Author Archives: Carolina Schultz

Scuba diving holiday

7 Reasons Why Your Next Family Holiday Should Be a Scuba Diving Holiday

Are you trying to decide where to go and what to do on your next family holiday? Trying to balance out the wants and needs of everyone in your group? Why not try something new and exciting which will bring you together AND give you a choice of incredible destinations? Find out here why learning to dive and taking the plunge together might just be exactly what you are looking for…

  • Get Active – Together!

You may be ready for a holiday and in need of some rest and relaxation but your kids are probably hoping to do more than just lounge by the pool. Scuba diving is a great way to be active but it’s also incredibly relaxing. You’ll immerse yourself in to a whole new world which will completely distract you from the hassles and stresses of working life – there is no better way to relax than watching fish swim by. Learning to dive will help you relax and keep the kids active at the same time!

  • familt holiday 2Create Memories That Will Last A Lifetime

What was your most memorable family holiday? Did it involve a special activity or special place? Your kids will never forget a family diving trip. Not only will you be the coolest parents in town but you’ll be exploring the oceans together and creating life long memories.

  • Learn More About Each Other

Scuba programs can be very revealing! Most parents don’t see their children when they are studying at school – you’ll get to see another side to your kids. Not only that but when learning to dive everyone is on a level playing field. You’ll stop being Mum and Dad for a short time and you’ll be students together.

  • Achieve Something Great

The PADI Open Water certification is a lifelong certification. Completing your Open Water Course is a huge achievement and there’s no better way to accomplish this than together with family. You’ll finish your programs feeling a sense of success and achievement.

  • Teach Responsibility

Scuba diving requires divers to diligently check their equipment before diving and during dives there are also procedures to follow. Through learning to dive your kids will develop skills including not only being responsible for themselves but also team (“buddy”) responsibility too. These skills are transferable to everyday life and they’ll be learning them in a fun and practical way.

  • Encourage Team Work

Divers always dive with a “buddy” and during your course you’ll learn how important it is to work as a unit together. You’ll be amazed to see how siblings that are prone to squabbling at home suddenly become supportive, encouraging and start to enjoy working together.

  • Discover a Whole New World

Of course, the main reason we dive is to explore and you’ll be doing this together on your family holiday. It doesn’t end there though – with your diving certifications under your belts you’ll be able to explore and discover unlimited places together in the years to come. The world really will be your (and your family’s) oyster!

Family Holiday 3

Here are a few of the exciting PADI Courses for kids:

PADI Bubblemaker (ages 8+) – Children dive in a pool in less than two metres/six feet of water. Get your “parent of the year” award by throwing a memorable Bubblemaker birthday party at your local PADI dive shop.

PADI Seal Team (ages 8+) – The PADI Seal Team provides action-packed fun in a pool through exciting scuba AquaMissions. Divers are introduced to underwater photography, navigation, environmental awareness and others to choose from.

PADI Junior Open Water Diver (ages 10 to 14) – Students as young as 10 can take the PADI Open Water Diver scuba certification course. At completion they’ll become Junior Open Water Divers with certain limitations

The-Zenobia-Cyprus-Shutterstock-resized

A Lust for Rust: Best Wreck Dives in Cyprus Part 1

This week guest blogger Alexandra Dimitriou takes us below the waves to her favorite wreck dives in Cyprus…

Wrecks are wonderful. A lust for rust is common among us divers and Cyprus is a real treat for those who prefer their boats below the waves.

Wreck dives to watch in Cyprus are:

The Zenobia

Location: Larnaca, Cyprus // Description: Wreck // Length: 174 meters // Depth: 18 – 42 meters

This world class wreck is enormous. The Zenobia was a roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro ferry) that sank on her maiden voyage in 1980 and is unmissable. At depths between 18 – 42 meters and with a length of 174 meters. She has four lorry decks on four very distinct experience levels; this wreck is perfect for anyone from an Open Water Diver to the teck-iest among you.

The value of the wreck when she went down was huge. Carrying 104 eighteen-wheeler lorries and one car (the captain’s private blue Lada) the loss was estimated at 20 million Cypriot pounds for the vessel herself and then an astonishing 200 million Cypriot pounds for her cargo. This must have been a huge blow to the Swedish Company that made it, but the Zenobia wreck has proved to be one of the most lucrative tourist attractions on the island. The revenue that this metal giant provides to the dive industry is estimated to be over 25 million Euros per year! This shows you just how great she is, almost all certified divers will visit her at least once and, in my experience, will return year after year to explore another section of her.

The crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean make a Wreck Diver Specialty course ideal here – you can learn how to reel in and reel out without even penetrating the wreck to begin with, and then, under the watchful eye of your PADI Instructor, you can explore its interior to your heart’s content.

The Alexandria

Location: Larnaca, Cyprus // Description: Wreck // Length: 35 meters // Depth: 30-40 meters

This wreck lives in the shadow of her neighbor the Zenobia. Located just 500 meters away from the Zen, she is hugely overlooked by many divers, but that’s all the more reason to make this one for you logbooks. The Alexandria, or the Alex for short, was an old fishing trawler that went down in 2006. She was on her way to Limassol to be decommissioned, but bad weather had another fate in store and she went down to lie on the sea bed in a perfect upright position. If you have your PADI Wreck Diver and Enriched Air Diver specialties, this wreck can be covered easily in just one dive; the perfect appetizer before moving on to her big sister, the Zenobia.

HMS Cricket

Location: North-East of Larnaca, Cyprus // Description: Wreck // Length: 35 meters // Depth: 33 meters

The HMS Cricket is a “Donald Duck” wreck dive, meaning she lies upside down on the seabed, with her hull  pointing to the surface (like a duck’s beak). She can be quite a challenge because of her position in very silty conditions – which means that your buoyancy needs to be perfect before making this dive! If not for your own enjoyment, buoyancy and gentle frog/flutter kicks are vital because anyone who happens to be behind you will encounter very low visibility if you don’t. A combination of Wreck Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy and Enriched Air Diver specialty courses would be ideal before this epic dive.

The Cricket was originally commissioned for the WWI and her final fate is veiled in mystery. A huge implosion hole is its only clue, and it makes for a great penetration point. You really have to turn this dive around in your mind to get a true vision of what she once was – an Aphis Class gunboat whose life was extended by WWII.

PADI Mindfulness

Freediving and Mindfulness

Mindfulness. You hear that word all the time, in yoga, in self-help books, or perhaps it rings a bell from a psychology class that you took years ago. For me, mindfulness used to be an abstract idea that I had heard in passing, probably wanted to learn more about, but definitely did not have time to sit and meditate on in the midst of my already chaotic life. Well, before I learned to freedive that is.

Mindfulness is the act of being completely aware of the present moment. For example, right now I’m sitting at my desk. I can feel my fingertips clicking away at the computer keys. I can hear the air conditioning buzzing in the background. I’m taking deep, slow breaths as I contemplate my next idea to compose into a sentence. I am bit hungry and feeling tired. I am accepting each sensation or feeling of the moment in a calm manner. Mindfulness is simple in theory, but the accepted culture of our busy lifestyles often makes it difficult to put it into practice.

Freediving and mindfulness

When I began my freediving training I heard a phrase over and over again that I quite often relate to during my mindfulness practice: get comfortable with being uncomfortable. When participating in freediving training, this motto is particularly significant due to the demand of your mental resolve. Freedivers must be mindful of their condition at all times in order to practice proper technique while staying relaxed.

Static apnea is a discipline of freediving where the diver floats face down in the water completely motionless and performs a breath-hold. This step in a freediving course is just as much a mental challenge as a physical one. When I am engaged in a static apnea, mindfulness plays a huge role. You have to actively allow your body to accept the discomfort and relax. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

This acceptance is something that I have found I am now able to apply to aspects of my life that are completely unrelated to freediving and is a benefit to my training that I did not anticipate. Whether I’m stuck in traffic, arguing with my spouse, cold in a restaurant because I forgot to bring a jacket, or whatever the predicament may be, I am able to apply my breathing techniques and mindfulness that I have learned in freediving to help me accept an uncomfortable state.

The mental benefits that I have experienced from freediving remind me of the benefits described by those who have a devoted yoga practice. Freediving is a sport that allows you to search for your inner peace, and once found, allow the diver to go to that same state of calmness even when the reality of their surroundings may not be calm at all.

Freediving and mindfulness

When it comes to exploring a new challenge like freediving, it’s wise to know a few tips and tricks to get you started. Check out these 8 Tips for Beginner Freedivers.

Underwater archaeology ©Brett Seymour

Underwater archaeology with AmbassaDiver Gemma Smith – Part 1

In this two part blog AmbassaDiver Gemma Smith writes about getting involved in the mysterious world of underwater archaeology…

Why Underwater Archaeology?

