Divers and snorkelers sound support for environment with undersea music festival
In the water, Emmanuel Ansah cut across the breaks, deftly maneuvering his board, trying to catch the eye of the judges sitting on a wooden platform, looking out to sea.
The 19-year-old from Busua started surfing five years ago and described his first time on the waves as “like having a new girlfriend”.
“I was so happy,” he said. Now he, too, wants to see Ghana become a surfing destination in its own right — and one day represent the West African nation at overseas competitions.
According to the World Bank, 897,000 foreign tourists visited Ghana in 2015. In comparison, 1.1 million went to Kenya and 8.9 million traveled to South Africa.
But the World Travel and Tourism Council estimates numbers for Ghana could jump to nearly 1.3 million this year and more than 2 million by 2027.
With about 550 kilometers of unspoiled coastline, water sports are being seen as a major draw.
“Surfing has a huge potential,” said Ghana tourism specialist Gilbert Abeiku Aggrey. “We have not developed our beaches.
“It’s a raw opportunity for anyone who wants to come.”
BIG PINE KEY, Florida — A local radio station’s broadcast underwater in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary on Saturday attracted about 400 divers and snorkelers who listened to music and announcements advocating reef preservation.
The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival at Looe Key Reef, part of the world’s thirdlargest living coral barrier reef, featured four hours of music custom-programmed by station WWUS for subsea listening.
“We have a captive audience down there,” said Bill Becker, the event’s co-founder and the station’s news director. “We have divers and snorkelers listening to public service announcements about reef preservation, coral reef etiquette and diver awareness.
“It’s things that they can do to lessen their impact on the coral reef,” he said.
The aquatic-focused play- list included the theme from the The Little Mermaid, the Beatles’ Octopus’s Garden and the theme from the iconic shark motion picture Jaws.
“We just wanted to get their (participants) attention,” said Becker.
Other songs included Jimmy Buffett’s Fins, the theme from the television classic Flipper and Atlantis by Donovan.
Participants in the water could hear the commercialfree broadcast via Lubbell Laboratory waterproof speakers strategically hung from boats floating above the reef.
Several divers were costumed, including two mermaids and a Sponge Bob cartoon character. Others pretended to play Florida Keys artist August Powers’ sculpted musical instruments.
Becker described the underwater listening experience at “ethereal”, saying that the sound was not loud, but very clear and it seemed that music could be “felt through your body and not just through your ears”.
A competitor crawls through a mud pit at an obstacle course in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday.
A festivalgoer pretends to play a sculpture of an instrument at the Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival in Florida, US, on Saturday.