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Petra: Stepping back in time in the Rose City

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Scubaverse blogger Sean Chinn continues his travels in Jordan with a trip to iconic Petra.

It’s no great secret that Petra is Jordan’s most famous and most visited tourist attraction. Classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, it is the perfect addition to any dive trip. Take a day off from diving and step back in time to around 300 B.C. visiting the ancient carvings in the pink sandstone cliffs. Be blown away by the intricate details in the architecture and the sheer size of the cliffs that tower above.

It takes around two hours to drive from Aqaba to Petra, but after an early rise to make the most of a full days tour, it’s enough time to rest your eyes and re-energise. As you get closer to Petra, the journey through the desert becomes more scenic and there is a chance to stop for refreshments at a roadside tourist shop with panoramic views over the canyon – Wadi Araba View. It was a breathtaking sight, reminiscent of when I stood and looked over the Grand Canyon five years ago. From there it was a short journey down the mountain to the entrance to Petra.

Unfortunately, I have to admit we hit a big crowd on our trip due to a cruise ship mooring that morning and a number of guests opting to visit Petra on their stay. I was a little worried that this could put a dampener on the day but luckily it’s quite a long walk through Al-Siq (a narrow canyon carved through the sandstone cliffs) of around 1.2km. This meant that the crowds had chance to spread out the more you ventured inside. We took our time to allow more chance to really get a feel for the beauty that surrounded us on our walk. The Siq is a natural geological fault split apart by tectonic forces. It was only later that it was worn smooth by water that flowed into Wadi Musa. The textures created in the sandstone gorge from this are an absolute marvel to behold.

Al-Siq serves as the gateway to Al-Khazneh (The Treasury), one of the most elaborate temples carved out of a sandstone rock face in Petra. No words can truly describe the feeling that you get when your eyes first witness the carvings through the narrow canyon walls. The phrase ‘it takes your breath away’ is used far too easily but in this instance I did take a little gasp as I composed myself to take a photo.

It’s a lot bigger than you imagine and towers high in the cliff face. The craftsmanship that went into building it beggars belief, especially in a time without the modern technology we take for granted today. You can tell it’s the site in Petra that most go to see and the crowds that seemed to disperse as we walked through Al-Siq had now gathered under this amazing sight.

I’d love to visit again at a quieter time and plan my trip to see Petra by night lit up with thousands of candles. I also didn’t get the chance to take the longer walk to The Monastery, which is around an hour’s climb north of Petra’s city centre. Certainly something I would have liked to have done given more time on my trip.

Petra truly is an amazing wonder of the world and well worth a visit as part of your dive holiday. If historical, cultural attractions and sheer, beautiful landscapes are of major interest to you, then I would even recommend staying overnight in Petra and taking your time over a two day tour. That way, you really get chance to explore everything and immerse yourself in the magic. Something I may consider on my next visit to Jordan.

Sean Chinn’s scuba diving adventure started in a freezing cold quarry back in January 2011. Maybe the reason he wasn't instantly hooked! However, after an amazing trip to Indonesia in 2013, he realised he needed to see more of the underwater world. With no photography background, he enlisted some help in developing both his diving and photo skills. This kickstarted his diving and underwater photography adventure which has become something of an addiction. Seeing and photographing wildlife is Sean’s real passion in diving but he is always keen to try new ideas.

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Fourth Element X Sea Shepherd

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This year on Black Friday, fourth element announced their new partnership with Sea Shepherd, encouraging people to move away from mindless purchasing and to opt-in to supporting something powerful.

For 40 years Sea Shepherd, a leading non-profit organisation, has been patrolling the high seas with the sole mission to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. They work to defend all marine wildlife, from whales and dolphins, to sharks and rays, to fish and krill, without exception.

Inspired by Sea Shepherd’s mission, fourth element have created a collection of fourth element X Sea Shepherd limited edition products for ocean lovers and protectors, with 15% of every sale going to the Sea Shepherd fund to help continue to drive conservation efforts globally.

“Working with Sea Shepherd gives fourth element the opportunity to join forces with one of the largest active conservation organisations in the world to try to catalyse change in people’s attitudes and behaviour. Fourth Element’s products are designed, developed and packaged with the intention of minimising our impact on the ocean environment, and with this partnership, we will be supporting the work of Sea Shepherd, in particular in their work on dealing with the twin threats of Ghost fishing nets and plastic pollution.”

Jim Standing fourth element co-founder

Read fourth element’s Sea Shepherd Opinion Piece HERE

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Dive entrepreneur Clare Dutton voted one to watch!

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Director of Duttons Divers, Clare Dutton, has been voted as one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs to watch in the UK, a huge achievement, emphasising her dedication and commitment to the dive industry and growth of the business. 

Clare started diving at the age of 18 and, once qualified as an instructor, decided to start her own business. Having no funds to do so, she took out a business loan to purchase three sets of equipment and a trailer to travel the UK and teach. With a garden shed as a storage unit and her bathroom as a drying room, Duttons Divers was born!

Since then, Clare became the youngest PADI Course Director at the time, and has developed the business into a well established and renowned UK dive chain. With two dive centres, Vivian Quarry, Llanberis and Hafan Marina, Pwllheli, and two dive boats, Little Viv and Sea Quest, the business offers high quality equipment and facilities to offer bespoke training and guided dives.

Clare says: “I am extremely honoured to be selected as 1 of 100 female entrepreneurs in the UK. I have devoted a lot of time to develop the business since starting, and have always striven to ensure that it is at the highest level it can be, whether that be acquiring top quality equipment, having our own facilities or to just showcase North Wales and the amazing diving that we have here. It’s great for this to be recognised and fuel the passion to develop this even further.

“Its definitely not been easy, and I am sure it never will be because I will always want it to develop and not just settle. The ridiculously late finishing, finding out who your ‘friends’ are, working out accounts, marketing, and every other element of a business is massively stressful at times… but then stepping back and seeing what it has all achieved makes it worthwhile. I am very excited for the future of the business and where it is headed.”

To read the full article and the 100 entrepreneurs to watch, go to: https://tgr.ph/partofthe100

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