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National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2018 is most successful yet! (Watch Video)

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As the National Whale & Dolphin Watch concludes for another year, organisers are calling the 2018 event the most successful yet with an unprecedented variety of whale and dolphin species recorded around the UK during last week. Thirteen species and more than 500 sightings have been reported, and sightings continue to stream in.

“This looks like being the best National Whale & Dolphin Watch event of the last two decades,” reported Dr Chiara Giulia Bertulli, organiser of this year’s national event for the UK national research charity, Sea Watch Foundation.

The 2018 National Whale and Dolphin Watch event involving thousands of volunteers from all around the British Isles, conducted between 28th July and 5th August, has revealed the striking biodiversity of Britain’s Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises.

Photo: Chiara G. Bertulli / Sea Watch Foundation

This summer has seen a good number of humpback whale sightings all around the UK, with individuals popping up this last week in the North Sea off the Aberdeenshire coast and off Flamborough Head in Yorkshire. This species is making a noticeable come-back after many decades of exploitation in the North Atlantic.

“However, the most extraordinary sighting from this year’s Watch week”, adds Chiara, “was surely the Sowerby’s beaked whale which live stranded in the shallow waters of Belhaven in East Lothian, Scotland, on July 29th. This year also saw the addition of the striped dolphin, which in Britain and Ireland, is very rare, seen occasionally off the Atlantic coasts mainly in the south-west of Ireland. This species of warm temperate seas came to the shore at Pendine in South Wales on July 31st.”

Watch this video of short-beaked common dolphins filmed three miles off Dodman Point in South Cornwall.
Video: Rupert Kirkwood / thelonerkayaker:

At the time of writing, a total of 527 sightings have been submitted after the 9-day event. With regards to number of species recorded, results show that records at this stage are up 50% on last year. Cetacean data collection is strongly weather dependant. Factors such as sea state, swell height and visibility to the horizon affect how easily animals can be detected during a watch. Heavy rain and wind can even cause watches to be cancelled altogether.

For these reasons, every year, the volunteers rely heavily on good weather conditions for the success of National Whale and Dolphin Watch. Like previous years, this year’s event was scheduled over nine days to increase the chances of coinciding with a favourable weather window. The weather forecast at the beginning of the event was very poor with frequent showers and strong winds around the country which forced several watches to be cancelled and to be rescheduled to this past weekend. However, once the weather stabilized and the temperature increased the number of sightings increased dramatically and it showed.

Photo: SBCD – Peter G.H.Evans / Sea Watch Foundation

Possible explanations for this summer’s high number of cetacean species sighted during this year’s event are the good stable weather recorded this summer, with high temperatures which brought in warmer water species like striped dolphin, and created the conditions for plankton fronts to develop, attracting shoals of fish and in turn, whales and dolphins.

“We are seeing a general longer term trend,” adds Chiara, “for warm water species to be extending their range further north – species like the short-beaked common dolphin and the Risso’s dolphin as well as the striped dolphin. Since a greater number of species live in warm waters, the effects of climate change can actually be positive at mid latitudes such as around the British Isles.”

“We should still be a little cautious,” says Dr Peter Evans, Director of the Sea Watch Foundation. “Although new species of cetaceans have been added recently to the British list of mammals, there are more northern species that we could lose from our fauna – species like Atlantic white-sided dolphin and white-beaked dolphin, and the problem with tropical and warm temperate species entering our seas is that they face a much wider range of human pressures along the industrialised coastlines of northern Europe.”

All the verified sightings so far can be viewed online – www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw-2018 – where they are updated as more reports come in.

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WIN a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!

This torch delivers 1200 lumens of light powered by an ion rechargeable battery. There are 4 levels of brightness with burn times between 2-20 hours. Battery charge level is indicated via coloured lights around the on/off button. The beam angle is 10°. The anodised aluminium alloy housing sealed by double ‘O’ rings with a max operating depth of 100m. SRP £125.00 which includes torch, charging cradle and battery.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported via the Marine Conservation Society that the UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has now become law. The Fisheries Act is the first legislation of its kind in nearly how many years?

Is it:

  • A) 60
  • B) 50
  • C) 40

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Liquid Sports Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch November 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Liquid Sports and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 06/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Gear News

Northern Diver Christmas Sale starts TODAY!

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This year Northern Diver’s Christmas offers are starting on Black Friday and running until midnight on New Year’s Eve! 

There are some great deals to be had across the site – www.ndiver.com – from discounted Drysuits and Coltri compressors to 15% off their entire Lighting Section!

And if you can’t find the perfect present for the diver in your life, they have a choice of Gift Cards on offer. They are even giving you £25 extra when you purchase a £100 voucher!

The offers don’t stop there – there is FREE shipping on all orders over £100 and even a FREE gift with every online purchase.

Every purchase will get you entered into a great prize draw to win one of their new Electracore 3.0mm Rechargeable Heated Vests!

And should you find that you need to return any of your purchases, Northern Diver understand that Christmas may be a little different for everyone this year and you may not get to see every one over Christmas, so they have extended their Returns Period to the end of January 2021. (Valid for purchases made from Black Friday to end of December 2020).

Some unmissable offers to look out for are the Varilux Zoom, part of the Varilux Black & Gold Range, with its variable beam width; and Northern Diver’s 4mm compressed Neoprene Drysuit, the Voyager, which is on offer for an incredible £475!

For more information visit the Northern Diver website by clicking here.

Photo credit: Joe Duffy

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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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