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My Close Encounter with a Great White Shark

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I am often told how adventurous, crazy or “brave” I am, and that I take big risks. I don’t take crazy risks, but I do take calculated ones, and participate in activities that may seem overly risky, but I make sure all precautions are taken.  More people are killed in car accidents than in “adventure sports” accidents.  I love nature, I love diving; but I am not reckless, far from it. My husband Randy and I took our young adult children, Wes and Ally, on our family dream trip to Guadalupe Island to cage dive with Great White Sharks, and we could not wait to get on the boat and into the water.

On the last dive of our 6 day trip, I was in one of the cages with two other divers.  I was taking photos when I noticed that the bait happened to be quite close to the cage. I prepared to take an awesome close up!  The shark went for the bait and ended up slamming into the opening of the cage I was in.  These cages have an 18 inch opening for photographers (I mean, we have to be able to get our strobes through the bars, you know!) and it was just large enough for the 14 foot Great White to come in for an unintended visit… all the way to his pectoral fins.  He got stuck, and it felt like an 18 wheeler had slammed into the cage.

Tam 3

When the shark hit, the young man who was in the middle pulled me back… and believe me, I was grateful!  The shark was panicked and was thrashing violently… it felt like being in a big washing machine.  I kept trying to hold on to the bottom of the cage, but just could not keep my grip, so I floated up toward the shark.  The shark actually did a 360 degree turn in the opening, which caused his gills to bleed.  My husband and daughter, watching from above, thought it was my blood, so you can imagine how upset they were, but my daughter who was taking photos kept shooting and caught the entire event from above.  Such a professional!

After what seemed like an eon the shark managed to free himself and took off, scared to death.  While the shark was upside down I received a bump on the head from his snout, and he somehow ended up with my air hose in his mouth, so my air was wet and salty.  What an experience!  I wouldn’t want to go through it again, but my grandchildren will think I am totally cool (when I have them).  Talk about being up close and personal with a Great White!

Tam 4

You know, I guess I could tell a harrowing tale of a Great White Shark ‘attack’, but it just would not be true. No shark showed any aggression whatsoever while we were there.  Hey, getting in a cage with Great White Sharks swimming around has inherent risk, but no shark at Guadalupe has attacked a human being, and I know people who have been with them outside of the cages, freediving.  Would I go cage diving again?  Yes, it was a breathtaking experience.  I wasn’t hurt, no harm done (except to the poor shark’s gills) and I take full responsibility for being in the cage.  I do plan to go again, absolutely.  Lightning doesn’t strike twice, right?

Have you been cage diving with Great White Sharks? tell us about your experiences in the Scubaverse Forum.

You can find Tam’s travels and life adventures s at her blog, ‘Travels with Tam…a Midlife Adventure’:  www.travelswithtam.com

Tam Warner Minton is an avid scuba diver, amateur underwater photographer, and adventurer. She encourages "citizen science" diving, whether volunteering with a group or by one's self. For Tam, the unexpected is usually the norm!

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Emperor Divers recognises the 8th and final Covid Diver Hero to win a liveaboard trip

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In February Emperor Divers launched the Covid Diver Heroes initiative, aiming to recognise 8 people who have stepped up in the pandemic with free liveaboard trips in the Maldives and the Red Sea. They received hundreds of nominations and left it up to a varied panel of loyal staff to sift through the entries. All inspired, many amazed and some brought tears. What is clear is that divers are awesome, and it came as no surprise that within the international underwater community there were so many selfless, empathetic heroes.

The Emperor Divers’ panel have made the final choice for the 8th liveaboard prize, this time for a trip of a lifetime in The Maldives. Nominated by his cousin, Alex Chan, this is his story:

“There will be no greater reward for this selfless cousin of mine to win a liveaboard trip to the Maldives where he can find solace in SCUBA diving, the holiday activity he enjoys most. I have not seen him physically for more than a year nor did his parents because he has isolated himself for fears of inadvertently bringing the virus home.
I, Alex, nominate KK Tan, 38, a doctor from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for his tireless efforts as a supporting role to the Frontliners during this time of pandemic. By day, he takes up the administrative role to procure quality medical equipment and ensure proper distribution to health facilities throughout the country an uphill task in view of the rising number of cases in my country. By night, he would return to his former hospital to help out with the outpatient cases there.  If not working on weekends, he would visit a couple of old folks home to provide encouragement, free medical consultations as well as deliver medications where able. He tells me always “Since I cannot go diving in the sea, I might as well dive in the sea of COVID19. There are many beautiful things to see here too.”

Alex has been in contact with KK and said: “He was ecstatic! Thank you for selecting my nominee for the final winner for the liveaboard. I’m sure it will be a beautiful light for him at the end of the tunnel.”

As a roundup, here is the full list of winners who will enter the Covid Diver Heroes Hall of Fame:

  • Deborah Brabham, UK
  • Noam Har-Tzvi, Israel
  • Megumi Gotada, Germany
  • Phuong Cao, USA
  • Ingrid Stubelius, Sweden
  • Lily Lancaster, UK
  • Susana Garcia, Spain
  • KK Tan, Malaysia.

The Emperor Divers Team have even been lucky enough to meet Susana Garcia already, she has just been out on a liveaboard trip in the Red Sea and we were able to give her a trophy as well as spend time with one of our Heroes.

Questions and enquiries to heroes@emperordivers.com

www.emperordivers.com

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Diving with… Hassan Samir, Fuvahmulah Scuba Club, Maldives

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Hassan Samir

What is the name of your business?

Fuvahmulah Scuba Club

What is your role within the business?

Owner

How long has the business operated for?

We operate 4 dive centres in different locations in Maldives (Cocoon Maldives, Drift Thelu Veligaa,
South Ari Dive). Fuvahmulah scuba club is a new dive center in Fuvahmulah.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I am the owner of the dive centre, I am an Advanced Open Water Diver and I started diving in the past
1 year only. But our Dive instructors are all qualified and have more 10 years’ experience in the diving
industry.

What is your favorite type of diving?

My favourite dives are deep dives.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

The Tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah is the most exciting dive any diver could have. It is 100%
guaranteed to see the tiger sharks from a very close distance. Also, Fuvahmulah Island treasure
sharks, and Oceanic Manta and Hammerheads are spotted often and it makes diving with us special.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

My favourite dives are Tiger Shark diving and Oceanic Manta diving.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Night diving; Deep diving; Open water diving; Drift Diving; Rescue diving.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Meeting divers and sharing experiences with them.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Oceanic Manta

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

A new dive boat will be here in next 3 months.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

In Fuvahmulah everything is well organized and all the staff are given specific tasks. Each and every
team member does their job very well. We do not have any problem in organizing the dives for our guests. Yes! But the island has 7 Dive centres and each dive centre have specific time schedule for diving with tiger sharks. So we also as a dive centre get limited time to dive with tiger sharks.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Not at the moment.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

As a diver I would say we have a passion for underwater and we must keep the underwater clean
and neat always. Not dumping any type of plastic in to the sea even if it a very small thing (example: cigarette butts)

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

We are a team of professionals; we will ensure you have a safe and memorable diving holiday in
Fuvahmulah.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

You can visit our website by clicking here.

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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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