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Asia Dive Expo - ADEX 2008
By Jason Heller, May 5, 2008 @ 06:00 AM (EST)
The annual Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) show returned to Singapore this year and was held at the Suntec Convention Center. DivePhotoGuide has been attending ADEX since 2001, and we've made a lot of great friends in the Asian dive industry. It was great to reconnect with some of our friends, and to see what all the Southeast Asian dive resorts & live-aboards have to offer these days.

Our coverage is broken into three parts below - the show itself, which is broken into underwater imaging exhibitors, products & players, and non imaging folks; some of the after parties; and a somber reminder of the rampant availability and consumption of shark fin in Asia.
ADEX 2008 Suntec Convention Center
A view of Suntec convention center amid many hotels,
and the new 'Singapore Flyer', the tallest ferris wheel in the world
This year marks a new era for ADEX, as the show was purchased by TMX show productions, under the management of Mr. Herman Ho, organizer of TMX Show Productions Pte Ltd, who stated - "For the first time in our 14 year history, ADEX will take a concerted stance towards environmental dive issues with the rallying cry 'Save the sea, Be a diver!' which is the theme of this year's exhibition. ADEX has adopted a GREEN acronym, which stands for:

G – Get support on marine environmental projects
R – Reduce, Recycle & Reuse
E – Educate the public to conserve the marine ecosystem
E – Encourage and engage companies to contribute to environmental initiatives
N – Nurture young children to adopt the “save the marine ecosystem” cause

ADEX 2008 Suntec Convention Center
One of last year's winning images from the ADEX photo competition
was the focal point of all marketing materials for ADEX 2008

ADEX 2008 Herman Ho Tom Ingram
Guest of honor Francis Lee, Managing Director Herman Ho, and
DEMA's Executive Director Tom Ingram at the opening ceremony

NOTABLE DIVE RESORTS & LIVE-ABOARDS
Archipelago Fleet Maluku Divers
Any & Buck from Archipelago Fleet and their newly discovered Frogfish
species. Actually, apparently it's an entirely new genus. This is really
exciting. The Frogfish is on the reefs in front of Maluku Divers in Ambon.

Aqua Marine Diving Bali
Wayan & Ketut from Aqua Marine Diving in Bali. Aqua Marine is a
favorite dive operator in Bali and I've personally been diving with them
since 2003.Ketut and Wayan are two of the best critter spotters I've
had the pleasure to dive with. Apparently they recently discovered a new
critter spot in Bali. Matt Weiss will be heading out there to cover that in May.

Misool Eco Resort Raja Empat Indonesia
Wendy & Marit from Misool Eco Resort. They are finally opening Raja
Empat's newest resort this October. The water bungalows look awesome.
We look forward to diving with them one day in the not to distant future.

Bali Diving Academy
Michael Cortenbach and Sveva from Bali Diving Academy. Michael's
been a good friend and a supporter of DPG. I've been diving
with him for several years as well

Minahasa Dive Resort Indonesia
Dan from Light & Motion (L), and Joaquin (R) from Minahasa Lagoon Dive
Resort in Manado, a fantastic dive resort and a supporter of DPG and
photography in general. I think I talked Joaquin into buying a D300 or D3
for the many safaris he goes on each year

Sangalaki Dive Lodge
Jeremy Stein & Caroline Istas from Rainbow Divers in Vietnam.
They recently acquired and rejuvenated the Sangalaki Dive Lodge. Rainbow
Divers has been involved as a sponsor of the Wetpixel & DivePhotoGuide
competitions for two years now...and one of these days I'll get out to
Vietnam to check out the diving, which is supposed to be pretty good.

UNDERWATER IMAGING PRODUCTS & PLAYERS
Windiarto Tjandra
I was happy to finally meet Windiarto Tjandra, the photographer of "Nadine", a
new book published by Scuba Diver AustralAsia. The book features underwater
fashion shots of Miss Indonesia 2006, who turned out to be a pretty cool chick

Aaron Wong Dive Logic
Underwater photographer Aaron Wong and Atsuko from Dive Logic.
Aaron has become a good friend of DPG, and we're a big fan of his work.
We never realized that he also owns Dive Logic too!

