Connect with us


Women to Watch!



Today we celebrate International Women’s Day! Over the past few years, there has been a sea change in attitudes to women (from men, from women and from themselves) across all corners of the world. Women from all walks of life are feeling increasingly empowered and able to be the best version of themselves. It’s not about trying to be better than men. It’s about trying to improve gender balance throughout all aspects of life. This is the theme of IWD 2019 – #BalanceforBetter.

We are fortunate in Scuba Diving to have so many incredible role models who inspire us as divers, conservationists and humans to make our underwater world a better place. Here’s just a few of the amazing women who inspire the Scubaverse team:

Ivana OK

Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Ivana Orlović Kranjc completed her first diving course aged eight and has been in love with the underwater world ever since. As a diving Instructor, Mares Ambassador and leading Underwater Photographer and model, Ivana has dived all over the world. She also runs the largest dive club in Serbia with her husband, training the next generation of divers.

“Diving is my biggest love for more than 36 years. If I could choose I would have chosen to be born as some sea creature. Apart from diving, I am also in love with underwater photography, which allows me to present the beauty and secrets of all oceans and seas around the world.”   Ivana OK

Jillian Morris

Shark conservationist and founder of Sharks4Kids, Jillian Morris has combined a background in science and media to educate students around the world about sharks. She is a marine biologist who has filmed and photographed for The Discovery Channel, BBC, National Geographic, Ocean Geographic, Animal Planet and more. Jillian is unabashedly obsessed with sharks and doing everything she can to save them.

“It is my mission to create the next generation of shark advocates through education, outreach and adventure…”   Jillian Morris

Sarah Richard

Sarah Richard created Girls that Scuba just a little over 2 years ago when she wanted to find more women interested in scuba diving to connect with and share problems with. When she found no platform or community she decided to start one herself and GTS was born. A platform dedicated to supporting women in diving, inspiring more females to join and encourage women to go further and learn more, GTS has now become the world’s largest scuba diving community, nearly half a million members and followers strong.

Georgina Miller

George has always been interested in the underwater world. She learned to scuba dive in 1998 and certified as a PADI MSDT Instructor in 2005. She has been freediving since 2007 and quickly qualified as a member of the UK National team. George has been a UK national record holder 6 times, with a personal best of over 7 minutes in static apnea.

Zena Holloway

Zena’s interest in underwater photography started when she was 18 while working her way around the globe as a scuba diving Instructor. Charmed by the magic of the underwater world, she began experimenting with a camera and gradually taught herself the skills needed to master this most technical of photographic techniques.

Her images are striking, instinctive and driven by a deep understanding of her medium. She delivers the remarkable, combining the highly technical aspects of underwater photography with superb creative direction resulting in extraordinary, ethereal and magical imagery evocative of mystical fairytales suspended in time. She has taken underwater photography to entirely new depths.

Jill Heinerth

Canadian Jill Heinerth is a pioneering underwater explorer and award-winning filmmaker. As one of world’s top cave and technical divers, she’s said to have dived deeper into the planet than any woman in history. Jill is also a passionate campaigner for global water issues and was awarded the inaugural Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2013 (where she is Explorer in Residence) in recognition of her contributions to our understanding of Earth’s underwater cave systems and its hidden freshwater. A popular motivational speaker and writer, she is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and member of the inaugural class of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame.

Gemma Smith

Gemma Smith is still in her twenties and has acheived more in her diving career so far than most of us could hope to manage in our lifetimes! Gemma is an OC/CCR Cave and Technical Diving Instructor, Diver Medic Technician, author, award-winning underwater photographer, media diver, and professional scientific diver.

She was the first woman excavating on the Antikythera Shipwreck (where the world’s first ‘computer’ was discovered), and the Mentor Shipwreck (the ship carrying the Parthenon marbles away from Greece). She is also a Member of the Explorers Club and an Associate Member of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame. If her diving accolades were not inspirational enough, Gemma attracted a whole new legion of supporters when she fought back from a life-changing accident in 2018 to dive again.

Ellen Cuylaerts

Ellen Cuylaerts relocated from Belgium to the Cayman Islands in 2009 and soon qualified as a Master Scuba Diver. Now, an award-winning underwater photographer, Ellen’s main drive is shooting images that draw the viewer in so an emotional bond is established between marine life and people that might not have a link with the underwater world. By creating an image that captures how she feels rather than what she sees, Ellen hopes to get people involved in protecting our blue planet. Passionate about conservation, she mentors people to use their images to contribute to education, preservation and awareness.

In 2017, Ellen addressed Heads of State on World Oceans Day at the General Assembly of the United Nations highlighting the plight of photographers and filmmakers engaging in protection of the oceans. She is also a member of the Flag & Honors Committee of the Explorers Club and the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame. Not one to sit still, in 2018 Ellen started more dive training with RAID and got certified in Sidemount and Full Cave diving. Her photographic work can be seen in exhibitions in Paris, St. Petersburg, Valencia, Marseille and New York.

