Aceh, Weh Island, Rubiahtirta divers
Back in 1970, Dodent, the founder of Rubiah Tirta Divers, was living and working on Rubiah Island with an English company trying to promote Pulau Weh and Aceh as a tourist location in order to protect the stunning marine environments in the area.
Since then, Dodent has been campaigning tirelessly and ceaselessly to protect these coral reef systems, helping to establish the Marine Park Status around Iboih and fighting destructive fishing practices such as dynamite, cyanide and shark fin fishing!
Now, having a string of qualifications and certificates in environmental awareness and protection (from over 6 different Indonesian Agencies and International NGOs), Dodent has also been awarded a special prize (in 1997) by the Indonesian Government in recognition of his efforts.
Working and diving from a live aboard yacht and sailing around the East Coast of Thailand, the Maldives, Malaysia and Singapore was the start of Dodent’s diving career. His work-mates had no trouble in convincing him of Pulau Weh’s obvious potential as an Asian diving Mecca and the necessity of caring for the reef.
He set about saving up and acquiring official diving qualifications, a compressor and 3 sets of second hand equipment, Mr. Dodent was ready for the Grand opening of RTD four years later in 1989. Starting initially as a diving club for Indonesian commercial divers, Mr. D also continued promoting Pulau Weh as a tourist location and the first adventurous travelers started trickling in.
Slowly but surely the development of tourism on Pulau Weh can be largely attributed to the condition of the reef and the desire of one man to make his ‘dreams’ come true!
The photo on the top is a replica of the original sailing vessel that was used by the famous Arab traveler “Sinbad the Sailor”. The replica retraced the route that Sinbad had traveled from Arabia to China. The special re-enactment journey was sponsored by the Sultan of Oman (Qabois bin Said) and the crew set sail on 19 April, 1981. According to arab traders in the 10th Century, Pulau Weh was an important shiping and trading post and was known as the “Island of Gold”. Following the tradition of his predecesors, Sinbad had also visited Pulau Weh on his way through the Malacca Strait.
Mr Dodent is shown holding up a special medallion that he received from the replica voyage during their stay on Pulau Weh. Mr Dodent also handled all local logistics for the crew of the Sinbad Voyage.