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Discovering the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curaçao

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As a working dive professional, I thought I had seen it all but an experience in 2013 changed my perspective completely about the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curaçao.

My name is Bryan Horne and I am the Founder of Dive Curaçao. I was born, raised and lived in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada where I might have been relatively content with my life as a salesman had I not made one fatal mistake, I learned to scuba dive! After completing the PADI Open certification I became instantly enthralled and incredibly curious about the underwater world. I started diving everywhere I could in Canada, honing my skills and feeding my diving addiction. But, it was when I visited various destinations around the Caribbean that I discovered the delights of diving in clear, warm, blue water. It was then I realized that I had discovered my life’s true passion.

Some people have a midlife crisis, I like to think of discovering my love & passion for diving as my midlife awareness. I quit my job, sold everything and headed to the Utila Dive Centre in Honduras where I completed the PADI Instructor Development Course under the expert guidance of Andy Phillips, PADI Course Director at GoPRO Utila.

Then, I discovered Curaçao in the winter of 2006-2007. I can honestly say that it’s never the same scene twice since arriving here. A whale shark, spinner dolphins, a giant ray, sea turtles, even a humpback whale have all wandered into my path over the years. That’s the beauty of diving around Curaçao: it’s natural biodiversity.

In 2013, I was contacted by Maurico Handler of Aquaterra Films to provide support, safety and guidance during his underwater filming sequences. These numerous dives which stretched from Eastpoint to Westpoint (Oostpunt to Westpunt) re-ignited a fiery passion because I was viewing the Curacaoan reefs through his eyes which ultimately inspired me to share this incredible, often underrated, underwater world with you.

Maurico Handler (Aquaterra Films) is a world renowned Natural History Cinematographer/Cameraman and under water specialist for National Geographic Creative, was contracted by the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) to film & document nature above and below the waterline for the 6 Dutch Caribbean Islands.

Healthy coral reefs are attracting all kinds of marine life visitors, and hopefully more human visitors now, too. Curaçao is surrounded by more than 104 sq. km (40 sq. miles) of some of the best coral reefs in the Caribbean, but has remained off radar for most diving enthusiasts. So, when deciding to come to Curaçao, please do not limit your experience to either the East or the West. Discover all of Curaçao and the incredible magic that lies just below the waterline, to truly uncover this best-kept secret of the Caribbean! Don’t wait, take the plunge into our warm turquoise waters, but be prepared for your senses to be overwhelmed by a 360-degree kaleidoscope of intense colour and abundant life!

​The most common questions I hear when tourists are deciding to visit Curaçao is – “what to do, where to dive, who to dive with, where to stay and of course the classic question, where is Curaçao?”. Dive Curaçao was founded with these primary questions in mind and even if we do not have the answer, being a local, we know who to ask. So, please ask us! Dive Curaçao is not biased or affiliated with any one company however our standards are high because your safety and your excellent travel experience is what will keep you coming back.

Lastly, re-discovering the intense beauty of Curaçao’s reefs also made me realize that there is so much more to Curaçao that that is truly unique to the Southern Caribbean. To be honest, I now appreciate that I had an epiphany that week that apathy could no longer be embraced. Where understanding that conservation, a responsible approach to sustainable tourism & sustainable development could no longer be ignored. Therefore, Dive Curacao supports, encourages and participates in island wide conservation efforts.

Re-ignite your passion and find a fresh perspective… Discover & Dive Curaçao!

Photography courtesy of Turtle & Ray Productions HD, Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance, Sheila Ott, Ty Sawyer, Blue Travel Magazine

Bryan Horne wasn’t born in Curaçao; he’s a Canadian native, drawn to the Island “out of a passion for scuba diving and the underwater world.” Moving was always going to be a life-changing decision, but in diving, Bryan had found his calling. As the founder and owner of Dive Curaçao, he spends his days showing off Curaçao’s hidden undersea treasures – and does his part to preserve them for future generations.

Marine Life & Conservation

Marine Conservation Society & Natural History Museum launch first Big Seaweed Search Week

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There are over 650 species of seaweed found around the UK. From dabberlocks to bladder wrack and sugar kelp, each seaweed plays a vital role in supporting the health of our seas, and the planet.

