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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 supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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White Shark Interest Group Podcast #009 – SURVIVING A SHARK ATTACK with DAVE PEARSON

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Ninth in an exciting podcast series from Ricardo Lacombe of the White Shark Interest Group.

Episode 9 of the White Shark Interest Group Podcast, Facebook’s’ largest White Shark specific group, covering science, conservation, news, photography, video and debate.

This episode features Melissa speaking with shark attack survivor Dave Pearson, about his experience, the aftermath and trauma for all involved, and the social media comments and victim blaming following an incident or attack.

Dave is the founder of Bite Club, a support group for survivors of attacks and bites, as well as for the families and friends of victims following a tragic incident.

He also established Beyond The Bite, a support organisation serving many purposes for anyone involved in shark attacks, from helping to get surfers back in the water, to covering costs of families who need to travel to the site of a loved ones attack.

This is a MUST LISTEN for all shark advocates as Dave and Melissa discuss how advocates can really help in the aftermath and reporting of an incident, and how shark advocates can become human advocates at the right time it is needed most. A real eye-opener of an episode.

Bite Club can be found on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/50136… Beyond The Bite can be found here: https://www.beyondthebite.org/ and would appreciate ANY donations you could make to help survivors and their families

Click the links below to listen to the podcast series on the following audio channels:


Join the group: www.facebook.com/groups/whitesharkinterestgroup/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/whiteshark_interestgroup/

Website: www.whitesharkinterestgroup.com

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Ultimate Diving Maldives Offer

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7 nights at the Bandos Island Resort & Spa in the Maldives – From £2555 per person

Bandos Island Resort & Spa has already welcomed its first guests to the Maldives since March, with more divers heading off this December trying to escape the chilly UK weather. The Maldives is a dream destination, it offers a range of blue lagoons, deserted islands, a true sense of romance and tranquillity but above all amazing diving.

This destination should be on every diver’s bucket list, especially those with a non-diving partner because there is enough going on to ensure everyone will have a great time. The Maldives are the ultimate island paradise with each one offering dazzling white sandy beaches topped with coconut palm trees and turquoise blue lagoons.

Bandos Island is fully encircled by pearly white beaches, turquoise waters and a never-ending blue sky blessed with abundant sunshine. The house reef at Bandos is considered one of the best in North Male Atoll and the convenient location of Bandos allows divers to choose from over 40 impressive dive sites.

Book 7 nights from £2555. Price includes flights from London, speedboat transfers, 7 nights’ accommodation on an all-inclusive basis and 10 shore dives per person. Single supplement applies.

To enquire or book, visit www.ultimatediving.co.uk or give the team a call on 0208 655 6458  and they can give you the lowdown on the destination and diving.

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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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