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Olivier Van Overbeek joins Paul Toomer at Diving Matrix



RAID International‘s Director of Diver Training, Paul Toomer, has announced that RAID colleague and Technical Instructor Trainer Olivier Van Overbeek has joined him at Diivng Matrix.

Here is a release about Oli joining the Diving Matrix team directly from the horse’s mouth:

We are proud to announce the arrival of the upgraded Diving Matrix V2.0.

As some of you are aware, Diving Matrix has been offering bespoke advanced diving education for the last however many years. It all goes by too quickly.

You may also be aware that I (Paul) decided, stupidly perhaps, to work for a training agency and then even stupider (!) start my own. Of course this shifted my focus away from offering diver training into a new arena.

It has always struck me as a shame that I have been unable to bring Diving Matrix into my Dive RAID family. I have missed my friends who have spent many a year listening to me teach and being at the end of my abuse when they tried to kill either themselves or indeed me.

The beauty of Dive RAID is that I get to meet incredible divers, instructors and trainers from across the globe. The person I’m about to introduce you to fits into all three of the categories above.

So it is with great pride that I introduce you all to the new face of Diving Matrix, Mr. Olivier van Overbeek, or OVO or Oli. Yes, he’s Dutch! No. he does not have a bicycle, or a long finger to stick in dykes and yes, he speaks English. Oli is a RAID Recreational Instructor Trainer, a Rebreather Instructor and Technical Instructor Trainer. Oli specialises in Sidemount and now Rebreather but also a pretty dab hand at twinset and has been spotted occasionally in a single tank setup as well.

Oli: “Although I actually started diving in The Netherlands, the bulk of my dive training was done in the UK, going through various trainers and agencies. I was initially introduced to Diving Matrix through Ian France, who provided an excellent Mine Diver Course, and it was through Ian I ended up meeting Paul and subsequently RAID about 3 years ago. During my time with RAID I’ve had the privilege to be involved with the re-writing of various technical programs as a Technical Consultant/Author, a process and opportunity that meant working with Paul and other amazing colleagues.

Since I began working with Paul behind the scenes at RAID I started working less on my own projects at Centurion (my dive centre), so when Paul offered a partnership in Matrix, I instantly knew it made sense, not just logistically, but also because of our shared passion for going the extra mile and general approach towards the customer!”

It is with some sadness I say goodbye to Centurion, and with great joy I embrace Matrix.”

Oli has rebuilt the Diving Matrix website completely, making it more user friendly and has basically given our little company a facelift. With me at the forefront, it surely needed one.

Of course I will don my Matrix hoodie from time to time and offer all levels of training as before.

Matrix will begin offering bespoke technical trips globally and will recruit and train it’s own Expedition Teams at various levels. This will be done in conjunction with the RAID ResEx (Research and Exploration) program.

To make this all official, booze will need to be consumed in the traditional Matrix way. We are planning on of our legendary parties in good old London town. Date – Place – Dress code (fancy dress?) – will be announced shortly.

Finally, we need to mention Ian France. There is no moving forwards into a ‘new’ Diving Matrix without recognising the amount of work, talent, and personality Ian France has put into this company over the last 6 years. Besides being an incredibly talented instructor and trainer, Ian has also been a kind and generous friend to both Oli and myself, offering continuous support and assistance.

Ian has been operating under his own banner, Ian France Technical, for some time now and although we wish him every success, he will be sorely missed at Diving Matrix.

He will be at the party, that is for sure.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and we look forward to seeing and diving with you soon.

Find out more about Diving Matrix at


Jeff chats to… Underwater Photographer Ellen Cuylaerts (Watch Video)



In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Ellen Cuylaerts about her diving and underwater photographic career.

As an underwater and wildlife photographer, Fellow of The Explorers Club and having a front seat in exploration being part of the Flag and Honours Committee, Ellen is also a Member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She travels the world and tries to make the most of every destination and the path that leads her there. Ellen acts as an ocean citizen and believes as divers we should all be ocean ambassadors and lead by example. She is now based in the UK after many years in Grand Cayman.

Find out more about Ellen and her work at

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

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Marine Life & Conservation

Huge thresher shark is the latest of six murals to be painted around the Solent this summer



The murals celebrate the Solent’s extraordinary marine life – marking National Marine Week.

Secrets of the Solent have commissioned street artist ATM to paint a series of marine-themed artworks at various locations around the Solent this summer. The latest mural to be finished shows a thresher shark on the Langstone Harbour Office. Langstone Harbour is an important area for wildlife as well as a bustling seaside destination for sailing and water sports.

Artist ATM, who is painting all six murals, is well-known for his iconic wildlife street art. This, his second artwork of the series, took three days to paint freehand, from a scaffolding platform. The thresher shark was chosen out of six marine species to be the subject of the artwork by the local community, who were asked to vote via an online form or in person on the Hayling Ferry.

Secrets of the Solent hope the mural will become a landmark in Langstone Harbour and inspire visitors to learn more about this enigmatic oceanic shark. The project, which is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, works to celebrate and raise awareness of Solent’s diverse marine environment.

Aiming to highlight the exotic and unusual creatures found close to our coasts, artist ATM says: “I really enjoyed painting the thresher shark because it’s such an amazing looking animal, with a tail as long as its body. I hope when people see the murals, they will become more aware of what lives under the waves and the importance of protecting the vital habitats within the Solent.”

Dr Tim Ferrero, Senior Marine Biologist at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust says: “The thresher shark is a wonderful animal that visits our waters every summer. It comes to an area to the east of the Isle of Wight, and this appears to be where the sharks breed and have their young. Not many people know that we have thresher sharks in our region, and so having our mural here on the side of the Langstone Harbour Office building is a fantastic way of raising awareness of this mysterious ocean wanderer. I really hope that people will come away with the knowledge that the Solent, our harbours and our seas are incredibly important for wildlife.”

Rachel Bryan, Project Manager for Secrets of the Solent at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust comments: “We are really excited to have street artist ATM painting a thresher shark on the side of the Langstone Harbour Office building. We chose this building because of its prominent location right on the entrance to Langstone Harbour so that anyone who’s visiting, whether that’s walkers, cyclists or people coming in and out of the harbour on their jet-skis or sailing boats, will all be able to see our thresher shark. People on the Portsmouth side of the harbour will also be able to see the mural from across the water.”

The thresher shark is a mysterious predator which spends most of its time in oceanic waters. It uses its huge whip-like tail as an incredibly effective tool for hunting its prey. Herding small fish into tight shoals, the shark will lash at them with its tail, stunning several in one hit and making them easier to catch.

Secrets of the Solent hope to work with the species this summer to discover more about its behaviour.

Dr Tim Ferrero explains: “Nobody really knows where thresher sharks go in the ocean. Later this summer we are hoping that we are going to be able to attach a satellite tag to a thresher shark and monitor its progress for an entire year. This will provide really important information that will help us learn so much more about the shark’s annual life cycle.”

The new thresher shark mural is a fantastic start to National Marine Week (24th July – 8th August), which celebrates the unique marine wildlife and habitats we have here in the UK. Over the two weeks, Wildlife Trusts around the country will be running a series of exciting events to celebrate the marine environment. We really hope people will be inspired by our murals and want to learn more about each chosen species.

Events in the Solent include the launch of a new Solent marine film on the 29th July, installation of a new Seabin on the 4th August to reduce marine litter, and citizen science surveys throughout summer.

For more information click here.

Header image: Bret Charman

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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

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