June’s Answer

Which resort would you stay at if you wanted to see orangutans and Bornean sun bears being rehabilitated for their release back into the wild?

D. Sepilok Nature Resort

The river-front Sepilok Nature Resort combines rich traditional style with contemporary luxury and is a haven for nature lovers. The Resort has 23 comfortable, individual air conditioned timber chalets featuring a private balcony with views over the river or jungle.

At the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre you are able to enter the jungle on a guided basis to observe the feeding of the orangutans under rehabilitation. Adjacent to the world’s first Orangutan Sanctuary is the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre where you can observe the world’s smallest bear. The orangutans and sun bears are either orphaned due to habitat loss, injury or hunting or rescued from captivity.

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May’s Answer

How many permits are allocated per day for visitors including divers to visit Sipadan Island?

C. 120

Sipadan Island is world renowned as one of the best dive destinations in the world. It has been officially declared a part of an immense Marine Protected Area. From 1 January 2005, no overnight accommodation is available on the island and it is only accessible during the day between 8am and 3pm to divers and day trippers. The closest dive resorts are on Kapalai and Mabul islands.

Sipadan Entry Permit Approval

Anyone planning to visit Sipadan Island now requires an approved entry permit issued by Sabah Parks, a government agency of Sabah Government. The total daily entry quota is 120 permits per day. This initiative has been made by the Malaysian Government in an attempt to minimise the stress to the reefs and marine life at Sipadan Island. Unfortunately, this also means that diving at Sipadan is no longer guaranteed. You should plan for at least a 4-5 night stay in the area to ensure a minimum of 1 day diving at Sipadan Island. The announcement of the Sipadan Entry Permit Approval list is only available 1-3 days before the actual diving date and payment for the permit/s is made locally.

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Building Supplies for Mele’s Schools

This will be the last update for the Vanuatu Dive Cyclone Appeal for Mele Village. We thank everyone from the community for choosing to donate to this cause  and we are so very happy that we had this opportunity to assist Mele Village with their recovery after Cyclone Pam. Even though it has been over a year since the cyclone passed through Vanuatu, the recovery efforts are ongoing. Work continues to be done to rebuild the villages, infrastructure and commercial buildings.

Taken in January 2016 - bricks were still holding down roofs in the village
Taken in January 2016 – bricks were still holding down roofs in the village

The last installment of donations has now been split between the two schools in the area. Back in January the Mele – Maat English speaking school purchased 650 concrete blocks with their portion of the donations whilst in March the French speaking Suango School used their portion of the donations for a variety of building materials such as timber and cement to assist with the rebuild of their classrooms.

Donation for the Mele-Maat school being accepted by school principal, Charlie Roy
Donation for the Mele-Maat school being accepted by school principal, Charlie Roy
Principal Willie from the French speaking school accepting his portion of the donations
Principal Willie from the French speaking school accepting their portion of the donations

A residual amount of donations has also been put towards parts to rectify leaks in the village water supply.

Apart from all your generous donations, this appeal would not have been possible without the assistance and hard work of the fantastic management and team at Hideaway Island Resort who kindly assisted us with allocation of the funds as most required and procuring all the necessary goods. Plus the sponsorship of prizes from Scubapro Australia, Lissenung Island Resort, Hideaway Island Resort and Dive Adventures.

Thank you again for making this appeal such a success!

We’d also like to express our well wishes for all the other nations who have suffered recently in the wake of mother nature’s destructive path.

Dive Adventures over and out.

 

April’s Answer

From which island in Malaysia-Borneo are you most likely to see schooling scalloped hammerhead sharks between March and May?

C. Layang Layang

Layang Layang is a wall diving mecca. The combination of deep water, pristine walls and coral gardens ensures you’ll see varied marine life from pelagics to colourful tropical fish, anemones and nudibranchs. The atoll rises 2,000 metres from the ocean’s depths.

A highlight of diving at Layang Layang is the possibility of seeing the schooling scalloped hammerhead sharks which perform their mating rituals in these waters between March to May. Manta rays are often spotted as are schools of jacks, giant trevally, tuna, trigger fish and bait fish.

Avillion Layang Layang Resort and Dive Centre opens for the dive season which is generally March through August. There is also a bird sanctuary, a small Malaysian Naval base and a 1,400 metre runway on the island.

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March’s Answer

What area of Borneo is believed to be where the term “muck diving” was invented?

