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Get ready for Dive Ireland 2016

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Dive Ireland 2016

ad9023_img1_largeThe Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone, Co. Westmeath is the place to be on the 5th and 6th of March for Dive Ireland 2016.

As well as the CFT(the Irish Underwater Council)’s AGM and Diving Officer’s conference, there will also be dive companies exhibiting at the two day event, including Scubapro, Mares, O’Three, Aquaholics, Mevagh Dive Centre, Scuba Dive West, Safari Diving Lanzarote, and many more.

There will also be talks and seminars from some of the best known names in diving. Speakers at Dive Ireland 2016 include:

Guest Speakers

Dr Alexander Mustard

Dive Ireland 2016Dr Alexander Mustard has been taking underwater photographs for over 30 years and has worked as a full-time underwater photographer for the last 12 years. His photographs have attracted many awards including being category winners in both the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and British Wildlife Photography Awards. His last book, Reefs Revealed, won the International Grand Prize for the best book of underwater photographs. In 2013, he was named European Wildlife Photographer of the Year as the overall winner of the GDT contest – the first time an underwater photograph has won this prestigious award.

In 2015, he founded the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition and has acted as a judge for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the CMAS World Championship of Underwater Photography. His new book, Underwater Photography Masterclass, is the most eagerly anticipated publication on the topic for many years and will be released in spring 2016.

Alex is a regular contributor to many publications in the marine, wildlife, diving and photographic media, and to date has published more than 400 articles. In addition to various features, he currently writes two monthly columns on underwater photography: IMAGES Column for Sport Diver (USA) and Be The Champ for DIVER Magazine (UK). He was one of the team for the 2020VISION conservation photography project in the UK. He also runs highly popular underwater photography workshops at top diving destinations around the world.

Daragh Muldowney

Daragh-Muldowney-BioDaragh Muldowney’s interest in photography originally developed when he completed a Scuba Diving course in 1992, where he was awestruck by the experience of being underwater.

Without the use of artificial light or filters, his photography aims to present the smaller details of nature that we often overlook. As a result, his work gently reminds us to appreciate our beautiful planet. Daragh is a full-time professional photographer working as Dúlra Photography which he established in February 2003.

Daragh’s commitment to developing his work was further demonstrated when he travelled across the Sahara in Morocco and then trekked across glaciers in Iceland, taking photographs of the opposing climates and conditions. The images from the two trips were launched in 2007 as his first themed exhibition called ‘Sand & Ice’. A couple of years later he took on the exploration of Ireland’s rock pools which was to become ‘Jewellery Box Ireland’s Hidden Gems’, an exhibition that has travelled all over the world.

In 2013, Daragh set sail aboard the Killary Flyer to Greenland to create a new body of work entitled ‘Out of Thin Air’. The collection proved to be the most popular yet, winning the FEP European Photobook of the Year award for 2015 in the Landscape category. In 2015, Daragh was due to return to Greenland, but this time to photograph the icebergs from under the water. Unfortunately the trip did not take place; however, the summer of 2015 was not wasted – Daragh embarked on a trip around Ireland making long exposure underwater images, which will be presented at Dive Ireland 2016.

Dr Eddie Bourke

dr-eddie-bourke_0Dr Eddie Bourke has been diving for 30 years with Viking Sub Aqua club in Dublin and developed an interest in shipwrecks through diving. He is the author of three volumes of shipwrecks off the Irish coast and a photo book on shipwrecks as well as the story of the Tayleur.

He is also the author of the Story of Guinness – the family, the business and the black stuff. Currently working on a history of spying in the war of independence, he is interested in all aspects of maritime and Irish history. Eddie will be talking about the links that are still alive between the Irish today and the 1916 Rising, looking at both the Aud and the Helga shipwrecks and their history.

National Archaeology Society

Nautical_Archaeology_Society_logoThis year there will be more in the area of archeology introduced at Dive Ireland 2016. NAS have come with up a few different topics that will be presented, including the Streedagh Armada cannon discovery in Co Sligo. This discovery and subsequent retrieval from the sea showed how different groups can work well together to preserve Ireland’s historical artefacts.

NAS will also discuss the legislation in Ireland in relation to underwater archaeology and looking at some of the National Archaeology Society courses and projects.

Underwater Photography Speakers

Stewie Andrews

stewie-andrewsStewie Andrews has been diving for 28 years and has enjoyed rebreather diving for 12 of those. He is a recent convert to deep water photography. It started with two years trying to master steady GoPro video at depths down to 160m and progressed to two interesting years of still photography in depths ranging from 64 to 132 metres. Deep diving, in itself, is challenging – however, taking photographs is a great way to document the exploration and share the experience.

