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Deptherapy charity celebrates triple success

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The sterling work of scuba rehabilitation charity Deptherapy has been recognised once again with a prestigious military award.

Dr Richard Cullen, Chairman and one of the Founders of Deptherapy & Deptherapy Education, was presented with the Veterans’ Foundation Award at the Heropreneurs Awards in association with The Telegraph, celebrated last week in London. As part of this recognition, the charity receives a much-needed donation of £10,000 from sponsor, The Veterans’ Foundation.

Peter Mountford, the Chairman of Heropreneurs and Founder of the Heropreneurs Awards, said:

“The Heropreneurs Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of anyone who has served in the Armed Forces, and their dependants, in the world of business. Richard has created a charity that is very special. Helping injured veterans through scuba diving is a proven and effective method and I am delighted that Richard has won this award”.

This exciting announcement follows a month of outstanding achievements for the charity. Last week, Deptherapy announced that Team Member Josh Boggi has been nominated in the Royal Foundation’s 2019 Endeavour Fund Awards, which follows Ben Lee’s award earlier this year.

Former Royal Engineer Josh first dived with Deptherapy in 2017 and has subsequently followed a continuing education programme with the charity that last month saw him achieve his Rescue Diver qualification whilst on expedition in Egypt.

Josh is now the world’s first triple amputee PADI qualified Rescue Diver.

Josh explains:

I first tried scuba diving in the Maldives in 2016 and fell in love with it instantly. After joining Deptherapy, I qualified as a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver in Egypt and continued my diving education with the charity in Truk Lagoon. This October, I returned to Egypt to attempt to complete my PADI Rescue Diver course.

I was under no illusion that this would be easy and I was told I would have to hit standards, and then some, to pass the course. It was physically and mentally hard, and at times frustrating, but I managed to adapt and overcome all the challenges that were thrown at me and I passed! Becoming the world’s first triple amputee PADI Rescue Diver is great but not why I did it, I wanted to further my diving education and become a better diver.

The Ocean terrifies me; every time I go underwater I think I am going to be attacked by something bigger than me, but this is exactly why I do it. It takes me out of my comfort zone and puts me in a position where I am constantly being challenged. Doing these endeavours helps me to overcome that fear and to prove people wrong when they question how a triple amputee can be a Rescue Diver.

Josh was recently interviewed about his latest achievement by ITV news and the footage can be seen on the ITV channel here.

The 2019 Endeavour Fund Award Winners will be announced at a special ceremony on 7th February in London.

Find out about the work of Deptherapy & Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk.

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TRAVEL BLOG: Jeff Goodman Dives SOMABAY, Part 2

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Day three of my trip to Somabay and we were spending the day on the Lady Christina and diving on the wreck of the Salem Express.

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Diving wrecks for me is always one of mixed emotions. The excitement of diving a wreck is more than often tempered by the thought of loss of life when she sank. The Salem Express was a passenger ship and a roll-on/roll-off ferry travelling from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Safaga, Egypt. Most passengers were of poor class travelling home from their holidays while around 150 people were returning home from their pilgrimage to Mecca.

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The ship struck a reef and sank within 20 minutes. Passengers were trapped below deck and the ship was filled with fear and panic.

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The wreck area is strewn with personal belongings from the crew and passengers such as a transistor radio and a flat iron for clothes. A diver at sometime has put them in a prominent place to be seen.

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Tragically only one life boat was launched while the others went down with the ship. More than 600 men, women and children lost their lives here.

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It’s a stark reminder that the sea can be unforgiving and so when we dive on such wrecks we should do so with humble regard.

Returning to the surface, shoals of fish are gathered under our boat and seem to be welcoming us back into the light.

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Back at the Breakers I sat in the dining area with a beer and a very good meal while my thoughts still remained with the day’s dive on the Salem Express.

Check in for part 3 tomorrow for Jeff’s last day of diving with Somabay on the off-shore reefs looking for turtles.

Book your next Red Sea dive adventure with SOMABAY! For more information, visit www.somabay.com.

Stay at the Breakers Diving & Surfing Lodge when you visit! For more information, visit  www.thebreakers-somabay.com.

Find out more about ORCA Dive Clubs at SOMABAY at www.orca-diveclubs.com/en/soma-bay-en.

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TRAVEL BLOG: Jeff Goodman Dives SOMABAY, Part 1

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somabay

For a week at the end of February I was invited to sample the diving with Orca Dive Club based at the Breakers Diving and Surfing Lodge by courtesy of SOMABAY.

Somabay covers an entire peninsula and is home to several resorts as well as residential  compounds. Somabay caters for scuba diving as well as many other sports, including windsurfing, golf, sailing, go-carting, horse riding and many other activities.

All the activities are of a world-class standard and any or all of these can be booked directly from The Breakers.

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I took Easyjet from Bristol (UK) to Hurghada. Easyjet are not by any means my favourite airline but the flight was cheap and direct (except for the surprise extra £48 I was charged at the gate for my carry-on bag).

I was met at Hurghada airport by a driver and car and taken to the Breakers 28 miles (45Kilomaters) south along the coast. Once at the hotel I was too late for an evening meal and so a basic meal was delivered to my room. That and a beer from the fridge and I was fast asleep.

Early the next morning after breakfast I arrived for my rep meeting at the Orca Dive Center for 8.00am. I was immediately made to feel welcome, and after brief introductions I got some dive gear from the store, had a chat with my dive guide Mohamed and got ready to try the house reef situated at the end of a very long wooded pier where all diving gear and divers are taken out by buggies.

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Once at the end of the pier, a helping hand from staff makes sure your gear is set and then it’s a short walk to the very end where you can either climb down a ladder of simply jump in the water  next to the reef. The house reef extends both north and south giving a very easy and safe dive with plenty to see. At this time of the year the water temperature was a constant 22 degrees Centigrade and there was little or no current, so there were no issues in swimming back to the pier.

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Quite a few divers were in dry or semi-dry suits, but being from the UK and used to the cold I found a 3mm wetsuit with a 3mm neoprene vest quite comfortable. Even after 50 years of diving I still find that first dive of a trip slightly nerving until I am actually underwater and then all becomes relaxed and I ease into auto diving mode. There was plenty to see with many of the Red Sea favourites along the way.

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After the dive and a buggy ride back to the hotel for a very good buffet lunch I was back in the water, once again on the house reef for an afternoon dive.

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Check in for part 2 tomorrow when Jeff gets on a day boat and dives a few of the off-shore reefs.

Book your next Red Sea dive adventure with SOMABAY! For more information, visit www.somabay.com.

Stay at the Breakers Diving & Surfing Lodge when you visit! For more information, visit  www.thebreakers-somabay.com.

Find out more about ORCA Dive Clubs at SOMABAY at www.orca-diveclubs.com/en/soma-bay-en.

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