My favourite time of the year is when we head out and find new dive sites for the season.
One of the things that I love about diving is the unknown, and let’s be honest, how many of us go out and pick a spot to dive and just go for it (with a thorough dive plan of course), just to see what is there. Well, that’s exactly what the team and I do each year, every year. Leading us to change our dive site list for the year, usually keeping the ones that you love… and finding new ones to share with you all.
Over the years I had been very lucky to get to explore areas of the coastline such as Porth Ysgaden, and Rhoscolyn, as well as further afield sites such as Puffin Island and the Kimya – all stunning sites around the area. I have to admit though, the one site that I have loved exploring from the very start, and one that only ever gets better and better, never failing to introduce new marine life… the Menai Strait.
The amount of marine life in the Menai is unbelievable, from tompot blennys, to dogfish to octopus, this site has everything and can cater for any level of diver too… another reason for my love of the site. It has something for the adrenaline junkie loving drifts, to the cautious new open water diver wanting to stay shallow and see the marine life. An absolute must for any diver.
Last year was our first year at Pwllheli, and we ventured quite a lot around the stunning Tudwals Islands. This year… well, I would love to tell you, but it is of course top secret… we don’t want you all knowing about the sites before they are released!
We will be heading further out across the mainland and around the Pwllheli area, as well as also having a few new bays on our list, for those of you not too keen on the boat diving just yet. So how do we decide on our sites? Obviously the guides liking them is a top consideration! But also the marine life, topography, and most importantly, the skill level required. Each year we are always very picky over what sites we choose. We want sites that all divers are capable of diving with our guides. That is, after all, the way that we choose to operate. Small groups, personal centres, to ensure that we can meet your needs and either get you to fall in love with UK diving, or as an experienced diver, to see why Wales should have been on your list all along.
Our new sites will be revealed on social media over the next few months, but whilst you are waiting, you can get ready for the season and contact us with regards to your bespoke dive trip!
BSAC launches Divesoft Liberty rebreather course
The British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) is bolstering access to technical dive training with the new BSAC Divesoft Liberty CCR course.
This course is a first step (MOD 1) into the silent bubble-free world of rebreather diving, and opens up a new world of diving experiences and possibilities for members.
Benefits of the Divesoft Liberty rebreather
Founded in 2013 in the Czech Republic, Divesoft developed its closed circuit rebreather (CCR) primarily with the guidance of cave divers. The Divesoft Liberty was the first fault-tolerant electronically controlled rebreather released into the recreational diving market. The Liberty is designed where all vital electronic elements have redundancy so that no single failure can disable the system.
Even if a critical systems error occured, the diver can safely return to the surface on the Liberty, maximising safety and efficiency. The design follows the same approach utilised in many safety-critical applications in the aerospace industry.
The Liberty’s modularity and ease of maintenance allow the diver to maintain the unit in all environments, including the harsh conditions of an expedition.
BSAC Divesoft Liberty CCR Diver course
The brand new BSAC Liberty CCR course will teach a suitably qualified open-circuit diver to safely dive their rebreather to a maximum depth of 45m. This highly versatile unit offers a wide range of adjustability and settings, making it great for beginners and expert CCR divers alike.
Students get a thorough grounding in rebreather technology, and in-depth Liberty-specific training. The course includes decompression diving, and trimix gas planning, and teaches all the skills and drills required to dive the Liberty and address all possible situations.
The course is open to BSAC Sports Divers or above, who have completed a 35m depth certification. Trainees must also hold the Accelerated Decompression Procedures qualification or be an Advanced Nitrox diver (or equivalent.)
The BSAC Liberty course covers decompression diving and trimix gas planning, with skills and drills required to dive the Liberty and address all possible situations. Trainees can choose to dive with air as a diluent, but will have been trained using 20/35 trimix as a diluent, so when they use 20/35 are allowed to dive to a maximum depth of 45m, at the MOD 1 level of training.
The dry practical sessions will cover assembly, preparing and maintaining the Liberty, including updating the control firmware and downloading dives from the unit, using the Divesoft PC and phone applications.
All the new skills will be introduced during the sheltered water training dives, including applying the student’s current rescue skills to CCR diving: the sheltered water training is followed by seven open-water dives.
