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DIVE TRAVEL Adventures BE INSPIRED, GO DIVING...

SUMMER 2019

ARTIFICIAL REEFS

New life in the Maldives + our pick of the best worldwide

CANADA BAHAMAS MEXICO TANZANIA SCAPA FLOW PHILIPPINES

Majestic

MALTA & GOZO

Sean Chinn discovers unexpected treasures under and above water in the Mediterranean


“The reef systems here are some of the most pristine I have seen anywhere in my dive travels around the globe, and Wakatobi resort and liveaboard are second to none. The diversity of species here is brilliant if you love photography.” ~ Simon Bowen

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An experience without equal At Wakatobi, you don’t compromise on comfort to get away from it all. Our private air charter brings you directly to this luxuriously remote island, where all the indulgences of a five-star resort and luxury liveaboard await. Our dive team ensures your in-water experiences are perfectly matched to your abilities and interests. Memories of your underwater encounters will remain vivid long after your visit is concluded. While at the resort, or on board the dive yacht Pelagian, you need only ask and we will provide any service or facility within our power. This unmatched combination of world-renowned reefs and first-class luxuries puts Wakatobi in a category

www.wakatobi.com

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all of its own.

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Enjoying Great British Diving...

SS Shockland, UK Photo courtesy of Rick Ayrton

O’Three has you covered We will even fit you in your own home, no need to leave your sofa.. • Dedicated one-to-one service. • Remote fitting and advice. • Free pick up and returns. • Simple process.

www.othree.co.uk/home-fitting-service Suits complete and ready to dive from £795 to £1795

www.othree.co.uk | +44 (0) 1305 822820 | Osprey Quay Portland Dorset DT5 1BL

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Diving around the World...

Bahamas

Photo courtesy of Martyn Farr

O’Three has you covered DRYSUITS WETSUITS NEOPRENE ACCESSORIES O’Three suits and accessories can also be seen at:

Christal Seas Scuba Ltd www.aquasportonline.com

www.scuba4me.co.uk

Wet & Semi-dry suits / neoprene accessories from 0.5mm to 7mm - £24.95 to £275.00

www.othree.co.uk | +44 (0) 1305 822820 | Osprey Quay Portland Dorset DT5 1BL

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W ELCO M E S UMMER 2 0 1 9

Canada Mexico

Bahamas

Welcome... The Scubaverse Team is back with more incredible Dive Travel Adventures to make Summer 2019 the very best yet! In this fourth issue we are proud to include exclusive features from two incredible women - Ellen Cuylaerts and Sarah Richard - as well as more exciting tales of underwater adventures from regular contributors Nick & Caroline Robertson-Brown, Sean Chinn, Christopher Bartlett and Yo-Han Cha. We also acknowledge the historic centenary of the scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow in a very special feature by Charles Hood. But enough about us! We want to hear about your Dive Travel Adventures. What amazing dive destinations have you visited? And what's next on your diving wishlist? Share your underwater experiences on our new @DiveTravelAdventures Facebook and Instagram pages. Take a copy of our magazine on your travels and post a pic with the #MyDTA hashtag and you could win some great prizes. Who knows, we might even feature your Dive Travel Adventure in a future issue. Happy travels!

Jane Herbert

VISIT SCUBAVERSE.COM

The World’s Best Online Dive Companion Get all the latest dive, travel & marine conservation news – Equipment & gear reviews – Blogs & features – Underwater photography & videography – Competitions – Community - Events and much more! Join us at Scubaverse.com, on social media, or email us at contact@scubaverse.com – we’d love to hear from you!

EDITOR SCUBAVERSE

CONTACT INFORMATION

FREE DOWNLOAD!

View Dive Travel Adventures from anywhere in the world

GO TO: WWW.SCUBAVERSE.COM/MAGAZINES 006 | D  I V E T R AV E L A D V E N T U R E S | S U M M E R 2 01 9

EDITORIAL

Publisher Dave Alexander dave@scubaverse.com Editor Jane Herbert jane@scubaverse.com Deputy Editor Caroline Robertson-Brown caroline@scubaverse.com Editor-at-Large Jeff Goodman jeff@scubaverse.com

Underwater Photography Editor Nick Robertson-Brown uwp@scubaverse.com

SALES & MARKETING Dave Alexander dave@scubaverse.com +44 (0)7469 252917

Marketing Manager Sarah Tillbrook sarah@scubaverse.com

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SUM M ER 2019 CON TENTS

Scapa Flow Malta & Gozo

Philippines Tanzania

Contents

10 CANADA

On a quest for an image of Beluga Whales in the wild, Ellen Cuylaerts heads to the small, remote town of Churchill on the icy shores of Canada's Hudson Bay.

24

BAHAMAS

Incredible shark action is one of the highlights of diving The Bahamas. Nick and Caroline head underwater with Stuart Cove’s shark specialists for some spectacular close encounters.

38 MEXICO

Sarah Richard, Founder of Girls that Scuba, tells all about the second GTS Day in Cabo, before sharing her memories of the incredible shark and whale watching on offer around Baja California.

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54 ARTIFICIAL REEFS 70

With coral reefs worldwide under threat, artificial reefs are taking on an increasingly important role in marine conservation. Yo-Han Cha visits a brand new reef in the Maldives before we share some of our other favourite artificial reefs.

TANZANIA

Christopher Bartlett has notched up many hundreds of dives off the coast of East Africa and he’s also a leading wildlife safari expert. Who better to share his below - and above - water adventures on the islands of Tanzania?

84 MALTA & GOZO

Sean Chinn takes a first time short break to Malta and Gozo and discovers there is a lot more under and above water in the Mediterranean than expected.

98 SCAPA FLOW

On the 100 year anniversary of the scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow, Charles Hood shares his archive images – many shot on film – and a little of the history of these iconic wrecks.

108 PHILIPPINES

Nick and Caroline discover colourful critters and muck diving without the muck as they indulge in a spot of luxury on the island of Negros in the Philippines.

All photography unless otherwise stated is copyright © to the contributing writers/photographers herein. Copyright © for all material in this magazine remains with Scubaverse Media Limited. Use of material from Dive Travel Adventures is strictly prohibited unless written permission is given by the Publisher, Dave Alexander. If you wish to stock the magazine in your dive centre or club, please contact sarah@ scubaverse.com . To download your free digital copy of Dive Travel Adventures, simply visit our website www.scubaverse.com/magazines

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WHERE IT ALL BEGINS WWW.EGYPT.TRAVEL

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HURGHADA RED SEA THIS IS A FRIENDLY LOCAL

ASK YOUR TRAVEL AGENT

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CA N ADA C HURC HI LL

On a quest for an image of Beluga Whales in the wild, Ellen Cuylaerts heads to the small, remote town of Churchill on the icy shores of Canada’s Hudson Bay. WORDS & IMAGES: ELLEN CUYLAERTS

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udson Bay in Canada is one of the places to be found south of 60º North but having a polar climate. Churchill, a small town situated on the west shore of Hudson Bay, would be defined as Subarctic, but has earned its nickname as Polar Bear Capital of the World and attracts tourists from all over the world. Visitors come here to witness the migrating habits of the Polar Bears. They wait at the estuary of Churchill River and on the peninsula for Hudson Bay to freeze up in autumn, giving access to their seal feeding grounds on the Arctic ice. The ‘Churchill bears’ hang around in summer in a state of ‘walking hibernation,’ sometimes getting lucky when a Beluga Whale (another one of Churchill’s tourist attractions) washes up on Hudson Bay’s shores providing food for a gang of Apex predators. I heard about this strange place some years ago and decided to visit, since I wanted to try and take images of Beluga Whales in the wild. My first visit was in July 2014 and I was in for a big surprise, starting with logistics. We divers get pretty spoiled: if we take more luggage than the allowance we just pay for the extra bag. But what if the carrier does not allow

extra bags? Welcome to traveling off the beaten track. Flying from the place I call home, Grand Cayman, to Winnipeg was an interesting journey with some connections and a night in Winnipeg nothing new. The next morning I was welcomed at the counter of Calm Air where I had to select which of my three luggage bags I wanted to arrive: my photo gear, my snorkel gear for cold water, or my warm clothing. Now that is a dilemma, especially since I had written to the airline and explained my luggage issue some weeks before and got a ‘guarantee’ on paper that I would be able to pay for my extra luggage. What they did not mention was that this would be at the discretion of the check-in staff, who would decide if my luggage would be shipped as cargo or that it would travel with me subject to availability of space and weight. Luggage is not a priority in areas where community needs like medication, food supply and medical non-urgent evacuations are of the utmost importance. Churchill, once the Arctic gateway, has no roads to the rest of Canada and due to almost year-round freezing conditions the port is no longer operational. The railway from Winnipeg to Churchill, a journey of 40 hours often affected by weather

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Award-winning photographer Ellen Cuylaerts travels the world shooting images that start a dialogue about the challenges that wildlife and the oceans are facing. Ellen was inducted in the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2019 and and as a Fellow Explorer International, she is a member of the Flag & Honors Committee of the Explorers Club. She tries to bring people together to work in a constructive way to ‘be the change you want to see’. www.ellencuylaerts.com

IMAGES Far left: Churchill: Polar Bear Capital of the World. Left: Beluga Whales are naturally curious animals.Top: Inukshuk with a view of Hudson Bay. Above: ‘Headquarters’ for my trip!

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conditions like polar winds and flooding, is crucial for supply deliveries to Churchill and the more northern territories. Consequently, Calm Air and First Air flight tickets, which serve the northern communities of Canada, are not cheap and, as I learned, there was no way I could take my bags. I chose my underwater camera equipment, put on an extra coat, and said goodbye to the rest of my luggage. Worse case scenario I

would be reunited with it on my way home after my six day visit to Churchill. I arrived at my destination with no bags and was expected on my first Beluga snorkeling tour with Sea North Tours in the evening. All tours depend on the tides and departures vary between 8am and 6pm. Plan B allowed me to rent a wetsuit, gloves, mask and fins, and I boarded the Zodiac, missing my camera but grateful to be there.

IMAGES Above: A Beluga blows some bubbles. Below: The ‘kayak shack’ of Sea North Tours.

Leaving the Churchill estuary I got a first glimpse of the vastness of Hudson Bay. This huge body of salt water is connected with the Atlantic Ocean in the east by Hudson Strait, and with the Arctic Ocean in the north by Foxe Basin and Fury & Hecla Strait. Soon I saw some white, repetitive movement in the water and yes, these were Beluga Whales, one of the three Arctic whales, recognizable from the surface by the lack of a dorsal fin which prevents them losing heat from an exposed surface area. Instead, a tough dorsal ridge helps them to break the freezing Arctic water to reach breathing holes. But here in summer they don’t need that. Every year, between mid June and the end

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of August, around 57,000 Beluga Whales migrate to the river estuaries of Hudson Bay to give birth, feed on Capelin, and shed their winter skin on the shallow rubble. Seeing them in such numbers from the Zodiac felt unreal. The light of the day was still strong, even though by the time we got out on the water it was past 7.30pm. The winds had calmed down and the only sounds heard were the sound of the engine and the exhaling of the Belugas through their breathing holes. We were six guests on the boat and all of us took in the beauty of these moments in silence. After an hour of observing some pods it was time to try and get in the water with the animals. The Captain warned us that the visibility at the surface was crappy (a dark brown murky water where only the white backs of the Belugas gave a clear contrast) and it could be even worse once submerged. He advised us to look down because for every Beluga we saw at the surface a multitude of whales could potentially swim underneath us at depth. 5ºC water felt welcoming

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after the speed of the Zodiac in the cold evening air had cooled me down. Looking in the deep through my mask I saw… nothing, but dark, yellow-green-brown salty water, which felt unsettling; the great unknown. But once I got my breathing steady and positioned myself in line with the surface waves, not to get too much saltwater in my snorkel, I could hear a beautiful, high-pitched sound: the Canaries of the Seas’ song! Needless to say, despite

IMAGES Above: The Look... Below: Beluga Whale watching, or were we watching for Polar Bears?

