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Deptherapy’s Red Sea Wrecks – Part 6

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Part six of seven of Gary Green’s account of the Deptherapy Red Sea Military and Forgotten Wrecks liveaboard expedition.

Day 9: Abu Nuhas – SS Carnatic

The Carnatic, I was told, was not a wreck to be missed. Andy Alfred, one of the Deptherapy Instructors on board was not wrong – the dive was fantastic! The side of the wreck was completely open and we were able to swim completely through with lots of light beaming in. As we entered the wreck there were thousands of glassfish that seemed to create a cloud of silvery white; as we went through them they darted away in their groups. A cleaner wrasse on the other side of the wreck had a little ‘nibble’ on my hand. I guess he thought they were unclean; I didn’t take it as much of an insult though and more as a compliment.

On the back end of the wreck laid the reef. It was almost completely shielded by the wreck and created its own little channel. Small reef gardens popped up all the way along and we followed in line observing them. There were brightly coloured fish all the way along and it made me realise that I would like to get more experienced in identifying the fish just so I could know what I was looking at. My knowledge at the moment stems as far as “ooh, there’s a blue fish, ooh, there’s a stripey fish…” I don’t want to be a marine biologist by any shot, but the behaviour of the fish completely amazes me and I am fascinated by them.

As we reached the point where we were to conduct our safety stop, we ‘bumped’ into a couple of clown fish in the anemone (bumped into is not really the right expression, you bump into a friend whilst you’re out shopping!). Maybe I should say we came across a couple of Red Sea anemone fish. They were as territorial as every other Nemo I had seen, once you breech a certain distance you enter the “clown fish danger zone.” They were never that aggressive in Finding Nemo though, a bit of false advertising if I do say so myself. First the little fish gave me the death stare, then swam at me a couple of times and darted away; if he could talk (I should imagine in a high pitch voice) he would be saying something like “oi come any closer I’ll do ya… you want some mate… I’ll do ya”. Of course I’m intrigued by the fish so I do want some, so I crossed the threshold and he head butted me in the mask. It made me giggle, which was my second mistake, as my mask broke its seal and flooded slightly – crafty clownfish!

Day 9: Abu Nuhas – Giannis D

The Giannis D was my favourite of all the wrecks and it was absolutely amazing. My anticipation wasn’t as high either as it wasn’t boasted about as much as some of the others. Once we got down, though, it was absolutely fantastic. The first of the surprises was being greeted by a sea turtle as we swam around the bow. It was so interactive, it was unbelievable. It swam in between us as it went back and forth to feed from some coral along a mast on the wreck. It quickly became a celebrity as everyone pulled out cameras and GoPros to record the amazing experience. I was so intrigued by the fact that as it went to feed off the coral garden, it used its front fins to create a form of leverage as it’s strong snapping jaws tore away chunks. We all posed for pictures with the turtle as we watched in awe of the magical creature, graceful and in it’s own way, agile.

As we moved away from the turtle and to the rear of the ship we entered a breaching point. The ship was sunk and laid at a forty-five degree angle, which made the penetration quite disorientating. We managed to start at the bottom of the wreck and make our way through the engine room and then various other passageways. The wreck penetration was amazing; spacious, light and took me back to being a five year old exploring my local park. The whole dive was like an adventure playground, with a few more added dangers like getting trapped and running out of air obviously. It was by far my favourite dive of the whole trip.

Day 9: Carless Reef

On this dive, another sea turtle greeted the Deptherapy dive team, the white team (Team Achievement)… not my team, unfortunately, which meant the white team got the white tip reef shark and an extra turtle! I heard the story of what happened and apparently the turtle had a nibble on Jamie Hull’s diving hood, then moved on to Aitch and tried biting his GoPro; some moments are just priceless.

Along the reef, which was teeming with colour and life, we were honoured with the presence of blue spotted rays, giant morays and a huge grouper. I honestly cannot do the sight justice with words alone, neither can photos or videos.

It’s the feeling when you see a spectacular sunrise so you take a photo and when you look at the photo you think ‘it looked better than that’. It’s the same thing with scuba diving, nothing ever seems to do the experience justice. I almost feel sorry for people that haven’t scuba dived as they are missing out on nature’s most beautiful secret, the world under the sea.

