Connect with us
background

News

iDive Makadi Bay trip to Dolphin House

Published

on

On a recent trip to Makadi bay, Hurghada we decided to try out a wild swimming dolphin experience which is available every week and includes a boat trip, a fantastic buffet lunch with soft drinks and the use of wetsuits, mask, fins and snorkel for the duration of the trip all for under 50 euros. I was a little sceptical about the chances of seeing and swimming with wild dolphins, but I was reassured by the staff, who seemed very confident that they have an 80-90% percent chance of seeing them on each trip.

On the morning of the trip, the group met at the dive centre, handily located within the pretty resort of Fort Arabesque, where the staff helpfully handed out any equipment required, before pointing out the dive boat waiting for us at the end of a short jetty on the beach directly in front of the dive centre.

The boat is primarily used for scuba divers. There was plenty of room with places to keep fins and wetsuits in the wet area, towels and bags in the inside dry area, toilets on board and a place to relax and enjoy the stunning views upstairs.

The group was introduced to the staff who wore name tags and were friendly, welcoming, professional and approachable. We were told that we were going to a place called Dolphin House and the species of dolphin we would expect to see were explained. Housekeeping was covered and any problems, medical or otherwise, were clarified and the procedure for when and how to enter and exit the water was thoroughly explained.

The boat journey to dolphin house was calm with plenty of room for the group to spread out and relax, sleep or enjoy the views. Most people brought food boxes provided by the hotel to snack on during the journey. There was also a photographer/videographer on-board who took candid snaps of the group. You could buy the photographs and/or the edited video of both underwater and on the boat for a nominal fee.

On the approach to the site, the group were instructed to get ready and put kit on. There were already a few boats moored up next to each other and once the engines were stopped, our guide entered the water followed by the group. We were brought to an area of reef where the boats could not enter but where the dolphins were located which meant a short swim from the boat.

Once in Dolphin House it was everything I could have wished for… The pod was inquisitive and playful, swimming just under the group of snorkelers, surfacing for air then circling back around. Some dolphins came close enough so that you could see every detail in their markings, circling some of our group of freedivers after they had duck dived to get a good look at them – a kind of tacit communication between freediver and dolphin.

Freediving in my monofin alongside some of the pod who were gliding slowly and effortlessly through the water was an amazing and awe-inspiring experience of privileged calm and excitement. You almost felt like part of the pod for those few precious seconds. We were lucky enough that the dolphins chose to engage with us for approximately 45 minutes and the interactions experienced during this encounter left me without a doubt about the intelligence and sentience of these amazing mammals.

I am still surprised and saddened that even today when candidly discussing with friends and acquaintances my desire to swim with dolphins it is still suggested that I pay for a ‘swim with a captive dolphin’ experience. Even after films such as Blackfish and The Cove. The latter documents the driving of entire pods into the cove in Taiji Japan, in order to select the few individuals to be sent to dolphinariums and the slaughter of the remaining pod members for the meat trade despite its highly toxic mercury content. This was first publicised in 2009 and is still occurring today – all you need to do is follow Sea Shepherd to see the emotive images of dolphins thrashing about in a sea of red.

After pointing out that the practice of decimating a dolphin pod is solely due to the lucrative prices dolphins attract for our entertainment I am often met with previous ignorance of the practice but with a vow to never visit one again once enlightened.

Sadly dolphinariums exist but this experience with wild dolphins, with an ethical provider, is the only way I would interact with them now. Even during the trip I noticed some boats getting too close to the dolphins and dropping divers in almost on top of each other to gain a split second of a view of them. Our operator would only allow us in when the conditions were right for both the dolphins and the freedivers on board.

So if you’re looking to swim with dolphins and want an ethical provider of dolphin experiences then IDive Makadi Bay is a perfect example.

You can find out more about diving with IDive below:

News

Jeff chats to… Underwater Photographer Ellen Cuylaerts (Watch Video)

Published

on

In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Ellen Cuylaerts about her diving and underwater photographic career.

