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Diving with… Black Rock Divers, Tobago

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In this ongoing series, we speak with the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Markus Baumgartner

What is the name of your business?

Black Rock Divers, Tobago

What is your role within the business?

Owner, Director, Master Scuba Diver Trainer

How long has the business operated for?

15 years (from 2002 – 2016 as Extra Divers Tobago) and since November 2016 as Black Rock Divers, Tobago. We are based at Grafton Beach Resort, Stonehaven Bay, Black Rock, Tobago.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

For more than 30 years; PADI MSDT, SSI DiveCon Instructor, NAUI Instructor Trainer, CMAS *** Moniteur, TDI Ext. Range Instructor, DAN O2 Instructor, EFR Instructor

What is your favorite type of diving?

Tropical Water, Drift Diving, Wreck Diving, Night Diving, Shark Diving, Critters and Easy Diving

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

Individual Service, small groups, relaxing, stress free diving environment, short distance to dive sites, healthy reef, rich marine life, shallow to moderate depth, safety first, good quality rental gear, DIN / Yoke valves, metric / imperial gauges.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

Cove Ledge, for nurse sharks, rays and turtles

Japanese Garden, for the most diverse coral reef on the island

Divers Dream, for the most pristine coral reef, large schools of Snapper and Grunt, Nurse Sharks and Eagle Rays. Plus, very strong current!!!

What types of diving are available in your location?

Reef Diving, Drift Diving, Night Diving, Wreck Diving, Shore Diving and Boat Diving

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Sharing my passion for diving and for tropical reefs and wrecks with my customers. I can also have a positive impact on my dive students and divers regarding safety, good dive practice, environment awareness and protection & respect for the marine environment.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Manta Ray

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

Unfortunately not.  We are lobbying the government to recognise that a healthy marine environment can make a positive contribution to tourism in both Trinidad and Tobago.  We are striving to maintain a healthy marine environment and would love to see the creation of protected marine parks, some artificial reefs and wrecks.  Initiatives such as these would help to support the dive tourism industry on the island and bring wider island wide benefits.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

Tobago is still relatively small in terms of tourism which has pluses and minuses for us and our visitors.  The lack of numbers means that we can offer a more personal service and give divers a rewarding experience.  On the negative side it does mean that we are not able to invest more in improving our facilities.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Lion fish control / survey work, Sharks and Rays Survey project, beach & reef clean ups, support for Turtle protection initiatives.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

I am concerned about how diving is becoming a ‘grey’ market. We have to find ways to attract more young people into the activity again. If we succeed we can ensure that we still have customers in the coming 25 years or so. We would love to be able to tempt younger people away from cyber world activities back to the real world!

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

Rich Marine Environment, healthy reefs, huge variety of marine species, good chance to encounter Nurse sharks, Reef Sharks, Sting Rays, Eagle Rays, Manta Rays and different types of sea turtles, great for drift diving lovers, small privately owned dive operator, no mass tourism industry, all year round season, outside of the hurricane belt, decompression chamber / hyperbaric facility on the island, appropriate dive sites for beginners and experienced divers available, water temperature between 26 – 29 degrees Celsius!

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

www.blackrockdivers.com  www.facebook.com/blackrockdiverstobago

www.tobagoscubadiving.com  www.tripadvisor.com  www.graftontobago.com

Email: blackrockdiverstobago@gmail.com

Call: +1 868 741 3945

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Mares & SSI launch new promotion

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SSI expands financial support to SSI Members worldwide. 

2020 has been an unusual and challenging year for the entire world, especially the diving and travel industry!  To weather the crisis, SSI immediately jumped into action to help Training Centers and Professionals around the world.  

In response to COVID-19, SSI launched the No Water, No Problem Campaign, put Final Exams online, and held hundreds of Webinars to train Professionals on how to use distance learning to teach the dry Specialties online. The FREE SCIENCE OF DIVING promotion resulted in SSI Training Centers worldwide register over 50,000 FREE DIGITAL KITS, funding more than $3.5 MILLION IN RETAIL VALUE. Additionally, SSI introduced an aggressive DOUBLE PRO REWARDS incentive to help SSI Professionals compensate 2020 Renewal Fees and reduce those for 2021. Currently, the WE WANT YOU Crossover promotion aims to fill the industry need for instructors and strengthen the entire SSI Professional community.

Now, in conjunction with Mares, SSI is launching the GO DIVING – PROTECT YOURSELF. OWN EQUIPMENT Promotion, which includes a FREE SSI EQUIPMENT TECHNIQUES DIGITAL KIT. This new campaign strives to motivate divers worldwide to go diving and buy equipment. Look for more information on this next retail support campaign within the next few days.

“These are just a few examples of how we have supported and are continuing to support our Training Centers, Professionals, and divers worldwide. To provide even more economic security and help in business recovery, WE WILL NOT INCREASE PRICES FOR 2021. While travel was restricted and some key resort areas completely locked down, SSI mainly focused on supporting domestic markets with retail-driven incentives. Now, in this next re-opening phase, we need to shift gear and assist resort markets that have no local diving community and are 100% dependent on the traveling diver. Therefore, SSI will grant certain special conditions and delayed payment options to specific resort markets which have been locked down for longer than six months or suffered from closed borders,” stated Guido Waetzig, SSI CEO.

Guido Waetzig, SSI CEO, explains further, “To financially support these needed investments which directly benefit SSI Members and to protect the health of our valuable members and staff, we will forego all 2021 Trade Shows over the next 12 months. Despite international uncertainty, every time we experience one of these events, the entire SSI Network emerges stronger and more resilient. Be assured, SSI is your trustful partner within the Diving Industry!”

For more information about SSI visit their website by clicking here.

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Photo Gallery: Shark Diving in The Bahamas

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In our Gallery feature, we let the photos tell the story… Each Gallery showcases a selection of outstanding images on a chosen theme, taken by our Underwater Photography Editor Nick and Deputy Editor Caroline of Frogfish Photography. This time they look at Shark Diving in The Bahamas.


The Bahamas offers some of the very finest shark diving experiences in the world. The islands have protected sharks in their waters creating one of the first Shark Sanctuaries in the world. Several species of shark can be seen and photographed, with each island offering a different type of shark diving, making this destination the perfect place for a multi-island, multi-shark trip of a lifetime.

Great Hammerhead Shark diving in Bimini

Bull Sharks in Bimini

Tiger Shark off Grand Bahama

Oceanic Whitetip Shark off Cat Island

Nurse Shark off Abaco

Caribbean Reef Sharks off New Providence

Lemon Sharks off Grand Bahama

For more images from The Bahamas and around the world, visit the Frogfish Photography website by clicking here.

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