WE WERE SIX GUESTS ON THE BOAT AND ALL OF US TOOK IN THE BEAUTY OF THESE MOMENTS IN SILENCE.

not seeing one Beluga Whale underwater, I fell asleep that night with a big smile on my face. The following days passed by in a similar way except one day when the mist appeared so fast and thick over the Bay that I had to hold onto a rope behind the Zodiac and confirm my presence vocally on a regular basis because the Captain could not see me and I could not locate the boat! A sudden repetitive emergency call got me hauling myself to the ladder and when I surfaced, the Captain pointed at a swimming Polar Bear in sight… which was close! I grabbed my land camera and was able to get a once in a lifetime shot. During my stay, I received all of my luggage spread over different days. I spent a few hours each day in the cold water and only witnessed the presence of the Belugas underwater through some thermoclines once. I took a shot as proof and decided to return and rethink possibilities in this unpredictable and dark environment. The next year, I scheduled two nights in Winnipeg, which allowed me to send all my luggage through Calm Air

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A SUDDEN REPETITIVE EMERGENCY CALL GOT ME HAULING MYSELF TO THE LADDER AND WHEN I SURFACED, THE CAPTAIN POINTED AT A SWIMMING POLAR BEAR IN SIGHT…

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cargo. Of course it was delayed but at least I received all of it on the second day of my stay in Churchill. Returning to a destination like this, a tight community, brought the advantage that everyone was very helpful in making ‘the shot’ happen. Sea North Tours and the Polar Inn (my accommodation) are a familyrun business and it felt like coming home. Mom Louise made sure I got on the right boats at the right times with the perfect Captain to facilitate my photography because… this girl had a plan! Beluga Whales are sociable and curious animals. The presence of spindle neurons in their brain makes them very intelligent creatures and one characteristic of intelligence is that their minds need

stimulation. Instead of me following them in bad visibility, I would try to locate areas with better visibility, out of the slack line and in between thermoclines, and act like a Beluga among other Belugas with the purpose of them checking me out (instead of ‘slow’ me in a drysuit trying to keep up with them). It worked. Captain Vanessa Wallner and I looked for areas close to some pods, with conditions I could work in if the Beluga Whales would come close. I was shooting with a fisheye lens, which makes everything look further away, and as soon I glided into the water, from the first day until the last of my five water days, my Beluga personification delivered some amazing close encounters.

FROM THE FIRST DAY UNTIL THE LAST, MY BELUGA PERSONIFICATION DELIVERED SOME AMAZING CLOSE ENCOUNTERS.

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IMAGES Above: Polar Bear at Churchill estuary. Below: The Belugas contrast beautifully against the murky, pea-soup water.

Once the Belugas’ curiosity was triggered and they revealed themselves through a thermocline, I started mimicking them, mostly nodding and trying to spin around my own axis rather than chasing them, to keep them interested. The Belugas nodded back, which is possible because unlike in most cetaceans the seven neck vertebrae of a Beluga are not fused,which allows them greater flexibility. I choose to portray these Arctic whales in a dark world since they spend most of their year up north underneath ice with limited light.

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S D N E I R F H DIVING WIT

ALL YOU CAN DIVE AND SO MUCH MORE! BOO KI N G AN D I N F O R M ATI O N :

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An opportunity to acquire a unique and beautiful island in a tranquil and protected corner of the Philippines. The island offers a number of possibilities, with the potential to develop a resort business if required. Or you may wish to keep the island to yourself, your family and friends. For further information contact Mr Chris Coe at: +44 7835 976388 cjcoe@btinternet.com PRICE ON APPLICATION

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CANADA Silky Shark

Hu d

Polar Bear

son

Whale Shark

Bay Beluga Whales

Reef Shark

Churchill

Tanzania Unguja

rican Saltwater Crocodile

orse

IMAGES Above: Off they go in search of more Capelin...

TRAVEL LOG:

Churchill, Canada Flights

Currency

International flights to Winnipeg. Spend a night at an airport hotel before catching an early flight on Calm Air to Churchill.

Canadian $.

Top Tip! Dress in layers! Even when the sun is out, conditions can change quickly and once you’re cold, the fun is gone.

Transfers If you book at the Polar Inn, you’ll be picked up by a driver on arrival. Everyone knows everyone here so you’ll get to your accommodation with problems.

Water temperature 4-7°C in July and August depending on the weather.

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Favourite non-water activity Book a trip on a Tundra Buggy - a great way to observe Polar Bears safely.

Favourite Place to eat / drink Gypsy’s Bakery, Seaport Hotel, Lazy Bear Lodge Cafe... or get a take out from the supermarket and warm it up at the Polar Inn.

Final Word Walking around Churchill keeps the adrenaline flowing. Always stay alert that you are in polar bear territory. People keep their cars unlocked so you can get to safety until help is on the way.

My last day in the water was one of the most spectacular ever. The sun was out (for the first time on my trip) and two pods of male Belugas encircled me. They were showing dominant behavior towards each other and towards me, bumping me, each other, and separating me from the boat. I safely got out of the water but they did not leave. The vocalization became even louder for us to hear from the Zodiac, and we could not start the engine since they acted like they were glued to the boat! It was truly enchanting and impressive at the same time. My mission was accomplished and I returned home with several memory cards full of images but more importantly an experience of a lifetime in one of the strangest places on earth. The Arctic and Subarctic are among the most beautiful places but also the most vulnerable in this day and age. Species living here are feeling the effect of climate change first hand. The short summers in Churchill – where the Polar Bears wait at Hudson Bay for the body of water to freeze up - are getting longer and their time without food is causing them to lose weight, as

it prevents them stocking up on fat reserves, resulting in less cubs being born. The Belugas follow the Capelin to where they spawn on the shoreline of Hudson Bay, and are now becoming a food source for Polar Bears, not just the vulnerable calves but also the adults. Documenting these changes and telling these stories is not intended to make anyone feel bad, just to inspire you to be the change you want to see. Whilst writing this article, news reached me that due to new regulations implemented by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Sea North Tours can no longer offer the ‘swimming with Belugas’ tours. Whale watching and kayak tours are now joined by paddleboard experiences where the animals come really close, even stay with you, spy hopping. You might get so excited that you fall off your board still ending up in the water with these amazing animals! n

MORE INFORMATION www.polarinn.com www.seanorthtours.com www.everythingchurchill.com www.canada.travel

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T HE BAH A MAS NASSAU

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NASSAU THE BAH A M A S

Stuart Cove’s

signature

Shark Dives Incredible shark action is one of the highlights of diving The Bahamas. Nick and Caroline head underwater with Stuart Cove’s shark specialists for some spectacular close encounters. WORDS & IMAGES: NICK AND CAROLINE ROBERTSON-BROWN

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T H E BA H A MAS NASSAU

S YOUR FLIGHT descends into Nassau airport in The Bahamas, you are treated to a superb view of the islands and their white sand beaches. The blue patchwork sea varies in hue with the depth of the surrounding water, from light turquoise in the shallows to deep azure, as the seabed dramatically plunges into the abyss that surrounds these magical islands. On this trip we were to sample the various shark dives that Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas offer including basic shark dives, shark feeding, a shark night dive and a shark dive using a Seabob scooter. They also offer a shark feeder programme where you can learn to feed the sharks yourself, but this will have to wait for a future trip. Whilst divers do

get the occasional appearance from Tiger Sharks and Great Hammerhead Sharks, these are rare in Nassau and the main attraction is the Caribbean Reef Sharks that turn up in large numbers on every dive, usually accompanied by a handful of Nurse Sharks. We arrived on island in the late afternoon and headed to our hotel to set up our camera gear for the morning. Staying in downtown Nassau means that you can pop out and walk to the many bars and restaurants that line the seafront and stretch up the hill. Having visited The Bahamas on several occasions, we were looking forward to returning to our favourite haunt, Pirate Republic - The Bahamas' only craft ale brewery that does a particularly fine ale called Citra me Timbers! Refreshed and fed, we headed back to the hotel,

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IMAGES Top left: Two Caribbean Reef Sharks swim over an old anchor on the sandy seabed. Top right: The Bahamas is beautiful from above. Above: Getting ready to head out of the dive centre. Right: Nacho, our shark expert, takes the bait box back up to the surface.

ready for what the coming days of shark diving had in store for us. Stuart Cove’s run a hotel pick-up service and so each morning their distinctive pink and white buses pull-up outside hotels to collect divers (as well as returning them each afternoon). From downtown, the journey usually takes about half an hour, picking up other guests along the way. On arrival you get a real sense of the scale of the dive centre, with a string of boats being prepped for the day and dozens of staff all in their pink t-shirts, assisting divers with check in, loading boats, assigning equipment and planning dives. The divers arrive first, and then the buses head back out to collect the snorkellers and those signed up for Subs and Snuba. It is a busy place, but you never feel rushed and the organisation

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NASSAU THE B A H A M A S

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NASSAU THE B A H A M A S

is excellent. We were treated to our own private boat and guides for this trip so that we could set our own timetable to fit in all the dives we had planned. Nacho, our shark expert, and Krishna, our boat captain and guide, helped us get sorted with tanks and weights and before long we were heading out to our first dive site – the wreck of Big Crab. The shark dives are all situated in the same area, with a couple of wrecks and a sandy ‘arena’ which sits close to the reef wall. All these sites are just a few minutes boat ride from the

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dive centre. For our first dive, Nacho suggested that we put a bait box in the wheelhouse of the wreck – a tugboat deliberately sunk for a movie shoot and photograph the sharks swimming around it, the nearby reef and an anchor that lies close by on the seabed. As Nacho was donning his chainmail protective suit, we rolled into the warm, clear blue water and descended down to the wreck, clearly visible from the surface. The sharks were already aware of our arrival and were slowly

IMAGES Below left: The sharks come in close on the feed. Below right: There is lots of life taking shelter inside the wrecks. Bottom: Nacho feeds a reef shark.

circling the wreck, but as soon as the bait box arrived many more sharks appeared too. Hovering at the bow of the wreck and just watching the sharks was mesmerizing. In the wheelhouse the Nurse Sharks endeavoured to get fish scraps out of the bait box, while the Caribbean Reef Sharks kept to the outside of the structure. The site is shallow, at only 15m in depth at the very bottom, so the natural light is excellent, and we moved around trying to find the best photographic angles for over an hour. It was a perfect start to

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T H E BA H A MAS NASSAU

IMAGES Far left: Graycliff restaurant is the first 5 star eatery in The Bahamas. Left: Caroline on a Seabob scooter. Below: Turtles are also a common sight on the local wreck dives. Right: As the sun sets we head down to the wreck to start our dive.

our shark diving adventure. Back up on the surface, Nacho asked us what we wanted to do on the next dive. This was to be a shark feed and rather than go to the sandy arena, we opted to do the feed on one of the other wrecks called the Ray of Hope. This is a bigger wreck and offers superb photographic opportunities at both the bow and the stern, so we did both! Once again, after a sunsoaked surface interval, we descended down to the wreck first and waited for Nacho to arrive. Carrying the (pink of course) bait box, he looked like the shark version of the Pied Piper, leading his merry band of around 30 reef sharks along with him down to where we were positioned on the wreck. Nacho loves his shark family, made up almost exclusively of female Caribbean Reef Sharks, and he is also a skilled showman and shark feeder. He played to the camera, but also ensured that we were getting the shots we wanted. It is an incredible experience, spending an hour so close to these beautiful sharks, occasionally being fed from a metal stick with a fish scrap skewered on the end. Our first day of diving had been exceptional. One of the highlights from the day was watching the smiles break out on divers’ faces that had never done these dives before. We decided to celebrate in style, heading to Graycliff for an exquisite meal. Graycliff is a very special place, tucked away in the old historic part of Nassau. The restaurant,

the first 5 star eatery in The Bahamas, boasts an incredible wine cellar with over a quarter of a million bottles of wine. The perfect restaurant for a special occasion. The next morning, we planned to approach one of the other dive boats, waiting until their shark experience was coming to an end and then to

WE DECIDED TO TAKE IT IN TURNS ON THE SEABOBS, SO ONE OF US COULD TAKE PHOTOS WHILST THE OTHER ENJOYED THE RIDE...

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take a tour of the arena area using the powerful Seabob scooters that the dive centre rents out. As the other dive boats pulled out, Andrea talked us through how these “ride-on” scooters worked. Once we were happy, they were loaded up onto the boat and we headed out on the flat-calm water to the dive site. We decided to take it in turns on the Seabobs, as that meant one of us could take photos whilst the other enjoyed the ride and then we could swap over. As we descended, some divers were already heading up the line whilst others were kneeling on the sandy sea floor, still watching the sharks swimming around them. We took care

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NASSAU THE B A H A M A S

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WE ASKED IF WE COULD START THE DIVE AT DUSK, SO THAT WE COULD LURE THE SHARKS TO THE SURFACE AS THE SUN WAS LOWERING IN THE SKY.

