Welcome to the ADEX PIXEL “VIRTUAL” EXPO [APE] post report! Read all about what APE is and how it kicked off on a high note on Friday, May 1, 2020.



ADEX Pixel “Virtual” Expo is the product of COVID-19 pandemic and also the next stage for ADEX after 25 years. This platform will be the  virtual/online arm to the existing ADEX series of shows as we hope to unite the industry as ‘One Industry. One Ocean. One Community’ and, also hopefully to be
‘The World’s First Digital Dive Show’!

John Thet
CEO of ADEX series of shows, Project Director of ADEX Pixel “Virtual” Expo, Publisher and Editorial Director of Asian Diver, Scuba Diver Australasia/OceanPlanet, Founder of Historical Diving Society Asia, and President of Magazine Publisher Association of Singapore [MPAS]

Connecting the global dive industry, blue economy sectors and its community, ADEX PIXEL “Virtual” EXPO (APE) brings together the world’s best dive influencers, thought leaders, industry key players – speakers and exhibitors, NGOs/NPOs, social enterprises, speakers, and visitors from across the world on ONE platform through NEW monthly content that ENTERTAIN, EDUCATE AND ENGAGE. The platform named “APE” for short offers contents such as informative presentations, interviews, LIVE! webinars and podcast series (panel discussions), an expansive marketplace, community forum, a stunning image gallery showcasing 2,021 underwater images from all over the world, and more exciting elements – all in the comforts of your own home!


Premiering the 4 zones of ADEX PIXEL VIRTUAL EXPO [APE]:

  • OCEAN360 ZONE (PRIME 7 Days)
  • SCUBA360 ZONE (7 Days)
  • PIXEL360 ZONE (5 Days) – From Monday to Friday
  • GLOBAL PAVILLION ZONE (3 Days) – On Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Premiering ADEX PIXEL VIRTUAL EXPO [APE] LIVE! Programme Segments:


  • NEWS
    The go-to-portal for the latest news, updates and insights on APE Weekly Announcements, Industry News, ADEX Speakers/Ambassadors, Photo Competitions, Awards & Achievements, Divers Party, and ADEX Events (Update).


  • DIVERS DIGEST (From www.uw360.asia & media)
    Featured digital content from uw360.asia and curated articles from the magazines.Look out for new features:
    – Dive Destination of the (Week/Month)
    – Photo of the (Week/Month)
    – Dive Master/Instructor of the (Week/Month)
    – Dive Gear of the (Week/Month)
    – Dive Equipment of the (Week/Month)
    – Underwater Accessories & Jewellery of the (Week/Month)



The Largest Digital Underwater Photo Ocean Gallery and other exciting to feature 2,020 underwater images from underwater photographers from across the world. These images will be then digitally displayed at the physical ADEX events.

  • More+

-VOO Images (Entries/Finalists)

-Asian Photographer of the year (Entries/Finalists)

-Entries from www.adex.asia

-ADEX Speakers portfolio

-Scuba Diver Ocean Planet (Photo Edition)


A one-stop hub and an e-retail outlet for the dive consumers, dive centres, liveaboards operators, resort owners, and more could feature their best deals!

The Marketplace will be the “BUZZ” for everyone from the dive consumer who is surfing for the latest promotional offerings or for the best dive holiday deals. Vendors (such as Resort Owners, Liveaboard Owners/Associations, Tour Agencies/Operators, Education Agencies, Online Platform Resellers, Transport providers, Airlines) can feature their exciting promotions for the divers of the world.



A business directory curated for the professionals of the dive industry. This feature is a great opportunity for the industry players to network, exchange and possibly create magic!

Dive Professionals:
Course Directors, Dive Instructors and Divemasters, Freediving & Mermaid Instructors
Resort Owners, Liveaboard Owners/Associations, Tour Agencies/Operators, Education Agencies, Online Platform Resellers, Transport providers, Airlines
Underwater photographers, underwater videographers and ocean writers


A lifestyle, edutainment online collaborative platform that showcase topics that are closest to a diver’s heart.

As the heartbeat of ADEX’s dive community, we will be discussing everything there is about diving. We would like to invite the world’s recreational and professional divers, aspiring divers, ocean lovers, ocean influencers, communities and everyone in the dive industry to join us in forces and have great conversations! Diveaholic Forum is by divers for divers!



    FRIDAY, MAY 1, 3PM – 4PM

Held in the very homes of exhibitors, panellists, speakers and visitors across the world, the Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) Pixel Expo started with a bang, first showing Gamiel Carrión’s, an artist from São Paulo, Brazil that creates beautifully surreal yet poetic visual film shorts in the hope to change the world, Above the Clouds | A Visual Poem.

