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Diving with… Alex Bryant, Emperor Divers – Red Sea, Maldives & Indonesia

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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? 

Alex Bryant

What is the name of your business?

Emperor Divers

What is your role within the business?

Managing Director

How long has the business operated for?

25 years

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

23 years. I am an Instructor Trainer.

What is your favourite type of diving?

I love channel dives with ripping currents in places like the Maldives and Komodo, Indonesia.

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 operate a fleet of 11 magnificent liveaboards in three of the most popular diving destinations in the world; the Maldives, the Red Sea and Indonesia. Our team of experienced local and international crew and dive guides love their job, love working with us, and most importantly love diving with and serving our clients, many of whom have been diving with Emperor since we first began, over 25 years ago.

All members of the team respect and love the environment and the underwater world and want to share that passion with as many people as possible, making happy friends along the way. Nitrox is free on all our boats in the Maldives and the Red Sea, and we encourage everyone to use it for their safety.

What is your favourite dive in your location and why?

Fushi Kandu, Laamu, on the South Central and Deep South Southern Sharks itineraries. I love this channel dive especially as it’s like fish soup! The lip of the channel is relatively shallow and, rather than being a steep drop to the ocean, there is a sloping drop from about 12m down to a plateau at around 30m. This then stretches out about 20m or so to the ocean drop off.

This topography allows divers to easily jump on one corner of the channel, cross to the other, and then gently come shallower to 12ish meters, which allows for an extended dive time compared to the majority of channel dives in the Maldives. It helps that there is often a school of jacks on one corner and a school of barracuda on the other, with lots of meaty grey reef sharks in the middle of the channel and copious amounts of reef fish and fusiliers all enjoying a swim and occasional darting hunt. Fish soup of the kind you can happily enjoy.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Maldives: channel dives, manta cleaning stations, pinnacle dives, reef dives, manta night dives, whale shark snorkelling, whale sharks at night behind the boat, hammerhead blue dives, amazing night dives with sharks and rays.

Indonesia: muck diving, manta cleaning stations, hammerhead blue dives, best coral reefs in the world (it’s the centre of the Coral Triangle), whale sharks, reef dives, you name it Indonesia essentially has it all.

Red Sea: incredible visibility, wreck dives, reef dives, hammerhead dives, pinnacle dives, advanced diving, beginner diving, best value you can find anywhere!

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

I love travelling the world meeting divers from varying cultures, promoting our products whilst also encouraging conservation, good, fun and safe diving practices whilst attending dive shows around the world. I am heavily involved in product development; looking for new boats, new destinations and new markets. Projects that develop into products that make clients happy and wanting to return make me equally as happy.

What is your favourite underwater creature?

The manta ray. I have done thousands of dives in the Maldives and Indonesia with these beautiful, majestic, huge creatures and I will never grow tired of watching them glide effortlessly around a cleaning station in a ripping current.

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

We are always working on new products and new ideas; opportunities are everywhere so time will tell. People will just have to keep checking the website, press releases, social media and blogs to find out when they happen.

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

My personal pet hate is plastic. It’s the biggest problem everyone faces, yet very few people realise it yet.

I first became aware of it when the Plastic Oceans team chartered one of our boats to go to Sri Lanka to film the blue whales in 2011 and I was driving the rib for the film crew. It was an incredible experience for me to be using my knowledge of animal behaviour from years as a dive guide to be able to position the film crew close enough to film but in a manner that did not disturb the whales so they would stay around the surface to be filmed. However, the things I learnt from the team, especially Craig Leeson, about the state of the plastic crisis were extremely disturbing. I would strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t yet watched it to watch Plastic Oceans now.

Is your centre involved in any environmental work?

I am personally involved with Sea Save Foundation, which works with CITES for the protection of our environment. We donate prizes for fund raising for SEA Save and a number of other environmental initiatives. We have also worked closely with IUCN in the Maldives, where they have done expeditions on our boats in the Maldives as well as the University of Queensland, Global Change Institute where my brother is a Marine Biologist.