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NASSAU THE BAH A M A S

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to stay out of their way and got used to the scooters over the reef behind them. These underwater craft are fast – and can rip the reg from your mouth or mask from your face if accelerated to full speed – so you must be careful. The sharks did not seem pleased that we were able to keep up with them! Back at the dive centre, we had some time to kill, as our next dives were to be at dusk and night. We grabbed some lunch at the grill at the dive centre and then relaxed, watching the activity of the divers and boats from the shade until it was our time to get ready again. We asked if we could start at dusk, so that we could lure the sharks to the surface as the sun was lowering in the sky. We planned to follow with a night shark dive on the Ray of Hope wreck. We have snorkelled with sharks at night before, but this was going to be our first baited night dive. As the sun began its slow descent into the watery

horizon, we started to gear up and Nacho hung the bait box off the boat to tempt the sharks up to the surface. The sun sparkled on the waves and it was a special way to start the experience. As it got darker, we signalled that we were happy to head down and start the dive in the twilight. As our eyes adjusted to the

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IMAGES Above: Nurse Sharks also join the fun on the night dive. Below: A Caribbean Reef Shark on the night dive.

gloom, we saw that a large group of sharks had joined us. Nacho planned to adjust the position of the bait box every now and then to give us some different photographic opportunities and he also provided a big light above us so we could orientate ourselves. The dive was incredible. The Caribbean Reef Sharks swam

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No

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TRAVEL LOG:

Nassau, The Bahamas Flights We flew British Airways from Heathrow to Nassau.

Top Tip! Try to get a group together that will allow you to charter your own boat and crew for a personalised shark diving experience.

Transfers Majestic Tours organised our transfers from the airport to the hotel, with the taxi taking just 20 minutes from door to door.

Water temperature The water is a warm yearround 26-29° C. We used full 3mm suits to maximise dive time.

Currency Bahamian $ and US $.

Favourite non-diving activity Wine tasting and blending at Graycliff’s Bahama Barrels.

Favourite place to eat / drink The best place to drink and grab a snack is Pirate Republic - www. piraterepublicbahamas. com. If you want something more refined for a special occasion then a visit to Graycliff is well worth it - www. graycliff.com.

Final Word The Stuart Cove’s signature shark dives give you some incredible up close and personal shark experiences that will stay with you forever.

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IMAGES Above: The street near Graycliff is lined with colourful umbrellas. Below: The view from Pirate Republic as the sun sets.

around the wreck, being picked out by our torches as they drifted into the beams of light. Other marine life joined us with the ever-present Nurse Sharks, turtles, moray eels, crustaceans and reef fish all preparing for their nightly routines. This experience was truly a shark dive like no other. Heading back into the Stuart Cove’s dock, we mulled over the four dives we had done over just two days. A wreck dive with sharks, a shark feeding dive on a wreck, a scooter dive with sharks and a baited shark night dive each dive totally different and all wonderful in their own way. The sharks come in close and are habituated to divers, so these dives present you with an incredible chance to see these supremely well adapted

predators up close and in large numbers. Our crew were exceptional, with detailed knowledge of the sharks, as well as an evident deep love for them. We could not have asked for a better two days of diving and we are sure to return. ■

MORE INFORMATION www.stuartcove.com www.bahamas.com

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SHARKS! SO MUCH MORE THAN

Your next adventure is just a dive away...

WALLS • REEFS • WRECKS • SHARKS Intriguing wrecks. Beautiful reefs. Dramatic walls. Big marine animals. Remarkable sharks. Just minutes from all the dive adventures you can imagine. A stone’s throw from the excitement of Nassau. Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas is the perfect destination to dive… because it’s all here.

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M E X I CO C A B O SAN LUCAS

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C AB O SAN LUC AS M EX I CO

Sarah Richard, Founder of Girls that Scuba, tells all about the second GTS Day in Cabo, before sharing her memories of the incredible shark and whale watching on offer around Baja California. WORDS: SARAH RICHARD IMAGES: DANIELA ORTIZ & JAY CLUE

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M E X I CO C A B O S AN LUCAS

ABO SAN LUCAS is wellknown as THE ‘Spring Break’ destination, where thousands of Americans flood to the Mexican coast to indulge in tequila boat parties, bad decisions, and holiday romances. I, on the other hand, having out-grown my party days (kind of) and dedicating most of my life to scuba diving and my scuba community ‘Girls that Scuba’, headed to the southernmost point of Baja California for an ocean event that only happens one month in the year: the month of the gentle giants. Blue Whales, Humpback Whales, Gray Whales, Whale Sharks, Mako Sharks, Sea Lions, Fin Whales; all in one incredible week. I also took advantage of this ocean spectacle and organised our second Girls that Scuba Day in Cabo at the optimal time to not only connect female scuba divers from around the globe but to share the ocean with some of the world’s largest animals. I have to admit to an ongoing love affair with Mexico and the diving there. Last year, as I landed there for the first time in five years, the immigration officer asked me how long I’d be staying. I replied with “Oh, just seven days”. As I glanced over my passport stamp on my way home to London I realised those seven days had actually turned into 63. My travels took me away from the Pacific Coast and over to the Caribbean Coast where I found myself diving with crocodiles, learning to freedive in Cenotes, dancing with manatees and coming face-to-face with Bull Sharks. I had some of the best dives of my life, but Baja California was always calling me back, so it was no surprise that

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the next time I returned I had to bring a fair few scuba divers with me. Girls that Scuba is such an important community to me. I created it less than three years ago after experiencing a little too much sexism working as a female Divemaster and a little too fewer people doing something about it. I was surprised not to see a female movement in scuba diving back then (and when I say back then I’m really not talking a long time ago) so I decided to take it upon myself to create a safe and inspiring place for women to flourish in diving. Fast-forward to where we are now and it’s obvious how much it was needed. With a community 33,000 women strong and overall followers/members close on half a million, Girls that Scuba has not only encouraged female empowerment but inspired more women than ever before to join us in the ocean. And one of our favourite ways to celebrate this is with our GTS events around the world. We hosted our first GTS day in Cabo San Lucas in 2018 partnering up with local dive centres and operators to create one of our largest events then to date. When it came to coming back and hosting our second one this year, we wanted to add

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SARAH RICHARD, from Hastings, UK, is the Founder of Girls that Scuba - the world’s largest female dive community. After travelling the world for eight years, Sarah now uses this experience to offer the best of her own scuba trips to the GTS community. When she is not diving and travelling, Sarah is working on her latest project, a plastic and waste-free online shop called A Waste Free World.

WE HEADED TO THE SOUTHERNMOST POINT OF BAJA CALIFORNIA FOR AN OCEAN EVENT THAT ONLY HAPPENS ONE MONTH IN THE YEAR...

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some extra magic, and how better to do that than by sharing the ocean with whales. Winter in Baja California is the best time to see whales. Humpbacks can be seen from your hotel balconies from January - March, giving you one of the best breakfast views ever. So, of course, a whale-

IMAGES Above: Getting ready to enter the water. Below: Gray whales were spotted straight away from our boat in Bahia Magdalena.

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watching tour was top on our list when organising our next event alongside our tradition of an all-female scuba dive. On our first trip we had made friends with the amazing Dive Ninja Expeditions, who are the experts in all things Cabo and Baja California. On this trip they helped charter us four boats to

use for our dive and the whale watching, bringing 40 female scuba divers out onto the Pacific Ocean. It only took us a few miles out of the main bay of Cabo to spot our first gentle giant, the mighty Gray Whale. Growing up to 14.9 metres long it was hard to work out which part of the whale we were seeing emerging from the blue, but it didn’t take too much longer to realise as a huge fountain of water shot up from its snout just metres away from us. Then, seconds later, another explosion made its way to the sky and we realised the first Gray was actually a calf, and this was its mumma! From then on we could see blows and spy hopping (when the whale literally pops its head out of the water) all around us, from not only Gray Whales, but Humpbacks too. However, one of the most breathtaking moments was witnessing a rare sight of males fighting to mate with a female. Males gather into ‘competitive groups’ around a female and fight for the right

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to mate with her, something only ever filmed a few times for big ‘Blue Planet’ productions! And if that wasn’t enough we even got to see a 3-day old Humpback Whale calf who was already 3 metres long. We knew all this information thanks to Kátia Silva, one of the GTS girls onboard, who is also a marine biologist, working for Cabo Dive Trek and studying whales. Full of excitement and happiness, we all returned to shore for the next part of our GTS day: some amazing TEDtalk style presentations from inspiring females making a difference to the ocean. Daniela Ortiz from Zero Waste Los Cabos shared her passionate views and ideas about implementing a waste-free environment with applications to diving. Tania Pelamatti, from Pelagios Kakunjar, treated us to some intriguing facts about Manta populations around Mexico; while Deni Ramirez, Director of Whaleshark Mexico, discussed the interesting ways they monitor Whale Sharks in Baja California. Regi Domingo, Founder of Nakawe Project, was impressive as always with

IMAGES Above: A mighty Humpback Whale breaches for us all to see on our Girls that Scuba day. Below: Regi Domingo and David Serrarell from Nakawe Project join us on GTS day as guest speakers.

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her commanding speech about shark conservation. I even got a few minutes on the mic telling the story of how and why I created Girls that Scuba. The evening continued with food, drinks, raffles with amazing prizes from some of our sponsors, and a lot of love and laughter. These events are always such uplifting moments and as I look around at all the inspiring women sharing the same room, I literally see history in the making. The

future of scuba diving will most definitely be more equal if we can keep the momentum of Girls that Scuba going like this! There’s no rest for the wicked when you’re in Cabo though and the next morning we continued our GTS activities and took back to the waters searching for sharks with Cabo Shark Dive. I’d been out on Pelagic Safari the day before GTS day and got the pleasure of freediving with Mako Sharks. My hopes were high that I

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THE GRAY WHALE ENCOUNTERS IN THESE AREAS CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS MAGICAL. THEY OFTEN SWIM RIGHT UP TO THE BOAT, POKING THEIR HEADS FROM THE WATER ONLY INCHES AWAY, AS IF THEY WANT TO SAY HELLO.

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C AB O SAN LUC AS M EX I CO

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could repeat this experience with the GTS girls again! Searching for sharks is never easy in the big blue, but after a few hours a curious Blue Shark made a quick appearance and we all excitedly got in the water to swim alongside it. Our presence may have been slightly intimidating for him and he didn’t stick around for long, but we still got to see the beauty of this apex predator with our own eyes - a rarity with its increasingly endangered status. Back on the boat, we got the pleasure of watching the Humpbacks at sunset - their most active time. They breached every few minutes creating ripples in the water and droplets in the air, an incredible sight against the roaring sunset. Just another typical winter’s day in Cabo San Lucas for us. My friend Jay Clue - founder of Dive Ninjas - alongside Nakawe Project team and founding members Regi Domingo, David Serradell and Jeff Panella had decided to take a scouting road trip around Baja California looking for new spots where we could find more species of whales. We had in mind more trips we could organise for 2020 for

IMAGES Above: Gray Whales rub themselves on boats to get a good scratch and in return we get a great show. Left: Jay Clue, Founder of Dive Ninja Expeditions. Right: Another performance by a Humpback in Cabo San Lucas

WE DECIDED TO TAKE A SCOUTING ROAD TRIP AROUND BAJA CALIFORNIA LOOKING FOR NEW WHALE SPOTS...

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our communities and wanted to give it a try first and create some content. So, we hopped in our van and made our way out of Cabo San Lucas and drove up to Lopez Mateos. A 5-hour ride away, this area is famous for its population of Gray Whales sheltering in the bay to give birth and bring up their calves. From then on we went to Magdalena Bay, another famous area to spot Grays. The Gray Whale encounters in these areas can only be described as magical. They often swim right up to the

boat, poking their heads from the water, only inches away as if they want to say hello. Mothers are even known to push their young calves up to the surface as if they want to introduce them. With the right knowledge, the right guides, and a bit of luck, we managed to arrive at prime season and got to experience dozens of Grays surrounding us and rubbing themselves right on our boat in both locations. I even got whale snot blown directly into my face! From Magdalena Bay,

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we headed to Loreto on the Gulf of California to witness one of my most magical ocean encounters to date, the mighty Blue Whale - the largest animal to ever live on earth. An animal comparable in size to a 10 storey building with a heart so large its heartbeat can be detected from 2 miles away. Every winter these majestic giants migrate to the waters around Loreto in search of krill, giving ocean-lovers an amazing opportunity to see them. These gentle giants grow up to 25 metres long and can weigh more than 200 tonnes. Loreto is a hot spot for marine mammals this time of year, and boy did we know it!