There are many aspects of diving I love, and there are always new adventures to have and new places to see as a diver. This is one of the beauties of the sport. One of the branches of diving which interests me most though, is scientific diving, and in particular underwater archaeology. Both my parents were land archaeologists. So to end up, through my passion for diving, being involved with underwater archaeology has a satisfying feeling of completing a circle; one which began when I was just a child and my Mum would take me along to play in the dirt with a trowel while she worked on her land excavations. Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to be involved with some truly fascinating archaeological projects, and quite possibly one of the most important and famous underwater archaeological excavation ever undertaken; that of the Antikythera Mechanism Shipwreck.

The Antikythera Mechanism Shipwreck

For many decades the tiny and remote Greek island of Antikythera, lying far below the mainland Greek Peloponnese and northwest of Crete, has been known to be home to one of the most significant underwater archaeological sites in the world. It was first come upon in the 1900s by sponge fishermen from the Greek island of Symi, who, having been forced to take shelter from a raging storm on their way back home from their summer fishing grounds in Tunisia decided to try their luck while they waited out the bad weather, and see whether they could add to their haul of sponges. Using the standard diving equipment of the day – canvas suit, heavy copper helmet, and an unwieldy umbilical hose that delivered air to the divers, as well as being their only connection to the world above them – the story goes that a diver by the name of Elias Stadiatis was the first to descend. Minutes later he came back to the surface in a frenzy, shouting of seeing ‘dead bodies, littering the sea floor. Dead bodies everywhere!’ These ‘dead bodies’ would, on further dives, turn out to a huge collection of breathtaking bronze and marble statues, relics from an unknown ship wrecked thousands of years previously, and their discovery would start the beginning of some of the most extraordinary finds of recent times.

Underwater archaeology ©Brett Seymour

©Brett Seymour

Despite the incredible beauty of the statues found and recovered, the Antikythera wreck is without doubt best known for a device which has come to be known as both the ‘Antikythera Mechanism’ as well as ‘the world’s oldest computer’. Complex interlocking bronze cogs and wheels, cut with total precision and marked with tiny scales and inscriptions were, and still are, unlike anything ever discovered. Most mind-blowing perhaps though is the age of this device. To think that this was made by the Ancient Greeks over 2000 years ago puts it utterly ahead of its time. Until this discovery there had never been another accurate scale, or any cogwheels, found from that long ago era. Opinion is still divided as to its exact use, but nowadays it is thought by experts to predict the movement of the sun, moon, and planets, as well as showing eclipses and the cycles of the ancient Olympic Games.

This wreck site has continued to captivate the imagination of people in the decades since its discovery. The legendary diving pioneers Jacques Cousteau and Frederic Dumas made expeditions to the site in both 1952 and 1976. Although no further pieces of the Antikythera Mechanism were uncovered on this trips, they were able to add to the impressive haul of treasure already recovered from the wreck. However, despite many beautiful finds, and the obvious potential for finding yet more, it would be many years before another archaeological team would return to this site…

Dive Across Canada

Dive Across Canada

From a diver’s point of view, Canada really has a lot going for it: It has extensive borders with the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. It has more lakes than the rest of the world combined and 20 percent of the world’s freshwater. And it’s widely considered to be one of the most peaceful and friendly nations on earth.

Canada is vast and varied. It’s snow-capped Rocky Mountains, vast prairies, glaciers and arctic expanses. It’s Montreal’s culture, coffee and a doughnut at Tim Hortons, British Columbia salmon and a Calgary rodeo. It’s a magnificent dive destination.

Getting a handle on the plethora of dive opportunities is easy if you think regionally. On the West Coast the Pacific beckons. The Prairie Provinces have more great dive sites than the name might imply. Central Canada has wreck diving to rival the best in the world. Atlantic Canada offers up another entire ocean complete with some of the biggest tides going. And sitting on top of all this, not to be forgotten by the adventurous, are the enormous Arctic Territories.

Great Dives

West Coast

  • Saltery Bay – This popular Powell River dive site affords divers easy shore access to some great Pacific Northwest diving. Don’t miss the mermaid (really) and watch your depth on the sponge festooned wall, which drops quickly to 60 metres/200 feet.
  • Whytecliff Park – Convenient to Vancouver, this dive site is located on Howe Sound’s spectacular coastline. Several dive options make it easy to plan dives for anyone from neophyte to ultra experienced. Everyone should keep a watchful eye out for the iconic giant octopus. Depths to 30 metres/100 feet are readily available for shore divers.
  • Porlier Pass – This current swept channel in the Gulf Islands has a number of dive sites including Boscowitz Rock and the remains of an old tug that has become an anemone-festooned marine life magnet. These are world-class dive sites worthy of a page in every diver’s log.