John Thet kicked the event off with an introductory speech to the show and its new platform, all under the theme of “One Industry. One Ocean. One Community.”

“As one collective industry, we want to create more divers, all who come towards one ocean. Our ocean.”

He then explained the nitty-gritty of the importance to learn, lead, and inspire the community and industry, as a way to give back to the ocean and its vitality. The expo canvases topics and personnel from freediving to mermaiding, tekdiving to water sports, exhibitors to speakers, and social enterprises to other key industry players, amongst other important issues.

With BlueGreen101, Scuba101, Underwater Sports101, Ocean Odyssey101, Gear/Equipment101, Repeat/Rewind, and Film Festival segments on the agenda, the Pixel “Virtual” Expo promises an exciting new venture for divers and non-divers alike. Professionals and contributors can also look forward to networking webinars and a collective directory, and the website also offers ocean and diving news – hot off the press! John also extended his personal thank you to the UW360 team, and the supporters of the show.

Jamie Piyada Monmaneerat, ADEX’s long-term emcee and APE’s gracious host, introduced the ambassadors of the show.

ADEX Ambassador for Photography, Aaron Wong, Singapore, said, “Amidst all this uncertainty, this platform is great to stay positive and united. Mother nature needed a break from all our nonsense. We can use this time to think about our actions and unveil a new version of ourselves when this ends.”

He mentioned that APE is a  timely concept that John and his team put together very quickly. “Its success is based on us – it’s only a party when everyone comes!”

ADEX Ambassador for Photography, Y Zin, South Korea, was very happy to see her dive friends – even in the current situation! “It is sad what this situation has brought, especially the tragedy in the Haen-yeo community,” she laments. “These divers are old and vulnerable. It is sad, and the situation may get better, or worse, but we can only hope for the best.”

Adex Ambassador for Photography, Yorko Summer, Taiwan, ADEX Ambassador for Compact Cameras, Tim Ho and William Tan, Ambassador for Filmmaking, Pepe Arcos, Spain, and also said their hellos and gave their best wishes to the ADEX team. “We are all affected by COVID19, and it’s great that I can see my dive friends here on this platform!”

ADEX Ambassador for Tekdiving (Pioneer), David Strike, Australia, has proclaimed that this is the best time to start brushing up on your diving history – time to get started!

ADEX Ambassador for Tekdiving (International), Ahmed Gabr, Egypt, said “I’m very happy to meet everyone virtually, and very excited for what’s to come. On the positive side, nature might have needed this time to cure itself, and it will hopefully be ready for us when we next venture out.”

ADEX China co-organiser Melissa, and ADEX India co-organisers Kapil Malhotra and Amit Malhotra graced the platform and welcomed everyone to the next event – hopefully happening sooner rather than later!

FRIDAY, MAY 1, 4PM – 4:30PM

The first virtual webinar, Diving into Disruption in the Age of COVID-19 – Industry-Focussed, started off with moderator Nora Ismail, and panellists John Thet, Robert Scales (Canada) the co-founder of Ceningan Divers, Ceningan Resort and Trash Hero (Ceningan Chapter), Ronny Roskosch (Germany) the CEO of Mermaid Protector, Founder, Owner, CEO of Diving Industry Pro-Consulting and Ocean Lover in the Scuba Diving, WaterSports and OutDoor Industry, Alvin Tan (Singapore) the representative from NAUI Singapore, Adam Broadbent (UK) the CEO & Co-Founder, ZuBlu, Jean-Claude – JC Monachon (Switzerland) the Vice President, Scuba Schools International, SSI, James Costello (UK/Singapore) the Director, RAID SG/MY/Brunei LLP, and Alex Yeo (Singapore) the Regional Representative for SDI & TDI SEAsia, coming together to discuss the issue.

“The time for competition is not now – now is the time to work together for the industry,” said John Thet.

The pandemic disrupted many businesses by the abrupt lockdown of international borders, and an immediate halt to the travel industry when international travel restrictions were sanctioned, where citizens were advised to stay at home and not allowed to cross borders.

Hence, this elusive coronavirus outbreak has caused an immediate impact and dramatic business concerns, which is leading the global economy and businesses towards the path of recession.

The diving and dive tourism industry are not safeguarded from this situation. In fact, the pandemic has hit dive businesses hard. Conventional-practiced dive businesses had to face a possible closure unless it decides to transition its methods towards the road of innovative, digital transformation.

RAID representative, James Costello, mentioned that as a digital learning platform, they have opened up courses for all, with final examinations that can be taken at any dive centre once the travel restrictions are lifted. “The industry cannot keep working the same way in this situation,” he said. “It is time to open up to all, to encourage people to stay in the diving industry.”

