition inside is still active.

Some local fishermen in Papua took and cut them to take their explosive materials. These chemical substances are used to make fish bomb. The locals call it dopis. They filled small bottles, usually used injection bottles, with the explosives and plug it with wood or other water resistant insulators. After that they insert a short straw. Then, they fill some matches powder into the straw to make it as a fuse.

To use the fish bomb, the fisherman rows its canoe to coral reef where there are many fishes schooling. With his cigarette, he will light the fuse and immediately drop it to The fish school playing in the corals. When the bomb explodes, it will kill all the fish and destroy the corals.

Until now, unexploded WW II ordnances in West Papua can still be found in the jungles and at sea. They pose threats not only to human population but also to coral reefs. Reports said that some bombs exploded and killed the fishermen who were cutting them.

Cleaning up is not easy to be conducted due to the size of the area but fishermen have to be told that the use of bombs is dangerous both for them and the marine life environment.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ship wrecks of the Pacific Ocean, popular diving sites which also pose pollution threats to the marine environment

by Charles Roring

Shipwrecks in the Pacific region have always been attractive to scuba divers. Places like Palau islands, Shinwa Maru wreck in Manokwari of West Papua, and Coral Sea are favorite diving destinations for divers from around the world. Exploring underwater wrecks are interesting and fun. However, after lying intact for more than sixty years, they are corroding rapidly and posing serious threats to the surrounding environments.

oil tanker USS Mississinewa
(picture taken from wikipedia)

The Pacific region experienced World War II between 1941 and 1942. The attack of Japanese Imperial Navy on US Naval Base in Perl Harbor started the war. The US then pushed them back from one island to another along the Pacific Ocean. Fierce battles occurred at sea. The war involved battleships, aircraft carrier and tankers. Both sides lost thousands of ships. According to South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), there are at least 3,800 shipwrecks, including 333 tankers, scattered throughout the region.

These wrecks are concentrated mainly in the Coral Sea, Salomon islands with more than 200 wreckages, the Federated States of Micronesia, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and West Papua, Fiji.

For instance, during the battle of Guadalcanal, at least 50 ships were sunk by both sides. In Palau islands, there are over 30 documented WWII Japanese wrecks. Some of them such as the Chuyo Maru and the Teshio Maru have become popular diving sites which are visited regularly by local diving tours. Although shipwreck diving gives substantial economic contribution to local communities. The wrecks themselves are also seen by experts as environmental time bombs for the nearby coral reefs and marine habitats.

Rapid deterioration of hulls and oil tanks puts the surrounding waters in greater risk of marine pollution. One of these sunken ships, oil tanker USS Mississinewa in Ulithi Lagoon of the Federated States of Micronesia, leaked oil in 2001. Similar incident occurred in New Caledonia when the corroding hull of Ever Prosperity released an eight square mile of oil slick. The wreck is located near Amedee islet which is a favorite diving site and a prime tourist destination.

Another environmental bomb is oil tanker USS Neosho which sunk with the giant USS Lexington aircraft carrier and the destroyer USS Sims during the battle of Coral Sea in 1942. This tanker is only 200 nautical miles of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, one of the most favorite diving sites in the world.

Immediate actions have to be taken by governments who own the sunken ships and the governments whose waters are environmentally threatened. Although it is exponentially expensive with the increased depths of the sea, the pumping of oil trapped in tanks of sunken ships is seen as a must solution to prevent more damages to the environment.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preservation of Dutch buildings urgently needed

by Charles Roring

Two or three days ago I walked around my neighborhood. I was accompanied by a four year old and beautiful niece, Grace. I brought with me a small but very good digital camera. It was a Sony Cyber-shot 6.0 mega pixels. I took some interesting pictures as I was slowly walking with Grace.

One of them was a Dutch house built on top of a hill. An old Papuan named, Jan Manusawai, told me that the house has been around since before the World War II. It had been used as hospital before becoming the residence for Catholic priests. Now it belongs to the Catholic church of the diocese of Manokwari – Sorong. There are many beautiful buildings, houses, and shops that were built by the Dutch in this town. Unfortunately, they are being demolished one by one by the new ones. It seems that today’s rapid growth of population or development does not pay particular attention to the preservation of old buildings. Dutch houses are seen as old fashioned constructions that have to be replaced by bigger multi-story buildings. People might think that they are “more suitable” for a modern city.

Such perspective is misleading in terms of historical preservation. The development of a city or town has to be in line with its own historical background and nature. Current civilization is built upon the previous civilization. It means that there has to be a continuation between the past and the present civilizations. European cities like Praque, London, and Madrid are good examples for this matter. Old buildings exist side by side with new ones. We should not destroy all the old ones that are still good. But it doesn’t mean that we always live in the past.

The Nusantara archipelago, which is now called Indonesia, used to be a Dutch colony. Western civilization grew in these beautiful islands. Although the Dutch had returned to Europe, they left behind many beautiful buildings which we should preserve as part of our history. Many of them can still be used as offices, houses and even as hospitals. Therefore, there are no excuses that we can use to demolish them.