Prairie Provinces

  • Clear Lake – This is a great “made” dive site. There’s a life sized ceramic cow, an underwater hyperbaric chamber, a dive bell and many other unusual interesting items to keep divers interested.
  • Whiteswan Lake – Explore an old town that was flooded when the construction of two dams created an impoundment. Divers have been busy here too, adding creative structure to highlight dives.
  • West Hawk Lake – Created by a pre-historic meteor impact, West Hawk Lake plunges to more than 100 metres/330 feet. Rock walls and ledges interspersed with sloping sandy bottoms are home to small mouth bass.

Central Canada

  • Fathom Five – This marine park features clear, clean water, cool underwater cliffs, caves and overhangs in addition to more than 20 shipwrecks. There’s something here for divers of all levels.
  • Keystorm – This spectacular wreck went up on the rocks near Scow Island in 1912 and now lies on her starboard side at depths between 6 metres/20 feet and 35 metres/120 feet. For the deep divers, the stern and prop make for some spectacular photos. There’s plenty of structure to explore too including the cargo hold, wheelhouse and engine rooms. Divers penetrating the wreck need to watch out for disorientation as the wreck lists heavily. Some say this is the premier wreck in the region.
  • Forillon National Park – This park protects is a great place to get up close and personal with the rich underwater world of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There are several shore diving locations with significant depths accessible.

Atlantic Canada

  • HMCS Sagueny – Scuttled in 1994, HMCS Saguenay now lies in 27 meters/90 feet of water. She lists heavily and is partly buried in the sand. The wreck is home to a great variety of marine life.
  • Bell Island Wrecks – The PLM-27 is one of four World War II wrecks off Bell Island. It’s relatively easy to access and is a great spot for divers of all levels. The massive, propeller is big draw.
  • Deer Island – Make sure to get the tides right here. If you don’t your planned depth could be out by as much as 15 metres/50 feet. Diving at slack water is vital. These tides support a great variety of marine life and filter feeders such as sponges and anemones abound. Lobsters lurk under ledges, often curious and willing to come out for calm careful divers.

Arctic Canada

  • Whales and Ice – With the help of specialist operators and appropriate equipment, it’s possible to dive with some massive marine mammals in Canadian Arctic waters. Narwhal, beluga, bowhead and humpback whale encounters are a real possibility. Spending some bottom time in a unique ice dominated underwater seascape is on the cards too. Icebergs and pack ice create the backdrop for a bucket list adventure.

Dive Summary

Visibility – Varies with location and ranges up to 50 metres/165 feet plus in some freshwater sites.

Water Temperature – Varies with location from sub zero up to more than 35°C/95°F.

Weather – Again, varies dramatically with location. Decide on a destination and check locally.

Featured Creatures – You’ll find just about every species outside those of the tropics. Arctic whales, Atlantic lobster, wolf eels and giant octopus in British Columbia and freshwater species in the myriad lake and quarries.

Recommended TrainingWreck and Deep Diver specialties for the many wrecks in fresh and salt water. Dry Suit Diver makes sense for many Canadian locales. Digital Underwater Photographer for everywhere.

Travel Info

Note – Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

Language – English and French are the official languages

Currency – The Canadian dollar

Major Airports – Toronto, Vancouver, Montréal, Calgary and Edmonton see the bulk of air traffic. The Canadian transport infrastructure in general is excellent.

Electricity – 120 volts, 60Hz. Internet widely available.

Topside Attractions – From cosmopolitan cites to vast tracts of wilderness the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Locate PADI Dive Shops and Resorts in the United States

Information Links:
Destination Canada

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Curious Facts About Crinoids

Recently we’ve shared a few videos of Crinoids floating freely through the ocean. They’re mesmerising to watch, and the videos we shared had you asking some questions about these curious creatures, so here are some interesting facts about Crinoids.

They’re not starfish

They are however, related to both starfish and echinoids. Like starfish, Crinoids usually have 5 fold symmetry.

They’re not plants

Despite their resemblance to flowers, are not plants. They are echinoderms – animals characterised by their rough, spiny surface and 5 fold symmetry.