The challenges of Deep Water Photography are many. Years of preparation and expense are involved in building up your diving techniques and each dive brings the challenges of long boat journeys offshore – some as far as 75 miles out. The real fun starts with choosing cameras which are light sensitive enough and housings which can go deep enough. The only decisions left are how do you con a diver to model the scene, how do you light it and how many thousand ISOs can you tolerate?

Ivan Donoghue

ivan-2015Ivan Donoghue began diving with Wexford Sub Aqua Club in 1990. By 1996, he had purchased a second-hand Nikonos V underwater film camera. The advent of digital helped improve his photography, but he claims that working on the CFT underwater course with likeminded Irish shooters had the greatest benefit of all.

Ivan has published several articles for Subsea over the years. He has won the Scubadive West underwater competition and was placed in An Taisce’s “Love your coast” competition. None of this would be possible without the friends who have patiently modelled for him underwater, or waited for him to finally surface.

Ivan will happily dive in a puddle… but only if it’s deep enough to take a camera or at least half submerge to allow a split shot. There is nothing that makes him happier than seeing how underwater photography has flourished within CFT in recent years and how it is now one of the prime reasons that people begin or continue to dive.

Underwater Photography Seminar Speakers

Nigel Motyer

8298980Nigel Motyer is a well-known teaching and speaking personality on the Irish underwater photography scene. He began diving in the early 80s and first picked up a camera shortly after that in 1987. Since then, it is his passion for the challenge of underwater photography that has kept up his interest in diving.

Nigel’s photography has been widely published around the world, including Subsea, Diver, Sport Diver, and Dive, as well as National Geographic Magazine. Nigel has travelled widely to a great many destinations over the last 25 years, but most recently he has focused on great shark destinations. Sharks have always been his passion despite being bitten by a rather over curious silky shark in the Pacific in 1995.

Nigel lives in Malahide, Co Dublin, with his wife, Sinead, and their two children, Hannah and Ben. A speaker at many a dive show, his level of photography knowledge – and his absolute passion for diving – will be clearly evident for all to see.

Steve Warren

steve uw stageSteve has worked extensively in the diving media since 1992. Book credits include technical editor of the UK Divers Source and contributing editor to Scuba Diving. He provided images, including cover shots, for Underwater Gibraltar. He has also provided consultancy services to other authors. He was technical and contributing editor of Dive International Magazine and designed consumer equipment testing and major safety projects for it and its successor, Dive. He has also written for Scuba World Magazine, Australian Freediving and Spearfishing News, Underwater Photography Magazine, Historical Diving Times, The Sea and Gibraltar Magazine. He now writes for Diver Magazine.

Steve has been a main speaker at a number of Diver Magazine’s Dive Shows. He has worked as a professional underwater cameraman on the BBC’s Marchioness – a Survivors Story and directed and filmed the diving sequences for seasons one, two and three of Channel Five’s Gibraltar – Britain in the Sun. He was a consultant to the Underwater Channel and is one of the founding team of Your Diving TV.

Brian Stone

CZpQKCzW0AAr_28Brian Stone is a very experienced diver and underwater photographer. Brian is a university lecturer and researcher working in the area of marine image analysis in Dublin City University. He is currently involved with MESTECH, the Marine & Environmental Sensing Hub (www.mestech.ie) which includes the Irish Marine Institute, the National Centre for Sensor Research (NCSR) and DCU.

Brian is also involved through his marine research with Insight, the Centre for Data Analytics, which is the largest research group in Ireland. The work dealt with in his project is part of the Smart Bay project, based in Galway Bay. This project is a test bed for new marine technologies, ranging from power generation to environmental science and marine biology. This technology is being developed alongside other marine sensing technologies for the purpose of gathering and analysing marine data in order to conduct research into changing marine environmental conditions, conservation and environmental surveying.

Damien McGuirk

downloadDamien (aka Merrow Ti Ti) shot his first roll of film with an underwater camera in 1993, but didn’t embrace uw photography properly until 2006. Since then, he has been a voracious student of underwater photography with workshop trips to many parts of the world with such luminaries of the underwater photography world as Alex Mustard. His work has featured in Subsea and he has been successful on several occasions in having his images placed in An Taisce’s Clean Coast competition.

