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The Best ‘Combo’ Destinations in the World

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We all know that two is better than one – Abbot & Costello, fish & chips, Thelma & Louise, rum & coke… some things just work together nicely; so the next time you’re planning an adventurous holiday to see wildlife above or below the waves, why not consider hitting two spots rather than just one? There are a few places around the world that lend themselves to this approach quite nicely, and in my opinion the top three simply have to be…

Sri Lanka & the Maldives

Mat Maldives

Long considered a popular honeymoon destination and often thought of as somewhat exclusive, and with competition among resorts on the increase, the Maldives is gathering momentum as a destination that the rest of us might just be able to afford.  The thousands of idyllic islands make up the many ‘Atolls’, and it is from here that world class diving is just a splash away. Whale sharks and manta rays, reef sharks and turtles; the marine life is fantastic, and can be enjoyed as a resort based holiday in a splendid water villa – or better yet, on one of the many well equipped liveaboard vessels that operate in the region.  The best time of year to visit is typically Dec-April, but this can vary depending on which island you find yourself on.

Either before or after a jaunt in the Maldives it makes perfect sense to stop off at Sri Lanka too. Widely regarded as one of the best places to spot Blue Whales, it is a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts who fancy somewhere a bit different.  You may think of Sri Lanka as being yet another beach destination, and you’re right, as there are some stunning beaches and there’s certainly some decent diving to be had. That being said, I would recommend spending time in Yala National Park as you’ll likely see elephants and perhaps a Sri Lankan sloth bear; perhaps the biggest draw is that Yala is thought to have the densest population of leopards in the world.

Selous & Mafia Island

Mat Mafia Island Banner (3)

Established as a world heritage site since 1982 and home to the majority of Tanzania’s elephant population, Selous game reserve is a beautiful wildlife destination. During the months of September and October it is possible to see large packs of painted dogs (also commonly know as hunting dogs or wild dogs)sometimes up to fifty or more animals at a time. The stunning sandbanks, oxbow lakes, islands and channels are home to over four hundred species of birds, including two rare species, the Pel’s Fishing Owl and the White-Backed Heron, both of which can be spotted along the wooded sections of the riverbank. Selous is dominated by the Rufiji River which sprawls into lakes and deltas which fill and empty with the changing seasons; a wondrous place for any safari enthusiast.

A short domestic flight away and still within Tanzania is an idyllic beach getaway, and having enjoyed the beauty of the Selous landscape and marvelled at the game viewing it offers, it is here on Mafia Island that you can relax on the pristine sandy beaches and take to the water for some excellent scuba diving.   The clear and inviting waters of Chole Bay offers superb snorkelling, sailing and swimming, and outside the bay are some of the richest reefs in the world. Not only will you find an enormous variety of tropical fish beneath the waves, but back on land you might well see the giant Madagascan fruit bat; an unusual and intriguing resident to the island.

South Africa & Mozambique

Mat Aliwal Shoal Banner (5)

Sharks, sharks and more sharks. If that doesn’t float your boat then stop reading now, but if, like me, the thought of sharing the water with some of the worlds most impressive apex predators really gets your juices flowing, then look no further. The rugged coastline of Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks near Durban in South Africa is the year-round playground for a plethora of toothy beasts. It’s not uncommon to see ragged tooth (sand tiger) sharks, bull sharks, black-tips, and if you’re really lucky, the formidable Tiger shark.

With your appetite for big fish truly whetted it would be wise to hop the border to Ponta Do Oura in Mozambique for even more action from a further variety of finned friends: hammerheads, leopard sharks, silver-tips and spinner sharks, not to mention the worlds largest and friendliest of mega fauna – the whale shark – can all be spotted here. The best time of year for this is between September and May.

So the next time you’re planning a diving and wildlife holiday, why not make the most of your journey with two destinations that are as good together as Angelina & Brad, tea & crumpets, Batman & Robin (OK, I’ll stop now – but you get the idea).

What would your favourite ‘combo trip’ be?

Mat is a travel consultant for Dive Worldwide.

Mat Reeve is a photographer, travel writer and all round adventurer. Currently a consultant at UK-based tour operator Dive Worldwide, Mat is a qualified Divemaster, Martial Arts instructor and fitness trainer. Mat has a huge passion for exploring and experiencing all that life has to offer. He has travelled more than 3000 miles throughout Europe by boat, train and road without spending a single penny while raising money for a number of charities. Mat has camped for weeks in the wilds of Africa. He has paddled the treacherous waters of the Zambezi amid crocodiles and hippos, and has led divers on incredible underwater excursions, introducing them to apex predators including bull sharks without the protection of a cage. The Sardine Run in South Africa remains his most exhilarating experience to date and included incredibly close encounters with enormous humpback whales, super-pods of dolphins, and a feisty group of dusky sharks at feeding time. Over the years Matt has been charged by a hippo, chased by a lion, stalked by a shark, and stung by a tiny but painful Portuguese Man of War. A hugely passionate animal and nature enthusiast, Mat likes to get as close to the action as possible.

News

Nauticam announce NA-A7C Housing for Sony a7C Camera

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Sony’s latest full frame mirrorless camera, the a7C offers the underwater image maker one of the most compact and travel friendly full frame systems available on the market today.  The a7C features Sony’s latest stellar autofocus and a much improved battery life thanks to its use of the larger Z series battery. The BIONZ X processor delivers superb low-light performance and faster image processing. For video shooters, the a7C features internal UHD 4K capture in the wide-dynamic range HLG image profile at up to 30p.

Nauticam has housed more mirrorless cameras, and more Sony E Mount cameras than any other housing manufacturer. This experience results in the most evolved housing line with broadest range of accessories available today.

Pioneering optical accessories elevate performance to a new level. Magnifying viewfinders, the sharpest super macro accessory lenses ever made, and now the highest quality water contact wide angle lenses (the WWL-1B and WACP-1) combine with the NA-A7C housing to form a complete imaging system.

Nauticam is known for ergonomics, and an unmatched experience. Key controls are placed at the photographer’s fingertips. The housing and accessories are light weight, and easy to assemble. The camera drops in without any control presetting, and lens port changes are effortless.

NA-A7C features an integrated handle system. This ergonomic style provides exceptional control access, even with thick gloves, with ideal placement of the shutter release and a thumb-lever to actuate the AF-ON button from the right handle.

Nauticam build quality is well known by underwater photographers around the globe. The housing is machined from a solid block of aluminum, then hard anodized making it impervious to salt water corrosion. Marine grade stainless and plastic parts complete the housing, and it is backed by a two year warranty against manufacturing defects.

For more information in the UK visit the Nauticam website by clicking here.

For more information in the USA visit the Nauticam website by clicking here.

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Blogs

BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – The Next Generation of Ocean Stewards: Lauren Brideau

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A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.

The Next Generation of Ocean Stewards: Lauren Brideau

We have a new host, Dr. Colleen Bielitz, and today we’ll be interviewing a recent college graduate as part of our once-a-month episode that focuses on students: the next generation of conservationists, researchers, and activists.

What are the next generation of ocean stewards doing to protect our Blue Earth? Join us as we find out by speaking to Lauren Brideau, a recent graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. Lauren started as an undeclared major but soon found her calling, now she is part of a research team conserving life below water.  She is a prime example that if you want to defend our oceans and the creatures that depend on the sea to survive, now is the time to become part of the solution.


Richard E Hyman Bio

Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.

Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.

Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.


You can find more episodes and information at www.futurefrogmen.org and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.

 

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