Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clewring - Cruising

OceansWatch Reef Check Training in Tonga

by Jane Pares on 2 Nov 2008
A healthy Reef - OceansWatch Rachel Agnew
The cruising season in the South Pacific is coming to a close and some cruisers have already made their way to New Zealand, where they’ll stay over the hurricane season.

Among the OceansWatch www.oceanswatch.org members heading back for the second time are Beth and Ken Cone on Eagle Wings and David and Gail Funk on Fifth Season. But before making the passage they’re taking the OceansWatch Reef Check course in the Kingdom of Tonga. This is the second course run in Tonga for OceansWatch members the first was in April this year and had ten participants.

OceansWatch member, Glenn Edney, owns and runs OceanBlue Adventures on the island of Foa, and is accredited by Reef Check to run their Eco-diver Course for OceansWatch members. He has considerable knowledge and experience of the underwater world, having been diving in Tongan waters since 1992 and written a book on New Zealand’s Poor Knights Marine Reserve.



Assisted by Jane Pares (OW Media and Membership), they run the course from their dive and whale watching base in the Ha’apai Islands. Rachel Agnew, an OW member who set up www.scubadive.net.nz - a forum for divers - also joined them for the course.

The location is beautiful - Ha’apai is Tonga’s best kept secret - and the perfect place to learn about the coral reef - a sheltered, turquoise lagoon, whose horizon is dominated by the dormant volcanic cone of Kao side by side with Tofua, an active volcano that is infamous for hosting the mutinous crew from the British Navy’s HMS Bounty!

There are no other dive operators based here, and it is particularly ideal for cruisers, as they can anchor off the beach, safely tucked in behind the reef and come ashore each day for instruction.

The theory which involves plenty of identification of substrate, reef health indicator species - fish and invertebrates - bleaching and predation, damage and disease, is taught at OceanBlue Adventure’s base just up from the beach. All the practical work – snorkelling and diving - is undertaken from both the beach and the dive boat, making use of the Home reef and other reefs further off-shore in the lagoon.

The course started on Friday 23rd Oct once both yachts had arrived, and the first day involved ¾ of the time in the classroom and then about 1½ hours snorkelling off the beach, starting with some ID and familiarization. The course has finished after 5 days of enjoyable, but intensive learning with each day involving both theory and practical sessions.



Several theory tests and a full underwater survey need to be passed in order to gain the qualification. All 5 participants happily passed and had the following to say about their experience:

'What a wonderful opportunity to learn and be useful at the same time.'

'Every day brought new insights and surprising facts!'

'The last 12 years of diving I have focused on fish identification and photography. The Reef Check has really opened my eyes to the variety of coral and invertebrates.'

OceansWatch links sailors and divers together with marine conservation projects, as well as forming partnerships with local island communities to work with them to find practical solutions to some of their most basic of problems.

www.oceanswatch.org www.tonga-dive.com







Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82Newport Boat Show 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line - Does the America's Cup really need a Star Chamber?
The first meeting of the three-man America's Cup Arbitration Panel is believed to have taken place in London The first meeting of the three-man America's Cup Arbitration Panel is believed to have taken place in London in the past week or so. Officially the date hasn't been publicly announced. The venue hasn't been publicly named, and the parties have appeared before a Panel that is publicly nameless.
Posted on 23 Jul
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on Emirates Team NZ's road to Bermuda
Part 2 of the interview with Emirates Team NZ skipper Glenn Ashby. In this part of the interview we look at what is going to happen once Emirates Team NZ get their 'AC49.5' sailing in Auckland, and how the campaign may shape up before they leave for Bermuda. Ashby wouldn’t be drawn on whether Team New Zealand had started their AC50 build, with July being the usual start of what is usually a five-month build and commissioning period for an end of December launch.
Posted on 10 Jul
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on Emirates Team NZ's new AC49.5
Sail-World talks with Emirates Team NZ skipper, Glenn Ashby on what is different about the team's new test boat Just under 11 months out from the 35th America’s Cup, Team New Zealand does not seem to be in its customary place at the front of the starting grid to be the first to launch their Challenger, or are they? Although they will be one of the last of the six teams to launch an AC45 Surrogate, Emirates Team New Zealand may have stolen a march with a boat that is as close as you can get to an AC50.
Posted on 9 Jul
Gladwell's Line - Emirates Team NZ launches shadow AC50
Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC4 Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC45S - as the test boats are called in the Protocol which governs the 2017 event. The bloated Protocol, which now runs to 83 pages of legalese, is restrictive on the size of boat that can be built as a test platform but doesn't restrict the number that can be built.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Rio 2016 - Double Olympic medallist on the delights of Guanabara Bay
Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist Bruce Kendall updates on the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist, and now a windsurfer coach, Bruce Kendall has made several trips to the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. He updates on the pollution issue which is clearly not going to be resolved in a couple of months, and also shares his views on the venue from a sailing competition perspective.
Posted on 14 Jun
America's Cup - Artemis win Chicago as Team Japan wins two races
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. After losing the first official day of racing due to light winds and the non-arrival of the onshore breeze, Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. From a racing perspective this was probably the best day of racing yet in the series which counts for points in the Qualifying Series of the America's Cup in 11 months time.
Posted on 12 Jun
America's Cup - Emirates TNZ NZ and Oracle capsize in Chicago Practice
Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA capsized in Practice Racing at the Louis Vuitton ACWS Chicago There was action aplenty on Practice Day at Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Chicago, after Emirates Team New Zealand capsized in their match with Oracle Team USA, and then Oracle Team USA capsized later in the day. Team NZ's skipper skipper Glenn Ashby performed some impressive acrobatics ejecting from the AC45 capsize, without injury.
Posted on 11 Jun
America's Cup - Changes proposed to control future Cup options
Changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing according to the Daily Telegraph (UK) News that changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing is being floated in the Daily Telegraph (UK) by the British Challenger, Land Rover BAR. According to the Telegraph, some of the teams in the 2017 America's Cup are keen to lock-in parameters which would bind successive holders of the a style and frequency for the next America's Cup Match.
Posted on 8 Jun
America's Cup - AC50 construction uncovered - Part 2 - Wings and Costs
Second part of a two-part series looking at the AC50 construction progress at Core Builders Composites Second part of a two-part series looking at the construction progress at Core Builders Composites, and features of the AC50 class which will be used in the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. Tim Smyth takes us on a tour of the CBC facility in Warkworth, and hour's drive north of Auckland. Where several AC50's, components and wingsails are under construction or have already been shipped to the teams.
Posted on 5 Jun