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Western Ecology Tour Expedition Report – North Wales

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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

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Win copies of Action Camera Underwater Video Basics, a Paralenz Vaquita and more!

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Dived Up Publications, Paralenz and Scubaverse have come together to celebrate the October 2021 release of Scubaverse Editor-at-Large Jeff Goodman’s Action Camera Underwater Video Basics: The Essential Guide to Making Underwater Films.

Share better underwater videos with Jeff’s book and Paralenz Vaquita.

Win a copy of Jeff’s new book, as well as a selection of other great prizes including a Paralenz Vaquita camera, rash guard and water bottles, in the free to enter prize draw.

1st Prize

  • 1x Paralenz Vaquita (RRP £659)
  • 1x Action Camera Underwater Video Basics (RRP £20)

2nd Prize

  • 1 x Paralenz rash guard (RRP £59)
  • 1x Action Camera Underwater Video Basics

3rd Prize (5 available)

  • 1x Action Camera Underwater Video Basics
  • 1x Paralenz water bottle (RRP £8)

4th Prize (3 available)

  • 1x Action Camera Underwater Video Basics

Enter now for free at www.DivedUp.com/prize-draw

No purchase necessary. Internet access and email address required. Winners will be chosen at random. No cash or alternative prizes offered. Open to over-18s only. Other exclusions apply. Closing date 23 November 2021. Draw will be made within 7 days of closing. Winners will be notified by email. See website to enter, for full prize details and terms and conditions.

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Fiji’s borders to reopen on December 1st 2021

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The island paradise of Fiji will be open to visitors once again starting this December. After nearly two years of being closed to the outside world, Fiji is ready to safely welcome its travelers back. The 333 islands are as beautiful as ever, brimming with idyllic turquoise waters, soft white sand beaches, and the vibrant “Bula Spirit” for which Fiji is known.

“It’s been almost two years since we welcomed international visitors. And in these two years, we’ve struggled, we’ve adapted, and we’ve prepared,” said Hon. Faiyaz Koya, Minister for Tourism.

“Today, our national airline is ready, our hotels and tour providers are ready, and Fijians are ready to safely welcome the world back. We are ready to let happiness find you again.”

Fiji will still have entry requirements in place to ensure the utmost safety of both visitors and locals. These include being a fully vaccinated traveler from a “Travel Partner” country such as Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Germany, Spain, France, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and most Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

Travelers from these countries will need to provide a negative PCR test taken less than 3 days prior to departure from home country and fulfil any obligation to take an additional test prior to returning back home, based on individual home country requirements. Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 will be able to travel to Fiji accompanied by a vaccinated adult. Travel insurance is, as always, highly recommended. For more information on country-specific travel requirements, please visit www.fiji.travel.

“We are ecstatic that Fiji will open its borders to international visitors before the end of the year,” says Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill.

“This is the moment we have been planning for nearly two years now and I can assure the world that Fiji is safe and ready to welcome you back. The islands are just as beautiful – if not more beautiful – than ever and the locals just as warm and friendly. Fiji is the vacation the world needs and deserves right now, and we can finally offer that again starting December.”

Tourism Fiji have been preparing for this moment. Travellers can book and travel in confidence with the Care Fiji Commitment, where they can stay in certified resorts, use certified transportation and experiences, and be assured that all tourism businesses they come in to contact with have a 100% vaccinated staff. Tourism Fiji started working on this programme when the pandemic first arrived in Fiji. Now they have over 206 CFC approved businesses, and over 320 nominated Wellness Ambassadors across Fiji.

Travellers can reserve their flights now at www.fijiairways.com. Check out diving and resort packages at Fiji’s leading Volivoli Beach Resort

Find out more about visiting Fiji at www.fiji.travel.

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Our special, extended, 14 night charter of MV Carpe Diem in the Maldives will visit some of our favourite sites in the central and near-south atolls. We will be spending 14 nights on-board, specifically because we want to travel and have time to enjoy the sites without rushing too much.

The boat will depart from Male on Saturday 23rd October and guests will disembark on Saturday 06th November. The route will incorporate our favourite manta points, shark diving points and spectacular coral reefs.

 

Please contact us for last minute prices on 01473921888 or email us at info@greatescapesdivingholidays.com

 

 

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