While witnessing FOUR Blue Whales around us we were also joined by gigantic Fin Whales - their blow sounding like a deep horn, vibrating among us. We were one of only two boats on the water that day, and we quickly lost that second boat, giving us what felt like one of Mother Earth’s most precious moments all to ourselves. Life couldn’t get much better right now, but of course, the ocean wasn’t done with us yet. From a distance we noticed small splashes becoming bigger, with what looked like a small army of animals heading right towards us. As they came closer, approaching fast, we realised what we were seeing was a

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IMAGES Top, above left and centre: Post dive smiles from the GTS girls. Above right: A superpod of dolphins accompany our boat.

superpod of dolphins coming straight to say hello. They played around our boat for a good 20 minutes, showing off and splashing around having endless fun. The sun was starting to set and the dolphins had other places to go so they escorted us for a while and left us to do the rest of our journey alone. We travelled back in silent disbelief of this beautiful planet we live on, with an extra sense of urgency to protect it. Our last stop on our road trip took us to La Paz, a laidback Mexican city just two hours from Cabo. Here it was Whale Shark season, and you could tell! Many boats went out every morning to swim

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Gul fo fC

ali

for

nia Dolphins

Cabo San Lucas

MEXICO

Humpback Whale

Whale Shark

TRAVEL LOG:

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Best time to go!

Currency

Each winter, the whales migrate 10,000km south from their Arctic feeding grounds, to breed and rear their young in Baja California's sheltered lagoons. Here, you can see them mating, nursing and playing with their young calves from January to mid-March.

Mexican Pesos. Some places also accept $US.

Flights From the UK, fly into Mexico City before taking an internal flight to SJD Los Cabos Mexico International Airport. It’s a long journey but it’s absolutely worth it.

Water temperature Cabo waters are fairly cold in the winter and can go down to 21°C. The water temp warms up massively from March onwards to 27°C.

Favourite non-diving activity Most things to do around Cabo centre around the ocean but there are also some amazing hikes into the desert, some good beaches, and of course the parties!

Local Operators For a one-stop-shop for all things dive and ocean-related in Cabo and Baja California Sur, contact www. diveninjaexpeditions. com. Adventures in Baja – www.adventuresinbaja. com – will show you the wild side of Cabo and beyond and is run by a fellow GTS businesswomen Karen.

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IMAGES Top: GTS take over Cabo Marina with a convoy of boats! Above: Speakers and sponsors who showed their support on the 2nd annual GTS day in Cabo.

alongside the biggest fish in the sea - and we were one of them. It felt almost like a cultureshock, arriving into a place with numerous people and boats after spending the last few days in deep Baja, almost alone. But we all understood that everyone there wanted to experience their ‘bucket list’ swim with these sharks. We hired a private boat with Shark Encounters, a local company in La Paz, who took us out on our last day of this epic trip. Again we were lucky. We were there in season and with the right guides we managed to spend a good hour alone with two different sharks, and even managed to say hi to a local sea lion colony who happily swam around us. It’s hard to explain how magical this whole trip was. In just seven days I had experienced more than most in their lifetime: an event full of inspiring ocean women, freediving with Mako Sharks,

being surrounded by breaching Humpbacks, a quick encounter with a Blue Shark, endless Gray Whales (and a big old whale sneeze in my face), FOUR of the largest animals in the world the mighty blues, Fin Whales, a superpod of dolphins, Whale Sharks and sea lions. And even though I’ve managed to write a whole article on it, I still have so much more I could tell you. Baja California has a heartbeat like no other, and I think I’ve found my ocean soul mate. ■

MORE INFORMATION Based on this experience, the first Girls that Scuba Gentle Giant trip for 2020 sold out just days after its release. Be sure not to miss out next time by subscribing to www.girlsthatscuba.com. Dive Ninja Expeditions have just released three Gentle Giant expeditions for 2020 with some spaces available. Say hi to them for us and say hi to the whales too. Find out more at: www.diveninjaexpeditions.com

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ARTIFICIAL REEFS

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ARTIFICIAL REEFS

Giving Mother Nature a helping hand

With coral reefs worldwide under threat, artificial reefs – be they scuttled wrecks, underwater sculptures or coral nurseries - are taking an increasingly important role in marine conservation. Yo-Han Cha takes a closer look at a brand new reef in the Maldives before we share some of our favourite artificial reefs around the world.

Summer Island Maldives SUMMER ISLAND MALDIVES is a beautiful resort in North Malé atoll where, when you first step off their shuttle boat, you realise that the photos in the brochure didn’t lie but barely do it justice. From the sea view to the infinity pool, it’s a stunning place to relax and take in the hospitality Summer Island has to offer. However, I wasn’t just there to experience their excellent buffet selection but was invited to see first hand their newly installed 3D printed artificial coral reef, under the guidance of Summer Island Maldives’ Diverland Dive Centre Manager Arjan Sierink. IMAGES Above: The coral 'pop' field. Left: Arjan inspects the MARS structure in situ. Right: Arjan tending the coral rope garden.

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So, why build an artificial reef? Coral reefs are under threat from a variety of factors and artificial reefs provide hard surfaces where invertebrates such as corals can attach themselves, which in turn provides the foundation of an entire ecosystem of marine life. Arjan is the first to admit that he’s not going to solve everything himself but he sees what he’s doing at Summer Island as a small

part of a much wider conservation effort. Artificial reefs aren’t a new idea and before Arjan started working at Summer Island, various attempts had been made, including one ill-fated idea of using plastic bottles filled with sand (they’ve since all been cleaned up.) Arjan, an engineer in a past life, was a lot more systematic in trying to find the best method to create artificial reefs. He initially made some underwater tepees with spare lumber but to create sizeable reefs, Arjan and his team of instructors would manoeuvre blocks of limestone into place using lift bags and muscle power in their spare time. He told me that on one long day he managed to rack up deco on an 8m dive! This, as you can imagine, required a lot of time and manpower and after taking customers diving three times a day, finding the hours and energy was tough. Right on time, Arjan met Melbourne-based designer Alex Goad who used 3D printing to create ceramic moulds for his

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modular artificial reef structures (otherwise known as MARS). The MARS structures were designed to interlock with each other in order to make underwater assembly easier, as well as mimicking the natural shape and contours of a reef to help corals attach and grow. Each mould took 24 hours to print after which they were shipped to the Maldives. These were then filled with concrete before being assembled underwater. Arjan also decided to create a coral rope nursery, where fragments of coral (collected carefully so not to destroy already existing reefs) are attached to ropes underwater where they can grow without the fear of predators like crown of thorns starfish eating them. From there, they were transferred to plastic pots, also known as ‘pops’, which to me looked like mini blue vases where the corals could grow bigger, again still in relative safety. It was only then that the corals were carefully transplanted to the artificial reef. Arjan boasted a 95% success rate and although I didn’t have the time to go around counting all the different corals, the vast majority looked like they were doing well. However, nature doesn’t always allow every coral to thrive and Arjan was most upset about a school of jackfish that destroyed about half a dozen of his baby corals in their hunt for prey. I counted myself as fortunate to be given a guided tour by Arjan himself as he proudly showed the tepees, limestone reefs and the 3D printed reef, as well as the coral rope garden and coral ‘pop’ field. As the 3D printed reef was only installed a handful of weeks before my trip, the attached corals had yet to fully establish themselves but if the abundance of life on the older limestone reefs is anything to go by, it will be spectacular in a year or two. The corals on the limestone reefs had really established themselves along with anemones and clams; the life was very impressive. What was also

encouraging was the large population of parrotfish as they are the maintainers of the coral reef (they mostly eat the algae that would otherwise compete for space with corals). Just from a purely aesthetic point of view, the marine life created a beautiful setting and livened up what would otherwise have been a rather dull check dive. Instead, guests get an amazing tour where anything from pipefish to moray eels can be found. And from a conservation perspective,

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IMAGES Above: Arjan with a scale model of the MARS structure.

the awareness Arjan is raising amongst his guests is great. As Arjan said, his 3D printed reef isn’t going to solve the world’s marine conservation problems, but it will play its own part in the wider effort by giving corals a chance to flourish, whilst providing many different species with much needed shelter. I can't wait to return and see for myself! MORE INFORMATION www.summerislandmaldives.com www.visitmaldives.com

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So where else in the world can you find flourishing artificial reefs? Here's some of our favourite 'man-made' dive spots worldwide...

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Carlisle Bay Barbados, Caribbean

Carlisle Bay has six wrecks that have been deliberately sunk in a circle to provide an excellent snorkelling and dive site for those that love marine life. The wrecks date from as early as 1919 and as recent as the 1980s. All of them have attracted a wide variety of marine life. This is a dive site that you can keep going back to and will always find something new.

Âť www.visitbarbados.org

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Vandenberg Key West, Florida

The Vandenberg is a huge wreck sunk as an artificial reef off the coast of Key West in Florida. It lies in between 12 and 40 metres of water just a short boat ride from shore. The most striking feature of this former missile-tracking ship are the radar dishes. The Vandenberg has now been underwater for 10 years and has attracted lots of marine life, including Goliath Grouper, in that time.

» www.fla-keys.co.uk

C-130 Hercules

Aqaba, Jordan

In November 2017, a C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft was scuttled in Aqaba, Jordan to create an artificial reef. The wreck of the plane is situated just a few minutes boat journey from the shore and lies around 17m at its deepest part. Numerous wide openings allow easy access for penetration and the surrounding area is well stocked with reefs to enjoy. Marine life can now enjoy a new home, while divers can experience a unique dive site in the Red Sea.

» www.aqaba.jo

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Sculpture Park Grenada, Caribbean

Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park was the first of Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater gardens and was widely acclaimed as the first of its kind. The site is now listed as one of the National Geographic’s 25 Wonders of the World and is popular with divers and snorkellers alike.

» www.grenadagrenadines.com

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© Tre' Packard I PangeaSeed Foundation 2019

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Naama Bay Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt The artificial reef located in shallow water in Naama Bay is an easy-going dive suitable for all levels of diver that can be accessed as a shore dive. It has been underwater for some 10+ years and comprises four iron structures – the boat at 14m, the globe at 12m, the pyramid at 10m, and the dolphin at 11m.

» www.egypt.travel

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SMALL | FRIENDLY | FLEXIBLE At GRDC our focus is to provide you with high-quality personalised diving experiences; small groups, amazing service & friendly staff – we want you to leave feeling like part of our family. Don’t take our word for it, check our Trip Advisor reviews!

Discounted dive & room packages include morning 2-tank boat trips and unlimited shore diving

Their team truly add that ‘personal touch’ so you don’t feel like just another body filling a boat

Explore the wreck of the Kittiwake with guided penetration dives throughout the week

The owners, Sarah and David, are on-site, professional, and offer an incredible service

WHY VISIT STATIA?

DIVE GRAND CAYMAN DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM LHR reservations@sunsethouse.com www.sunsethouse.com +1 345 949 7111

• 1000+ hectares of protected coral reef • 36 dive sites mostly on moorings • Historical dive sites with anchors, bottles, ceramics and Statia Blue Beads dating to the late 1700’s • 7 distinct diving ecosystems • 1 dive boat per mooring at any given time • Safe, friendly and truly an authentic experience • Great hiking including into the Quill volcano crater • Intriguing history from Statia’s prime trading industry • World class PADI instructors

011-599-318-2954 grdivers@gmail.com www.goldenrockdive.com

Promocode: SCUBAVERSEUK

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Charlie Brown St Eustatius, Caribbean

The 100m long cable-laying ship Charlie Brown was deliberately sunk as an artificial reef off the coast of the charismatic island of St Eustatius (or Statia as it is more commonly known). It lies in 30m of water and has been underwater for over 10 years now, so it is covered in corals, sponges and is home to all manner of marine life, including barracuda and turtles. The ship was stripped of hazardous materials and made safe for divers before being sent to the seabed. It is an impressive sight, sometimes visible from the surface.

Âť www.statia-tourism.com

USS Kittiwake

Grand Cayman, Caribbean

Situated just off Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, the wreck of the USS Kittiwake is one of the most famous artificial reefs in the Caribbean. She was a United States Navy Chanticleer-class submarine rescue vessel and now lies on her side after a hurricane tipped her over. Popular with recreational divers and snorkellers, she ranges in depth from 4.6m to almost 20m below the surface.

Âť www.visitcaymanislands.com

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www.oceanrevival.org

the destination of choice for diving

www.subnauta.pt

ALGARVE, PORTUGAL

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CM

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CMY

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The Ocean Revival Underwater Park, unique in the world, consists of a fleet of Portuguese Navy ships. It is made up of four ships sunk three miles from PortimĂŁo as their last act of service to Portugal: the Oliveira e Carmo corvette (85 metres long), the Zambeze ocean patrol (45 metres long), the Almeida Carvalho hydrographic corvette (45 metres long) and the jewel in the crown, the Hermenegildo Capelo admiral frigate, which is more than 100 metres long.

UK Contact Paul Hughes 0 1722 780810 E: info@hiddendepthsdivetours.com www.hiddendepthsdivetours.com

Diving Packages: Contact us to find out about the packages that has been set up with the main hotels within a short distance of the diving centre in order to make your stay even more comfortable and at the most competitive prices.

