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Aqaba Underwater – an overview

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Sean Chinn concludes his travels in Jordan with an overview of the diving highlights on offer in Aqaba.

Hopefully you have all read my article on diving the new C-130 Hercules dive site in Aqaba. If you haven’t then you can find it here: www.scubaverse.com/making-history-aqaba-scuttling-c-130-hercules/

As well as the Hercules site, Aqaba has a host of underwater delights on offer. In my opinion, Aqaba is a perfect destination for those new to diving who want to enjoy some nice relaxing easy dives to gain experience while being amazed at the colour and thriving fish life the coral reefs have to offer. It is also perfect for clubs from the UK or Europe to organise trips to and potentially use as a base to run courses; making use of the warmer waters and working with the local friendly dive centres for a great professional service.

A Wreck Specialty would be perfect on my personal favourite dive site of the trip, The Cedar Pride. This is a relatively shallow wreck at a max depth of 25m to the sea floor. With clear waters it really is a fun wreck to explore, with 32 years of coral growth creating stunning areas of colour and fish life. Many lionfish can be found hiding within the nooks and crannies. It is also easy to penetrate and find small schools of fish hiding inside using dark areas for protection. I only did the one dive there and was concentrating more on photographing the outside but would love to go back and explore more of the wreck.

Japanese Gardens and The Power Station were also extremely pleasant dive sites full of coral and fish life, providing lots of colour typical of the Red Sea. These are also sites where you were able to explore a little deeper if you wanted to, as they either slope to around 30m in the case of Japanese Gardens, or have a steep wall drop off like The Power Station. However, both also provide nice, easy shallow dives on the coral plateau for those willing to take their time and look for the little creatures that call the reef home. Sometimes taking your time can be the most fun as you’d be surprised at how much you miss whilst working along the reef and neglecting taking a closer look.

One of the major highlights for me was getting under the jetty of Berenice Beach Club. As I stated in my previous article, Sindbad Dive Club have their own jetty meaning all the dive sites are within easy reach of the club. What you should realise though is that you don’t need to get on the boat to have an amazing experience underwater. Grab a tank, or even just your mask, snorkel and fins, and jump in under the jetty and explore the house reef. The life under there is amazing and I decided on one surface interval to have a little snorkel and loved working my way through the piers, following the school of sardines that call the jetty home. Lionfish would creep into view as they came away from the camouflage of the pier and into the blue. I could have stayed there all day but I needed to save my camera battery for the dive on the Hercules in the afternoon.

I also got the chance to do a sunset dive and explore the macro life of the reef under the jetty and beyond. The peppered moray eels are bountiful and are great to watch as they explore the sea grass, keeping an eye out for scorpion fish camouflaged in the reef. Again, this is a place I would love to explore more and see what other critters were hiding from me.

I’m looking forward to the day I get back to Aqaba and explore more of what I missed on this short trip. I would definitely recommend it as a destination for people looking for an enjoyable diving experience that is not too challenging, and where you can also enjoy land based adventures. Be sure to think of Aqaba when booking your next holiday!

Sean Chinn’s scuba diving adventure started in a freezing cold quarry back in January 2011. Maybe the reason he wasn't instantly hooked! However, after an amazing trip to Indonesia in 2013, he realised he needed to see more of the underwater world. With no photography background, he enlisted some help in developing both his diving and photo skills. This kickstarted his diving and underwater photography adventure which has become something of an addiction. Seeing and photographing wildlife is Sean’s real passion in diving but he is always keen to try new ideas.

Marine Life & Conservation

PADI and Circular Flow Partner to Pursue Sustainable Neoprene Recycling Programme

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Trial Launches in the UK to Prove Feasibility and Scalability

PADI® is bringing about positive change for our shared blue planet through their partnership with Circular Flow. The goal is to create a closed loop neoprene recycling programme to foster a dive economy that aims to reduce the global impact of old and discarded wetsuits within the dive industry.

An estimated 8,380 tons of old wetsuits lie unused every year, with the majority inevitably headed for landfill thanks to the popularity of thermal protection in water sports, coupled with the lack of scalable, sustainable recycling systems for neoprene.

