UK dive tour operator Regaldive are offering some great deals for family diving over the next 12 months. Here are the details:
The First Steps (ages 8 – 11)
Children who are eager to take their first breath underwater can do so on a Bubblemaker programme, costing from just £21 per child with Regaldive. With a qualified instructor and in the confines of a pool, children aged eight to 11 can take their first exciting plunge. The course lasts between one and two hours, includes a theory and pool session, and can be undertaken anywhere in the world.
On a budget: Seven nights’ at Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt, cost from £568 per adult and £379 per child. The hotel benefits from a large swimming pool, lazy river, waterfall and rock feature as well as tennis courts and a watersports centre. A Bubblemaker course costs from £21 per child (to include equipment), and for adults, a five day dive pack costs from £80 per person (to include guide, tanks, weights and air for two boat dives per day) when taking advantage of Regaldive’s buy one get one free offer*.
Fit for a King: Seven nights’ at the small and friendly Buddy Dive in Bonaire, which benefits from two swimming pools, its own house reef and in-resort entertainment, cost from £1,331 per adult and £1,091 per child. To include flights, transfers and B&B accommodation, based on two sharing. A Bubblemaker course costs from £21 per child (to include equipment), and for adults, six days unlimited shore diving costs from £95 per person (to include air tanks, weights, weight belt and sales tax).
A Taster of Scuba (ages 10 +)
Suitable for children aged 10 and above, the two-day Discover Scuba Diving course, costing from £59 per child with Regaldive, offers an exciting preview of the underwater world and includes one pool and one open water dive. The course teaches the basic skills and concepts of scuba and enables children to experience the thrill of diving under the supervision of a PADI instructor.
On a budget: Seven nights’ at the great value Falcon Naama Star in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, cost from £387 per adult and £349 per child to include flights, transfers and B&B accommodation based on two people sharing. A Discover Scuba Diving course costs from £59 per child (to include equipment), and for adults, a five day boat diving dive pack costs from £131 per person (to include guide, tanks, weights and air for two dives per day) when taking advantage of Regaldive’s buy one get one half price offer**.
Fit for a King: Seven nights’ at the luxurious Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Muscat, Oman, cost from £1,278 per adult and £1,089 per child, to include flights, transfers and B&B accommodation, based on two people sharing. A Discover Scuba Diving course costs from £59 per child (to include equipment), and for adults, a five day shore or boat dive pack costs from £221 per person (to include two unguided boat / jeep dives per day, air tanks & weights).
Get Qualified (ages 10 +)
For children aged 10 and above looking for the ultimate dive experience, the Junior Open Water course follows exactly the same format as the PADI Open Water course for adults. Known as the ‘passport to the underwater world’, the course qualifies children to dive with a buddy and explore all the ocean has to offer***. Those aged between 10 and 11 can dive to 12 meters, while those aged between 12 and 15 can dive to 18 meters.
Costing from £226 per child with Regaldive, the four to five day course includes five theory and five pool sessions, as well as four open water dives.
On a budget: Seven nights’ self-catering in a private apartment in Gozo, which benefits from a kitchen, shower room, sitting and dining area, and terrace or balcony, costs from £391 per adult and £280 per child, to include flights, transfers and accommodation. A Junior Open Water course costs from £226 per person (to include equipment), and for adults, six days unlimited shore diving costs from £79 per person (to include air tanks, weights and belt).
Fit for a king: Seven nights’ at the beautiful Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa in the Maldives, which benefits from its own house reef, swimming pool and playground, cost from £1,917 per adult and £1,513 per child, to include flights, transfers and full board accommodation. A Junior Open Water course costs from £226 per person (to include equipment), and for adults, six days unlimited house reef diving cost from £330 per person (to include tanks and weights).
Andreas Elia, Managing Director of Regaldive commented “We all know how many opportunities learning to dive opens up, but sometimes children’s courses can be overlooked. With courses for children as young as eight, there’s no reason why our young families can’t make as much of the underwater world as we do”.
He continued, “Although it may be several years yet before we see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the two-week old Prince George donning their dive gear, it would certainly be great news for the dive industry!”
For further information, or to book, visit www.regaldive.co.uk or call 01353 659 999.
