Imagine for a moment – if you can – that you are a diver with Chronic PTSD from your service in Afghanistan. Would you be able to dive and penetrate a wreck at 20 metres, with your mask ‘blacked out’? Then be taken off the penetration line and find your way back onto it without being able to see it? Then work out which direction you are heading? Would you be able to do that without a panic attack or a stress-induced flashback?
80% of beneficiaries diving with Scuba Diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy have Chronic or Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often in addition to physical injuries. Yet on a recent expedition to Malta, eight Deptherapy divers successfully completed their skills and drills to perfection, without panic, but with the confidence to trust their dive buddies and the highly experienced instructional team – a true testament to the rigorous Deptherapy training process and the development of its divers to face and surpass such challenges.
This September, eight beneficiaries and three instructors headed to St Julien’s Bay for a week’s diving expedition focused on Malta’s historical wrecks using the RAID Advanced Wreck Course as the training model. The aim of the course was to develop the skillset and confidence of those who will lead teams on the 2022 Marine Biology Red Sea expedition on Roots’ Red Sea’s liveaboard Big Blue. The liveaboard is funded by a grant from the Armed Forces’ Covenant Fund Trust.
The week’s diving was based at the Divewise Dive Centre and as usual, Alan and Viv Whitehead were the perfect hosts. Since leaving the EU, visiting British Instructors cannot teach in Malta and so a RAID Instructor, Joe – one of the Divewise / Techwise team – was assigned to Team Deptherapy for the week.
The plan had been to hit the ground running on the first day with some theory, followed by SMB skills on the house reef but sadly the weather had different ideas. For the first time since April, the heavens opened with heavy rain accompanied by thunder, lightning, and high winds. The normally calm and protected house reef resembled a wave machine and although the team did manage one dive in the afternoon, many subsequently felt unwell.
The forecast didn’t bode much better for the next few days and so the original plan to complete the course on days two and three was amended, with the main focus being to complete the four required dives by the end of the week.
The weather improved significantly within a couple of days and the team were able to dive HMS Maori, a boat with a tremendous history and one of the vessels that tracked the Bismarck in World War II.
Everyone was enthused for the next day diving from a boat at Comino but again, high winds made boat diving impossible and a shore dive at the recently sunk P33 ex East German patrol boat was second choice, followed by easier access to a shallow harbour wreck. A further trip to the P33 was also scuppered by high winds but the team enjoyed the P29 wreck in popular Cirkewwa which has a couple of wrecks, swimthroughs and reef to explore.
The last day of diving, after having COVID tests first thing, was on the Tugboat which was reached by rib from the dive centre, Fortunately, the team were able to complete their skills – resulting in eight very happy RAID Advanced Wreck Divers.
Deptherapy beneficiary and Trustee Michael Hawley said:
“A great week of diving, pity about the weather. The course is outstanding and the challenges pretty massive, but everyone responded positively. Lots of new skills were learnt and we worked together as a team to live up to our mantra to adapt and overcome.”
A note: From an adaptive teaching point of view many of Malta’s dive sites are not easily accessible even for able bodied divers and would be almost totally inaccessible to wheelchairs or many prosthetic wearers. With a considerable amount of money being generated by scuba divers travelling to Malta it would be a good investment for the Maltese Government to make dive sites more accessible to all divers.
Deptherapy’s thanks go to Alan, Viv and Joe at Divewise for their excellent support, and to the beneficiaries and volunteer instructors of Team Deptherapy for rising to and surpassing each and every challenge during the week.
For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit www.deptherapy.co.uk.
Photos: Deptherapy / Martin Weddell
Announcing the Winners of Scubaverse’s September 2022 Underwater Photo & Video Contests
Another bumper month packed with amazing images and videos from around the world! It has certainly been another great month for entries in both contests – your underwater photos and videos are just getting better and better! Thanks to all who entered.
If you’re not a winner this month, then please do try again. October’s photo and video contests are now open.
Introducing two new Colours of OBLU resorts in the Maldives
COLOURS OF OBLU, a brand by Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, has opened two exciting new resorts in Male Atoll in the Maldives this year.
OBLU XPERIENCE Ailafushi opened in June. Translating from the Maldivian dialect of Dhivehi, ‘Aila’ means family and ‘Fushi’ means island, in essence, the Family Island. A 15-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport brings guests to this beautiful tropical island.