B. Mabul

Mabul is a macro diver’s paradise, often considered as one of the world’s best “muck diving” sites. Amongst the sand and coral rubble bottom around Mabul Island, divers can find an amazing amount and variety of small and exotic marine life.

A sample of what you can find includes: flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus, bobtail squid; spider, boxer and porcelain crabs; sea stars, harlequin shrimp, mantis shrimp, giant painted and clown frogfish, moray eels, snake eels, scorpion fish, crocodile fish; different types of gobies such as the spike-fin, black sail-fin, the metallic shrimp goby; an assortment of nudibranchs; pipefish, pygmy seahorse, mandarin fish.

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February’s Answer

The remains of what marine life can be found in Turtle Cave at Sipadan in Borneo?

A. Turtle and dolphin

Turtle Cavern at Sipadan Island is a true overhead cave penetration dive. Whilst not deep (the dive site lies between 17 – 23 metres) it does require specialist training, equipment and an experienced guide. There is a maze of small tunnels leading off the main cavern and chambers. In the large first chamber you’ll see the first of the turtle skeletons. Descending down a bell-shaped vertical tunnel will take you to the lower sandy silt bottom chamber and a tunnel leading to Turtle Tomb where there are more turtle skeletons, intact shells and skulls. Also sitting on a ledge in the sloping tunnel is the complete remains of a dolphin.

It is believed that the turtles and dolphin entered the cavern system to rest or hide from predators. Once inside they became disoriented and lost in the dark, unable to find the exit and drown. Their remains float to the roof of the cave system as they decompose, finally coming to rest on the cave floor after all the natural gasses have escaped.

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January’s Answer

Where is the deepest postbox in Malaysia and at what depth does it sit?

B. Pulau Layang-Layang at 40 metres

The deepest post box in Malaysia was launched on 7 August 2015 at Pulau Layang-Layang, 300km off the coast of Sabah. Sitting on the seabed, 40 metres below sea level and weighing about 500kg, the environmentally friendly underwater postbox is made of fibreglass while the frame is made of galvanised steel. A special 88005 post code was also launched for Pulau Layang-Layang.

Avillion Layang-Layang Resort has been appointed as the postal agent on the island. Divers can post waterproof postcards stamped with a special hammerhead postmark and Malaysia Book of Records logo to share their diving experiences.

Pos Malaysia and MCMC are planning to register with the Guinness World Records for the Pulau Layang-Layang underwater postbox to be the new world’s deepest postbox. Currently, the record is held by Susami in Wakayama, Japan; the postbox there is 10 metres deep. The highest postbox in Malaysia is located at Pendant Hut on Laban Rata rock slab on Mount Kinabalu at 3,289 metres above sea level.

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$13,745 donations raised for Mele Village, Port Vila – The Appeal is now Closed

Thank you to everyone for making this appeal to assist the people of Mele Village so successful. The support for this fundraiser and the Mele community has been absolutely astounding. Donations closed 30 September 2015 and overall a total of $13,745 was raised. A final $3,012 was sent over to Port Vila in our last installment in early October.

Since then, the management team over at Hideaway Island have been liasing with the two schools which service the community to determine what building materials are required, which the donations can be used for to help with the maintenance of classrooms that were damaged in the cyclone.

We are still waiting for the final requests of materials from the schools. The materials will then need to be sourced within budget for them. It’s an ongoing process that takes time and effort and we thank everyone over at Hideaway Island Resort for helping make sure the donations we have sent over have gone towards the most fair, equitable and needed goods.

The seedlings purchased with the previous donations are growing nicely and have returned some much needed nutrition for the village.

Healthy produce for healthy lives
Healthy produce for healthy lives
The fruits (or rather vegetables) of all your donations
The fruits (or rather vegetables) of all your donations
Mele's gardens are full of cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, carrots, spring onions, sweet corn and watermelon THANKS TO YOUR DONATIONS
Mele’s gardens are full of cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, carrots, spring onions, sweet corn and watermelon                              THANKS TO YOUR DONATIONS

It is with our pleasure that we would like to announce the winners of the Lucky Prize Draw for the following prizes.

Winner of the full set of scuba gear valued at $4,724 and proudly sponsored by Scubapro Australia is DAVID KING of Lake Heights, NSW

Congratulations David and thank you Scubapro Australia
Congratulations David and thank you Scubapro Australia!

Winner of the 8 night dive holiday to Kavieng in Papua New Guinea valued at $4,300 is DEBBIE DAVEY of Coffs Harbour, NSW. This prize is proudly sponsored by Lissenung Island Resort and Dive Adventures.

