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Announcing the 12th Blue Dolphin of Malta – Underwater Photography Competition

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The Federation of Underwater Activities Malta in collaboration with the Ministry of Gozo has announced their 12th International Underwater Photographic Competition.

The first edition of Blue Dolphin of Malta was held back in 1987 at the hosting of the ‘Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques’ (CMAS) World Congress in Malta. This was the very first time for Malta (founder member in 1955) to receive such an honour. Competitors came from 42 different countries and the winner was Mr John Christopher Fine, a journalist from New York.

The Blue Dolphin of Malta is an important and renowned event throughout the international diving community. Every edition has been graced by the presence of internationally known personalities like the late Jacques Mayol, Peter Scoones, Pelizzari, Pipin and many others. This year will not be an exception.

The Blue Dolphin of Malta is an excellent opportunity to discover the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea and the marine environment in general. The waters around the Maltese islands are famous for their clear waters, cave and wreck diving.

Basic Info

  • What: Blue Dolphin of Malta Underwater International Photographic Competition
  • When: Dates: 09 – 11 November 2017
  • Where: Location: Gozo, Malta
  • Who: Event is open to all underwater photographers internationally
  • Why: Because we love diving and Underwater Photography and Gozo is the place to be in the Mediterranean for everything from a shallow dive to a Cave entry at 60m!

Photo Competition Locations

The main two competition dives will be carried out at Gozo diving sites. It all depends on the weather, safety but the choice includes:

  • The Blue Hole/ Azure Reef / Inland Sea at Dwejra (Voted 3rd Best Diving Site in the Mediterranean in Diver Magazine)
  • Wrecks and Reef at Xatt l-Ahmar (Three wrecks scuttled for Divers, max depth 42m)
  • Mgarr ix-Xini (A picturesque small bay at the end of a valley recently used by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for their honeymoon and as a backdrop for their film “By the Sea”.
  • Xwejni (A nice reef with possibilities of seeing large shoals of Barracuda and from which you can go to the unique Double Arch)
  • Ras il-Hobz (One of the best reef dives in Gozo and includes near by a Pinnacle rising from the depths to about 8m from the surface, always full of life)
  • Ir-Reqqa (A reef / wall dive with Billinghurst cave being just round the corner)

Visit www.maltadives.com for more info & videos of these dive sites together with updates from their Facebook Page.

Categories

  • Seahorse Class: Open to photographers using DSLR/Bridge/Mirrorless Cameras
  • Nudibranch Class: Open to photographers using Compact Cameras

Prizes

To be confirmed, but definitely you’ll walk away with something nice!

Program

Dates proposed for foreign participants are between 08 – 12 November and programme outline is as follows

  • Wednesday 8 November – Arrivals start and familiarising with local conditions
  • Thursday 9 November – Technical Meeting 19:00 – Gozo with Web Link (for Maltese not travelling to Gozo)
  • Friday 10 November – Competition AM & PM
  • Saturday 11 November – Presentation 18:00 – Gozo with Web Link (for Maltese not in Gozo, early departures)
  • Sunday 12 November – Departures

Registrations are now open! Visit Registration and Practical Information for full details!

For more information visit www.bluedolphinofmalta.org.mt.

News

Diving below the waves of the Western Cape, South Africa – Long Beach at night (Watch Video)

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Head under the waves of False Bay and explore the incredible diversity that is found along the Western Cape. The bay has popular dive spots from diving amongst the biodiverse underwater kelp forests to jumping in with the playful and friendly cape fur sealions (Arctocephalus pusillus). The bay along with the rest of the South Africa coast is known for the range of shark species that are found from the shallow coastal shores out into the open oceans. The coast is also home to numerous endemic shark species such as puffadder shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) and Pyjama shark.

Longbeach is a shallow shore dive close to the coastal town of Simonstown on the Western Cape. The dive is mainly made up of diving across the sand with a few wreckages, rocks and outcrops where there’s algae growing. A pipeline can be found at the site which provides locations for species such as Pyjama Sharks (Poroderma africanum) and octopus (Octopus vulgaris) to shelter. Diving at night at the site provides the opportunity to see species that are more often hidden during the day such as cape Squid (Loligo reynaudii) and Biscuit Skate (Raja straeleni). Other shark species such as the small Puff Adder Shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) are also occasionally seen at the site.