Japan, one of the most modern state in Asia, knows well how to preserve old buildings for future generation. There is a park in Nagasaki. Its name is Huis ten Bosch park which is also known as Holland village. Tourists like to visit it as they considered it as a unique cultural heritage. The existence of this park strengthens the relation between Japan and the Netherlands.

We can learn from Japanese experience who knows how to maintain past heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. By preserving Dutch buildings in Indonesia, we can maintain and increase the relation between the two countries in such aspects as economy, trade, culture and education and etc.

I hope that one day, people will appreciate old Dutch buildings, restore and preserve them as part of their history for the sake of present and future generation.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Website address for Orchids of Papua

by Charles Roring
Papua has many species of orchids. Collectors from big cities in Java always order Papuan orchids for their gardens. No wonder the price of a pot of orchid is expensive. People begin to grow orchid hoping that they can get some market share in orchid trading.
acampe lindley, one of the orchid species in Papua island

While I was sitting here typing on my computer, a student from Papua University came to my bookstore and asked if I sell flower books. I stopped typing and switch to my POS database. I typed tanaman hias, the Indonesian term for decorated plants. After pressing Enter, the computer showed a list of books on tanaman hias. I then stood up and showed her the shelf where the books were displayed.
She took some but could not get what she was looking for. She said, " I am looking for flower books that have latin names especially for local Papuan flowers."
"Well, I don't think I sell them. Why don't you search for them in the internet?" I asked her.
She replied, "Well, even if I find some books, they may not contain explanation about local flowers."
"I think I know a website about Papuan flower. Wait for a moment, I will show it to you." Then, I open Papua folder in my hard disk and I locate the which I had saved previously. She thanked me for informing her the website. After receiving the web address, she left my bookstore with a wide smile. I hope that she can finish her course work easily now.
Yeah, that's how I run my bookstore. Sometimes, when my customers cannot find books that they are looking for in my bookstore, I have to help them by providing wish list form, showing web sites or even giving some e-books that I had downloaded from the internet. These services are given for free.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Scuba divers must show tough stand on buttom trawling

by Charles Roring
Diving community must show their strong opposition to bottom trawling in order to protect the fragile marine habitat. Bottom trawler is a fishing ship that tows cone-shape net across sea floor. This fishing method destroys corals, sea grass beds, and sponges that are essential places for juvenile fishes to hide from their predators. As a result, fish populations have rapidly declined. This will effect the food security of future generations.
Most of recreational scu
ba divers haven't known about this issue. As tourists, they visit various marine parks that are well protected by governments regulations. Many do not realize that a few kilometers beyond the protected coral reefs, the marine ecosystem are being destroyed by highly destructive fishing vessels.
So far, only marine environmentalists that have strongly expressed their opposition to bottom trawling in mass media. Actually, resorts and diving operators can participate in this campaign by providing information about the danger of destructive fishing practices in their websites. They can also put books or posters related to this matter in every cottage so that tourists can read them.
Each scuba diving clubs can urge their respective governments to introduce Ocean Habitat Protection Act that aims at banning highly destructive fishing gears and dredgers.
Scuba divers know well that ocean environment is a beautiful home to diverse marine creatures. The implementation of such act will bar harmful fishing gear from fragile coral reefs and fish species.
Photographer: Linda Wade (NOOA photo library)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Visiting Diving Sites in Eastern Indonesia the cheaper way

by Charles Roring
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It consists of more than 13,600 islands which offer many world class diving sites to scuba divers. The rapid growth of population in this country gives more pressures to the coral reefs that are located near the coastal towns or cities of Indonesia. Western part of this country is experiencing industrialization. In Eastern Indonesia the condition of most of the marine parks is still good. They are Banda Marine Park of Moluccan islands, Bunaken National Marine Park in North Sulawesi, Raja Ampat Marine Park and Cendrawasih National Marine Park of Wondama in West Papua.
Only Bunaken that has the best infrastructure for foreign and domestic tourists.
If you are interested in visiting these marine parks, you can go there by plane or passenger ship. The cheapest way to travel from one island to another in Indonesia is by passenger ferry. Pelni, the largest state owned ship liner, has many ships and ferrys that can take to most of the big islands. The condition of the passenger ships is good. Most of them are made in Germany. By sailing with these ships you can bring as many diving equipment as you need. The price of first class ticket is very cheap if compared to European or American standard. For safety reason, it is better to buy first class. You will have your own bed room, with private toilet and locker. Backpackers can choose tourist class. Many people choose economy class because it is very cheap but with noprivacy at all. In addition, passengers in economy class have to be careful with their luggage all time.
Upon arrival in Wondama - West Papua, for instance, you need to stay one night in that town. The next day you can contact boat owners there to arrange for a visit to Cendrawasih National Marine Park. It is better to go to there with a partner or some of your friends.

