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High numbers of whales and dolphins seen in Britain

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The annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch event started on Saturday 27th July around the UK and so many fantastic cetacean sightings have already been submitted!

Every year, scientists at the Sea Watch Foundation lead a campaign to help members of the general public contribute to scientific endeavours to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises, and are calling on thousands of people to get involved with the National Whale and Dolphin Watch between 27th July and 4th August 2019!

For over forty years, Sea Watch Foundation scientists as well as volunteer observers all around the coast of the British Isles from Shetland to the Isles of Scilly have been reporting sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) to inform Sea Watch’s huge database of records. The scheme is one of the oldest and longest running citizen science projects in the world. Anyone can take part in this flagship summer event, the ‘National Whale and Dolphin Watch’, now in its 18th year.

Cetaceans can be found all around the coast of the UK and, already, there have been a record number of species spotted. At the time of writing, more than six hundred sightings of cetaceans (400 more than last year at this time) totalling 3,758 individual animals have been reported from Shetland down to South Devon and from the west coast of Wales to the Outer Hebrides.

Scotland has recorded the highest number of sightings, closely followed by England then Wales. Around the Channel Islands, observers reported 3 sightings, and there were also three reports from around the Isle of Man. Four sightings were also recorded in Northern Ireland.

Volunteer observers conducting a land-watch at Hoxa Head, Orkney, on July 28th. Photo credit: Jenni Kakkonen.

Eight different species of cetacean (harbour porpoise, common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, white-beaked dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, orca and minke whale) have been recorded from 108 land locations and by 23 recommended boat operators until now and with four more days still to go this number will certainly increase!

Bottlenose dolphins are presently being sighted daily in New Quay along the west coast of Wales, and off Chanonry Point in the Moray Firth, but they have also been sighted off Littlehampton in Sussex, on the coast of Durham and Northumberland, and in the Channel Islands to name just a few other places.

Harbour porpoises are the commonest and most widespread species in Britain. They can be spotted almost anywhere, and records are coming in from all around the British Isles.

Observers elsewhere have been reporting on minke whales around Scotland and the Scottish Isles.

Short-beaked common dolphins have already been recorded at different location including Berry Head in South Devon, Swanbister Bay in Orkney, off Falmouth in Cornwall and off Bloody Bridge in Co. Down, Northern Ireland.

Records of Risso’s dolphins have been reported from the Isle of Man, around the Outer Hebrides, and in Orkney and Shetland.

White-beaked dolphins have been just sighted in Dunnet Bay and off the coast of Northumberland.

Large pods of Atlantic white-sided dolphins have been sighted at multiple locations around Shetland.

Orcas have been recorded around Shetland and Orkney since early spring and have already been included in the National Whale and Dolphin Watch tally.

It is expected that the number of records will rise as people find time to enter their sightings and after they finish their watches which have been organized in many different locations.

It’s not too late for people to join in with the national effort to monitor whales and dolphins and the scientists behind the event are urging people to head to the coast to take part. “No experience is necessary, you just need to download a watch form from our website, record the environmental conditions every fifteen minutes and watch for at least an hour” says Dr Chiara Giulia Bertulli, Sightings Officer at Sea Watch Foundation and lead organizer of this year’s event.

Not all watches will result in a sighting, but that piece of information is still very valuable to us so just by taking part you are contributing greatly to the report we will publish” adds Chiara.

In addition, people are requested to report their casual sightings on the charity’s website.

During the nine-day event in 2018, thirteen different whales and dolphins were recorded in UK waters. Some 1626 sightings were logged around the UK that week, the highest reported so far. Although we are only halfway through this year’s event, it looks as if we could break all records.  For more facts and figures from last years’ event, please read our 2018 National Whale and Dolphin Watch report.

All the verified sightings so far can be viewed on line (http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw-2019/) where they are updated as more reports come in

Find out more about the event: www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw

Join a registered event or create your own event: https://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw-2019-watch-list/ (please note that new events are being added all the time so keep looking!)

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PADI Recognises EMEA Members with New Professional Development Excellence Award

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PADI® (Professional Association of Diving Instructors®) has recently launched their new Professional Development Excellence Award in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), celebrating PADI Five Star Instructor Development Centers (IDC)  that are championing creating more PADI Professionals, at all levels, during the previous calendar year.

“While becoming a PADI Five Star IDC Center is a prized accreditation amongst members, this exclusive rating comes with the responsibility of training the next generation of divers to become PADI Instructors,” explains Dave Murray, Managing Director for PADI EMEA.

“PADI’s commitment to a continuing education philosophy encourages divers to realise their dreams of a career as a PADI Pro, teaching others to do what they love – to scuba dive. This new recognition award distinguishes productive PADI Five Star IDC stores for the time and effort they dedicate to marketing and conducting the professional training needed to grow the scuba diving industry.”