Recognising the opportunity for innovation, PADI, in partnership with Circular Flow, aims to offer the dive industry effective and sustainable solutions to the problem of disposing of wetsuits and other non-biodegradable neoprene products. The goal is to keep them out of landfills and recycle them into useful products such as mask straps and changing mats. To ensure feasibility and determine global scalability, the initiative will begin with a test in the UK.

“PADI is committed to help reduce the global environmental footprint of the dive industry and support our members and divers to reduce impact as well,” says Drew Richardson, CEO and President of PADI Worldwide. “We are constantly looking for new and scalable ways to do so through our Mission Hubs across the planet. We are proud to introduce and test this ground-breaking recycling programme into our community, enabling every diver to recycle neoprene as part of being an Ocean Torchbearer.”

During the initial trial, divers can bring their clean and dry wet suits and other neoprene items to participating UK Dive Centres from August 11th – August 22nd. PADI and Circular Flow will then arrange for the free collection of the items for recycling.  Circular Flow will implement an innovative process to recycle the neoprene, after shipping the neoprene to a specialised factory. The patented recycling process eliminates the use of chemicals or water and utilising electricity, pressure and heat.

To learn more about the programme or locate a place to drop off your end-of-life neoprene in the UK, visit circularflow.net/padi

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DAN Founder Peter Bennett has passed away

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Peter Bennett, PhD, DSc, passed away on Tuesday in the company of his wife, Margaret, and son, Chris. Bennett was a passionate researcher and entrepreneur who founded Divers Alert Network in 1980 and led the organization for 23 years.

Born in Portsmouth, England, on June 12, 1931, Bennett studied chemistry and biology at the University of London, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951. After university he worked at the Royal Navy Physiological Laboratory and in 1964 earned his doctorate in physiology and biochemistry from the University of Southampton.

Bennett loved diving medicine and physiology and was a charter member of the Undersea Medical Society at its founding in 1967. He was later its president (1975-1976), the editor of its journal (1976-1979), and its executive director (beginning in 2007).

In 1972 Bennett moved to the United States, where he was first named deputy director and later director of the F.G. Hall Laboratory hyperbaric chamber facility at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. In 1980, Bennett submitted a proposal to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for a grant to fund an emergency hotline for injured divers. Thus Bennett and his colleagues at Duke undertook responsibility for the hotline that would eventually grow and become Divers Alert Network.

During his 23-year tenure at the helm of DAN, Bennett oversaw introduction of the organization’s membership program, dive accident insurance program, research department, continuing medical education program, training department, and more.

An emeritus professor of anesthesiology at Duke University, Bennett published more than 100 journal publications, 31 book chapters, and several books, including Physiology and Medicine of Diving, a definitive work in the field. He also published numerous reports, workshop proceedings, and abstracts. Among his areas of interest were trimix, deep stops, and high-pressure nervous syndrome.

Over the years Bennett received many awards, including the 1980 NOGI Award for Sciences by the Underwater Society of America. He also received recognition from DEMA, SSI, the Underwater Society of America, the National Academy of Scuba Educators, NAUI, the British Historical Diving Society, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and many others.

“In founding DAN, Dr. Bennett accomplished something truly remarkable,” said DAN president and CEO Bill Ziefle. “It is because of his vision and action that divers all over the world now have the support of an organization that stands ready to assist in the event of an emergency. Dr. Bennet’s inquisitive mind and drive to achieve were gifts to divers everywhere.”

“Peter Bennett dedicated his life to the advancement of diving,” said DAN medical director Jim Chimiak, MD. “Few equal his combined accomplishments as a researcher, organizer, and leader in diving medicine. He will remain a profound influence on everyone working in this increasingly important area of human endeavor. He displayed an infectious, pioneering spirit that rallied expert, worldwide collaborations that routinely accomplished the impossible. He was a great mentor and friend who will be truly missed.”   

Join the DAN community or learn more at www.DAN.org.

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