Other Tourist Attractions in Minahasa Beside Bunaken

By Charles Roring
Bunaken National Marine Park is a world class diving site in Minahasa, the Province of North Sulawesi. Nine thousand scuba divers from every corner of the world flock in Bunaken every year. Most of their activities during their stay in Manado, North Sulawesi is devoted to diving. They are served by around 40 dive operators. Besides Bunaken, Manado Tua and Siladen islets, other nearby diving sites in the region are Bentenan (which is currently served by one dive operator, i.e. Bentenan Beach Resort), Montehage, Molas, Bangka islets and Lembeh strait. A report in 1999 said that the contribution of diving to the local was more than four million US dollars. With continues rising in the number of tourists who visit North Sulawesi every year, the amount of money they spent will be higher.
As mentioned above, most of the scuba divers are served by only small number of dive operators. Will the money the tourists pay influences the economy of the people in Minahasa? The intention of the development of eco-tourism is to support to the preservation of the environment, and to help the economy of people in the region. According to my observation, there are improvements in the villagers’ life especially among those who work directly in diving industry. But more improvements can be achieved if more tour packages aiming at empowering the local people are introduced. These packages include Minahasa highland tour where tourists can visit handicraft shops, bird watching, palm sugar industry, flower market in Tincep and white water rafting in Timubr, local snack kiosks, traditional restaurants and furniture and wooden house industries. Folk dances and music performance can be combined with gourmet tourism in the Minahasan highland.
If more options are available, tourists who haven’t experienced these packages may choose them after finishing their dive in Bunaken. Local government of Minahasa and North Sulawesi should support the program by providing tax incentive or building the necessary infrastructure for that purpose. It is hoped that with more people oriented tour package, the economy of the local people can significantly be improved in the near future.
Also read:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Underwater Volcano of Siau, a challenging scuba diving site

by Charles Roring
Bunaken marine park is a world class diving site in North Sulawesi. Every year thousands of scuba divers visit and dive to enjoy the beauty of its coral reef. Recent studies have shown that the diving sites in Bunaken have been saturated both by the number of annual diving and also by the number of dive operators. Researchers then recommend sites other than Bunaken which are also attractive and worth visit.
In addition to Bunaken, there are diving sites along Lembeh Straits, and Bentenan islets. Until now, there is only one dive operator in Bentenan. Its name is Bentenan Beach Resort. Bentenan is located on the other side of North Sulawesi peninsula. Therefore, investors who are interested in opening diving centers can put Bentenan islets in their list. Other locations which are further away from Bunaken and Lembeh are Siau, Mahoro, Pahepa, and Makalehi island. Between Siau and Sangihe islands there is underwater volcano which is beautiful but needs careful diving. If you are interested in scuba diving in this site, you need to bring suitable wet suit, and equipment for that purpose. You also need to make an arragement with one of the diving centers or operators in North Sulawesi. The cheapest way is to go there with other scuba divers who are interested in diving in that underwater volcano. As the volcano is still active you will feel that the sand is hot with bubbles coming out of the ground. The scuba divers must also take serious precautions on fire corals.
Also read:
Scuba divers have the right to ask
Antifouling must be banned

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Diving gear maintenance

by Charles Roring
Scuba divers, diving centers and other diving operators must ensure that the equipments they use are in good condition for safe diving operation. There are a number of safety guidelines which are intended to maintain the diving gear as a safe equipment for its users. Air bottles have to be serviced every five year. The service must include hydro-test to see whether the bottles have leaks, cracks. These bottles must have PSI certification.
Parts of regulator such as valve, spring, and hose; and buoyancy control device (BCD) need annual inspection to make sure that they don't have any leaks. The dive computer also needs servicing at least every year to make sure that it works well under water. If the O-rings and seals dry out and cracks, they have to be replaced by new ones.
Diving gear manufacturers and shops usually provide free annual service to their clients. So, it is important for scuba divers to have their diving gear serviced, and at the same time get latest information about new innovation in diving techology.
Those who like to perform cave or wreck diving must ensure that their lighting equipment are working properly. Cables or wiring, batteries, and compass have to be well insulated. Any small leaks occur under water will create short circuit. When diving in deep caves, scuba divers can also be equipped with underwater flare in addition to the flash light or other electrical lighting equipment.
If a diving gear is not in good condition, the scuba diver who use it may face accident. The diver might run out of air if the dive computer is broken. He/ she may drown if the are leaks in BCD. The diver may also inhale sea water if there are leaks or craks in the regulator's seals. When facing difficulties or accidents underwater, scuba divers may get panicked and tend to ascend to the surface as soon as possible. Deep sea divers who experience accident or troubles and ascend fast without making decompression stop will face decompression sickness which is fatal to his or her life. Therefore, it is very important for every beginning scuba divers to observe standard guidelines in maintaining safe operation of their diving gear.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dive Center for Manokwari Wrecks

