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Deptherapy flies the flag in Egypt this October

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Scuba Diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy has announced that it is recommencing its international scuba diving training expeditions this October with a small group trip to Egypt.

Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 have meant that training so far this year for Deptherapy Programme Members has been mostly limited to online academic study. Now, the charity is excited to be in the position to take a group of six beneficiaries for practical training, and to enjoy the restorative effects of scuba diving in the clear, warm waters of the Red Sea.

This expedition is funded as part of a grant from The Veterans Foundation. The Deptherapy Team will be heading to Hurghada, Egypt from London Gatwick on 10th October onboard an EasyJet flight, before travelling down the coast to Deptherapy’s international base at Roots Red Sea in El Quseir. Roots Red Sea re-opens on 9th October, the day before the Deptherapy team arrives after an eight month closure. It is one of the few dive resorts to have passed the stringent Egyptian Government inspection and to have obtained the necessary permits and license to operate under strict COVID-19 conditions.

Deptherapy Programme Members undertaking training at Roots Red Sea. Photo – Dmitry Knyazev for Deptherapy

Deptherapy will be running a RAID Advanced 35 course and a RAID Master Rescue Course during their 7 day stay at Roots Red Sea. One of the Programme Members who is joining the expedition is a 20 year old who was involved in an accident during basic Armed Forces training.  He is a paraplegic wheelchair user who has been particularly affected by lockdown.  As part of the Deptherapy family, the team has been working with him closely throughout this period to keep him optimistic about his diving, socially engaged and psychologically well. To say that he is excited to get in the water again on this trip is an understatement!

“We would have liked to have taken a larger group to Egypt,” explains Deptherapy’s Chairman Richard Cullen, “but many things have mitigated against this. The requirement to quarantine on return from Egypt has meant that most of our beneficiaries and instructional team are unable to travel at this time. The difficulty in obtaining ‘fit to dive medicals’ is also a factor which means that sadly, no potential Open Water students have been able to obtain the necessary approval to dive. We are also limited by practical logistics as Roots is operating at a reduced capacity in order to be open at all BUT, we are hugely excited to be able to take this small group to Egypt next month and thankful to The Veterans Foundation for their funding which has made this expedition possible. The Deptherapy Board was strongly of the view that we should, even with reduced numbers, get beneficiaries back in the water, fly the flag that the charity is still very active, and not further delay our plans until 2021.”

In the meantime, Team Deptherapy continues to support its Programme Members in both online study and mental health and wellbeing 24/7, as well as developing some exciting new projects behind the scenes. The charity plans to resume the rest of its international training and expedition programmes as per the ‘new post COVID’ normal from Spring/Summer 2021.

For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit www.deptherapy.co.uk.

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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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