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Malta & Gozo: European Divers Meeting and Diving the MV Karwela

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To celebrate Malta’s presidency of the European Union in 2017, the Malta Tourism Authority organised a European Divers Meeting and we were lucky enough to be invited along. As you have seen in our last post, we are based on Gozo and managed to get a day of diving in before the festivities started. Divers and journalists from all over the European Union have gathered to celebrate the diving here. The divers were spread over the many dive centres in Malta and Gozo, but on Tuesday night they all got together for the first time at the Popeye Centre on Malta (where the film starring Robin Williams was filmed).

Over 100 dive centre owners and employees, divers and journalists from the dive magazines throughout Europe gathered for a drink and meal together. The evening also included the launch of a new degree in diving (http://www.isdsm.edu.mt/) which will cover the full range of diving topics, from safety and diving medicine to conservation and biology. It is the first of its kind and will allow students to enrol and learn online, whilst also getting credit for any existing qualifications. A talk about the changing marine life of the islands followed, with posters handed out to all the dive centres to help them and their clients report “alien” species that are either known to exist already in these waters, or for those expected here soon.

The next day was the big event of the week, with all the divers gathering on Gozo to dive the MV Karwela wreck. First thing in the morning, the wreck was adorned with a flag from each country in the European Union attached to the hull rails as a form of celebration. The Karwela wreck lies, upright, in 40m of water off the south coast of Gozo. There is a kitting up area at the top of the hill, where refreshments were laid on for all who came and dived. DAN also had a tent setup to collect dive data from divers (along with Doppler bubble tests) to enhance their research.

Our host dive centre, Calypso Diving Centre, were a huge help to us. With Caroline still injured from a previous fall, their instructors and divemasters carried our dive gear down to the water (and back up the hill for us). We could not have done it without them! We also met up with Facebook friend Pete Bullen, Gozo’s most famous underwater photographer and promised to go to the opening night of his exhibition (more on this in our next post).

The wreck is just a short surface swim or dive from the shoreline. Its most famous feature is a central staircase but with the bottom step at 38m you do not get too much time to admire it… and capture your image. It was great to see all the flags lining the outside rail of the ship and, as an added bonus, we found a seahorse on the way back up.

The day was certainly a success, with so many divers from so many countries coming together to celebrate at the same dive site. There was a great atmosphere and most divers took advantage and did several dives (or free dives) over the day. More on our trip in our next post soon!

www.calypsodivers.com

www.visitmalta.com

For more from Nick and Caroline, visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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Diving below the waves of the Western Cape, South Africa – Windmill Beach (Watch Video)

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Head under the waves of False Bay and explore the incredible diversity that is found along the Western Cape. The bay has popular dive spots from diving amongst the biodiverse underwater kelp forests to jumping in with the playful and friendly cape fur sealions (Arctocephalus pusillus). The bay along with the rest of the South Africa coast is known for the range of shark species that are found from the shallow coastal shores out into the open oceans. The coast is also home to numerous endemic shark species such as puffadder shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) and Pyjama shark.

Situated a short drive out of Simonstown is the shore dive at Windmill beach. A short swim over the sand and through the large boulders you enter the incredibly diverse and colourful kelp forests (Ecklonia maxima), a species that can grow up to 12m tall. Life is found in abundance from the base of the kelp where many sea urchins and species such as abalone can be seen then heading into the canopy many shoaling fish species can be observed.

Diving with the local dive club – Cape Town Dive Centre.


Follow Jake aka JD Scuba on the YouTube channel @Don’t Think Just Blog.

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Gear News

Fourth Element to make diving tools from recycled PPE

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Fourth Element has partnered with recycling and repurposing experts, Waterhaul, to retask the mask; turning single-use plastics into the tools we use in pursuit of underwater adventure. Face masks and other items of PPE from hospitals are melted down into blocks, sterilising the material which fourth element purchases, recycle and transforms.

These cave line markers are the first of what fourth element hopes will be many products using this waste material to give it a new life beyond protecting the lives of our frontline healthcare workers. Each marker re-uses the equivalent of two disposable masks. Waste is given a new direction.

The end product is completely safe. The PPE is heat treated by the hospital: the plastic is heated to high temperatures multiple times; first to make the blocks within the recycling process, and also whilst injection moulding the parts.

What makes this OceanPositive?

In the UK alone, 58 million single-use plastic face masks are thrown away every day, littering landfills and polluting the environment. Globally, we use 129 billion per month – that’s enough to wrap around the world 550 times! Over the last 12 months, a recorded 1.5 billion have entered the ocean, disrupting our ecosystem and endangering marine life across the globe. And that’s just what has been recorded.

These lines markers are made from recycled PPE, each one saving two masks from entering landfill or our oceans. Part of fourth element’s Zero Waste and Zero Plastic initiatives; to re-purpose as much plastic as possible and find new uses for products at the end of their lives.

We believe that this is the way,” said Jim Standing, co-founder of fourth element. “We are all going to have to tackle the challenges of a post covid world and one of these will be how we deal with the waste we have created as part of keeping ourselves and in particular, our frontline workers protected. We intend to play our part.”

For more information visit the Fourth Element website by clicking here.

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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. 

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

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