You’re more likely to find a crinoid fossil than you are living crinoid

Crinoids today are relatively rare however they were once plentiful and diverse.

Crinoids fossil

Crinoids are old… really really old

Crinoids have been around since the Ordovician period – 490 million years ago! Palaeontologists however, think they could be even older than that.

Feather Stars versus Sea Lilies

There are around 700 living species of crinoids known to us. Generally, they’re found in two forms. Those that have a ‘stem’ and those that lose their stem as they mature. Crinoids that have a ‘stem,’ are often referred to as Sea Lillies because of their resemblance to the flower. Often their stem can anchor them to the ocean floor. Those without a stalk – Feather Stars, float freely through the ocean

They eat with their hands

Well, kind of. A Crinoid’s feather-like arms are covered with a sticky mucus which traps food that happens to float past. Then, the tiny tube feet that cover the arms, pass the food particles to the centre of the arm where it is transported to their mouth.

Crinoids

They know no bounds

Crinoids are commonly found in water deeper than 200 metres, but sometimes the variety without stalks will be seen in much shallower water.

Want to see these guys in real life? Your best chance is to start diving today and you may just get lucky enough to spot one.

Malta; Through the Azure Window

One week ago the iconic Azure Window, also known as the Dwejra Window, collapsed in Malta. Having stood in Dwejra Bay for 500 years, since two sea caves eroded to meet, this natural wonder had welcomed countless visitors throughout the years; a gateway to Malta’s unique, and vibrant scenery.

Famous for appearing in the 1981 film Clash of the Titans and, more recently, the first episode of Game of Thrones it was one of Malta’s top tourist destinations and many people took to social media to share their sadness and stories about this fabled landmark.

Losing the Azure Window is hard…

So we thought to brighten everyone’s day we’d take a closer look at what else the Maltase Islands can offer us…

Warm Water Year-Round

Sitting just to the West of the Mediterranean’s heart Malta is one of the few European dive areas that has warm water year round. The water temperature is a lovely 15-17°C/58-63°F from December through April and 18-25°C/65-77°F from May through November. Overwater the climate is considered the best in the world, with a hot, dry summer and short, cool winters.  Air temperatures average between 10-15°C/50-59°F in January and 21-30°C/70-83°F in July.

50+ Dive Sites

If the year round warm water isn’t enough for you, then perhaps the 50+ dive sites would be. Ranging from sheltered bays to advanced deep dives there’s something for everyone and every level of diving. There are also 25+ wreck dives to explore; from WWII wrecks full of history, to recently sunk artificial reefs.

Aquatic Life

There is plenty of wildlife to see at the numerous Maltese dive sites. Expect to see barracuda, some of the Mediterranean’s bigger groupers, stingrays, cardinal fish and parrotfish. The limestone caves and craggy nooks are also ideal living quarters for moray eels, octopus, squid, and conger eels. Summertime is seahorse time in Malta, but these beautiful critters are small and masters of camouflage, so challenge your dive guide to find some.

For more information on Iconic Marine Life and top dives in Malta click here.

Other Interests

Gozo is believed to be the island on which the nymph Calypso held Osysseus captive in Homer’s Odyssey. It is also home to the world’s oldest freestanding structures including the Ġgantija temples and is known for its ‘Karnivals’ which are celebrated throughout the summer.

To find out more about diving in Malta visit our Scuba Vacations page here.

7 Facts About Plastic Bags that Will Change How You Use Them

There’s no denying that plastic bags are bad for the environment. It’s well researched and well documented – and yet 160,000 plastic bags are still used every second around the world. This needs to change, so we’ve put together some facts that will change the way you (and your friends) use plastic bags (and hopefully stop you using them all together).

Every second, 160,000 plastic bags are used around the world.

Ok, I know we covered this in the introduction, but think about just how big that number is. That’s every single second. All together, it adds up to a trillion plastic bags being used every year.

The amount of petroleum it takes to produce on plastic bag could drive a car 11 metres (36 ft).

It might not seem far, but it sure adds up quickly. The amount of petroleum it takes to produce ten plastic bags could drive a car the length of a football field – see what I mean, it adds up quickly. Factor in the point about and we’re talking about some pretty huge distances.

A plastic bag is used for an average of 12 minutes.

Twelve minutes. There’s not much else to say about this point. After it’s 12 minutes of use, it’s generally discarded. In fact, less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide. Once discarded, plastic bags will remain in the environment for 1,000 years before they decompose!

