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Capturing Critters in Lembeh Underwater Photography Workshop 2018

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Once again, Lembeh Resort’s “Capturing Critters in Lembeh” underwater photography workshop produced some incredible imagery. As usual, the workshop featured three world-class underwater professionals who hosted daily presentations, workshops and one-on-one sessions with participants.

The 2018 professionals—Tobias Friedrich, Brandi Mueller and Lilian Koh—shared their knowledge and expertise with everyone taking part, and joined them underwater for some truly amazing critter spotting in the Lembeh Strait.

Capturing Critters grows from strength to strength each year and the images portray some of Lembeh’s most iconic muck diving highlights. The participants dived Lembeh hotspots such as Nudi Falls, TK, Hairball, Aero Bajo and Serena. Lembeh Resort’s dive guides were put to the test and they certainly delivered. The critter sightings were quite remarkable, with blue-ring octopuses, flamboyant cuttlefish and other flashing cephalopods posing on the sand.

Lembeh Resort’s dive centre manager, Brigitte Gassner, reported the following: “26 participants, 13 dive guides, 4 world-class photo pros, 2 in-house marine biologists, 66 boat dives, over 650 tanks, and countless smiles along the way.”

Tobias Friedrich is a world-class photographer; his images are seen globally. Tobias hosted some incredible presentations and explained the art of capturing the perfect split image and how to take winning bokeh and close-focus wide-angle shots. Tobias’s 2019 “Below Surface” calendar and his underwater photography book can be bought through his website, Below-Surface.com.

Lilian Koh is an expert in black-water photography and she shared her expertise and knowledge with participants. Lilian regularly makes black-water dives in Southeast Asia and her award-winning images are breathtaking. To see more of Lilian Koh’s stunning underwater imagery, take a look at her social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Brandi Mueller not only shared her Adobe Lightroom skills with participants, she also gave an incredible presentation about how underwater photographers can really make a difference to marine conservation. Her “Take Photos, Save the World” presentation was certainly inspiring. Brandi has recently published the book The Airplane Graveyard: The Forgotten WWII Warbirds of Kwajalein Atoll. In her book, Brandi’s images tell the story of the forgotten American World War II airplanes that lay at the bottom of the Kwajalein Atoll.

Lembeh Resort looks set for another incredible workshop in January 2020: With photo pros Joe Tepper, Saeed Rashid and Todd Winner, this promises to be a showstopping event. Find out more on the Lembeh Resort website.

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Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

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The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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Dive Training Blogs

Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)

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It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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