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ARTIFICIAL REEFS

Ocean Revival Algarve, Portugal

This huge artificial reef has been created by the sinking of four warships from the Portuguese Navy Fleet. It is said to be the largest artificial reef in the world. The wrecks are huge - you could easily fill a week of diving here - and they are now home to a host of marine life. The depth varies, with the shallowest parts at around 18m and the deepest sections at just over 30m.

Âť www.oceanrevival.org

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E AST A F R I CA TANZANI A

THE JEWELS OF EAST AFRICA

Christopher Bartlett has notched up many hundreds of dives off the coast of East Africa and he’s also a leading wildlife safari expert. Who better to share his below - and above - water adventures on the islands of Tanzania? WORDS & IMAGES: CHRISTOPHER BARTLETT

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TANZANIA EA ST AFR I CA

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he control column moved towards my lap as the pilot pulled it back, lifting the Cessna 208 off the airstrip and over the azure blues of the Indian Ocean. The coastline of Mafia Island quickly disappeared and soon the mainland appeared on the horizon. The estuary of the mighty Rufiji River came into view, wending and winding its way inland to Selous Game Reserve. Two hours before I’d just finished snorkelling with the biggest fish in the sea. In 30 minutes time, we’d be buzzing a dirt strip to chase off the Impalas before touching down in Africa’s largest game reserve. Where in the world could you swim with a Whale Shark one morning and then watch elephants playing in the water and Lions dozing in the shade the next? In the East African nation of Tanzania… Sure, it’s a long way to go but, boy, it is worth it. Whether you are a diver who would like to spend a few days on safari, or a safari nut who would like to spend a few days diving, Tanzania and its islands has plenty to offer and excellent air links make getting around a cinch. If you’re mad about both like me, then this destination is a dream come true. There are three main islands

off the coast, basking in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, each with its particular attractions. Straight east from Dar-es-Salaam - the main port of entry - lie the Spice Islands of the Zanzibar archipelago, made up of bustling Unguja (often erroneously referred to as Zanzibar), and the hillier and sleepier Pemba. Slightly to the south is the flat and sparsely populated Mafia Island, home to the Mafia Island Marine Park. Unguja Island Once the centre of the East African slave trade, history buffs and culture seekers love Stone Town, with its labyrinthine narrow streets and alleyways flanked by crumbling mansions and mosques. If that’s not your cuppa, then head straight up to Kendwa, an 80-minute transfer from the airport, and the best dive base on the island. After overnighting in Stone Town to sample the rooftop restaurant delights at Emerson Spice Hotel, I checked in to the excellent Gold Resort and Spa, and walked 2 minutes down the white sand beach to Scuba Do Zanzibar. 30 minutes after being greeted by dive centre assistant manager Hadji, I jumped into a RIB, skirted round the north of the island bouncing in the light chop, and made it to Mnemba

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IMAGES Left: Durban Dancing Shrimp, Mwana na Mwana reef, Unguja. Above: Mnemba Island and the northern tip of Unguja Island. Top right: Seahorse on Shamzi reef, Unguja. Bottom right: Schools of goatfish and snapper on Hunga reef, Unguja.

Atoll in just under half an hour. Mnemba is a shallow expanse of coral reef with a tiny heartshaped island on its western fringe surrounded by some steep drop-offs. With viz 20 metres or better there are several sites to dive and its calm conditions make it suitable for novices and experienced divers alike. We dropped in on Wattabomi, in the channel between the atoll and the main island, with fishcovered Lattice Corals carpeting the seabed. Moving north from bommy to bommy we came across three Green Turtles having a snooze, heads tucked in a crevice. Then, we gently profiled upwards over a sandy patch for our safety stop, with hundreds of garden eels swaying to the tune of an invisible snake charmer. West Bank is another good site. It starts at six metres,

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TANZANIA EAST A F R I CA

MNEMBA IS A SHALLOW EXPANSE OF CORAL REEF WITH A TINY HEART-SHAPED ISLAND...

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rolling down into a 40-metre drop-off, and is covered in reef fish, hard and soft corals, and large schools of fusiliers. There were also the intriguing juvenile Black Snapper, damsels in the Staghorn Coral, Royal and Emperor Angelfish, Blue-spotted Rays, and Two-bar Clownfish. Thumbing through the fish guide back at the dive centre, it was a case of “Saw that, saw that, saw that, loads of them, two of them, few of those, etc…”.

However, due to its popularity, Mnemba can get quite busy. Whilst it is rare to see other divers under water, there are plenty of snorkelling boats puttering around, occasionally spoiling the feeling of having a private audience with the fish. Quieter local sites include Kichafi and Hadji reefs with their extensive Lattice Coral formations, Peacock Mantis Shrimp, Magnificent Anemones and resident Skunk Anemonefish

IMAGES Above: Barracuda are regularly sighted in Kinasi Pass, Mafia, and on various sites off Pemba. Below: The rare Weedy Scorpionfish at Shamzi reef, Unguja.

and Leaf Fish. Nankivell has giant Plate Corals in fascinating formations, rays, and mediumsized groupers. Hunga Reef, with its interconnected bommies and a huge variety of hard and soft corals, is reminiscent of a fantasy world. It boasts a monster rock lobster hiding in a cave, with only its giant antennae visible. Hunga is also home to even bigger schools of snapper, and the impressive Crocodile Flathead that can be found in significant numbers resting on the sandy bottom in gullies and between bommies. Rare finds include seahorses, a Mauritius Scorpionfish, and a Weedy Scorpionfish, 10 minutes from the dive centre. Mwana is a shallow soft coral haven, and a favourite hangout for Green and Hawksbill Turtles and cuttlefish.

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Travel Insurance Annual or Short Period

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Insurance also available for; Diving Equipment, Compressor and Personal Accident.

For an instant quote phone ‘your insurance buddy’ on 01483 237827 or visit www.divinginsuranceuk.com Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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Pemba Island The half-empty flight from Unguja to Pemba yields picturepostcard aerial shots of Mnemba Atoll, and uninhabited islands and reefs. After a mere 30 minutes, it touches down in Chake Chake, Pemba’s biggest town, half-way up the west coast at the end of a long mangrovelined creek. The airport is a small ramshackle affair, and despite a plethora of attractions including atmospheric ruins, primeval forest, unique bird species, deserted beaches and some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean, Pemba often hosts less than 100 tourists at any given time. As the RIB zips across the top of the flat sea the remoteness of this small island, 50 kilometres

LUCKY THERE’S NO POINT TALKING UNDERWATER, BECAUSE I AM COMPLETELY SPEECHLESS...

off the coast of one of the poorest countries in the world, enchants me. We pass locals in sailing dhows and dugouts, fishing teams of up to ten men who swim nets into a circle, slapping the water as they go to scare fish into the net. Here and there you can spot a lone spear fisherman, in Jacques Cousteau mask with an elbow-grease-powered spear, hunting for dinner. Looking down as we kit up, the Table Corals 20 metres below are clearly visible. Backwards roll, hot tub, OK, going down. Equalize, all together? Look around. W-O-W. Welcome to

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IMAGES Top: The top of Manta Point is always covered in anthias, and they are abundant on many of Pemba’s dive sites. Above: The wonderful Fundu Lagoon from the air.

Manta Point. On one side is a wall, like the top of a submerged mountain, covered in hard and soft corals of all descriptions, positively teeming with fish. On the other, the bluest blue, near perfect viz, dropping down, and down, and down… Lucky there’s no point talking underwater, because I am completely speechless. We make up for it at the surface interval, over a snack of stillwarm crepes on a deserted island of fossilized coral and white sand, before heading off to the next dive site. Over the next two days, I had plenty to play with: the depths and the schools of Big-eye Jacks of Snapper Point; the Barracudas, grouper and assorted morays at Trigger Wall and Trigger Corner; the pipefish of Murray’s Wall and the eels, nudibranchs, and anemonefish of Egger’s Ascent and Chelsea Gin; plus, the gazillion fish of beautiful Manta Point (but no more mantas). The dives were broken up by picnics on tidal sand islands and incredible coves in cyan waters under cloudless skies. It was blissful; more dream diving.

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TANZANIA EA ST AFR I CA

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Mafia Island Mafia Island lies 30 minutes south-west of Dar-es-Salaam by light aircraft and has two main attractions: snorkelling with the seasonal Whale Sharks off the east coast of Kilidoni from December to March, and diving on the outer reefs of the west coast and a couple of passes on the edge of Chole Bay, the location of several lodges. The diving here is carried out from a traditional wooden dhow powered by outboards. Departing after breakfast, lunch is generally taken on the boat between dives, unless the tides dictate an early start in which case a hearty midmorning snack is the order of the surface interval and late lunch is taken on returning to the shore. Kinasi Pass is relatively barren in terms of coral when compared to Pemba, but it has a surprising quantity of fish - snappers are plentiful, morays and schools of Barracuda are common, and it is rare to not see at least several large grouper each dive. Of the reefs outside the pass to the north, Dindini Caves north

and south are a long series of overhangs in the rock wall that drops from the reef top at six metres down to the bottom at around 30 metres. Visibility is nearly always over 20 metres here, often more, and the overhangs are favourite haunts of large Potato Groupers. These cuties can grow up to two metres long and 200 kilos, and often treat divers with curiosity. Twice they happily hung around to have their picture taken and show that they were not disturbed by my presence. There is also good macro-life on the walls, with plenty of Whip Corals and resident gobies. The sites at Gina’s Pass and Juani are covered in soft purple and pink corals, and schools of Blue-lined, Five-lined and Bengal Snapper. They are also excellent places to encounter turtles. On my last day I headed over to the west coast as it was Whale Shark season. Between late November and March plankton blooms occur in the channel between the island and the Rufiji River estuary, attracting

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IMAGES Above: Leaf Scorpionfish are abundant on Pemba and Unguja, seeing three or four in one dive is common. Below: Red-spotted Coral Crabs in Table Coral.

the biggest species of fish in the ocean on an almost daily basis. On a custom-built boat with metrewide flat pontoons we headed off in search of them. Spotting the dorsal fin of a surface-feeding sub-adult, the skipper positioned us in its path and into the water we went. Finning alongside a five-andhalf-metre male, I snapped away hopefully, trying to catch the yellow fish riding its bow-wake. Once the Whale Shark had moved on, the boat picked us up and dropped us further ahead again, when another one popped up 15 metres away, followed by a

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EXPLORE TANZANIA’S BEST KEPT SECRET: MAFIA ISLAND

Resident Whale Sharks

Unique Healthy Reefs

World Class Macro

Private dives and courses available Diver to guide ratio: max 4 to 1 u Suitable for single travellers u Tailor made dive planning u Excursions for non divers u PADI 5 star dive centre u 6 languages spoken u Suitable for families u Unique dhow trips u u

+255 688 218 569 – www.mafiadiving.com – welcome@mafiadiving.com

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IN TOTAL WE SAW FIVE OR SIX WHALE SHARKS, AND DURING ONE QUIET FIVE MINUTE SPELL, A GIANT DEVIL RAY TURNED UP AND STARTED DOING UNDERWATER LOOP-THE-LOOPS LEST I GET BORED.

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Dive Zanzibar With a safari included!

The African and Oriental Travel Company Tours for the adventurous. African Wildlife Safaris. Global Dive Adventures. Antarctic Expeditions.

www.orientafricatravel.com/adventure T: 01291 570 953 E: info@orientafrica.com

12 days from ÂŁ2169.00 Including: 1 week Diving Zanzibar, 3 day safari, flights from UK airports

11406

Holidays protected by IPP London / ATOL

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TANZANIA EAST A F R I CA

Tanzania

TANZANIA

Silky Shark

Za nz ibar A rch

Pemba

ipelag

Unguja

o

Reef Shark

rican Saltwater Crocodile

Whale Shark

Mafia

rse

IMAGES Top: Elephant sightings are commonplace and often close-up. Above, left: Breeding herds of Cape Buffalo can be found in all the National Parks. Above, right: A lioness tucks into a freshly-killed Zebra.

TRAVEL LOG:

Unguja, Pemba and Mafia Islands, Tanzania Getting there There are regular flights from European cities to Dar-es-Salaam, Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar.

Getting around Coastal, Safari Airlink, and Auric are the best for internal flights.

Water temperature From 26-30°C depending on time of year / location.

Currency Tanzanian Shilling for local payments. Cards accepted at resorts subject to a processing fee. All dive resorts, hotels and safaris are priced in USD.

Favourite nondiving activity

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Apart from the wildlife safaris, visiting Stone Town’s historical and cultural attractions.

Where to Stay UNGUJA Sunset Bungalows, Gold Resort and Spa or the new Zuri 5 star boutique resort in Kendwa. Diving with Scuba-Do.

