Eco Internships and Project AWARE

Working to make our Ocean Planet a Better Place

I recently joined team Blue Season Bali as their new Business Development Manager and IDC Staff Instructor. Over the past few years, I have been looking for ways to combine my diverse background, expertise and passion for digital media, environmental activism and scuba diving training, so naturally when they offered me the position, I was immediately interested. As part of my new role, I am working with our in house Marine Biologist Dr Niels Rijneveld developing our new Eco Internship Programs and coordinating our various Project AWARE actions.

Eco Internships in Bali

Do you care about the environment? In today’s world that’s a pretty loaded question. We all know that marine conservation is of increasing importance

Go Eco and join Niels, Blue Season’s in-house marine biologist, and his team as they give you their brand new Bali Eco Internship program. Designed to give you the ultimate diving holiday whilst doing your bit for the underwater environment, these Eco Internships offer you, the Eco enthusiast, the scuba diving experience of a lifetime.

Visit to learn more about the program and 2012 schedule.

Decreasing Shark Population

Shark finning in Bali

Shark populations are devastated by overexploitation, including targeted fishing, bycatch and finning. Together, we’re gaining the attention of policymakers worldwide. We’re closing loopholes in existing global shark management policies and insisting on full protections for Endangered and Critically Endangered sharks.

For more information about Project AWARE “Shark in Peril” action visit their website.

Sign the Petition Today!

Project AWARE created this shark petition widget to help gather the support needed to apply pressure on the various governments, organizations and local groups.

Sign the petition and urge your friends and colleagues to do the same.

Add the Petition Widget to your Website or Blog Today.

Simply “cut and past” this shark petition widget code to your website to start collecting petition signatures. The signatures Project AWARE collects from these widgets will help secure shark protections in the countries that matter most.

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You too can help the fight against shark finning by collecting shark petition signatures directly from your website or blog.

Diving Medicine & Safety

Diving medicine, also called undersea and hyperbaric medicine (UHB), is the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of conditions caused by humans entering the undersea environment. It includes the effects on the body of pressure on gases, the diagnosis and treatment of conditions caused by marine hazards and how relationships of a diver’s fitness to dive affect a diver’s safety.

Hyperbaric medicine is a corollary field associated with diving, since recompression in a hyperbaric chamber is used as a treatment for two of the most significant diving related illnesses, decompression illness and arterial gas embolism.

Here’s an overview of some of the most common dive medicine and safety guidelines. Lots of information about diving and boating safety, injuries and illnesses, safety equipment, CPR and first aid, and dive insurance can be found online. Do you research and when in doubt consult with a doctor specializing in dive medicine.

What Are the Emergency Decompression Guidelines for Recreational Diving?

A scuba diver should perform emergency decompression if he accidentally exceeds the no-decompression limit for a dive.

Carbon Dioxide and Scuba Diving

High levels of carbon dioxide (hypercapnia) can cause a variety of dangerous symptoms in scuba divers, such as narcosis and unconsciousness. A diver can avoid these risks by following safe diving practices and avoiding behavior that may predispose him to hypercapnia.

Oxygen Toxicity and Scuba Diving

An awareness of the risks of diving makes us all safer divers by educating us as to the origin of diving rules and encouraging us to follow safe diving guidelines. Oxygen toxicity, like most other potential dangers in scuba diving, is easy to avoid – simply understand the risk and dive within the limits of your training!

Skin Bends

Skin bends, or cutaneous decompression sickness, is a frequently overlooked form of decompression sickness in scuba divers. Divers should be able to recognize the common signs and symptoms of skin bends as they may require treatment and can precede other, more serious types of decompression sickness.

Ear Barotrauma – The Most Common Scuba Diving Injury

Ear barotraumas are the most common injuries experienced by recreational scuba divers. Learn how to recognize, avoid and treat ear barotraumas.

Pulmonary Barotrauma and Scuba Diving

Every scuba diver is at risk of a pulmonary barotrauma if he holds his breath underwater. However, other conditions and actions can also cause this life-threatening injury. Learn more about how scuba divers can avoid a pulmonary barotrauma here.

All About Decompression Sickness

An overview of Decompression Sickness, including causes, types, symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and treatment

Current Flying After Diving Guidelines

The current recommended surface intervals before flying after diving.

Ear Equalization Basics

How do scuba divers equalize their ear pressure to avoid ear pain when diving? Learn about the Valsalva maneuver and other ear equalization techniques, as well as how to deal with common equalization problems.

