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Paradise Found at Small Hope Bay in Andros

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Andros is a Bahamian island we had not visited on any of our previous trips and so we were looking forward to a new experience. We arrived at Small Hope Bay, a family run, (truly) eco-friendly all-inclusive resort that sits right on the beach overlooking the clear blue waters we would soon be diving into. Our early morning flights meant that we had time to meet the team, head to our rooms, set-up our camera equipment and then walk along the jetty to the dive centre to get ready for a day of diving. We only had one day of diving here, so we were determined to make the most of it.

Our three dives were to cover a wide range of types of diving. Our first dive was to visit the famous oceanic blue hole and we were to be led by Jeff Birch, the owner of the resort and a legend in the scuba diving world. The dive started off on a beautiful reef and then Jeff beckoned us towards a crack in the reef. We followed him down and suddenly we found ourselves within the blue hole, heading deep to enable us to look up at the “window” of the blue hole and watch the divers swim past in the blue.

All too soon it was time to start to head to shallower water, and Jeff led us up through a fissure in the reef back up to the coral, where we found a school of friendly batfish to play with as we carried out our safety stop. Andros is famous for its blue holes, with both oceanic and inland sites to explore and the Small Hope team offer a speciality in this type of diving.

Our second dive was a real treat, as we got to see the pioneering conservation work that Small Hope Bay are involved in. They have set-up a coral allotment on the seabed, where they are growing new coral to transplant onto the reef. Our group even got to try their hand at a bit of coral “gardening” by helping to clean off any algae. There was also time to explore the reef and enjoy the marine life such as turtles, angelfish and barracuda.

Our final dive saw us visit the famous wall off Andros. Here the reef plummets to huge depths. We kept to the top of the reef and peered down the wall, watching reef sharks cruise by. We got a taste of the incredible diving that Andros had to offer and we wished we had more time to further explore the island and its diving.

For a day off diving before our flight, our hosts at Small Hope offered us a tour of the island, allowing us to visit the inland blue holes, as well as visiting the batik fabric industry that the island is famous for. Our walks would find us following trails through woods full of medicinal plants, that would suddenly open up to reveal a beautiful blue hole. Many of the group took the chance to jump in and go for a swim and the braver ones took a dive off the high platforms!

Whilst our visit to Small Hope Bay was very short, we were immediately made to feel like family. The staff join you for nibbles and cocktails after a day of diving, and everyone sits around talking about their experiences of the day. The food was excellent with some of the best vegetarian food we have eaten in the Caribbean.

We wish we could have stayed for longer!

For more information please visit:

www.smallhope.com

www.bahamas.com


All images & text by Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown of Frogfish Photography.

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 Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Louis Hagger, second place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Louis Hagger, second place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition.The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Louis’ film – Uncovering Cornwall’s Little Known Oceans – can be seen here:

Third in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week we will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.


For more information please visit:

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DAN launches 2021 webinar series

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Divers Alert Network (DAN) has launched a new series of live monthly webinars on its YouTube channel, DAN TV.

Throughout 2021, experts from DAN’s Research, Risk Mitigation, and Medical Services teams will give presentations on topics relevant to divers, dive pros and dive business owners as we look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and resume diving and traveling.

The 2021 series will begin this Thursday, January 21, at 7:00 p.m. EST, with a webinar by DAN Director of Risk Mitigation Francois Burman titled Emergency Planning: Who Is Responsible for Your Safety? The presentation will cover various mishaps that can occur during diving and travel as well as tips for anticipating, preparing for and successfully managing them.

Future webinars in the series will cover topics including fill station safety, ear barotrauma, DAN research updates, the latest information about COVID-19 and diving, and more. Attendees can look forward to lively 30- to 45-minute presentations followed by questions and discussion.

The webinars will be held on the third Thursday of each month. Keep an eye on the Events page of DAN.org

For more information about upcoming webinars follow DAN on: 

Recorded presentations will remain on DAN’s YouTube Channel.

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Competitions

This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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