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The Captain’s Blog: The Reef is Great!

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Another Blog from Mike Ball Dive Expedition’s Captain Trevor Jackson

A year or two back my brother and I were cleaning out our dear old mum’s house… I happened to glance down into the skip we were filling and spotted a diary, one of mine I confess. I kept a diary in my later teens and there it was… in fact, there were two.

Every now and again I pull one of them out and read of my adventures back then.  Living almost permanently at sea on a boat called the ‘Billy Jo’, we traversed the far expanses of the Great Barrier Reef for years.

Photo: Julia Sumerling

The thing that strikes me about some of my early scribblings is the revere in which young Trev held the reef. Not a page goes by without some poetic description of its sheer expanse and beauty, and the overwhelming sense of gratitude I had to be living in my coral and saltwater home. In some instances, great detail is revealed about specific reefs, what to see at them, what condition they were in. This was back in the mid-’80s, so a fair lump of time has gone by… the obvious question begs, what changes have there been?

Well, I’m here to tell you first hand – armed with the written knowledge of my 19-year-old self and a current-day good hard look out the window – my GBR, the one I call home, well she’s taken some hits (there’s no denying it) but it has to be said, each and every day, I see unbridled beauty, phenomenal resilience; nature’s greatest wonder is a powerhouse.

Photo: Julia Sumerling

The reefs we saw bleached two years ago are regenerating, the reefs that weren’t bleached are soaring; last Minke season was an absolute stunner! I’ve seen more Whale Sharks in the last 6 months than I’d seen in the prior 35 years; the turtles at Raine Island this year defied belief in their sheer numbers. But the most overwhelming change in numbers I’ve seen since writing those diaries is the sheer volume of people, young and old,  who actually really care about the reef.

As we move into a new decade, there’s a very positive vibe amongst those of us who live out here at sea that things are going to work themselves out. Yeh, we’ve got some work to do, but moving forward I think we can be fairly certain about two things: humans are smart ...the reef is Great… and I’ve no doubt that if we use our brains and work together, things will stay that way.


Find the expedition you are looking for at: www.mikeball.com/compare-expeditions

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions operates exciting scuba diving expeditions on custom-built, award-winning liveaboard Spoilsport, to some of the best dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Enjoy spectacular biodiversity on the northern Great Barrier Reef including the world famous Cod Hole, or venture out into the remote Coral Sea for exciting big fish action, shark encounters and excellent visibility. Find out more at www.mikeball.com.

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And the winner of our Waterproof BODY 2X Power Stretch Hollow Fiber Undergarment competition is…

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We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who entered our competition to win a Waterproof BODY 2X Power Stretch Hollow Fiber Undergarment as a prize!

As usual, lots of you entered… but there can, of course, be only one winner!

And that winner is…

  • Megan Kinsey from the UK

Congratulations Megan – your prize will be on its way to you soon!

Not a winner this time? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other competitions running on Scubaverse.com right now. To see what other awesome prizes you could be in with a chance of winning, click here!

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Gear News

Aqualung launches all new XSCAPE Collection featuring eco-responsible wetsuit

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Aqualung has announced the launch of its all new XSCAPE collection. Featuring a 100 percent neoprene-free wetsuit and a rash guard made from sustainable materials, the XSCAPE line is designed for a variety of water activities and reflects Aqualung’s commitment to innovation, ocean discovery and sustainability.

Made with Yulex® eco-friendly natural rubber and ultra-stretch fabric, the 4/3mm XSCAPE wetsuit provides enhanced comfort for diving in warm waters or above surface activities in colder temperatures, and can be used for scuba diving, snorkeling, freediving, paddling or a variety of other water sports. The flexible and lightweight XSCAPE wetsuit, available in a red and olive design for men and a tropical-inspired print for women, connects consumers to nature and the natural materials the collection is made from. The suit also features Powertex knee pads, recycled, quick-drying fleece around the torso area to provide additional warmth and comfort, and a reusable mesh bag for storage after use or collecting trash from the beach or water.

“The XSCAPE collection continues Aqualung’s legacy in innovation and their tireless work to create the most forward thinking and eco-conscious dive company in the world,” said Aqualung global ocean ambassador Philippe Cousteau Jr., the grandson of one of Aqualung’s original founders, Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. “We all have the power to change the world with the choices we make and the XSCAPE sets the new standard for wetsuits and rash guards that are stylish, functional and sustainable.”

The new collection’s long-sleeve rash guard for men and women, and matching women’s leggings, offer maximum comfort and breathability and can be used above or below the surface. All rash guards and leggings feature UV protection and are made with polyester fabric sourced from recycled plastic bottles. The entire XSCAPE line comes in plastic-free packaging with hangtags made from recycled cardboard.

“Our aim was to design the ultimate eco-friendly wetsuit that could be used for all kinds of water sports,” said Laurent Boury, Senior Vice President of Brands at Aqualung Group. “Aqualung is committed to using environmentally-friendly materials and processes whenever possible to help reduce our carbon footprint and we made design choices to ensure the XSCAPE collection was as sustainable as possible.”

“The collection name, XSCAPE, is meant to evoke the feeling of freedom and the quest for wonder that surround exploration, travel, and Aqualung’s storied history, including the first “aqua-lung” created by Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau and engineer Emile Gagnan that made underwater exploration possible,” added Boury.

To learn more please visit www.aqualung.com.

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Competitions

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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