267 different species of animals have been affected by marine debris.

We know this isn’t specifically about plastic bags, but 90% of marine debris is one kind of plastic or another. If you haven’t watched the video below by National Geographic about what it feels like to be trapped in a plastic bag, take a look now.

Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most found in coastal clean-ups.

According to the non-profit, Center for Marine Conservation, plastic bags are so commonly found during coastal clean-ups that they are among the 12 most found items of debris. All the more reason to reduce our use of them.

If we joined all the plastic bags in the world together, they would circumnavigate the globe 4,200 times.

That’s right, not once or twice but 4,200 times!

If just one person used recycled plastic bags over their lifetime, they would be removing 22,000 plastic bags from the environment.

That one person could be you. And if you share this information with your friends, we could see a huge reduction in the amount of plastic bags discarded in the environment.

Malaysia

Multi-talented Malaysia

Malaysia

Imagine crystal clear waters surrounding beautiful islands with pure, white beaches. Imagine palm trees swaying in balmy, tropical breezes, all set against a backdrop of lush, green rainforest – this is Malaysia. For scuba divers, Malaysia’s biodiversity is nothing short of stunning. The country is divided into two parts – Peninsular Malaysia, which shares a border with the southern end of Thailand, and Malaysian Borneo, which encompasses the northern quarter of the world’s third-largest island. The dive opportunities here are rivaled only by the nation’s cultural diversity.

Around the hundreds of tropical islands are an incredible choice of dive sites and undiscovered beaches. You can pick from a variety of underwater landscapes including sloping reefs, pinnacles and coral gardens for your deep, drift, wreck, cavern and wall dives. World-renowned wall diving, featuring more than 3000 species of marine creatures, and some of the best macro diving sites in the world are found here. From Peninsular Malaysia, you can get to the Perhentian Islands with towering pinnacles, and Redang Island with some of the world’s most developed coral gardens. Tioman Island, off of the peninsula’s east coast, has amazing coral formations and deep water nearby that is home to many wrecks for technical divers.

Great Dives

  • Pulau Sibuan, Semporna – One of a few islands and reefs in daytrip range of Semporna, Pulau Sibuan is inhabited only by a few nomadic, seafaring Bajau families. The outstanding muck diving here is sometimes overlooked as divers rush to places with well-known names. But Pulau Sibuan, which lies within the Semporna Marine Park, is a top location to spot mandarin fish, nudibranchs and a plethora of their neighbors.
  • Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu – Macro life is the main draw for divers here, but reef sharks, turtles and rays await those who look up and around occasionally. The apex of the dive season is during March and April when whale sharks vie for attention.
  • Atago Maru Wreck, Miri – This 105-metre/345-foot second world war Japanese merchant ship lies upright and her superstructure is a mere 10 metres/33 feet from the surface. Her coral-encrusted hull has become home to moray eels and predatory trevally, jack and barracuda prowl in her vicinity.
  • Tiger Reef, Tioman – This submersed pinnacle with an average depth of 15 metres/50 feet has beautiful coral formations, crinoids, sea whips and sea fans. Strong currents bring in large schools of jack, mackerel, barracuda and rainbow runner on almost every dive. Zoom in and out of the canyons checking out the reef fish, stingrays, moray eels and lionfish.
  • Sugar Wreck, Perhentian Islands – This large sugar hauler sank during a monsoon in 2000 and now lies on its side in 30 metres/100 feet of water. Quickly being overtaken by coral and marine life, it’s now home to reef fish, barracuda and bamboo sharks that hide in the wreck. Big schools of snapper, jack and trevally circle the hull.
  • WW II Wrecks, Kuching – Several wrecks lie just off the coast of Kuching. Dutch submarines sank these Japanese ships including the Katori Maru, which is well broken up and the intact Hiyoshi Maru. Both wrecks lie about 20 metres/65 feet from the surface and are havens for marine life such as barracuda, batfish and snapper.
  • Pulau Lima, Redang – This submerged seamount off Pulau Lima has amazing boulder formations that drop down to around 30 metres/100 feet. The current here sometimes brings in large pelagics, such as manta rays and whales. Look for tuna, barracudas, groupers and black-tip sharks. Hard and soft corals, gorgonians, sea anemones and whip coral gardens abound.
  • Pulau Saga, Lumut – Within a few hours drive of Kuala Lumpur, there’s some diving with excellent macro life at Pulau Saga. Here, divers find nudibranchs, seahorses and anemones hosting clownfish in the shallows. Triggerfish and blue-spotted rays cruise the reef edges and myriad reef fish such as fusiliers, boxfish and Moorish idols populate these sheltered waters.