by Charles Roring, a Manokwari travel writer and tourist guide
Wrecks of Manokwari are considered as the best wreck diving site in Indonesia. The wreck diving package for this bay is offered by dive operators abroad. There are not any diving centers in this town yet. Perhaps, you are interested in opening a dive center in Manokwari. I can help you by giving advice, connecting you with people who know how to run an eco-tourism project and other things related to administrative matters. Provincial tourism board did not realize that wreck diving can give better contribution to the economy of local community living along the beach of Manokwari bay.
During World War II or the Pacific War, this little town became the battle ground between the allied forces and the Japanese forces. Many Japanese ships were sunk in the Dore bay. There are twenty wrecks but only six of them that can be dived on.
 As a tourist guide, I have accompanied tourists snorkeling around the bay and I know places where the corals are still in good condition. So, your diving or snorkeling trip in Manokwari will be more efficient.  If you are interested in coming to Manokwari, you can contact me. I will show you around the coral park in the bay and also bring you to the rainforest of the Table Mountain to watch birds, explore caves and photograph bats.
Ship and airplane wrecks are scattered around the bay. There are two or three sites that located outside the bay. These diving sites have been intact for years. The biggest one, is located behind Mansinam island. Its name is Shinwa Maru, a 120 meter length cargo ship with five holds.
If you want to come to Manokwari and intend to stay in an affordable inn then I should recommend the Kagum Inn. Its operational manager is Ivanna Roring. She can be contacted through her mobile phone at: +62 81 283 07 331. The rate of the room per night is between 15 and 18 US dollars depending on the size of the room. Indonesian styled breakfast is served for all guests.

Introducing international phonetic symbols to a mute girl

by Charles Roring
This afternoon, Cindy came again to my bookstore. She went directly to a table located in the middle of the bookstore where I put new arrival books. She took Pretty Road, a Japanese comic for teenagers. She gave it and asked me to keep it in my back shelf. Tomorrow, she would come again to pay it. Well, reading comics is her hobby. After that we began learning English.
Teaching pronunciation to mute girl is challenging for me. Today, I taught her how to read English words using International Phonetic Symbols. As the pronunciation system in Indonesian language is different from English, I must explain the easiest method. I don't want to write the English pronunciation using Indonesian words because different words have different pronunciations. Instead, I use international phonetic symbols.
How English vocabularies are read can easily be seen from dictionary.
Although Cindy is a fast learner, she finds that it is difficult to pronounce English words. It seems that she wants to give up when she cannot pronounce such words as nurse, teacher, and writer properly.  The letter e in these words is pronounced as ə. I have to find an Indonesian word whose letter e is pronounced as ə. Fortunately, I could find it. The word is enam meaning six.  To help her master the English pronunciation, I opened my Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary. On the last page of the book, there are phonetic symbols used in the dictionary. The consonant words are pen, bad, tea, did, cat, got, chain, jam, fall, van, thin, this. In addition, vowels, and diphthongs words are see, happy, sit, ten, cat, father, got, saw, put, actual, too, cup, bird, about, say, go, five, now, boy, near, hair, pure.
Many English learners in Indonesia do not really understand the phonetic symbols. I hope that English teachers can introduce them to their students.
Cindy also complained that the book which I use to teach English is too difficult because it doesn't have translations in Indonesian language. I use TRUE COLORS, an EFL course for real communication. It is a very good book for foreign students who want to study English. The book is colorful and fully illustrated. I had not finished the pronunciation lesson when her father came to pick her up.
Beginners who have just learning English will always say that English is difficult to learn. I believe that as she makes progress, she will enjoy learning English during this hard process. We'll see.
Also read:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Teaching English pronunciation to a mute girl

by Charles Roring

Today I have an interesting experience. I have a loyal customer who always visit my bookstore every day. She is a beautiful Chinese girl. She is 14 years old, but has just reached sixth grade of elementary school. Her shool is located some two hundred meters behind my house.
A fourteen year old girl in sixth grade elementary school? No, kidding! Yeah, that's true. She has hearing problems. Her parents sent her to a special school which was suitable for her in Jakarta. She was then returned to study in normal school, sitting and studying side by side with other normal students. I think it is not easy for her but she manage it quite well. Although she is mute, she is quite smart in her classroom.
Today, when we were talking about things related to comics, which is her interest, I told her to study computer graphics design. She said, she doesn't know how to use a computer. Manokwari, the town where I live, is only a small town. Students begin to study computers in high school. Only those who are from wealthy family that can buy a computer. Her family is rich enough to buy one but perhaps her parents think that this is not the right time for her to have her own laptop. No, problem.
She likes to visit my wife who is in the kitchen in the afternoons cooking our lunch.
Well, her name is Cindy. Today, I told her to study English verbally, not using sign languages.
I said, "Cindy, why don't you study English?"
She replied, "It's difficult. I can't study English, or Mandarin. I only speak Indonesian."
"If you really want to study, you'll be able to do it."
After talking with her for some minutes, I began to teach her about the difference between I and me.
I have to write the two sentences to point the positions of these personal pronouns.
  • I have a book.
  • The book is given to me.
As she could not read the letter a (ə) book properly, she say it "ei." I have to write the word enam (meaning six in Indonesian language) and point and underline the letter e which has similar pronunciation to ə in a book.
She also could not read the word me properly. I have to read the above sentences word by word to help her with this little English lesson. Fortunately, she managed to improve her pronunciation before her father picked her up.
I think tomorrow, she will come again to study more about English.
This is one of my interesting experiences during the workdays in my bookstore, xavier.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Choosing a good location for your own scuba diving resort

