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The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Chris Jewell



Gemma and Ian chat to Chris Jewell.  They are on location in Cheddar Gorge, a limestone valley in the UK recording on the Ford Custom Transit Nugget.  Chris is a cave diver and cave explorer and as a member of the British Cave Rescue Council was one of the British cave divers who played a leading role in the 2018 Tham Luang Thailand cave rescue.  Chris talks more about the documentary, The Rescue, as well as the recently released movie, Thirteen Lives, directed by Ron Howard.

Have a listen here: 

Find out more here:

Find more podcast episodes and information at the new  website and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

The BiG Scuba Podcast is a UK based podcast, discussing everything to do with diving, other underwater and on the water activities and the ocean. Our hope is to promote scuba diving to more people including women. Ian Last and Gemma Kemp are the “I” and the “G” of The BiG Scuba Podcast. Ian is a PADI Divemaster, with about 300 dives from diving in the UK, Mexico and Red Sea. He works with our local PADI Dive Centre in Norwich, Norfolk and also teaches in the water. Gemma Kemp is a very positive person and makes a good ambassador for new women divers in the sport of scuba. Gemma began her scuba journey in January and continued studying through lockdown and then got some experience in our local rivers snorkelling. Gemma completed her PADI Open Water qualification in July 2020 and now has completed just short of 20 dives. We actively encourage interaction with our listeners and have a Patron page so that anyone with an interest in scuba diving can have a voice at The BiG Scuba Podcast. Take your first breaths with The BiG Scuba at


DEMA Show 2023: The Depths of Progress in the Scuba Diving Industry



By Bryan Horne, Dive Curaçao / Dive Travel Curaçao

As I sit down to reflect on the whirlwind that was the DEMA Show 2023, in the vibrant city of New Orleans, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of pride and optimism for the future of the scuba diving industry. This annual gathering of manufacturers, global destinations, dive retailers, and enthusiasts has always been a focal point for showcasing the latest innovations and trends in our beloved underwater world.

However, this year’s event was more than just a showcase; it was a milestone that underscored the industry’s collective power to drive positive change and create a unified impact across diverse fronts.

Exploring the DEMA Show 2023

One of the most remarkable aspects of DEMA Show 2023 was the palpable sense of collaboration that permeated the event. The scuba diving industry, often seen as a niche community, demonstrated that when we unite for a common cause, we become a force to be reckoned with. From education and environmental protection to travel, marketing, and safety; the influence of our collective efforts was unmistakable.

Diver Education

One shining example of the industry’s commitment to education was the inspiring work of Margo Peyton and her organization, Kids Sea Camp. DEMA 2023 provided a platform for Margo to share her vision and success in introducing children to the wonders of the underwater realm. The impact of programs like Kids Sea Camp extends far beyond the immediate experience, creating a generation of young divers who not only appreciate marine life but also become ambassadors for ocean conservation.

Read more about Kids Sea Camp: “I’m a Believer” by Scott D. Jones

Environmental Protection

Environmental protection took center stage at DEMA Show 2023, with organizations like Stream2Sea, PADI AWARE, and Green Fins leading the charge. Their dedication to sustainable practices and ocean-friendly products highlighted the industry’s commitment to preserving the underwater ecosystems we hold dear. The booths and presentations focused on eco-friendly products, responsible diving practices, and the importance of leaving no trace underwater. It was a clear message that as guardians of the ocean, we have a responsibility to tread lightly and ensure its health for generations to come.

Dive Travel

In the realm of travel, DEMA Show 2023 showcased the incredible potential of our industry and its influence on tourism.

Our Dutch Caribbean Island of Curaçao, once a hidden gem in the scuba diving world, stood as a testament to the transformative power of collaboration.

Over the past decade, Dive Curaçao, Ocean Encounters, and LionsDive Beach Resort worked hand in hand to develop Curaçao as a world-class diving destination.

This year, our collective efforts were recognized with an astounding 23 awards in the Scuba Diving Reader’s Choice Awards. The readers spoke, and their votes reinforced the idea that collaboration can turn a relatively unknown destination into a global diving hotspot.

The success of Curaçao serves as a blueprint for other emerging destinations, illustrating that by pooling resources, sharing knowledge, and collectively marketing our unique offerings, we can elevate the entire industry. Digital marketing played a crucial role in this transformation, connecting divers from around the world with the beauty of Curaçao’s underwater landscapes. Social media campaigns, immersive virtual tours, and engaging content brought our island to the forefront of the diving community’s consciousness.

Photo courtesy of Frank Do

Diver Safety

Safety has always been a paramount concern in the scuba diving industry, and the Divers Alert Network (DAN) took the opportunity at DEMA Show 2023 to unveil the latest advancements in dive safety including innovative training programs. Their emphasis on safety highlighted the industry’s unwavering commitment to ensuring every dive is a secure and enjoyable experience.

Reflecting on the DEMA Show 2023

The DEMA Show 2023 was a rallying point, a reminder that we are not isolated entities but integral parts of a global and interconnected community. The connections forged and strengthened at the event will reverberate throughout the industry, sparking collaborations that go beyond borders and benefit us all. The exchange of ideas, the sharing of best practices, and the celebration of successes create a synergy that propels us forward.

As I navigated the bustling aisles of the exhibition hall, engaged in insightful seminars, and connected with industry leaders, it became evident that the key to Curaçao’s continued success lies in collaboration. Yes, we have achieved great strides, but there is still much work to be done. The challenges facing our coral reefs are immense. From climate change to pollution, these issues demand a united front to ensure the sustainability of Curaçao’s diving industry.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our partners and suppliers who joined us at DEMA Show 2023, and a special acknowledgment to the DEMA 2023 Board of Directors for orchestrating an event that transcended expectations. The bonds formed and strengthened in New Orleans set the stage for an exciting year ahead.

