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Posts Tagged ‘scuba diving’
You may have heard of the pirates who have been operating in the Gulf of Aden off the Somali coast in the Indian Ocean. Up until now they have been hijacking oil tankers and the like in the hopes of extracting a large ransom for return of the vessel and its cargo. It now seems as though these real life Jack Sparrows are spreading their wings and not only going further afield but also attacking vessels of a different nature.
News that a scuba diving ship operating from one of the world’s greatest diving locations in the Seychelles Islands has been seized is sending shock waves through the Seychelles tourist industry. The ‘Indian Ocean Explorer’ had just dropped her divers on Assumption Island when she was hijacked by the pirates and taken to Harardhare, a pirate stronghold north of Mogadishu.
The Seychelles coral archipelago offers some of the best diving in the world and its pristine white sand beaches attract thousands of tourists to the islands every year. The pirate attack which occurred last weekend and is the second such attack to happen in a month has forced the Seychelles government to deploy security vessels to the outer islands in the archipelago.
According to the International Maritime Bureau 130 vessels were attacked by Somali pirates last year. On Tuesday the Japanese navy joined US, Chinese and EU navies who are patrolling the shipping lanes which lead to the Suez Canal. They face a daunting task in trying to patrol over 400,000 square miles of ocean.
You can see from these videos below, the first from rutgergeeling, the second from KesandSarah, what the attraction is of scuba diving in the Seychelles – be it whale sharks, green turtles or incomparable visibilty – you will understand why this very serious problem has to be resolved.
With another dump of the white stuff yesterday the Alpes Maritimes seem to be getting ever closer but today our attention is drawn to the underwater world where once again the island of Bonaire has again been voted the place to go for your scuba diving experience.
Bonaire has swept a majority of the top honors and continues its domination as the world’s top dive destination. Bonaire received the number one rating in the following categories:
- top dive destination
- top marine life
- top marine environment
- top macro life
- top underwater photography
- top value
- top shore diving
- top snorkeling
- top beginner diving
Scuba Diving magazine’s Readers’ Choice awards are selected by subscribers and web visitors who rate their dive experiences on a five point scale. The results of the 2009 awards will be featured in their January/February 2009 issue.
Bonaire is located eighty-six miles east of Aruba and offers year round sunshine, low annual rainfall, and was designated as having the most pristine coral reef environment and most species of fish in the Caribbean by the NOAA in 2008.
It offers a plethora of diving and snorkeling opportunities in addition to eco adventures, windsurfing, kite boarding, bird watching, mountain biking, kayaking, horseback riding, nature tours, hiking, and deep-sea fishing.
Check out the excellent video from wetlensproductions of not only the incredible underwater world of ski-fi like creations but also the rather cool blowcarting (a subject we will persue) and the graceful flamingoes – what an extreme destination.
For all of you who live in the UK, have you heard that BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) are actively encouraging newcomers to try scuba diving?
As part of this year’s National Try Dive event BSAC branches across the UK have a September Special on offer… for £10 you can have a lesson in a pool with a qualified BSAC instructor. You still have time to sign up for the Try Dive which takes place from the 24th – 30th September.
“It is ideal for anyone who has always wanted to try out scuba and is the first step towards learning to dive,” says BSAC. “Try Dive participants are offered a lesson, which includes poolside tuition on diving skills and equipment, followed by diving in the pool. Almost anyone from the age of 12 is welcome to come and learn to dive with BSAC.”
So why would you want to spend £10 on a wet and drizzly, cold and damp day in early autumn in Britain?
Well … because you can dream about hot sunny beaches, blue skies, coconut palms and an unbelievable plethora of marine life to be absorbed and enjoyed….
Does that not sound a good enough reason? I mean, how cool is this?
my thanks to Rebecca at Rebox671 Flikr for this wonderful photo
Then again, and here I offer my apologies to anyone in England who might have been offended by my suggestion that it might be a miserable day (!)… it could, of course, be a beautiful Indian summer day and then what better way to spend it!
We have talked a lot about scuba diving on this blog and, as you might have gathered, we love it! But we have also erred on the side of caution in our advice to anyone reading our articles that it is a very good idea to get a proper license for scuba diving – something more thorough than a quick holiday course. Water, after all, is not our natural element – and it is best to partake in the best possible training before finning down to great depths. Which is what makes this offer so interesting – not only does it introduce you to scuba diving but it also introduces you to an esteemed scuba diving license. BSAC, PADI and NAUI are probably the most recognised licenses worldwide.
Refresher courses are also a good thing. I got my BSAC license and then didn’t dive for 2 years. The next time I got into the ocean I couldn’t believe how little I remembered – and how close to panic one could become! It was a good wake-me-up call.
So, if you haven’t done it and have always wanted to, I suggest you get hold of your closest BSAC club very quickly – it’s an offer not worth ignoring.
To find out more information about Try Dive with BSAC 2008 phone the club free on 0500 947 202 or check out their website: http://www.bsac.com and register online.
You needn’t be an athlete to enjoy freediving because the sport is more about mindset, technique and correct weighting than strength.
Snorkelers do qualify, but there is one important element separating freedivers from snorkelers (and this is heresay) – apparently you achieve a feeling of true ease and relaxation under the water. You live in the moment, so absorbed that an hour under water (obviously not all in one go if you’re free diving!) erases a week of worries…
Wikipedia’s definition of freediving is: any of various aquatic activities that share the practice of breath-holding underwater diving. Examples include breathhold spear fishing, free-dive photography, apnea competitions and, to a degree, snorkeling. The activity that garners the most public attention is competitive apnea, an extreme sport, in which competitors attempt to attain great depths, times or distances on a single breath without direct assistance of a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba).