Olympus Underwater
Olympus always impresses with the largest underwater imaging related
booth at ADEX. I only wish any of the manufacturers would support
the US market with this level of marketing to the underwater community

Subal Underwater Housing Nikon D3
Rolf from Subal shows us the massive ND3 housing for the Nikon D3.
It's a beautiful housing indeed. He also explained that the new ports are
wider (as are the bayonet mounts on the housing itself) in anticipation of
the Nikon 14-24 lens needing accommodation in the housings. You can buy
a step down ring to use the older ports. The 10" superdome will accommodate
the 14-24, as will the 8" dome.

Subal Underwater Housing Nikon D3
All Subal housings now have three eyepiece options

Seatool Underwater Housing Nikon D300
Kenji from Seatool had his new D300 housing on display. This is definitely
the most streamlined housing on the market, and I look forward to testing
them in the water one day soon. One of the features I really like is the fact
that there are o-rings both on the port itself and the housing body for extra
protection. The port lock and base plate lock are solidly built and easy to use,
and of course everything is ergonomically friendly because of the streamlined
design. These are the only housings that allow for the use of the pop-up flash, but
why would you want to use that? Although Seatool is coming out strong with 9 new
models this spring, they have no plans to release a D3 housing.

Seatool
Seatool is really stepping up with these nifty point & shoot accessories.
This is an external close up kit for Olympus housings (3 elements between
2X - 5X magnification), and for the Sea & Sea DX-1G, which comes in two
or three element versions. The two element version only provides
1.5X - 2.5X magnification.

Seacam underwater housing Nikon D300
Of course the Nikon D300 is one of the most popular DSLR's on the
wish list or already in the gear bag of underwater photographers worldwide.
Seacam was displaying their D300 housing as well, but no D3 yet

Wendy Heller & Annie Crawley
Wendy & Annie Crawley pose for the camera after returning just a day
earlier from the DPG Underwater Photo & Video festival at Wakatobi.

Wendy & Yuji Law
Wendy the newest member of our extended team in Singapore - Yuji Law.
Yuji is and awesome guy and helped with our booth at the DEEP Indonesia
show just weeks earlier, together with a few other new additions to the DPG
extended team - Acuan & Monica from Bali. Thanks guys, you rock!

ADEX 2008 Underwater Photo Competition
Hanging out after judging the ADEX underwater photo competition.
I judged along with Kevin Deacon, Mathieu Meur (not shown), and Jeremy
Wee, a fashion designer who recently produced a line of couture dresses
that were inspired by nudibranch designs

Jason Islaey Todd Essick Wendy Heller Dharmawan Sutanto
Underwater photographers Jason Isley from ScubaZoo, and Todd Essick,
Wendy, and Dharmawan Sutanto, the organizer of the wonderful DEEP
Indonesia show in Jakarta, which just wrapped up a few weeks prior

Adex 2008 Gates Housings
Annie & John from Gates Housings

DIVE MAGAZINES & MORE
Scuba Diver AustralAsia
The team at Scuba Diver AustralAsia - led by fearless leaders
John Thet and David Espinosa (both on the far right). If you are still not
familiar with the magazine, it is certainly Asia's foremost diving
publication and you should check it out.

Octopus Magazine Russia
Julia from Octopus magazine in Russia rounded out the squad of
international media that traveled a long way to get here

Peter Manz
Peter Manz - one of the foremost live aboard captains in the industry
and operator of several hyperbaric chambers in Indonesia. Peter recently
captained the vessel with Howard & Michele Hall while producing their latest
IMAX film.

THE PARTIES
PADI Asia Member Party Adex 2008
John Thet, Publisher Scuba Diver Magazine & Shanon Low from PADI
at the PADI members party

PADI Asia Member Party Adex 2008
PADI packed the house

PADI Asia Member Party Adex 2008
Aaron Wong gave away signed prints from his impression collection of
recent underwater fashion images

PADI Asia Member Party Adex 2008
Mikael Jigmo & fashion designer Jeremy Wee

Singapore Night Adex 2008
Singapore at night

Atsuko Wendy Nadine
The Girls: Atsuko (Dive Logic), Wendy (DPG) & Nadine (Miss Indonesia).
No wonder we were so popular hanging out at the clubs in Singapore, we had
the hotties with us! We spent the night in Attica & then Ministry of Sound

Attica nightclub Singapore
A cool view of the vibe on the dancefloor of Attica

Dinner Adex 2008
Eating Mongolian before heading out to the clubs for the night. I
seriously doubt this was the fare in Mongolia, but it was pretty damn good!
(From Left wrapping to the right...) Joerg (Advisor to the Aceh Peace
Reintegration Board
- how cool!) . Wendy, Jason, Atsuko, Aaron Wong, Justin
Ebert & Sean Heinrichs

Aaron Wong Hoegaarden
Aaron peeks through some Hoegaarden...