Want to know more? Visit ScubaEarth® for further information on thousands of dive sites, marine species, destination essentials and more.

Dive Summary

Visibility – Depending on the area and time of year, visibility ranges from 10-40 metres/30-130 feet.

Water Temperature – Being close to the equator, you can count on water temperatures from 26-30º C/80-85º F year-round.

Weather – The weather throughout Malaysia is tropical with air temperatures range from 21-32º C/70-90º F. The wet season runs from November to March, which can affect dive conditions, but diving is available all year.

Featured Creatures – You’ll see turtles and more turtles just about everywhere. Reef sharks, schooling barracuda, trevallies, bumphead parrotfish, Napoleon wrasse, rainbow runners, emperors, groupers, batfish, mackerel, stingrays, boxfish, lionfish, garden eels and moray eels are all likely to be seen. Common sightings also include angelfish, butterfly fish, snapper, triggerfish, puffer fish, shrimp, nudibranchs, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus, mandarin fish and seahorses.

Recommended Courses – Take the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy and PADI Deep Diver courses to help you hover effortlessly along Sipadan’s walls. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course is a must to capture the beauty of the place. Malaysia is becoming a technical diving destination, so look into PADI TecRec courses, including the PADI Rebreather Diver course, if interested. You can also become a PADI Professional by taking your PADI Divemaster course, Assistant Instructor course or Open Water Scuba Instructor program in beautiful Malaysia.

Travel Info

Note – Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

Language – Bahasa Malaysia is the national language but English is also widely spoken. Various Chinese dialects and Hindi are also common.

Currency – Malaysian Ringgit. Credit cards are accepted in cities and many larger hotels, restaurants and shops.

Major Airports – There are international airports at Penang (Penang International Airport), Johor Bahru (Senai International Airport), Kota Kinabalu (Kota Kinabalu International Airport), Kuching (Kuching International Airport) and Langkawi (Langkawi International Airport).

Electricity and Internet – 240 volts, 50 Hz. Internet is available in cities and most resort areas.

Topside Attractions – Visit the world’s tallest towers in Kuala Lumpur, go to Sabah’s state parks and climb Mount Kinabalu, see Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary near Sandakan, go caving in Gunung Mulu National Park, experience ancient cultures in jungle villages, tour the many monkey ridden temples around the country or explore the jungles of Borneo.

Information links:
tourism.gov.my
geographia.com/malaysia

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Part One: Why Doing a Liveaboard in Egypt Will be One of the Best Decisions You Ever Make

Written by Guest Blogger, Alexandra Dimitriou

In November I was lucky enough to get a space on a diving Liveaboard (love-a-board) to the Brothers, Elphinstone and Daedalus Reefs in Egypt with Masters of the Red Sea. It was spectacular. Amazing. Extraordinary. They need a new word for how awesome this trip was!! It lived up to and went beyond every single one of my expectations. I love liveaboards, I love Egypt and I love scuba diving more than anything else on this planet! (Don’t tell my husband!)

Wanna know why?

Egypt is the closest, most marine diverse dive destination to Europe and the Middle East (great if you get as bored as a toddler with a broken rattle in under an hour!)

Located between Africa and Asia, the Red Sea is an in water inlet for the Indian Ocean that boasts a maximum depth of over 2000 meters/6560 feet. It is the most northern tropical sea in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning flights from even the most westerly European destinations takes around 5 hours.

It is a Global 2000 Ecoregion

Designated by the WWF as one to actively conserve, the Red Sea is a site that offers a staggeringly diverse marine ecosystem. Ranging from vibrant, shallow coral gardens to very steep walls and drop offs, the Red Sea is home to thousands of dive sites in a super concentrated area, each with its own achievable objective for every single diver under the sun. Sounds fun doesn’t it?

Something for everyone: The Egyptian menu of the Red Sea can be broken down for liveaboard wannabes into 3 delicacies:

trigger-fish-egypt_liveaboard

Menu 1: Northern Itinerary. For those who love the colour, coral and Jacques Cousteau.

Dahab to Sharm-el-Sheikh is probably the easiest route to choose, but don’t let the difficulty level fool you, there are some very challenging dives for the tech-ey heads too – perhaps the most famous of these is the Blue Hole dive site in Dahab.

