Connect with us
background

News

Western Ecology Tour Expedition Report – North Wales

Published

on

Whilst in North Wales we were with Project Seagrass, and here we were aiming to shed some light on what is Seagrass, why it’s important and to show the amazing work that Project Seagrass is working on.

In order to help me get this message across in this blog, I collaborated with co-Scubaverse editor and collaborator Jake Davies, who heads Project Seagrass in North Wales, to give you an insight into Project Seagrass and what he did with us during the Expedition. I did this through a series of questions in which Jake has kindly provided the answers.

What is Project Sea Grass?

Project Seagrass was created in 2013 and is an environmental charity devoted to the conservation of seagrass ecosystems through education, influence, research and action. The charities mission is ‘To lead societal change to enable the recognition, recovery and resilience of seagrass ecosystems globally; that provide biodiversity, equitable and sustainable livelihoods, and planetary life support’.

Why is Sea Grass so important?

Seagrasses are flowering plants that live in shallow sheltered areas along our coast. These sensitive plants are different from seaweed and form bright green leaves. Similar to grass on land, seagrasses form large, dense meadows under the sea. These habitats provide important roles that include:

  • Carbon sequestration: taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing within the seabed below.
  • Production of oxygen
  • Increased diversity
  • Important nursery areas for a range of species including commercial species such as Cod and plaice
  • Coastal protection

What ways can people help Sea Grass?

There are many ways people can help seagrass both directly and indirectly.

People can help seagrass by raising awareness of the habitat through a range of different ways such as social media or attending a variety of different events. There are online tools such as the Seagrass spotter where you can upload your seagrass sighting (from anywhere in the world) to help better understand seagrass distributions. Where possible you can also volunteer with Project Seagrass to directly help with the project when opportunities arise.

Other ways you can help is by donating and purchasing merchandise created by Project Seagrass where money goes directly to seagrass conservation and support the range of projects that are lead by the charity in order to conserving Seagrass.

What did you hope to achieve with the WET Team?

Through the WET expedition I wanted to increase people’s knowledge of Seagrass meadows through taking them to a meadow and experiencing one first hand. Showing the team a meadow first hand was important as it was also the perfect location to show the incredible benefits that they provide. Along with increasing knowledge the expedition also raised funds which help the charity in progressing with its objectives.

With lots of videographers and photographers as part of the team, creating some engaging content was an element that we wanted to achieve during the visit to the meadow. The content could then be shared to provide further information and catch the eyes of social media users in order to engage more people with the importance of Seagrass meadows.

Has Expedition WET helped the project?

Expedition WET has directly helped Project Seagrass by raising funds that can be used to conserve seagrass meadows. Social media around the expedition will have also driven more social media traffic to the Project Seagrass accounts and website where viewers will have increased their knowledge about Seagrasses.

Which sites did you take the WET Team to visit and why?

The WET team had a day at the meadow in Porthdinllaen on the north coast of the Llŷn Peninsula. This meadow is one of the largest and densest off the Welsh coast and is also one of the sites which Project Seagrass monitoring through the Seagrass Watch programme. The meadow has also been a location for seed collections as part of the seagrass restoration project down in dale as part of the Seagrass Ocean Rescue Project.

Do you think the trip was a success and why?

The trip was successful as funds were raised for the Project Seagrass and the day at the meadows was thoroughly enjoyed by all. It was unfortunate the conditions weren’t the best as that would have provided the team with the full experience of a seagrass meadow. However, this is one of the challenges of UK diving/snorkeling conditions aren’t always perfect but you can only make the best of the situation that has been given which we certainly did that day.

Considering the conditions lots of engaging content was created and is continually shared by the expedition team which continues to spread the messaging about the importance of these incredible underwater habitats.


I’d like to thank Jake for collaborating with myself on the second entry of the Expedition WET’s Scubaverse blog and for guiding us when we were with you.

The North Wales leg started with the drive down from the highlands of Scotland, this took us the best part of 12 hours with a few brief stopovers to stretch our legs, the drive was once again beautiful after driving through the valleys. We arrived at the Porthdinllaen campsite at around 7pm, this campsite is located higher up above Porthdinllaen on the north coast of the Llŷn Peninsula, after arriving and familiarising ourselves we set up camp and got our Cameras ready for the days ahead. This is where we met Jake and Giovana who met us at camp to welcome us and tell us what is planned for the next few days. Once we’d been briefed we all ate and had an early night ready for the first day.

