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Oonasdivers offering tech and Rebreather courses in the Red Sea with Mark Powell

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OONASDIVERSUK-based tour operator Oonasdivers have teamed up with Mark Powell of Dive-Tech to offer tech and rebreather courses at Marsa Shagra in the Red Sea.

Mark Powell is one of the UK’s best known technical diving instructors. He has been involved in diving since the mid 1980’s and has been teaching since 1993.

Mark’s passion is wreck diving and it his exploration of deeper wrecks that led him into technical diving. Mark has served on the National Executive of the SAA as well as being the organisation’s technical diving advisor. He currently represents TDI/SDI at British Safety Diving group meetings as well as being a member of the BSI committees defining standards for diver training and diving equipment.

marsa_shagra_egypt

2015 schedule:

September 2015

3rd – 8th: TDI Intro to Tech, Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures package
10th- 15th: TDI Rebreather Course.
17th- 20th: TDI Extended Range
21st- 22nd: TDI Intro to Tech

November 2015

5th – 10th: TDI Intro to Tech, Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures package
12th – 17th:TDI Rebreather Course.

TDI Introduction to Technical Diving

This two day course is a new and welcome addition to the curriculum of the world’s largest and most successful technical diving agency. Intro to Tech is intended to give experienced sport divers a simple, non-threatening glimpse at the techniques and skills used in technical diving. Participating in this course will give those divers a better understanding of the detailed planning and preparation required to make a successful and safe technical dive. Intro to Tech is really a try it before you buy it course for someone who has heard a lot about tech and is wondering what all the fuss is about. But Intro to Tech is also worthwhile for divers who have no real intentions to go on to take a full tech class because the skills it focuses on – gas management, superior buoyancy and trim, situational awareness, and equipment selection – are useful in any form of diving.

Includes: Instruction

Pre-requisites: Open water diver or equivalent, minimum 15 years of age.

Cost: £200

TDI Combined Advanced Nitrox & Decompression Procedures Diver

This four day course includes both the Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures courses. It is more intensive, but more efficient. It includes 6 nitrox dives and covers all the topics required to use mixtures from 40% to 100% for decompression as well as the ability to perform accelerated decompression.

Includes: TDI Advanced Nitrox & Decompression Procedures manual & certification.

Pre-requisites: Advanced open water diver or equivalent, TDI Basic Nitrox or equivalent, 50 logged dives, minimum 18 years of age.

Cost: £450

TDI Extended Range Diver

Again a comprehensive four day course, with 100 minutes bottom time required to qualify. The course concentrates on the proper techniques, equipment requirements, and hazards of deep air (55 metres maximum) utilising nitrox and oxygen for accelerated decompression. The course places a great deal of emphasis on personal and team limits, shut down procedures, gas switching, DSMB deployment and contingency planning etc.

Includes: TDI Extended Range manual & certification.

Pre-requisites: Advanced Nitrox Diver and Decompression Procedures Diver or equivalent, 100 logged dives, of which 25 must be deeper than 30 msw. Minimum 18 years of age.

Cost: £520

TDI Entry Level (Normoxic) Trimix

This four day course provides the training required to competently and safely utilize breathing gasses containing helium for dives that require staged decompression, utilizing nitrox and/or oxygen mixtures during decompression to a maximum depth of 60m.

Includes: TDI Entry Level Trimix manual & certification.

Pre-requisites: Advanced Nitrox Diver and Decompression Procedures Diver or equivalent, 100 logged dives, of which 25 must be deeper than 30 msw. Minimum 18 years of age.

Cost: £520 plus instructors gas and dives at cost.

If you or your diving buddies are interested in doing any of the above courses, contact Oonasdivers for a full quote for your stay at Marsa Shagra. Call 01323 648924 or email info@oonasdivers.com.

To find out more about the technical courses, please conatct Mark Powell at Dive-Tech by calling 07770 864327 or email info@dive-tech.co.uk.

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Diving below the waves of the Western Cape, South Africa – Long Beach at night (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.