* Buy One Get One Free valid for travel between 1 Nov – 14 Dec 2013, 3 Jan – 4 Apr 2014 and 25 Apr – 11 Jul 2014.
** Buy One Get One Half Price valid for travel between 13 Nov – 10 Dec 2013.
*** Once qualified, children aged 10-12 years old must dive with a parent or guardian
Jeff chats to… Paul Cox, CEO of the Shark Trust about the Big Shark Pledge (Watch Video)
The Big Shark Pledge aims to build one of the biggest campaigning communities in the history of shark conservation. To put pressure on governments and fisheries. And make the positive changes required to safeguard awesome sharks and rays.
Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.
Into the Blue – Part Two
By now, you will have hopefully read the first blog from my recent trip to the Red Sea with The Scuba Place on M/Y Big Blue. If you haven’t, you can find the link to the blog here.
I’ve been diving since 2011, although I didn’t get really serious about diving until 2013. In the November of that year I joined Scuba School on a trip to Sharm El Sheikh to complete my Advanced Open Water course. That was the first time I heard about the famous SS Thistlegorm and its cult status in the wreck diving world. Unfortunately, as I, along with a lot of the group were novice divers, and so we were unable to dive it on that 2013 trip, along with a lot of the other famous wrecks from the North. Little did I know, I wouldn’t return to the Northern Red Sea until this trip in September 2022 with The Scuba Place. The wrecks remained mysterious all those years but I was soon getting the full experience. After the first two and a half days exploring the amazing reefs, it was time to break my Thistlegorm virginity and get the true “lust for rust” experience of the Northern itinerary.
As we moored up at the SS Thistlegorm for the afternoon dive, I got a strange sense of anticipation run through my body. More so than at any other specific dive site. Strange really, as I don’t normally get excited about wreck diving, but here was a site that I’d heard so much about but was still so mysterious. I’d always thought it was a difficult dive and had a slight fear of it, as I wasn’t allowed to do it all those years back. Then, after watching a 20 minute film explaining the story of the wreck and listening to the stories of survivors,. I knew it was a site that demanded respect. As Mo went through the dive briefing, I quickly realised it seemed a lot more simple than I had in mind. I then became more excited than fearful as me and my dive buddy went through our plan.
There was an eerie feeling as we submerged below the gentle swell. The visibility was a lot more milky compared to the clear blue I was used to in the Red Sea. However, the wreck soon came into view as we dropped down the shot line. The first thing that struck me and in my opinion just made the wreck extra special, was the life on it.
Instantly, crocodile fish and scorpion fish were spotted resting on the wreck, as we made our way to the anti-aircraft gun on the stern. I made a quick visit to take some photos before we turned back and penetrated the wreck for the first time. A surreal experience but the numerous glassfish and lionfish at the entry point kept me entertained before seeing the remnants of yesteryear. The different vehicles that still keep their place in the decks are the main highlight, but it was the boots that struck a chord with me: signs of the human lives that were present on the fateful day the bomb hit. I got a real buzz from my first time on the Thistlegorm, with a school of batfish greeting us on our safety stop finishing off the adventure. John and I ascended from a great dive with a high five, knowing I’d fulfilled a special memory.
I enjoyed three more dives on the Thistlegorm, giving me chance to explore a little more and see a little more life. Some cool nudibranch and a cuttlefish making their home inside the wreck added to the array of life I’d already seen. It was the night dive that truly hit the marine life spot. It really came to life at night and I soon lost count of the amount of scorpionfish I saw. The contrast of the dark and wreck against the blue spotted stingrays made their colours really pop as around six or seven were spotted. Eels, lionfish and crocodilefish making up the rest of the weird and wonderful sights on the wreck at night. Amazing memories from my first time exploring the Thistlegorm that will last forever.
After the two morning dives on the Thistlegorm, we headed off to the Barge wreck site for an afternoon and night dive. It’s not much of a wreck when you compare it to the others on the trip. It lies like a flat platform on the seabed with some sides rising out from the reef providing extra space for coral growth and marine life to enjoy. While it doesn’t provide a real wreck fix with penetration, it is a haven for marine life, littered with all types of hard and soft corals. Look closely and the Barge is a great spot for the weird and wonderful. The numerous nudibranch and grey moray eels provided my macro fix on the night dives, while the occasional buzz from huge hunting giant trevally provided the entertainment. A nice contrast of wrecks before moving on to Abu Nuhas.