Nick Jewson, BSAC Technical Liberty Instructor said:
“The introduction of the Liberty CCR MOD 1 course demonstrates that BSAC continues to evolve its technical dive offering for members. We plan to have a minimum of four BSAC Liberty instructors in place early in the 2024 season, and with potential students waiting to do the course we can’t wait to see BSAC-qualified Liberty divers using this impressive rebreather in exciting expeditions very soon.”
The BSAC Liberty CCR MOD 1 course will be officially launched at the Go Diving Show near Kenilworth, Warwickshire on the weekend of 2nd-3rd March 2024, where Divesoft will have units on display.
Nick continued: “Visitors should head to stand N4 to get a hands-on look at the Divesoft Liberty and talk to the BSAC Liberty course team. Come and have a look, book your place on a regional Liberty try dive event, or sign up for the BSAC MOD 1 Liberty CCR Diver training course. We’ll ready to show you how the Liberty CCR can transform your diving!”
To learn more about the BSAC diving community, visit www.bsac.com
New 2024 PADI AmbassaDivers Announced to Inspire More Superheroes for the Ocean
PADI announces the newest AmbassaDivers™ on the 2024 team, selected for their passion and dedication to protecting our shared blue planet.
“In each of their own unique ways, our new AmbassaDivers stand out and lead by example, inspiring others to step up, pursue their passion and be superheroes for the ocean,” says Julie Andersen, Senior Director of Brand for PADI Worldwide. “They are shining examples of how to protect what you love – and inspire others to do the same.
Initially launched in 2015, PADI’s AmbassaDiver programme aims to amplify the personal stories of exemplary divers who inspire others to love and care for our ocean planet. PADI AmbassaDivers are part of a global team committed to bringing awareness to social and environmental issues facing our planet and encouraging more people to experience, explore, and protect the underwater world.
Earlier this year, the exceptional duo of award-winning Indian actress Sonakshi Sinha and her dive buddy Indian actor and businessman Zaheer Iqbal were announced as some of this year’s newest PADI AmbassaDivers™inductees. Now over twenty other passionate scuba divers join the ranks.
“This year’s esteemed group highlights the diversity and commitment that it will take to safeguard the world’s largest and most important ecosystem. From adaptive divers proving the healing powers of the ocean to young children showing you are never too young to make real change in your communities, they are all true advocates for our blue planet and will help us create one billion PADI Torchbearers™,” continues Andersen.
PADI welcomes the following individuals to the 2024 AmbassaDiver roster:
Mariyam Firusha (Island Vaikaradhoo Maldives)
Born and raised in the Maldives, Mariyam is the first and only female scuba diving instructor from her island so far. After participating in a Discover Scuba Diving experience in 2021, she found her passion (and her husband!) in the ocean. Only six months after her Open Water Diver certification, she became a PADI Instructor and left her job in a call centre to work as a PADI Pro.
India Black (Poole, Dorset)
A content creator, broadcaster, and wildlife and marine conservation advocate, having taken part in marine and turtle conservation efforts worldwide. She’s also a part-time well-being mentor and physical therapist who works with young people with eating disorders and learning differences.
Radhika Sharma (Delhi, India)
A content creator and a full-time traveller who shared her compelling journey of traveling worldwide as a featured Ted-X speaker. She’s a certified scuba diver, paraglider and skier and aims to inspire people to go outdoors and not be afraid to follow their hearts.
Leng Yein (Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia)
A PADI Divemaster and Mermaid Instructor with 17 years of dive experience, Leng wants to inspire people to know that, “it is never too late to be the person you wish to be. Live, Love, and Act, with a purpose.” She’s also a Malaysia Government-Licensed Tour Guide, the face of several charity organisations, and has held the title of Asia’s #1 Female DJ for more than a decade.
Giosue Reale (Siracusa, Italy)
Giosue started scuba diving at 11 years old and is now a watersport instructor. His mission is to spread awareness about the amazing wildlife found around the British coast that is so often overlooked. He’s also passionate about showcasing diverse shark species from around the world and helping change people’s views on these beautiful animals through his underwater videography.
Mariana Saad Vargas (Ponta Grossa, Paraná, Brasil)
A 10-year-old student who loves animals and nature, travelling, and outdoor activities, especially scuba diving. She also loves reading, painting, drawing, and art crafting. This Harry Potter fan is a PADI Junior Open Water Diver and wants to inspire young people to discover the underwater world.