Nick Pfeiffer

photo-Nick-767x10241Nick Pfeiffer is an environmental scientist, diver and underwater photographer. He currently works with MERC Environmental and is well known in Ireland for his land and underwater photography and for his commercial work in the fishery industry. Recently Nick was featured in the Irish Times with some of his stunning images of the blue sharks which can be found off Irish shores.

Mike Orth

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAHSAAAAJGZlMmI4NDNmLTIxMWItNGNmYy1hOTc1LWY2YzhjNjc2YzRlZAMike Orth is the current President of CFT. His job description on Facebook lists “Irish Underwater Council’s Diving Evangelist”. Mike uses GoPro footage to create short videos promoting the club diving scene – with more footage above water than below. More technical knowhow than artistic skill, he hopes a few dive show attendees can use his hints, tips and advice to create their own advertisements for next dive season. Mike’s compilation of the South east dive rally won the award for best video at the Vincent O’Brien Memorial Competition in 2014.

Dr. Richard Thorn

28c6082Dr. Richard Thorn is a past President and National Diving Officer of CFT and has been diving for over 20 years. He has been taking land photographs for almost 50 years and for the last six, has transferred his interest to taking underwater photographs, with a particular interest in making images while snorkelling and breath hold diving. His photography is a companion activity to his academic research and travel writing, and his written work and images have been published in many magazines, including, in Ireland, Subsea and Outsider. He is currently studying photography at the Open College of the Arts in the UK.

Dive Ireland 2016 will be hosted by Athlone Sub Aqua Club for the fourth time. Entrance to the dive show is only €5 for each day and kids go free. For directions and a look at the hotel, check out www.hodsonbayhotel.com.

To find out more about the Irish Underwater Council visit www.diving.ie.

 

 

 

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Introducing two new Colours of OBLU resorts in the Maldives

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COLOURS OF OBLU, a brand by Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, has opened two exciting new resorts in Male Atoll in the Maldives this year.

OBLU XPERIENCE Ailafushi opened in June. Translating from the Maldivian dialect of Dhivehi, ‘Aila’ means family and ‘Fushi’ means island, in essence, the Family Island. A 15-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport brings guests to this beautiful tropical island.

The four-star resort’s 268 villas and rooms are designed to experience nature at its best. A striking fleet of water villas shaped like dhonis are lined up along the jetty – a perfect spot for snapping some selfies. From the moment of arrival, a carefree and relaxed holiday unfolds with the generous Fushi Plan™. Dining, activities, a multi-level kids club with a pool and food corner, overwater gym, and live entertainment are all blended within the stay for a hassle-free holiday.

Sumptuous all-day dining options are available at the Element X Restaurant which serves modern Western, Central Asian, and Far Eastern cuisines. X360 Bar features a 1000 sqm infinity pool – one of the largest in the Maldives. Guests can enjoy unlimited orders of refreshing spirits, wines, and beer from the grab and go bar counter. Evenings come alive with enthralling music and party vibes at the bar’s dance floor. The Copper Pot Food Truck parked on the beach is perfect for an open-air dinner of choicest fresh seafood and meat grills that can be relished on the soft sandy beach beneath the starry sky.

Walk up to La Promenade located beside a channel that meanders across Ailafushi island. This picturesque walkway has cosy seating corners along with a wine boutique, souvenir shop, and café. There is so much to do here — lounge at the scenic overwater deck, sip a cup of coffee, and socialise with like-minded travellers. Experiential highlights also include The Dome, a futuristic 15-meter theatre and entertainment centre.

Sister resort OBLU SELECT Lobigili is an adults only property that opened in March. In the Maldivian language of Dhivehi, ‘Lobi’ means love and ‘Gili’ means island. Lobigili is, in essence, the island of love.

Blessed with verdant foliage, this five-star resort features 68 contemporary beach and water villas – all assuring gorgeous views of the turquoise-blue lagoon. With the resort’s exclusive Lobi PlanTM guests can immerse in a blissfully carefree stay. This generous plan includes specialty fine-dining, unlimited beverages, spa services, Indian Ocean excursions, a selection of non-motorised watersports as well as a fully stocked minibar replenished daily.

OBLU SELECT Lobigili continues with the brand’s tradition of exceptional fine dining, elevating the mealtime experience with playful and fun touches. At Ylang-Ylang, the All-Day Dining Restaurant, delectable world cuisine with intimate nooks for couples and a unique book corner are unmissable. The Swing Bar with itschilled out beachside vibe features chic hammocks, swings and a stunning infinity pool that is one of the largest in the Maldives. Evenings come alive with handcrafted, aromatised cocktails and hypnotic DJ and Live Band performances.

