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Marine Life & Conservation

Magic in the Maldives (Watch Video)

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In the first of four videos from their recent trip to the Maldives, Richard and Hayley from Black Manta Photography share their magical Pelagic Encounters and more…

When you book yourself onto a dive holiday with an itinerary named ‘Pelagic Encounters’, you start dreaming of the numerous sightings of sharks and manta you will see – that’s what we did anyway. However, you always have that little niggle in the back of your mind of “will they turn up”? “Will we get lucky”? After all you’d hate to spend a load of cash on a trip to be disappointed!

We had those very questions ringing around in our heads before we departed for our most recent trip to the Maldives to spend on a week on the blue Voyager – part of the blue o two fleet. With the best will and the best planning in the world, there is, after all, just no way of determining what the wonderful marine life of the Indian Ocean will do!

Thankfully, as you can see from the video below, we had no need to be concerned at all, as we were spoilt absolutely rotten, day after day!

Despite the continued reminder to ‘keep our expectations low’ that our Cruise Director resonated at the end of every dive brief, we were blown away with the sightings of large pelagics almost every time we jumped in the water. Even on day one – generally the day where you expect the least amount of action to take place, no? I mean, surely it would make sense to save all the best stuff till the end of the week so you go out on a high?

Absolutely not! Day one was the day that everyone on that dive safari boat was left utterly speechless with a 60 minute show worthy of a place on a Blue Planet documentary! Over 30 sharks circling in the current, with our group of divers as a very grateful audience. To say we were stunned is one thing, but for the dive guides to profess that they had never seen anything like it before, made it all the more special.

The main ingredients of the week were manta rays, sharks of all different varieties, and with the cherry on the top being two glorious whale sharks in the waters of Ari Atoll. The fish amongst the reefs were in plentiful supply and we were even treated to a few leaf fish, and ghost-pipe fish.

Without a doubt, we experienced some of the best diving we have ever done. The Magical Maldives delivered a first class ‘Pelagic Encounter’, and one that is going to be very hard to beat!

Keep an eye out for our next video from our second week in the Maldives, where we enter the enchanting world of the Maldives from a ‘Macro’ perspective!

For more from Richard and Hayley visit www.blackmantaphotography.com.

Richard Stevens is a keen underwater videographer and half of the team at Black Manta Photography with his partner Hayley. He is a qualified TEC50 and sidemount diver who has been diving for nearly 15 years with hundreds of dives in varied locations around the world. A keen marine conservationist, with a passion for large pelagic marine animals, Richard has studied marine biology and spent time studying the ecology of sharks. Richard also has a huge ‘lust for rust’ and a burning desire to delve into the world of cave diving. Armed with his camera, his aim is to inspire others to witness the marvels in our beautiful oceans for themselves.

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Dive Training Blogs

Jeff chats to… Matt Slater of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Matt Slater, Marine Awareness Officer with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust about their Diving and Snorkeling programmes.

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


For more information, visit www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Get ready for a year of incredible underwater encounters in 2021

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Giants from the world of underwater photography have joined forces with Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation to create a unique and stunning 2021 calendar to raise funds for its campaigns to make Britain’s retailers shark free.

The line-up of award-winning contributors includes Alex Mustard, Amanda Cotton, Christian Vizl, David Doubilet, Doug Perrine, Ellen Cuylaerts, George Probst, Greg Lecouer, Jason Isley, Laura Storm, Shawn Heinrichs and Tanya Houppermans.

Each photographer has handpicked and donated a breathtaking image along with commentary that features month-by-month in the top class publication.

Campaign director at Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: “This edition is packed with spectacular images to celebrate the marine environment in all its glory. Significantly every purchase of this calendar will directly fund our campaigns to end the trade and consumption of shark products in the UK.”

Alone, Bite-Back has made significant progress in limiting the sale of shark fin soup, shark meat and items containing shark, such as supplements, nationwide.

Graham added: “For the equivalent of £1 a month, we hope scuba divers and ocean lovers will enjoy admiring this rare and magnificent collection of images all year long.  And, of course, it makes a fabulous Christmas present too.”

The high quality A4 calendar is printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks by a climate neutral printer. It can be purchased at www.bite-back.com/shop for £12 (including free UK delivery) and shipped worldwide. Don’t miss out!

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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