Kritika Goel (Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India)
A content creator who turned her passion for travel and photography into a way of life. She wants to let her audience explore vicariously through her lens, and her mission is to inspire people to step outside their comfort zones and experience the beauty of this world.
Sarah Miller (California, United States)
Sarah became a diver in 2012 and followed her dream to become a scuba instructor, starting Azul Unlimited as a dive business in Mexico and then Indonesia. Now Azul Unlimited is an online brand where she shares scuba lessons and van life adventures on YouTube, with a mission of building a supportive and fun community of safe divers and ocean protectors.
Laura Quesada (Madrid, Spain)
Laura has always known she wanted to be a diving instructor and was certified as a Junior Open Water Diver at ten years old. She’s travelled the world as a PADI Instructor and has been sponsored by Cressi since 2019. Her mission is to show the world how to save the ocean and the animals that live in it and to educate her students in caring for the ocean. Her passion is macro life, and her favorite marine animal is the nudibranch.
Kayleigh Slowey (Teignmouth, Devon, UK)
Kayleigh has spent most of her life by the ocean, cultivating a love for marine life and a passion for conservation early on. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine and Natural History Photography and a Master’s Degree in Marine Ecology, which have taken her on many adventures across the globe, using digital creation in her ocean conservation work.
Karol Yela (Pasto, Nariño, Colombia)
Karol is a PADI Divemaster, who aims to promote environmental awareness and the importance of sustainable practices in the diving community. As a specialist in sports training, she works to improve people’s lifestyles through sports, helping them build better daily habits that encourage them to find their happiness.
Sara Gojer (Bangalore, India)
As an international DJ, Sara travels the world and spreads her enthusiasm for scuba diving everywhere she goes. She’s a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) and PADI AWARE Shark Conservation Instructor whose aim is to “protect sharks all over the world and introduce people to scuba diving with these magnificent creatures!”
Katt Andryskova (Geneva, Switzerland)
Katt is a science educator, scuba diving instructor, freediver, and marine photographer living and diving the Great Barrier Reef. From her first breath underwater at age 12 to her 11 years working in Cambodia, Comoros, and Australia as a PADI Instructor, her mission has been to protect the future of our blue planet. She created Ocean Pancake to empower ocean lovers and activists to create positive change through individual choices, which she does through her podcast and YouTube channel.
Jessica Pita (Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa)
Jessica is a student majoring in Psychology and Anthropology and a passionate advocate for disabilities. Through social media, she shares inspiring, humorous, and everyday moments in the life of a blind girl, often highlighting the challenges and lack of inclusivity faced by individuals with disabilities. Defying expectations, Jessica uses her heightened senses of hearing and muscle memory to excel in various sports, like show jumping, scuba diving, and playing multiple musical instruments.
Jillian Taylor (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Jillian is a wildlife scientist and ocean enthusiast currently completing a Master of Science on the Atlantic puffin, a bird that shares her love of the frigid North Atlantic Ocean. She enjoys showcasing the rich biodiversity of the colder parts of our ocean and believes that “conservation starts with the details: it is hard to protect a species unless you know the name of it.”
Tyrell Crosby (Henderson, Nevada, United States)
Tyrell is relatively new to scuba, but he’s already hooked on its magic. His professional career as an NFL Offensive Lineman for the Detroit Lions was cut short by a severe spinal injury. After recovering from surgery, he discovered scuba diving as an alternative to football to provide both a physical challenge and mental clarity and found a new passion.
Aakash Malhotra (Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, India)
Also known as “Sky,” Aakash is an adventurer and travel content creator listed in Forbes India’s “Top 100 Content Creators 2023.” He has a passion for extreme sports, including skydiving, scuba diving, and snowboarding, and his mission is “encouraging Indian adventurers through immersive storytelling and professional education, fostering a culture of fearless exploration, and celebrating diverse landscapes to embrace thrilling adventures.”
Luciana Maldonado (Neuquén, Patagonia, Argentina)
Luciana first discovered scuba diving eight years ago in Indonesia when she was looking for ways to heal herself, and her life changed completely. She decided to leave her career at a sports TV network and move to Mexico to start her diving career, from Open Water Diver to Instructor. Today, she continues to teach diving and collaborates with marine biologists and conservationists to create educational programmes.
