Eco Divers opened up shop in April 2001 on the remains of
the old Tasik Ria Diving Center. Operational improvements came quickly but
they still operate mainly in Bunaken National Marine Park, a reserve
consisting of the islands Bunaken, Nain, Siladen, Manado Tua and Montehage.
Like most tourist operators in the area Eco Divers seemed very conscious
about and aware of the environment and did much to sway the local fishermen
away from dynamite and toxic fishing to more durable ways of doing things.
There’s a world of difference living from day to day occasionally dynamiting
a Napoleon wrasse for its lips to a steady income by showing it to loads of
well-off divers year in and year out. They were slowly coming round.
The Local Dane
Apart from the owners, Jim and Cary Yanny, the only other foreigner at Eco
Divers was Kim Hessel, an old scuba mate from Denmark, who in his own quiet
and pleasant way briefed in Danish, German, English and Swedish and kept a
leash on all the local dive guides in Bahasa Indonesian.
All dive guides were trained Padi Divemasters and safety
was definitely maintained at a high level.
Two large 16 m boats worked as perfect dive platforms. Large sun deck,
toilet, kitchen and lots of space for both photo and dive gear.
After a day of diving we simply left our gear on the boat. The next morning
we found it rinsed and back on the right boat. All we had to do was show up.
After roll call we then set out to the Marine Park.
Of course, there was no touching corals or fish except in a case of
emergency. Eco Divers wouldn’t hesitate to throw a diver in the pool if it
turned out that buoyancy was an issue or if a diver went longer than an hour
or deeper than max. depth for no valid reason.
Dives lasted 60 minutes which turned out to be quite appropriate. During our
nine days of diving we did get to spend more than 24 hours submerged.