However, as we look towards the future, the scuba diving industry stands at a crossroads. We must avoid apathy and choose a path that will shape the destiny of our oceans and the sustainability of our scuba diving industry, especially here in Curaçao.

Looking forward to the DEMA Show 2024

In conclusion, DEMA Show 2023 was not just an exhibition; it was a manifestation of the scuba diving industry’s potential to create a positive impact. The collaborative spirit showcased at the event serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that by working together, we can achieve far more than we ever could alone. As we eagerly anticipate the DEMA Show 2024 in Las Vegas, let us carry this positive momentum forward, united in our mission to protect, educate, and explore the wonders of the underwater world.

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11 Fitness Tips to Maximize Your Snorkeling Adventures




Snorkeling is more than just a leisure activity; it’s a window into an awe-inspiring world full of life. Imagine gliding effortlessly through the water, exploring vibrant coral reefs and encountering marine life up close – all while feeling safe, confident, and relaxed. In this article, we’ll share a series of fitness tips to help boost your snorkeling fitness and enhance your underwater experience.

  1. Understand the demands of snorkeling.

Snorkeling engages your body in in a variety of movements – from swimming and floating to the rhythmic motion of finning. Different snorkeling environments, from calm lakes to more adventurous open waters, have various challenges. Being fit enhances your ability to adapt and enjoy these settings, making your snorkeling journey both exciting and comfortable. 

  1. Work on your cardiovascular fitness.

Longer snorkeling sessions demand stamina, and cardiovascular fitness is your ally here. Activities like swimming, brisk walking, or cycling, will help to improve your endurance, allowing you to explore underwater for longer without getting tired. Gradually increase your cardiovascular fitness to open the doors to more rewarding snorkeling adventures. Simply add some fitness activities to your daily life or in the months before your next snorkeling trip.


  1. Strengthen your core muscles.

Your core acts as the anchor for your stability and control in the water. A strong core lets you move effortlessly, maintain your position in the water, and glide more easily in choppy waters.  All of which means you can focus on the beautiful landscapes and marine life around you.

Exercises like planks, Pilates, and yoga poses that target your core muscles, will help you to build core strength and move through the water with less effort. As with any new fitness regime, start slowly and work with a fitness professional to make sure you don’t injure yourself.

  1. Build upper body strength.

Strong back muscles are essential for easy maneuvering while snorkeling and during finning. Exercises like push-ups, lateral raises, and rowing will enhance your upper body strength. Strengthening these muscle groups not only makes it easier and less tiring to move in the water, but it also means you can explore for longer and protect your back from injury.


  1. Strengthen your legs.

Effective finning relies on strong leg muscles. Incorporating squats, lunges, and calf raises into your fitness routine will help to build leg strength, ensuring strong, smooth finning motions. This is especially important when you’re snorkeling with large marine life that you need to fin to keep up with, such as whale sharks.

  1. Get flexible.

Your muscles work hard in the water, and you adjust your body position a lot when snorkeling – often without even realizing it. Being flexible makes snorkeling easier on your body, so you won’t ache the next day! Add some stretches to your usual fitness routine to improve your flexibility. A supple body also allows you to move with ease and enjoy the marine life and landscapes around you.


  1. Work on your breathing.

Being able to breathe easily and fully is vital for snorkeling. Strong respiratory muscles ensure a calm and relaxed snorkeling experience, letting you fully appreciate the beauty of the aquatic world. Breathwork exercises are a great way to improve lung capacity, and there are numerous breathwork courses online to guide you.

  1. Preventing snorkeling-related injuries.

Make sure you warm up with some gentle stretches before your snorkeling session. Simple exercises like arm swings and leg swings help prepare your muscles for activity. As part of your snorkeling gear, also include a compact first aid kit to address minor cuts, scrapes, or stings that may occur during your adventures.


Photo: Olga Ga

  1. Nutrition and hydration.

Proper nutrition fuels your body for optimal snorkeling performance, but you don’t want to eat a big meal before you go snorkeling. Instead, eat something small and nourishing before you go snorkeling and keep hydrated by drinking water.

Consume healthy snacks like trail mix or energy bars to keep your energy levels steady throughout your snorkeling day. In colder environments, a flask of hot drink provides comforting warmth after your snorkeling adventure.

  1. Listen to your body.

Take your time when you go snorkeling and allow your body to adapt to the aquatic environment. Listen to your body’s cues, and don’t push yourself beyond your comfort level. As you gain confidence and stamina, you’ll naturally progress to more challenging snorkeling adventures.


Photo: Francesco Ungaro

  1. Stay safe in the water.

Prioritize your safety by investing in snorkeling equipment designed for visibility and buoyancy. Brightly colored snorkel vests, dive floats, and flags make you easy to see in the water. Before setting out, familiarize yourself with local tides, currents, and potential boat traffic as well to ensure a secure and enjoyable snorkeling experience.

Just remember, fitness is a journey, and small changes make a difference. You will naturally get fitter and stronger the more you go snorkeling and if you add some simple fitness activities into your daily life. If you want to learn more advanced in-water skills and explore in new ways, try scuba diving or freediving on your next snorkeling vacation. They both offer fun ways to expand your underwater horizons while simultaneously boosting your fitness levels and confidence.

Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for SSI (Scuba Schools International), wrote this article.

Header image: Neom

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