Abu Nuhas is a really unique place. Its submerged reef has been bad luck for five passing ships, with five cargo shipwrecks lining its northern slopes. While it was more than unfortunate for some, the wrecks have provided fortune for those looking for a wreck diving haven. Our day consisted of diving three of the wrecks – The Carnatic, Giannis D and Marcus/Chrisoula K in that order.
Going into the trip, it was the Giannis D that I was most keen to dive. I’d always admired the wide angle stern shots I’d seen over the years, with it staying pretty much intact and creating a dramatic image as it lies on its side. It was a fantastic dive with some interesting and easy penetration; I also took some shots of the stern in all its glory. A huge grouper sitting inside the wreck provided the wildlife fix, as it floated with ease looking out into the blue from an opening on the wreck. I think it was the Carnatic that stole the show personally though. Her open windows out to the blue that are covered in soft coral were unique, and glassfish dancing in formation inside mesmerised into a truly memorable dive. The Marcus provided the adventure as penetration was a little more difficult to work my way through the wreck.
The day at Abu Nuhas was the best of the trip for me and that wasn’t solely because of the wrecks….. YES!! Once again it was marine life that had me screaming with joy underwater and a buzz through my body like no other. FINALLY!!!!! After 9 years of taking photos underwater, I was able to share the water with dolphins (bottlenose in this instance) and shoot them in all their glory.
Our journey to and from the wrecks on each dive took us through the channel on the ribs, where dolphins were seen on every pass playing in the slight waves. After the second dive, the guides asked if we wanted to try to snorkel with them. It was a resounding yes and as the speedboat whipped up a wave storm, the dolphins headed to the surface to play. I dropped in with no elegance at all, as my excitement took over. I was wondering whether they would stay once we entered, but how they stayed and played was beyond anything I could imagine. Bringing seaweed to us and then, with a flick of their tails, speeding off after teasing with a slow approach. There were nine in total and they even came by to show off the baby of the group. It was definitely up there as one of my greatest moments in the water.
We finished the liveaboard trip with three more amazing reef dives, with the highlight being a small cave full of glassfish and MANY lionfish. I entered to take photos of the glassfish before the lionfish started to sneak out of every crevice and reveal themselves from their camouflaged rest spots.
It got a little hairy but made for a truly interesting moment to finish the week on Big Blue. The fun wasn’t done though, as John eluded to the fact that I was on the same late flight as them on the Saturday and asked if I’d like to join his group for a night at Roots Red Sea. Sounds like a good plan!! Also, if we got there in time, a night dive on the house reef that’s a haven for the weird and wonderful would be on offer. What an amazing surprise end to the trip at an amazing dive resort: secluded, with a beautiful desert backdrop, sitting just metres from the sea. Thankfully, we made it for a night dive and it was as incredible as John said it would be. Reef squid, numerous cuttlefish, a bouncing stonefish jumping over sea moths AND a dwarf lionfish made this one of the best night dives ever, and a perfect end dive to a perfect trip. A final day of relaxation at Roots pool and enjoying the beautiful food finished it in style.
For more information about diving on Big Blue:
WIN a c-monsta Wetsuit Hanger!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with c-monsta to give away one of their wetsuit hangers as a prize!...
WIN a Sharkskin Performance 40L Duffle Bag!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Sharkskin Performance 40L Duffle Bag as...
Win a Vasili Lights Fish Lantern!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with Vasili Lights to give away one of their beautiful Fish Lanterns! Inspired...
WIN a Beuchat Maxlux S Mask and Spy Snorkel!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away Maxlux S Mask and Spy Snorkel!...
News2 months ago
Marine Life & Conservation3 weeks ago
Book Review: The Sea Lions of Los Islotes
News2 days ago
Into the Blue – Part Two
News3 weeks ago
Into the Blue
News2 months ago
Deptherapy charity to close in August 2023
Winners - Underwater Photography Contests2 months ago
September 2022 Photo Contest Winner and Review
Winners - Underwater Videography Contests2 months ago
September 2022 Video Contest Winner and Review
News1 month ago
CMAS European Championship of Underwater Videography and Photography – Madeira, 2022