As an underwater and wildlife photographer, Fellow of The Explorers Club and having a front seat in exploration being part of the Flag and Honours Committee, Ellen is also a Member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She travels the world and tries to make the most of every destination and the path that leads her there. Ellen acts as an ocean citizen and believes as divers we should all be ocean ambassadors and lead by example. She is now based in the UK after many years in Grand Cayman.

Find out more about Ellen and her work at www.ellencuylaerts.com


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

Continue Reading

Marine Life & Conservation

Huge thresher shark is the latest of six murals to be painted around the Solent this summer

Published

on

The murals celebrate the Solent’s extraordinary marine life – marking National Marine Week.

Secrets of the Solent have commissioned street artist ATM to paint a series of marine-themed artworks at various locations around the Solent this summer. The latest mural to be finished shows a thresher shark on the Langstone Harbour Office. Langstone Harbour is an important area for wildlife as well as a bustling seaside destination for sailing and water sports.

Artist ATM, who is painting all six murals, is well-known for his iconic wildlife street art. This, his second artwork of the series, took three days to paint freehand, from a scaffolding platform. The thresher shark was chosen out of six marine species to be the subject of the artwork by the local community, who were asked to vote via an online form or in person on the Hayling Ferry.

Secrets of the Solent hope the mural will become a landmark in Langstone Harbour and inspire visitors to learn more about this enigmatic oceanic shark. The project, which is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, works to celebrate and raise awareness of Solent’s diverse marine environment.

Aiming to highlight the exotic and unusual creatures found close to our coasts, artist ATM says: “I really enjoyed painting the thresher shark because it’s such an amazing looking animal, with a tail as long as its body. I hope when people see the murals, they will become more aware of what lives under the waves and the importance of protecting the vital habitats within the Solent.”

Dr Tim Ferrero, Senior Marine Biologist at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust says: “The thresher shark is a wonderful animal that visits our waters every summer. It comes to an area to the east of the Isle of Wight, and this appears to be where the sharks breed and have their young. Not many people know that we have thresher sharks in our region, and so having our mural here on the side of the Langstone Harbour Office building is a fantastic way of raising awareness of this mysterious ocean wanderer. I really hope that people will come away with the knowledge that the Solent, our harbours and our seas are incredibly important for wildlife.”

Rachel Bryan, Project Manager for Secrets of the Solent at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust comments: “We are really excited to have street artist ATM painting a thresher shark on the side of the Langstone Harbour Office building. We chose this building because of its prominent location right on the entrance to Langstone Harbour so that anyone who’s visiting, whether that’s walkers, cyclists or people coming in and out of the harbour on their jet-skis or sailing boats, will all be able to see our thresher shark. People on the Portsmouth side of the harbour will also be able to see the mural from across the water.”

The thresher shark is a mysterious predator which spends most of its time in oceanic waters. It uses its huge whip-like tail as an incredibly effective tool for hunting its prey. Herding small fish into tight shoals, the shark will lash at them with its tail, stunning several in one hit and making them easier to catch.

Secrets of the Solent hope to work with the species this summer to discover more about its behaviour.

Dr Tim Ferrero explains: “Nobody really knows where thresher sharks go in the ocean. Later this summer we are hoping that we are going to be able to attach a satellite tag to a thresher shark and monitor its progress for an entire year. This will provide really important information that will help us learn so much more about the shark’s annual life cycle.”

The new thresher shark mural is a fantastic start to National Marine Week (24th July – 8th August), which celebrates the unique marine wildlife and habitats we have here in the UK. Over the two weeks, Wildlife Trusts around the country will be running a series of exciting events to celebrate the marine environment. We really hope people will be inspired by our murals and want to learn more about each chosen species.

Events in the Solent include the launch of a new Solent marine film on the 29th July, installation of a new Seabin on the 4th August to reduce marine litter, and citizen science surveys throughout summer.

For more information click here.

Header image: Bret Charman

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

More Less

Instagram Feed

Popular