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Diving with… Steve Rattle, Pharaoh Dive Club, El Qusier, Red Sea, Egypt

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In this ongoing series, we speak to 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?

Steve Rattle

What is the name of your business?

Roots Red Sea / Pharaoh Dive Club

What is your role within the business?

Owner

How long has the business operated for?

10 years

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

PADI Pro for 28 years. Instructor for numerous agencies such as PADI, PSAI, BSAC… to name a few.

What is your favorite type of diving?

That’s the thing with diving, you never know what you will experience or see, even diving the same sites a 100 times you will find something new if you look hard enough. Sure I love diving with sharks, warm water varieties! Caverns and caves are great too but I can have as much fun on the house reef on the right day when a pod of dolphins turn up to play.

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

The joy of diving with us around El Quseir is the tranquillity and the serene beauty of the place. You will have amazing pristine coral sites teeming with fish to just you and your buddies. Crowds and commerce haven’t found us yet and long may that be the case; it’s one of the few unspoilt spots in the Red Sea.

What is your favourite dive in your location and why?

Rather than say what is my favourite as I don’t have one, I will tell you what our guests rave about but I can’t keep it to just one. The Rock is an amazing zodiac dive. In the middle of the bay is a mound rising to 18m simply covered with hundreds of anemones and their thousands of resident anemone fish. Having spent some time on the rock it’s a short swim to a spectacular coral garden covering 100’s of square metres of immaculate corals. Just as popular is the Boneyard for those with suitable experience. The Boneyard is a truly atmospheric dive through a maze of caverns and canyons filled with dancing lights and adventure. The dive inside the system is around 45 minutes and you come out to a splendid coral wall with shoals of reef fishes. There are so many more but you asked for one!

What types of diving are available in your location?

Whatever you are looking for, you tell us what you want to do and we will take you to the site to deliver what you want. The most prevalent would be shore diving, walking down the beach and going left or right. Every site has something unique on the entry, whether it be a canyon or a cavern, and these make the dives very special. Some of the sites you can enter and then return at a different site. We also offer zodiac diving around the harbour in El Quseir, which has some absolutely spectacular sites.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Smiling faces! It doesn’t matter how well we publicise and promote the location, virtually everyone that comes is amazed as to how good the base and the diving is, pictures just can’t do it justice. Add to that the whole relaxed ambiance and special experience and it’s easy to see why we have such a high level of regular guests, all that leave with smiling faces!

What is your favourite underwater creature?

As we have so many encounters with them, and have begun to understand their behaviours, it has to be the Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins. We don’t go to them, we know the areas where they will be and dive nearby. They choose to come and play and every time is still a delight for me. When we are back on the zodiac it is almost impossible to remove the smiles off the guests’ faces!

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

Roots is always evolving; we are continuously seeking to improve opportunities and facilities. We have our Open Ocean Science Centre running citizen science projects in conjunction with Glasgow University. OOSC now offer courses too: Survey Diver teaching the proper procedures and methods to conduct marine science surveys, and we have others in the pipeline.

We also are heavily involved with providing Adaptive Scuba, being the Red Sea base for the amazing Deptherapy charity. We hope to open these programmes up to more candidates and plan to continue improvements of the associated facilities.

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

As a destination we still have the misnomer of Egypt being a high-risk location. This is totally incorrect; the Foreign Office have never given advice against travel to El Quseir! The issue in Egypt is obviously not unfounded but the media have an awful lot to answer for with their misleading representations of the country’s internal politics and outside influences. Egypt’s African coast is, and has always been, a very safe destination and finally the tourists are returning in abundance with a massive increase in flight connections.

Is your centre involved in any environmental work?

We are not only involved but we have taken a very strong lead with community interaction and education. We run a volunteer programme where participants are completing daily beach and reef clean ups with the assistance of the local community and our other guests.

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

The policing of the industry is the biggest issue. I often cringe when I see some practises of other operators around the world. A mixture of ignorance being bliss and malpractice is a constant concern. In Egypt the governing body, CDWS, do their best to provide the policing with stringent rules and requirements to gain a legal license, however, the average holiday maker has no idea that the sales guy on the beach is acting illegally or if the dive centre they are taken to are licensed or not. All you can hope for is that ‘buyers beware’ and they check out the operators they are diving with. How much would you pay to be sure you are in safe hands?

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

Ask yourself what experience would you like when you go diving? Do you want to be fighting crowded sites or would you rather have the sites to yourself? Do you want to follow a line of divers in a prescribed route or drop in and go where you want, at the pace you want to go? We offer the latter: relaxed diving on pristine, uncrowded sites. And the sites are simply some of the best shore-based diving in the Red Sea. Our phenomenal repeat business bears witness to this.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

www.rootsredsea.com

www.pharaohdiveclub.com

info@pharaohdiveclub.com

info@rootsredsea.com

Competitions

WIN a Bigblue Expandable Tray!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Bigblue Expandable Tray as a prize!!!

The Bigblue expandable tray (176mm-287mm) has fittings and screws to attach action and compact cameras. The base and handles are made from high grade aluminium with the handles having a neoprene grip. The package also includes clamps and adaptors for 1” ball and YS light fittings.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Handicapped Scuba Association South Africa has announced plans to host their 6th Annual fundraising event “HSASA 50hr Dive–A-Thon 2021” this year. But on what dates will the event take place?

Is it:

  • A) 15th – 17th October
  • B) 22nd – 24th October
  • C) 29th – 31st October

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Liquid Sports Bigblue Extendable Tray March 2021

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Liquid Sports and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 14/04/2021. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Dive Training Blogs

Jeff chats to… Jim Elliott and Tinamarie Hernandez of Diveheart (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Jim Elliott, Founder and President of Diveheart, and Tinamarie Hernandez who is the organization’s Executive Director.

Diveheart is a US-based, nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization which aims to provide and support educational scuba diving programs that are open to any child, adult or veteran with a disability, with the hope of providing both physical and psychological therapeutic value to that person.

In their own words:

We’ve discovered the forgiving, weightless wonder of the water column provides the perfect gravity-free environment for those who might otherwise struggle on land. Underwater, we’re all equal.

Diveheart works with individuals who have a variety of disabilities, including physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more. Diveheart seeks to help its participants “Imagine the Possibilities” in their lives.

 

Find out more about Diveheart and their valuable work at www.diveheart.org.


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Competitions

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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