The four-star resort’s 268 villas and rooms are designed to experience nature at its best. A striking fleet of water villas shaped like dhonis are lined up along the jetty – a perfect spot for snapping some selfies. From the moment of arrival, a carefree and relaxed holiday unfolds with the generous Fushi Plan™. Dining, activities, a multi-level kids club with a pool and food corner, overwater gym, and live entertainment are all blended within the stay for a hassle-free holiday.
Sumptuous all-day dining options are available at the Element X Restaurant which serves modern Western, Central Asian, and Far Eastern cuisines. X360 Bar features a 1000 sqm infinity pool – one of the largest in the Maldives. Guests can enjoy unlimited orders of refreshing spirits, wines, and beer from the grab and go bar counter. Evenings come alive with enthralling music and party vibes at the bar’s dance floor. The Copper Pot Food Truck parked on the beach is perfect for an open-air dinner of choicest fresh seafood and meat grills that can be relished on the soft sandy beach beneath the starry sky.
Walk up to La Promenade located beside a channel that meanders across Ailafushi island. This picturesque walkway has cosy seating corners along with a wine boutique, souvenir shop, and café. There is so much to do here — lounge at the scenic overwater deck, sip a cup of coffee, and socialise with like-minded travellers. Experiential highlights also include The Dome, a futuristic 15-meter theatre and entertainment centre.
Sister resort OBLU SELECT Lobigili is an adults only property that opened in March. In the Maldivian language of Dhivehi, ‘Lobi’ means love and ‘Gili’ means island. Lobigili is, in essence, the island of love.
Blessed with verdant foliage, this five-star resort features 68 contemporary beach and water villas – all assuring gorgeous views of the turquoise-blue lagoon. With the resort’s exclusive Lobi PlanTM guests can immerse in a blissfully carefree stay. This generous plan includes specialty fine-dining, unlimited beverages, spa services, Indian Ocean excursions, a selection of non-motorised watersports as well as a fully stocked minibar replenished daily.
OBLU SELECT Lobigili continues with the brand’s tradition of exceptional fine dining, elevating the mealtime experience with playful and fun touches. At Ylang-Ylang, the All-Day Dining Restaurant, delectable world cuisine with intimate nooks for couples and a unique book corner are unmissable. The Swing Bar with itschilled out beachside vibe features chic hammocks, swings and a stunning infinity pool that is one of the largest in the Maldives. Evenings come alive with handcrafted, aromatised cocktails and hypnotic DJ and Live Band performances.
That is not all. There is Gaadiya 17 Food Truck serving grab-and-go game meat grills to be relished in a fun, open-air setting on the beach under starry skies. And an exotic ONLY BLU Underwater Restaurant, one of the largest underwater restaurants in the country, where guests can experience impeccable modern gourmet cuisine.
A standout experience is ELE | NA The Spa – designed exclusively for couples and adults – featuring locally inspired spa treatments including Lobi Dhooni (Love Bird) Hithun Hithath (Heart To Heart) and Dhekanbalun (You & Me).
Scuba Diving from both resorts is with OBLU’s partner dive centre, TGI Maldives, one of the best-known in the country. The dive centre teaches a variety of PADI and SSI courses. The island’s house reef is perfect for relaxed dives, snorkeling and training, whilst many of North Male Atoll’s best dive sites are just a short boat ride away. In particular, the atoll is well-known for its manta ray sightings from May to October.
Discover more at www.coloursofoblu.com
WIN a c-monsta Wetsuit Hanger!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with c-monsta to give away one of their wetsuit hangers as a prize!...
WIN a Sharkskin Performance 40L Duffle Bag!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Sharkskin Performance 40L Duffle Bag as...
Win a Vasili Lights Fish Lantern!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with Vasili Lights to give away one of their beautiful Fish Lanterns! Inspired...
WIN a Beuchat Maxlux S Mask and Spy Snorkel!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away Maxlux S Mask and Spy Snorkel!...
News4 days ago
News1 month ago
New Photo Project: Dive to be Alive!
Marine Life & Conservation1 month ago
Of grazers, browsers, scrapers and a miracle plant called Vetiver
Marine Life & Conservation1 month ago
Celebrating the biggest fish in the sea: International Whale Shark Day 2022
Marine Life & Conservation1 month ago
Great Shark Snapshot Results Are In!
Miscellaneous Blogs2 months ago
Film Review: Thirteen Lives
Marine Life & Conservation3 months ago
Jeff chats to… Esther Jacobs from Fire Island Conservation in Mozambique (Watch Video)
Marine Life & Conservation2 months ago
Statement from Captain Paul Watson on his resignation from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (USA)￼