Congratulations Debbie! Soon you'll be diving here.
Congratulations Debbie! Soon you’ll be diving here at Lissenung Island Resort.

Winner of the 7 night dive holiday to Port Vila in Vanuatu valued at $2,300 is JULIE COLLET of Toowong, QLD. This prize is proudly sponsored by Hideaway Island Resort and Dive Adventures.

Congratulations Julie! Soon you will be diving here at Hideaway Island Resort
Congratulations Julie! Soon you will be diving here at Hideaway Island Resort

A huge congratulations goes out to these three lucky winners. We will be contacting you shortly with the full details of your prize.

Tank yu tumas!

$12,000 raised so far and more seeds delivered

Last week saw the procurement of the following seed varieties purchased with the previous installment of your donations sent over to Port Vila:

– Boxhill Lettuce – Dwarf Beans – Carrots – Tomato Roma – Lisbon Spring Onions – Watermelon –  Golden Cabbage – Sweet Corn.

This means each and every home in Mele Village will have these valuable crops to grow for consumption or sale in the coming months.

The Mele community sends a big thank you to all the wonderful sponsors of this fundraiser – Scubapro Australia, Lissenung Island Resort, Hideaway Island Resort and Dive Adventures and to all those within and outside of the dive community who have so generously donated to the Appeal.

A special shout out goes to Underwater Sports Diving Centre down in Adelaide, South Australia who recently held a fundraising event for this appeal and managed to raise a massive $1,200 for Mele Village.

We would also like to personally thank everyone over in Port Vila who have been so instrumental in co-ordinating and organising all the purchases and deliveries for this Appeal – you know who you are!

$12,000 has been raised overall and we’d like to raise another $3,000 to hit our target of $15,000 for the Appeal.

The Appeal will be held open until the end of September 2015 as originally planned, so if you can rustle up any more donations amongst your network of dive buddies, friends, families etc before then it would be much appreciated.

And don’t forget that donations $20 and over go into the Prize Draw Raffle at the end of the Appeal to win some fantastic dive gear and dive holidays from the sponsors.

We hope you enjoy the pictorial story below from delivery day.

The varieties of seeds procured
The varieties of seeds procured
Sorting the seeds into individual packages
Sorting the seeds into individual packages
A total of 381 bags of assorted seeds ready to drop at each home in Mele
A total of 381 bags of assorted seeds ready to drop at each home in Mele
Here we go from Hideaway Island Resort to Mele Village
Here we go from Hideaway Island Resort to Mele Village
The first recipients of many in Mele Village are extremely grateful
The first recipients of many in Mele Village are extremely grateful
It's been so wonderful to see the benefits and rewards of the first seed drop come to fruition producing healthy crops for the village
It’s been so wonderful to see the benefits and rewards of the first seed drop come to fruition producing healthy crops for the village
Thank you, thank you, thank you - the people of Mele Village are so grateful for the delivery of more seeds
Thank you, thank you, thank you – the people of Mele Village are so grateful for the delivery of more seeds

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The last of the smiles, this picture says it all - we got a big thumbs up even from the pikininis
The last of the smiles, this picture says it all – we got a big thumbs up even from the pikininis

Another $3,745 of donations sent to Vanuatu

Just a small update for everyone on how the Dive Cyclone Appeal is progressing.

At the end of June we sent over another $3,745 of your generous donations to Vanuatu. Our liasons over in Port Vila have been in close consultation with the village chiefs and have been carefully considering the best way to use these funds to most fairly benefit everyone in Mele Village. After much thought and deliberation, and in an attempt not to double up on other relief efforts, the group are in the process of trying to procure more seeds that can be planted in the coming months when the weather avails itself to different crops. This decision has been based on the success from the first seed programme and the wonderful direct impact and benefit this has had on the village.

At present, they are unable to secure enough seeds of the correct variety to be able to supply every household in Mele due to a big shortage in supply, and they are currently under negotiations for 11 varieties of product of seed. These seeds are expected to arrive approximately 10 August from the supplier and will be distributed to all the homes in Mele thereafter, subject to successful negotiations. The next lot of seeds will come at a good time as the rain dissipates to allow these types of vegetables to flourish in the best environment for successful and fruitful crops.

We hope this brings a smile to your faces as it has with us seeing the people of Mele so excited and very thankful of everyone who have sent donations via this fundraiser.

A big tank u tumas from everyone at Mele.