PADI’s EMEA Professional Development Excellence Award recognises members for reaching specific milestones based on the number of PADI Pro certifications they issue annually. It also provides an extra layer of credentials in their “Pro Development Status” to potential Divemaster and IDC candidates, along with any other prospective Pro-level customers and prospective employees.

The first awards were distributed earlier this year, with 12 PADI Five Star IDC Centers receiving the Platinum Award. This means that they have issued a minimum of 100 PADI Professional certifications from Divemaster to IDC Staff Instructor, which include 30 Core Professional certifications and 70 Continuing Education Instructor level certifications.

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The 2025 PADI EMEA Professional Development Excellence Award is already underway and renewed PADI EMEA Five Star IDC Dive Centers and Resorts are automatically eligible. Stores that reach the recognition levels during 2024 will receive their award in the first quarter of 2025.

For more information about the award and to see the full list of award recipients visit here.

About PADI 

PADI® (Professional Association of Diving Instructors®) is the largest purpose-driven diving organization with a global network of 6,600 dive centers and resorts, 128,000 professional members, and more than 30 million certified divers to date. Committed to our blue planet, PADI makes the wonder of the underwater world accessible to all, empowering people around the world to experience, explore and take meaningful action, as Ocean TorchbearersTM, to protect the world beneath the surface. For over 50 years, PADI is undeniably The Way the World Learns to Dive®, setting the standard for the highest quality dive training, underwater safety and conservation initiatives while evolving the sport of diving into a passionate lifestyle. For divers by divers, PADI is obsessed with transforming lives and, with its global foundation, PADI AWARETM, creating positive ocean change. Seek Adventure. Save the Ocean.SM  www.padi.com

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Introduce family to the wonder of the oceans with new family weeks from Regaldive

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diving holiday

Regal Dive, the diving holiday specialist, is offering Learn to Dive and Family Weeks this summer to encourage divers and those new to the sport to spend some time in the water together, learning and developing their diving skills. There are multiple itineraries on offer providing affordable diving certification, including a range of liveaboard trips which are designed to be inclusive – so that even those who would prefer to simply snorkel are still guaranteed a good time.

ITINERARIES IN THE MALDIVES:

MV Keana: Family Week, perfect for snorkellers, beginners and children.

Spend 10 nights in a Maldivian paradise exploring warm turquoise waters for exciting marine life and beautiful corals, all with a highly experienced diving team on hand. The MV Keana takes guests on an adventure around the remote atolls, home to manta rays, sharks, turtles, dolphins and whale sharks. The vessel accommodates up to 18 guests in comfortable upper deck cabins and features an outdoor bar and dining areaThere is a sundeck to soak in the views of the ocean and pristine white beaches of the surrounding islands.

Price: A 10-night trip on MV Keana costs £3,015 per adult, with children under 11 costing £2,735, including flights, departing 8 August 2024.

AMBA: Liveaboard Diving Beginner’s Tour, Family fun between Male and Vaavu Atoll

Take advantage of a variety of courses and family rates on this week-long beginner’s tour. Guests will complete a diving theory course prior to embarking on AMBA, allowing for the possibility to complete up to four courses whilst aboard, including the Open Water certification. Once certified, guests can explore the Vaavu Atoll, which has the thrilling possibility of shark encounters. More experienced divers can hop aboard the Dhoni to access some of the area’s more challenging dive sites.

Price: A 7-night trip on AMBA costs from £2,400 per adult, with children 11 and under costing £2,210. This price includes flights. Departing 13 August 2024.

diving holiday

DIVING RESORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES:

Atlantis Puerto Galera & Atlantis Dumaguete Family Weeks

The Atlantis Dive Resorts is offering a range of exceptional deals for family groups this summer. The Family Week special offers include free stays, free meals, free diving places for children (one free child per paying adult). Puerto Galera Resort, in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, offers accessible diving, diverse coral reefs and exotic marine life. Dumaguete, in the Visayas region, is home to a diverse range of macro species, including ghost pipefish, flamboyant cuttlefish, and various seahorses and octopuses. The resort also grants access to the Dauin Marine Sanctuaries and Apo Island – one of the finest diving destinations in the Philippines. Both hotels are situated in stunning beach-front locations with tropical landscaped gardens and thatched-roof bungalows.

Price: A 7-night stay Atlantis Puerto Galera costs £3,593 per adult and £1,375 per teen, including flights. A 7-night stay at Atlantis Dumaguete costs £3,895 per adult and £1,475 per teen, including flights.

Family week deals at the Atlantis Dive Resorts are available on selected dates in July, August, November and December 2024.

For more information visit www.regal-diving.co.uk.

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