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Family time in Fujairah – Part 3

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Third and final of a three-part blog from regular Dive Travel Adventures contributor Sean Chinn about finding time for both family and scuba diving on a trip to Fujairah and Dubai in the UAE…


Dive 3 and 4 saw me visit the most popular sites of the area. Dibba Rock and Sharm Rocks are nice shallow dive sites perfect for all levels of scuba diver. Not so much soft coral along the rocks of these sites compared to the artificial reefs but again a lot of life to be found while exploring the sites.

If you love cuttlefish then Fujairah is definitely a place to dive. In particular these two sites provided a lot of encounters as they either camouflaged into the surroundings or were saw free-swimming through the reef and above the sand. Sharm Rocks was my last dive and really delivered towards the end of the dive as three different turtles were spotted. The first being probably the biggest Hawksbill Turtle I’ve ever seen! It was was resting under an overhang and wasn’t deterred by my presence. The second being one of the smallest Hawksbills I’ve seen. Again, undeterred by my presence as it gorged on the coral. Then as we worked our way to the safety stop this time a Green Sea Turtle left it’s resting place right in front of me to go and get a breath of air at the surface.

Four dives in some interesting visibility but with a lot of life to be found. Four very enjoyable dives that were well worth the short time away from my family exploring a new part of the underwater world for me. A very nice week spent in Fujairah and it was now time for us to explore the more built up city of Dubai for some land based adventures.

After a short drive from east to west we were in Dubai at the Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Mall of The Emirates. A stones throw from the Mall of Emirates meant that we were only in the scorching July heat for 5 minutes before entering the cool air-con of the Mall. Plenty of shops for those interested in a bit of shopping to enjoy and lots of restaurants to choose from as well as a huge indoor ski slope. Skiing in the desert isn’t something I expected to say!

We didn’t go to Ski Dubai ourselves but chose instead to take a short taxi ride to The Dubai Mall and visit the Dubai Aquarium. I do have a bit of a love/hate relationship with aquariums as I’d much prefer seeing the animals roaming free in the oceans. However for my 2 year old it isn’t possible yet to take her underwater and see what I see while diving. She does love seeing the underwater life and seeing my photos, so for her it’s an amazing adventure and hopefully it can inspire her to become an ocean advocate when she’s older.

We finished up the trip on our last night with an evening trip to the desert. Taking my 2 year old in a 4×4 onto the sand dunes was an adventure I’m glad we could share together. Even though some how she managed to fall asleep as we were bumping and drifting in the sand. We enjoyed a quick camel ride together before food and entertainment as the night drew in. It was a great few hours enjoying new adventures as a family.

We had an amazing 10 day holiday as a family, which far exceeded our expectations. A lot was said to us about the concern for the heat in U.A.E in the summer. With a pool, the sea and every indoor space having air conditioning, it was a concern that didn’t last long. A new destination to combine a family holiday and diving has just made it’s way onto my list and I wouldn’t hesitate in returning. Fun in the desert sun!


Find out more about Sean, his photography and his hosted trips at: www.greatwhitesean.com

Sean Chinn’s scuba diving adventure started in a freezing cold quarry back in January 2011. Maybe the reason he wasn't instantly hooked! However, after an amazing trip to Indonesia in 2013, he realised he needed to see more of the underwater world. With no photography background, he enlisted some help in developing both his diving and photo skills. This kickstarted his diving and underwater photography adventure which has become something of an addiction. Seeing and photographing wildlife is Sean’s real passion in diving but he is always keen to try new ideas.

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New academic study to confirm rehabilitative benefits of Scuba Diving

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A new study into Scuba Diving Rehabilitation Charity Deptherapy’s approach to supporting Armed Forces veterans with psychological injuries such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through the medium of scuba diving has been carried out by Petra Walker in conjunction with Hanna Kampman of the Posttraumatic Growth Research Unit at the University of East London.

This study, which used Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), demonstrates that scuba diving has rehabilitation benefits beyond those found in other forms of sporting rehabilitation exercise.

IPA is a qualitative methodology that examines the experiences of participants and has been used in previous studies of Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) in para-athletes.

Petra is an experienced diver herself and was exploring the wellbeing aspects of scuba diving as part of her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology when she came across a previous study on Deptherapy. Past studies have mainly focused on the medical aspects of diving, so the opportunity to examine the mental health side of rehabilitative scuba diving was impossible to ignore.

The full study is currently embargoed until it is published at a future date in an academic journal, but it follows similar academic research into the work of Deptherapy by the University of Sheffield Medical School (2018) and the University of Nottingham (2019).

