Long recognized as the birthplace of recreational diving and renowned for its exceptional and diverse diving, the Cayman Islands’ dive industry is inviting all divers to join them in a weeklong celebration of the sport called Legends and Lions.
Taking place from the 4th – 11th October 2014, the inaugural dive festival will showcase Cayman’s superb dive product, honor dive legends being inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, give attendees the chance to join the fight against invasive Lionfish and feature incredible savings in dive packages offered by Cayman’s top dive operators Red Sail Sports, Divetech, Ocean Frontiers and Sunset House.
“It is only logical that one of the world’s top scuba diving destinations should have an annual festival celebrating the sport and highlighting Cayman’s fantastic marine world,” said Red Sail Sports Operations Manager Rod McDowall.
Teaming up with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, the dive industry leaders are bringing together several existing scuba promotions during this traditionally slow time of year to take advantage of excellent off-season rates for this scuba week. Legends and Lions will feature plenty of excellent diving and a number of special topside events. Conservation-minded divers can join the frontline in the battle against the invasive Lionfish – threatening all Caribbean reefs – with a Lionfish culling certification and then removing the pesky predators from local reefs. But that’s not all – the day’s fresh Lionfish catch will be cooked up and enjoyed during a street party hosted by local artist and environmentalist Guy Harvey.
To cap off this scuba week celebration, participants will attend the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, where some of the biggest names in the dive industry will be honored. Cayman is host to the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and all Legends and Lions participants will be invited to attend. These year’s inductees are Alese and Mort Pechter, Bill Acker, Chuck Nicklin, Dan Orr and Neal Watson.
“Divers from around the world will have the opportunity to dive with a dive legend who helped create the sport we all love, and diving with a legend is something you cannot do anywhere,” said Sunset House General Manager Keith Sahm. “Here in the Cayman Islands each attendee will not only be able to dive with them, but they’ll also get a chance to mingle with these dive pioneers when they attend the Awards Night dinner as part of their Legends and Lions package.”
Also invited to attend the festival on a familiarization trip are the top performers from dive shops and booking agents who have participated in Cayman’s Tanks A Lot Rewards Program.
Taking advantage of shoulder season rates, Legends and Lions dive packages offer an excellent price for a 7-day stay. The packages include six daily 2-tank dives to the island’s top dive sites, a dive on the ex-USS Kittiwake wreck, a Lionfish certification with Lionfish Hunt Dive Competition, Lionfish Dinner with Underwater Photo Competition, International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and assorted on-island discounts.
Cayman’s leading dive operators are pulling out all the stops to ensure everyone enjoys an unforgettable dive vacation. Red Sail Sports is adding a free Sunset Sail aboard a luxury Catamaran and a 20% discount on beach toys at all its beach locations. Divetech’s package offers a full meal plan, unlimited shore diving, a dive on the underwater sculpture ‘Guardian of the Reef’, and a pool rebreather test and demonstration. Sunset House’s perks include a Stingray City dive, an afternoon dive on the USS Kittiwake, unlimited shore diving, DAN insurance for an additional $40, plus a welcome drink and gift. Ocean Frontiers’ package added-value offerings include a car rental for the entire stay, shore diving, a catamaran sail and a bottle of wine.
Leading dive operators hope to grow Legends and Lions into the destination’s signature annual dive event promoting its best natural resources – Cayman’s spectacular underwater world, presented by the best dive operators in the business, topped off with exceptional Caymanian hospitality.
“It should soon be on every divers calendar – fantastic diving and accommodations, great air connections, the chance to meet industry celebrities and greats, help the environment by culling and eating the dreaded Lionfish, party and have fun in the Caribbean – what more would you want?” asked Rod McDowall.
To book a Legends and Lions package visit www.divecayman.ky/scubaweek.
Save the Manatee Club launches brand new webcams at Silver Springs State Park, Florida
Save the Manatee® Club has launched a brand-new set of underwater and above-water webcams at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala, FL. These new cameras add to our existing cameras at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida, and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, in Homosassa, Florida, which are viewed by millions of people worldwide. The cameras are a collaboration between Save the Manatee Club, Explore.org, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, who made the new live streaming collaboration possible via support of their interpretative program.
The above-water camera is a stationary pan/tilt/zoom camera that will show manatees and other wildlife from above water, while the new underwater camera provides the viewer with a brand new, exciting 180-degree viewing experience. Viewers can move the cameras around, trying to spot various fish and manatees.
