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Dive Vietnam

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Vietnam

I first came to SE Asia when I was 19. A solo female backpacker travelling the world, meeting new people, exploring countries I had never been to before. Unfortunately, until very recently, Vietnam remained on this list of countries that I had never visited. However, this year I was lucky enough to spend a wonderful 10 days in this beautiful country. On my travels I’d heard so much about Vietnam – its breath-taking natural beauty, the delicious food, the kind people; one thing that I hadn’t heard much about however, was the diving.

First stop: Phu Quoc

VietnamMy first stop was Phu Quoc, a tranquil island in the south of Vietnam. I was met upon my arrival by my dive buddy from Rainbow Divers. I spent three days here in Phu Quoc where I did my Padi Nudibranch Speciality Course – a qualification specific to Vietnam. The course involved us going out on the dive boat every day and looking for nudibranchs, identifying them and then at the end of my three days here doing a short written exam. The visibility in Phu Quoc wasn’t the best and we didn’t see a huge amount on the dives, however I was surprised at how many different types of nudibranchs we saw – there were so many! All different sizes and colours – more than I have seen anywhere else in the world.

The capital city of Ho Chi Minh

I left Phu Quoc on a very delayed Vietjet plane – something that I quickly learnt was expected in Vietnam. I was heading to the capital city of Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh, also known as Saigon, is an ex French colony and therefore the city has a lot of French influence which I absolutely loved. Many of the buildings have French colonial architecture which makes it very picturesque, despite the swarms of mopeds driving round the city.

I was picked up from the airport by a driver from the 5* Hotel Caravelle where I was staying. After backpacking round Thailand this was an absolute luxury and he even had a cool box with him filled with soft drinks and beer! When I arrived at the Caravelle Hotel I was greeted by the manager of the hotel and the very kind staff as well as Jeremy – the owner of Rainbow Divers. We had some photos taken at the entrance for the local press and I was taken to my incredible two-room suite. After my backpacking adventures I was in heaven!

I wish I had longer in Ho Chi Minh as I loved the small amount of the city that I managed to see in my short stay. However, my delayed flight cut my time short here and early afternoon the next day we were off to the airport again to fly to Nha Trang.

My final destination: Nha Trang

VietnamNha Trang is a coastal resort, famous for its beaches and diving and I soon learnt it is very popular with the Russians. Here I stayed at the Evason Ana Mandara Resort – Nha Trang’s only beach front resort. The staff here were so friendly and kind and I was told I was staying in one of the beach front bungalows for my three night stay here. I was being so completely spoilt again with my accommodation! The bungalow was huge – I had my own balcony looking out to sea, a beautiful four poster bed and my favourite part of the room –  the outdoor shower/bath! Everyday I felt like I was showering outside in and amongst nature, which was truly blissful.

I dived in Nha Trang every day and was picked up from the hotel by Rainbow Divers early every morning by the Rainbow Divers bus that took us to to the dive boat. I was really surprised by the great diving in Nha Trang. As I mentioned earlier in my post, I hadn’t read much or heard much about the diving but the visibility here was really great, we saw loads of different species of fish on every dive including Bat Fish, Octopus and Giant Moray Eels, although the water temperature was a little chilly (for me anyway!)

My free time in Nha Trang I spent lazing in the hammocks of the hotel grounds, drinking cocktails by the infinity beach front pool and having Vietnamese cookery classes with the Sous chef or taking private yoga classes on the beach. The hotel, with it’s breath-taking views across the bay, really was paradise, and I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone travelling to Nha Trang.

I had such an incredible trip to Vietnam, diving with Rainbow Divers, staying in the beautiful accommodation, exploring new places and meeting some incredible people. I can’t wait to return.

Sarah Winterbottom is currently the title holder of Miss Scuba United Kingdom. She won the title in October, and since then has gone on to compete in the international finals of Miss Scuba International in Malaysia, placing in the top 5. Since winning Miss Scuba United Kingdom has completed her PADI advanced open water and dry suit qualification and is currently doing her rescue course in Thailand. Sarah also dived in Egypt, Cyprus, Malaysia and the UK for the first time since entering the pageant, and hopes to continue diving this year and to learn more about marine conservation. Sarah is from London and when she isn't diving - or doing all things Miss Scuba - works in PR. Sarah loves to workout and train at bootcamp several times a week. She also loves taking part in high intensity obstacle courses and took part in Tough Mudder last year in order to raise money for Deptherapy. Sarah is multi-lingual, having studied Spanish and Portuguese at The University of Manchester, and was lucky enough to live in South America as part of her degree. Travelling is a huge passion of Sarah's and she will be going on to dive in Vietnam after Thailand.