Day 10: Hurghada Marina – T43 Minesweeper (El Mina)

The wreck of the minesweeper was (in all due respect) rather dull as it was sunk onto the super structure so all that was visibly available was the bottom of the ship. However, I like the feeling of being underwater, it’s a therapy for me no matter what sights are on offer so I could never be disappointed in a dive. Dave found a plastic bag, which he loaded into his BCD pocket and brought back to the surface to place in the bin; every bit of plastic brought up is a piece of plastic that cannot harm the ocean.

Earlier on in the week we had a presentation on PADI’s Project Aware. I am already quite familiar with Project Aware and earlier on in my diving career I had taken part in a Deptherapy dive for debris and a beach clearance. The brief mentioned all the main points and the ten tips for divers that can protect our oceans and stop the damage that is being inflicted on the coral and marine life. Videos of sea turtles caught in plastic can rings; it’s heart breaking to see something destroying the ocean and killing fish that is completely avoidable. I think we all looked within ourselves and decided that we as individual divers could do something about it.

Day 10: El Vanoose (Arabic translation – The Lighthouse)

Not far from shore lay a reef named El Vanoose, which translated in Arabic (so I’m told) means The Lighthouse. This name was given because of the lighthouse that stands out from the reef, although I am pretty sure that it is no longer used. Another name for the reef is ‘dolphin playhouse’ due to the dolphins that come to play here. This is usually in the morning though and is almost guaranteed. We went onto the reef in the afternoon when it is well known that the dolphins go to the lagoon in the north to swim, so unfortunately we did not have their presence. However, fingers crossed, we will be here in the morning to snorkel with them.

On the reef, dolphins are not the only attraction. There are two pinnacles not far from where the reef lies, absolutely full of life, more than I had actually seen on any other dive. The reef was heaving with sea life, from fish just bigger than your hand to micro sized life that grew and swam around the pinnacle. Between the pinnacles was a beautiful garden of both soft and hard coral that was populated by fish of every colour. Hiding in the small holes of the reef were morays, five I’m pretty sure I counted myself. I always make sure to keep my distance as their heads bop back and forth with their teeth showing. They always seem placid, however it’s not something I would like to gamble on.

On the swim back to the boat we came across an octopus. One thing that rings true with the Red Sea is that you just never know what you will come across. The octopus was about the size of a rugby ball; he was brown but as we approached his colour changed to white (I say he and his, but in all truth I have no idea of its gender). You can see when an octopus is threatened and its skin actually raises from a flat surface to spine-like layers that can raise between 5 to 8mm to make itself seem larger. Although there was no wreck to see, the dive itself was interesting due to the amount of life that was on display.

Read the final part of Gary’s blog tomorrow.

Donate to Deptherapy or find out more about their work at www.deptherapy.co.uk

Thanks to Dmitry Knyazev for the incredible photographs.

Gary Green is an author, team leader and PADI AmbassaDIVER. After being medically discharged from the British Army following an IED attack which left him blind in one eye and with PTSD, Gary was introduced to scuba diving through the rehabilitation charity Deptherapy. Gary is living proof of the healing power of scuba.

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PADI Recognises EMEA Members with New Professional Development Excellence Award

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PADI® (Professional Association of Diving Instructors®) has recently launched their new Professional Development Excellence Award in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), celebrating PADI Five Star Instructor Development Centers (IDC)  that are championing creating more PADI Professionals, at all levels, during the previous calendar year.

“While becoming a PADI Five Star IDC Center is a prized accreditation amongst members, this exclusive rating comes with the responsibility of training the next generation of divers to become PADI Instructors,” explains Dave Murray, Managing Director for PADI EMEA.

“PADI’s commitment to a continuing education philosophy encourages divers to realise their dreams of a career as a PADI Pro, teaching others to do what they love – to scuba dive. This new recognition award distinguishes productive PADI Five Star IDC stores for the time and effort they dedicate to marketing and conducting the professional training needed to grow the scuba diving industry.”

PADI’s EMEA Professional Development Excellence Award recognises members for reaching specific milestones based on the number of PADI Pro certifications they issue annually. It also provides an extra layer of credentials in their “Pro Development Status” to potential Divemaster and IDC candidates, along with any other prospective Pro-level customers and prospective employees.