The Silver River, which originates at Silver Springs, provides important habitat for manatees and many other species of wildlife. Over recent years, more manatees have been seen utilizing the Silver and Ocklawaha rivers. “The webcams provide a wonderful entertainment and educational tool to the general public, but they also help us with the manatee research,” says Patrick Rose, Executive Director of Save the Manatee Club. “We have learned so much through observing manatees on our existing webcams, and the new cameras at Silver Spring can add to the existing manatee photo-ID research conducted in this area, as well as highlighting Silver Springs and the Silver River as an important natural habitat for manatees.”
The webcams are streaming live during the daytime, with highlights playing at night, and can be viewed on Explore.org and on Save the Manatee Club’s website at ManaTV.org.
Save the Manatee Club, established in 1981 by the late renowned singer-songwriter, author, and entrepreneur Jimmy Buffett, along with former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, is dedicated to safeguarding manatees and preserving their aquatic habitat. For more information about manatees and the Club’s efforts, visit savethemanatee.org or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).
Dive Worldwide introduces three new resorts ahead of Go Diving Show
Ahead of Go Diving (2-3 March, Stoneleigh Park), the leading scuba diving exhibition that marks the start of the dive season, Dive Worldwide has introduced three new resorts, each one set in a world class diving location. Among them is Coral Eye Resort in Indonesia, an eco-friendly island retreat with a welcoming community vibe where like-minded people get excited about the marine world and all its wonders.
Dive Worldwide has the largest programme in the UK of tailor-made and small group liveaboard and resort-based diving holidays to over 200 destinations worldwide, catering for beginners and experienced divers alike.
Founded as an outpost for marine studies, Coral Eye is a boutique resort on Bangka Island, east of Sumatra, which has been transformed into a diver’s paradise. Today Coral Eye, set in the heart of the Coral Triangle, attracts a community of visitors who share a passion for the sea. Its eco-friendly villas are designed to blend seamlessly into the natural surroundings.
From Coral Eye and the Coral Eye Dive Centre, it is possible to discover more than 30 world-class dive sites– each within 40 minutes of the beachfront dive centre – along with the fascinating volcanic topography and varied marine life around Bangka Island in North Sulawesi. From the beautiful house reef to steep coral-covered pinnacles, charming critters, turtles, and abundant reef fish, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Dives, up to four per day, are guided in groups of four by local guides with a wealth of experience and keen eyes.
Price: 9 nights at Coral Eye Resort from £2,775pp based on 2 sharing including Full board, transfer, 10 dives, tanks and weights
This resort is an oceanfront haven where luxury meets adventure. Against a backdrop of lush greenery and a white sand coast in Playa del Carmen, The Fives Beach Hotel’s location in Riviera Maya provides access to a plethora of renowned dive sites, including the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and the world-famous Cenotes. Within the resort is The Fives Dive Centre with its range of SSI courses, from beginner to advanced. Guests can dive with eagle rays and look for a splendid toadfish in Cozumel. Puerto Morelos has such a cool vibe above the water, but below the surface the National Park is also the best the Caribbean has to offer.
With a diverse range of accommodation, choose from stylish rooms with balconies to vibrant suites and oceanfront residences providing more privacy and a panorama of the Caribbean Sea. Beyond diving, guests can indulge in the hotel’s array of restaurants, relax with a cocktail by one of the hotel’s seven outdoor pools, explore the vibrant local culture at the nearby Mayan ruins or enjoy the hotel’s numerous cultural offerings.
Price: 7 nights at The Fives Beach Hotel and Residences costs from £3,145pp based on 2 sharing, all inclusive, including 8 ocean dives and 2 cenotes dives, tanks, weights and transfers
Located in Puerto Aventuras, these stylish marina and lagoon view apartments, each with tasteful Caribbean interiors, are the perfect location for an ocean and Cenotes diving adventure. The 19 marina apartments offer views over the marina, while eight luxury lagoon apartments overlook a private bay in the lagoon and benefit from a small private beach and a swimming pool.
Diving the magical caves and passages of the world-famous Cenotes in Mexico is conducted with Maya Blue Dive Centre while ocean dives are provided through a local dive centre. The Mesoamerican reef system along the Riviera Maya is home to colourful coral gardens and marine life aplenty, providing an exciting and varied week of diving experiences including plenty of hawksbill turtle encounters. Travel between June and September and add in a snorkelling trip to see the incredible gathering of whale sharks around Holbox Island or Isla Mujeres.
For further information visit Dive Worldwide (diveworldwide.com, 01962 302087).
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