On a more local level, we took the step in 2012 to switch from having single-use plastic water bottles on the boats to giving people refillable gym-style water bottles, which guests can also take home as a souvenir from their trip. We are constantly looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint and, even more so, ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste from our operations.

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

I am encouraged by the number of new cultures and nationalities coming into the SCUBA and marine industry/environments as I feel it is a wonderful opportunity for us to help educate more of the world of the importance of respecting the ocean; the valuable part the oceans play in maintaining and controlling our eco-system and also to educate and assist each other to be more tolerant and understanding of one another. To appreciate the differences, whilst forming bonds that allow us to protect and restore our natural world.

I would love to see more young people coming into SCUBA as I believe the power and passion of the future generations in understanding and believing in what we do will be pivotal in the sustained development of, not only our industry, but our environment too.

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

We operate in some of the best value-for-money and easy-to-access diving destinations in the world. You will not find better locations for the money than the Red Sea, the Maldives and Indonesia with Emperor Divers.

The Red Sea has some of the best visibility and colourful hard corals in the world, the Maldives has some of the best manta action and fish-filled dive sites in the world and Indonesia has a bit of everything whilst being the most bio-diverse underwater environment on earth at the centre of the Coral Triangle.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

You can visit our websites:

Email me at: alex@emperormaldives.com

or visit our Facebook pages:

Gear News

Breaking News: Garmin Descent Mk2 & Mk2i Launch & Review (Watch Video)

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After over 12 months of rumours and speculation, the team at Garmin have finally launched the Garmin Descent Mk2 and Mk2i.

Garmin has gone all out with these, and with the Mk2i having the latest technology in air integration it looks to absolutely be the one to beat!
Why I hear you ask?? Well, they’ve incorporated their Sonar technology into the equation and called it ‘SUBWAVE’ – this will deliver an incredible transmission range of 5-8m..!
How does it work? Well, you’ll need to watch the video to find out!
The dive features are based on the Descent Mk1, while the fitness and life management aspects are based on the incredible Garmin Fenix 6.

With a larger viewable screen, bigger internal memory, and all the latest features including Garmin Pay this promises to be an absolute game changer!

Find out more at www.garmin.com


For more from Richard and Hayley visit www.blackmantaphotography.com.

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Gear News

Northern Diver give you the deals you’d be getting at the Dive Show!

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Northern Diver know how much their customers look forward to the Dive Show every year and the great offers that can be found there, so they have decided to run some of their favourites until the end of October so that people can still experience that Dive Show bargain feeling!

Key Special Offers

Heated Vest – was £89 now £79 with free rash vest

Provide heat to give complete warmth to the body when working in cold conditions.The Northern Diver ‘Electracore’ heated vest has been designed and manufactured with your comfort and warmth in mind. The three heat settings allow you to pick a temperature that suits you and if it happens that you want to raise or lower the temperature, the switch has been positioned in an easy to reach position to the left of your midriff – ensuring that even when you’re wearing your suit, the button remains easy to access.

Varilux LD Max – was £169 now £149

This sleek new addition to the Varilux range is a great choice for a primary dive light. The anodised aluminium body provides a tough exterior and the matt black finish makes the Varilux LD Max stand out from the rest of the range.

Guardian BCD – was £320 now £269

The latest Guardian has an incredible 1680/1000 denier nylon build. There’s thirteen D rings on the BCD, nine of which are stainless steel. There’s also two clips either side of the jacket, two generous zipped pockets and four air dumping methods. The jacket’s two integrated quick-release weight pockets and two rear trim weight pockets give a wide range of weight options.

The Guardian has all-new features and extras: our ergonomically designed power inflator system, Moulded Protection Plate, sliders for vertical adjustment of the chest strap, a removable reflective pocket for our Flexi-Light (light stick not included), and a removable bungee cord with a split ring attachment point.

For more great offers visit the Northern Diver website by clicking here.
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