Picture: Nusrowi, a potential and unexploited diving site in Wondama Bay regency of West Papua
by Charles Roring
There are some scuba divers who plan or dream to retire by running their own diving resort. These divers have visited several diving resorts and are interested in huge income the owners received although they might not know anything about diving and its technical matters. It seems that they are rich and enjoy a relaxing life. They have created their own Edenic Park somewhere in remote islands where celebrities and wealthy businessmen spend their holiday or retreat there.
But before you begin implementing your dream, you need to think like a businessman who plans to start a business. I mean running a diving resort is similar to running a business. So, your diving expertise, although essential, is not the only thing that you must have. Choosing a good location.
  • The first thing that an investor should think when considering of building a diving resort is location. Where you will build it. The resort has to be in the location where there are dive sites. Places like Caribbean islands, Phuket Thailand, Palau Islands in the Pacific, Sipadan Malaysia, Great Barrier Reef Australia, Bunaken National Park of North Sulawesi, or Sinai Egypt have been full with diving resorts. I don't say that they have been saturated for new business but the price of land in these sites are expensive. There are still beautiful diving sites around there world that haven't been exploited to their full potential. Bentenan in North Sulawesi, Banda Marine Park in Moluccan islands, Cendrawasih Bay National Park of Teluk Wondama regency in West Papua, just to name a few, are potential world class dive sites that need investors. Many island countries in the Pacific ocean have beautiful coral reefs. The price of land in these areas tend to be cheaper.
  • Unfortunately, many of them are lack of infrastructure that a diving resort needs to support its operation. Diving sites may locate in remote areas where roads are unpaved, and even no airport. It means you need to provide an offroad car, boat or even an amphibious airplane.
  • Besides infrastructure related issues, another problem is human resource. The nearby villages where your resort will be constructed do have people which you can hire in the construction works. But in most cases, they don't speak English. Many even do not know what a toaster is. Governments will welcome investors who intend to build resorts in their countries with expectation that they will be able to generate tax from the business that you run. In addition the local villagers hope that by selling their land for your "dream resort," they will be able to become workers in your resort. It is possible to recruit local villagers to work in your resort, but you need patient and perserverance when training them to be professional workers in your hospitality industry.
  • Different places mean different customs and cultures. If you plan to build the resort in the Pacific ocean, you will have to face Pacific cultures which are full of supertitious, magic, and tribal religions. You don't need to observe or believe but you must show your respect. You might need to adapt the resort design so that it will look close to nature and physical appearance of local houses. It is better to construct your resort using local materials because it will be cheaper.
  • Sometimes territorial conflicts between villages will put you in trouble.
There are many more considerations which you must think or prepare before deciding on buidling your dive resort in certain place. The above points are only simple guidance or overview. Don't get discourage when you finish reading them as different dive sites have their own considerations.  
Also read:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Scuba divers have the right to ask

by Charles Roring
A well preserved underwater coral reef region is usually seen as a "gold mine" for people who live around the area. Scuba divers from around the world will visit the area to enjoy the natural beauty, fish, and colorful corals in it. Usually, authorities who manage the sea park will charge certain amount of money as entrance fee. The amount they collect depends on the number of tourists who visit the park.
Most of the tourists who want to scuba dive in a marine park show their willingness to pay the entrance fee if the money they pay goes directly to conservation projects of the coral reef and the surrounding environment. Unfortunately, these scuba divers only stay there for a short period of time, usually ranging from three days up to one week. When they have returned home, they cannot have access on information about the region anymore. The easiest way to find out how the entrance fee is spent or how the sea park is managed is by using the website, magazine or email.
Scuba divers or tourist can also ask the management board to support the villagers living near the marine park through several income generating projects. The increasing demand of ornamental fish for aquarium owners have triggered the use of poisonous or chemical substances for catching such fish in the coral reefs. In addition, oriental restaurants in big cities are willing to pay high price for grouper fish, abalone and other coral fish. These market demand will encourage fishermen to catch fish in the marine protected areas using bombs or chemical substances which will damage the coral reef environment. Management board can give the money in the form of credit or grant schemes to the fishermen so that they will be able to develop sustainable fish farm using aquaculture technology.
In certain cases, the management board can invite or hire marine experts that can provide consultation and guidance to those who are interested in developing sustainable fishing industry side by side the marine eco-tourism industry.
In recent years more and marine park management board have begun launching official websites which provide information about activities in the region. But many of the websites are not updated regularly. So, it is important for the tourists who have visited the park to ask the authorities to update their websites. Through these website, tourists can get information and in return can give suggestions to the management board, dive centers, or dive operators about ideas that are useful for supporting the conservation project or empowerment program of communities living in the region.
Furthermore, dive operators, government officials, ngos, and local communities who are involved in the management board of marine park have to be transparant in the use of fund or accumulated entrance fee they collected. Transparancy or openess both to the local community and to the tourists will become the vocal point for the sustainability of the eco tourism industry in the marine park. If your are interested in learning how a marine park is professionally managed, you can type two keywords Bunaken, Bonaire. These marine park are good examples for this matter.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Anti fouling paint must be banned in Protected Marine Park