PEMBA

Gecko Eco Lodge and Swahili Divers offer great dive and stay packages. 5 star resorts include Fundu Lagoon and Constance Aiyana, diving with Swahili Divers.

MAFIA

Kinasi Lodge and Pole Pole Bungalows are amongst the best places to stay or try the unique treehouses of Chole Mjini.

third. In total we saw five or six individuals, and during one quiet five-minute spell, a Giant Devil Ray turned up and started doing underwater loop-the-loops lest I get bored. But what about the promised elephants and Lions? Well the socalled Northern Circuit has the world famous and unforgettable Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti and its massive migration, and the lesser known but most enjoyable Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. The former is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and home to the lake of the same name with huge flocks of flamingos and pelicans, and its famous treeclimbing Lions. The latter has its massive and fantasy-world baobab trees, herds of elephants, and over 500 bird species. Both are also excellent for most African mammal species and less frequented than the UN World Heritage Site Ngorongoro Crater the only place where Black Rhinos can be found in Tanzania. The south is home to the beautiful and little-visited gem of Ruaha, the continent’s largest National Park. This rolling

wilderness, studded with the great angular-branched baobab trees, and intersected by the Ruaha river, is known for its magnificent elephant population, huge herds of buffalo as well as for other mammals and, in particular, its bird life. The easiest fit for a short safari fix is the enormous Selous Game Reserve, with a wide range of lodge options inside and outside the reserve to fit all pockets. As well as diving and safaris, Tanzania offers incredible trekking opportunities. The 4566-metre Mount Meru in Arusha National Park is particularly steep in parts, and of course there is the climb to Uhuru Peak, the highest point on the African continent, atop Mount Kilimanjaro. n

MORE INFORMATION There are hundreds of safari companies but few of them have the combined diving and safari expertise of Africa specialists Indigo Safaris who put together tailor-made trips for budget and five-star lodge travellers alike. Contact Indigo Safaris at info@indigosafaris.com.

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M A LTA AN D GOZO MED I TER R ANEAN S EA

magic Mediterranean

Sean Chinn takes a first time short break to Malta and Gozo and discovers there is a lot more under and above water in the Med than expected. WORDS & IMAGES: SEAN CHINN

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M EDITERRANEAN SEA MA LTA A ND G OZO

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M A LTA & GOZO MED I TER R ANEAN SEA

IMAGES Above: The entrance to Malta's famous Blue Grotto.

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M EDITERRANEAN SEA MA LTA & G OZO

HE MALTESE ISLANDS are highly regarded as the favoured destination for scuba diving in the Mediterranean Sea. Clear blue waters entice a host of divers from Europe and further afield. They come to marvel at the numerous wrecks, caves and reefs dotted around the shores, with technical diving being a major part of the dive culture here. However, that doesn’t mean a recreational diver like myself can’t enjoy the treasures that lie just offshore. Now I must be honest and say I’m not a hardened wreck fan, usually preferring to focus on wildlife. But I wasn’t about to turn down the chance to visit these islands which might just give me a new found lust for rust, whilst teasing my camera with some impressive marine life. After an early morning short flight I arrived in Malta at 10.30am and it wasn’t long before I was beneath the waves. I was dropped off by taxi at Divewise dive centre on the east coast of the island. Divewise is the only dive centre throughout the Maltese Islands to have its own private house reef and by 1.30pm it was time to ease in gently with a slow and shallow dive there. With this being my first time diving in the Med I had heard the reputation it had for a scarcity of interesting marine life in its waters. In particular,

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Photography © Marcello Di Francesco

DIVING ON ISLANDS WITH 7000 YEARS OF HISTORY • Official dealer for Mares / SUEX / Ocean Reef products • Complete range of SUEX scooters to buy or hire on site • Dive / accommodation packages + airport transfers • 5H PADI Instructor Development Resort • Resort open all year round • Nitrox / Trimix fills

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M EDITERRANEAN SEA MA LTA & G OZO

with it being my first visit here, I simply just had images of wrecks in my mind! Imagine my surprise then to find a cuttlefish within a few minutes of entering the water. What a great introduction to diving in Malta. Day two saw me again diving with Divewise as we ventured

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IMAGES Above: A cuttlefish on the house reef at Divewise. Below: A diver explores the Um El-Faroud wreck.

west to the Um El-Faroud wreck close to the famous Blue Grotto. The wreck was a 10,000 tonne Libyan-owned single screw motor tanker that was scuttled in 1998 to create an artificial reef. We entered the water from the shore and it required a 10 minute swim staying around 5-10 metres

to reach the wreck. Being on a 15 litre cylinder, this was essential to conserve air as the wreck lies at 37m to the sandy bottom. For my first time diving these waters I was amazed by the visibility and when the wreck came into view, I experienced a true take your breath away moment. Unfortunately, as I am only a recreational diver I couldn’t spend too long exploring the wreck but there was still plenty of time to enjoy penetration with some enjoyable swim-throughs. A Tec-Diver could easily spend a good hour exploring this wreck and still want to go back. While in Malta I was staying with Maltaqua dive centre at their Sands Apartments in St. Paul’s Bay. A wet room for kit in the basement is a welcome addition here. What surprised me about Malta was how busy and built up it was; not the laid back Mediterranean life I was expecting. With construction work aplenty and more than 20 new cars being registered each day, this is a country on the rise. While signs of development

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M A LTA & GOZO MED I TER R ANEAN SEA

are creeping into the old fishing village of St. Paul’s Bay, the area still has an authentic feel. A slow walk along the coast reveals its historic past with sites such as the Boat Shelter, with its typical Maltese boats - the Luzzu and the Dghajsa. You can also enjoy the view from Wignacourt Tower, the northernmost coastal tower ordered for construction by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt in the 17th Century. I took an enjoyable walk at sunset to build an appetite for dinner. Day three and it was now time to dive with Maltaqua, visiting another of the famous wrecks that lay close to shore. The P29 patrol boat was the destination for our first dive, situated far into the north next to the ferry port in Cirkewwa. My dive guide Dave provided great information about the sights that we passed on the drive up. After a thorough briefing that was interrupted by a couple of dolphins passing by, it was time to kit up and enter from the shore into Susie’s Pool to start the dive. Similar to the Faroud, it was around a 10 minute swim out to the wreck before we

IMAGES Above: A diver poses with the mock gun that was added to the P29 wreck. Below: Wignacourt Tower in St. Paul's Bay.

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dropped down onto it. There was a bit of a current running across the P29, which made conserving air a little more difficult with it being a deep dive at 37m max. However, the wreck is half the length of the Faroud and a full circle was achievable on one cylinder. Watching squid eggs wave like flags on the mast was an interesting sight as we shallowed up, spiralling round the different levels. With the tough, windy

conditions, the decision was made not to visit the MV Rozi - a tugboat built in Bristol - that sits just a short distance from the P29. Instead we chose a nice easy dive exploring the reef with some interesting swim-throughs adding a few adventurous challenges along the way. After the dive it was straight on to the ferry for me to continue my trip exploring some of the wellknown sites in Gozo. Gozo had a completely

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Based in the fishing village of Xlendi, on the South West area of Gozo, Utina Diving College is based 50 metres from the beach and therefore it is very easy to reach. As a PADI 5* Instructor Development Centre, we appeal to divers and new divers who demand the personal touch. We only take small parties (maximum of 4) whether on guided dives or courses for those who want to learn/further their diving education. We are members of the PDSA (Professional Diving Schools Association) - our local governing body. We are the Malta & Gozo agents for Microdive Limited as well as being the only Microdive Experience Centre on the Islands which specialises in shallow water diving i.e. up to 9 metres. If you are an RYA Member, we can train you to the level required by the RYA for its members.

www.utina-diving.com

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M A LTA & GOZO MED I TER R ANEAN SEA

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different feel to Malta as my journey to Marsalforn Bay in the north took me through an island awash with yellow. The limestone buildings made way for significantly more countryside to that I had seen in Malta and the journey was a lot more relaxed with considerably fewer vehicles on the road. I was diving and staying with Atlantis Diving Centre based just a short walk from the seafront of Marsalforn Bay. An array of restaurants line the main street of this pretty little bay, giving visitors plenty of variety to choose from during their stay. I also got the chance to catch the FA Cup Final on the Saturday evening with my meal, a real bonus for a big footy fan like myself. Gozo also differs to Malta underwater. While it’s still mainly shore diving, it’s not the wreck fest that Malta is famous for. Here you are greeted with more reefs, caves, caverns and swimthroughs. My first dive saw me at Ras il-Hobz, better known as ‘Middle Finger’. Best described as a huge pinnacle rising from deep waters to just under the surface, the site is awash with small life. It wasn’t long before we saw an octopus protecting its eggs in a hole in the reef, and an eel hiding in the reeds. The real fun happened once we hit the pinnacle though, as my guide Denis, who I have now nicknamed the ‘Nudi Whisperer’, showed me that he’s an amazing talent underwater. I thought I was back in South East Asia critter spotting as Denis found nudibranch after nudibranch. Some were barely half the size of my little fingernail but sure enough Denis would find them hiding amongst the reef. I forgot about the chilly water as my concentration was fixated on each little beauty that Denis would point me towards. I was so glad I had taken my macro lens with me as this area was, unexpectedly, Nudi-Heaven. Our second dive was a short drive away through scenic countryside and we wound our way through the hills to Mgarr ix-Xini. A small bay with a tiny beach, we had travelled there

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in the hope to find the seahorse Denis had spotted on his last dive in the bay. Once again the entry was from the shore but it was a little easier this time. It was a relatively long surface swim as we had to cover quite a distance to get to the end of the bay where the seagrass provided the perfect habitat for seahorses. Unfortunately, this particular seahorse remained elusive but it was still an interesting dive as we spotted numerous creatures in or on the sand including a stingray undeterred by our presence, and a couple of Scotch Bonnet sea snails. A visit into a small cave also produced even more nudibranch species. Luckily for my second day in Gozo the wind had changed and we were able to dive the north and, in particular, the famous Blue Hole and Tunnel of Inland Sea. Topside, the Blue Hole used to be situated under the famous Azure Window, whose arch unfortunately collapsed due to stormy weather in March 2017. For those on dry land this is a real shame but divers have now benefitted as the collapsed rock has created numerous new swim-throughs and chimneys to navigate. This is a true diver’s playground and as we worked our way through the maze and in to the cave, we found plenty of conger eels amongst the cracks and holes. Again, numerous nudibranch were found by Denis along the way but my wide angle lens was on for this dive. It was typical then that we would find a rare nudibranch - the Crystal Tips (Janolus cristatus). I could see Denis almost bursting with excitement underwater and knew that we’d found something special. We were down at around 35m and close to deco but my fisheye lens managed to grab a couple of record shots. My dilemma for the next dive was do we attempt to go back down with my macro lens and hope it hasn’t moved much, or do we head to the Inland Sea? After careful consideration, I decided that due to the depth and risk of not finding this treasure again, it was probably best to try a shallower site that is

I THOUGHT I WAS BACK IN SOUTH EAST ASIA CRITTER SPOTTING AS DENIS FOUND NUDIBRANCH AFTER NUDIBRANCH.

IMAGES Top: Scorpion fish on the house reef at Divewise. Above: Salt-andpepper (Caloria elegans) nudibranch in Gozo. Left, clockwise from top: Street in the old capital of Mdina, Malta. Pink Coryphella (Edmundsella pedata) nudibranch in Gozo. Marsalforn Bay in the north of Gozo. A diver poses in an opening of Um El-Faroud wreck.

also regarded as one of the best dive sites on the island. I wasn’t disappointed with the Inland Sea as the tunnel provided a blue colour underwater that I’d never seen before. So vivid, I was in awe of the light as we made our way out of the tunnel and onto the reef. A lobster greeted us along the tunnel wall as it stood proud out of its hole and then, once we were on the reef, Denis again didn’t disappoint with his Nudi spotting. He also took me to see some cuttlefish eggs; they were still a while away from hatching but it was great to see new life starting underwater. My two days in Gozo were gone in a flash but what an amazing couple of days! It was time to head back to Malta for one more night before my flight home. For my last night I was staying in St. George's Bay, which is

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M A LTA & GOZO MED I TER R ANEAN SEA

A LOBSTER GREETED US ALONG THE TUNNEL WALL OF THE INLAND SEA AS IT STOOD PROUD OUT OF ITS HOLE...

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M EDITERRANEAN SEA MA LTA & G OZO

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M A LTA & GOZO MED I TER R ANEAN SEA

Me

Gozo

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Sea

Turtle

Malta

MALTA & GOZO

TRAVEL LOG:

Malta & Gozo Flights I flew with Ryanair direct from Birmingham to Luqa International Airport, Malta. You can find daily flights to Malta from all major UK and most European airports.