Day one in North Wales started with a mid-morning start after getting equipment together. The first day was a day of no diving but rather Snorkelling, the site down at Porthdinllaen wasn’t far, with it being around a 15-minute walk down the peninsula and over the Clwb Golff Nefyn Golf Club. Once we reached the beach, we had a briefing from Jake who explained why the site is so important to Project Seagrass, he also briefed us on Seagrass snorkeling etiquette and what to look out for amongst the blades of Seagrass. We headed out in two teams so half of the team could watch our equipment, this allowed members such as Felicity to get her drone in the air to take aerial shots of the Wet Team amongst the Seagrass. The visibility was poor but due to this it was decided that taking split shots were probably the best option as it would help show just how close to shore Seagrass can be found. Shots underwater did prove successful but as Jake mentioned earlier in his section of the blog this is one of the challenges of UK Snorkeling/Diving.

After returning from the Seagrass meadows myself and Jake drove over to see Chris Green at Tyn Rhos where we had all our Cylinders filled up.

The second day was spent at a nearby site called Porth Ysgaden, it’s a shallow site and is mentioned in the Top 100 British Shore Dives book by Anita Sherwood. It was decided that would be interesting to do a night dive because as we all know by now, the ocean has a whole new cast of animals and species come out under the cover of darkness. Before the night dive however it was decided that we would all do a daytime dive to survey the site and make ourselves familiar with it.

The first dive I was buddied with Jake who said we’d try and some Catsharks or as there otherwise known Dogfish. Porth Ysgaden isn’t a deep dive with an average depth being between 4-6 metres. And we did both dives during Slack tide where the water was at its highest and stillest. The visibility on the first dive wasn’t perfect but there was still a surplus of life found at the site from Snakelocks Anemones, Shore Crabs, Spider Crabs and Leopard Gobies with a few members of the group coming across a few Catsharks. After getting back to the vehicles we discussed meeting times for that evening as it was around a 10 hour wait for the tide to return to its highest point so that we could do a night dive. The team went back to camp to do some work for the expedition sponsors whilst Jake, Ollie and Andy went back down to Porthdinllaen to film some content for the final film.

After waiting for the tide to return the team headed back to Porth Ysgaden ready for the night dive, there was however a small delay on getting into the water as we happened to have chosen the day after the longest day of the year to do a night dive, so some members of the team decided to wait a little longer before getting in. Alex and I were buddied for this dive and were the last to get in the water, this site didn’t disappoint and is a truly spectacular night dive. Not only was there a lot of life at this site but in such huge numbers. Me and Alex had our cameras going the whole dive with mating Spider Crabs, Velvet swimming Crabs, marching lobsters, incredibly curious Fifteen-Spined Sticklebacks and a beautiful yellowish-Green Two-spined Scorpionfish who sat perfectly waiting for us to finish taking his photo. Other members of the team saw Catsharks with Ollie capturing some footage of one getting hit in the eye by a Sand Eel. Andy, Jake and Giovana saw what looked to be a European Eel.

After the final dive we ate some Scones under the final fading light as there was still some light in the sky at 11pm and then headed back to camp. We discussed what wed seen here in North Wales and what our move was for the next day to heading down to Pembrokeshire. Tune in next time for the final leg of the Western Ecology Tour and final entry of the Western Ecology Tour Expedition Report.

Donovan is a Divemaster who currently works as a Shark Diver at Blue Planet Aquarium based in Ellesmere Port. Donovan’s passion lies with Elasmobranch’s (Sharks & Rays) and this passion has led him to work in South Africa with White Sharks for a short period. He also believes that education through exposure is the best way to re-educate people about Sharks. Follow Donovan at www.instagram.com/donovans_reefs

News

Announcing the Winners of Scubaverse’s September 2022 Underwater Photo & Video Contests

Published

on

Another bumper month packed with amazing images and videos from around the world! It has certainly been another great month for entries in both contests – your underwater photos and videos are just getting better and better! Thanks to all who entered.

To find out who the winner of Scubaverse.com’s September 2022 Underwater Photo Contest is, click here.

To find out who the winner of Scubaverse.com’s September 2022 Underwater Video Contest is, click here.

If you’re not a winner this month, then please do try again. October’s photo and video contests are now open.

To enter Scubaverse.com’s October 2022 Underwater Photo Contest, click here.

To enter Scubaverse.com’s October 2022 Underwater Video Contest, click here.

Good luck!!!

Continue Reading

News

Introducing two new Colours of OBLU resorts in the Maldives

Published

on

COLOURS OF OBLU, a brand by Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, has opened two exciting new resorts in Male Atoll in the Maldives this year.

OBLU XPERIENCE Ailafushi opened in June. Translating from the Maldivian dialect of Dhivehi, ‘Aila’ means family and ‘Fushi’ means island, in essence, the Family Island. A 15-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport brings guests to this beautiful tropical island.