by Charles Roring
Dry season has been the most favorite time for most scuba divers to explore the beauty of underwater world. For dive operators, this is considered the harvest time. More tourists mean more money coming in. To attract scuba divers from around the world, dive centers promote their service through internet, travel agencies, and special diving magazines. The ads they publish usually feature comfortable facilities, fast or beautiful boats and the last but not the least, cutting edge diving equipment.
When more scuba divers enter the marine park, more boats will be needed. Diving centers do not want to create bad impression in front of their customers by showing boats whose bottoms are full with barnacles, algae, or weeds and various kinds of mussels.
The easiest way to get rid all of this marine organisms is by applying anti fouling paints on the bottom of the boats. The commercial anti fouling paints available in the market consist of two types:
  • Ablative anti fouling paint. It is a soft bottom paint that wears when the boat moves in the water. It contains chemical substances which acts as biocide that kills the barnacles, weeds, and even small fish adjacent to it.
  • Hard finish antifouling paint. This kind of paint is suitable for fast speed boat. The paint leach out biocide as it moves in the water.
Boats painted with antifouling chemicals that operate in a shallow water will release their harmful paints to coral reefs and fish that live below. It is also a poison for scua divers and their guides who swim near the boat. Therefore, authorities that manage the marine park should release special regulation that prohibit excessive use of antifouling paints to the scuba diving operators or boat owners.
As the solution, the boats, when they are not in use, can be taken out of water or cleaned manually. Scrubing the bottom of the boat regularly will also result in smooth bottom surface that make the boat move faster.
In addition to banning the use of anti fouling paints, boat owners must limit their speed in diving sites to prevent damaging the coral reefs or hitting the divers. By doing to, scuba divers can enjoy their diving in a safe environment.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


You can put solar energy to work for you and save energy and money. Switching to solar helps protect Florida's beautiful and delicate environment, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Today, there are three practical uses of solar energy for the homeowner: pool heating, hot water, and electricity for remote locations. Less use of electric power generated from fossil fuels means less greenhouse gas and acid rain emissions. Every kWh saved eliminates 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide, 0.2 pounds of sulfur dioxide, 0.25 pounds of carbon monoxide, and 0.01 pounds of nitrogen oxide emissions. To purchase solar systems, consult a local contractor.
Many communities are served by an energy conservation or solar contractor. Check the yellow pages under "Solar Energy Systems." Follow up on each potential contractor's list of references. Solar Pool Heating The most practical and popular use of solar energy for the homeowner is solar pool heating. A solar pool heater extends the swimming season from May through October to February through November (in Central Florida, water temperature at least 75 degrees). This amount of heating is equivalent to $1500 worth of electricity (heat pump) or natural gas for a 24' by 20' pool.
A solar system for a 24' by 20' pool costs $3200 to $4200. The installed cost of a solar system is about the same as a heat pump, or about twice the cost of a natural gas heater ($1500 to $7000, depending on the desired pool temperature and the size of the pool). Solar heater maintenance costs are much less than either type of conventional heater. An additional advantage of solar is quiet -- solar pool heaters are almost silent. The best type of pool heater collectors are the rubber
mat type, according to FEES specialist Gary Cook. The mats are virtually indestructible, and if damaged, are easily repaired. Gary has had this type of collector on his roof for over 12 years. The mats heat his 700 gallon hot tub from 75°F to over 100°F in less than one hour (two hours in winter). His swimming season is extended three months (Gary lives in Gainesville).
Solar Water Heating
Today, there are thousands of solar water heating systems installed in Florida. They put the sun to work heating water for showers, hot tubs, and dish washing. Reliable solar water heating systems are economical where natural gas is unavailable. Modern systems can supply at least 70% and up to 90% of a family's hot water needs. This can cut the typical Florida home electric bill by 10% to 13%. In this sense, a solar hot water heater is a good economic investment. The return on investment is the cash saved on utility bills. This corresponds to an annual rate of return of 7- 9%, very respectable for such a safe investment. Quality systems last as long as the home they are installed in. The Florida Solar Energy Center can provide their ratings of solar collectors and systems (see References). Solar water heating systems range in price from
$1600 for a small system serving two people, up to $5000 for a system that serves a family of eight. A quality system sized for a family of 4 costs $3000 to $3500. A solar water heater could save the average Florida family around $300 per year, and help protect the environment by reducing the pollution caused by generating electricity from fossil fuels. Be aware of a few important details when selecting a solar water heating system. A system sized for a typical Florida family uses two 4' by 8' collectors. Look for a system that uses a solar powered pump. According to Tom Lane* of Energy Conservation Services, most Floridians should select closed-loop systems that use antifreeze to protect the system from freezing. Drain-back systems are another option. (Openloop systems are suitable in South Florida and the Keys). The storage tank should hold at least 20 gallons of water per family member. Extra storage capacity is recommended, and is inexpensive. * Licensed solar contractor, Gainesville FL. (904)373-3220. FEES does not endorse brands or contractors.

