After a few days to let it settle after we witnessed the scuttling, it was finally time to see the C-130 Hercules in its new home under the sea.
Our dive centre of choice was Sindbad Dive Club based in the stunning surroundings of Berenice Beach Club. With a guest pool and dive training pool overlooking the beach and Red Sea, it was a great place to start our diving day. Sindbad is the only dive centre in the area to have their own jetty within the marine park. This makes it easy to kit up and climb aboard with all the dive sites within easy reach just minutes from the jetty. In fact, the furthest site is a mere 20 minute boat journey away.
Khaled Kenawy is the managing director of Sindbad and greeted us on our arrival. He made sure every detail was discussed, putting us at ease about the day’s diving. Everything was very professional with any hired kit already prepared for us in labelled crates. The kit was taken to the dive boat for us by the crew and the boat had ample room for divers, kit and crew. Soft drinks and water were provided onboard.
The C-130 is only a 5-10 minute journey from the jetty and was due to be our first dive of the day. However, Khaled used his experience to make a detour when he saw other dive boats at the site and realised it would be a little crowded. We made our first dive at a site called The Japanese Gardens – a nice relaxed dive, alongside colourful reef life, which prepared us for our afternoon on the Hercules.
After a coffee and tea break back at the Berenice Beach Club, it was time to set out for a hopefully quieter C-130 dive site. We were all excited to experience this new amazing wreck site that will hopefully bring more dive tourism to the area.
Being a shallow dive site of only around 16 metres max, you could see the wreck from the surface as we jumped in. What struck me straight away was the sheer size of the plane. It completely dwarfed the divers that were exploring it and it was a lot bigger than I imagined it would be. The wings disappeared into the distance as you looked out from the cargo hold, while the vertical stabiliser reached up to the surface, towering over me as I swam beneath.
It was easy to penetrate the wreck with numerous wide openings that allowed access to explore inside and check out the cockpit which has a model skeleton at the wheel. I can really see this being an amazing dive site once the sea life and coral start calling it home. The reefs surrounding the plane are stunning and can be explored as part of the dive. The well-known Tank dive site is just a few minutes swim away and perfect for a safety stop, which means you can enjoy it all in one dive. As life starts to form on the wreck, you’ll probably want to spend much longer!
It was a great moment to be able to witness the scuttling of the C-130 Hercules and be one of the first divers worldwide to dive it. What made it extra special was the extremely professional dive centre that hosted us. Check out Sindbad Dive Club at: www.sindbadjo.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your trip!
Check back next week for my blogs on the other diving available in Aqaba and to read about a stunning trip to Petra.
PADI and Circular Flow Partner to Pursue Sustainable Neoprene Recycling Programme
Trial Launches in the UK to Prove Feasibility and Scalability
PADI® is bringing about positive change for our shared blue planet through their partnership with Circular Flow. The goal is to create a closed loop neoprene recycling programme to foster a dive economy that aims to reduce the global impact of old and discarded wetsuits within the dive industry.
An estimated 8,380 tons of old wetsuits lie unused every year, with the majority inevitably headed for landfill thanks to the popularity of thermal protection in water sports, coupled with the lack of scalable, sustainable recycling systems for neoprene.
Recognising the opportunity for innovation, PADI, in partnership with Circular Flow, aims to offer the dive industry effective and sustainable solutions to the problem of disposing of wetsuits and other non-biodegradable neoprene products. The goal is to keep them out of landfills and recycle them into useful products such as mask straps and changing mats. To ensure feasibility and determine global scalability, the initiative will begin with a test in the UK.
“PADI is committed to help reduce the global environmental footprint of the dive industry and support our members and divers to reduce impact as well,” says Drew Richardson, CEO and President of PADI Worldwide. “We are constantly looking for new and scalable ways to do so through our Mission Hubs across the planet. We are proud to introduce and test this ground-breaking recycling programme into our community, enabling every diver to recycle neoprene as part of being an Ocean Torchbearer.”
During the initial trial, divers can bring their clean and dry wet suits and other neoprene items to participating UK Dive Centres from August 11th – August 22nd. PADI and Circular Flow will then arrange for the free collection of the items for recycling. Circular Flow will implement an innovative process to recycle the neoprene, after shipping the neoprene to a specialised factory. The patented recycling process eliminates the use of chemicals or water and utilising electricity, pressure and heat.
To learn more about the programme or locate a place to drop off your end-of-life neoprene in the UK, visit circularflow.net/padi
DAN Founder Peter Bennett has passed away
Peter Bennett, PhD, DSc, passed away on Tuesday in the company of his wife, Margaret, and son, Chris. Bennett was a passionate researcher and entrepreneur who founded Divers Alert Network in 1980 and led the organization for 23 years.
Born in Portsmouth, England, on June 12, 1931, Bennett studied chemistry and biology at the University of London, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951. After university he worked at the Royal Navy Physiological Laboratory and in 1964 earned his doctorate in physiology and biochemistry from the University of Southampton.
Bennett loved diving medicine and physiology and was a charter member of the Undersea Medical Society at its founding in 1967. He was later its president (1975-1976), the editor of its journal (1976-1979), and its executive director (beginning in 2007).
In 1972 Bennett moved to the United States, where he was first named deputy director and later director of the F.G. Hall Laboratory hyperbaric chamber facility at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. In 1980, Bennett submitted a proposal to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for a grant to fund an emergency hotline for injured divers. Thus Bennett and his colleagues at Duke undertook responsibility for the hotline that would eventually grow and become Divers Alert Network.
During his 23-year tenure at the helm of DAN, Bennett oversaw introduction of the organization’s membership program, dive accident insurance program, research department, continuing medical education program, training department, and more.
An emeritus professor of anesthesiology at Duke University, Bennett published more than 100 journal publications, 31 book chapters, and several books, including Physiology and Medicine of Diving, a definitive work in the field. He also published numerous reports, workshop proceedings, and abstracts. Among his areas of interest were trimix, deep stops, and high-pressure nervous syndrome.
Over the years Bennett received many awards, including the 1980 NOGI Award for Sciences by the Underwater Society of America. He also received recognition from DEMA, SSI, the Underwater Society of America, the National Academy of Scuba Educators, NAUI, the British Historical Diving Society, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and many others.
“In founding DAN, Dr. Bennett accomplished something truly remarkable,” said DAN president and CEO Bill Ziefle. “It is because of his vision and action that divers all over the world now have the support of an organization that stands ready to assist in the event of an emergency. Dr. Bennet’s inquisitive mind and drive to achieve were gifts to divers everywhere.”
“Peter Bennett dedicated his life to the advancement of diving,” said DAN medical director Jim Chimiak, MD. “Few equal his combined accomplishments as a researcher, organizer, and leader in diving medicine. He will remain a profound influence on everyone working in this increasingly important area of human endeavor. He displayed an infectious, pioneering spirit that rallied expert, worldwide collaborations that routinely accomplished the impossible. He was a great mentor and friend who will be truly missed.”
Join the DAN community or learn more at www.DAN.org.
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