Connect with us
background

News

Divetech hosts freedivers from across the US in first ever event

Published

on

Divetech

From Saturday, March 19 – Saturday, March 26, ocean lovers from across the U.S. descended on Divetech’s dive shop and Lighthouse Point Dive Resort in Grand Cayman for a week-long freediving training camp in the clear, deep waters of Northwest Point. Freedivers hold their breath until resurfacing rather than using scuba gear during a dive, saying they enjoy being in the water in its purest form and in total freedom.

“It’s one of the fastest growing aspects of the dive industry,” said Nick Fazah of East Coast Divers in Boston, MA and SSI Freediving Training Director. He travels all over the world training freedivers and teaching classes, and teaming up with Divetech, Fazah organized his first training camp in the Cayman Islands, saying it won’t be his last.

8fab78c8-f948-4819-8ef5-6d2847bb9d16

52a8eea4-4a1b-4e39-8196-ed9b690cd32e“Freediving is new and exciting – it has that edge and requires a certain level of physical endurance. For most people Freediving is a personal challenge.”

Divetech’s Jo Mikutowicz, an avid freediver, agrees. “ “It’s a very quiet sport and it takes a lot of focus and concentration within yourself. As soon as you go below the surface of the sea everything is silent and your brain will want to give up before your body does, so mental focus is very important.”

All freedivers share a love of the ocean and a focus on conservation. 24 attendees came from Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Colorado, Arizona and California to spend the week sharpening their skills at an ideal location. The entire group stayed at Divetech’s Lighthouse Point Dive Resort just steps away from some of Grand Cayman’s best dive sites.

Training camp included pool work and classroom presentations at the dive shop, and a lot of time in deep water just offshore. The dive site is perfect for all training levels because after a short swim, divers reach a mini wall that starts at 40 feet and drops off to 65 feet, and then they can swim further out to the main wall that starts at 65 feet and drops off into the deep blue abyss. When the wind kicked up Divetech provided a dive boat to take the group to the calm side of the island.

Divetech has long promoted freediving, and hosting the camp with Nick Fazah has created a natural partnership to advance the sport.

“Divetech is awesome,” said Fazah. “Most of their dive instructors are very good freedivers and they are all active. Freedivers are part of a cool community of like-minded people who, regardless of their skill level, get along and help each other out. Everyone has very similar views on ocean conservation.”

38809e93-be30-4a80-884c-625a3cee8b2b

Fazah says most attendees were recreational freedivers but there were also a number of dive professionals. All are working on the various forms of discipline for the sport, both physical and psychological, as they complete different levels of training from basic certification to instructor trainer level. Nutrition lessons were also included, and each day began with a yoga session in the warm Caribbean sun.

“Freediving is also a personal journey for people who want to explore what they are personally capable of in the natural underwater world,” he explains. “Yoga is about focusing on breathing and position of the body. Yoga is about looking within yourself and free diving is about a connection with the ocean, its very cool.”

400eda1c-4702-4ac1-be39-2d080672de7d

“Everyone should try freediving because it is a very safe sport and really pushes your mind to overcome doubts,” agrees Jo Mikutowicz. “It’s a great way to explore the ocean in a different way and spend time underwater in a very silent world. People will be amazed at what their bodies are capable of.”

The training camp was such a success that it will become an annual event, and Mikutowicz says many of those in attendance were ready to put deposits down for next year’s event.

“There was a big mix of talent and everyone loved it!” said Fazah.

8cd0755b-5341-4d69-bee7-251ebec19d1b

About Divetech

Divetech is an IANTD Platinum Facility / TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer Facility / PADI Resort / PADI TecRec Facility / PADI Project Aware Center / SSI Resort / IANTD & SSI Freediving Center / BSAC Resort / National Geographic Center/ Scuba Rangers Club / Universal Training Facility / PADI Swim School / DAN Technical Field Research Station full service dive operator with facilities at Lighthouse Point Dive Resort on Northwest Point Road in West Bay, located just a few miles north of the hustle and bustle of Seven Mile Beach. Considered one of Grand Cayman’s leading dive operations, Divetech has been providing quality dive services since 1994. Divetech has earned a reputation as the place to go in Grand Cayman for quality training from kids to trimix with 18 Instructors on staff.

bc1cb4ab-da70-4a8b-90e9-913905abcb99

Divetech offers great dive and room packages with its resort partners Lighthouse Point Dive Resort, Holiday Inn, Sunshine Suites, Grandview Condos and Shangri-la bed and breakfast.

For more information call toll free (888) 946-5658 FREE, in Grand Cayman call (345) 946-5658, visit www.divetech.com, or e-mail reservations@divetech.com.

Marine Life & Conservation

UK Shark Fin Trade ‘dead in the water’

Published

on

The government has today signalled the end of the UK’s involvement in the global shark fin trade with an announcement that new legislation will require all imported and exported shark fins to remain attached to the shark carcass and only traded as a whole commodity.

The news has been welcomed by Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation and its supporters including wildlife TV presenter Steve Backshall MBE and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who both endorsed the charity’s No Fin To Declare campaign, calling for a post-Brexit ban of the personal import allowance of shark fins to the UK.

Before Britain left the EU it had been bound by outdated legislation that permits anyone to carry up to 20kg of dried shark fins into and across European borders as part of their personal import allowance. According to Bite-Back, this loophole has been exploited by the shark fin trade to legally ‘smuggle’ fins undetected for decades.

Campaign director at Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: “This news puts the UK at the forefront of shark conservation and represents a further blow to a global industry that is forcing sharks closer to the brink of extinction. We applaud the government for using Brexit to side-step this archaic EU legislation and instead lead the world in the conservation of sharks and the oceans. We hope and believe this announcement will encourage other European countries to impose similar constraints.”

