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Dive Club Trip Report – Oyster Diving Club – Part 3 (Watch Video)

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Oyster Diving Club

OYSTER DIVING CLUB – BEST OF WRECKS RED SEA LIVEABOARD, OCTOBER 2014 – PART 3

(Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.)

Day 5

The boat engines roared in to action at a knackering 4.30am this morning, not ideal when you’re in the cabin next to the engine room.

Today we spent the day at Abu Nuhas, a reef system close to the main shipping lanes to/from the Suez Canal. This means it was an excellent trap to catch out a few Captains who’d let their guard down. Along the reef lays 4 famous wrecks:

  • Chrisoula – the tiles wreck sank in 1978
  • Giannis D – the wood wreck sank 1983
  • Kimon K – the lentil wreck sank 1978
  • Carnatic – the wine wreck sank 1869

Wreck 1 of the day – The Chrisoula K

Chrisoula K Facts:

Built 1953 in Lubeck, Germany

Dimensions – 101m x 14m

Max speed 13.5 kn

Route – Italy to Jeddah

Cargo – 3,700 tonnes of Italian floor tiles

In 1978 it hit the reef at full speed

The wreck lies relatively intact on the reef wall. The bow starts around 4m with the stern at around 26m.

There were loads of interesting places to penetrate the wreck, such as the cargo holds that still contain its cargo of floor tiles, the kitchen, and a machine room where you can still see the tools in their correct positions.

The engine room could be seen through a large door, but it is not advisable to enter as it’s pitch black in there (and a few divers have lost their lives in the past having stirred up the silt).

The coral has now started to cover the upper part of the wreck which meant there were some families of clownfish brightening up the place and other critters such as a wort slug.

Wreck 2 of the day – Carnatic

Carnatic Facts:

Steamship

Launched in 1862

Dimensions – 90m long x 12m wide

Route – Suez to Bombay

Sank – 1869

176 crew and 34 passengers

5 passengers and 26 crew didn’t survive

Cargo – copper, cotton and £40,000 in gold coins (that quite a bit in today’s money) First salvage operation in the world and unfortunately recovered most of the coins (no one know what happened to the rest…)

Our Captain managed to moor our boat right on top of the wreck and with no current it made for a very easy descent. The hull remains relatively intact with a lattice frame work still in place over the top. This made for a very large and airy swim-thru. Inside was a timid school of batfish that made a lovely contrast against the blue water coming through the openings.

Another swim-thru was through the old boiler room and on the exit was a huge moray eel. Despite keeping a close eye open we didn’t manage to find the missing gold.

Weather watch for today: hot, hot, hot with high levels of UV.

Wreck 3 of the day – Giannis D

Giannis D Facts:

Maiden voyage 1969

Dimensions – 100m x 16m

Route – Croatia to Yemen

Cargo – Teak and mahogany

19/04/83 struck the reef

The wood floated and was collected by the local fishermen as its high quality timber and was used to build the first diving liveaboard. The liveaboard itself later became a wreck near Hurghada.

One of the most famous wrecks in the Red Sea – yet it was the first time any of us had done it.

This wreck lay in two main parts. The stern is still relatively intact and provided us with a fantastic swim through. Entering though the main bridge we swam in and down in to the engine room. A large room with a lot of the original wiring, signs and engines are still in place. As we swam through the wreck the different hues of blue would have been an artist’s dream. Returning to the outside of the ship we swam around the stern past the rudder and prop. Despite it being a relatively new wreck, many different types of hard and soft corals are starting to appear, which does make you appreciate exactly how long it takes for coral to grow.

Swimming down the wreck you could see the main portion of the wreck was pretty disintegrated with only a few dozen planks from its cargo remaining. The bow was also slightly beaten up as this was the main point of impact, but still provided for some spectacular photos.

There is a night dive tonight on Dolphin House, near Hurghada – I hope everyone enjoys it!

Tomorrow is our last day of diving, so will be tinged with a touch of sadness.

Day 6

Our final day of diving, and probably the final blog entry (unless something out of the ordinary happens during our night out in Hurghada later).

Having started our journey back towards Hurghada we did our first of two dives this morning at Shab el Ert, or more commonly known at home as Dolphin House. There are three Dolphin Houses in the Red Sea and I’ve never encountered Dolphins in any of them, so expectations were low.