Mariam Al Saif (Kuwait)
Mariam inherited a deep-rooted connection to the sea from her pearl-diving ancestors while growing up on the shores of Kuwait. She found scuba diving in her twenties, and her passion for the ocean and conservation grew. This and her love of solo travel led her to found MER, a community uniting divers through meaningful travels and shared underwater adventures.
Prachi and Harsh (Mumbai, India)
Prachi and Harsh are an adventurous couple of world travellers and explorers. Their mission is “to redefine exploration, infusing it with conscious purpose. Through sharing our adventures, we aim to inspire fellow Indians to discover the ocean for themselves and fall in love with it.” Through their social media account, “Two Tickets to Freedom,” they document their travels, scuba diving experiences, and conservation efforts. They’re also GoPro India Ambassadors and TEDx speakers, spreading their message in a talk titled “Make It Happen, Today.”
Expedition Rove (Houston, Texas, and Yorkshire, England)
Mary Hannah and Andy are a husband and wife duo navigating the globe together in their Land Rover. Over the past five years, they’ve explored more than 45 countries in North, Central, and South America, across Europe to Turkey and Africa. They got Open Water Diver certified in Cape Town in 2023, and it’s quickly become one of their favourite on-the-road activities to do on their travels.
Manami Azuma (Nara, Japan)
Manami fell in love with the ocean after scuba diving in Okinawa and quickly became interested in environmental issues. She started by joining beach cleanups but soon realised the beauty of underwater cleanups as an activity that brings joy and purpose. She decided to open a dive shop, “Dr Blue,” to raise awareness further, raising funds through crowdfunding. Through her activities as a diving instructor, activist, writer, and speaker and her upcycling efforts, she wishes to prove that underwater cleanup is fun and that one step from a hundred people is more effective than a hundred steps from one person.
Yumi Shirai (Kanagawa, Japan)
Yumi first went scuba diving as a high school student in Sydney and as a diver, she learned about the close relationship between garbage, environmental issues, and the ocean. This led her to found a non-profit environmental organisation called “MORE Planning.” The name stands for “Mountain Ocean River Earth.” Their activities include collecting trash illegally dumped in the mountains, cleaning up rivers, land, and shorelines, and even cleaning up underwater.
Viridiana Alvarez Chavez (Aguascalientes, Mexico)
Viridiana is the first woman on the American continent to climb the five highest mountains in the world (Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu). She also has the Guinness World Record for the fastest ascent of the world’s three highest mountains using supplemental oxygen. After conquering all the major summits, Viridiana has turned her attention to the ocean, her next project in life.
Hiroshi “KUMA” Sato (Sanriku, Japan)
When the 2011 tsunami hit the coast of his hometown, and Hiroshi saw the devastation it caused to the sea where he worked as a scuba instructor, he decided he had to act. He founded Sanriku Volunteer Divers to collect the marine debris left behind by the tsunami and help clean up the seabed. Today, they’re still doing cleanups but have expanded their activities to include seabed restoration and seaweed farming. Hiroshi was named a 2023 Sea Hero by Scuba Diving magazine for his efforts in marine conservation.
Captain Jason Chambers (Canberra, Australia):
Jason gained fame as a superyacht captain on Below Deck and knows how to decompress from a high-pressure job. “When you’re underwater, it’s the ultimate escape,” he says. As a father, captain, TV actor, professional athlete, and PADI Rescue Diver, Jason covers a lot of ground. Nearest to his heart is Classroom of Hope, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to rebuilding 100 schools damaged in the 2018 Indonesian earthquake with materials made from recycled plastic.
Kundai Murapa (Harare, Zimbabwe)
As a child, Kundai dreamed of becoming a Power Ranger. He channelled his love for superheroes into becoming a professional stunt performer, and his fascination with The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo piqued his interest in life underwater. As an adventure athlete, Kundai engages in parkour, calisthenics, rock climbing, and scuba diving. His passion for adventure and human movement inspired his career as a certified fitness expert, TraceFit Method training system creator, and film stuntman.
Learn more about the PADI AmbassaDiver team here. Follow PADI on Facebook, Instagram, and X to keep up to date on their ongoing projects, dive adventures, and conservation efforts throughout the year.
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