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Diving with… Hassan Samir, Fuvahmulah Scuba Club, Maldives

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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?

Hassan Samir

What is the name of your business?

Fuvahmulah Scuba Club

What is your role within the business?

Owner

How long has the business operated for?

We operate 4 dive centres in different locations in Maldives (Cocoon Maldives, Drift Thelu Veligaa,
South Ari Dive). Fuvahmulah scuba club is a new dive center in Fuvahmulah.

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

I am the owner of the dive centre, I am an Advanced Open Water Diver and I started diving in the past
1 year only. But our Dive instructors are all qualified and have more 10 years’ experience in the diving
industry.

What is your favorite type of diving?

My favourite dives are deep dives.

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 Tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah is the most exciting dive any diver could have. It is 100%
guaranteed to see the tiger sharks from a very close distance. Also, Fuvahmulah Island treasure
sharks, and Oceanic Manta and Hammerheads are spotted often and it makes diving with us special.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

My favourite dives are Tiger Shark diving and Oceanic Manta diving.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Night diving; Deep diving; Open water diving; Drift Diving; Rescue diving.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Meeting divers and sharing experiences with them.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Oceanic Manta

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

A new dive boat will be here in next 3 months.

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

In Fuvahmulah everything is well organized and all the staff are given specific tasks. Each and every
team member does their job very well. We do not have any problem in organizing the dives for our guests. Yes! But the island has 7 Dive centres and each dive centre have specific time schedule for diving with tiger sharks. So we also as a dive centre get limited time to dive with tiger sharks.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Not at the moment.

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

As a diver I would say we have a passion for underwater and we must keep the underwater clean
and neat always. Not dumping any type of plastic in to the sea even if it a very small thing (example: cigarette butts)

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

We are a team of professionals; we will ensure you have a safe and memorable diving holiday in
Fuvahmulah.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

You can visit our website by clicking here.

Freediving Blogs

British freediver sets new national record with 112m dive

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British freediver Gary McGrath has set a new national record at the prestigious Vertical Blue freediving competition in the Bahamas.

Using only a monofin for propulsion, Gary swam down a measured rope to a depth of 112m (367ft), returning to the surface to receive a white card from the AIDA International judges to validate his dive.

Gary, 41, held his breath for three minutes and 13 seconds to complete the dive.

Freedivers descend underwater on a single breath of air and the atmospheric pressure on their bodies increases as they go deeper.

At 112m deep the pressure is 12 times greater than the surface, meaning the air in Gary’s lungs would have shrunk to less than a twelfth of its original volume – around the size of a golf ball.

Freedivers train to cope with the physiological strains placed on their bodies by their sport, and Gary uses his background of yoga and meditation to help his physical and mental preparation for deep dives.

He has also had to overcome physical challenges after contracting Covid last year during preparations for a previous national record attempt.

Gary said: ‘Diving below 100m is a totally unique environment, it’s my therapy. 

‘This year has been extremely challenging for my mental health and freediving has helped me overcome that for sure. 

‘At depth I have complete isolation from the everyday world we live in. Down there it’s just me and nature. It’s that escape that all freedivers crave. 

‘There are moments of extreme mental clarity and purity that I can only achieve when underwater. The flow state that a deep dive allows me to experience is unique and addictive.

Gary, originally from Twickenham, began freediving in 2006 and has been competing since 2008.

A former tree surgeon, he became a professional freedive instructor in 2014, and he and his partner Lynne Paddon run Yoga and Freedive Retreats in Ibiza.

Remarkably, he completed his 112m national record dive on Tuesday (August 9) despite being forced to compete wearing a borrowed monofin which was a size too small for his feet.

His entire kit bag containing his monofin, bifins and two wetsuits was lost by an airline as he travelled to the competition.

Despite his careful preparation, Gary said he suffered nerves on the morning of his national record dive, and relied on a phone call to his partner Lynne, who helped him focus on breathing techniques and visualisation to calm his nerves.

Speaking immediately after his dive, he said: ‘That was all for Lynne – this whole week has been about her. I could not do it without her. I hope that everyone finds someone they can click with, it’s the most magical thing in the world.’

Gary also thanked supporters who helped him to crowdfund to raise the money needed for him to travel to the Bahamas and compete.

Vertical Blue is considered one of the most elite events on the freediving calendar and has been dubbed the ‘Wimbledon of Freediving’.

Owned and run by world record freediver William Trubridge, the event takes place in a 202m (663ft) deep sinkhole known as Dean’s Blue Hole, off the coast of Long Island.

The previous British national record of 111m was set by Michael Board in 2018, also at a Vertical Blue competition.


All Photographs courtesy of Daan Verhoeven (www.daanverhoeven.com)

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Miscellaneous Blogs

Film Review: Thirteen Lives

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Ron Howard’s recreation of the 2018 rescue of a Thai junior football team is impressive. Even though we know what happens in the end the tension and drama played out is palpable.

On 23 June 2018, 12 members of a Thai junior football team, the Wild Boars, and their coach became trapped deep in the Tham Luang cave system by rising flood water. The film details the incredible international rescue efforts that ensue. And Ron Howard has judged the tone perfectly. There is no Hollywood glitz and glamour and the two leading actors: Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen, who play John Volanthen and Rick Stanton respectively, capture the intensity of the situation perfectly.

The diving scenes are claustrophobic in the extreme. Although I suspect that the visibility was even worse than the film depicts as you have to be able to see something in the dramatization! All the way through the film I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at the extraordinary feat these divers pulled off. The skill and bravery required still impresses after watching films, hearing them speak in public and reading about the rescue.

I loved that, whilst the divers took centre stage in the film, the heroic rescue efforts of the water engineer and his team was also given the attention they deserve, as well as the incredible Thai Navy Seals and the thousands of people that flocked to the region to help.

Thirteen Lives is a must watch movie about an incredible cave rescue. It’s sober tone hits the mark. The cinematography is skilled and creates an impressively tense experience. It is available on Amazon Prime right now.

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