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Diving with…George Gross, Valentines Dive Center, Eleuthera, 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?

George Gross

What is the name of your business?

Valentine’s Dive Center

What is your role within the business?

Owner

How long has the business operated for?

Over 25 years

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

I have been diving since 1975, I am a PADI Dive Master

What is your favorite type of diving?

Big animal action diving (sharks, Eagle Rays, Manta Rays, seals, whales)

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

Top shelf service on a great island with complementary professional underwater images provided to customers of all our dive and snorkeling trips.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

Current Cut is a high speed drift dive with high probability of big animal action. We have seen sharks, squadrons of Eagle Rays, turtles and more…

What types of diving are available in your location?

We have wreck dives, shallow and deep reef dives and drift dives.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

I get to dive daily with visiting clients and provide them with free underwater images that will keep their memories of diving with us alive.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Sharks!

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

Yes! We are working with the Perry Institute of The Bahamas and Florida to set up coral nurseries.

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

We see the potential resources of our seas being depleted due to the high demand from customers for seafood.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Yes, as I mentioned above we are involved in an exciting project to help our coral reefs by setting up a coral nursery.

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

I would love to see the government policing the marine resources here in The Bahamas. We need Marine Protected Areas, limits on catch sizes and more protection of vulnerable species.

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

We specialize in divers just starting out, as well as those on vacation in The Bahamas.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

Website: www.valentinesdive.com

Email: dive@valentinesdive.com

Phone: 242-333-2080

Facebook: @Valentines.Dive.Center

 

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TRAVEL BLOG: Jeff Goodman Dives SOMABAY, Part 3

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somabay

Today we are diving one of the outer reefs from an inflatable. As we reach the bottom, a reef octopus eases its way into the cover of a small crack in the coral while displaying it’s incredible ability to change colour. They are arguably one of the most charismatic of reef dwellers and it is always exciting for me to simply hover and watch. I would have spent longer and waited for it to come and investigate me, but as dive time is limited we wanted to move on and find a turtle.

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The waters around Somabay are well protected and hold a rich variety of marine life. The reef edges are thriving colonies of coral and shoaling fish, while nearer the sea bed plenty of wildlife is still to be found.

somabay

Then we located the turtles. They are very used to divers and so show little concern when slowly approached. In fact occasionally one will come over to see what you are doing. There is always huge excitement when diving with a turtle. The shear thrill of sharing a moment with another species.

somabay

What a fantastic way to finish a wonderful few days diving and I would like to thank SOMABAY, ORCA DIVING and THE BREAKERS for making my stay such a good one.

I had a great time, with diving everyday either on the house reef or on one of the offshore reefs by inflatable or larger day boat. Orca diving provided high quality equipment and facilities while the staff were all very friendly and welcoming. The Breakers was right on the coast with nice rooms, good food and once again friendly staff making the whole trip a real pleasure.

somabay

Soma Bay covers an entire peninsula and is home to several resorts as well as residential  compounds.

As well as scuba diving, Somabay caters for many other sports and activities, and so is perfect for families as well as individuals and/or groups. And of course there is always time to lay peacefully on the beach under the Egyptian sun.

somabay

Book your next Red Sea dive adventure with SOMABAY! For more information, visit www.somabay.com.

Stay at the Breakers Diving & Surfing Lodge when you visit! For more information, visit  www.thebreakers-somabay.com.

Find out more about ORCA Dive Clubs at SOMABAY at www.orca-diveclubs.com/en/soma-bay-en.

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TRAVEL BLOG: Jeff Goodman Dives SOMABAY, Part 2

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Day three of my trip to Somabay and we were spending the day on the Lady Christina and diving on the wreck of the Salem Express.

somabay

Diving wrecks for me is always one of mixed emotions. The excitement of diving a wreck is more than often tempered by the thought of loss of life when she sank. The Salem Express was a passenger ship and a roll-on/roll-off ferry travelling from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Safaga, Egypt. Most passengers were of poor class travelling home from their holidays while around 150 people were returning home from their pilgrimage to Mecca.

somabay

The ship struck a reef and sank within 20 minutes. Passengers were trapped below deck and the ship was filled with fear and panic.

somabay

The wreck area is strewn with personal belongings from the crew and passengers such as a transistor radio and a flat iron for clothes. A diver at sometime has put them in a prominent place to be seen.

somabay

Tragically only one life boat was launched while the others went down with the ship. More than 600 men, women and children lost their lives here.

somabay

It’s a stark reminder that the sea can be unforgiving and so when we dive on such wrecks we should do so with humble regard.

Returning to the surface, shoals of fish are gathered under our boat and seem to be welcoming us back into the light.

somabay

Back at the Breakers I sat in the dining area with a beer and a very good meal while my thoughts still remained with the day’s dive on the Salem Express.

Check in for part 3 tomorrow for Jeff’s last day of diving with Somabay on the off-shore reefs looking for turtles.

Book your next Red Sea dive adventure with SOMABAY! For more information, visit www.somabay.com.

Stay at the Breakers Diving & Surfing Lodge when you visit! For more information, visit  www.thebreakers-somabay.com.

Find out more about ORCA Dive Clubs at SOMABAY at www.orca-diveclubs.com/en/soma-bay-en.

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