Top Tip! A dual destination holiday is a must as Malta and Gozo are unique in their own way.

Transfers Malta and Gozo are both small islands so transfers never take much more than half an hour wherever you go!

Water temperature This varies a lot! I went in May and it was 18°C (although normally a bit warmer). A good 7mm wetsuit or drysuit is

needed for continuous diving. Summer water temperatures rise into the mid 20s.

Currency €

Favourite non-diving activity Exploring the history of Valletta and enjoying the stunning harbour views with a tasty gelato.

Favourite place to eat/drink The Emperor of India for a tasty Indian Curry in St. George’s Bay.

Final Word! Malta and Gozo offer an amazing variety of diving, just a short flight away from most European airports.

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IMAGES Top: A pretty street packed with restaurants in the capital Valletta.

a far cry from the traditional yellow limestone buildings I’d become accustomed to. These had long since made way for modern hotels, shopping centres and more. This area is one of the main tourist centres and if you like to party whilst on holiday then this is the place for you. Bars and restaurants line the streets and provide all the nightly entertainment that visitors need. My flight on the final day wasn’t until 9pm, which gave me ample time to enjoy some of the beautiful sights on land. Jasper from Divewise offered to be my guide for the day and we drove to the capital, Valletta. This is a beautiful city of limestone buildings with plenty of rich history to explore. We arrived at 12noon just in time to watch the famous cannon firing. We also stopped at the panoramic viewpoint over the Blue Grotto and then continued on to the old capital of Mdina. Once again, I was astonished at the beautiful

sights and amazing history packed into this tiny island in the Mediterranean. All in all, Malta & Gozo make a fantastic trip for a long weekend (or more), just a few hours flying time from the UK. The dive centres I visited on both islands were superbly run, staffed with amazing guides eager to share the delights underwater. Be aware that the diving here is mainly shore based and can be challenging at times with short walks over rocky terrain carrying all your kit. But it is more than worth the trouble, with wrecks, caves, swim-throughs and plentiful small reef life such as nudibranch, cuttlefish and octopus. This is a destination you absolutely must visit. Happy diving! ■ MORE INFORMATION www.maltaqua.com www.divewise.com.mt www.atlantisgozo.com www.visitmalta.com

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MALTA’S 5H

RESORT

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DIVING

Nitrox only dive centres Private Facilities - House Reef and Pool Packages and diverse courses available

ULTIMATE

CHARTER Boat charter service catering for both Recreational and Technical Divers

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• TRY DIVING • COURSES • DIVING TRIPS AROUND MALTA, GOZO & COMINO OPEN MONDAY TO SUNDAY

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O R K N E Y I SLAN DS, SCOT LAN D SC APA FLOW

UK DIVING

100 years of history:

the wrecks of Scapa Flow On the 100 year anniversary of the scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow, Charles Hood shares his archive images – many shot on film – and a little of the history of these iconic wrecks. WORDS & IMAGES: CHARLES HOOD

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SC APA FLOW ORKNEY ISLA NDS, SCOTLA ND

HE STORY OF the largest deliberate sinking of a fleet of ships in naval history is well documented. During the end of World War I as part of the Armistice, 10 battleships, six battle-cruisers, eight light cruisers and 50 destroyers, all belonging to the German High Fleet, were to be interned. They ended up in the relatively sheltered waters of Scapa Flow in Orkney under the watchful eye of the Royal Navy although still manned by a skeleton German crew. Differing reports confuse the actual reason why the ships were scuttled. However, on

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the morning of 21st June 1919 Admiral von Reuter gave the order to his men to sink his fleet rather than hand them over to the British. Seacocks were opened, pipes below the water line smashed and at least one condenser per ship allowed to flood, ensuring that the ships would sink quickly with little chance of being saved. Eyewitness accounts describe the event as unbelievable as thousands of tonnes of prime German fighting vessels simply disappeared beneath the waves in a mass of hissing and what they described as boiling water. Over the years that followed many salvage operations took place with the recovery

IMAGES Left: The Blockship Gobernador Bories. Middle, from top: The MV Halton, my home for the trip. Naval gun on display at Lyness Naval Museum on the island of Hoy. Mast of a blockship on the beach. Above: The Kronprinz Wilhelm is well-covered with marine life.

of valuable gunmetal and non-ferrous metals being the primary objective. Some ships were salvaged in their entirety, while others had their engine rooms smashed, propellers and guns removed. However, some were either too deep or too inaccessible to be worth it and remain where they sank in the relatively sheltered waters of the sound in Scapa Flow. Diving them today is a must for all wreck aficionados, British wreck divers or simply anyone interested in exploring some of the largest naval shipwrecks anywhere in the world. Of all the wrecks to dive, the German Battleships and Cruisers are the jewel in Scapa’s crown.

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UK DIVING

SMS Kร–NIG

Max depth 40m

The battleship Kรถnig lies virtually upside down with its starboard side just above the seabed. It was extensively salvaged with a large section of the hull cut away allowing easy entrance for the exploring diver. Some sections are so badly damaged it is difficult to orientate yourself as to where you are but this means there are plenty of opportunities to penetrate the inner parts of the wreck. The upturned hull is covered in a huge variety of anemones and corals.

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KRONPRINZ WILHELM Max depth 34m Similar to the SMS Kรถnig, the Kronprinz lies on its starboard side but almost upside down. The majority of her superstructure is covered by silt and is difficult to make out. Her hull is in slightly better condition than the SMS Kรถnig with both the bow and stern clearly visible. The top part of the wreck is a profusion of life with a good covering of plumose anemones. Around the vessel much wreckage can be found strewn across the seabed. Orientating oneself is easy as most of the hull remains identifiable along the port side, whilst the flatbottomed hull has four prominent bilge-keels.

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SC APA FLOW ORKNEY ISLA NDS, SCOTLA ND

MARKGRAF Max depth 46m SMS BRUMMER Max depth 34m

The Brummer lies on its starboard side and is in pretty good condition for her age. Underwater in reasonable visibility it is easy to navigate around her with the bridge and mainmast structure fairly intact. Both of the anchor chains run out and hang over the starboard bow, while a must see for all divers is the 5.9 inch gun facing towards the stern just aft of the bridge. Towards the stern, significant salvage damage has broken up the engine room section allowing plenty of chances to explore and enter the wreck.

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The deepest of the battleships, the Markgraf is completely upside down, if anything she lies slightly on her port side. Extensive salvage damage can be seen towards the bow and especially aft of midships. Towards the stern and virtually on the seabed lies a row of intact portholes, and at the stern itself the tremendous sight of the huge twin rudders can be seen. Due to the Markgraf's relative depth, several dives are needed to fully appreciate the sheer size of this vessel.

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O R K N E Y I SLAN DS, SCOT LAN D SC APA FLOW

UK DIVING

DRESDEN

Max depth 34m

Resting on her port side, the cruiser Dresden is one of the more complete of the German wrecks. The whole superstructure and the main mast, which lies perpendicular to the wreck, is relatively intact. The bow section is covered in plumose anemones with the anchor chain running out on the starboard side. There is slight damage around her engine room where some salvage took place. There are plenty of areas to venture inside the wreck although care should be taken around loose laying plates.

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KĂ–LN

Max depth 34m In nearly as good condition as the Dresden, the cruiser KĂśln is also relatively intact and lies on its starboard side with the deck almost vertical. Again the only sign of salvage damage is the engine room area, and the propeller and anchor chains have been removed. Two masts lay on the seabed but the most impressive sight is the guns toward the stern. Also the bow is in superb condition and well worth exploring.

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UK DIVING

BAYERN TURRETS

KARLSRUHE Max depth 24m

The cruiser Karlsruhe is the shallowest of the High Fleet wrecks and has been heavily salvaged and lies on its starboard side. The hull has huge areas of damage but don’t let this put you off diving her. Towards the forward section two guns make an impressive sight, as do the anchor winches and chain. There are plenty of large holes that allow easy penetration with all sorts of artefacts lying in her superstructure. 1 0 4 | D I V E T R AV E L A D V E N T U R E S | S U M M E R 2 01 9

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Max depth 35m The four main armament turrets fell from the Bayern as it was salvaged in 1933. Diving them is a unique experience and often sadly missed as divers think they won’t be of interest. Even though they are only the gun turrets they weigh over 600 tonnes each and rise some 10 metres off the sea bed. An experienced diver can get inside and witness the massive 12 inch gun barrels at a depth of around nine metres below the seabed.

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SC APA FLOW ORKNEY ISLA NDS, SCOTLA ND

ORKNEY ISLANDS

Grand Bahama

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Great Hammerhead Shark

Reef Shark

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Nurse Shark

Unguja

Scapa Flow Nor

American Saltwater Crocodile Bottlenose & Atlantic Spotted Dolphins

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Sea Horse

Scotland

John O'Groats

Sunk in 1915, this 2332 tonne iron single-screw steamer was built in 1882 in W. Hartlepool. Deliberately sunk to block the entrance to Burra Sound, she is probably one of the best ‘blockships’ to dive. She is fairly well broken up with only her bow and stern intact. The visibility tends to be better than in the sound itself with plenty of marine life sheltering away from the fast tidal current which flows over her almost permanently.

TRAVEL LOG:

F2 & BARGE

Max depth 18m

Although not from World War I, the F2 Escort Vessel makes a very enjoyable second dive. Lying on her port side she is in good condition with her forward gun clearly visible. The stern part of the wreck has been blown apart with much machinery on display. About 15 metres away lies the wooden salvage barge YC21 with a large anti aircraft gun still in place in her main hold.

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Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands Getting there Getting to the Orkneys is not trivial and as most people want to take their own equipment, driving is the most popular option. Northlink Ferries run regularly from either Scrabster or Aberdeen. I favoured the former, being a longer and scenic drive but shorter crossing.

Top tip! A good nitrox mix will extend your bottom time and will be sufficient for the majority of the wrecks. A rebreather or trimix dive could be considered for some of the deeper battleships.

Water temperature The water temperature ranges from around 8-14°C

Getting there

so a drysuit is essential. The average visibility is around 10m but can get as high as 20m in mid summer.

Local Operators For my mind, the best way to dive these wrecks is from a liveaboard vessel, which also gives you a chance to explore some of the remoter islands in the evenings. I went courtesy of the MV Halton run by Bob Anderton whose knowledge, coupled with enthusiasm, is hard to match.

More Information

www.mvhalton.co.uk www.scapaflowwrecks.com www.visitscotland.com Bibliography: The Wrecks of Scapa Flow - David M. Ferguson

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DIVE TRAVEL Companion M I C R O N E S I A CHUUK (TR UK) L AGOON

THE DIVER'S ULTIMATE GUIDE

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COMING AUTUMN

2019 Dive Travel Companion is the ultimate guide to some of the world’s best dive centres, resorts and liveaboards.

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Magic Photo Experience Join renowned photographers and marine biologists Nick and Caroline RobertsonBrown on a unique adventure as they return to the Philippines. Staying at Magic Oceans, a boutique dive resort in Anda, the trip includes an unlimited dive package, photography workshops and evening presentations about the marine biology of this outstanding location, most famous for its macro subjects but also visited by larger marine species. Interested in joining this exclusive expert led trip? Please register your interest with the Dive team and further details will be sent to you as soon as they are available.

Departs Price from Group size Leaders

19 May 2020 £1,795 (land only) 16 Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

The price is per person for 10 nights, superior twin share bungalow, full board, 8 days unlimited dive pack, airport transfers

Finest dive locations

Superb selection of resorts & liveaboards

100% independent

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Outstanding tailor-made diving holidays

H IT E W ID E IV DW US RL CL WO EX VE DI

With aquarium-like reefs and a dazzling array of marine life, the coastline of Anda on Bohol Island is worthy of any divers’ wish list. Set amongst tropical gardens, Magic Oceans is an intimate resort with a fabulous house reef catering for divers with a sense of adventure. Whilst macro diving is high on the agenda, there are plenty of larger highlights and modern facilities for photographers. It’s the perfect base from which to explore.

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Meet the Experts

Husband and wife team Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown (Frogfish Photography) are multiple award winning photographers and along with three books published, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press, as well as being the Underwater Photography Editors at Scubaverse. Both are passionate about marine conservation and are UK Ambassadors for Sharks4Kids.

Contact us on

01962 302087

sales@diveworldwide.com

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DAUIN, NEGROS ORIENTAL PHILIP PI NES

OH, WHAT AN ATMOSPHERE!

Nick and Caroline discover colourful critters and muck diving without the muck as they indulge in a spot of luxury on the island of Negros in the Philippines.