I buddied up with Melvin and Philippe, the French-American (he’s actually Canadian but we’ve had a great time calling him a yank all week). Philippe decided to lead this dive. The dive itself, in Red Sea terms, was not that spectacular – a sandy bottom with coral bommies and lots of little fish. As predicted, there were no dolphins. The highlight of the dive is that myself and Melvin had to tell Philippe that he was leading us in the wrong direction and therefore using various hand gestures we made him aware that the ‘beer fine’ rule was being enforced.

We were about the last people back on the boat and just as we were taking our kit off a pod of Dolphins typically appeared right where we had just been diving. I calmly asked one of the boat guys “quick, quick, grab the zodiac”. Mel and I grabbed our fins and masks and leapt in to the zodiac like a couple of Olympic hurdlers wired on Red Bull.

We lost sight of the Dolphins but our boat driver shouted “JUMP”, so without question we rolled back in to the water. Right in front of us less than 10 yards/meters away were about a dozen Dolphins slowly and calmly swimming right past us. With the cameras rolling we spent several minutes gathering evidence to show the guys back on the boat.

Today’s weather for Mrs G: SCORCHIO

Last dive of the trip – El Mina

This wreck was an ex-Russian frigate that was sold to Egypt. During the Egyptian v Israeli conflict, an Israeli Phantom jet fighter bombed the navy vessel and sank it close to Hurghada Port in about 30m of water. Apart from a large hole where the bomb hit, the wreck is relatively intact and rests on its port side. You can still see the gun turrets, propellers, bow etc. Marine life was fairly interesting even though the coral hasn’t taken hold properly.

Myself, Mel and Phillipe navigated our way over to a nearby trawler. Although not as fascinating to look at, the marine life was! There were thousands of glass fish being stalked by chunky lionfish and crocodilefish.

With our equipment rinsed and drying in the sun we are making plans for a final farewell to this wonderful part of the world. Tomorrow we get to lounge by the pool before our afternoon transfer to the airport. It’s been a great trip and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the company of the Danepack and other guests on the boat. As usual, blue o two have provided us with a first class service and we look forward to returning to the ‘Best of the Red Sea – Shark Special’ next November on board Blue Horizon. If you would like to join us the please email me at mark@oysterdiving.com.

Here’s a video of our trip:

www.oysterdiving.com

Having worked as a Dive Instructor in the Virgin Islands, Thailand and Egypt, Mark returned to the UK in 2006 when he founded Oyster Diving. His principle aims for the new diving centre would be to appeal to the more discerning customer by offering the best facilities, having an integrated travel agency so customers can complete their dives abroad as well as in the UK. In 2010 Mark won Sport Diver magazines' 'Best Diving Instructor'. For more information on Oyster Diving, visit www.oysterdiving.com.

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PADI Teams Up with Wellness Brand Neuro to Drive Ocean Change and Create a Blue State of Mind

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Neuro

Together launching a whale-inspired limited-edition tin to fund ocean conservation

Ocean lovers and wellness enthusiasts can join PADI® (Professional Association of Diving Instructors®)  and Neuro® functional gum and mints in creating positive ocean change.

The two leading lifestyle and purpose-driven brands have united in a shared mission that is born out of the transformational powers of the water and are offering a streamlined way to enhance your wellbeing and that of the ocean. Throughout the year, they will be releasing a collection of two limited edition re-usable Neuro x PADI tins designed to be used with all the bulk Neuro bag products, with 20% of profits donated to PADI AWARE FoundationTMand $100K USD committed to the world’s largest purpose-driven diving organisation’s non-profit charity by the end of 2024.

The first of the co-branded tins that are now available for purchase showcases artwork created by Neuro co-founder Kent Yoshimura, who is also a renowned mural artist and depicts a whale breaching in the ocean.

“The whale is symbolic of how everything is interconnected and small changes can have a huge impact upon our ocean – and all life that calls it home,” explains Yoshimura. “By refilling and using this tin, you’ll cut down on your packaging waste, fuel yourself with clean ingredients to live your best life and do more for all vulnerable marine species.”

At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year and more than 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to pollute our waters by 2025,” says Julie Andersen, PADI’s Senior Director of Brand. “Much of that debris is ingested by all of the ocean’s creatures – including the symbolic megafauna like whales. By creating this campaign, PADI and Neuro have come together to drive change and heal ourselves, our communities, and the ocean – our largest and most important ecosystem on this blue planet, and the very thing responsible for life on earth.”

