St Helena – The Secret is Out!
Nick and Caroline visit St Helena to dive its many wrecks and rocky reefs that are teeming with wildlife…
St Helena is one of the most remote islands in the world, often referred to as the Secret of the South Atlantic, where it lies 1,200 miles off Namibia and 2,500 miles off Brazil. How we got to visit this incredible island is a story in itself.
A few years ago we were asked by a team of MOD salvage divers if we would supply them with some underwater photography equipment and teach them how to use it. They were, it turns out, heading to St Helena to dive, survey and work on the DarkDale wreck. Having mentioned this connection to the St Helena Tourist Board, a plan was hatched to get us out to complete our story by diving the same wreck ourselves.
Soon we found ourselves on a flight to Johannesburg in South Africa, and then onwards, via Namibia to St Helena. The runway had only been open for a year and the approach is one that can have the most experienced traveller glancing nervously out the window as the wing tips seem to get impossibly close to the rocks.
The good news for divers is that new flights from Cape Town are being launched later this year, making this a perfect destination to do a dual centre diving trip. And the best time to go is January to March, when the island is visited by large numbers of Whale Sharks.
Maybe it is the remoteness of this island, or perhaps it is because these waters are protected, but the first thing you notice when you put your head underwater the water here is the number of fish. Clouds of the endemic Cunning Fish cover both rocky reefs and wrecks. One of our first dives was on the wreck of the Papanui, sunk in very shallow water in the bay. Craig, from Dive Saint Helena, accompanied us and pointed out bottles and crockery still on the sea bed, even though this wreck has been down for over 100 years!
Above water the island is packed with things to do. If you love history, well, St Helena has that in spades, including the final chapter of the story of its most famous resident – Napoleon. St Helena also boasts the oldest terrestrial animal, Jonathan, a tortoise who is 187 years old. The scenery is stunning and the island is covered in trails and walks covering the hills, forests, valleys and coastline. For those who are really fit, there is Jacob’s Ladder. This dizzyingly steep set of steps climbs from Jamestown to the cliff above to Ladder Hill Fort, some 699 steps and 183 meters high. The record to climb the steps is just over 5 minutes!
Want to know more? Have a look at our full feature in the latest issue of Dive Travel Adventures HERE.
Watch out for more blogs about St Helena coming to Scubaverse soon where we will talk about our wreck dives, marine life and reef dives.
For more information about our trip:
- Tourist Board Website: www.sthelenatourism.com
- Flights: www.flyairlink.com
- Dive Centre: www.divesainthelena.com
- Hotel: www.mantissthelena.com
Midlands Diving Chamber donates £20k to Bite-Back
Hyperbaric and dive medical experts, Midlands Diving Chamber (MDC), has underpinned its long-term support of Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation with a one-off donation of £20,000, as the Rugby-based diving doctors wind down the charitable side of its operation.
The donation represents the single biggest financial contribution made to Bite-Back, delivering a huge boost to its campaigns to end the UK trade in shark products.
Spokesperson for Midlands Diving Chamber, Sally Cartwright, said: “For years we’ve admired and supported the ground-breaking work that Bite-Back is doing to save, protect and celebrate sharks. It’s a genuine pleasure to help ensure it stays at the forefront of shark conservation in the UK.”
Midland Diving Chamber first supported the charity at the inaugural Bite-Back at Cancer event in 2007 and then annually for the next six years. It even hosted its own James Bond-themed party on the Thames to fundraise for the marine NGO.
Campaign director for Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: “We can’t thank MDC enough for its continued support and now for this massive contribution to our pioneering shark conservation campaigns. It makes us very proud that the country’s premier diving medical experts have chosen to back our campaigns that extend from parliament to primary schools. This financial windfall will allow us to continue to lead the shark conservation agenda in the UK and deliver measurable shark conservation breakthroughs to keep the oceans healthy.”
Bite-Back’s No Fin To Declare campaign to end the UK’s import and export of shark fins is now just months away from achieving Royal Ascent into law and, earlier this month it launched a free 56-page teaching resource for Key Stage 2 & 3 students on the importance of sharks and the threats they face.
Midlands Diving Chamber is based at St. Cross Hospital in Rugby and operates a hyperbaric decompression chamber offering NHS funded recompression to divers with Decompression Illness (DCI) together with other Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) treatments. Any diver with medical concerns should contact MDC on either 01788 579 555 or 07931 472 602.
Find out more about Bite-Back at http://www.bite-back.com/
Marine Life & Conservation
Watch The Real Watergate from Live Ocean Foundation (Trailer)
Sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke established Live Ocean Foundation out of their deep concern for health of the ocean and the life in it. Through their sport they champion action for the ocean, taking this message to the world.
Many of the issues the ocean faces are out of sight, but the science is clear, the ocean is in crises from multiple stressors; climate change, pollution and over-fishing. We’re not moving fast enough, not even close.
Live Ocean Foundation supports exceptional marine scientists, innovators and communicators who play a vital role in the fight for a healthy future.
Thanks to generous core donors who cover their operating costs, 100% of public donations go directly towards the marine conservation projects they support.
Find out more at https://liveocean.com/foundation/
WATCH THE REAL WATERGATE AT https://www.realwatergate.com/
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