Diving with the local dive club – Cape Town Dive Centre.


Follow Jake aka JD Scuba on the YouTube channel @Don’t Think Just Blog.

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Miscellaneous Blogs

Book Review – The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe (2007)

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It was the height of the Cold War. The Soviet Cruiser Ordzhonikidz, supported by two destroyers, had brought Soviet leaders Khruschev and Bulganin to Britain for sensitive meetings with the British Government. The ships were moored in Portsmouth harbour and the Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, had expressly forbidden any clandestine inspection of them. However, on the morning of 19th April 1956 Commander Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabbe, an experienced naval diver, slipped into the cold waters of Portsmouth harbour. His top secret mission was to photograph the hull, propellers and rudder of the Ordzhonikidze. He was never seen alive again.

A badly decomposed body, with head and hands missing, was discovered by fishermen in Chichester harbour months later. It was claimed to be the missing body of Buster Crabbe – but many had doubts. The incident marked the start of a controversy that claimed the posts of several high ranking naval, government and intelligence service personnel. The author of The Final Dive, Don Hale, claims it is one that still rages and which may not be resolved even when secret government files are released in 2057.

Don Hale, an acknowledged campaigning journalist and former Journalist of the Year brings all his experience and skill to unravelling this longstanding scandal. He has drawn upon official reports and private letters, statements from government representatives, fellow officers and friends to piece together Buster’s life and events leading to his disappearance and subsequent investigation. He speaks of “inquiries blocked by intrigue, constant cover-ups and government bureaucracy coupled with threats relating to the Official Secrets Act” (p. xi). If you like reading about subterfuge on a grand scale you will enjoy The Final Dive.

Don Hale’s meticulous account of the life of Buster Crabbe is supported by dozens of black and white photos and extracts from numerous official documents. It reveals how an amazing series of civilian jobs, wartime activities and friendships with high ranking government officials, British intelligence officers, American CIA operatives. . . and now known spies, prepared him for his final dive and perhaps his fate. One of Crabbe’s acquaintances was the author Ian Fleming – of James Bond fame. Indeed, it is suggested that Fleming based the character of 007 on Buster Crabbe. After reading of his exploits, both before WWII, his bomb disposal work during the war, and afterwards it is easy to see why. Certainly, those who worked with Buster Crabbe “all agree he was fearless.” (p.59). After reading of his exploits one wonders if he was too fearless.

In the later stage of Buster’s life, prior to his disappearance, Don Hall recounts “a constant merry-go-round of overseas assignments” (p. 118) for Crabbe and how he “began to receive increasingly hazardous commissions” (p. 136). It culminated in the morning dive in Portsmouth harbour. Hale’s forsensic-like account of the events surrounding the final dive and aftermath reveals absolute panic and bungling behind the scenes as official answers conflict with known facts. He describes how “The whole incident still seems bathed in secrecy, with the true facts deliberately buried in bureaucracy, and supported at the highest level by an incredible cover-up operation”.(p. 205).

A final comment by Don Hale adds to the intrigue. He states “The only part of the Crabbe puzzle about which I am not certain is not who sent him – we know the answer to that – but why on earth he was he sent, possibly at considerable risk?” (p. 248). After reading The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe you will no doubt have your own ideas.


The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe (2007)

  • By Don Hale
  • Stroud: Sutton Publishing
  • ISBN 978 0 7509 4574 5
  • 260 pp

Don Hale was a professional footballer before becoming editor of several regional newspapers. He has received numerous national and international awards for investigative journalism including Journalist of the Year. In 2002 he was awarded an OBE for his campaigning journalism in the Stephen Downing miscarriage of justice case. He has championed several others who have been wrongly convicted.

His other books include Town without Pity (2002), Murder in the Graveyard (2019) and Mallard: How the ‘Blue Steak’ Broke the World Speed Record (2019).


Find out more about Professor Fred Lockwood, who is also a published author, at www.fredlockwood.co.uk.

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Competitions

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 john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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