From 26th July – 1st August 2021, the Marine Conservation Society and Natural History Museum will be asking people across the UK to get involved and spot seaweed at the seaside as part of Big Seaweed Search Week.

The Big Seaweed Search equips beachgoers with the knowledge to identify 14 of the most common types of seaweed found at the UK seaside. This vital information is then shared with the Natural History Museum and Marine Conservation Society, who use the data to inform research on how the presence of different seaweed has changed over time due to environmental factors such as climate change.

Kate Whitton_Marine Conservation Society

Professor Juliet Brodie, Merit Researcher at the Natural History Museum and Big Seaweed Search: “By taking part in Big Seaweed Search Week you’ll be helping to contribute to our ongoing scientific research into seaweeds.

“As climate change affects our seas, we’re seeing temperature increases, sea level rise and the impact of ocean acidification. These changes can affect the distribution of different seaweed species around the UK coastline. For example, dabberlocks, a large brown seaweed, is declining in abundance around our coasts, and the number of non-native species in the seaweed flora is increasing year on year. By mapping where different seaweed species are, we can create a baseline from which to determine the impact of environmental changes on our seas.”

Some of the most common and best known seaweeds are brown seaweeds: bladder wrack, with distinctive air-filled bladders and spiral wrack, which often has a spiral twist. Also easily identified is sugar kelp, which has a tough, elongated strap-shaped frond that has a crinkled, dimpled or ruffled surface. Kelps are cold water species, and form kelp forests in many parts of the world’s seas.

Not only are seaweeds a great source of nutrients and energy for animals such as crabs and sea urchins, but they also create critical habitats for other species, acting as nurseries for young fish and places where other sea creatures can take cover from predators.

Alex Mustard – Young lumpsucker

Seaweeds such as kelp are also vital ‘blue carbon’ stores, absorbing carbon from the water and atmosphere just like forests on land. The storage of blue carbon can be in the plants themselves, like seaweed and seagrass; in the seafloor sediment where plants are rooted; or even in the animals which live in the water, including seabirds, fish and larger mammals. Unfortunately, 38% of kelp populations are reported to be declining around the world, limiting ocean ecosystems’ abilities to absorb carbon and fight the climate crisis.

Justine Millard, Head of Volunteer and Community Engagement at the Marine Conservation Society:“We’re hoping lots of people will join Big Seaweed Search Week this year as they head to the coast. We want people across the UK to learn about the wonders of seaweed, spread the word, and help us collect vital information which will support our ongoing research.”

The Natural History Museum and Marine Conservation Society have developed a helpful guide, highlighting key features of the different seaweeds likely to be spotted by the seaside.

To get involved, just complete the simple survey on a mobile, tablet or computer which can be carried out as an individual or in groups.

Register to take part and download the guide and recording form at www.bigseaweedsearch.org

  • Choose your 5 m of coastline to survey
  • Fill in your survey form
  • Take LOTS of clear, close-up photographs for your survey to be accepted
  • Submit your survey through bigseaweedsearch.org
  • Don’t forget to upload your photographs when you submit your survey

You can visit the Big Seaweed Search website for all the information you’ll need to get started.

Header Image: Spiny starfish up on kelp by Paul Naylor

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Marine Life & Conservation

Queen of the Mantas now on WaterBear

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Watch the WaterBear Original Film Now!

Dr. Andrea Marshall a.k.a. “Queen of the Mantas” has dedicated her life to studying manta rays, one of the most intelligent, and at 7 meters, one of the largest creatures in the ocean.

As co-founder of The Marine Megafauna Foundation, she leads the research on this globally threatened species. Whether scuba diving through tropical waters to observe their behavior or flying through the air to gather data from above, her groundbreaking discoveries have changed our understanding of this mysterious ocean creature. But upon discovery of a grave threat to her beloved manta rays, she must fight against the odds to ensure the survival of this magnificent species.

WaterBear is the first interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet. Whatever you feel passionately about in the world of climate action, biodiversity, sustainability, community, and more, WaterBear provides access to award-winning and inspirational content that empowers members to dive deeper, learn more, and take action. It’s completely free and available in 40 countries around the globe.

Click here to watch the WaterBear original film on the real-life story of MMF’s co-founder and global manta ray expert, Dr. Andrea Marshall.

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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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