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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

PADI and Circular Flow Partner to Pursue Sustainable Neoprene Recycling Programme

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Trial Launches in the UK to Prove Feasibility and Scalability

PADI® is bringing about positive change for our shared blue planet through their partnership with Circular Flow. The goal is to create a closed loop neoprene recycling programme to foster a dive economy that aims to reduce the global impact of old and discarded wetsuits within the dive industry.

An estimated 8,380 tons of old wetsuits lie unused every year, with the majority inevitably headed for landfill thanks to the popularity of thermal protection in water sports, coupled with the lack of scalable, sustainable recycling systems for neoprene.

Recognising the opportunity for innovation, PADI, in partnership with Circular Flow, aims to offer the dive industry effective and sustainable solutions to the problem of disposing of wetsuits and other non-biodegradable neoprene products. The goal is to keep them out of landfills and recycle them into useful products such as mask straps and changing mats. To ensure feasibility and determine global scalability, the initiative will begin with a test in the UK.

“PADI is committed to help reduce the global environmental footprint of the dive industry and support our members and divers to reduce impact as well,” says Drew Richardson, CEO and President of PADI Worldwide. “We are constantly looking for new and scalable ways to do so through our Mission Hubs across the planet. We are proud to introduce and test this ground-breaking recycling programme into our community, enabling every diver to recycle neoprene as part of being an Ocean Torchbearer.”

During the initial trial, divers can bring their clean and dry wet suits and other neoprene items to participating UK Dive Centres from August 11th – August 22nd. PADI and Circular Flow will then arrange for the free collection of the items for recycling.  Circular Flow will implement an innovative process to recycle the neoprene, after shipping the neoprene to a specialised factory. The patented recycling process eliminates the use of chemicals or water and utilising electricity, pressure and heat.

To learn more about the programme or locate a place to drop off your end-of-life neoprene in the UK, visit circularflow.net/padi

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DAN Founder Peter Bennett has passed away

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Peter Bennett, PhD, DSc, passed away on Tuesday in the company of his wife, Margaret, and son, Chris. Bennett was a passionate researcher and entrepreneur who founded Divers Alert Network in 1980 and led the organization for 23 years.

Born in Portsmouth, England, on June 12, 1931, Bennett studied chemistry and biology at the University of London, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951. After university he worked at the Royal Navy Physiological Laboratory and in 1964 earned his doctorate in physiology and biochemistry from the University of Southampton.

Bennett loved diving medicine and physiology and was a charter member of the Undersea Medical Society at its founding in 1967. He was later its president (1975-1976), the editor of its journal (1976-1979), and its executive director (beginning in 2007).

In 1972 Bennett moved to the United States, where he was first named deputy director and later director of the F.G. Hall Laboratory hyperbaric chamber facility at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. In 1980, Bennett submitted a proposal to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for a grant to fund an emergency hotline for injured divers. Thus Bennett and his colleagues at Duke undertook responsibility for the hotline that would eventually grow and become Divers Alert Network.

During his 23-year tenure at the helm of DAN, Bennett oversaw introduction of the organization’s membership program, dive accident insurance program, research department, continuing medical education program, training department, and more.

An emeritus professor of anesthesiology at Duke University, Bennett published more than 100 journal publications, 31 book chapters, and several books, including Physiology and Medicine of Diving, a definitive work in the field. He also published numerous reports, workshop proceedings, and abstracts. Among his areas of interest were trimix, deep stops, and high-pressure nervous syndrome.

Over the years Bennett received many awards, including the 1980 NOGI Award for Sciences by the Underwater Society of America. He also received recognition from DEMA, SSI, the Underwater Society of America, the National Academy of Scuba Educators, NAUI, the British Historical Diving Society, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and many others.

“In founding DAN, Dr. Bennett accomplished something truly remarkable,” said DAN president and CEO Bill Ziefle. “It is because of his vision and action that divers all over the world now have the support of an organization that stands ready to assist in the event of an emergency. Dr. Bennet’s inquisitive mind and drive to achieve were gifts to divers everywhere.”

“Peter Bennett dedicated his life to the advancement of diving,” said DAN medical director Jim Chimiak, MD. “Few equal his combined accomplishments as a researcher, organizer, and leader in diving medicine. He will remain a profound influence on everyone working in this increasingly important area of human endeavor. He displayed an infectious, pioneering spirit that rallied expert, worldwide collaborations that routinely accomplished the impossible. He was a great mentor and friend who will be truly missed.”   

Join the DAN community or learn more at www.DAN.org.

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