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Diving with…. Dive Urge, Dahab, Egyptian Red Sea

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In a new 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

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What is your name?

Lynne Helal-Gillis.

What is the name of your business?

Dive Urge, Dahab.

What is your role within the business?

Owner and Marketing Manager.

How long has the business operated for?

Since 2001, 16 years this year.

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

I am a PADI MSDT and learned to dive in Dahab in 1998.

What is your favorite type of diving?

Low key, shallow, shore dives, impulsive.

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

We are the only dive center in the Red Sea that guarantees no more than 4 guests diving with a guide, for courses and guided. We are an Eco Centre, fully committed to responsible tourism. We are a family run club and offer a unique home from home experience. We are number one for our accommodation on Trip Advisor.

What was your favorite dive in your location and why?

Hard question. I do love Eel Garden which I have done literally hundreds of times but it never fails to move me; the light there from early morning to dusk is always amazing. I have seen everything from Turtles, Giant Morays and spectacular fish balls made up of billions of silversides on the reef being chased by Trevallies, which never fails to give you a wow moment.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Mostly shore dives, but with some sites that can be reached only by boat too, on day trips.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

It’s our baby. Dive Urge is built with and shows the love of the area of Dahab. We are on every aspect of someone’s holiday from the first enquiry until they’re back home…and we all genuinely love making it the best holiday ever for folks.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Another hard one eh? Of course we all get excited when we see a ray of any sort or a large moray sticking his head out of the coral etc.…but hands down it’s got to be the Turtle, so serene and majestic… love love turtles.

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

Yes, the British government will realize that they forgot to lift the ban on direct flights and take off the negative travel advice for South Sinai and let us all get back to work.

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

See above.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Yes, loads, as I mentioned we only dive with 4 guest max and less if they are not compatible divers (i.e. different levels of experience or air consumption). This reduces the impact considerably as a guide can control 4 much better than 6, 8 or even in Sharm… 10 + per guide!

We do regular pickups on shore and anything we come across in the water too. This also creates a good habit for our guests. We teach buoyancy skills to everyone; our Advanced Course includes the Peak Performance Dive as mandatory for this reason. We make sure our guests’ equipment is well trimmed and no dangles.

We conserve water in our club using renewable well water for plants etc. We offer a bottle refilling service for our guests which dramatically reduces the amount of plastic bottles used. We re-cycle everything Inc fruit and veg which is given to the goats. We provide cotton bags for local shopping so our guests don’t have to use plastic bags.

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

I think it needs to take a much bigger responsibility for the underwater environment. I think some dive sites should be closed for a period of time i.e. a year to allow fish to re-populate it. All fishing should be stopped now, even by the indigenous population of Bedouins who see it as their right to do so, but the nets are the killers not the fish they take out.

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

We would like the world to know that Egypt is very safe, and please don’t believe the negative hype in the media which we have all suffered from since the revolution in 2010. As well as promoting Dive Urge we would like to promote Dahab too – I really love this funky little town.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

We have our own website, www.dive-urge.com and are long standing members of Responsible Travel too. We also have a Facebook page and you can find us on Trip Advisor.

Steve Millard is a leading UK based AIDA and PADI Freediving Instructor Trainer who is the owner of Apneists UK freediving group - www.freedivers.co.uk. Currently Press officer to the British Freediving Association and Performance mermaids lead coach.

Marine Life & Conservation

Dive Guides invited to apply for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship

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Reef-World’s campaign is helping dive guides in need receive Green Fins environmental certification

The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is calling for dive guides to submit their application for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship.

As a result of the Scholarship campaign, dive guides working around the world – including Brazil, the Philippines, Egypt, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey – have received their certificate proving their status as a Green Fins certified dive guide. Yet, thanks to funding from Reef-World’s partner Paralenz, 149 more scuba diving guides will be able to receive their Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course environmental certification.

Dive guides who meet the criteria (outlined below) can apply for the scholarship at any time through the Green Fins website. To be eligible for the scholarship, guides must:

  • have completed and passed all modules of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course
  • be able to demonstrate they or their employer are not financially able to purchase the certificate
  • be a national of a country which receives official development assistance from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Scholarship was created in response to feedback from dive guides who had passed the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course and were keen to download and display their personalised electronic certificate but were not financially able to cover the associated cost (£19 / $25 USD). The personalised electronic certificate can be displayed to entice eco-minded guests by informing them the guide has received this vital environmental certification and is aware of how to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with diving.

Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well as the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, created with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) and running on their innovative EVO e-learning platform, teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards and better managing their guests to prevent damage to the reef.

Sam Craven, Programmes Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’re proud to be offering dive guides around the world the opportunity to become Green Fins certified; no matter their background. Both the e-Course and the Scholarship have been a great success so far and we’re delighted to see so many dive professionals demonstrating their commitment to sustainable tourism by taking the course. We urge dive guides who haven’t yet taken the course to consider taking this step and welcome Scholarship applications from anyone who meets the criteria. Together, we can protect coral reefs through sustainable diving and we’d love as many dive guides as possible to join us.”


Dive guides who want to be considered for scholarship can visit www.greenfins.net/green-fins-dive-guide-scholarship-applications to apply.

To donate to the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund, please visit www.greenfins.net/appeal/sponsor-a-dive-guide.

Supporters who are interested in helping additional dive guides receive their certifications can also donate to Sponsor a Dive Guide.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Go Fish Free this February

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There are no longer plenty more fish in the sea! Fish Free February challenges you to help protect our oceans by removing seafood from your diet for 28 days and helping to raise awareness of the issues caused by intensive fishing practices.

Our oceans are in a state of global crisis, brought about by ocean warming, acidification, pollution, and habitat destruction. However, the biggest immediate threat to ocean life is from fisheries. Each year an estimated 1-2.7 trillion fish are caught for human consumption, though this figure does not include illegal fisheries, discarded fish, fish caught to be used as bait, or fish killed by not caught, so the real number is far higher. It is no wonder then, that today nearly 90% of the world’s marine stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. If we do not act fast, overfishing and damaging fishing practices will soon destroy the ocean ecosystems which produce 80% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and provide three billion people with their primary source of protein.

Fish Free February, a UK-registered charity, is challenging people around the world to take action for marine life in a simple but effective way. Take the Fish Free February Pledge and drop seafood from your diet for one month, or beyond. Fish Free February wants to get people talking about the wide range of issues associated with industrial fishing practices and putting the well-being of our oceans at the forefront of dietary decision-making. A third of all wild-caught fish are used to create feed for livestock, so Fish Free February urges us to opt for plant-based dishes as a sustainable alternative to seafood, sharing our best fish-free recipes on social media with #FishFreeFebruary and nominating our friends to do the same.

“Not all fishing practices are bad” explains Simon Hilbourne, founder of Fish Free February. “Well-managed, small-scale fisheries that use selective fishing gears can be sustainable. However, most of the seafood in our diet comes from industrial fisheries which often prioritise profit over the well-being of our planet, resulting in multiple environmental challenges. In some cases, the fishing industry has even been linked to serious human rights issues such as forced labour and human trafficking! Fish Free February hopes to shed more light on fishing practices, create wider discussion around these issues, and offer solutions to benefit people, wildlife, and the natural environment.”

To learn more about these issues and to take the Fish Free February pledge visit www.fishfreefebruary.com

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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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