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2021 in a Clamshell



I do not think I need to explain why the last two years have been a rollercoaster, which is why I will not be doing that in this blog. But with what has been going on I thought I would take the time to summarize 2021 as a year after the wobbly year that 2020 was.

At the beginning of 2021 I promised myself that I would do more, I would go diving more (outside of work) and I would work harder on my photography. 2021 has seen some truly incredible adventures and trips and I have ticked a few things off my bucket list to say the least, so here is 2021 rounded up to its greatest highlights.

At the very beginning of 2021 I was invited on the Western Ecology Tour with Andy Clark, during this trip I ticked off some pretty big things. Not only was I able to dive more and practice my photography but I finally went to the Highlands of Scotland, a place that my Grandad and I always said we would go. A place that felt truly magical, not only this but the diving was just as breath-taking and magical as the dramatic landscape above. On the expedition I also met some truly incredible people, who made the trip the best that it could possibly be and I also managed to tick a few photography subjects off my list, from Scorpionfish, and mating Spider Crabs in North Wales, to Catsharks in Pembrokeshire.

In September I was able to tick something else off my list, swimming in the blue with Blue Sharks in the Celtic Deep with of course, The Celtic Deep Team. Swimming with Blues in the UK wasn’t the only tick off my list, but also getting my Fiancé in the water with a Shark in open water was the other. Myself and my Fiancé were thankful to swim with Whale Sharks back in 2018, where they merely gave us a passing glance as their huge form swam past us in the warm Mexican waters, but I really wanted her to experience an animal that’s as curious about us as we are about them, so getting her in the water was incredible. Not only this but she also saw her first whale which made the whole trip worth it.

The final tick off my list was finally getting to the Farne Islands Nature Reserve, the trip was incredible. The stories I had heard coming from the Farne Islands were always those of incredible interactions with Grey Seals, who love to play and frolic in the shallow waters in the Autumn. I was buddied with Yo-Han, and we had incredible interactions with Seals, and I even had my DSMB run into a bit of trouble when a young seal decided to try and make my DSMB theirs truly forever more, which resulted in a very disappointed look from me when it pulled me through my safety stop.

Alongside all of this I have also come to the end of this year being much more confident in my photography and feel like I have a much better understanding and direction in where I want my work to go in the future. This also went hand in hand with the growth in my confidence as a Diver after having some time out of Open Water.

What I can say is that after the uncertainty of the last two years, the latter of the two has been an eye-opening experience, an adventure, and a year where I have felt so much more confident in what I want to do and where to go, it’s definitely been a year with more highs than lows and has made me very excited for what the next year has to offer.

Donovan is a Divemaster who currently works as a Shark Diver at Blue Planet Aquarium based in Ellesmere Port. Donovan’s passion lies with Elasmobranch’s (Sharks & Rays) and this passion has led him to work in South Africa with White Sharks for a short period. He also believes that education through exposure is the best way to re-educate people about Sharks. Follow Donovan at


DAN asks divers to support the future of safe diving



Divers Alert Network (DAN) has launched its spring giving campaign in support of the future of safe diving. The campaign aims to raise funds to provide education and safety resources to divers everywhere, enhance emergency response capabilities, and provide forward-looking solutions for keeping divers safe.

“We believe in the power of the dive community coming together to promote a culture of dive safety that will persist through future generations,” said Bill Ziefle, DAN President and CEO. “Through this campaign, we invite divers, industry professionals, and all those passionate about the underwater world to join us in safeguarding the future of our sport.”

The funds raised through the campaign will support vital DAN programs and services, including:

  1. Dive Safety Education: Creating educational resources and training programs to empower divers with the knowledge and skills they need to dive safer.
  2. Emergency Assistance: Ensuring the DAN Emergency Hotline remains available 24/7 to provide medical advice and assistance to divers in need worldwide.
  3. Research and Development: Investing in cutting-edge research to advance dive safety protocols, procedures, and equipment.
  4. Advocacy and Outreach: Collaborating with industry partners and organizations to advocate for policies that prioritize dive safety and promote responsible diving practices.

DAN is encouraging divers to make a tax-deductible donation at Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a meaningful impact on the future of safe diving.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Book Review: Nudibranchs of Britain, Ireland and Northwest Europe



Nudibranchs of Britain, Ireland and Northwest Europe: Second Edition by Bernard Picton and Christine Morrow

Do you love nudibranchs? Like many others, I do. I love trying to find them on dives and always marvel at how beautiful many of them are. Some are so small that you can barely see them with the naked eye and others are quite large. What I didn’t quite realize was just how many different species you can find in our waters. Over 195 species! And this book gives each a double page spread with images and information about where they can be found, a detailed description, key characteristics and similar species to help you with identification.

The book is packed with colour photos to help you work out what you have seen, and for those that are truly obsessed with nudi-hunting, what you might like to find next. The opening pages give the reader a host of useful and interesting information about their feeding and reproductive habits, their anatomy, how to find them, and where to record your finds to help scientist discover more about them.

Ever since the book arrived, I have been dipping into in, selecting a random page and enjoying the wealth of information and stunning images within. It is a book that simply makes you want to don your dive gear and head underwater to look for these charismatic creatures. For anyone that loves the weird and wonderful world of sea slugs (an who doesn’t), this is a book you are going to want to have in your collection.

What the publisher says:

Nudibranchs, or sea slugs, are a group of marine gastropod molluscs whose adults lack shells, an evolutionary loss that has led to a wide variety of body shapes, colours and colour patterns, making them popular with divers and underwater photographers. In this book, experienced nudibranch experts Bernard Picton and Christine Morrow provide an accessible and authoritative photographic identification guide for anyone interested in finding and identifying nudibranchs in the coastal waters of Britain, Ireland and Northwest Europe.

  • Covers more than 195 species, each on its own two-page spread
  • Includes in situ photos to aid finding nudibranchs under water and on the shore
  • Features photos of nudibranchs’ distinctive spawn coils and studio photos showing detailed anatomy
  • Presents key distinguishing features and essential information on size, habitat, diet and distribution

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Series: Wild Nature Press


Price: £35

ISBN: 9780691208794

Published (UK): 6th June 2023

Pages: 360

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