WORDS & IMAGES: NICK AND CAROLINE ROBERTSON-BROWN

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DAUIN, NEGROS ORIENTAL PH I L I PPI NES

IMAGES Clockwise top left page: Our own villa looking down the lush gardens towards the sea. Service with a smile. Small boats take divers out to local sites. You can find a bit of peace and tranquillity in the Spa. Above right: A diver watches a turtle swim past on Apo Island.

ooking for weird and wonderful underwater marine life can be an obsession for some divers and the Philippines is a top destination that sees these ‘critterphiles’ flocking to explore the many islands that offer diving. So we were delighted to be invited on a wonderful trip to the Philippines that saw us spending some time at the luxury boutique resort of Atmosphere Resorts & Spa in Dauin, near Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. As this was part of a multidestination trip, we travelled from a different island resort, taking a local ferry and taxis organised by the Atmosphere team to get there. It all ran smoothly and allowed us to take in the wonderful scenery and local village life as it passed by our windows. Pulling into this resort put a smile on our faces. It is immediately obvious that this is a place of lush tranquillity, with well-spaced villas leading down a gentle slope to the main dive shop, office, pool and restaurant, ending up at the black, volcanic, palm tree lined beach. Heaven. Soon we had a welcome drink in our hands and a voucher that would see us getting a free head massage to ensure total absorption into the vibe of

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THE NEXT MORNING, FEELING COMPLETELY REFRESHED, WE SET OFF FOR OUR FIRST DIVING ADVENTURE... Atmosphere after our journey. We were led to our deluxe suite – a stand alone, open plan villa with outdoor rain shower, perfectly appointed with a huge bed and plenty of room for all our gear. We then headed straight to the Spa, which is beautiful enough to take you breath away. Lush, tropical gardens reveal private pavilions overlooking still pools and trickling streams. The Spa is the perfect place to relax and treat oneself to the many treatments on offer. Heading to the dive shop, you can stop to look at huge maps of the local dive sites, as well as

peruse the latest list of special critters seen by guides and guests on recent dives. There is a well-appointed camera gear centre and even an in-house frogfish specialist - Daniel Geary or Dr Frogfish as he is more commonly known! We met up with our guide for our stay to chat through what we wanted to achieve in the coming few days of diving and made up a basic plan. Then it was time to sample our happy hour cocktail by the pool, which boasts a spectacular view of the beach and sea behind, before heading for dinner.

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The next morning, feeling completely refreshed, we set off for our first diving adventure which was to be at Apo Island. Apo Island is famous for its incredible reefs that have been protected as a marine sanctuary for over 20 years. We boarded the traditional Filipino dive boat and took a slight detour to get our marine park permits, which are required to visit Apo Island, and then after a short ride we were there, mooring up and looking down over the edge of the boat to see the vibrant reef below. The shallow part of the reef is covered in soft corals in a kaleidoscope of pastel colours. Turtles rest on these soft corals, grazing or sleeping, nonchalantly gazing at divers that pass by. As you head to deep water, the corals change to reveal deeper colours, with corals and sponges clinging on to the wall. Magnificent Anemones form balls, with their

IMAGES Above left: Dr Frogfish giving a talk on his favourite creatures - frogfish of course. Above right: A tiny hairy frogfish sits on the sand. Below: Turtles rest in the shallows on Apo Island.

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anemonefish darting amongst the tentacles. There is always something to find here and so the dives are filled with spotting critters whilst also looking out into the blue in case a pelagic species comes in close. For those with non-divers in their party, this is also a perfect location for some snorkelling, with the reefs stretching all the way to the shallows. On our return to the resort

we discovered that there was to be a talk on frogfish that evening before dinner. It is always great to find an expert in any marine species, but this area is renowned for the variation and number of different species of frogfish – a fish that Nick and I are particularly passionate about. Daniel offers a specialist course on frogfish, but sadly we did not have the time to do this and had to settle

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World Travel Awards

Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort 2018

2018 Indonesia's Leading Dive Resort

Set in the world-famous Bunaken National Marine Park, Bunaken Oasis offers a truly luxurious diving experience. Exceptional air-conditioned cottages with sea-view balconies. Chill-out bar, and gourmet panoramic restaurant. Custom-built spa with qualified therapists. Panoramic freshwater infinity pool From water-makers, with UV treatment, to blackwater treatment, Oasis was designed to minimise any impact on the environment.

protect yourself from the elements

www.liquidsports.co.uk

5* PADI-affiliated dive centre, designed for photographers, and dive boats that are second to none, with freshwater deck showers, toilets and, above all, space.

info@bunakenoasis.com

www.bunakenoasis.com

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DAUIN, NEGROS ORIENTAL PHILIP PI NES

MAGNIFICENT ANEMONES FORM BALLS, WITH THEIR ANEMONEFISH DARTING AMONGST THE TENTACLES.

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for his presentation that was informative and contained some superb images of these charismatic fish. Inspired, we decided that our next two days of diving would focus on the smaller critters, found all along the coast in front of the resort. You cannot stay at Atmosphere Resorts & Spa without mentioning the food. Like the Spa and the rooms, considerable thought and effort has been put into each of the menus. It was heaven for me as a vegetarian to know that there would be a plentiful choice of superbly prepared food to enjoy. The beachside restaurant even has a climate-controlled wine room, and special tasting sessions with the in-house wine expert can be arranged. Our

final night was going to be very special! The muck diving here went beyond out wildest expectations. It is muck diving, but without the muck! The sites are within protected areas, clearly marked by buoys, and so whilst you will see a huge array of critters, you do not have to put up with the trash found at so many other

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IMAGES Above left: Peacock Mantis Shrimp are great photo subjects, that pack a powerful punch. Above right: The spotting of a Rhinopias Scorpionfish caused quite a stir. Below: This tiny tiger shrimp needed our guide’s sharp eyes to be found.

locations that attract critter fanatics. The sites are also only a few minutes ride by speedboat. With our heads still full of the frogfish talk from the previous evening, we asked our guide to take us on a frogfish hunt. There are so many different species and colours here, from the smallest, barely visible to the naked eye,

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Located in Moalboal in Cebu, Magic Island has 10 detached cottages and an incredible house reef... This is the perfect spot for your dive vacation!

“This was probably my best dive vacation! The resort is wonderful, and the staff friendly. The dive guides and boat crew are professional and find marine life that is hard to see. I would definitely return!” SCOTT SCUBA DIVE CENTER

Telephone: +63 939 558 1905 Alt telephone: +63 928 740 4369 Email: info@magicresorts.online www.magicisland.online

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MIKE’S DAUIN DIVE RESORT We are situated right on the beach in the lovely village of Dauin, just 20 minutes south of Dumaguete on Negros Island. Our 14 rooms are only meters from the beach, as is our Scuba Dive Center and lagoon pool complete with waterfall. Our aim is to provide you with the highest quality holiday and scuba diving experience within a relaxed and intimate resort atmosphere.

Where is Your next Port of call? Travel the world with Diverse. So many global locations. 10% OFF ROOMS USING THE PROMO CODE SV19

CONSISTENTLY VOTED #1 ON TRIPADVISOR

WWW.MIKES-BEACHRESORT.COM

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> 01473 852002 > info@diversetravel.co.uk > www.diversetravel.co.uk

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P H I L I P P I N E S DAUI N, NEG R OS ORIENTAL

sitting in the open on the black sand, to large colourful fish that have morphed to suit their surroundings. Over a light lunch we heard stories of other guests finding Rhinopias Scorpionfish, Flamboyant Cuttlefish and seahorses, so we headed to the board to see what other dive sites we might want to visit. There was a huge list to select from and we did not have enough time to sample them all (let alone consider going to see the famous Whale Sharks of Oslob), so we reluctantly narrowed down our list based on sightings of species we wanted to see.

IMAGES Top left: There are several species of ghost pipefish to be discovered here. Top right: Finding a Flamboyant Cuttlefish is always a treat. Above left: Super cute juvenile cow fish. Above right: Our local transport for our day off diving. Right: A frogfish blends in with the sponge is sits on.

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A dive site called “Cars” seemed to be high on the excitement list, so we headed there for our next dive. Here we found a pile of old vehicles sunk to create an artificial reef. Straight away our guide found us one of the most prized of muck diving critters – the colourful, yet diminutive, Flamboyant Cuttlefish. Just a handful of muck dives on the house reef and the other local sites saw us taking in frogfish, seahorses, pipefish, a host of unusual crustaceans, octopus and cuttlefish, nudibranchs and much more. But alas, it was already time for our short diving adventure here

to come to an end. We had a non-diving day to fill before our travels home, so we decided to see what was outside the resort and asked reception to arrange some local transport. A small motorbikestyle tricycle turned up and took us on the short ride into Dauin. We stopped for lunch at the recommended Finbar and were delighted to find it served craft beers and excellent food. We explored some local shops and watched the world go by before heading back on our specialist local transport. That evening we had a special dinner planned, and it was also Thursday, which

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DAUIN, NEGROS ORIENTAL PH I L I PPI NES

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P H I L I P P I N E S DAUI N, NEG R OS ORIENTAL

CHINA Hong Kong

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Negros Oriental

IMAGES Top: The Atmosphere pool is a stunning place to hang out. Left: The Atmosphere Maître d’ talking us through his favourite wines. Above: The Jeepney is a popular form of public transport here and come brighly coloured.

TRAVEL LOG:

Dauin, Philippines Getting there

Currency

We flew Philippine Airlines from Heathrow to Manila and then took a local flight one way, and a ferry the other way, on our multi-resort trip.

Philippines Peso.

Top Tip! Bring your macro photography equipment to make the most of the muck diving.

Transfers The Atmosphere team organised the ferry and taxi transfer for us.

Water temperature The water is a year-round, warm 26-29°C. We used full 3mm suits for long dives.

Favourite nondiving activity Relaxing in the perfect Spa after a long day of diving.

Favourite place to eat/drink The Finbar in Dauin is a great place for craft ales, tasty food and to watch the world go by.

Final Word If you want great diving and to be completely spoilt at the same time, then we highly recommend Atmosphere Resorts & Spa.

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means cocktails with the staff and guests at the pool bar beforehand. We had booked a visit to the wine cellar and a tasting organised by the Atmosphere Maître d’. We tried some of his favourite wines in the air-conditioned glass room, looking out over the restaurant and beach, eagerly sampling fizz, white and red wines before selecting the bottle we would like to accompany our final meal at the sophisticated restaurant. Our final day meant we had to pack up. As was the case throughout our short stay, the staff members were thoughtful and attentive and had already got our gear into the sunshine to make sure it was fully dried off. Then it was time to head to Dumaguete airport for a local transfer to Manila and our international flight home. We were so sad to leave. There were many dive sites we had not visited, and there is so much more

this superb place has to offer. For those who want a more zen like experience, rather that our typical trip of trying to dive as much as possible, there are yoga and meditation classes in a treehouse overlooking the sea, a gym, and a host of indulgent Spa options. There are also other daytime activities and places to explore, such as waterfalls, tranquil pools and the Atmosphere sponsored soup kitchen that provides local kids with lunchtime meals. The team at Atmosphere also offer occasional liveaboard trips to the famous reefs of Tubbataha, and we were very jealous to know that as we were leaving for the airport, others were boarding a liveaboard to go and explore further afield with this wonderful team. Maybe next time… ■ MORE INFORMATION www.atmosphereresorts.com www.itsmorefuninthephilippines.co.uk

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The best luxury dive resort in Asia Spectacular House Reef Free Nitrox & Small dive groups Luxury Dive Service World class Macro and Corals Swimming with Whale sharks Fine Dining & Healthy Living Award-winning Sanctuary Spa Yoga & Fitness Kids’ Club & local excursions PADI 5 Star CDC Resort In-house Marine Biologist Eco-conscious Atmosphere Resorts & Spa - Negros Oriental, Philippines www.atmosphereresorts.com

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contact us: Tel: +44 (0)1162 388255 Fax: +44 (0)1162 387538

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LET´S EXPLORE. TOGETHER.

SUUNTO D5 The new Suunto D5 is designed to be so clear and easy-to-use that you can just enjoy and focus on exploring the wonderful underwater world. Play with style by changing the strap to match your looks. After diving, connect wirelessly to the Suunto app to re-live and share your adventures with friends. www.suunto.com

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Profile for SCUBAVERSE

DIVE TRAVEL ADVENTURES - SUMMER 2019  

Join us on some of the most spectacular and exciting Dive Travel Adventures worldwide in the Summer 2019 (Issue 4) of the new premium quarte...

DIVE TRAVEL ADVENTURES - SUMMER 2019  

Join us on some of the most spectacular and exciting Dive Travel Adventures worldwide in the Summer 2019 (Issue 4) of the new premium quarte...