The first awards were distributed earlier this year, with 12 PADI Five Star IDC Centers receiving the Platinum Award. This means that they have issued a minimum of 100 PADI Professional certifications from Divemaster to IDC Staff Instructor, which include 30 Core Professional certifications and 70 Continuing Education Instructor level certifications.

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The 2025 PADI EMEA Professional Development Excellence Award is already underway and renewed PADI EMEA Five Star IDC Dive Centers and Resorts are automatically eligible. Stores that reach the recognition levels during 2024 will receive their award in the first quarter of 2025.

For more information about the award and to see the full list of award recipients visit here.

About PADI 

PADI® (Professional Association of Diving Instructors®) is the largest purpose-driven diving organization with a global network of 6,600 dive centers and resorts, 128,000 professional members, and more than 30 million certified divers to date. Committed to our blue planet, PADI makes the wonder of the underwater world accessible to all, empowering people around the world to experience, explore and take meaningful action, as Ocean TorchbearersTM, to protect the world beneath the surface. For over 50 years, PADI is undeniably The Way the World Learns to Dive®, setting the standard for the highest quality dive training, underwater safety and conservation initiatives while evolving the sport of diving into a passionate lifestyle. For divers by divers, PADI is obsessed with transforming lives and, with its global foundation, PADI AWARETM, creating positive ocean change. Seek Adventure. Save the Ocean.SM  www.padi.com

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Introduce family to the wonder of the oceans with new family weeks from Regaldive

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diving holiday

Regal Dive, the diving holiday specialist, is offering Learn to Dive and Family Weeks this summer to encourage divers and those new to the sport to spend some time in the water together, learning and developing their diving skills. There are multiple itineraries on offer providing affordable diving certification, including a range of liveaboard trips which are designed to be inclusive – so that even those who would prefer to simply snorkel are still guaranteed a good time.

ITINERARIES IN THE MALDIVES:

MV Keana: Family Week, perfect for snorkellers, beginners and children.

Spend 10 nights in a Maldivian paradise exploring warm turquoise waters for exciting marine life and beautiful corals, all with a highly experienced diving team on hand. The MV Keana takes guests on an adventure around the remote atolls, home to manta rays, sharks, turtles, dolphins and whale sharks. The vessel accommodates up to 18 guests in comfortable upper deck cabins and features an outdoor bar and dining areaThere is a sundeck to soak in the views of the ocean and pristine white beaches of the surrounding islands.

Price: A 10-night trip on MV Keana costs £3,015 per adult, with children under 11 costing £2,735, including flights, departing 8 August 2024.

AMBA: Liveaboard Diving Beginner’s Tour, Family fun between Male and Vaavu Atoll

Take advantage of a variety of courses and family rates on this week-long beginner’s tour. Guests will complete a diving theory course prior to embarking on AMBA, allowing for the possibility to complete up to four courses whilst aboard, including the Open Water certification. Once certified, guests can explore the Vaavu Atoll, which has the thrilling possibility of shark encounters. More experienced divers can hop aboard the Dhoni to access some of the area’s more challenging dive sites.

Price: A 7-night trip on AMBA costs from £2,400 per adult, with children 11 and under costing £2,210. This price includes flights. Departing 13 August 2024.

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DIVING RESORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES:

Atlantis Puerto Galera & Atlantis Dumaguete Family Weeks

The Atlantis Dive Resorts is offering a range of exceptional deals for family groups this summer. The Family Week special offers include free stays, free meals, free diving places for children (one free child per paying adult). Puerto Galera Resort, in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, offers accessible diving, diverse coral reefs and exotic marine life. Dumaguete, in the Visayas region, is home to a diverse range of macro species, including ghost pipefish, flamboyant cuttlefish, and various seahorses and octopuses. The resort also grants access to the Dauin Marine Sanctuaries and Apo Island – one of the finest diving destinations in the Philippines. Both hotels are situated in stunning beach-front locations with tropical landscaped gardens and thatched-roof bungalows.

Price: A 7-night stay Atlantis Puerto Galera costs £3,593 per adult and £1,375 per teen, including flights. A 7-night stay at Atlantis Dumaguete costs £3,895 per adult and £1,475 per teen, including flights.

Family week deals at the Atlantis Dive Resorts are available on selected dates in July, August, November and December 2024.

For more information visit www.regal-diving.co.uk.

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