Other dive sites that are unmissable are Shark and Yolanda reef, the Million Hope wreck and the Thistlegorm wreck (discovered by Jacque Cousteau himself.)

You can even dive this historic wreck at night, but only if you’re a guest on a liveaboard – a very special treat, believe me!

Menu 2: Brothers islands and Variations

The two brother islands are close to each other but far away from the mainland. Elphinstone and Daedalus are the most popular highlights to this region too. The dive sites are world class and are most enjoyed by the more advanced diver; cleaning stations, nutrient rich waters and depth all make these sites a joy to be immersed in. Sharks are almost guaranteed too, wonderful!

Menu 3: South

Starting from Saint Johns you can enjoy dive sites such as Babili Ali, GotaKebira, Zabargad and the Rocky islands. I have never been to these myself, but the shark encounters are famous for being well within recreational divers’ depths in the summer months.

Dive sites that are all yours!!

egypt-liveaboard-2

Day Boats can only go so far. There is also a limit as to how early a diver will set their alarm for (me anyways!). Although the Northern dive sites are accessible by day the offshore sites are only possible by liveaboard. You can even combine the two to really get a taste for all the red sea has to offer.

Liveaboard dive trips are the best way to visit hugely popular day dive sites too, as you can choose when to enter the water. Your captain knows when peak diver hours are and will plan your arrival around them. I don’t know about you, but I hate to see boats and bubbles framing my field of vision at every turn. I want to see the beauty of the underwater world in all its glory – not the brightly coloured distraction of a fluorescent wetsuit that has been around since the neon 80’s!

When you are lucky enough to be the only boat for miles in every direction it can only be described as magical. There is something special about being able to name every diver that you see for the next 60 minutes, and it makes you feel very, very small. You are just a tiny spec under there; a tiny insignificant human who has adapted itself to fit into a tiny crevice of observation.

Big stuff, small stuff and everything in-between!

oceanic-whitetip-egypt_liveaboard

Egypt has it all. Coral gardens, bright nudibranchs, curious turtles, and moray eels the size of planets. Napoleon wrasse as big as houses, and if you choose the right time of year – mantas and whale sharks. Diving liveaboards deliver it all.

Sharks are an absolute favorite of mine and was my primary reason for booking my November liveaboard in Egypt. We saw sharks on every dive. EVERY DIVE! My favorite shark sites were:

Shark Dives

Big Brother

The first shark I saw was a Thresher Shark. I easily identified it by its long foxlike tail, which also gives this shark its Latin name Alopias vulpinus (alopex is the Greek work for fox).  The long tail makes them appear more graceful than other sharks, but this tail is its weapon. It uses it in whip-like movements to stun unsuspecting mid water fish, transforming them into its favourite snack. Yum!

Little Brother

Oceanic whitetips were everywhere, especially under our boat!  Our first dive on the smaller of the two islands that make up the Brothers was quite a challenging one. Lots of current and high waves made rib entries and exits rather exhausting but rewarding. We saw a couple of white tip Oceanics, but this was nothing compared to our second dive! We spent it simply hanging onto the mooring/drop lines connected to the island itself.  There we were, 20 divers, all dangling like wet grapes along a flag pole in total awe of the conveyor belt of the Oceanics around us. Oceanic whitetip sharks are super confident and extra curious, making them the most interactive of all the sharks in the Red Sea.  Humans are curiosities to Oceanics, allowing divers and sharks alike really up-close-and personal encounters. The current was so strong it was distressingly impossible to use a camera however. Both hands were clamped around the rope; and mask covered noses aren’t particularly delicate enough to operate even the one button GoPro unfortunately!

Daedalus & Elphinstone

Hammerheads, Hammerheads, Hammerheads!

This shark is my absolute favorite. Their strange, elongated flat heads gives this species its unsurprising name. Its head is truly an amazing piece of anatomy. With an eye on either side, the Hammerhead can scan the ocean faster than other sharks and find its favorite stingray meal quickly. It then uses its nose to pin it to the ocean floor before eating it.

They were everywhere at both Daedalus & Elphinstone. Top tip? Leave your nitrox behind because these guys like it deep. If you want a close encounter to these big nosed beasts then you are going to be approaching your air depth limit let alone your nitrox one. Techy – heads are the luckiest of all and an envy of everyone else at these two sites.

 

Check out part 2 of Alexandra’s Egyptian liveaboard adventure!