“Take your head out of the sand. Opportunities will be changing, and we need to learn to adapt!” said JC, as he mentioned SSI’s new courses available online, which had been in the making for some time.

TDI representative, Alex Yeo, mentioned that while e-learning has been around for a long time, its time to shine is now. Select programmes by his institution are made free for members, and they have partnered with dive shops to navigate through these unprecedented times.

Robert from Ceningan Divers mentioned that his team has put together workshops onto their website, mostly conducted by their in-house Marine Biologist, Georgina Hayes. On completion of the workshops, a certification is available and credits are issued, which can be used for other courses, online or off. He believes that it is all about compromise. While giving away everything for free is an impossible business model, a fine balance makes both operator and consumer happy.

“A digital transition is happening right now and faster than before because of the need what of what we have. It gave a lot of opportunities, especially in our industry, we have a great opportunity to connect in a different way, we have to do a lot of homework not only on the operation’s side, focus on the local market, and more. Digital transition is key to keeping divers connected.” says Ronny Roskosch.

JC ended off with a beautiful saying from Switzerland:

“We will move as fast as possible, but as slow as necessary.”

FRIDAY, MAY 1, 4.40PM – 5:10PM

Next on the schedule was Diving Deep into Technical Diving, with moderator Ben Reymenants (Belgium) and panellists Ahmed Gabr (Egypt) Guinness World Record Holder for the Deepest Scuba Dive (332.35 metres), ADEX Ambassador for Technical Diving, Int’l), Founder of IF, Bruce Konefe (USA), Julien Fortin (France), Jeffrey Glenn (Australia), Yvonne Press (Indonesia), Pete Mesley (UK), Dr Matt Carter (Australia), and Dharshana Jayawardena (Sri Lanka).

The panellists spoke about how they are keeping busy amidst this pandemic… a nightmare for these thrill seekers! They shared their favourite scuba toys, their dream dive-partners, and their most memorable dive trips.

Yvonne spoke about her favourite scuba toy, her rebreather, which she has been practising with in her own pool. She recounted her most memorable dive in Thailand, where she went on her first 200-metre deep descent. Darshana, a famous explorer from Sri Lanka, has been diving for 17 years, and feels trapped at home. Our panellists can’t wait to go for a long walk… and then a dive! If Darshana could choose one person to go on a dive trip with, it would be Donald Trump. We actually hope this happens!

Bruce loves exploring caves and wrecks in Thailand and the Philippines, and is currently putting together training manuals out of the water.

Julien has been digitalising his projects that include underwater maps as he is stuck in quarantine. Each of them are missing the feeling of being wet, but hanging tight!

FRIDAY, MAY 1, 5.20PM – 6:00PM


The sustainable economic development of the ocean is only possible if it contributes to long-term prosperity and resilience. The COVID19 pandemic has globally impacted a great inconvenience to the global economy, and the diving and dive tourism is not spared. Albeit the disarray of chaos, the pandemic has resulted in a series of positive light on nature, the environment, and the oceans.

Since the travel industry was put to a standstill, globally, this enables for the oceans to heal. With no or less human intervention and activity, this has subconsciously lead to a global ocean restart.

Thus, the grand picture in remaining resilient to maintaining a sustainable blue economy is to look into the existing practices and usage of the sea and its resources for sustainable economic development and how it will be managed post COVID19.

ADEX Pixel Virtual Expo explored and addressed how the various diving businesses, practitioners, and countries approached measures and plans, with moderator Roni Ben-Aharon (Philippines/Israel) Lead, Atlantis Dive Resorts & Liveabord Philippines partnerships in Asia & Europe and panellists Tova Harel Bornovski (Palau) Owner & General Manager of Fish n Fins Dive centre, Anees Adenwala (India) Director, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Abi Carnadie(Indonesia) Founder, Bubbles Dive Centre, Industry Consultant for Indonesia, Dr Trust Lin (Taiwan) Director, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Wen Sorioso (Philippines) PCSSD Executive Director and Head of Product and Market Development for Diving in Philippine Department of Tourism, Chloe Harvey (UK) Director, The Reef Foundation, Monica Chin(Malaysia) Marine Conservationist, Director of ADRECC, and Bo Mancao (Philippines) Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD) Commissioner.

Anees Adenwala mentioned that India’s domestic travel is still open, and in such a vast country, it is promising that diving can resume its full potential soon.

Dr Trust Lin said, “I am honoured to be able to save the oceans.” While the tourism industry of Taiwan is suffering, diving is thriving. As the Taiwanese are not travelling elsewhere, they are looking at diving locally.

