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Making history in Aqaba: the scuttling of the C-130 Hercules

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Sean Chinn was in Aqaba, Jordan to report exclusively for Scubaverse on yesterday’s historic scuttling of the C-130 Hercules.

The day started nice and early with a 4.30am wake up call for my flight from Amman to Aqaba. Although very tired, I was excited at the prospect of what was in store for the day. A big date in Aqaba’s 2017 calendar – the historic scuttling of a C-130 Hercules to create a new artificial reef for divers in the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea.

I arrived at the hotel in time to check-in, prepare my gear and grab some quick breakfast before I had to depart for the C-130 Hercules scuttling event. Everything was organised and timed perfectly by the Aqaba Tourism Board.

As I arrived at the beach, I realised that I hadn’t anticipated the true scale of the event. The beachfront was packed with people from all corners of the world eager to witness a moment in history. There were also many proud locals looking on at what will hopefully become a major attraction for tourism in the area that brings in new overseas explorers.

The sound of bagpipes and a brass band rang loud and proud as I made my way through the crowd to pick a prime viewing spot. The C-130 Hercules was paraded before the excited crowd on a last trip before its final destination.

I’d heard there was going to be an Air Show but I was in for a pleasant shock as the aeroplanes jetted past with no prior warning. This took everyone by surprise and loud gasps echoed through the crowd as the planes blasted their way overhead. The first opportunity to photograph them passed me by but luckily they continued to make exciting pass after pass, giving me numerous attempts at photographing them.

The scuttling itself started around 12.30pm and in truth didn’t really last that long once the Hercules was hooked up to the crane. The vertical stabiliser stood tall and was the last part to sink beneath the waves. It reminded me of a long, distinctive dorsal fin breaking the surface and sticking proud out of the water. In my eyes, it was almost reminiscent of a Great Hammerhead’s dorsal fin.

After the event, we had a delicious buffet lunch at the Berenice Beach Club before heading back to the hotel to relax. The views over the Red Sea from the restaurant were truly beautiful.

Now I have a couple of days sightseeing planned on land but I’m anxious to get in the water and explore the new, developing dive site of the C-130 Hercules. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Sean Chinn’s scuba diving adventure started in a freezing cold quarry back in January 2011. Maybe the reason he wasn't instantly hooked! However, after an amazing trip to Indonesia in 2013, he realised he needed to see more of the underwater world. With no photography background, he enlisted some help in developing both his diving and photo skills. This kickstarted his diving and underwater photography adventure which has become something of an addiction. Seeing and photographing wildlife is Sean’s real passion in diving but he is always keen to try new ideas.

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Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Christian Horras

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Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The March winner was Christian Horras and you can see their winning image at the top of this page.


What do you love about diving & underwater photography?

For me it is all about showing the beauty of our world underwater to people that don’t dive and thus can’t see it for themselves. I want to share my own passion for the amazing ecosystem that is so much older than everything we know living on land. As I am from Germany, there are only a few people in my surroundings that have ever seen a coral reef or a shark with their own eyes. It is a big privilege to be able to go diving all over the world and in return it should be our task to arise awareness of this fragile and endangered ecosystem.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Nikon D810 in a Isotta Housing and various lenses, depending on the subject: a Sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye, a Nikon 16-35 mm F4 and two Nikon Macro lenses (60mm and 105mm), as well as a WeeFine +13 Diopter. The Fisheye is my main lens, as it allows me to get really close and still cover a big field of view. For lighting I use two Retra Pro Strobes and a Retra Snoot.

Where can our readers see more of your work?

Website: www.christianhorras.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/christian.horras/


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award

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Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to heroes@emperordivers.com.

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact heroes@emperordivers.com for details.

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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. 

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

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www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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