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?
I’m Nico, the Dive Center and Watersports Manager.
What is the name of your business?
Euro-Divers has a 40 year experience in the diving industry. We have 12 dive centers in the Maldives and I am in charge of Euro-Divers Amari Havodda, located in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, one of the most southerly atolls of the country.
What is your role within the business?
My job is to make sure we provide a professional and safe service to our guests. We are here to make their day!
How long has the business operated for?
Euro-Divers Amari Havodda opened in February 2016, so we have been operating for nearly 18 months.
How long have you dived for and what qualification are you?
One day I woke up and decided to become a scuba diving instructor. A month after, in September 2010, I started to dive for the first time. Since that I haven’t stopped. I became a PADI Divemaster in November 2010, an Instructor in March 2011 and a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer in April 2011. I am also a Divemaster from the French Diving Federation (F.F.E.S.S.M.) since August 2013.
I have worked in Koh Tao (Gulf of Thailand), Crete ( Mediterranean Sea), Koh Phi-Phi (Andaman Sea), Bocas del Toro (Caribbean Sea), Playas del Coco (Pacific Ocean), Roatan (Caribbean Sea), Kaafu and Gaafu Dhaalu atolls (Indian Ocean).
I also dived in gravel pits in France and Germany, Raja Ampat, Koh Lipe, Hendaye, Caye Caulker, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel… but I have still so many places to discover.
What is your favourite type of diving?
Any kind of diving in a Tropical area. I hate wearing a wetsuit 😉
I have to confess I love Night dives. In my Utopic world I wish day dives would be changed to night dives. Imagine that, doing 2 to 4 night dives “a day”, and sometimes, something unusual, sometimes special…a day dive.
If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
Euro-Divers team is made up by experienced and friendly professional scuba diving and watersports instructors dedicated to their passion. On top of that, the diving conditions here are unique and not yet well known by the diving community. We are always the only dive boat on sites.
What is your favourite dive in your location and why?
I have many actually. My favourite channel dives are Madaveli, Footi Kandu and Shortcut.
The first one is near by the Airport Island. It offers a rich marine life, such as barracudas observing you the whole dive, huge Napoleon wrasses and juveniles too, many fusiliers, grey reef and white tips reef sharks, Rainbow runners, jacks…and manta rays passing by.
The second and third ones have that unique topography that all our divers like so much. The reef starts from 2-3 meters, a gradual slope up to 18-20 meters. Then a flat sandy bottom between 10 to 30 meters wide, and after that, another deep reef parallel to that sandy bottom rising up to 14 meters, with a dune-like form dropping to the deep water of the open ocean on the other side. And I haven’t even mentioned the stunning hard corals everywhere and fish life. Magic!!!
My favourite inland dive sites are Kahabu Giri and Kuda Hafsa Thila.
The first one is a shallow reef with beautiful hard and soft corals. We see lots of cute batfish that will follow you the whole dive, a school of curious bigeye jacks, different kind of fusiliers, many reef groupers and snappers, hawksbill turtle, white tip reef shark and sometimes spotted eagle rays too.
The second is a small site exposed to current. The reef is the habitat of grey and white tip reef sharks, batfish and a resident ribbon eel.
What types of diving are available in your location?
Here on the West of Gaafu Dhaalu atoll, we have channel dives, thilas (underwater mountains) and Giri (shallow reefs).
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
The smile of our guests and their happiness after doing their activity.
What is your favourite underwater creature?
Seriously, so many. I love Sea Slugs, Flatworms, gastropods in general and crustaceans. I am fascinated by so much beauty in such a small body.
Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?
Not as far as I am aware!
Is your center involved in any environmental work?
We do regularly reef cleaning involving staff and guests. We talk to the guests every day about what a snorkeler and a scuba diver should and should not do. It’s all about responsive behaviour (Do not touch, Do not feed the fish, Do not collect or buy corals…). We use Green Fins posters as reference material.
How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall?
They are three different industries. It’s hard to combine them. Diving and snorkeling are already very well present in tropical areas, you can always find a dive center to go diving or snorkeling with.
Freediving is according to me the one with the higher potential of development compared to the other two. Teaching freediving is a growing market. In France for example, they teach all kind of underwater activities through the Ministry of Sports like scuba diving and freediving among others. It’s like being part of a football team; you go to the swimming pool every Wednesday to train.
What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
If you want to experience a unique diving due to the topography, corals and condition, Euro-Divers is the dive center to dive with in Gaafu Dhaalu atoll, no doubt about it.
On top of being a leader in the diving industry in the Maldives for the past 40 years, we offer a flexible schedule, small groups and always choose dive sites according to our guests wishes. You cannot be disappointed.
Where can our visitors find out more about your business?
Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap
The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.
Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.
That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.
Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”
Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.
“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.
The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.
Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”
“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi. The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”
“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”
Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!
For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.
Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)
It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker
This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!
The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!
But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress!
Thanks for watching, Team!
Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady
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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!
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