In Indonesia, dive sites and shops are closed. Online training is open, but the response is not as promising, Abi Carnedie noted.

But Monica Chin pointed out that nature is healing, and as conservationists and environmentalists, this should be the biggest news to rejoice about. While the internet provides a great opportunity to grow in these tough times, it is not an option for everyone. This is a privilege that we forget might not be in the hands of everyone.

FRIDAY, MAY 1, 6.10PM – 6:50PM

When it comes to public health risks such as COVID-19, we may not think of the ocean as a considering factor. The health of the ocean is closely tied to our health. It may have come as a surprise to read that organisms discovered at extreme depths are used to speed up the detection of COVID-19, and probably, even more, to learn that it is the environment that could give a solution to humankind. Microbiologists are looking into the oceans to find answers. Our ocean and coasts affect us – even those of us who don’t live near the shoreline.

COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill. Borders lockdown, travel restrictions, staying at home policy, business abruptly forced to closure. It has been a strange time for humankind but a thriving milestone for the ocean and nature. There were reports that marine life was spotted in different parts of the world – evidently enjoying their newfound freedom!

ADEX Pixel Virtual Expo brought together the league of ocean defenders, moderator Jamie Piyada (Thailand) and panellists Louise Hardman (Australia) CEO & Co-Founder of Plastic Collective, Gary Stokes (UK) Founder of OceansAsia, Hidy Yu (Hong Kong) ADEX Ambassador for Marine Conservation, Mithali Dutt Kakar (India) ADEX India Ocean Ambassador and Founder, Reef Watch Marine Conservation, India, and Anuar Abdullah (Malaysia) ADEX Ambassador for Coral Reefs and Founder, Ocean Quest Global, to share their thoughts about their relationship and commitment to the ocean, their journey, and observation, the challenges that the ocean faced, their expectations of the Ocean’s future, and their prediction on human behaviour and the ocean post-COVID19.


FRIDAY, MAY 1, 7.00PM – 7:30PM

Mermaids, an aquatic creature with the head and upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish, have appeared in children’s books, cartoons, and documentaries. This ethereal-looking creature and a vision of beauty have fascinated both adults and children!

But does it even exist or just a fragment of a fisherman’s imagination? Folktale, Myths or Real? Till today, there are no concrete scientific findings of its actual existence.

With fascination and a beautiful message that it carries, mermaid competitions have been sprouting around the world spreading the words of ocean conservation and love towards all marine life. This has lead to the increased popularity of both females and males signing up for courses with the various mermaiding schools and institutions.

ADEX has been a massive supporter of this underwater discipline and has been providing the platform for mermaiding to showcase their skills in the form of show and tell and performances in the Asia Dive Expo shows.

ADEX Pixel Virtual Expo convened these mythical creatures, practitioners and educators to share their vision and mission of being a mermaid. The panel addressed how one can go to become a professional mermaid, and the pieces of training involved in executing those elegant maneuvers underwater while holding their breath. This panel involved moderator Patricia Furtado de Mendonca and panellists Herman Calis, Sherin Tang, Yuki Wong, Alan Lam, Syrena, Mermaid Pia, Yee Hui, and Nicholas Tan.

In the discussion of the differences between freediving and mermaiding, Yuki mentioned that both involve very different training methods. “The connection with water as a mermaid is entirely different!” she exclaimed. “Mermaiding is to be yourself. It is less challenging than freediving, and more personal than swimming.”

“Mermaiding is like ballet, and freediving like gymnastics,” claimed Syrena.

Mermaiding often results in forgetting about your breathhold, and just becoming one with the water.”

Sherin ended off the discussion by saying, “Mermaiding not just a sport, but something that is part of the soul.” A beautiful sentiment, even if we say so ourselves.


FRIDAY, MAY 1, 7.40PM – 8:10PM


FRIDAY, MAY 1, 8.20PM – 9:00PM

This panel attempted to set a bigger picture to a bigger question – What makes a photo or film perfect or award-winning? How does one sharpen their craft to perfection – is it due to diligence, the years of dedication, “practice, practice, practice”, or all of them? What makes a ” master” photographer/videographer?

Many still and motion creators started their journey with a diverse and massive plethora of challenges. From physical, mental, time & situational feats.

ADEX Pixel Virtual Expo attempted to explore and address what it takes to be a master or award-winning photographer, what do they see as a “perfect shot” or “story”, and does luck play a part in this journey and more.