Solar Electric Power Generation

Today, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are at work converting the suns radiation directly to electricity. PV generated power has three main advantages over all other types of remote power generation: Free Inexhaustible Power, Simplicity Low Maintenance, PVs provide electricity to rural homeowners, ranchers, and farmers for TV, VCR, stereo, landscape and security lighting, pumps, electric fences, and livestock feeders, without connection to the power company. Some farmers use PV powered pumps for watering of livestock on remote grazing areas. PV systems power street, billboard, bus stop, and highway sign lights, navigational buoys, and emergency telephones throughout Florida.
Small PV systems provide portable power for camping equipment, computers, fans, pumps, and test equipment. PV cells are used in calculators and watches. Photovoltaic power is practical where access to utility company lines is costly, and for low power/portable needs. Industry improvements have reduced the cost of PV systems to 25-50¢ per kWh. This is still considerably more than the 7-10¢ per kWh of utility power. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) goal is PV power at 12¢ to 20¢ per kWh before 2000. To take advantage of the economies of large scale production, the DOE announced a new strategy to
accelerate the use of PV power. The DOE Solar 2000 plan calls for an increase in PV use by a factor of ten by the year 2000. Use of PV power is increasing by over 25% each year, and has been for the past few years. PV power systems range in price from $75 to $40,000 depending on how much electricity the user needs. The box below shows how system cost varies.
PV systems are a poor economic investment if power is readily available: the annual rate of return is around 1%. However, in outlying or isolated locations, connecting to faraway power lines can cost more than a complete PV power station!
When using PV power, it is especially cost effective to replace inefficient appliances with modern energy efficient ones -- allowing selection of a less costly PV system. Since PV cells produce DC voltage, the use of DC (instead of conventional AC) pumps, fans, refrigerators, lights, etc. makes sense. Use of DC appliances reduces the cost of the PV system since they
are typically more efficient and require no invertor capacity. (The invertor is the part of the PV system that changes the PV cells DC voltage to AC.) In most cases, it is not yet economical to power cooling and heating equipment with PV power since these are seasonal loads. Heating and cooling accounts for over half the residential energy use of a typical Florida family. PV power systems are modular, so they easily grow with the users budget and electricity needs. PV system size is measured in watt-hours per day (WH/D). Typical system cost is around $3 per WH/D of system capacity. The smallest systems (around 200 WH/D) can cost up to $5 per WH/D, while very large systems (10,000 WH/D) cost less than $3 per WH/D. Storage batteries are required for power at night and on overcast days. The required size and cost of a PV system can be estimated
using the Sizing Worksheet given in cost comparison Table which can be obtained from PV modules distributors. Utility bills can be used to determine the WH/D of electricity currently consumed. Most bills give "average kWh used per day," simply multiply this number by 1000 to obtain WH/D. Or, (1) take the total kWh on the bill, (2) divide by the number of days in the billing period, and (3) multiply by 1000 to obtain WH/D.
Using this method, one can see that a conventional small home, with a $65 monthly electric bill, would require 25,000 WH/D of PV capacity to go completely solar using the same appliances and lighting. The great cost of such a system emphasizes the importance of using efficient lighting and appliances, natural gas for cooking and heating, and fans for cooling.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Plants and Animals Differ in their Way of Taking Food.

by Woods Hutchinson

As plants take in their sun-food and their air directly through their leaves, and their drink of salty water through their roots, they need no special opening for the purpose of eating and drinking, like a mouth; or place for storing food, like a stomach. They have mouths and stomachs all over them, in the form of tiny pores on their leaves, and hair-like tubes sticking out from their roots. They can eat with every inch of their growing surface.
Pink-spotted Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus perlatus)
Pink-spotted Fruit Dove
But animals, that have to take their sun-food or nourishment at second-hand, in the form of solid pieces of seeds, fruits, or leaves of plants, and must take their drink in gulps, instead of soaking it up all over their surface, must have some sort of intake opening, or mouth, somewhere on the surface; and some sort of pouch, or stomach, inside the body, in which their food can be stored and digested, or melted down. By this means they also get rid of the necessity of staying rooted in one place, to suck up moisture and food from the soil. One of the chief and most striking differences between plants and animals is that animals have mouths and stomachs, while plants have not.

How the Sun is Turned into Energy by Plants and Animals.

Where did the flowers, fruits and leaves that we now see, and the trees and ferns that grew millions of years ago, get this power, part of which made them grow and part of which was stored away in their leaves and branches and seeds? From the one place that is the source of all the force and energy and power in this world, the sun.

Azure Kingfisher
That is why plants will, as you know, flourish and grow strong and green only in the sunlight, and why they wilt and turn pale in the dark. When the plant grows, it is simply sucking up through the green stuff (chlorophyll) in its leaves the heat and light of the sun and turning it to its own uses. Then this sunlight, which has been absorbed by plants and built up into their leaves, branches, and fruits, and stored away in them as energy or power, is eaten by animals; and they in turn use it to grow and move about with.

