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Top 6 Artificial Reef Dives

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artificial reef dives

artificial reef dives

Wreck diving is a passion for many. For some it is the history surrounding the wrecks, for others it is the marine life that finds refuge there and for others it is simply the joy of diving around a wreck, having a look inside and exploring the structures. This passion for rusting metal has encouraged a numbers of countries to deliberately sink boats, ships and military vehicles that have reached the end of their life on the seas, or the battlefield. Here are our top 6:

Charlie Brown, St Eustatius, Caribbean

The Charlie Brown (pictured left) is a 100m long cable layer sunk in 2003 off the tiny Caribbean island of St Eustatius. We assisted with the preparation to sink this ship and were the first people to dive it. It lies on its side in 30m of clear blue water and the shallowest of the structure is at around 18m. Schools of jacks swirl around the wreck, turtles make use of the many places to take shelter and small fish and octopus hide in every hole. The 13 years under the water has seen prolific coral growth.

www.scubaqua.com

artificial reef dives

Big Crab, Bahamas, Caribbean

Stuart Cove’s Dive Centre co-ordinated the sinking of this wreck (pictured right) near their famous shark feeding site. Just off the bow there is a lovely patch of reef and so divers can choose what type of dive they fancy. The best way to enjoy this wreck is when the Stuart Cove team put a bait box inside the wreck and you can explore it in the company of some 20 or so Caribbean Reef Sharks swimming around the small wreck with you.

www.stuartcove.com

Vandenburg, Key West, USA

The Vandenburg (pictured below) was sunk of the Florida coast in 2009. It was a former missile tracking ship and probably, the most impressive features are the large aerial arrays that you can dive around. It is a large ship wreck at 150m in length and can take several dives to fully explore. It sits fully upright in the water and so to ensure boat clearance, some structures had to be cut down to give 12m from the top of the wreck to the surface.

www.fla-keys.com

artificial reef dives

Kittiwake, Cayman Islands, Caribbean

The ex-USS Kittiwake (pictured below) is situated in a marine park off Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. To visit this wreck you have to pay a marine park fee which is used to protect this area and ensure the wreck remains in a good and safe condition. The ship used to be a submarine rescue vessel and was sunk deliberately for divers in 2011. Set in shallow water, with escape routes cut into her structure, this is a popular wreck for novice divers as well as underwater photographers who want to get images both inside and out.

www.divetech.com

artificial reef dives

Ocean Revival, Portugal

Ocean Revival (pictured below) is a series of 4 wrecks which have been deliberately sunk near each other off the coast of the Algarve in Portugal to create an immense artificial reef. All 4 ships were decommissioned ex-navy ships, sunk in 2012 and include a corvette, a frigate, a patrol ship and a hydrographic ship. The ships were sunk to promote marine life in the area and are now home to a huge array of species from colourful nudibranchs to inquisitive ocean triggerfish.

www.oceanrevival.org/en

artificial reef dives

Machafushi, Maldives

The wreck of the Kudhimaa lies just off the island of Machafushi in the Maldives. It was sunk in 1998 to provide divers with something different from the sharks, mantas and other marine life dives the area is known for. It sits upright in the water and is a great site for underwater photography. The wreck is covered in marine life, with coral and sponges clinging to every surface. Batfish follow you on the dive as you hunt for frogfish, scorpionfish and eels hiding on the structure.

www.emperormaldives.com

artificial reef dives

Did your favourite artificial reef make it on to the list? Have you dived on any of the artificial reefs that are included? Let us know in the comments section below!

Photos: 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 supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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New academic study to confirm rehabilitative benefits of Scuba Diving

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A new study into Scuba Diving Rehabilitation Charity Deptherapy’s approach to supporting Armed Forces veterans with psychological injuries such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through the medium of scuba diving has been carried out by Petra Walker in conjunction with Hanna Kampman of the Posttraumatic Growth Research Unit at the University of East London.

This study, which used Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), demonstrates that scuba diving has rehabilitation benefits beyond those found in other forms of sporting rehabilitation exercise.

IPA is a qualitative methodology that examines the experiences of participants and has been used in previous studies of Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) in para-athletes.

Petra is an experienced diver herself and was exploring the wellbeing aspects of scuba diving as part of her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology when she came across a previous study on Deptherapy. Past studies have mainly focused on the medical aspects of diving, so the opportunity to examine the mental health side of rehabilitative scuba diving was impossible to ignore.

The full study is currently embargoed until it is published at a future date in an academic journal, but it follows similar academic research into the work of Deptherapy by the University of Sheffield Medical School (2018) and the University of Nottingham (2019).

