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Wrecks & Sharks – a fantastic finale to our time in The Bahamas

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Our final day of diving had arrived, and while we were sad about this, we knew we had an amazing set of dives ahead of us. We were heading out with Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas to dive the wreck of the Sea Trader and then to do a shark dive (also on a wreck). The diving around Nassau offers plenty on wrecks, but the Sea Trader is one of the most impressive. Then to finish off with the signature shark dive was to be a real treat.

The Sea Trader has moved over the years and the last hurricane has shoved it so that now the bow hangs over the edge of the wall. It makes her an impressive sight, as she is a big oil tanker that was deliberately sunk by the team from Stuart Cove’s to make an artificial reef, just 5 minutes boat ride from the dive centre. Marine life has now made this structure their home and we were greeted by a large school of batfish as soon as we swam onto the deck.

For those feeling adventurous, this wreck is perfect for penetration and you can visit the engine room safely and with ease. We stayed on the outside for this dive and there was certainly plenty to explore. You can start this dive, at the bow, at about 30m in depth and then slowly rise up to the wheelhouse and up to the very top of the structure for your safety stop, it is perfectly situated. Fingers crossed the next tropical storm does not push it over the edge of the wall!

Our second dive of the day was to be another wreck, the Ray of Hope. This wreck is famous for just one thing – sharks. Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas have been doing a shark feed dive here for many years and so a group of sharks can be found in the area, day or night, all year round. We had shark expert, Andrea, on board with us and along with Nacho, they were going to feed the sharks pieces of fish as we watched from the bow of the wreck.

We descended first and got ourselves into position, hanging on the bow of the wreck in a semi-circle, looking in on the wreck. Once we were all sorted, Andrea brought down the bait box. He looked like a sharky pied-piper, with around 20 sharks following behind him as he came towards us. It was very exciting. The sharks then swam in circles around the bow of the wreck, waiting for their chance to grab a piece of food from the feeder.

The sharks get very close and so the dive offers some great photo and video opportunities. Grab a spot in the middle and you will get more of the action, grab a spot at the end of the line, and you can get more shots with clean blue water behind the sharks, rather than lots of bubbles. It is up to you!

Watch our video of the shark dive, shot with a Paralenz Dive Camera below:

For more information, please visit:

www.bahamas.com

www.stuartcove.com

All image, video & text by Frogfish Photography.

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 Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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TRAVEL BLOG: Jeff Goodman Dives SOMABAY, Part 3

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somabay

Today we are diving one of the outer reefs from an inflatable. As we reach the bottom, a reef octopus eases its way into the cover of a small crack in the coral while displaying it’s incredible ability to change colour. They are arguably one of the most charismatic of reef dwellers and it is always exciting for me to simply hover and watch. I would have spent longer and waited for it to come and investigate me, but as dive time is limited we wanted to move on and find a turtle.

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The waters around Somabay are well protected and hold a rich variety of marine life. The reef edges are thriving colonies of coral and shoaling fish, while nearer the sea bed plenty of wildlife is still to be found.

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Then we located the turtles. They are very used to divers and so show little concern when slowly approached. In fact occasionally one will come over to see what you are doing. There is always huge excitement when diving with a turtle. The shear thrill of sharing a moment with another species.

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What a fantastic way to finish a wonderful few days diving and I would like to thank SOMABAY, ORCA DIVING and THE BREAKERS for making my stay such a good one.

I had a great time, with diving everyday either on the house reef or on one of the offshore reefs by inflatable or larger day boat. Orca diving provided high quality equipment and facilities while the staff were all very friendly and welcoming. The Breakers was right on the coast with nice rooms, good food and once again friendly staff making the whole trip a real pleasure.

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Soma Bay covers an entire peninsula and is home to several resorts as well as residential  compounds.

As well as scuba diving, Somabay caters for many other sports and activities, and so is perfect for families as well as individuals and/or groups. And of course there is always time to lay peacefully on the beach under the Egyptian sun.

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Book your next Red Sea dive adventure with SOMABAY! For more information, visit www.somabay.com.

Stay at the Breakers Diving & Surfing Lodge when you visit! For more information, visit  www.thebreakers-somabay.com.

Find out more about ORCA Dive Clubs at SOMABAY at www.orca-diveclubs.com/en/soma-bay-en.

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TRAVEL BLOG: Jeff Goodman Dives SOMABAY, Part 2

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Day three of my trip to Somabay and we were spending the day on the Lady Christina and diving on the wreck of the Salem Express.

somabay

Diving wrecks for me is always one of mixed emotions. The excitement of diving a wreck is more than often tempered by the thought of loss of life when she sank. The Salem Express was a passenger ship and a roll-on/roll-off ferry travelling from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Safaga, Egypt. Most passengers were of poor class travelling home from their holidays while around 150 people were returning home from their pilgrimage to Mecca.

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The ship struck a reef and sank within 20 minutes. Passengers were trapped below deck and the ship was filled with fear and panic.

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The wreck area is strewn with personal belongings from the crew and passengers such as a transistor radio and a flat iron for clothes. A diver at sometime has put them in a prominent place to be seen.

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Tragically only one life boat was launched while the others went down with the ship. More than 600 men, women and children lost their lives here.

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It’s a stark reminder that the sea can be unforgiving and so when we dive on such wrecks we should do so with humble regard.

Returning to the surface, shoals of fish are gathered under our boat and seem to be welcoming us back into the light.

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Back at the Breakers I sat in the dining area with a beer and a very good meal while my thoughts still remained with the day’s dive on the Salem Express.

Check in for part 3 tomorrow for Jeff’s last day of diving with Somabay on the off-shore reefs looking for turtles.

Book your next Red Sea dive adventure with SOMABAY! For more information, visit www.somabay.com.

Stay at the Breakers Diving & Surfing Lodge when you visit! For more information, visit  www.thebreakers-somabay.com.

Find out more about ORCA Dive Clubs at SOMABAY at www.orca-diveclubs.com/en/soma-bay-en.

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