The record holder for freediving, an incredibly dangerous sport, is Patrick Musimi who dived an incredible 687 feet on one breath. He was under water for close to three minutes.
Patrick’s record is incredible. Ok – 3 incredibles… but that’s how amazing his record is! His decision to step out of the freediving competitions and go for the ‘no limit’ catagory marked him out as an extroadinary human being. According to him, this category should not be considered nor used as a sport!
His quest led him to achieve ‘the ultimate dive’.
In June 2005, within 3 weeks and only 10 dives in the Red Sea, Patrick Musimu marked history by diving consecutively to 100, 136, 151, 170, 185 metres, and on the 26 th of June, he finally reached the mythical mark of 200 metres.
On 30th June 2005, his body, exhausted, forced him to stop after a dive of 209,6 metres, shattering
the deepest human performance registered by almost 40 meters. His record has not been broken.
I stand corrected here – his record HAS been broken. Herbert Nitsch broke it on 14th June 2007 with a dive of 214m. See more in the next article…
He is a very focused man. Listen to his thoughts on how he achieves his dives: “During a free dive I feel my mind detached from my body. As I merge into the maritime world, I separate from the predetermined idea I have of myself. Nothing is absolute and barriers are mere mental hypotheses. Little by little, my mind gains the conviction that there are no limits. In this quest, free diving becomes my instrument, which I play like a virtuoso in the silent world of great depths.”
It is not necessary to dive to 200m. After all, it’s dark down there… A 45 second dive to about 30ft is generally quite deep enough. Most of the ocean’s colour and animal life resides within 30ft of the surface so there’s little reason to go deeper. 45 seconds is generally enough time to take a few photographs, chill out with the fish, or even shoot your supper. Best of all the average person can master these sort of dives in about 2 weeks without spending valuable cash on expensive kit. Your essentials – mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit and weightbelt pack easily into a duffel bag.
If you have any romantic views on achieving, or attempting to achieve, depths similar to Patrick Musimu’s – please first watch the 1988 film “The Big Blue”. Nothing but tragedy will be your reward so for heavens’ sake admire others and stick to where there is light in the ocean! – unless of course you do it properly, take instruction, etc etc etc.
One of the world’s most famous scuba diving dive sites is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Australia is the only living organic collective on earth visible from outer space. The other is a man made structure, The Great Wall of China.
This reef is regarded as one of the wonders of the world and was declared as a World Heritage in 1981. It is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem. Being so huge, magnificent dive spots and beautiful marine life and sceneries abound.
The Great Barrier is more than 300,000 sq km in size and consists of more than 3000 reefs. Deciding where to dive in this huge diving destination can be a gigantic headache. Then again, that is a happy problem because of the many wonderful choices you have.
One of the greatest dangers to the reef, especially to the corals is the Crown of Thorns starfish. This starfish eat corals and have ravenous appetites. Vast stretches of underwater life had on many occasions been destroyed by the Crown of Thorns starfish. Do not try to save the reef by cutting up the starfish. It will not die that way, instead it multiplies just like viruses splitting themselves up to multiply their numbers.
Wreck diving is a favorite scuba diving activity. Amongst the many wrecks are Captain James Cook’s ship “Endeavour”. Another famous wreck is that of the HMS Pandora, which met its fate in 1791. There are about 30 shipwreck sites, most of them are opened to wreck divers.
More than 2 million people visit the reef every year spending about a billion US dollars collectively making tourism as the main pillar of the eastern Australia economy. Since tourism dollar is very important, it is vital for the Australian economy to protect the reef from destruction hence it is protected in many ways. As a form of protection, fishing is restricted in some areas and animals such as dolphins, whales, dugong (a seal look alike animal sometimes mistaken for mermaids) are protected.
For the more adventurous divers, there are dives to view shark feedings, especially the ferocious man eater, The Great White Shark. Divers are put into the water in steel cages to view these man eating sharks closed up. For non divers, there are island hopping cruises as well as whale watching cruises to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef.
Our only advice is that should you plan a holiday to the Great Barrier Reef then do not make time the pressing issue. You may be going half way round the world to get there and we therefore recommend you spend at least three weeks diving on the many reefs to justify all that traveling – you will not be disappointed or bored.
My cousin and his wife, both experienced scuba divers, say it’s happened to them too. They were happily enjoying a dive in Thailand with several other people. One moment they could see the others and the next they couldn’t. Without realizing it they had been dragged out by a current.
He says there is nothing worse than that feeling of inadequacy, stupidity and fear. Though it had not been done on purpose (obviously) they had now put themselves in an unenviable position and were reliant on the keen eyes on their dive boat. Happily it didn’t take long to find them and no rescue party was needed, but they sympathize with anybody it happens to.
Britons Charlotte Allin, James Manning, Kathleen Mitchinson, plus a French and a Swedish diver, had been exploring the waters near the Komodo National Park, Indonesia on Thursday
They were swept away by currents and found on a remote island 20 miles away. One diver said they had spent nine hours adrift, and later had had to scare off a Komodo dragon.
The group had tried to struggle against the current for several hours but stopped in a bid to conserve their energy.
They had then tried one more attempt to reach land on Thursday night after they saw an island in the distance, he said.
He said: “We were exhausted. Everyone had cramps.”
They were found on Saturday morning on the southern coast of Rinca island – about 20 miles south – by a rescue boat sent out by local dive centres after a two-day search involving the Indonesian army, navy and police.
The group was later taken to a medical centre on nearby Flores island, where they have received water and rest.
“They are really in good health… They walked by themselves and hugged each other and cried when they reached the port,” local policeman Victor Jumadu told AFP.
Komodo National Park is part of a national heritage site boasting around 1,000 fish species as well as pristine corals and sponges.