About Cocos (Keeling) Islands – some secrets you have to share!

Story by  Sarah-Jo Lobwein & Images by Brett Lobwein

Itching for sandy feet, salty skin and the urge to break free from everyday life, my husband and I spontaneously booked a late January escape in 2015 to an enticing coral island group we had heard about lazing in the waters of the Indian Ocean, approximately 2,750km north-west of Perth, Western Australia.

We had travelled to the remote Australian external territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. This collection of approximately 27 coral islands at low tide, 26 in the main atoll plus North Keeling Island, are actually closer to East Java than the mainland of Australia. While Cocos Islands in Costa Rica are on many SCUBA divers’ bucket lists, these little known ‘other Cocos Islands’ are just a four-hour direct flight from Perth and should be definitely added to said list!

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By Gary Peart

Bulls1

Shark feeding dives are a controversial issue. The argument against them is that feeding sharks or any large predator is a disaster waiting to happen and that associating food with humans can only end in trouble. Supporters, however, maintain that it is the best way of getting divers to see and better understand shark behaviour, and that shark tourism makes sharks far more valuable to the local economy alive rather than dead. 

On a fringing reef of Fiji’s main island Veti Levu, Shark Reef Marine Reserve was established in 2004, a complex agreement between Beqa Adventure Divers and two local fishing villages. For a levy raised from each diver the villagers are compensated not to fish on the reef.

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By Vanessa Mignon


Motherandcalf

Every year, between July and October, Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrate to Tonga, in the South Pacific, to mate, give birth and nurse their young in the warm waters. During that time it’s possible to swim with these gentle giants under specific regulations.

I have been very fortunate to guide tours with the whales for years, and still to this day I am continuously amazed by the charisma and level of consciousness of those animals. When we get in the water with them, they clearly look back at us and acknowledge our presence, before deciding to swim away or stay. 

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By Michael AW

Cuba - Exploring a Time Capsule

If Christopher Columbus was alive today, the only place he would recognise on our planet would be Jardines de la Reina, “the Gardens of the Queen”, an archipelago of a thousand low-lying islands embraced by lush mangrove swamps. In his exploration of the Americas, Columbus discovered this magnificent outpost and named it in honour of Queen Isabella of Castile (the country that later become Spain). Since its establishment as a national park, Gardens of the Queen, has become Cuba's oldest and largest protected area. Strictly prohibited from any development, the Gardens have not changed since the time of Columbus. However, the great explorer could not have possibly seen the garden’s incredible splendour, as its secrets are largely beneath its wave. 

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By Analynne Sison

pagulgabencave01 asison 500x800px

Located in El Nido, Palawan, Paglugaban cave is a limestone cave with 2 main chambers and a few more smaller chambers that branch out from the second chamber. The entrance to the cave is at sea level, and can be entered through a small hole on the side of Paglugaban Island. The entrance is challenging to get into, as you have to time your entry with the tides and hang on to craggy rocks while the tide ebbs out of the cave, then let go and fin as the tide flows. Diving is prohibited inside the cave unless a special permit is obtained from the local government office in El Nido town. Definitely, do not go into this cave if you’re not a trained cave diver.

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Ocean Geographic Explorer (OGX) is a diving adventure resource with a special focus on marine photography and ocean conservation. Our content is divided up into six primary categories: Travel, Sea Science,  Equipment, Photography &Video, Conservation, and Lifestyle. We endeavor be a portal for people with all levels of interest in the marine environment  to learn about and become part of a community of like-minded ocean lovers who enjoy sharing their knowledge of and experiences in our fascinating ocean world.

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