Patent Foramen Ovale and Diving

What is a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) and why might it increase a diver’s chance of decompression illness or DCI? A patent foramen ovale is a hole in a diver’s heart that has not properly closed during development. Up to a third of divers have this condition, which may increase the risk of decompression illness.

Asthma and Scuba Diving

Can asthma sufferers scuba dive? It can be extremely dangerous for some asthmatics to dive. Learn why asthma is sometimes a contraindication for scuba diving.

DAN – Divers Alert Network

DAN is a not-for-profit 501(C)(3) organization that provides emergency medical advice and assistance for underwater diving injuries, and underwrites a wide range of research, education and training programs that promote safe diving.

Dive Medicine Frequently Asked Questions

A detailed frequently asked questions all about dive medicine and safety from the premier dive medical society – DAN (Divers Alert Network).

Doc’s Diving Medicine

Dedicated to Undersea Medicine and to issues of diving safety for both sport and professional divers.

Scuba Med

UMA is an educational organization devoted to diving medicine. At our web site you can register for the Temple Underwater Medicine 2000 program, read about diving medicine, check out new diving medicine textbooks, and look at other diving web sites. See our new Underwater Art section for interesting underwater photography.

Scubadoc’s Diving Medicine

A detailed overview of dive medicine issues.

Skin Diver Online: Scuba Med

A guide to diving medicine from Skin Diver Online.

Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society

The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) is an international, non-profit organization serving 2,500 members from more than 50 countries. The UHMS is the primary source of scientific information for diving and hyperbaric medicine physiology worldwide.

Information and links above were taken from and Wikipedia

Broken collar bone and ear infections. A lesson in travel medicine.

Recent events have helped me realize that I should keep a journal and share my travel adventures.

On February 8th, I crasScales' broken collar bonehed my bike while on my way home from work. It’s funny how fast things happen! Here I was bleeding, in pain on the dirty, sandy asphalt. My groceries spread all over the road, my bike on the ground several meters away. A few local people offering to help me in their broken English. I was on a small island in the Gulf of Thailand, the nearest hospital was about 2 hours by boat and I just had broken my collar bone, scapula and 2 ribs.

Over the past months prior to my accident, I’d taken on the role of “island medic”, helping several of my peers with their health problems. From infections to fever, cuts, scrapes, twisted ankle, and back pain. Now, the medic was down. (Again!)

I’m grateful that I have travel insurance (I use DAN) and a solid network of friends. This helped me get sorted and return back to Canada where I could get the support I needed to mend my wounds..

I spent the better part of the last month in bed or visiting various medical facilities. This inspired my desire to write about travel medicine and things to know when traveling/spending extended period of time in the tropics.

At 39, I’ve had a few careers. I spent the early part of my 20s as an activist while studying nursing. After getting lost while scuba diving in the caribbean for nearly a year, I return to Canada and began to study business management and new media. I spent the better part of the past decade working as an new media executive until 2010 when I return to my first passion, mixing digital media and scuba diving.

As a Professional Scuba Diving and Emergency First Aid Instructor, I get to travel around planet ocean and meet people from all over the globe. Despite feeling invulnerable, I’ve had my share of accidents, injured myself and/or got sick a few occasions. I’m living the dream and I feel that I truly have the best job in the world. That said, living and working in the tropics can have its ups and downs.

Anyone who has spent an extended period of time abroad or gotten sick while traveling understand the importance of buying good travel insurance coverage, owning a cell phone with pre-programed emergency and local contacts, and having a well stocked emergency kit and medicine cabinet.

Studies indicate that the cardiovascular disease accounts for most deaths during travel (50-70%), while injury and accident follow (~25%). Infectious disease accounts for about 2.8-4% of deaths during/from travel. Studies suggest that about half of the people from a developed country that stay one month in a developing country will get sick. Traveler’s diarrhea is the most common problem encountered.

Before you go.

Ensuring that you are healthy should be one of your top priorities. It’s importance to visit a travel physician well before going away. Better understanding your health, abilities and limits is also crucial when planning your trip. The last thing you want is to have to take an emergency flight back home because you pushed your limit on a remote island or injured yourself while hiking a mountain in the wild.

When travelling, you may be at risk for a number of illnesses that can be prevented by vaccination. As you age, your vaccine-acquired protection against many illnesses may decrease. Your risk of getting certain diseases may also increase. Travel physicians stress the importance of having your immunizations up to date. Depending on your destination, these vaccines may be recommended by your doctor. (Public Health Agency of Canada)

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • HP V (Gardasil)
  • Influenza
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella
  • Meningococcal (Menactra)
  • Pneumococcal
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • T etanus/Diphtheria
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Travellers’ Diarrhea/Cholera
  • Yellow Fever
  • Zostavax (shingles)

Q: How do I figure out what shots I should get?

