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Chillin’ in Naama Bay

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Another great thing about being based in Sharm is that, if you fancy a quieter, more relaxed day, with a later start and a more sedate pace, then you can ask to do some shore diving instead of heading out on the boat. As we have been hard at it since we got here, we decided this would be just the ticket for today. The dive in Naama Bay is incredibly chilled out, but that does not mean there isn’t plenty to see; with eagle rays, artificial reefs, hoards of lionfish, huge grouper and even a barracuda trying to hunt a pufferfish in the sandy shallows to entertain us.

After chatting through what we wanted to photograph with Beth, our private guide, we donned our wetsuits whilst still at Camel Dive Club. We set up our gear, which was then put on a trolley and wheeled down to the beach, by one of the lovely local staff, which is just 2 mins away. Once in our gear, we strode into the water and slipped into the clear blue sea and started exploring. Once past the first shallow coral bommies, we reached the artificial reefs. Here a number of wire sculptures have been sunk, several years ago now, to create a new reef system. There is a globe, a pyramid (of course), a boat and a dolphin that provide a perfect hide out for juvenile fish, lionfish and gorgeous angelfish. A playful school of juvenile bannerfish followed us around each of these structures, as well as a pile of amphora that adds to this reef scene.

Beth told us to keep an eye out on the sand, as this is also a regular site to see young spotted eagle rays. We were in luck, as we made our way to one of the deeper reefs, we caught a glimpse before it went on its way. The larger, and deeper piece of reef, lying at 12-16m, is home to a huge grouper, young napoleon wrasse and lots of lionfish. Enigmatic porcupine fish also patrol this part of the dive. It is a novice photographers dream and needs to be done in both wide angle and macro.

On our way back in we stopped to watch a pufferfish swim right up, unknowingly, to a large barracuda. As the barracuda went to strike, the puffer inflated and the bemused predator skulked away. It was a relief, as whilst a barracuda has to eat, those pufferfish are just too cute to be dinner for anyone.

The great thing about diving Naama Bay from Camel Dive Club is that you set the pace of the day. Want to do three dives, no problem. Two dives in the morning, spend the afternoon catching some sun by the pool and then do a night dive – perfect. You can decide what suits you best.

www.cameldive.com

www.egypt.travel/diving-in-egypt

For more from Nick and Caroline visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

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

Miscellaneous Blogs

Book Review: Erebus – The story of a ship (2019)

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In a title of six words, Erebus: The story of a ship, Michael Palin tells us precisely what his book is all about. Through a comprehensive analysis of the Ship’s Logs and crew reports, personal letters, private and naval journals, books, papers and newspaper articles he documents the life of the ship and its crews. He traces their histories from the launch of the ship at Pembroke dock in 1826, via unremarkable Mediterranean patrols, lengthy voyages to Australia to bone chilling Antarctic and Arctic expeditions. They culminate in the last crew abandoning the ship, trapped in Arctic pack ice, in 1848.

However, Erebus: The story of a ship is more than a mere chronology of dates, actions and events. Michael Palin tells us a complex story. It’s an evolving story of the interpersonal relationships of those men serving on the ship; relationships that blossom and those that deteriorate. It includes accounts of influential men and women who shaped the voyages and crew selection. It also notes the impact of sponsors and suppliers who may have contributed to the final tragedy. It’s a story illustrated by Victorian photographs, other colour photographs and paintings, sonar images, maps and sketches. They all serve to provide a picture of the life and death of those on board HMS Erebus.

In 1846, during the heroic but ill-fated Franklin Expedition, HMS Erebus, her companion ship HMS Terror, captained by Francis Crozier, and a total of 129 men, “vanished off the face of the earth whilst trying to find a way through the Northwest Passage” (ppxii – xiii). This was the prized northern route to China and India via Arctic waters. HMS Erebus wasn’t seen again until one hundred and sixty-nine years later under thirty-six feet of Arctic water. Divers found the wreck remarkably intact as their description and photographs reveal.

Palin describes how the search for Erebus and her crew extended over decades – often suggesting missed opportunities as well as shocking findings. His summary account of the last desperate months and weeks of their survival, as the expedition disintegrated, is poignant in the extreme.

It’s tempting to describe the book as a slow burn that builds into an inferno – but words like ‘burn’ and ‘inferno’ are at odds with Palin’s descriptive account of the mind numbing cold of Arctic winters and a ship entombed in pack ice for years. Certainly, the pace of the early chapters appear relatively slow when compared to the final crescendo – but they provide an invaluable background to an understanding of the unfolding drama.

You don’t have to be a historian or a marine archaeologist, a sailor or traveller to marvel at the story of HMS Erebus and her crews. You don’t have to be a sentimentalist to read: ‘The one comfort from the whole unmitigated disaster was the news that bodies had been discovered far enough south to prove that Crozier had led his doomed men to the last link in the chain of marine connections that made up to Northwest Passage’ (p. 261).


Erebus: The story of a ship (2019)

  • By Michael Palin
  • London: Arrow Books        
  • ISBN 9781 784 758578     
  • 334 pp

Michael Palin has written and starred in numerous TV programmes; perhaps Monty Python is one of the most famous. He has made several acclaimed travel documentaries to the North and South Pole as well as the Sahara desert and the Himalayas. His books include Hemingway’s Chair (1998) and The Truth (2013). Between 2009 and 2012 he was President of the Royal Geographical Society. Michael Palin was knighted in 2019 and lives in London.


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

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SSI introduces new SSI Decompression Diving Specialty Program

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SSI has announced the latest addition to their Recreational Diving program, the SSI Decompression Diving Specialty.

SSI developed this innovative new specialty to bridge the gap between recreational diving and their Extended Range (XR) programs. The SSI Decompression Diving Specialty is the perfect opportunity for recreational divers to get a small taste of what more advanced diving is like without having to commit to going entirely technical right off the bat.

Often, the difference between recreational equipment and a more technical set-up seems intimidating and overwhelming to the standard dive customer. However, if you are looking to market your technical diving program, the new Decompression Diving Specialty is the perfect way to slowly introduce your dive customers to the excitement and adventure offered by the Extended Range (XR) programs.

The Decompression Diving Specialty provides SSI divers the training necessary to independently plan and conduct decompression dives using either traditional recreational equipment or introducing them to using a sidemount system. This program will take divers to a maximum depth of 40 meters with a maximum accumulated decompression time of 15 minutes.

If you are a current SSI Extended Range Nitrox, SSI CCR Extended Range, or SSI SCR Extended Range Instructor or higher and interested in teaching this exciting new program, simply sign-up online for a FREE online upgrade. If you are currently an SSI Instructor in any other discipline, contact your affiliated Training Center for more information on becoming an SSI Decompression Diving Instructor and learn how to start introducing divers to the world of decompression diving today!

Find out more at www.divessi.com.


Source: www.divenewswire.com

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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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