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Get moving with the new RAID DPV training programs

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The thrill of speeding through the water behind a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is an experience that really gets the blood racing. Using a DPV provides divers both immense fun and the means to achieve goals that would be impossible without their use.

RAID is proud to announce the new two-tier DPV training program with certifications for DPV and Advanced DPV.

Why DPV and why now?
Recreational and technical divers are using DPVs to access sites that would be difficult to reach and explore using traditional propulsion methods; to help propel large amounts of heavy equipment; to increase the safety of dives in areas of strong current; or just for the pure exhilaration of shooting through the water at speed and performing underwater acrobatics.

By extending your capabilities and extending your range, using a DPV opens new vistas for exploration and fun.

DPV
This certification option is aimed at the recreational diver who wishes to learn how to use a DPV to enhance their diving by using mainly natural navigation.

Advanced DPV
This certification option is available to anyone who is familiar with longhose configuration, has logged a minimum of 20 dives and is certified as Navigation specialty divers.

This certification option is aimed at the slightly more experienced diver with preexisting navigational training and diving on a single, twin or sidemount setup with a longhose. Although this level is slightly more challenging, the more advanced navigation exercises provide an important base for more complex types of DPV diving within a team.

PREREQUISITES
You must:

  • Be a minimum of 12 years old.
  • Be certified as RAID Open Water 20, Junior Open Water or equivalent.

Just visit www.diveRAID.com to put some extra dash into your dives.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Beers raise cash for ocean clean-up

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The Driftwood Spars Brewery, a pioneering microbrewery based on the North Cornwall coast, is donating a percentage of all profits from its Cove range of beers to Fathoms Free, a certified charity which actively cleans the ocean around the Cornish peninsula.

Each purchase of the small-batch, craft beers – there are four different canned beers in the Cove range – will help generate funds to purchase a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and fund retrieval dives; every brew will raise the equivalent cost of a fully-funded dive. 

Fathoms Free is a Cornwall-based charity whose day-to-day mission involves dives from their fast-response specialist vessel to recover ghost fishing gear; abandoned nets, pots, angling equipment and other plastic causes severe damage to the marine environment and the death of countless seabirds, seals, dolphins and other sea life.

The campaign to raise funds for an ROV is a new initiative which will take the clean-up work to a new level; the highly manoeuvrable underwater vehicle will be used to scour the seabed, harbours and remote parts of the coastline for abandoned fishing gear and other marine litter.

Project Manager Natallia Paliakova from Fathoms Free said: “Apart from helping us locate ghost gear underwater, the ROV will also be capable of recording underwater video which is always great for raising awareness about marine pollution issues.”

She added: “We are really excited to be partnering with The Driftwood Spars Brewery and appreciate the proactive support of Mike and his team in bringing the purchase of an ROV a step closer to reality.”

Head Brewer Mike Mason personally approached the charity after their work was featured on the BBC 2 documentary, ‘Cornwall with Simon Reeve’.    

He said: “As a keen surfer I am only too aware of the problem of marine litter and had heard about Fathoms Free, but seeing them in action prompted me to find a way of contributing. The scale of the challenge is scary, but the determination of organisations like Fathoms Free is inspiring.”

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

The Driftwood Spars Brewery was founded in 2000 in Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes; the microbrewery is just a few steps away from it’s co-joined brewpub, The Driftwood Spars; both pub and brewery are well-regarded far beyond the Cornish cove they call home. 

You can hear the waves and taste the salt on the air from the door of both brewery and pub, and the rough seas along the rugged North coast often throw up discarded nets and other detritus; Louise Treseder, Landlady of The Driftwood Spars and a keen sea swimmer, often collects washed up ghost gear on her daily beach excursions.     

Louise commented: “This is a great partnership to support a cause close to our hearts – I know the money we raise will have a positive and lasting impact. The Cove range was inspired by our unique surroundings and the artwork – by local artist Jago Silver – reflects that. Now donations from each purchase will contribute towards the vital ocean clean-up taking place right on our doorstep.”

The Cove range can currently be purchased online here, and is available in good independent bottle shops in Cornwall.

To find out more about Fathoms Free visit their website here.

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Competitions

This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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