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Diving the C-130 Hercules in Aqaba with Sindbad Dive Club

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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 divingmanager@sindbadjo.com 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.

Sean Chinn’s scuba diving adventure started in a freezing cold quarry back in January 2011. Maybe the reason he wasn't instantly hooked! However, after an amazing trip to Indonesia in 2013, he realised he needed to see more of the underwater world. With no photography background, he enlisted some help in developing both his diving and photo skills. This kickstarted his diving and underwater photography adventure which has become something of an addiction. Seeing and photographing wildlife is Sean’s real passion in diving but he is always keen to try new ideas.

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Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Christian Horras

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Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The March winner was Christian Horras and you can see their winning image at the top of this page.


What do you love about diving & underwater photography?

For me it is all about showing the beauty of our world underwater to people that don’t dive and thus can’t see it for themselves. I want to share my own passion for the amazing ecosystem that is so much older than everything we know living on land. As I am from Germany, there are only a few people in my surroundings that have ever seen a coral reef or a shark with their own eyes. It is a big privilege to be able to go diving all over the world and in return it should be our task to arise awareness of this fragile and endangered ecosystem.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Nikon D810 in a Isotta Housing and various lenses, depending on the subject: a Sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye, a Nikon 16-35 mm F4 and two Nikon Macro lenses (60mm and 105mm), as well as a WeeFine +13 Diopter. The Fisheye is my main lens, as it allows me to get really close and still cover a big field of view. For lighting I use two Retra Pro Strobes and a Retra Snoot.

Where can our readers see more of your work?

Website: www.christianhorras.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/christian.horras/


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award

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Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to heroes@emperordivers.com.

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact heroes@emperordivers.com for details.

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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

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