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Diving Talks 2022: A Review by Ellen Cuylaerts

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The second edition of ‘Diving Talks’ took place 7th – 9th of October on the beautiful peninsula Tröia, close to Lisbon. Speakers, exhibitors and attendees from around the world met at the Aqualuz Convention Centre for 2 days filled with interesting panels. The organization went for a wide diversity of topics. The concept of this dive conference is that during presentations everyone sits down, is present and can participate in the Q & A at the end.

The pace was easy going and after the pandemic I would call every event a celebration. In this case the celebrations started with the opening of an inaugural exhibition of underwater images at the Bibliotheca Municipal de Grandola. Contributing photographers were Nino Vasques Rodriguez, Brandi Mueller, curator Nuna Sa and myself, Ellen Cuylaerts.

The next day was an ‘industry only’ event, allowing the visiting participants to get familiar with the exhibition and brands supporting the industry in and outside of Portugal. At 6pm, the exhibitors and speakers were invited by the Grandola municipality for return bus trip to Grandola, a familiarization visit with the town, and the opening to the wider public of the underwater imagery exhibition. It felt like a schooltrip and spirits were high!

It is no suprise nor secret that Portugal has a huge potential for growth regarding its diving tourism. The Azores are probably best know for big animal encounters but also Madeira, where at the same time as ‘Diving Talks,’ the World Championship’s for underwater photography was happening. Madeira is a hidden gem: wonderful visibility, wrecks, big schools of fish… a wonderful island full of a diversity of colourful flowers. To me, Portugese people, at least those I’ve met my on past two visits,  truly value life, family, the ocean and nature. 

Arlindo Serrao, the heart and soul of ‘Diving Talks’ and the best walking and talking ambassador for the Portugese waters, organised the Saturday and Sunday programme of very interesting panel discussions  (a total of 10) where participants could make their case in 20 minutes. 

On Saturday evening the congress dinner took place. It was the perfect occasion to connect and unwind after spending already some days together and the storytelling continued, which was a great opportunity for memorable moments. 

I can’t wait for the third edition of ‘Diving Talks’ next year and to experience this event again, probably combined with some excellent diving. Arlindo and Sara are the experts to arrange all that. To the whole team, congratulations!

For a full list of speakers and topics, head to www.divingtalks.com and also check out the Diving Talks YouTube channel here where you will shortly be able to watch all the presentations from the 2022 event for free.

As an underwater and wildlife photographer, Fellow of The Explorers Club and having a front seat in exploration being part of the Flag and Honours Committee, Ellen is also inducted in the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She travels the world and tries to make the most of every destination and the path that leads her there. Ellen acts as an ocean citizen and believes as divers we should all be ocean ambassadors and lead by example! Having lived in Grand Cayman for many years, she now lives in the UK.

Miscellaneous Blogs

Jeff chats to… Anca Vaida – Doctor, Actor, Director, Writer and Producer – about her love of Scuba Diving (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Anca Vaida – Doctor (Consultant Psychiatrist), award winning Actor, Director, Writer, Producer and Scuba Diver, about her love of diving.

Anca is a Romanian Actor, Director, Writer and Producer, who trained at East 15 Acting school, London. She has won seven acting awards at a variety of international film festivals for playing the role of Dr Alex Ionescu in the TV series ‘Psyched!’, which she also wrote, directed and produced.

Some of Anca’s most notable projects include Crossing Continents on BBC radio, the film Can We Order First? which premiered at the Berlin Short Film Festival, the play Sorry, My Compassion is on the Blink at the Pleasance Theatre, London, and the play Fine and Dandy at the King’s Head Theatre.

A keen diver, Anca got her PADI Open Water Certification in 2012 and has gone on to dive in Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada and Dahab in Egypt, as well as in Lefkada in Greece, The Cape Verde Islands and Miami, USA.

In her spare time, when not diving, Anca is also a Doctor (Consultant Psychiatrist) with 13 years’ experience in the NHS.

Find out more about Anca at: https://www.spotlight.com/5491-3425-9331


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

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Miscellaneous Blogs

Jeff chats to… Craig Waller, Underwater Lighting Technician on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Craig Waller, Underwater Lighting Technician on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Craig is a Key Grip and Lighting Director with 10,000s of hours of Set Experience.

In Craig’s own words:

I started my career when I was in my first year of college.  I always had that creative side of the brain that needed to be followed as a career.  I thought that would be in designing engineering pieces but wasn’t happy about the idea of an office cubicle and drafting table.

I accidentally found my way onto a big commercial job for a week and decided “THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO”.   I made it my career after that. This is a quick list of recent and big projects in my 35 yrs of TV / Film / Photography.

Most Recently:

  • “Black Panther 2” – UW Lighting Technician / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
  • “Stranger Things” Season 4 – UW Lighting Technician / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
  • “Suicide Squad 2” – UW Gaffer / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
  • NASCAR / FOX Sports 1 – Network TV Lighting Director – 7 years / 700 races of Live BIG track TV shows
  • 10,000s of commercials / music videos / tv shows

I started diving when I was 18 years old with my OW and then AOW with PADI. I was diving with lots of friends in the late 80s and early 90s and then moved onto Kayaking. I got my daughter into diving when she turned 14 and have picked up where I left off.

I have approx 5000 dives now and spend most of my free time diving.

Here are my certs:

  • OW – AOW 1989
  • Adv Nitrox / Deco 2020
  • Cavern – Intro Cave 2021
  • CCR Tech – Fathom – 2021

You can find out more at www.craigwaller.com


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

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