Little India
The morning after - soaking up the booze...
One of several rounds of amazing Indian food in little India. So far this was
the best Indian food I have ever had - and you gotta love a place that has
you eating on a banana leaf with your hands. (yeah I know that's a fork in
one hand, it gets difficult sometimes!)

A SOMBER REMINDER
I'll start this section off by stating that we LOVE Singapore. It is one of our favorite cities in the world, and we may be moving there in the next few years. So the following really only acts as a reminder of how engrained shark fin consumption is in Asian culture, and how change is happening but very slowly. As divers and underwater photographers, we witness the ramifications of the decimation of shark populations firsthand, so it really hits home to see such an abundance of fins everywhere. That being said - there is a new awareness (in Singapore at least) of this being a major environmental issue that is causing irreparable damage to the largest and most important ecosystem on our planet. With the local industry coming together to help create awareness in the general market, hopefully we'll see more change over time, but how much time do we have before it's too late? Have we crossed the threshold yet? Nobody knows, unfortunately. All we can do is continue to lobby local governments, and create awareness among consumers. If we can help decrease demand, eventually it will impact those who aim to supply. But my steadfast feeling is that only major government intervention can create the change fast enough, and to date that has seemed moot pretty much all over the world, including in South & Central America where many of the fins are coming from these days.

Sharkfin Singapore Chinatown
How much shark fin exists just on this one street "Chinatown Food
Street"? You guessed it - A lot! But you need go no further than any hotel
or pretty much any restaurant in the city to find shark fin on the menu

Sharkfin Singapore Chinatown
A sad sight on display - the shop owners have no idea what species any
of the fins come from. They just come in the "big" or "not so big" variety

Sharkfin Singapore Chinatown
These fins were found in a pharmacy

Sharkfin Singapore Chinatown
Apparently Rabbit Brand (Yeow Seng PTE, Ltd) is a higher end brand
of shark fin products. Although we were able to walk into the store /
facility and ask questions and take pictures, there was an obvious uneasiness
among the employees. The pressure of shark fin being "bad" to a growing
group of consumers is definitely acknowledged in these facilities
Sharkfin Singapore Chinatown
This was the display fin in the window at Rabbit Brand's shop. With
Wendy standing next to it, you can get a context of its size

Sharkfin Singapore Chinatown
Employees were processing fins into packaging right in front of us.
This scene looks a little like the scene out of an illegal drug operation,
but unfortunately shark fin is perfectly legal

Sharkfin Singapore Chinatown
Everywhere we turn, prize fins are on display - a fin of this
size can be worth upwards of several thousand dollars

Sharkfin Singapore Chinatown
We visited the largest and most successful shark fin processing
and distribution company in Singapore. Unfortunately we didn't catch the
name of this place or many pictures, due to the shady characters ensuring
that point. But we did eventually get the shop manager talking about how
successful his business was, and he even showed us his super-prize 40 year old
giant fin in the back room. we have no idea what species this may be from -
Basking Shark maybe? He says that this one was not for sale

Sharkfin Singapore Chinatown
To get an idea of how much money is in the shark fin trade, we asked
how much it would be to buy this package of two small fins. Although we
didn't quite get a straight answer, generally it was about $300. The shop
manager was very nervous by our presence, claiming that they received
bomb threats from Sea Shepherd and that shark fin was "not politically
correct" in western culture, but that there's nothing wrong with it. He said
that the fins are just the throw away parts of the sharks that are being
used for fish & chips throughout Europe and the US. I wonder if he
actually thought we believed that?

Sharkfin Seahorses  Singapore Chinatown
Shark fin is not the only environmentally unfriendly product at these shops.
We found tons of Seahorses in all sorts of sizes. Seahorses have been on the
CITES endangered species list since May 2004. I saw more Seahorses in one
shop than I have ever seen in all my time diving underwater combined

Singapore Chinatown
Wendy & our good friend Sean Heinrichs - Sean, thanks for everything
.

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Shawn  Heinrichs
May 29, 2008 2:26 AM
Shawn Heinrichs wrote:
I am encouraged to see both the good news and some of the 'bad' news covered. A lot of great stuff happened at ADEX. Sadly, just blocks away, an entire industry is booming (100% increase over last year) in Singapore based on shark finning. When do folks finally figure it out?
Thanks for covering this Jason!
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