18th July 2020
One of the most important days of the year for any female scuba diver...
What Is PADI Women Dive Day
'For the sixth consecutive year, PADI® Dive Centers and Resorts will host thousands of divers for PADI Women’s Dive Day, a global celebration of shared adventure, passion and ocean conservation. This year, divers across the globe will join forces on 18 July 2020 for a worldwide ocean cleanup taking place in hundreds of event locations around the world. The day is dedicated to building a strong community that encourages people – male and female alike – to become torchbearers who explore and protect the ocean, and to raise awareness about the importance of taking action to save the ocean.' - PADI Website
Preparation For The Day
The day started off as hot as promised. 31 degrees with exceptionally calm seas and no wind, humidity was pretty high to add to the heat. The staff, including the males, started the preparation at the dive center:
- Organizing the 12 cylinders
- Replacing mouthpieces that have been sanitized using chem-gene
- Sanitizing all the masks that will be used
- Preparing 'Wings & backplates' and the BCD sizes
- Staff ladies to wear 'Reef Ocean Conservation Shirt'
- Gloves to be set out for the cleanup
- PADI flag to be hung up for photos
- Food to be arranged
- Male staff to have positions and jobs to do
As the ladies started arriving, they were welcomed by the staff and immediately had gear given to them to star setting up. Many of the ladies had completed their Advanced open water with us and in that course, we introduced them to the Wing & Long Hose system. Because they are officially qualified and comfortable in this new setup, we encouraged them to continue diving in the gear whether it be fun diving or a course.
We had a variety of ladies that joined from all over the world and of different qualifications. We had a newly qualified Tech 50 diver continuing her diving with her twinset, we had a newly qualified open water student, we had many advanced and over divers using different gear setups and finally we had two underwater photographers to join our event and capture the fun moments.
Once all the ladies were setup and the photographers had their gear ready, I called all the ladies and the photographers together to introduce them to the center and the event itself. The event was in connection with Project Aware, Dive Against Debris, where the ladies will all have their own meshbag and clean the ocean while having an easy pleasure dive. During the speech, we organised for one of the male staff members to hide 9 white tokens and 1 Orange token amongst the area we were going to clean. the objective of this was to award the divers with a special prize at the end.
The 12 divers were then split up into two groups of 5 and the 5 snorkelers were to have their own two snorkel guides. During the week, prior to the event, Jasper and I decided we were going to surprise Viv for her hard work and effort put into the event. We handed a beautiful bunch of flowers to Viv and also a couple small plants for the dive center. Tears were shed but they were the happy type of tears.
Speeches, introductions and many photos later, we finally geared up and walked down to the waters edge. heat heat outside was exceptionally warm so flopping into the water was really needed at this stage. As all the girls were finally in the water, we had a couple ladies needing some time to adjust and get comfy again as many did not dive especially due to COVID.
During the dive, the photographers got amazing pictures of the ladies, smiling giggling, cleaning the ocean and having a great time underwater again. After 60 minutes, our dive came to an end and we headed back to the exit. the girls all surfaced and the first question on everyone mind was 'WHO FOUND THE ORANGE TOKEN?' all the girls looked around at each other and we found the winner.... More photos were taken and then the girls all grabbed their filled mesh bags and headed to the dive center to de-kit and sort of all the debris.
Dive Against Debris Cleanup
The smell that debris lets off once its out the water is overwhelmingly strong. The area where all the ladies dropped off their mesh bags was so smelly but non the less, we had to organize the debris into its rightful areas.
The girls all came together, grabbed a bag and emptied it out on the tarp.
We divided the debris into sections:
- Plastic - cups, bottles, caps, cutlery etc.
- Glass - fragments, bottles etc.
- Rubber - bands, piping etc.
- Metal - cans, cutlery, poles, piping etc.
- Paper - tissues, cardboard etc.
As a whole, we collected over 470 mixed debris items amongst Merkanti Reef. Very successful and too our surprise, the reef was more clean than we hoped it would be. All the divers contributed towards Project Aware and contributed 80 euros to donate to help the ocean.
Prizes & FOOD
After cleaning and surveying the items, we had a mini prize giving for the treasure hunt. In the beginning we explained that for the WHITE tokens found, a diver will receive either :
- A reef conservation Shirt
- A Divewise Chilly Bottle
- Divewise Mug
For the lucky diver who finds the ORANGE token, they receive the choice of ANY specialty they would like. So you can imagine the ladies all hunting for that orange token. Every Diver found a white token and Marian found the final orange token.
Food was finally served. 3 Large pizzas were organised and brought through by one of our favorite restaurants in St Julians, 'The Avenue' and they were finished within 5 minutes. The buffet of pasta salad, tuna pasta salads, Greek salad, chicken, were all supplied by the Incredible Luca who owns 'Caffetteria Milan'. The lunch was great where everyone mingled, laughed, and got time to relax and just enjoy each others company.
The day was a massive success ! Cannot wait until the next year for the 7th annual event. Keep diving ladies and keep cleaning
Written by: Amy-Sarah Lottering