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Sharks, sharks, and more sharks

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Fin and I have had a very busy October. The Great White Shark activity has been incredible and I’ve manged to capture some amazing footage. Not only was I lucky enough to witness an attempted predation on the first day of October, but I was then visited by the escapee seal when he used our boat as refuge. He even tried to swim into the cage at one point but couldn’t get between the bars. I made a wee video about the seal’s escapade:

The white sharks around the White Shark Africa cage diving boat have been showing us and our clients a great time. There’s been lots of breaching, plus plenty of curiosity shown towards the cage divers and my GoPro. It’s made for some incredible footage, like the stills shown here:

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My personal favourite is having a young shark come close enough to be able to capture her blue iris. Most people believe a white shark’s eye is black, but they are actually blue:

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Another shark decided to high five my GoPro:

https://vine.co/v/e2Pj91UTmDM

While I was busy capturing the underwater footage of these stunning sharks swimming by, one shark breached fully out of the water just a few meters away from me with no obvious target. It was possibly avoiding another shark, but unfortunately my GoPro was turned away from it so we’ll never know for sure.

As well as amazing activity from the real sharks, Fin, has been meeting lots of important South Africans to spread our Keep Fin Alive campaign message. We hit the airwaves over the weekend to talk about the aims of the campaign on a local radio station called Suidkaap FM and Fin had a photoshoot with the DJs plus Emo Adams, one of South Africa’s biggest stars. He was also in a photoshoot with Algoa FM DJs, a popular national radio station.

Very exciting news for me is that I have just been confirmed to head up a schools programme we’re calling ‘Mossel Bay Shark Week’ where I’ll be talking to all the schools in the area about sharks in back-to-back visits over a week, with an emphasis on the issues facing sharks and their importance to our oceans and planet. Fin will be accompanying me to engage the kids in the Keep Fin Alive campaign, and I’ll be running the programme as part of my ambassador role with Sarasota Fins, a shark education and conservation program aiming to mold a new generation of shark advocates. Kids play a vital role in ensuring the future of our oceans and by engaging with them at an early age, they grow up knowing the impact of their actions and how to prevent sharks and other marine species from becoming extinct.

To get involved in the ‘Keep Fin Alive’ campaign is easy. Just visit our campaign pages, like and share…
www.facebook.com/keepfinalive
www.twitter.com/FinHugger

Esther Jacobs is a shark conservationist, originally from Scotland, now living in South Africa working with sharks and other marine life. Esther works with Oceans Research, a marine research facility in Mossel Bay, South Africa. She also runs a shark conservation campaign called Keep Fin Alive, which features a handpuppet shark called Fin, who is on a mission to be photographed with as many people as possible holding a sign that says “I hugged a shark and I liked it… Keep Fin Alive”. He’s already been photographed with lots of celebrities and scientists. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to take a light-hearted approach to help change the common misconception of sharks and drive more attention to the problems of shark overfishing, finning, shark fishing tournaments, bycatch and longlining.

Equipment

Northern Diver’s latest additions to add to your diving kit this year …

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Northern Diver has kicked off the New Year by launching the new Brava Mask and Snorkel in its range of masks and snorkels. Check out Northern Divers latest additions to add to your diving kit this year…

Brava Mask

The Brava Mask provides an excellent field of vision thanks to anti-fog technology combined with the low volume, ensuring you don’t miss a thing during your time in the water. The soft silicone skirt offers not only the perfect fit but comfortable too. Easy to adjust, you simply push the button buckles to achieve the optimum fit.

Brava Snorkel

Why not treat yourself to a matching snorkel! A great choice for snorkelling and diving, the Brava Snorkel is a semi-dry design, the easy purge system is complete with a large draining chamber. Complete with a silicone mouthpiece that enables you to be comfy for a prolonged amount of time in the water. 

Also introducing… 40L SRE Roll Top Dry bag

The 40L SRE Roll Top Dry bag features a wide top opening allowing easy access to your kit. Constructed from waterproof material to ensure your gear stays dry. This weatherproof duffle is great for around water, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and many other uses.

For more information visit the Northern Diver website here

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News

Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

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The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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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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