Richard Cullen, Chairman of Deptherapy commented: “This evidence-based study demonstrates yet again the value of scuba diving and, in particular, the support provided by Deptherapy to severely traumatised people within the Armed Forces community. We await the publication of the detailed findings which we anticipate will be of considerable interest to all organisations who seek to assist in the rehabilitation of veterans through sporting activity, as well as the Scuba Diving world.”

Team Deptherapy returned to the UK last week from their first training expedition since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. A small group of six veterans travelled with the Deptherapy Instructor Team to the charity’s international base at Roots Red Sea to undertake practical Scuba Diving training in the clear, warm waters of the Red Sea.

Joining Team Deptherapy for the first time was 20 year old paraplegic Corey Goodson who had this to say: “I have been made aware of a new academic study about the benefits of Deptherapy. Last week I learned to scuba dive properly with Deptherapy, a huge achievement for someone with paraplegia. Deptherapy doesn’t judge your injury, whether that be physical or psychological; it looks beyond, and it sees the person inside. That person is who they work with, and the Deptherapy programme encourages you to see your fellow beneficiaries in the same light. More important than the sense of achievement during the training, was the support, care, encouragement and love the team showed me. I have found a new family in Deptherapy. I am home now but the support, friendship and banter continue; it is motivating and empowering, it gives me a deep sense of wellness and worth. I look forward to continuing my rehabilitative journey with Deptherapy.”

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

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Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 6

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Join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy for part 6 of his Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Thursday has dawned and it is down to the House Reef with an outgoing tide that is approaching slack so we can get in the water straight away.   Lots of chat about last night’s RAID O2 Provider session with Moudi.  Oatsie is talking about sidemounts and marine biology, Swars is looking forward to his first sidemount session this afternoon.

Moudi is supported by Oatsie this morning and doing some more skill work with Keiron.

Moudi running the guys through the RAID O2 Administrator Course

Corey was asking last night about what it is like at 30 metres, so I have decided that with Michael and Swars we will take him to 30 metres.  We are going to run a narcosis exercise so out comes the slate with the numbers 1 – 25 randomly placed in squares.  Corey’s task, in the dive centre, is as quickly as possible to touch each number in sequence.  He does it pretty quickly and Michael briefs him that he will need to do the same exercise at 30 metres.

Michael briefs the dive and we set off down the beach.  Corey has improved beyond measure and he is becoming a pleasure to dive with.  So we are off to follow the South reef to 30 metres where we will complete the second part of the exercise.

At 30 metres Michael hands Corey the slate; there is a considerable difference in the time to complete the exercise at the surface and at 30 metres.  There are lots of mitigating factors in how quickly you can identify the numbers and explaining a slower time at 30 metres than at the surface does not mean an individual is suffering from narcosis.  Identifying random numbers, if you run the exercise at the surface, several times with an individual over a number of hours can result in wide variations in the time taken to complete the exercise.

We finish the dive with Corey smiling from ear to ear and we have a discussion about depth and air consumption.  The second dive of the morning is a fun dive, then it is lunch in the beach restaurant.  After the burgers I am sure we will need to look at our weighting before the afternoon’s dive.

We will need to look at weighting after this lunch!

Corey and Keiron have got into the habit of recording their dives online using the RAID online log book which is a tremendous facility and as the instructor I can access that data.

Moudi and Keiron are going for a fun dive as are Corey, Oatsie, Michael and myself. Swars is getting kitted up for the first experience of sidemount with Guy Henderson.

Swars getting to grips with his sidemount cylinders

People often look at the relationships that exist between the dive team and our beneficiaries and try to extrapolate a similar relationship to disabled students they might have.  Our relationships are built up over a period of time, in some cases over many years.  We also provide 24/7 support and have chat groups etc on social media; we also meet up socially when we can.  It is somewhat different than a individual coming in to a dive centre and saying ‘I want to dive’. Your relationship is likely to be the same as any other student, you will teach them, they might stay with the dive centre or like many that will go on holiday to do some diving, you might never see them again.

Our main aim is to create a family atmosphere for our programme members, one where they feel secure and they are able to discuss freely with the team and fellow beneficiaries their feelings and needs.

Few dive centres are charities, and owners might want to consider costs of running a course for someone with a disability that might take more than the standard four pool sessions etc.  You may find the number of sessions and the staffing levels have to increase.  Many dive centres, because of their size and turnover are exempt from providing accessibility.  How will this affect someone who is a wheelchair user?  Can they gain access to the dive centre, the classroom, the toilet?  What are the changing facilities, can they get wheelchair access to the pool?

Lots of things to think about.

Roots’ beautiful reef

The reef is beautiful, so much aquatic life and the corals look splendid, especially the pinnacles.

A good day’s diving, Swars has really enjoyed his sidemount.

Lovely way to relax in the evening with the Roots BBQ, a fitting end to a great day.

Last day tomorrow and our final blog!


Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk

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