Uniting Two Purpose-Driven Brands

Founded in 2015 by Yoshimura and his co-founder Ryan Chen on their first dive trip in Catalina, the two college friends and PADI Scuba Divers were looking for a more sustainable way to optimise one’s health and energy – and soon after established Neuro®, a collection of functional gum and mints crafted with a patented formula and clean ingredients to help you do more.

What started as a small start-up conceived on a dive boat, led them to garner international recognition for their appearance on Shark Tank in 2020 – and they have now sold over 90 million pieces of Neuro products.

“Core to our purpose-driven ethos, we want to encourage the world to not only improve their own lives, but the lives of others,” explains Chen. “We understand that being a truly sustainable company is more than just protecting the environment. That is why we prioritise environmental, social, and economic sustainability to ensure Neuro operates in a way that benefits everyone – including the smallest of plankton to the largest of whales that live beneath the surface.”

“Just like Neuro, PADI empowers people to become the best version of themselves when they are in a state of ‘blue mind’, where you become deeply aware of your own personal health’s connection to that of our blue planet’s – realising that your own wellbeing gives you superpowers to make a real difference,” says Andersen. “We are obsessed with creating positive ocean change and transforming lives by making the wonder of the underwater world accessible to all and ensuring that communities and ecosystems live in harmony that mutually support one another. Together, we are magnifying our powers to do more by raising awareness to the issues facing our ocean, while at the same time, providing meaningful ways to take action.”

How the Ocean Healed Neuro Co-Founders

Scuba diving isn’t just a passionate hobby for Neuro co-founders Yoshimura and Chen. It is from this that they experienced the entrepreneurial side-effects of scuba diving, in which the dive trip was a core driver to their business success and personal wellbeing – giving them both their “million-dollar idea” and a renewed sense of purpose and belief that anything is possible.

“It was during this dive trip that we realised the need to have a practical, sustainable, and approachable system that can be shared with fellow divers that provide clean energy during surface intervals,” Yoshimura explains. “When you fall in love with the ocean, you want to spend as much time as possible exploring and protecting it. So, we wanted to create a product that supported this passion and gives you a prolonged state of ‘blue mind’.”

For Chen, earning his PADI Open Water Diver certification also provided him with a pivotal moment in his own healing journey after he had suffered a tragic snowboarding accident that left him partially paralysed. He became certified through the PADI Adaptive Techniques Diving Course and benefited greatly from the physical and mental therapy the sport of scuba diving provides. Soon after, his renewed sense of purpose led him to be named to Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2019.

“There’s no cooler feeling than taking that first breath underwater,” Chen recalls. “All of a sudden you have this superpower, to breathe underwater and explore. Learning to dive re-ignited my passion for life but also my belief that I too could make a difference in protecting and saving the ocean.”

“Learning to scuba dive unlocks hidden superpowers that are not only empowering – but essential to keep our shared blue planet healthy,” Andersen explains. “As a PADI Scuba Diver, you not only develop a new passion, but you also earn the unique ability to protect what you love, engaging in impactful citizen science with your own two hands.  Through a shared mission of instilling hope, connecting with other species, and fueling hands-on conservation, we hope that we can make a better world for all of us.”

“That is why we rebuilt our company mission at PADI to reach every 1 in 10 people on our shared blue planet and inspire them to join us as Ocean Torchbearers to create positive ocean change,” says Andersen. “Our work with Neuro helps us inspire more people to experience, fall in love with, and protect the ocean and all life that calls it home. Together, Neuro and PADI are supporting more people in achieving a state of “blue mind”, in which they realise they too are superheroes that can accelerate and optimise healing: our own, our communities, and our planets.”

Win a Healing Trip of a Lifetime and Become PADI Whale Defenders in Mexico

Note: This competition is only open to residents of the USA

As part of their limited edition re-usable tin launch, PADI and Neuro are offering one lucky winner the ultimate healing trip of a lifetime:  the chance to become a PADI Whale Defender in Baja California, Mexico. The prize includes flights, accommodation, the PADI Whale Defender Course, and a whale-watching tour with Dive Ninja Expeditions for two, as well as a collection of Neuro mint and gum products that includes Energy + Focus, Calm + Clarity and Sleep + Recharge.