The four-star resort’s 268 villas and rooms are designed to experience nature at its best. A striking fleet of water villas shaped like dhonis are lined up along the jetty – a perfect spot for snapping some selfies. From the moment of arrival, a carefree and relaxed holiday unfolds with the generous Fushi Plan™. Dining, activities, a multi-level kids club with a pool and food corner, overwater gym, and live entertainment are all blended within the stay for a hassle-free holiday.

Sumptuous all-day dining options are available at the Element X Restaurant which serves modern Western, Central Asian, and Far Eastern cuisines. X360 Bar features a 1000 sqm infinity pool – one of the largest in the Maldives. Guests can enjoy unlimited orders of refreshing spirits, wines, and beer from the grab and go bar counter. Evenings come alive with enthralling music and party vibes at the bar’s dance floor. The Copper Pot Food Truck parked on the beach is perfect for an open-air dinner of choicest fresh seafood and meat grills that can be relished on the soft sandy beach beneath the starry sky.

Walk up to La Promenade located beside a channel that meanders across Ailafushi island. This picturesque walkway has cosy seating corners along with a wine boutique, souvenir shop, and café. There is so much to do here — lounge at the scenic overwater deck, sip a cup of coffee, and socialise with like-minded travellers. Experiential highlights also include The Dome, a futuristic 15-meter theatre and entertainment centre.

Sister resort OBLU SELECT Lobigili is an adults only property that opened in March. In the Maldivian language of Dhivehi, ‘Lobi’ means love and ‘Gili’ means island. Lobigili is, in essence, the island of love.

Blessed with verdant foliage, this five-star resort features 68 contemporary beach and water villas – all assuring gorgeous views of the turquoise-blue lagoon. With the resort’s exclusive Lobi PlanTM guests can immerse in a blissfully carefree stay. This generous plan includes specialty fine-dining, unlimited beverages, spa services, Indian Ocean excursions, a selection of non-motorised watersports as well as a fully stocked minibar replenished daily.

OBLU SELECT Lobigili continues with the brand’s tradition of exceptional fine dining, elevating the mealtime experience with playful and fun touches. At Ylang-Ylang, the All-Day Dining Restaurant, delectable world cuisine with intimate nooks for couples and a unique book corner are unmissable. The Swing Bar with itschilled out beachside vibe features chic hammocks, swings and a stunning infinity pool that is one of the largest in the Maldives. Evenings come alive with handcrafted, aromatised cocktails and hypnotic DJ and Live Band performances.

That is not all. There is Gaadiya 17 Food Truck serving grab-and-go game meat grills to be relished in a fun, open-air setting on the beach under starry skies. And an exotic ONLY BLU Underwater Restaurant, one of the largest underwater restaurants in the country, where guests can experience impeccable modern gourmet cuisine.

A standout experience is ELE | NA The Spa – designed exclusively for couples and adults – featuring locally inspired spa treatments including  Lobi Dhooni (Love Bird) Hithun Hithath (Heart To Heart) and Dhekanbalun (You & Me).

Scuba Diving from both resorts is with OBLU’s partner dive centre, TGI Maldives, one of the best-known in the country. The dive centre teaches a variety of PADI and SSI courses. The island’s house reef is perfect for relaxed dives, snorkeling and training, whilst many of North Male Atoll’s best dive sites are just a short boat ride away. In particular, the atoll is well-known for its manta ray sightings from May to October.

Discover more at www.coloursofoblu.com

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

Save up to 1/3 off a trip to Indonesia! Your chance to dive Bali, Komodo and Raja Ampat aboard the NEW luxury MY Emperor Harmoni for less! Launching in September 2022. Emperor Harmoni is Emperor Divers Indonesia’s brand new liveaboard. Built of Sulawesi Ironwood and offering a truly new experience to liveaboard holidays, experience a true sense of sailing the Indonesian seas in freedom, style, comfort and confidence with her two engines. Enjoy spacious diving and relaxation areas or relax with a massage on deck. Example price based on Bali departure to Komodo WAS £2900 / NOW from just £1995* per person based on sharing a twin luxury cabin including: 1 night in Bali before the boat departure with airport transfers One way flight from Labuan Bajo to Bali after the liveaboard with 20kgs baggage 7 nights onboard MY Emperor Harmoni with 3 meals a day, afternoon snacks, unlimited drinking water, tea & coffee All diving with guide, cylinders & weights, Marine Park & Port Fees Free Nitrox 1 cocktail party on a local island (weather allowing) Return airport transfers * Price excludes international flights, these can be quoted at the time of reservation Booking deadline: Subject to availability. Other Dates available - book before 30 September! Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk. More Less

Instagram Feed

Popular