Find out more about International Women’s Day at


Diving below the waves of the Western Cape, South Africa – Long Beach at night (Watch Video)



Head under the waves of False Bay and explore the incredible diversity that is found along the Western Cape. The bay has popular dive spots from diving amongst the biodiverse underwater kelp forests to jumping in with the playful and friendly cape fur sealions (Arctocephalus pusillus). The bay along with the rest of the South Africa coast is known for the range of shark species that are found from the shallow coastal shores out into the open oceans. The coast is also home to numerous endemic shark species such as puffadder shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) and Pyjama shark.

Longbeach is a shallow shore dive close to the coastal town of Simonstown on the Western Cape. The dive is mainly made up of diving across the sand with a few wreckages, rocks and outcrops where there’s algae growing. A pipeline can be found at the site which provides locations for species such as Pyjama Sharks (Poroderma africanum) and octopus (Octopus vulgaris) to shelter. Diving at night at the site provides the opportunity to see species that are more often hidden during the day such as cape Squid (Loligo reynaudii) and Biscuit Skate (Raja straeleni). Other shark species such as the small Puff Adder Shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) are also occasionally seen at the site.

Diving with the local dive club – Cape Town Dive Centre.

Follow Jake aka JD Scuba on the YouTube channel @Don’t Think Just Blog.

Continue Reading

Miscellaneous Blogs

Book Review – The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe (2007)



It was the height of the Cold War. The Soviet Cruiser Ordzhonikidz, supported by two destroyers, had brought Soviet leaders Khruschev and Bulganin to Britain for sensitive meetings with the British Government. The ships were moored in Portsmouth harbour and the Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, had expressly forbidden any clandestine inspection of them. However, on the morning of 19th April 1956 Commander Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabbe, an experienced naval diver, slipped into the cold waters of Portsmouth harbour. His top secret mission was to photograph the hull, propellers and rudder of the Ordzhonikidze. He was never seen alive again.

A badly decomposed body, with head and hands missing, was discovered by fishermen in Chichester harbour months later. It was claimed to be the missing body of Buster Crabbe – but many had doubts. The incident marked the start of a controversy that claimed the posts of several high ranking naval, government and intelligence service personnel. The author of The Final Dive, Don Hale, claims it is one that still rages and which may not be resolved even when secret government files are released in 2057.

Don Hale, an acknowledged campaigning journalist and former Journalist of the Year brings all his experience and skill to unravelling this longstanding scandal. He has drawn upon official reports and private letters, statements from government representatives, fellow officers and friends to piece together Buster’s life and events leading to his disappearance and subsequent investigation. He speaks of “inquiries blocked by intrigue, constant cover-ups and government bureaucracy coupled with threats relating to the Official Secrets Act” (p. xi). If you like reading about subterfuge on a grand scale you will enjoy The Final Dive.

Don Hale’s meticulous account of the life of Buster Crabbe is supported by dozens of black and white photos and extracts from numerous official documents. It reveals how an amazing series of civilian jobs, wartime activities and friendships with high ranking government officials, British intelligence officers, American CIA operatives. . . and now known spies, prepared him for his final dive and perhaps his fate. One of Crabbe’s acquaintances was the author Ian Fleming – of James Bond fame. Indeed, it is suggested that Fleming based the character of 007 on Buster Crabbe. After reading of his exploits, both before WWII, his bomb disposal work during the war, and afterwards it is easy to see why. Certainly, those who worked with Buster Crabbe “all agree he was fearless.” (p.59). After reading of his exploits one wonders if he was too fearless.

In the later stage of Buster’s life, prior to his disappearance, Don Hall recounts “a constant merry-go-round of overseas assignments” (p. 118) for Crabbe and how he “began to receive increasingly hazardous commissions” (p. 136). It culminated in the morning dive in Portsmouth harbour. Hale’s forsensic-like account of the events surrounding the final dive and aftermath reveals absolute panic and bungling behind the scenes as official answers conflict with known facts. He describes how “The whole incident still seems bathed in secrecy, with the true facts deliberately buried in bureaucracy, and supported at the highest level by an incredible cover-up operation”.(p. 205).

A final comment by Don Hale adds to the intrigue. He states “The only part of the Crabbe puzzle about which I am not certain is not who sent him – we know the answer to that – but why on earth he was he sent, possibly at considerable risk?” (p. 248). After reading The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe you will no doubt have your own ideas.

The Final Dive: The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabbe (2007)

  • By Don Hale
  • Stroud: Sutton Publishing
  • ISBN 978 0 7509 4574 5
  • 260 pp

Don Hale was a professional footballer before becoming editor of several regional newspapers. He has received numerous national and international awards for investigative journalism including Journalist of the Year. In 2002 he was awarded an OBE for his campaigning journalism in the Stephen Downing miscarriage of justice case. He has championed several others who have been wrongly convicted.

His other books include Town without Pity (2002), Murder in the Graveyard (2019) and Mallard: How the ‘Blue Steak’ Broke the World Speed Record (2019).

Find out more about Professor Fred Lockwood, who is also a published author, at

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!


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

More Less

Instagram Feed