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O’Three Ambassador Blog: Wet or Dry?

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Part 2 of the Croatian Road Trip……What would win,  drysuit or semi-dry for Mediterranean tech diving?

Read Part 1 here.

Got there! We had a very warm welcome from Shark Diving, and it was great to see old friends again. Weather was looking favourable for the whole week, something that was lacking last year. Not such good news was that their catamaran with lift had been severely damaged and sunk during a springtime storm. Recovered, it is now on the quayside while the insurance company argue about costs. There was a more traditional boat for our use but no diver lift this year. It would have been nice to have known this before our arrival; I suspect the centre were concerned we would cancel.

Swim through on the Hans Schmidt

Swim through on the Hans Schmidt

Apart from that it was good to be getting our kit together in preparation for the first dive. This year we were going to be diving wrecks we hadn’t previously visited but also returning to the Baron Gautsch, The (Old)Vis and the Kalliopi. We would be doing two dives per day.

Blenny, from one of the many reef dives available

Blenny, from one of the many reef dives available

We would also be diving a newly sunk wreck confusingly also called the Vis (more about that later).

Ascent from the Luana, coming off the wrecks often went into very clear water

Ascent from the Luana. Coming off the wrecks often went into very clear water

First up was the Luana and also the first outing for my new OThree 6×5 semi-dry with a tech vest. As I had mentioned in the previous blog post, one of my tasks this week was to compare this semi-dry with my drysuit. My plan was to start using the Semi-dry and to do at least half the dives with it, more if it was up to the job!

Chunky nudibranch's on the seabed beside the Baron Gautsch

Chunky nudibranchs on the seabed beside the Baron Gautsch

One pleasant side effect was that I found I could drop 4kg’s of lead from my rig, a real bonus. Luana was an upright wreck in about 53m. Visibility was not as good as last year which was disappointing and unfortunately was the same for the whole week except one dive. It was a milky 10m on the wrecks, occasionally a bit less. Frustratingly ascending at the end of the dive often moved into really clear water.

Not the same as last years catamaran with lift it was ok for our needs

Not the same as last year’s catamaran with lift; however, the dive boat was OK for our needs.

The first dive using the semidry was fine, although I was bit chilly on the deepest part of the dive where the temperature was about 16°C. I felt I was vindicated in my choice of suit. The thermocline was at about 30m so I very quickly got to warmer water on the ascent. I did a second dive in shallow water giving me a chance to take some wildlife macro shots.

Scorpion fish waiting for prey

Scorpion fish waiting for prey

It unravelled a bit on the second day, two wrecks. On the first dive I arranged with my buddy to get in and wait at the ship’s bow until he caught me up. This was a big mistake as I was sitting around in the cold just getting colder. My buddy arrived, we did the dive. It was a just real pleasure to get back to warmer shallow water on the ascent. I felt I had brought the situation upon myself but it did remind me of the drawback of a semi-dry for this sort of diving. It was better for the second dive but I began to have second thoughts about the semi-dry.

Selfie with me showing off the 6x5 semidry & the rather milky viz on the (new) Vis

Selfie with me showing off the 6×5 semidry & the rather milky viz on the (new) Vis

Third day found us chugging out to the new Vis wreck. This had been purposely sunk in April of this year as an attraction for divers. A ship built in 1956, it was Yugoslav President Tito’s flagship. We weren’t sure about this dive beforehand but I have to say it was a highlight of the week with lots to see.

Vis engine room

Vis engine room

The wreck was sunk in about 35m with the highest point about 20m. It had been prepared for sinking but much of the ship remains, including many portholes with intact glass. The engine room is vast; I think the traditional design of the ship was probably for steam engines, but it is fitted with diesels so there is this big space capped with a lantern skylight and walkways running around the sides.

Rows of portholes inside the wreck of the Vis

Rows of portholes inside the wreck of the Vis

Being relatively shallow this was going to be a long dive. Most of it was below the thermocline and I spent over an hour exploring this ship. By the time I was ready to ascend the penny had dropped: a semi-dry does not work for this sort of diving. I was shivering and I could tell my breathing was beginning to be affected. It took me some time to warm back up. The next day I was coming out of the cold and going back to my drysuit!

Funnel & Bridge of the Kalliopi

Funnel & Bridge of the fantastic Kalliopi, formerly Liberty Ship, Robert Dale Owen

Bliss, the discomfort of kitting up in the heat was nothing, a warm dive was just fantastic, and the verdict was in: just take the drysuit!

Bridge Telegraph on the Kalliopi, as divers we don't often see things like this!

Bridge Telegraph on the Kalliopi. As divers we don’t often see things like this!

Some of you will have seen my DIVER article about the 2015 Croatia trip, in which there were comments about a wreck called the Kalliopi last year. I had a poor dive; I didn’t listen to the briefing. This year the shotline was fixed to the good part of the wreck so there would be no excuses.

Steam Whistle in front of the Funnel, outline of lifeboat is on the seabed in the background

Steam Whistle in front of the Funnel. Outline of lifeboat is on the seabed at 60m in the background

It was the only dive of the week where we had good viz. It is an absolutely fantastic wreck dive with many untouched artefacts and so much to see. The images here speak for themselves. With hindsight I would have liked to have done several more dives on this wreck.

Looking up! best dive of the week!

Looking up – best dive of the week!

