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Jump into… Starting a charity



As if having two dive centres and Scuba Escape was ‘not enough’, I also decided, last year, to set up a charity for mental health in diving. Why? Because it seemed as though it was not just my personal experience demonstrating a need for this. Some of you may or may not be aware of certain issues that prevailed in the previous year, what you do not know are the stories from the previous four years before that. We can leave that conversation for another time though!

We usually see diving as a way to improve our mental health, at least I hope that is the case for most of you. A minority of others, despite loving the activity, are subject to bullying within our industry. Don’t just take my word for it. From a survey completed by over 250 of you in the UK, 72% of you said that you had either been bullied, or witnessed bullying. 62% said that this still exists. A scary thought for our amazing industry. 

So what are the actual issues? Many of you stated that the bullying related to agencies or equipment, a person’s size, gender and age were also focal points within the survey. All things that have no bearing on us undertaking Scuba Diving at all. This presented the need for the charity. People completing this survey had stated that they remain with these individuals or organisations because they have nowhere to go, yet want to dive; others also stating that they stopped diving altogether because of having no other place. That then became the idea for the ‘Just Scuba Charity’, which is, as it says, Just Scuba. No politics, nobody caring what equipment you are using… Or what size your drysuit is… just diving. 

The charity will be starting up this year as I have been waiting, and successfully obtaining, charitable status. We will be asking for divers wishing to volunteer as ‘dive buddies’ that others having personal issues with their mental health in diving can come to, and just dive. To find a new network of friendly, non-judgemental people to share their passion of the water. Other aspects of the charity will include mental health support options for divers to access, information on how to respond to bullying, to challenge the behaviour or report it, and for those feeling like they have nowhere to turn, a contact email and chat to access support. 

Whether you have been affected by bullying within diving or not, unfortunately it does exist and now is the time for us all to come together and stand up to this, to protect our diving community. 

If you have not yet checked out the charity, please visit

Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at

Clare Dutton, is a PADI Course Director and Director of Duttons Divers and Vivian Dive Centre. At the age of 25, Clare was one of the youngest to be accepted on the PADI Course Director course. Her work in the industry has involved promoting cold water diving, putting sites such as the Menai on the map for divers, and assisting others to chase their ambition as a PADI Pro. Get in touch with Clare at


New 2024 PADI AmbassaDivers Announced to Inspire More Superheroes for the Ocean



padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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):

padi ambassadivers

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)

padi ambassadivers

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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Scuba Diving: How to Get Started



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If you have a friend or family member who is thinking about getting in to diving, this guide on how to get started from Sea to Sky offers advice on how they can begin their exciting journey…

Scuba diving is a wonderful way to experience the beauty and diversity of marine life, and to explore shipwrecks, caves, and other underwater features across the world.

For many scuba diving becomes a hobby & passion, but it’s also hugely popular for holidays to destinations such as Egypt, Oman, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and the Maldives, offering an unparalleled underwater experience for new and experienced divers.

Find out more about Scuba Diving in our getting started guide.

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What is Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is where divers use a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) to breathe underwater.

Essential Training

Before going scuba diving, it is important to get proper training and certification. This will ensure that you are able to dive safely and understand the risks involved.

There are various organisations that offer scuba diving certification, such as PADI, CMAS, and SSI (among others). These organisations offer a variety of courses, from basic open water diver courses to advanced specialty courses such as deep diving, wreck diving and tech.

Important Equipment

When scuba diving, it is important to use proper equipment and to follow safety guidelines. This includes using a dive computer, which helps to monitor your dive time and depth, as well as a dive watch or dive planner.

It is also important to use a buoyancy control device (BCD) to help control your buoyancy underwater, and a dive regulator to control the flow of air from your tanks.

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Be Sensible

Scuba diving is a great way to explore the underwater world, but it is also important to remember that it is an activity that comes with risks.

Divers should be aware of their own limitations and should always dive within their own level of experience and training. It is also important to be aware of the potential dangers of diving, such as marine life, currents, and equipment failure.

Overall, scuba diving is a thrilling and rewarding activity that allows people to experience the beauty and diversity of the underwater world. With proper training and safety guidelines, it is a safe and enjoyable activity for people of all ages and abilities.

Dive Training Agencies

Each agency offers different courses and certifications, and each has its own unique approach to scuba diving education.

Below are three of the major agencies and we have summarised the agencies and what they offer. If you are any doubt or confused, drop us an email and we would be only too happy to discuss each of their attributes.

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PADI, which stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors, is one of the most well-known and widely recognised scuba diving certification agencies in the world.

Founded in 1966, PADI has trained millions of divers and currently has more than 6,500 dive centres and resorts in over 180 countries.

One of the reasons for PADI’s popularity is its wide range of courses for divers of all levels, from beginner to professional.

The most popular PADI course is the Open Water Diver course, which teaches the basic skills and knowledge needed to safely dive in open water environments.

PADI also offers a variety of specialty courses, such as deep diving, wreck diving, and digital underwater photography, that allow divers to expand their skills and knowledge.

It also offers different types of certifications, such as the Junior Open Water Diver, which is designed for children, and the Master Scuba Diver, which is the highest non-professional certification level in PADI and recognises the diver’s experience and skills.

Another aspect that sets PADI apart from other dive agencies is the flexibility of its courses, PADI’s eLearning program allows divers to complete the knowledge development part of the Open Water Diver course online, before arriving at the dive center. This allows divers to learn at their own pace and to fit the course into their busy schedules.

PADI is also known for its commitment to safety and environmental conservation. The agency has developed a number of programs and initiatives to promote safe diving practices and to protect the underwater environment. These include Project AWARE, which focuses on ocean conservation and marine debris removal, and the PADI Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) Specialty course, which teaches divers how to safely and responsibly use underwater scooters.

