The Jakarta Post
Divers emerge from the water after breaking the Guinness World Record for most people scuba diving simultaneously on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, during the Indonesian Women Divers (WASI) official attempt at Megamas Beach in Manado, North Sulawesi. The group broke three Guinness records on Aug. 1-3. (JP/Gisela Swaragita)
Three diving world records were broken during the Guinness World Records Attempt initiated by the Indonesia Women Diving Organization (WASI) on Aug. 1-3 at Megamas Beach in Manado, North Sulawesi.
The divers made waves by breaking the world record for "longest human chain underwater" on Aug. 1. Two days later on Aug. 3, the group broke the records for most people scuba diving simultaneously and largest flag unfurled underwater.
WASI head Tri Tito Karnavian – whose husband is National Police chief Gen.Tito Karnavian – said that she was very proud of the event's successes.
“It is a [proud achievement] for Indonesia and everyone involved. The three records are our gift for the 74th Independence Day of Indonesia, our beloved country. Hopefully, this will motivate us to keep doing the best for our country,” Tri said during the peak of the Guinness attempt on Aug. 3.
The group formed the longest human chain underwater with 578 divers, who dived at 8:40 a.m. local time on Thursday morning and linked hands for 10 minutes in an underwater chain. The previous world record involved 386 divers in the United States in 2018.
They broke the second Guinness record when 3,131 Indonesian and foreign divers dove simultaneously at around 8:50 a.m on Saturday and emerged 15 minutes later. Manado was also the site of the previous world record, which involved 2,465 divers in 2009.
The group immediately followed its second record attempt with its third, unfurling a 1,014-square-meter Indonesian flag during an underwater flag ceremony to break the previous record, which was made in 2017 when a 166.62 sqm flag was unfurled underwater in Australia.
Guinness World Records adjudicator Solvej Malouf officiated all three record attempts.
WASI had prepared for over a year to make the attempts, Tri told the press after the triple record attempt.
“We discussed and surveyed and did all we could to break the three records at once. [Breaking] one record is already difficult, but we were attempting to break three records at once,” she said.
“Our aim is to introduce people to diving. If a person tastes a single dive and sees the beauty of the sea, they will fall in love with the sea and will want to protect it,” said Tri.
Her husband Gen. Tito Karnavian also joined the Guinness attempts as a diver, donning his police uniform under his scuba gear.
Tito told the press following the attempts that diving was a long-time hobby and that he had introduced the sport to his wife. He took up the hobby in Poso, Central Sulawesi, where he was posted in 2006-2007 during the violent conflict in the region.
“The sea [in Poso] is very beautiful, but nobody went there because of the conflict,” he recalled.
Tito said he introduced his wife to snorkeling and then scuba diving in 2012, when he was the Papua Police chief.
“[Whenever] I was stressed from work, I took her [Tri] diving to Raja Ampat,” he said. “She became addicted, and eventually became more active than me in diving.”
Tito said it was important that Indonesians appreciated the beauty of the archipelago's underwater environment.
“We [have dived] several times abroad, but the coral reefs [there] are not as rich as in Indonesia. I visited a bay in Hawaii but their corals are nothing compared to Indonesia's. I and my wife have been to the Great Barrier Reef as well. Despite being larger than Indonesia, their marine biota are not as diverse. Corals in tropical areas are the best, and Indonesia is indeed a paradise under the sea," he said.
WASI is also active in marine conservation, and cooperated with the Indonesian Scavengers Association (IPI) and the Indonesian Plastic Recycling Association (ADUP) to clean up coastal and ocean waste during the event.
Founded in 2018, WASI attempted that same year to break the Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI) for most women diving simultaneously by involving 930 female divers, and the MURI for largest flag unfurled underwater by unfurling a 500 sqm flag.
WASI has supported the Dive Against Debris campaign since its founding and has held public events to teach about maritime culture, marine life conservation and marine tourism in Indonesia. (kes)
Eva Aruperes contributed to this story from Manado
Paragraph five in this article has been corrected.
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