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Emperor Divers awards penultimate ‘Covid Diver Hero’ with Red Sea liveaboard trip

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Emperor Divers gave away their last Red Sea liveaboard trip to another worthy hero nominated through Emperor’s #coviddiverheroes initiative and their 7th hero goes back to a similar theme of most of the heroes so far, as she works in healthcare, right on the front line of the pandemic. Jaime Callejon Bejarano nominated Susana Garcia, from Madrid, Spain with the following:

“As the heroine of each and every one of the patients and families who have passed through her hands during 20 years, not only during this pandemic, and I do not find better way to thank her than being one of the lucky ones to enjoy with the Emperor Team one of her great passions…. Diving! and… diving in the RED SEA !! Thank you for this opportunity but it’s SO difficult to resume only in 200 words! Here goes:

Intensive Care Unit Nurse for 20 years, she treats patients in critical situations when medical and human treatment is vital.  In the early moments of the pandemic, without enough protective equipment, all her unit risked their lives to give medical and humane treatment to the patients, reorganizing their unit to attend all the critical patients, working as a great TEAM.

They were taking care of critical patients, going home after their work, afraid of being infected themselves, afraid of seeing their families… but they never missed their work shift, their patients, working to find possible treatments, ALL TOGETHER.

Not only doing their job but giving affection to the patients, helping them to communicate with their families by video calls, even in the worst cases, holding the patient’s hands in their last breath, so as they did not leave this world alone. All these patients’ families, unable to see their loved ones because of isolation, never stop appreciating. Thank you for not leaving them alone!”

The Emperor Divers Team have been in touch with Susana who has already started sharing the news of her award with friends and family, and they are so happy to be able to recognise another amazing person with a well-deserved break in the coming months or years.

And that means there is now only one more award to give away, but it’s a big one with one final dream trip on a Maldives liveaboard up for grabs for the final hero. Entries for nominations close on the 5th June, so this really is the last chance to get your hero the recognition they deserve!

The final winner will be announced by 14th June. Final entry for nominations 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to heroes@emperordivers.com

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact heroes@emperordivers.com for details.

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Wining and Diving – South Africa

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The Wining and Diving series sees Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown embark on a tour to tickle the taste buds as well as to discover amazing dive sites in wine-making regions around the world. Some of the best wines are influenced by sea breezes and a coastal climate, allowing two of Nick and Caroline’s passions to be combined into one epic journey.

**Please note, Nick and Caroline are not encouraging drinking before diving! The two activities are kept well apart on each of these trips.

South Africa’s coastline is wild and rugged and has some of the best marine encounters and diving in the world! It is also home to some superb vineyards and so this is a top destination for Wining & Diving! If you have enough time, then try to fit in several destinations on a tour; take in the Sardine Run, go Great White Shark cage diving, snorkel with Blue and Mako Sharks, try to find Sevengill Sharks in the kelp forest, meet the raggies and oceanic shark species near Aliwal Shoal and make sure you dive with the Cape Fur Seals just down the road from Cape Town. Head north for the stunning reefs of Sodwana Bay and even fit in a land safari too! But make sure you make time to visit some of the top vineyards at Stellenbosch and Constantia too, which are just a stones throw from Cape Town and can be done on a day trip.

Our tour took in the lot and this is an experience to be shared with friends. You have to be lucky with the Sardine Run, but the rewards are great if you are there at the right time, with dolphins, sharks, whales and seabirds all competing for the feast of sardines that migrates up the coast in early summer. It is fast and furious, but can also involve long days out on the boat bobbing and waiting for the action to happen.

Flying into Durban you can often combine Aliwal Shoal to start your Sardine Run trip, to get the chance to dive the famous Cathedral Rock and then drift out into the blue for Blacktip and Tiger Sharks.

Gaansbai is the most famous place for Great White Shark cage diving, although recent years have seen numbers falling away, possibly due to the presence of Orca.

Cape Town offers penguins, Blue and Mako Sharks, Sevengill Cow Sharks, Great Whites and the chance to mess about with Cape Fur Seals, who will seek out divers and play among the kelp fronds for as long as you can stay in the cool water. It is here that you can add a few days visiting vineyards and touring the stunning countryside before you head home.

We would love to go back and spend more time in South Africa, as we did not have time for the Mako Shark snorkeling and would like to try again for the cow sharks too. South Africa has so much to offer it is very hard to fit everything into a single trip! It is a high energy and super-productive trip under the water and a wonderful place to relax with your favourite glass of wine in the evening.

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Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021 announced

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Ningaloo Coast-based photographer, Aimee Jan, has been announced as the Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021.

Aimee’s beautiful image of a green sea turtle surrounded by glass fish was captured on the world-famous Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Chosen from thousands of submissions from around the world, it was a unanimous winner amongst the seven world-renowned Ocean Photography Awards judges.

In second place is Exeter-based photographer, Henley Spiers, with a beautiful photograph of diving gannets off the Shetland Islands, Scotland. In third place is Sydney-based photographer, Matty Smith, with an image of a hawksbill turtle hatchling heading out to sea for the first time.

This year has also seen the introduction of the Female Fifty Fathoms Award, a new nomination category designed to celebrate inspiring women in ocean photography. LA-based photographer and biology teacher, Renee Capozzola, has been announced the inaugural winner for her beautiful portfolio of work.

A free, outdoor public exhibition alongside the River Thames, on the Queen’s Walk near Tower Bridge, will be open to the public until October 17th.

The Ocean Photography Awards has a simple mission: to shine a light on the beauty of the ocean and the threats it faces. The competition has this year been produced by Oceanographic Magazine in partnership with Blancpain, Princess Yachts and Tourism Western Australia, and in support of conservation organisation SeaLegacy.

Marc A Hayek, president and CEO of Blancpain, said: “As a keen scuba diver and underwater photographer, I appreciate what it takes to capture extraordinary photographs of the ocean: passion, skill and commitment to your craft. The finalists of the Ocean Photography Awards 2021 display those assets in abundance. Their images reveal the ocean for what it is – or at least what it should be – a place full of life, colour and wonder. They also remind us of the injustices we are inflicting upon it. What a powerful collection of photographs.”

Kiran Haslam, chief marketing officer at Princess Yachts, said: “We are honoured to have seen outstanding images submitted this year; they are of incredible standard, capturing some truly exceptional moments. The images submitted in this year’s OPA, without doubt, poignantly highlight the fact that the most important thing we can do right now is act quickly to protect our planet and our ocean.”

David Templeman, Western Australian Government Tourism Minister, said: “This year’s finalists have done an incredible job, not just in capturing aquatic adventures so evocatively, but in inspiring new audiences to treasure them.”

Cristina Mittermeier, co-founder and president of SeaLegacy, said: “The calibre of the images submitted to the second annual Ocean Photography Awards was incredible! I, along with my fellow judges, were challenged and more than impressed by the entries this year. We spent a lot of time discussing the power these images have to inspire people all over the world to advocate for ocean protection. We also spent a considerable amount of time admiring the incredible artistry. Thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to this year’s finalists.

To find out more about the Ocean Photography Awards visit their website by clicking here.

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Egyptian Red Sea: South & St Johns Itinerary | 20 – 27 January 2022 | Emperor Echo Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. Great value for money and perfect for small groups of buddies with a ‘Book 5 and 1 dives for FREE’ offer all year round. Price NOW from just £785 per person based on sharing a twin cabin/room including: Flights from Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage 7 nights in shared cabin 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees Free Nitrox. More information on Emperor Echo Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price. Alternative departure airports available at a supplement. Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk. More Less

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