In conclusion, PADI is one of the most well-known and widely recognised scuba diving certification agencies in the world. With its wide range of courses, flexible eLearning program, and commitment to safety and environmental conservation, PADI is an excellent choice for anyone looking to learn to dive or to expand their diving skills and knowledge.

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CMAS, short for Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques, is a French dive agency that offers scuba diving certifications and training.

Founded in 1959, CMAS is one of the oldest and most respected dive agencies in the world, and is recognised by the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) as a major training organisation.

One of the unique features of CMAS is its multi-level certification system. Unlike other dive agencies, which have a single level of certification for open water divers, CMAS has three levels of certification for open water divers: 1-star, 2-star, and 3-star. Each level represents an increasing level of skill and knowledge, and divers can progress through the levels as they gain more experience.

  • The 1-star level is the entry-level certification for open water divers. It is designed for divers who are new to scuba diving and want to learn the basics of diving, such as dive theory, dive equipment, dive planning, and dive safety.
  • The 2-star level is the intermediate level certification for open water divers. It is designed for divers who have completed the 1-star level and want to gain more experience and knowledge. The 2-star level covers more advanced topics such as deep diving, navigation, and emergency procedures.
  • The 3-star level is the advanced level certification for open water divers. It is designed for divers who have completed the 2-star level and want to gain even more experience and knowledge. The 3-star level covers more specialised topics such as wreck diving, cave diving, and ice diving.

In addition to its open water diver certifications, CMAS also offers a wide range of specialties and instructor certifications. These include deep diving, wreck diving, cave diving, night diving, and more. CMAS also offers technical diving courses, including trimix and rebreather diving.

CMAS is also known for its strong emphasis on safety and environmental conservation. All the diving courses include instruction in dive safety and environmental awareness, and they are actively involved in ocean conservation and marine research projects around the world.

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Scuba Schools International (SSI) is a globally recognised scuba diving certification agency that offers a wide range of scuba diving courses and certifications.

Founded in 1970, SSI has trained millions of divers and currently has more than 40,000 dive professionals and over 2,500 dive centres and resorts worldwide.

One of the unique features of SSI is its focus on providing a comprehensive and holistic dive education program. SSI has a unique training system that is based on the concept of “Total Dive Control”. This means that SSI courses are designed to teach divers not only the basic skills of diving, but also how to fully control and manage their dive experience, from planning and preparation to execution and analysis.

SSI also offers a variety of courses for divers of all levels, from beginner to professional. The most popular SSI course is the Open Water Diver course, which teaches the basic skills and knowledge needed to safely dive in open water environments.

There are also a variety of specialty courses, such as deep diving, wreck diving, and digital underwater photography, that allow divers to expand their skills and knowledge.

SSI also offers a Master Diver program, which is the highest non-professional certification level in SSI, which recognises the diver’s experience and skills.

Another aspect that sets SSI apart from other dive agencies is its flexibility in the final open water test. SSI allows divers to take the final open water dive test in a pool, whereas PADI requires the test to be done in open water.

SSI also has a strong commitment to safety and environmental conservation. All SSI diving courses include instruction in dive safety and environmental awareness, and SSI is actively involved in ocean conservation and marine research projects around the world.

In conclusion, SSI is a globally recognised scuba diving certification agency that offers a wide range of scuba diving courses and certifications. With its comprehensive and holistic dive education program, flexible final open water test, and commitment to safety and environmental conservation, SSI is an excellent choice for anyone looking to learn to dive or to expand their diving skills and knowledge.

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Course Example: PADI Open Water Course

The PADI Open Water Diver course is the most popular scuba diving certification course in the world.

It is a comprehensive course that teaches the skills and knowledge needed to safely dive in open water environments. The course is designed for people who are new to scuba diving and want to learn the basics of diving, as well as for those who want to refresh their skills and knowledge.

The PADI Open Water Diver course is divided into three main parts: knowledge development, confined water dives, and open water dives.

Knowledge Development

The knowledge development part of the course is usually done through a combination of independent study, such as reading the PADI Open Water Diver manual, and classroom sessions with an instructor. The topics covered in the knowledge development part of the course include dive theory, dive equipment, dive planning, and dive safety.

Confined Water Dives

The confined water dives are the pool or pool-like sessions where you will learn the basic skills of diving such as clearing the water from the mask, regulator recovery, and control of buoyancy.

Open Water Dives

The open water dives are where you will put the skills you learned in the confined water dives into practice.

You will usually complete four open water dives, which will take place in a natural body of water such as a lake or ocean. During these dives, you will explore the underwater environment and practice the skills you learned in the confined water dives.

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Great Way to Learn the Basics and Get Certified

The PADI Open Water Diver course is a great way to learn the basics of scuba diving and to gain the skills and knowledge needed to safely dive in open water environments.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be certified as a PADI Open Water Diver and will be able to dive to a maximum depth of 60 feet.

The certification is recognized worldwide and you can continue your diving education with PADI by taking the advanced open water course and other specialties.

Overall, the PADI Open Water Diver course is a great way to get started in the exciting world of scuba diving. With proper training, you can safely explore the underwater world and experience the beauty and diversity of marine life.

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If you would like more information or discuss a course in more detail, contact My Sea to Sky.  Our experienced diving team can talk you through all the aspects of the PADI and SSI courses we run on a regular basis.

Or, why not combine your diving training with a holiday in some amazing locations that are suited to your level of experience? Just ask, we are only too happy to recommend the perfect diving location for you.

We are a full service tour operator offering nature immersive and wellness experiences tailored to our discerning adventurers, looking for active escapes to undiscovered gems.

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