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Diving with… Brendal Stevens, Brendal’s Dive Center & Adventure Tours, Abaco, Bahamas

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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?

Brendal Stevens

What is the name of your business?

Brendal’s Dive Center & Adventure Tours

What is your role within the business?

Owner/Instructor/Capt/Guide

How long has the business operated for?

35 years – we are the oldest continually-owned dive operation in the Abacos-Bahamas

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

I have been diving since I was a very young man, now over 45 years. I am a SSI Instructor, SSI ADV Specialty Instructor, ReAct Rite Instructor CPR/First Aid/AED….also taught prior with SDI & Universal Referral Programs for NAUI/SDI/IDEA/SSI/NASDS

What is your favourite type of diving?

I love the reefs & enjoy wrecks, night dives & seeing marine life like sharks, turtles, rays and macro life too.

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 a small, owner-operated family business with great dive staff & crew. We have invested in 4 tour vessels + 1 sailing vessel to accommodate both group & private charters. We are now doing 3 generations of families for certifications and guided tours.

About 85% of our guests are repeat clients & families we are able to share are underwater world and great Abaco-Bahamas wildlife with.

What is your favourite dive in your location and why?

The Coral Caverns are wonderful swim throughs with great coral formations and sun filtered lighting wonderful for photo work. Lots of sea life BIG and small. This area we have 4 dive sites we can offer all different but wonderful. Lots of bottom time and nice natural light.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Reef shallow – 70 feet (20m) great corals, grouper, tropicals, sharks, turtles & rays.

Wrecks – Historic San Jacinto 50-60 feet (18m) great fish and colors & Wreck Sail just recently put down 50-60 feet nice for photos & fish.

Great mini walls shallow to 55 feet (18m) with corals, sharks, grouper, fish, turtles & eagle rays.

Grouper Alley 50-60 feet (18m) with friendly grouper wonderful !

Deeper Ledge 70-85 feet (26m) with sponges, fish life, turtles & sharks

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

A passion for diving and sharing the underwater world and I love to teach and guide.

What is your favourite underwater creature?

Love more than one! Groupers are GREAT – very smart and nice to interact with. Sharks …black tip, reef, nurse, bull and hammerheads.

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

We are offering NEW all day dive tours to new locations with our new custom tour vessel. We are also offering NEW Wild Turtle Encounters for snorkelers, families and turtle lovers!

We are located off main island of Abaco on Green Turtle Cay so we offer:

Daily free pick up for our guests staying on main island Abaco with our vessel. Because of location we are closer to GREAT dive locations and can reach more locations from the dive base.

Is your centre involved in any environmental work?

Yes, we do wild turtle rescue and help. We started the 1st Lionfish Derby ever in 2009 here. It was developed to be copied and used anywhere in the world to help with lionfish and we just celebrated our 10th anniversary doing this event.

We are hoping to do more work with Wild Turtle foundation this next season. We are also wishing to start the coral re-growing program.

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

¾ of the Bahamas is underwater so we hope many people can SEE and experience this wonderful world young & old. We offer many snorkel tours/experiences here and feel it is important that snorkelers are given information for doing snorkeling since this segment has not been through a dedicated course as divers do when doing scuba classes.

We would like to see better education for use of divers down flags for all people doing snorkelling & free diving.

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

Come and experience our sea life & great wildlife above the water with the menu of tours we offer. The Bahamas turtles, sharks & tropical fish are protected here. The Groupers & Lobsters also have protected seasons.

We are located in a non-urban area with wildlife and natural beauty surrounding both in and out of the water. We offer great dive & activity packages and custom packages based on what is best for clients and their vacation dates. Both group & private are available.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business? 

www.brendal.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BDCBM/

Bahamas Cacique Award Winner for Tourism Finest & Bahamas and National GEO Tourism Award

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Book Release: Diving the Thistlegorm – The Ultimate Guide to a World War II Shipwreck

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Diving the Thistlegorm is a unique in-depth look at one of the world’s best-loved shipwrecks. In this highly visual guide, cutting edge photographic methods enable views of the wreck and its fascinating cargo which were previously impossible.