That is not all. There is Gaadiya 17 Food Truck serving grab-and-go game meat grills to be relished in a fun, open-air setting on the beach under starry skies. And an exotic ONLY BLU Underwater Restaurant, one of the largest underwater restaurants in the country, where guests can experience impeccable modern gourmet cuisine.

A standout experience is ELE | NA The Spa – designed exclusively for couples and adults – featuring locally inspired spa treatments including  Lobi Dhooni (Love Bird) Hithun Hithath (Heart To Heart) and Dhekanbalun (You & Me).

Scuba Diving from both resorts is with OBLU’s partner dive centre, TGI Maldives, one of the best-known in the country. The dive centre teaches a variety of PADI and SSI courses. The island’s house reef is perfect for relaxed dives, snorkeling and training, whilst many of North Male Atoll’s best dive sites are just a short boat ride away. In particular, the atoll is well-known for its manta ray sightings from May to October.

Discover more at www.coloursofoblu.com

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SSI releases new Explorers program for kids

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SSI has announced the release of the SSI Explorers Program, where kids aged 6-11 years old can get a taste of the many ways to explore the aquatic world around them. This exciting program makes diving for kids stress-free, guiding them in engaging underwater adventures where they can scuba dive, act like a real mermaid, and go underwater on a single breath with freediving. SSI has invested much time and energy into re-vamping this child-centered experience program.

Formerly known as Scuba Rangers, the new SSI Explorers Program is today’s most extensive aquatic experience program for kids in the dive industry. Children who have not yet reached the minimum age for scuba diving will not only gain a solid foundation in ocean conservation, but they will have the opportunity to experience four main aquatic adventures and many specialties.

Your young aquatic explorer will join Emma and Nico on exciting underwater adventures with their marine friends, Star the starfish, Shelly the sea turtle, and Spike the shark. The comprehensive children’s manual is very engaging, with colourful cartoon drawings and authentic ocean images for this young audience. Emma and Nico guide children throughout the manual’s educational content in a fun and engaging way, using Spike as their equipment expert and Shelly as the ocean environment advocate.

The SSI Explorers materials start by introducing children to the importance of protecting and preserving our oceans by becoming a Blue Oceans Explorer. After learning why our oceans are important, about the world’s five oceans, and what they can do to help protect our oceans, students earn the SSI Blue Oceans Explorer recognition rating. They can then move on to learn all there is to know about snorkel equipment and snorkelling in a confined water environment to earn their Snorkel Explorer rating.

After completing these two initial experiences, SSI Explorers can choose from one of three aquatic adventures and either become a Scuba Explorer, Mermaid Explorer, or Freediving Explorer. Better yet, they can continue on to earn all three ratings!

SSI Mermaid Explorers get to swim around like real mermaids while improving their swimming skills. SSI Freediving Explorers will go underwater and dive deeper by holding their breath longer in an encouraging, relaxed environment.  Explorers who have not met the minimum age for scuba diving can try it out within the safety of a pool or confined water and become an SSI Scuba Explorer.

The fun doesn’t stop there, however! SSI Explorers can go on even more underwater adventures to earn 22 different Specialty Explorer ratings. They can improve their explorer skills with exciting specialties like Underwater Model Explorer, Rescue Explorer, Shark Ecology Explorer, and Search & Rescue Explorer, just to name a few. Your child can earn the Specialty Explorer recognition rating by completing two Explorer specialties. When they complete four specialties, they will become Advanced Explorers, and after completing the Rescue Explorer specialty, they can become a Master Explorer. SSI Explorers will even be able to earn real C-Cards just like their parents to show off their hard-earned recognition ratings.

To look back on their explorer fun, SSI has included a logbook section toward the back of the colourfully engaging SSI Explorers manual. The Explorer Logbook is where students can record details of their underwater adventures as they work through these exciting experiences. Near the logbook, SSI has also included an area for the Explorer Instructor to place an SSI recognition sticker specific to each completed explorer activity. Children will be excited to work toward earning them all!

The SSI Explorers program is now available as a book or digitally in four languages: German, English, Spanish, and Italian, with more languages hopefully coming soon.

Training the next generation of ocean lovers and aquatic enthusiasts is very important to SSI and all SSI Training Centres and Pros. The SSI Explorers Program is an excellent way to promote ocean conservation and aquatic safety in our younger population and prepare them for future open water certification opportunities once they reach the minimum age for scuba diving.

Look for an SSI Explorers Program at an SSI Training Centre near you. To find your nearest SSI Training Centre, check out the SSI Centre Locator here.

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