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Exploring the Depths of the Caribbean Sea

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Growing up in the 70’s, the underwater world and its mysteries were exemplified in the popular media of that time. The famous Television series “Sea Hunt” with Lloyd Bridges and “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”, even as re-runs, provided me with fantastic thoughts and incredible inspiration causing my imagination to spin wonderful stories of adventure and exploration of a magical undersea world.

Well… I soon grew out of that insatiable imagination as life, school, work and family became more important. Then, one day, on a beach in Mexico a crazy idea literally surfaced to learn to scuba dive… and that changed everything from that day forward!

Those wonderful stories of adventure and exploration that I had only imagined as a child started to re-surface, but this time as a reality which eventually led me to becoming a PADI Professional.

Diving extensively in Canada, the Caribbean and even the Galapagos has provided me with a wide-range of training and a comprehensive skill set which by itself is a dream come true. But, never in my wildest dreams or even in the stories that I concocted in my head as a child, did I ever envision a future where I would be exploring the depths of the Caribbean Sea in a Submarine down to 1000ft! That would be just a crazy story right!?

Not so crazy and dreams do become a reality! Today, I work with a small & dedicated team at Substation Curaçao & Chapman Expeditions. Our team, by using the manned submersible Curasub, facilitates the exploration of the deep reefs around Curacao & the Greater Caribbean, allowing Marine Biologists from all over the world to explore the twilight zone of the Caribbean Sea down to 1000ft (300m). This type of documented exploration & discoveries is producing dynamic results that are now being published in major scientific journals.

Additionally, by monitoring the deeper reefs to find out what influence factors like climate change, acidification, pollution and invasive species have on ecosystems in greater depths, is another aspect that keeps researchers occupied with. Simultaneously they are also trying to find out in what way the deeper reefs might affect the recovery capacity of the shallow reefs.

These adventures are not limited to our team or the visiting Marine Biologists. Substation Curacao, which is located inside the Curacao Sea Aquarium Park is open to the public. The deep reef research being conducted is widely available to those interested. More importantly though, you can be part of this unique expedition and learn more about the 50 + new species that have been discovered since launching the Curasub in 2000.

The Curasub is a specifically designed 5-person submarine built by Nuytco Research Ltd. It is equipped with the latest technology and certified to the highest safety standards allowing Substation Curacao to offer you an experience that only rivals a journey into outer space.

After the Pilot releases the ballast air, your journey starts with a slow & even descent along the sloping drop offs. The beauty of these incredible dives is the kaleidoscope of color & the unexpected variety of life that you will encounter well beyond the recreational scuba diving limits. Another world exists on the deep reefs this is your chance to observe this incredible world only few know. Truly, it is another world of life & wonder.

Turn your dreams into a reality too! Become a Deep-Sea Explorer with Substation Curacao and discover the unknown depths of the Caribbean Sea! It is a bucket list experience!!

Photos courtesy of Substation Curaçao

Bryan Horne wasn’t born in Curaçao; he’s a Canadian native, drawn to the Island “out of a passion for scuba diving and the underwater world.” Moving was always going to be a life-changing decision, but in diving, Bryan had found his calling. As the founder and owner of Dive Curaçao, he spends his days showing off Curaçao’s hidden undersea treasures – and does his part to preserve them for future generations.

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The Rescue – available on Disney+ tomorrow (Watch Trailer)

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If you missed the recent cinema debut of The Rescue film, you can watch it on streaming channel Disney+ from tomorrow December 3rd.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo), The Rescue is the edge-of-your-seat account of the rescue of 12 Thai school boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave system in 2018.

The Rescue chronicles the dramatic rescue of the boys and their coach, trapped deep inside a flooded cave. Academy Award®-winning directors and producers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin reveal the perilous world of cave diving, the bravery of the rescuers, and the dedication of an entire community that made great sacrifices to save these young boys. An outing to explore a nearby system of caves after soccer practice transformed into a two-week saga of survival and a story that would capture the world’s attention. With exclusive access and never-before-seen footage from the rescue, the film tells the story of the imagination, determination and unprecedented teamwork displayed during this heroic edge-of-your-seat mission with life-or-death stakes.

Check back for our review of The Rescue soon!

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Marine Life & Conservation

Shark Guardian investigation finds endangered sharks for sale in Taiwan

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A field investigation into Taiwan’s shark fin industry was conducted by Shark Guardian between December 2020 and March 2021. The investigation obtained documentary evidence of fins from endangered shark species being openly offered for sale by over half of all shark fin traders surveyed in Taiwan’s southern fishing port of Kaohsiung.

Of the 13 shark fin processing and trading companies visited, more than half were found to be trading CITES- listed fins, and seven had shark fins from CITES Appendix II-listed species as part of their product range. One company saidthere was no difference in selling protected or unprotected species. Protected sharks’ products usually create a problem for international shipping only.”

The new report details how seven out of thirteen traders surveyed in Taiwan were found to be selling shark fins from silky sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, mako sharks, thresher sharks and great white sharks in broad daylight – in contravention of Taiwanese and international law.

Over a three-month period, Shark Guardian investigators witnessed multiple shipments of shark fins from endangered species being unloaded at Donggang fish market which is in Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung.

Alex Hofford, Marine Wildlife Campaigner with Shark Guardian, said “To save sharks and the marine environment, Taiwanese authorities should implement an immediate crackdown on its cruel and unsustainable shark fin trade, and should tighten up local laws to ban the domestic sale of shark fin as well as better enforce its international obligations under CITES. It is also high time that the Taiwanese government should rein in its out-of-control distant water tuna fishing fleet, who are a major supplier shark fin to Chinese markets. Whilst Taiwan is a beacon of democratic and progressive values in Asia, it is allowing its unsustainable and often crime-ridden fisheries sector to rape and pillage our ocean with impunity. This must stop. Taiwan needs to show leadership in environmental protection and must quickly clean up its act as regards its sleazy shark fisheries and trade sectors.”

During our investigation, Shark Guardian also found evidence of Taiwan-based online retailers selling fins of endangered species of shark in contravention of local and international law.

According to WWF, a third of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction, yet fishing and trading in unsustainable shark fin remains a highly profitable, but environmentally destructive, enterprise for Taiwanese companies operating out of Kaohsiung.

Brendon Sing, Co-Director of Shark Guardian said “Clearly more must be done to protect sharks globally. There are over 500 known shark species with only a handful of them listed under CITES. Even then, CITES listed sharks are still traded illegally where monitoring and enforcement lack any power and expose loopholes in the system. As long as this continues, there is no real protection for any shark species regardless of CITES listing or not. Taiwan must be responsible and take positive action in response to this report.”

Shark Guardian believes that excessively large profit margins are the main reason why Taiwan has never acted to rein in its shark fisheries and trade.

Shark Guardian hopes that Taiwan can apply its progressive values towards preserving the marine environment by imposing a comprehensive ban on the physical and online selling all species of shark fin in Taiwan. Such a ban would go above and beyond what is required under international law, and Taiwan’s domestic laws can be changed with public support.

For more information about Shark Guardian visit their website by clicking here.

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Competitions

Egypt | Safaga, Brothers & Elphinstone | 27 January – 04 February 2022 | Emperor Elite

Jump on board this famous Red Sea liveaboard and enjoy diving the famous wrecks of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer.  Emperor Elite offers a contemporary living space combined with the best itineraries available in the Red Sea.

Price NOW from just £975 per person based on sharing a twin cabin including:

  • Flights from London 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

Booking deadline: Subject to availability.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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