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Terrific Tiran

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The reefs of the Strait of Tiran are some of the regular dive sites for anyone diving out of Sharm el Sheikh, and during our 8 days diving with Camel Dive Club, we got to visit these reefs on three occasions. The four main reefs here are named after the British cartographers who first mapped the region: Jackson, Woodhouse, Thomas and Gordon. It is about an hour from Naama Bay by boat and offers some pretty spectacular diving. The reef system is instantly recognisable from the boat, due to a wreck that stands up on top of the reef, slowly rusting away over the years.

Everyone has their own particular favourite dive site here, with Jackson Reef probably the most popular, but we found that on any given day, each of these sites had something different to offer. Both Jackson and Thomas have huge pink sea fans, with the most impressive on Thomas at around 24 metres. Many of the sea fans, on both of these reefs, were so vast that it took two of us to properly light them up using our INON strobes, without the sensor covers, so they would fire remotely.  We spent one dive on Thomas, simply focussing on just photographing these amazingly healthy sea fans. On Jackson Reef we spent a whole dive at around 5metres, marvelling at the colours and reflections of the corals near the surface. We were also lucky enough to encounter a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins, underwater! We had just got back onto the boat when the cry of “dolphins” came out. They were close to the reef, so we put on our masks, fins and snorkels, grabbed our cameras and headed out to join them. They did not let us get too close, perhaps because they had a baby with them, but they certainly put on a show, waving their tails in the air, in a sort of “reverse spy-hop”.

These reef systems can be milk-pond calm or they can have mild to strong currents, depending on where you are on the system. So it is that on some days you can drift along admiring the colourful corals and on others, you can slow down and find the small critters and marine life that inhabit the crevices on the walls and pinnacles. Gordon Reef is packed with wildlife and has a series of old drums, the cargo of a shipwreck, which offer hideouts for fish and other sea dwellers. We found Spanish dancer eggs, but alas none of these fabled creatures themselves. Woodhouse lies between Thomas and Jackson and is a narrow and long reef that is best done as a drift dive, with or without current. The visibility is incredible here and you can practically see all along the wall, including down in the deep where impressive black gorgonians can be found. Look out into the blue and you have a decent chance of spotting sharks and rays.

Nearby is the wreck of the Million Hope. We had got our hopes up (all one million of them) that we would be able to dive this amazing wreck site, but the weather has to be on its best behaviour. We had planned our dive, and the captain maneuvered the boat around, but the swells were just too big. We will just have to come back another time to dive what is considered to be one of the best wreck dives in the whole of Egypt.

www.cameldive.com

www.egypt.travel/diving-in-egypt

For more from Nick and Caroline visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

 

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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Get moving with the new RAID DPV training programs

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The thrill of speeding through the water behind a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is an experience that really gets the blood racing. Using a DPV provides divers both immense fun and the means to achieve goals that would be impossible without their use.

RAID is proud to announce the new two-tier DPV training program with certifications for DPV and Advanced DPV.

Why DPV and why now?
Recreational and technical divers are using DPVs to access sites that would be difficult to reach and explore using traditional propulsion methods; to help propel large amounts of heavy equipment; to increase the safety of dives in areas of strong current; or just for the pure exhilaration of shooting through the water at speed and performing underwater acrobatics.

By extending your capabilities and extending your range, using a DPV opens new vistas for exploration and fun.

DPV
This certification option is aimed at the recreational diver who wishes to learn how to use a DPV to enhance their diving by using mainly natural navigation.

Advanced DPV
This certification option is available to anyone who is familiar with longhose configuration, has logged a minimum of 20 dives and is certified as Navigation specialty divers.

This certification option is aimed at the slightly more experienced diver with preexisting navigational training and diving on a single, twin or sidemount setup with a longhose. Although this level is slightly more challenging, the more advanced navigation exercises provide an important base for more complex types of DPV diving within a team.

PREREQUISITES
You must:

  • Be a minimum of 12 years old.
  • Be certified as RAID Open Water 20, Junior Open Water or equivalent.

Just visit www.diveRAID.com to put some extra dash into your dives.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Beers raise cash for ocean clean-up

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The Driftwood Spars Brewery, a pioneering microbrewery based on the North Cornwall coast, is donating a percentage of all profits from its Cove range of beers to Fathoms Free, a certified charity which actively cleans the ocean around the Cornish peninsula.

Each purchase of the small-batch, craft beers – there are four different canned beers in the Cove range – will help generate funds to purchase a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and fund retrieval dives; every brew will raise the equivalent cost of a fully-funded dive. 

Fathoms Free is a Cornwall-based charity whose day-to-day mission involves dives from their fast-response specialist vessel to recover ghost fishing gear; abandoned nets, pots, angling equipment and other plastic causes severe damage to the marine environment and the death of countless seabirds, seals, dolphins and other sea life.

The campaign to raise funds for an ROV is a new initiative which will take the clean-up work to a new level; the highly manoeuvrable underwater vehicle will be used to scour the seabed, harbours and remote parts of the coastline for abandoned fishing gear and other marine litter.

Project Manager Natallia Paliakova from Fathoms Free said: “Apart from helping us locate ghost gear underwater, the ROV will also be capable of recording underwater video which is always great for raising awareness about marine pollution issues.”

She added: “We are really excited to be partnering with The Driftwood Spars Brewery and appreciate the proactive support of Mike and his team in bringing the purchase of an ROV a step closer to reality.”

Head Brewer Mike Mason personally approached the charity after their work was featured on the BBC 2 documentary, ‘Cornwall with Simon Reeve’.    

He said: “As a keen surfer I am only too aware of the problem of marine litter and had heard about Fathoms Free, but seeing them in action prompted me to find a way of contributing. The scale of the challenge is scary, but the determination of organisations like Fathoms Free is inspiring.”

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

The Driftwood Spars Brewery was founded in 2000 in Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes; the microbrewery is just a few steps away from it’s co-joined brewpub, The Driftwood Spars; both pub and brewery are well-regarded far beyond the Cornish cove they call home. 

You can hear the waves and taste the salt on the air from the door of both brewery and pub, and the rough seas along the rugged North coast often throw up discarded nets and other detritus; Louise Treseder, Landlady of The Driftwood Spars and a keen sea swimmer, often collects washed up ghost gear on her daily beach excursions.     

Louise commented: “This is a great partnership to support a cause close to our hearts – I know the money we raise will have a positive and lasting impact. The Cove range was inspired by our unique surroundings and the artwork – by local artist Jago Silver – reflects that. Now donations from each purchase will contribute towards the vital ocean clean-up taking place right on our doorstep.”

The Cove range can currently be purchased online here, and is available in good independent bottle shops in Cornwall.

To find out more about Fathoms Free visit their website here.

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