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Dive Trip Report: Oman




On the first week of February, Twelve divers from Stratford-on-Avon dive club set off for a week on the Saman Explorer diving around the Hallaniyat islands. Two of us had been on this trip a couple of years ago and were impressed with the amount of life in the seas, hence the return trip with friends.

The travelling was effortless; we were picked up on time and arrived at the boat in the afternoon. The boat has had a recent refit and the quality is superb. We all thought it was the best liveaboard we had been on which includes several in the Red Sea and others in the Maldives and Indonesia. The refit had made it more like being in a hotel than a boat. All the cabins are a good size with separate showers rather than wet rooms so the loo rolls don’t get soaking wet. The deluxe cabin is fabulous with a huge bed, TV and lovely mood lighting (I was in two minds whether to stay there and forget the diving!).

The crew were all very helpful. Mustafa, who served the meals, was never without a big beaming smile and the food was of a high standard. It is worth noting that there was no-one who had any sort of stomach problems all week.


The first day we dived two wrecks near the coast. The visibility was poorer than we had expected but it had been – and still was – very windy, which perhaps stirred up the water. However, the fish life was phenomenal (perhaps due to the large number of plankton in the water).

The next day we went to the islands, where the water was clearer but still with huge numbers of fish. If we had seen them crammed  in an aquarium like that the RSPCA would have got involved! We also noticed that they were much larger than in the Egyptian Red Sea.

We saw many varieties of rays, huge shoals of fusiliers, all sorts of reef fish, huge groupers, and we were even treated to an afternoon of Humpback whales doing a display for us.

Karim is an excellent dive guide; in fact all of the staff on the boat were all very helpful and professional. The dive platform is huge and putting fins on is still easy, even when several people have gathered at the back ready to jump in.

The diving is different from the Egyptian Red Sea with very little hard and soft corals so therefore not so much colour, but the rock formations are lovely and being among so much life was magnificent. Although we didn’t see any sharks, the rays and whales more than made up for that and I found it better than liveaboard diving in the Maldives, mainly because of the sheer volume of life. For me, although it’s a bit more expensive than the Egyptian Red Sea, it’s well worth the extra to experience something totally different.

Hilary and her club booked their trip to Oman with UK-based tour operator Ultimate Diving. to find out more about the dive holidays Ultimate Diving offer visit

Hilary Wilson is the Chairman of Stratford upon Avon Sub Aqua Club. She is a Dive Leader who has been diving since 1996, when she was taught by her partner Miles. He always says she was the worst student he ever had, and she’s not sure he isn’t right! They both joined the Club in 2001.


Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Christian Horras



Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The March winner was Christian Horras and you can see their winning image at the top of this page.

What do you love about diving & underwater photography?

For me it is all about showing the beauty of our world underwater to people that don’t dive and thus can’t see it for themselves. I want to share my own passion for the amazing ecosystem that is so much older than everything we know living on land. As I am from Germany, there are only a few people in my surroundings that have ever seen a coral reef or a shark with their own eyes. It is a big privilege to be able to go diving all over the world and in return it should be our task to arise awareness of this fragile and endangered ecosystem.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Nikon D810 in a Isotta Housing and various lenses, depending on the subject: a Sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye, a Nikon 16-35 mm F4 and two Nikon Macro lenses (60mm and 105mm), as well as a WeeFine +13 Diopter. The Fisheye is my main lens, as it allows me to get really close and still cover a big field of view. For lighting I use two Retra Pro Strobes and a Retra Snoot.

Where can our readers see more of your work?


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award



Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact for details.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

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