“Together, we all must heal ourselves before we can heal the planet,” says Andersen. “Neuro and PADI are united in purpose, focused on our holistic wellbeing by healing from within, connecting with like-minded, purpose-driven communities, and joining a movement bigger than yourself to create positive ocean change. Seeing is believing, and an unforgettable, life-altering encounter with a whale will change your life forever, filling you with a drive to protect their – and our – blue world.”

For more information, to purchase the limited edition re-usable tins and to enter this competition, visit padi.neurogum.com/sweepstakes.

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Diver Discovering Whale Skeletons Beneath Ice Judged World’s Best Underwater Photograph

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UPY

An emotive photograph showing a freediver examining the aftermath of whaling sees
Alex Dawson from Sweden named Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024. Dawson’s
photograph ‘Whale Bones’ triumphed over 6500 underwater pictures entered by underwater
photographers from around the world.

“Whale Bones was photographed in the toughest conditions,” explains chair of judging
panel Alex Mustard, “as a breath-hold diver descends below the Greenland ice sheet to bear
witness to the carcasses. The composition invites us to consider our impact on the great
creatures of this planet. Since the rise of humans, wild animals have declined by 85%. Today,
just 4% of mammals are wildlife, the remaining 96% are humans and our livestock. Our way
needs to change to find a balance with nature.”

UPY

Photo: Rafael
Fernandez Caballero

Whales dominated the winning pictures this year with Spanish photographer Rafael
Fernandez Caballero winning two categories with his revealing photos of these ocean giants:
a close up of a grey whale’s eye and an action shot of a Bryde’s whale engulfing an entire bait
ball, both taken in Magdalena Bay, Baja California, Mexico. Fernandez Caballero took ‘Grey
Whale Connection’ while drifting in a small boat, holding his camera over the side in the water
to photograph the curious whale. ‘The End Of A Baitball’ required Fernandez Caballero to dive
down and be in exactly the right place at the moment the whale lunged. “The photo shows
the high speed attack,” he said, “with the whale engulfing hundreds of kilograms of sardines
in one bite — simply unforgettable to see predation on such a scale.”

UPY

Photo: Rafael
Fernandez Caballero

Lisa Stengel from the United States was named Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024 for her image of a mahi-mahi catching a sardine, in Mexico. Stengel used both a very fast shutter speed and her hearing to catch the moment. “If you listen there’s an enormous amount of sound in the ocean,” she explained. “The action was too fast to see, so I honed in on the sound of the attacks with my camera to capture this special moment.”

“It is such an exciting time in underwater photography because photographers are capturing such amazing new images, by visiting new locations and using the latest cameras,”
commented judge Alex Mustard. “Until this year I’d hardly ever see a photo of a mahi mahi,
now Lisa has photographed one hunting, action that plays out in the blink of an eye.”
The Underwater Photographer of the Year contest is based in the UK, and Jenny Stock,
was named as British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024 for her image “Star
Attraction”, which finds beauty in species of British wildlife that are often overlooked.
Exploring the west coast of Scotland, Stock explained “in the dark green depths my torch
picked out the vivid colours of a living carpet of thousands of brittle stars, each with a
different pattern. I was happily snapping away, when I spotted this purple sea urchin and I
got really excited.”

Photo: Jenny Stock

In the same contest, Portuguese photographer, Nuno Sá, was named ‘Save Our Seas
Foundation’ Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2024, with his photo ‘Saving
Goliath’, taken in Portugal. Sá’s photo shows beachgoers trying to save a stranded sperm
whale. The picture gives us hope that people do care and want to help the oceans, but also
warns us that bigger changes are needed. “The whale had been struck by a ship and its fate
was sealed,” explains Sá. “An estimated 20,000 whales are killed every year, and many more
injured, after being struck by ships-and few people even realise that it happens.”

UPY

Photo: Nuno Sá

More winning images can be found at www.underwaterphotographeroftheyear.com.

About Underwater Photographer of the Year

Underwater Photographer of the Year is an annual competition, based in the UK, that celebrates photography beneath the surface of the ocean, lakes, rivers and even swimming pools, and attracts entries from all around the world. The contest has 13 categories, testing photographers with themes such as Macro, Wide Angle, Behaviour and Wreck photography, as well as four categories for photos taken specifically in British waters. The winners were announced in an award ceremony in Mayfair, London, hosted by The Crown Estate. This year’s UPY judges were experienced underwater photographers Peter Rowlands, Tobias Friedrich and Dr Alexander Mustard MBE.

Header image: Underwater Photographer of the Year 2024 winner Alex Dawson

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