A: There are several possibilities. The Centers For Disease Control is a good resource for general information in the United States. The World Health Organization and several national organizations such as Health Canada are excellent resources. Local health departments sometimes provide information but, because of budgetary constraints, many cannot provide specific or up-to-date advice. One of the best resources is a travel medicine clinic (like the Healthy Traveler Clinic) which has very accurate, up-to-date information which is tailored to your itinerary and health history. Most can provide you with immunizations, medications, advice and just about anything you may want to know about a destination.

Q: How do I find a travel medicine clinic?

A: Ask you doctor if she/he knows of one. There are some good lists of clinics at the web sites of the following: (links are provided on our web site)

The International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM)

Q: How far ahead of my trip should I get my shots?

A: Two months ahead is great as some immunizations take time to complete. But some shots, like Hepatitis A, are worthwhile right up to your departure date. Plan as far ahead as you can but check with the travel clinic before even a last-minute trip.

Q: Do I need other things besides vaccinations?

A: You may need Malaria prevention medication. There are also medicines available for effective treatment of traveler’s diarrhea, altitude sickness and more. The most important item is good, reliable, up-to-date travel health information.

Keep your family’s vaccination records in a safe and accessible place and carry copies when you travel. If your destination country requires proof of yellow fever vaccination, you must carry the original International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. Keep a copy of this certificate at home.

If you are heading on a trip, take a moment to research the area you will be traveling to. There are various resources available to help perpare yourself for your holidays. Ask your doctor/pharmacist to help you prepare your personalized emergency and prescription kit.

Most travel doctor and clinics can offer the following services.

  • Health Promotion & Disease Prevention
  • Health and travel risk assessment
  • Food and water safety
  • Insect precautions
  • Malaria prevention
  • Sun safety
  • Altitude sickness
  • Sexually transmitteddiseases
  • Motion sickness
  • Personal safety
  • Jetlag prevention
  • Traveller’s diarrhea
  • Travelling with children
  • Travelling during pregnancy
  • Referral for personal medical conditions

While you are there.

Now that we have the pre-trip planning mostly sorted, here’s a few tips to keep you healthy on the road

  • Keep your feet clean and remember the importance of wearing proper footwear.
  • Wear your helmet and protective gear when riding motor bike.
  • Drink water, 4-6 litres a day minimum, specially if diving or drinking alcohol.
  • Sleeping is not a luxury, tired people have weaker immune systems.
  • Maintain a well-balanced nutrition. Keep healthy snacks with you when on the road.
  • Apply sunscreen before you go outside and reapply often.
  • Use a mosquito repellent with DEET and a mosquito net on your bed.
  • Don’t scratch or itch your skin, keep your wound clean, and dry.
  • If hurt, change your bandage daily, use anti-bacterial cream and antibiotics.
  • Cleanliness is godliness; maintain proper hygiene.

If something happens while abroad.

If you need urgent care while abroad, the best option is often the nearest hospital. In some countries, ambulances may not be common. Use whatever form of transportation you have to get to a hospital.

If you have a medical emergency while abroad, officials at the nearest government office can help.  They can provide the following services:

  • Supply names of local medical providers and facilities. (Some embassies and consulates post lists of local medical providers on their website.)
  • Visit you in hospital and provide basic translation services if required.
  • Assist in arranging for medical evacuation if treatment is not available locally. You must have appropriate travel health insurance to cover the costs, or pay the costs yourself.
  • Help with travel health insurance issues.
  • Contact your next of kin, with your authorization, if you have an accident or are hospitalized, or in the event of your death.
  • Provide advice about burying a foreigner abroad or repatriating the remains to home country.
  • Assist you in obtaining financial help from family and friends.
  • Make alternative travel arrangements for you, including obtaining visas and other travel documents.

As for me, short of a bruised ego, a few broken bones and a fairly uncomfortable return flight to Canada, I was lucky to walk away from This accident: I had no helmet, I was wearing flip flops, a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. In the end my accident will have cost me a few months of revenue, and many great dives, but nothing I can’t make up in time.

I hope this shared experience will give you the foundation you need to prepare your next adventure. Remember that no mater how well you’re prepared, accidents do happen. Always have your emergency contact information, your travel insurance information and copies of your identity cards and passport with you.

Best of luck and enjoy the journey.

My next entry will be on Scuba Diving Medicine.

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