Longbeach is a shallow shore dive close to the coastal town of Simonstown on the Western Cape. The dive is mainly made up of diving across the sand with a few wreckages, rocks and outcrops where there’s algae growing. A pipeline can be found at the site which provides locations for species such as Pyjama Sharks (Poroderma africanum) and octopus (Octopus vulgaris) to shelter. Diving at night at the site provides the opportunity to see species that are more often hidden during the day such as cape Squid (Loligo reynaudii) and Biscuit Skate (Raja straeleni). Other shark species such as the small Puff Adder Shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) are also occasionally seen at the site.

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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Miscellaneous Blogs

Book Review – The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe (2007)

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It was the height of the Cold War. The Soviet Cruiser Ordzhonikidz, supported by two destroyers, had brought Soviet leaders Khruschev and Bulganin to Britain for sensitive meetings with the British Government. The ships were moored in Portsmouth harbour and the Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, had expressly forbidden any clandestine inspection of them. However, on the morning of 19th April 1956 Commander Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabbe, an experienced naval diver, slipped into the cold waters of Portsmouth harbour. His top secret mission was to photograph the hull, propellers and rudder of the Ordzhonikidze. He was never seen alive again.

A badly decomposed body, with head and hands missing, was discovered by fishermen in Chichester harbour months later. It was claimed to be the missing body of Buster Crabbe – but many had doubts. The incident marked the start of a controversy that claimed the posts of several high ranking naval, government and intelligence service personnel. The author of The Final Dive, Don Hale, claims it is one that still rages and which may not be resolved even when secret government files are released in 2057.

Don Hale, an acknowledged campaigning journalist and former Journalist of the Year brings all his experience and skill to unravelling this longstanding scandal. He has drawn upon official reports and private letters, statements from government representatives, fellow officers and friends to piece together Buster’s life and events leading to his disappearance and subsequent investigation. He speaks of “inquiries blocked by intrigue, constant cover-ups and government bureaucracy coupled with threats relating to the Official Secrets Act” (p. xi). If you like reading about subterfuge on a grand scale you will enjoy The Final Dive.

Don Hale’s meticulous account of the life of Buster Crabbe is supported by dozens of black and white photos and extracts from numerous official documents. It reveals how an amazing series of civilian jobs, wartime activities and friendships with high ranking government officials, British intelligence officers, American CIA operatives. . . and now known spies, prepared him for his final dive and perhaps his fate. One of Crabbe’s acquaintances was the author Ian Fleming – of James Bond fame. Indeed, it is suggested that Fleming based the character of 007 on Buster Crabbe. After reading of his exploits, both before WWII, his bomb disposal work during the war, and afterwards it is easy to see why. Certainly, those who worked with Buster Crabbe “all agree he was fearless.” (p.59). After reading of his exploits one wonders if he was too fearless.

In the later stage of Buster’s life, prior to his disappearance, Don Hall recounts “a constant merry-go-round of overseas assignments” (p. 118) for Crabbe and how he “began to receive increasingly hazardous commissions” (p. 136). It culminated in the morning dive in Portsmouth harbour. Hale’s forsensic-like account of the events surrounding the final dive and aftermath reveals absolute panic and bungling behind the scenes as official answers conflict with known facts. He describes how “The whole incident still seems bathed in secrecy, with the true facts deliberately buried in bureaucracy, and supported at the highest level by an incredible cover-up operation”.(p. 205).

A final comment by Don Hale adds to the intrigue. He states “The only part of the Crabbe puzzle about which I am not certain is not who sent him – we know the answer to that – but why on earth he was he sent, possibly at considerable risk?” (p. 248). After reading The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe you will no doubt have your own ideas.


The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe (2007)

  • By Don Hale
  • Stroud: Sutton Publishing
  • ISBN 978 0 7509 4574 5
  • 260 pp

Don Hale was a professional footballer before becoming editor of several regional newspapers. He has received numerous national and international awards for investigative journalism including Journalist of the Year. In 2002 he was awarded an OBE for his campaigning journalism in the Stephen Downing miscarriage of justice case. He has championed several others who have been wrongly convicted.

His other books include Town without Pity (2002), Murder in the Graveyard (2019) and Mallard: How the ‘Blue Steak’ Broke the World Speed Record (2019).


Find out more about Professor Fred Lockwood, who is also a published author, at www.fredlockwood.co.uk.

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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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