The panel was managed by moderator Dr. Alex Mustard (UK) Under Photographer and panellists Christian Vizl (Mexico) Underwater Photographer, Ocean Lover and Conservationist, Ellen Cuylaerts (Cayman Island) Underwater, Wildlife Photographer, Explorer, Storyteller and Conservationist, Tobias Friedrich (Germany) Underwater, Wildlife and Travel Photographer, Scott Tuason (Philippines) Underwater Photographer, William Tan (Singapore) Underwater Photographer, and Amos Nachoum (USA/Israel) Wildlife photojournalist, explorer, conservationist and lecturer.

“Although none of us can be underwater right now, we’re still underwater photographers.”

Christian started off by saying that there is too much focus on the technical aspects of underwater photography. “Everybody can have an impressive and winning image,” he proclaims. “The trick is to move further away from nitty gritty technicalities. The challenge is to produce a consistent flow of high quality images!”

When Alex posed the question of inspiration, Scott mentioned that he got his from the subject matter. “Once you get there, you are at its mercy, at what it wants to give you.”

Tobias draws inspiration from old pictures of his that he is not satisfied with. “I have the image in mind, then I try to recreate it, but better.

Amos, a wildlife photographer, believes that whether on land or below the surface, inspiration comes from the animals. He draws from a sense of being that animal in the wild, which changes the perception of a photographer and its subject.

William said, “I don’t plan! Luck plays a big role in a great shot.”

Ellen does her research the animal and finds the connection with this animal. Then she lets magic play its part.

Alex, too, mentioned that he is influenced by the great names of photography he grew up with, but also the “smaller” names  – “The more underwater photos you consume, the better a photographer you can become.

On tips for new photographers, Christian said that being a great diver is important before being a great underwater photographer. His mentor once told him: “If you go to the zoo, don’t take photos of the zoo. Take photos of how you felt at the zoo.” The idea of transforming your feelings into a picture has guided him all my life.

Ellen suggested working hard – the classic, failproof tip. “Study your manual. Shoot loads! Not just animals, but everything,” she said. “And when one door closes, don’t be demotivated – another might open. Be genuine and kind, deliver on time, be nice to the next generation of photographers.

William had one stellar tip: Do not harass the animal

“A right photo is better than a good photo.”

Amos said that while there are 7 billion people on the planet, each of us are unique. “Don’t be afraid to find your own style on this amazing planet!

While Tobias took the practical stance on suggesting that newbies join a workshop, Scott put on a jovial mood: “Enjoy! It’s the most important thing.”



FRIDAY, MAY 1, 9.10PM – 9:50PM

Scuba diving has come a long way. From the fascination on breathing underwater to the advent in engineering and technological advances in the gear and equipment, from male-dominated sports with an ever-growing female divers database, to the branching out of scuba diving to its many other underwater disciplines.

ADEX Pixel Virtual Expo brought together the league of diving pioneers from the diverse disciplines to share the beginning of their lifetime commitment with diving, their personal journey, the challenges that they faced, the growth of the sport from its nascent stage till now, their expectations of its future, and how they would have predicted the sport in ten years time. This session was moderated by John Thet, with Guest of Honour Captain Paul Watson, special guest Wyland, and panellists Anne Doubilet, David Strike, Kurt Amsler, Michael Aw and Michael Menduno.

“If the ocean dies, we all die. So we need to learn to live in harmony with all species among us. We need to understand that we are not the masters of the planet.”

– Captain Paul Watson, Special Guest


#HappyHourFridays @ ADEX Surface Interval


The APE Opening Ceremony reached the end of the day on a high note with #HappyHourFridays @ ADEX Surface Interval.

As ADEX was created over a night of beer-gushing session by two lads, #HappyHourFridays @ ADEX Surface Interval was created in that honour. This session was dedicated for the much-desired bantering and networking with the ADEX communities and the dive industry. The moderator had the right to kick participants out without a drink!




The show concluded with Lauren Ballesta’s stunning short film, 700 Sharks into the Dark – a visionary masterpiece.

Synopsis of 700 SharksDive for the first time by night into a feeding frenzy of 700 sharks in Polynesia, the largest concentration of sharks in the world. Filmed with very ambitious camera gear, this documentary reveals unprecedented social behavior of sharks.

The film demonstrates that, contrary to what science said up to now, sharks do not hunt alone. They are actually organized with a leader, have strategies and collaborate among one another. An organization that resembles a pack of wolves or lions.

Discover incredible scenes of hunting, like in a savannah wildlife film, in which fifty sharks team up to capture one fish, and prey that sometimes manages to outsmart sharks.


Stay tuned for more ADEX Pixel Expo events and updates – we hope you’re as excited as us for what’s to come!