It’s estimated that global fishing fleets hunt and kill 73 million sharks every year. As a result one in four shark species is now either endangered or threatened forcing populations of iconic shark species including great whites, hammerheads, oceanic whitetips and threshers to a tiny fraction of those recorded 50 years ago.

Over the past decade shark fins — used as the title ingredient in shark fin soup — have become one of the most valuable seafood items in the world, a fact the charity says, has created a ‘marine gold rush’ to catch and separate sharks from their lucrative fins.

Shark fin soup is widely regarded as a controversial dish. Not only are the cartilaginous strands from the fins tasteless, fishermen are known to cut the fins off the sharks they catch and throw the rest of the shark overboard to die.

Bite-Back first exposed the personal import allowance loophole in 2015. Alongside the detrimental environmental impact the NGO also highlighted that no other item on the ‘green channel’ list compared in terms of volume or value. In fact a 20kg consignment of fins is enough to make 705 bowls of shark fin soup and has a black market value of around £3,600.

Spain, France, Portugal and the UK all feature in the top 20 shark fishing nations in the world. Remarkably though, for years, the UK has exported around 25 tonnes of shark fins to Spain for processing and onward sale to the Far East.

However, it will soon become illegal to import or export individual shark fins making it extremely costly and inconvenient to buy and sell a product that is contributing to the decimation of vital shark populations.

Wildlife TV presenter and Bite-Back patron, Steve Backshall MBE, said: “Today’s news is a fantastic outcome for shark conservation and the culmination of years of campaigning from Bite-Back. The government’s decision to effectively ban the trade in shark fins will be significant in helping to restore the balance of the oceans. At the same time it sends a clear message to the world that shark fin soup belongs in the history books and not on the menu.”

Support shark and marine conservation at www.bite-back.com

Continue Reading

News

Protecting England’s Wreck Sites: Site Security Protocols Launched

Published

on

The security of heritage assets is of the utmost importance; a monetary value cannot be attached to the significance of a site or its associated artefacts. This statement is true for both on land and underwater sites.

The policing of underwater sites however, is often a trickier affair, with out-of-sight often equalling out-of-mind. Unfortunately, a site’s underwater location does not stop thieves from stealing or damaging artefacts.

To aid in the protection of our underwater cultural heritage, a selection of sites of historical, artistic and archaeological importance have been protected by law under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/what-is-designation/protected-wreck-sites/). Historic England manage these sites on behalf of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, Digital and Sport (DCMS), and a team of Licensees, effectively voluntary custodians, play a key role in their ongoing management.

The licensees work tirelessly on the wrecks and have had a special relationship with them since the very first days of the Protection of Wrecks Act. If it wasn’t for them, many of the sites would still be unknown and we would have very little knowledge of many of the existing sites. Their presence on the sites acts as a deterrent to anyone thinking of accessing the sites illegally and their monitoring ensures that the sites are understood and enjoyed by many people.

To further aid in the physical protection of these significant sites, Historic England funded a partnership project between the Protected Wreck Association (PWA https://protectedwrecks.org.uk/) and MSDS Marine (https://msdsmarine.com/). This national-level project has seen the development of Site Security Plans for protected wreck sites. The model developed is based on the highly successful model developed by Ron Howell and the SWMAG team who are Licensees for the Salcombe Cannon and Moor Sands protected wreck sites.

A Site Security Plan is the end result of a process which assesses how secure a site is from illegal access. By completing two very easy to use but highly specialised forms, the site is given:

  • Its own Site Security Champion
  • Its own Heritage Crime Officer in the Police
  • A level of risk of heritage crime occurring to enable appropriate response to be put in place and to allow targeting of resources
  • Quick win opportunities to decrease its level of risk
  • A protocol for the licensees to follow every time they access the site
  • Specialist guidelines to enable crime reporting to enforcement authorities
  • A toolkit consisting of: A High Vis vest, to help identify the Site Security Champion to the public / authorities and pocket-sized card, summarising guidance on reporting crimes.

The project team will be supporting Licensees and their teams in completing a Site Security Plan and Risk Assessment for each Protected Wreck Site. MSDS Marine will be contacting Licensees inviting them to book a slot to work through the process. Individual Licensees and teams can also follow the guidance to complete the documents on their own with MSDS Marine on hand to support as required.

The Site Security Forms are accessible on the Protected Wreck Association website, in the members only area https://protectedwrecks.org.uk/members-area/site-security/ . If you are not a member and would like to join, this is an excellent time, as its free!

Assessing the security of a wreck site will inform Historic England of any sites which are at a high risk of heritage crime, and aid them in the future management of these sites. It will assist Licensees in highlighting areas for concern and in turn offer positive actions that can be taken to reduce the threat. It is hoped that the scheme will help put practical measures in place to ensure that the sites are protected from illegal activity in future.

Alison James, Project Manager at MSDS Marine said: “I spent ten years working at Historic England managing England’s protected wreck sites and at times was incredibly frustrated by being unable to ‘police’ the sites. The model we have developed is based on the highly successful model developed by SWMAG which has been shown to work on a number of occasions. We hope this will make a real difference to the sites and the teams that work on them.”

Professor Mike Williams, Chair of the Protected Wreck Association said: “We are delighted and grateful that Historic England has funded this project. It will enable us to undertake valuable work to support our members, who are dedicated volunteers protecting our maritime heritage.”

Hefin Meara, Marine Archaeologist at Historic England said: “We are pleased to support this important project and recognise the enormous contribution that licensed volunteer divers are making to help protect England’s fascinating marine historic environment.”

For more information please visit www.ProtectedWrecks.org.uk , www.MSDSMarine.co.uk, and www.historicengland.org.uk.

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

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

More Less

Instagram Feed

Popular