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Anilao Underwater Shootout stages a successful comeback

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Amateur and professional underwater photographers, divers, and marine enthusiasts once again masterfully captured the beauty of Anilao in the entries to the 7th Anilao Underwater Shootout (AUS), recently mounted by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Dubbed as the “World Cup of Underwater Photo Competitions,” the event highlighted the town’s teeming marine biodiversity, including its world-famous nudibranchs.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the event showcased the country’s readiness to welcome back tourists and reclaim its position as the world’s leading dive destination.

“The Anilao Underwater Shootout is a platform to communicate the importance of safeguarding our delicate reefs and marine ecosystems for future generations. As we slowly rebuild and recover from the effects of the pandemic, this event is our way of announcing to the world that the Philippines’ diving industry is alive and well, and very much ready to welcome divers and underwater photographers,” Puyat said.

Supporting the department’s thrust to safely restart tourism in the country, Puyat also noted that more than 95 percent of the tourism workers in dive destinations are now fully vaccinated.

Gathering a total of 120 participants flying in from all over the country, the event also spurred domestic tourism activity in Anilao, trickling down to the community with engagement from the town’s resorts, dive guides, and spotters.

This year’s edition garnered a total of 348 entries across the competition’s 11 categories. Winners were awarded over two million pesos worth of prizes from its official airline partner Cebu Pacific, and underwater photography gear from event partners Nauticam, Scubalamp, AOI, Scubastudio Philippines, and sponsors XDEEP, Crest, Fourth Element, Divers Point, Nautilus Dive, and Sports Center, Squires Bingham, and Ultralight Control Systems, Inc.

Teresa Sy Ortin and Dennis Corpuz were named DOT Photographers of the Year for the Compact and Open classes respectively.

The international event has been organized by the DOT since 2013, in line with the identification of diving as a priority tourism product in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP). This year’s panel of judges includes renowned underwater photography aficionados David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Mike Bartick, Scott Gutsy Tuason, William Tan, and Underwater360 Group founder John Thet.

Following COVID-19 restrictions, the event followed a hybrid format with underwater photography workshops hosted via Zoom and the competition’s official Facebook page. Judging and deliberations were also done through the videoconferencing application.

The 7th Anilao Underwater Shootout was mounted in partnership with Mabini Tourism, DOT Region 4 A Calabarzon #DiscoverCalabarzon, Solitude Acacia Resort, Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort, Crystal Blue Dive Resort, Nauticam, Scubalamp, AOI, and Scubastudio Philippines. The event is also supported by Wetpixel, Underwater Photography Magazine, Underwater 360, and GRID Magazine.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Dive Training Blogs

Diving Tips… a new blog series from Duttons Divers

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Not a UK diver or wanting to learn more about the UK waters? We have you covered! Each month we will be writing tips for experiencing the beautiful waters off our coast and in-land. The year of COVID drove us to a few seasons in the UK – and hopefully this persuaded more of you to jump in the waters and see what the UK has to offer. For those of you that are yet to be struck by the UK dive bug, hopefully this will give you some incentive to do so. We are a little biased… admittedly!

So, what do we know about diving to give you the tips in the first place? Well… Duttons Divers have been around for the past 8 years, with 2 of these as a freelance instructor, the further 5 at Vivian Quarry and the previous year saw our expansion of our business, adding another centre into the mix at Hafan Marina Dive Centre too! We teach 365 days of the year… both of our dive schools are in the UK… we jump into quarries as well as the sea, and run all levels of courses from beginner to instructor. We have 15 divers within our staff team, and are headed up by Course Director, Clare Dutton…. There’s a fair bit of knowledge (hopefully) between us all!

Our tips and tricks will cover topics such as cold water diving, boat diving, navigating in low visibility, choosing the right equipment for the UK, taking your IDC in the UK… and a whole other load of varied topics. We are also open to anything that you would like covering too with a question and answer selected for each write up, so please send them into our email account or FB messenger and we will select one for each month to answer!

We will kick the topics off for you though.. our first will be… cold water diving! Check it out next month!


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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Gear Reviews

Gear Review: SurfEars 3.0

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Back in 2019 I was at a really low ebb. I had just been told that I could not dive anymore due to recurrent ear infections causing perforations that eventually would lead to permanent damage. I got home from the hospital, slumped on the sofa, and the phone rang. It was Steve Warren from INON UK and I told him my woes. Don’t give up yet, he told me, I think I have just the people to help – SurfEars.

I tried to argue that wearing ear plugs whilst diving was not safe. What about equalization? But he stopped me in my tracks and said that these would work, he had tried them already on several dives. Could this be the answer that would save my diving career and allow me to continue my passion? Well the short answer is yes!

I wrote a review back then which you can read here: https://www.scubaverse.com/gear-review-surfears/

However, I am not sure that I stressed enough at the time that these earplugs saved me. They allowed me to dive, swim and snorkel in the ocean, and I have not had an ear infection since.

Recently the team at SurfEars sent me the latest design – SurfEars 3.0 – to try out. The earplugs come in a really handy pod that I clip to my BCD so that I do not forget them. They come with a range of plug sizes so you can customise them for a perfect fit. The ‘wing’ tucks into your ear, holding the earplug securely, so you feel they will be secure even when rolling or striding off the boat into the water. You can even use them even when putting on a hood in cold water.

The SurfEars allow you to still be able to hear clearly, as they allow air and sound to travel through, and just prevent water ingress, so safety in hearing instructions from the boat or your buddy is not compromised.

I find that wearing them has not only completely stopped any ear infections, but also makes equalization easier too. They are so comfortable that I never really notice that they are in.

If you suffer from ear infections from diving, then do give these a try. They are the first thing on my packing list now!

For more information visit https://surfears.com/

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Competitions

A very popular liveaboard, Emperor Superior offers fantastic diving in comfortable surroundings. Her experienced crew make this one of the best for divers in the Red Sea.

WAS £1155pp / NOW from just £895 per person based on sharing a twin cabin including:

  • Flights from Gatwick to Hurghada with 25kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
  • 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
  • Free Nitrox
  • Airport transfers

Booking deadline: Subject to availability. Limited spaces available.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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