Plants can use this sun-power only to grow with and to carry out a few very limited movements, such as turning to face the sun, reaching over toward the light, and so on. But animals, taking this power at second-hand from plants by eating their leaves or fruits, can use it not merely to grow with, but also to run, to fight, to climb, to cry out, and to carry out all those movements and processes which we call life.
Plants, on the other hand, are quite independent of animals; for they can take up, or drink, this sun-power directly, with
the addition of water from the soil sucked up through their roots, and certain salts melted in it. Plants can live, as we say, upon non-living foods. But animals must take their supply of sun-power at second-hand by eating the leaves and the fruits and the seeds of plants; or at third-hand by eating other animals.
All living things, including ourselves, are simply bundles of sunlight, done up in the form of cabbages, cows, and kings; and so it is quite right to say that a healthy, happy child has a "sunny" disposition.

What Keeps Us Alive

by Woods Hutchinson
The Energy in Food and Fuel. The first question that arises in our mind on looking at an engine or machine of any sort is, What makes it go? If we can succeed in getting an answer to the question, What makes the human automobile go? we shall have the key to half its secrets at once. It is fuel, of course; but what kind of fuel? How does the body take it in, how does it burn it, and how does it use the energy or power stored up in it to run the body-engine?
Man is a bread-and-butter-motor. The fuel of the automobile is gasoline, and the fuel of the man-motor we call food. The two kinds of fuel do not taste or smell much alike; but they are alike in that they both have what we call energy, or power, stored up in them, and will, when set fire to, burn, or explode, and give off this power in the shape of heat, or explosions, which will do work.
Food and Fuel are the Result of Life. Fuels and foods are also alike in another respect; and that is, that, no matter how much they may differ in appearance and form, they are practically all the result of life. This is clear enough as regards our foods, which are usually the seeds, fruits, and leaves of plants, and the flesh of animals. It is also true of the cord-wood and logs that we burn in our stoves and fireplaces. But what of coal and gasoline? They are minerals, and they come, as we know, out of the depths of the earth. Yet they too are the product of life; for the layers of coal, which lie sixty, eighty, one hundred and fifty feet below the surface of the earth, are the fossilized remains of great forests and jungles, which were buried millions of years ago, and whose leaves and branches and trunks have been pressed and baked into coal. Gasoline comes from coal oil, or petroleum, and is simply the "juice" which was squeezed out of these layers of trees and ferns while they were being crushed and pressed into coal.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Combining photovoltaic and SWATH technologies in Marine Vehicles

by Charles Roring
One of the main obstacles in the application of solar energy technology in marine vehicles is the inadequate amount of power it supplies for running a ship or boat. When moving in the water, a ship or a boat must overcome frictional and wave resistance as well as wind resistance. The bigger the hull form the higher the energy it needs.
Most ships are using conventional hull form, i.e. a mono hull with holds for cargo and decks and superstructure for passengers accommodation.

Catamaran and SWATH
Both hull designs are meant to minimize wave resistance. On the average, for similar displacements, SWATH ships have lower wave resistance than catamaran.
To reduce the propelling power of a ship, engineers design new hull forms with lower wave resistance. Catamaran and SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hulls) are types of ship which have better performance. They are more stable and need less power. In addition they also have larger deck area which is suitable for the installation of solar photovoltaic modules.
With the same displacement and power consumption, catamaran and SWATH can move faster on the surface of the water. Therefore, they are also called high speed marine vehicle. SWATH ships are used to transport people in short distance. Faster speed means higher power. Improvements in photovoltaic technology have to be done in order to increase its efficiency so that it can easily be applied into many other applications both at sea and on land.

Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull
(SWATH ship)

Another innovative design for photovoltaic application in marine vehicle is solar sail boat of Sydney Australia. Here, engineers installed solar photovoltaic on panels that also function as sail.
Unfortunately, the cost of construction for these ships is still higher than the conventional mono hull ships.
Source of the pictures: SWATH and Catamaran hull design in Wikipedia
Also read:

Choose jamu or herbal tonic without any side effects

Author: M. Wuryaning Setyawati
Dr. Ir. Ahkam Subroto, M.App.Sc., APU
Price: Rp. 30,000 (3,3 US dollars)
Size: 13,7 x 21 cm (5,37 x 8.2 inches)
Publisher: PT. Elex Media Komputindo
The writing of this book has been a moral responsibility to give service to public readers. The writers want to share their experiences running the jamu or herbal tonic business based on scientific consideration. Besides it can be accepted by medical communities, it is hoped that this approach can convince the general public about the merit of herbal medicines.
We hope that the public will not hesitate to enjoy jamu and take advantage of the usefulness of this Indonesian medicine in curing various kinds of the diseases.
It is also hoped that one day hospitals in Indonesia and around the world will provide jamu and other herbal medicines as alternative selection in curing patients.

About the Authors:
Ms. Wuryaning Setyawati (also known as Ning Harmanto) gives consultation and hypnotherapyin her herbal clinic. Her patients come from such various countries as the United States, Europe, Australia and a number of Asian countries. She is the President Director of PT. Mahkotadewa Indonesia. The company produces medicinal herbs.
Dr. Ir. Ahkam Subroto won the best young researcher award from Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia in 1997. He has written more than 70 scientific writings published in various journals and presented in many seminars both nationally and internationally.
This book review was written by Charles Roring for
Also read: Herbal Medicine from Kwau Village in the Arfak Mountains of Manokwari Regency - the Province of West Papua - Indonesia

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