How do you sum up a week like that? 2400 miles of driving, some epic road trip stories (I will never forget the German Rock band in Ausberg railway station) then renewing friendships with our Croatian friends, great diving, fantastic alfresco meals in Croatia… it’s what this fantastic sport of diving is all about. Bring on the next trip!

othree-2015-logo-400pngRick is an ambassador for UK-based drysuit manufacturer O’Three. To find out more about O’Three, visit www.othree.co.uk.

 

Rick enjoys both close-up & wide angle underwater photography, but particularly enjoys the challenge of taking images of wrecks and happily admitting that getting good images of deep UK wrecks is a fickle process with many variables that he is still trying to master.

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Tourism Fiji celebrates Open for Happiness Campaign (Watch Trailer)

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As international borders reopen to the world this week, Tourism Fiji launched the first video piece in it’s Open for Happiness campaign. The team celebrated this at an event at Wyndham Resort Denarau Island, where they unveiled some of the content to crew who worked on the production as well as tourism stakeholders.

Tourism Fiji is delighted to partner with award-winning actress, comedian and producer, Rebel Wilson, the new Ambassador of our global reopening campaign.

Ms. Wilson has fond memories of visiting Fiji as a child and returned to share her love of a destination that offers so much to visitors and is largely vaccinated.

She was joined by a talented pool of Fijian cast and crew to shoot Tourism Fiji’s Open for Happiness campaign in the Mamanuca Islands, where she also sampled a range of experiences.

“Rebel is a talented actress and demonstrates a unique ability to bring her own style of heartfelt humour to the ad that Tourism Fiji is creating,” said Brent Hill, CEO of Tourism Fiji.

“We’re delighted to have her as an ambassador who resonates with Fiji and our key tourist markets; Australia, North America, New Zealand and Europe.”

Rebel hiked, did yoga, stand up paddleboarding, scenic helicopter tour, spa treatment, cocktails and visited a popular sandbar.  She was seen stepping out in some local designer wear from Samson Lee and Zuber and enjoyed the hospitality of Vomo Island Fiji.

Her destination highlights of Fiji were shared with her fanbase, including 10.3 million followers on social media platform Instagram, and helped amplify Fiji’s allure as a holiday destination that has now safely reopened to international travellers on December 1st.

Filmed in Fiji over the course of last month, the campaign is the result of the collaborative work of several local partners including activity providers, talented singers, entertainers, videographers, local actors, and extras on set.

“This campaign would not have been possible without the support of our industry stakeholders, and we’re pleased to showcase a global star such as Rebel and the talent of local cast and crew,” said Brent Hill, CEO of Tourism Fiji.

Rebel also enjoyed a sunset cruise featuring a live performance by talented local artist, Apakuki “Kuki” Nalawa and shared snippets across her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels.

“With all that’s happened over the last two years, tourism has been badly affected and the entertainment industry has been hit hard by this as well, – the live performance was an eye-opener, a breath of fresh air and gave us all hope that things will get better,” Mr Nalawa said.

“It’s so encouraging to witness a Hollywood actress and her media team enjoying not only the beauty that our country has to offer but also recognising the level of talent we have.”

Tourism Fiji’s Open for Happiness campaign with Rebel will be used into 2022. Further video clips will launch over the coming weeks.

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Announcing the Winners of the DPG/Wetpixel Masters Underwater Imaging Competition 2021

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DivePhotoGuide (DPG) and Wetpixel are proud to announce the winning images and videos in the 2021 edition of the DPG/Wetpixel Masters Underwater Imaging Competition. Once again, hundreds of photographers and filmmakers from dozens of countries competed in what has become known as the “World Championship” of international underwater imaging events.

Created by DPG and Wetpixel, two of the largest online resources for underwater shooters, the competition invited submissions to five image categories and a video category, with entries evaluated by a panel of illustrious industry experts and award-winning photographers: Florian Fischer, Imran Ahmad, Jennifer Hayes, Mike Bartick and Stephen Frink.

This year, Martin Broen received the “Best of Show” prize for his 1st place in the Black and White category. The image, a jaw-dropping capture of the pristine stalactites and stalagmites in a Mexican cenote, earned Martin the top cash prize of $1,000. The 1st place winners in the other categories were Julian Hsu (Macro Traditional), Sander van der Heijden (Macro Unrestricted), Enrico Somogyi (Wide Angle Traditional), Tom Shlesinger (Wide Angle Unrestricted) and Alex del Olmo (Video); each of them received a cash prize of $250.

In a joint statement, DPG Editor-in-Chief Joseph Tepper and Wetpixel Publisher Adam Hanlon said: “Once again, the DPG/Wetpixel Masters competition has demonstrated the incredible talent that exists in our community of underwater shooters. As many of us continue to face lockdowns and travel restrictions, these photos and films remind us of the riches under the sea and why we must maintain our collective passion to protect the oceans we love.”

The organizers are pleased to announce that 15 percent of entry proceeds will once again be donated to marine conservation efforts.

You can see the full results here.

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Egypt | Safaga, Brothers & Elphinstone | 27 January – 04 February 2022 | Emperor Elite

Jump on board this famous Red Sea liveaboard and enjoy diving the famous wrecks of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer.  Emperor Elite offers a contemporary living space combined with the best itineraries available in the Red Sea.

Price NOW from just £975 per person based on sharing a twin cabin including:

  • Flights from London Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
  • 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
  • Free Nitrox

Booking deadline: Subject to availability.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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