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
Silent Reef Keepers: The Fight to Save the Caribbean Reef Shark
The Kingdom of the Netherlands will ask for increased protection for the Caribbean reef shark during next month’s Conference of Parties for the Cartagena Convention (COPs) on Aruba. Caribbean reef sharks play a critical role in maintaining a healthy reef ecosystem and building resilience within the oceans. This increased protection is critical for ensuring a sustainable future for this iconic species.
The Caribbean Sea is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and a dazzling array of marine life. Among the charismatic inhabitants of this underwater paradise is the Caribbean Reef Shark (Carcharhinus perezii), a species that plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of coral reef ecosystems. In the Dutch Caribbean, these apex predators face mounting threats, but there is hope on the horizon. At the upcoming Conference of Parties for the Cartagena Convention (COPs), the Kingdom of the Netherlands will seek increased protection for these magnificent creatures by listing this species on Annex III of the SPAW Protocol. Annex III includes plant and animal species which require additional protection to ensure this species is able to adequately recover their populations in the Wider Caribbean Region.
Caribbean reef sharks thrive in warm, tropical waters of the Caribbean region, with a distribution range that stretches from Florida to Brazil. This species is one of the most encountered reef shark species throughout the whole Caribbean Sea. Growing up to 3m (9.8ft) in length, this shark is one of the largest apex predators in the reef ecosystem and is at the top of the marine food web, having only a few natural predators.
In addition to being of great economic value, as shark diving is a major draw for divers from around the world, this species is also critical for maintaining balance within the reef ecosystem. Their presence helps regulate the population of smaller prey species, which in turn, prevents overgrazing on seagrass beds and coral reefs and eliminates sick or weak fish from the population. This balance is essential for maintaining the health and diversity of the entire coral reef.
Despite their ecological and economic significance, Caribbean reef sharks in the Caribbean face numerous threats that have led to a population reduction estimated to be between 50–79% over the past 29 years. In the (Dutch) Caribbean this is mainly caused by:
Habitat Degradation: The degradation of coral reefs and seagrass beds due to climate change, pollution, and coastal development has a direct impact on the availability of prey for these sharks. Loss of habitat reduces their ability to find food and shelter.
Overfishing: Overfishing poses one of the most immediate threats to Caribbean reef sharks. They are often caught incidentally in commercial fisheries, where fishermen are targeting other species, or intentionally, where they are sought after for their fins, used in shark fin soup.
A Call for Increased Protection
There are different organizations and individuals working to protect sharks and their habitats in the Dutch Caribbean. A significant milestone was the establishment of protected areas such as the Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary between Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. Another milestone was in 2019 when the Dutch government adopted an International Shark Strategy. The strategy sets out which protective and management actions for sharks and rays are to be taken by the government in all seas and oceans where the Netherlands has influence (including the Dutch Caribbean). Additional efforts are still needed to create more marine protected areas, enhance enforcement, reduce pollution in the ocean, and promote sustainable fishing practices. These species know no (political) boundaries and their protection requires broadscale conservation efforts within the Dutch Caribbean and beyond.
The Caribbean reef shark is a species of paramount importance to the (Dutch) Caribbean’s coral reefs. With the extra protection being requested during the next COPS meeting in Aruba, there is hope that this species will have a healthy future. By recognizing their ecological significance and the challenges they face, we can work together to ensure a brighter future for the Caribbean Reef Shark in the Dutch Caribbean and beyond.
The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) supports science communication and outreach in the Dutch Caribbean region by making nature-related scientific information more widely available through amongst others the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database, DCNA’s news platform BioNews and the press. This article contains the results from several scientific studies but the studies themselves are not DCNA studies. No rights can be derived from the content. DCNA is not liable for the content and the in(direct) impacts resulting from publishing this article.
Photo + photo credit: Jim Abernethy-all rights reserved
For more information, please contact: research@DCNAnature.org
Dive Pirates Foundation nominated for DEMA’s Community Champion Award, asking for DEMA Members to vote now!
Dive Pirates Foundation is proud to announce it has been nominated for DEMA’s 2023 Diving Community Champions award. The Foundation is asking all DEMA members to support the crew and vote to recognize the great efforts achieved in 2023!
Specifically, DPF is being recognized for this year’s “Find Your Inner Treasure” effort, which brought the world of scuba diving to 6 adults living with disabilities. Through this effort, the recipients – 5 of whom are military veterans – were equipped fully and trained by their local dive shops before enjoying a week-long dive trip to Cayman Brac Beach Resort. While at the resort, DPF provided additional volunteer instructors and adaptive buddies for all participants to dive adaptively alongside industry professionals and returning adaptive divers alike. For many of the new divers, these dives were their first open water diving experiences. By the end of the week, all new divers had completed more than a dozen open water dives, with some also earning their open water diver certification.
However, Dive Pirates’ “Find Your Inner Treasure” effort also provides something much more than a scuba diving trip: freedom. The new divers frequently used this word to describe the feeling of scuba diving, with many expressing that they thought diving was unattainable for them with their disability. For them, this trip was much more than a vacation. It was a confidence boost and validation of their ability.
New participants also found themselves welcomed into the Dive Pirates family and the dive community at large. Throughout the trip, DPF provided its participants new and old with fun events at the resort in order to build camaraderie and to promote a welcoming, inclusive environment for the 6 new divers. With the new members eager to return for future dives, as well as 8 past recipients, one stowaway adaptive diver, and other divers making this their vacation volunteer effort resulting in 64 travelers, 2023 marked another successful year for the Dive Pirates Foundation.
Now, DPF needs you to vote so they can be recognized for their amazing work! Voting closes October 12, 2023, at 4:00 pm US Pacific Time. DEMA members can vote for DPF here.
The Dive Pirates Foundation a 501(c)3 organization, positively impacts the lives of its recipients; injured military, first responders, law enforcement and others with mobile disabilities, by welcoming them into adaptive scuba diving which fosters accomplishment, self-worth and community. The Foundation trains, equips and conducts dive trips year-round to calm, warm-water locations for the safety of those with spinal cord injuries, networking with facilities willing to empower all participants with compassion and adaptation for a positive experience diving, team building and networking.
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