Monthly Archives: June 2016

Sorrento

Sorrento

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This could well be one of the most picturesque and famous coastlines in the world. Sheer cliffs plunge vertically into clear blue Mediterranean waters, interrupted only by idyllic little beaches and impossibly beautiful coastal villages. Magnificent villas, vineyards and citrus groves, carved over the centuries into the cliff walls, tower above the winding coast road.

Southern Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula pierces the Mediterranean, pointing straight at the legendary island of Capri and splitting the Gulf of Naples from the Bay of Salerno. Nowhere is more than an enthusiastic stone’s through from the water. It was here that the sirens of Greek mythology tempted sailors on to the rocky shore, and today, divers can still find remnants from the cargos of ancient wrecks.

Diving in the region is typified by the same topography found on shore: Steep drop-offs, caves and caverns. The jewel in its crown is the protected marine area of Punta Campanella. With some 40 kilometres/25 miles of coastline, the protected area allows limited use with permission of the managing authority ensuring a healthy marine ecosystem. The protected area also covers the shore, where well-marked trails guide visitors through citrus groves, forests and ancient archaeological sites to magnificent viewpoints.

 

Great Dives

  • Li Galli Islands – Crystal clear water and abundant red and yellow sea fans greet divers on the underwater walls. Beam and croakers lurk in the nooks and crannies, and, especially early and late in the dive season, tuna visit the current-washed dive sites.
  • Vervece Rock – This tiny rock, close to the town of Sorrento, is the tip of a seamount that plunges to 50 metres/165 feet. At 12 metres/40 feet rests a bronze statue of the Virgin Mary. For advanced divers, a wreck of a cargo ship nearby lies in 40 metres/130 feet of water. Ocean currents, and the marine protected area, make for abundant marine life.
  • Mitigliano Grotto – This cavern is a high voltage dive site for those with the right qualifications and experience. It features several air-filled chambers into which divers can surface and fresh water seeps in through the rocks creating haloclines and keeping the water temperature cool. Divers sometimes see the rare, and decidedly odd, fish Oligopus ater here.
  • Capo di Sorrento – This is a shallow dive, near Queen Giovanna’s Baths, where divers can find shards of ancient pottery. Colorful invertebrates, including nudibranchs, sponges and sea fans abound.

 

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

Dive Summary

  • Visibility – On average, about 12 metres/40 feet.
  • Water Temperature – Around 21°C/70°F in summer and 10°С/50°F in winter.
  • Weather – April through October is prime dive season. In May the average air temperature is 22°C/71°F during the day and falls to 12°C/53°F during the night. From June to August, the hottest time of the year, temperatures can reach 29°C/84°F.
  • Featured Creatures – Pelagic species such as yellowtail tuna and amberjack on the offshore sites. Fabulous sea fans, particularly on the deeper dives, and vibrant invertebrates are real features here.
  • Recommended Training – – The PADI Cavern Diver specialty will help with access to many of the caverns, caves and grottos that are common.

 

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 – Italian is the primary language, with English spoken in tourist areas.
  • Currency – Euro
  • Major Airports – Naples International Airport (NAP) is closest.
  • Electricity – 220-240 volts. Internet is available in most resort areas and major towns.
  • Topside Attractions – Naples is nearby as is Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii; all are worth a visit. A drive along the Amalfi Coast is a must do.
  • Information links:
    Sorrentine Peninsula Tourist Information

Book Now

PADI Women in (Free)Diving: Sam Amps

Former captain and athlete for the UK Freedive Team, Sam Amps is a leader in both the scuba diving and freediving worlds. She is a PADI Course Director and AIDA Instructor Trainer, and is founder of freediving center, Saltfree. As a key public figure and freediving safety advisor, Sam has also been a key consultant in the development of the PADI Freediver programmes. 

Sam Amps Freediver

Le Grand Bleu: Igniting Passion and Careers

Sam’s initial steps into the diving realm began in Cornwall. From a young age, her relationship with the water was allowed to grow and develop through a range of aquatic adventures arranged by her uncle. First learning to swim, then surf and windsurf, and then finally taking her first breath underwater on a PADI Discover Scuba Experience at the age of 26:

Sam Amps

“I was immediately hooked. I just could not believe the amount going on underneath the often grey and dull surface of the water that I’d been looking at all my life. Just three years later, I had become a PADI Instructor and taught the same uncle and cousin their PADI Open Water Diver Course. That was quite special!”