Richard Cullen, Chairman of Deptherapy commented: “This evidence-based study demonstrates yet again the value of scuba diving and, in particular, the support provided by Deptherapy to severely traumatised people within the Armed Forces community. We await the publication of the detailed findings which we anticipate will be of considerable interest to all organisations who seek to assist in the rehabilitation of veterans through sporting activity, as well as the Scuba Diving world.”

Team Deptherapy returned to the UK last week from their first training expedition since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. A small group of six veterans travelled with the Deptherapy Instructor Team to the charity’s international base at Roots Red Sea to undertake practical Scuba Diving training in the clear, warm waters of the Red Sea.

Joining Team Deptherapy for the first time was 20 year old paraplegic Corey Goodson who had this to say: “I have been made aware of a new academic study about the benefits of Deptherapy. Last week I learned to scuba dive properly with Deptherapy, a huge achievement for someone with paraplegia. Deptherapy doesn’t judge your injury, whether that be physical or psychological; it looks beyond, and it sees the person inside. That person is who they work with, and the Deptherapy programme encourages you to see your fellow beneficiaries in the same light. More important than the sense of achievement during the training, was the support, care, encouragement and love the team showed me. I have found a new family in Deptherapy. I am home now but the support, friendship and banter continue; it is motivating and empowering, it gives me a deep sense of wellness and worth. I look forward to continuing my rehabilitative journey with Deptherapy.”

For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit www.deptherapy.co.uk.

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Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 6

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Join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy for part 6 of his Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Thursday has dawned and it is down to the House Reef with an outgoing tide that is approaching slack so we can get in the water straight away.   Lots of chat about last night’s RAID O2 Provider session with Moudi.  Oatsie is talking about sidemounts and marine biology, Swars is looking forward to his first sidemount session this afternoon.

Moudi is supported by Oatsie this morning and doing some more skill work with Keiron.

Moudi running the guys through the RAID O2 Administrator Course

Corey was asking last night about what it is like at 30 metres, so I have decided that with Michael and Swars we will take him to 30 metres.  We are going to run a narcosis exercise so out comes the slate with the numbers 1 – 25 randomly placed in squares.  Corey’s task, in the dive centre, is as quickly as possible to touch each number in sequence.  He does it pretty quickly and Michael briefs him that he will need to do the same exercise at 30 metres.

Michael briefs the dive and we set off down the beach.  Corey has improved beyond measure and he is becoming a pleasure to dive with.  So we are off to follow the South reef to 30 metres where we will complete the second part of the exercise.

At 30 metres Michael hands Corey the slate; there is a considerable difference in the time to complete the exercise at the surface and at 30 metres.  There are lots of mitigating factors in how quickly you can identify the numbers and explaining a slower time at 30 metres than at the surface does not mean an individual is suffering from narcosis.  Identifying random numbers, if you run the exercise at the surface, several times with an individual over a number of hours can result in wide variations in the time taken to complete the exercise.

We finish the dive with Corey smiling from ear to ear and we have a discussion about depth and air consumption.  The second dive of the morning is a fun dive, then it is lunch in the beach restaurant.  After the burgers I am sure we will need to look at our weighting before the afternoon’s dive.

We will need to look at weighting after this lunch!

Corey and Keiron have got into the habit of recording their dives online using the RAID online log book which is a tremendous facility and as the instructor I can access that data.

Moudi and Keiron are going for a fun dive as are Corey, Oatsie, Michael and myself. Swars is getting kitted up for the first experience of sidemount with Guy Henderson.

Swars getting to grips with his sidemount cylinders

People often look at the relationships that exist between the dive team and our beneficiaries and try to extrapolate a similar relationship to disabled students they might have.  Our relationships are built up over a period of time, in some cases over many years.  We also provide 24/7 support and have chat groups etc on social media; we also meet up socially when we can.  It is somewhat different than a individual coming in to a dive centre and saying ‘I want to dive’. Your relationship is likely to be the same as any other student, you will teach them, they might stay with the dive centre or like many that will go on holiday to do some diving, you might never see them again.

Our main aim is to create a family atmosphere for our programme members, one where they feel secure and they are able to discuss freely with the team and fellow beneficiaries their feelings and needs.

Few dive centres are charities, and owners might want to consider costs of running a course for someone with a disability that might take more than the standard four pool sessions etc.  You may find the number of sessions and the staffing levels have to increase.  Many dive centres, because of their size and turnover are exempt from providing accessibility.  How will this affect someone who is a wheelchair user?  Can they gain access to the dive centre, the classroom, the toilet?  What are the changing facilities, can they get wheelchair access to the pool?

Lots of things to think about.

Roots’ beautiful reef

The reef is beautiful, so much aquatic life and the corals look splendid, especially the pinnacles.

A good day’s diving, Swars has really enjoyed his sidemount.

Lovely way to relax in the evening with the Roots BBQ, a fitting end to a great day.

Last day tomorrow and our final blog!


Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk

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