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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Christine Dennison

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Next in a new series of podcasts shared by our friends Gemma and Ian aka The BiG Scuba Podcast…

Christine Dennison

Ian and Gemma chat to Christine Dennison.  She aims to empower women through exploration, adventure and role models. “Quest for knowledge, Thirst for Adventure” is a great motto. Christine is the Co-founder and President of Mad Dog Expeditions, an internationally-recognized technical scuba diving and exploration company based in New York City. For more than 20 years Christine has been diving and exploring in remote regions of the world. Among her accomplishments, Christine is the first woman to dive and explore beneath the Arctic Sea ice and ice caves of the Canadian High Arctic.

To date Christine has logged over 80 dives in this harsh polar environment.  She is also the first woman to dive the dangerous piranha-saturated waters of the Amazon’s Rio Negro and its tributaries. Her additional diving expertise includes technical mixed gas wreck diving of historic shipwrecks around the world including the scuttled WW1 German Fleet of Scapa Flow in the Scottish Isles, and the Bianca C, a luxury liner and the deepest wreck in the Caribbean.

Christine is an experienced technical Divemaster and mixed gas diver with cave, wreck and ice certifications. Her expertise in operations and logistics of remote regions has been invaluable in consulting, organizing and leading expeditions for numerous film crews and scientific teams throughout the world. Her experience extends into working with advanced underwater ROV technology as a pilot and camera operator with over three years of ongoing exploration and documentary expeditions to the WW2 US R12 submarine in the Gulf of Mexico.

Christine is very active in oceanographic and wildlife conservation issues surrounding indigenous peoples. She is a role model for young women everywhere and passes on her expertise by mentoring, lecturing and presenting to student groups throughout the country. She is an ardent traveler and explorer spanning more than 30 countries. An International Baccalaureate graduate of New York’s Anglo-American School and University student in English Literature and Art History, Christine is Spanish and bi-lingual as well as conversational French. She was inducted as a Fellow of both the prestigious Explorers Club in New York and the Royal Geographical Society in London. She serves on the Board of several nonprofit organizations that promote education, exploration, Ocean Outreach and animal rescue and takes her adopted Husky Ava on expeditions with her whenever she can.

Find out more about Christine at:


Find more podcast episodes and information at www.thebigscuba.com 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 thebigscubapodcast.com

Marine Life & Conservation

Scubaverse meet the Ullapool Sea Savers

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On a recent trip to the Highlands of Scotland we met up with an amazing bunch of ocean conservationists called the Ullapool Sea Savers. They are a passionate group of young people based in the beautiful coastal town of Ullapool who are working to protect the marine environment around them and it was a real pleasure to hear their ideas and to witness just how committed they are to their cause.

They are a group run by kids for kids, in response to the inspirational work of local marine campaigner Noel Hawkins. Their core premise is that people will protect what they love and they aim to show people just how much there is to love about the sea. The Ullapool Sea Savers keep things positive and work to inspire those around them and each other.

Each Sea Saver is a Species Champion, and they nominate their preferred species, learn all about them and then present a “fact fie” to the rest of the group. This ties in with the Species Champion Initiative launched by Scottish Environment LINK which asks Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to lend political support to the protection of Scotland’s threatened wildlife by becoming ‘Species Champions’. This has led to some great support from MSPs when it comes to campaigning, such as Maree Todd MSP and Minister for Children and Young People (who is also from Ullapool which helped!) becoming the Flameshell Species Champion and working closely with Caillin who is Flameshell Ambassador for the Ullapool Sea Savers. Similarly, Gail Ross MSP for our region, took on the role of Seagrass Species Champion and helped USS campaign against plans to allow Mechanical Kelp Extraction (Dredging!) to be given the go ahead in Scotland. There are plenty more example of this great partnering scheme here.

On top of this, the Ullapool Sea Savers have formed pods, and each small group selects a local campaign to work on, with the “New Wave” working on a “Drain Campaign” to educate people that litter dropped on the street ends up in the surrounding sea. They recently surveyed the litter by the first drain in the campaign and found over 300 cigarette butts that would have all washed out to sea during the next rainfall.

The “Blue Starfish” are working on a crisp packet recycling campaign, starting at the local school with hopes to widen the scale going forward. There is now also the newly formed Seal Pups Pod and we look forward to seeing what campaign they decide to focus on.

Many of the group have passed qualifications in snorkeling, diving, boat handling and they are currently learning to operate an ROV that they plan to use to mark underwater litter and ghost nets so it can be retrieved by divers. The group are also regularly found litter-picking along the coastline. As a group they have a powerful voice and recently won the Sunday Mail, Young Scot Awards 2021 for the Environment Category.

The older kids mentor some of the younger ones that are new to joining the group and what really struck us on meeting the group was how keen they were to pass on their wealth of knowledge and their passion for ocean conservation. We chatted to them about what we do and told them about some of our favourite marine life encounters from around the world. I hope we inspired them just a fraction as much as they inspired us! 

To find out more about the Ullapool Sea Savers you can visit their website by clicking here.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… filmmaker, photographer and explorer Kip Evans (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Kip Evans about his time living in an underwater habitat for 17 days, his work with with Sylvia Earle and his lecture on Marine conservation ‘Our Oceans 20 years from now’.

Award-winning film-maker, photographer, and explorer Kip Evans has led or participated in more than seventy expeditions throughout the world, including recent assignments in Antarctica, Arctic, Costa Rica, Chile, and the Galapagos Islands. As a photographer, he has worked on dozens of National Geographic Society projects since 1998, including the five-year Sustainable Seas project to explore and document the U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries. As a cinematographer, Kip’s films have been featured at film festivals around the world and he has contributed video work to all the major television networks including National Geographic, BBC and Discovery. From 2008-2020 he was the directory of photography and expeditions for Mission Blue. He was honoured as the 2017 Ocean Champion by the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival and in 2020 was selected as an Explorer’s Club Fellow.

Find out more about Kip and his work at www.kipevans.com and www.seafilms.net.


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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