Archive for 08/20/2012

Bangkok Post – 

Some 90% of diving schools in Thailand are run by overseas operators, resulting in the country losing large amounts of revenue to foreigners at the expense of Thailand’s natural resources, says Palang Yimpanich, the owner of Sport Time Dive Center.

Thailand is one of the world’s most popular diving destinations.

The country’s top-five diving sites are Similan’s Marine National Park, Surin’s Marine National Park (Richelieu Rock), Hin Daeng-Hin Muang, Koh Ha (Lanta Island) and Koh Phi Phi’s Shark Point.

According to the Jan-Feb 2009 issue of Scuba Diving magazine, Thailand was voted the No.2 snorkelling site in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the top 10 for scuba diving.

The law requires diving schools and centres to have Thai shareholders holding a 51% stake, but most of them are actually nominees, said Mr Palang. Most dive centres on islands belong to foreign operators who arrive as tourists.

They run their business during the high season and leave when the low season comes, he added.

They have dominated the local diving business for over a decade because only a small number of Thais are qualified instructors.

Full story…

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Amy Coyne Bredenson –

Freddie Ward was in deep water when he proposed to his girlfriend, Mona. But that was the plan.

The two loved scuba diving and had been on 20 dives together.

So when Freddie decided he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Mona, he thought, “What better way to pop the question than 45 feet under the ocean ?”

He said he spent a year planning the proposal and making payments on the ring. In November 1986, the couple, who lived on Hilton Head Island at the time, took a trip with friends to Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean.

A few days into the trip, they went diving at a site called Old Blue. Freddie went down ahead of time and set up a laminated sign that read “Mona: Will you marry me ?”

He placed the ring box next to the sign.

The box was held down with sinkers, but he asked a friend to hang out with the ring to make sure it didn’t get eaten by a fish.

Then Freddie swam up to Mona, who was about 100 yards away. He led her arm in arm to a coral reef, where the sign and ring awaited her.

“I kind of went, ‘Who would litter down here ? Why would someone leave trash down here ?’

“Mona said. “All I saw was this big white piece of paper. Then I get closer. I’m like, ‘What ?’ “

Full story…