This book is the culmination of decades of experience, archaeological and photographic expertise, many hours underwater, months of computer processing time, and days spent researching and verifying the history of the ship and its cargo. For the first time, Diving the Thistlegorm brings the rich and complex contents of the wreck together, identifying individual items and illustrating where they can be found. As the expert team behind the underwater photography, reconstructions and explanations take you through the wreck in incredible detail, you will discover not only what has been learned but also what mysteries are still to be solved.

Find out more about:

  • One of the world’s greatest dives.
  • Incredible ‘photogrammetry’ shows the wreck and cargo in a whole new light.
  • Meticulous detail presented in a readable style by experts in their respective fields.

About the authors:

Simon Brown is an underwater photographer and photogrammetry/3D expert who has documented underwater subjects for a wide range of clients including Historic England, Wessex Archaeology and television companies such as National Geographic Channel and Discovery Canada. Jon Henderson is Reader in Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh where he is the Director of the Underwater Archaeology Research Centre. With specific research interests in submerged prehistoric settlements and developing underwater survey techniques, he has directed underwater projects in the UK, Poland, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Jamaica and Malaysia. Alex Mustard is a former marine biologist and award-winning underwater photographer. In 2018 he was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for “Services to underwater photography”. Mike Postons pioneered the use of digital 3D modelling to visualise shipwrecks, as well as the processes of reconstructing original ships from historic plans. He has worked with a number of organisations including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Historic England and the Nautical Archaeological Society.


About the book:

  • Release date 25 November 2020
  • Limited run of Hardbacks
  • RRP £35
  • ISBN 978-1-909455-37-5
  • 240 photo-packed pages
  • 240 x 160 mm

Available to pre-order now from Divedup.com, Amazon, online, and from retailers.

Check back on Scubaverse.com for a review of the book coming soon!

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Deptherapy’s Dr Richard Cullen becomes a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

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Dr Richard Cullen, Chairman of Scuba Diving Rehabilitation Charity Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education, has been recognised as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society is a prestigious Fellowship that is open to those who demonstrate a sufficient involvement in geography or an allied subject through publications, research or professional experience.

Paul Rose, Deptherapy’s Vice Chair, and a world renowned explorer, author, broadcaster, who is a former Vice Chair of the RGS said: 

“This is a huge achievement by Richard. His Fellowship is richly deserved, and a direct result of his steadfast commitment to preserving our oceans through Deptherapy’s very powerful ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ Programme.  I know the top team at the RGS are looking forward to welcoming Richard into the Society.”

The RGS was founded in 1830 to advance geographical research, education, fieldwork and expeditions, as well as by advocating on behalf of the discipline and promoting geography to public audiences.

Paul Toomer, President of RAID, said:

“I have been close friends with Richard for many years and his passion for our seas, even at 70 years of age, is undiminished.  Deptherapy are the world leaders in adaptive scuba diving teaching and are our much valued partners.  Taking UK Armed Forces Veterans who have suffered life changing mental and/or physical challenges and engaging them in major marine biology expeditions, is to most of us beyond the realms of possibility.  The skills these guys have to develop is just awesome.  This is a great honour for Richard, a great honour for Deptherapy, and also for us as their partners.  The diving world must come together to celebrate and acknowledge Richard’s achievement.”

Richard joins some distinguished Fellows of the RGS.  Former Fellows include Ernest Shackleton and many other notable explorers and geographers.

Richard said:

“I am both honoured and humbled to become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. When I was invited to apply for a Fellowship, I was, which is very unusual for me, lost for words.  I hope it will allow me to take our message of Protecting Our Oceans to a larger audience and to further develop our programmes.  The Fellowship is a recognition of the charity’s work to raise awareness of the plight of our oceans.  The credit belongs to a group of individuals who have overcome massive challenges to let alone qualify as divers but now to progress to marine biology expedition diving”.

For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit www.deptherapy.co.uk.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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