It was this passion for scuba diving that saw Sam rise to the level of PADI Course Director – the highest rating for a PADI Instructor – and sent her around the globe to dive and teach.

Sam’s interest in freediving was sparked at a fairly young age, after she went with a French pen pal to see Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue) at an open air cinema. “We both fell in love with the idea of freediving, and the next day spent hours diving down to pick up rocks.”

But whilst the foundation had been laid, Sam’s actual transition from scuba diver to freediver happened some 15 years later after winning a ‘Discover Freediving’ course in a charity auction.

“It was love at first dive,” Sam recalls. “At that stage, I had been toying with the idea of Tec or Rebreather diving as my next step, but after one trip down the freedive rope, I knew I’d found my passion. Freediving added a degree of competition and fitness development for me that I was no longer finding in scuba. I loved the challenge of freediving – you can always try for deeper and longer.”

As an added benefit, Sam admits that “the lack of equipment and the freedom to just pick up your fins (or in my case, monofin) and get out on the reef is really liberating.”

As an inspiring leader within both the scuba and freediving scenes, where does Sam draw her own inspiration from?

“In the early years I did quite a bit of training in Egypt with Patrick Musimu, and lots of weekends in Nice, France with Loic Leferne, both of whom are no longer with us. Loic was an inspiration as he encouraged everyone to relax and enjoy their diving. His approach was picked up by the whole team at CIPA, his school in Nice.

Francoise Gautier, who also worked there, similarly played a key role in my development. If he thought I was breathing too hard in preparation for a dive, he’d make me laugh to get my breathing back to normal. At my first World Cup he found me looking pale and nervous an hour or so before my dive and insisted I eat a piece of cake. Contrary to every piece of training advice, it was just what I needed. I like to think we teach in a similar way at Saltfree; we take safety seriously and help everyone achieve their potential, but we never forget this is something we are doing for fun. I am very pleased that the PADI Freediver courses reflect this approach.”

Sam Amps Selfie

With Women’s Dive Day approaching on 16th July, Sam’s plans are centered on celebrating at the British Freediving Association Meet Up at Saltfree:

“Women are still under-represented in the sport, and I do all I can to try and address that. We have a fairly even balance of male/female divers at Saltfree and for a while the instructor team were entirely female.”

Sam’s passion and motivational attitude are evident in her encouragement of other females (and males) to get involved in scuba and freediving.“I think the PADI Freediver programmes will go a long way towards this [getting more women in the water]. The new training materials (PADI Freediver Touch) are very accessible and present the sport, quite rightly, as something everyone can take part in and enjoy. The course standards are flexible enough to challenge those who already have some experience or take to freediving naturally, yet are also achievable for those who are newer to the water, or find they need longer to develop.”

Quick Facts:
Sam Amps
Dream Dive: A very deep one, somewhere very blue and warm that only needs a 3mm wetsuit. I had a few close to this in Hawaii. The people are also important. A dream dive would need my dream buddies.
Favourite Marine Life: Seals, especially the wild ones we swim with off Cornwall.
Favourite Dive Site: Has to be the Saltfree Pontoon at NDAC, Chepstow, which I run – but Porthkerris (Cornwall, UK) is a close second.
Most valued piece of dive equipment: My Suunto D4i that maps and informs every one of my dives and freedives flawlessly. I’ve used Suunto dive computers since day one and nothing else measures. My current one is fluorescent yellow which is even better – it’s much harder to leave behind in a changing room!
Next scheduled dive: Tomorrow – when I have a full group for a PADI Freediver course at Saltfree.
Top Tip: You can never have enough dry swimwear in your dive bag!

PADI AmbassaDiver: Birgitta Mueck

Hi there Ocean Lovers! I´m very happy to introduce myself as one of PADI’s AmbassaDivers. My name is Birgitta Mueck and here is a little of my life´s story.

Birgitta and Dugong Red Sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Brief

At a very young age, I discovered that I was happiest in the water and spending time outdoors. Born and brought up on an island on the swedish west coast, the constant smell of salt water sparked my early curiosity of what was hidden beneath the surface.

My incredible passion for nature and the wilderness led me to study Wilderness Tourism and Nature photography. Since graduation, the majority of my time is spent out in the field as an underwater camera operator and guide.

Together with my father Armin and sister Nanna, we run Crystal Water Film Production, a film company producing underwater films in collaboration mainly with Scandinavian Televisions. Our films are made from an environmentalist point of view, portraying the marine inhabitants and showing how they are threatened by human economic interests.

Whale Kisser

In 1995 when I was eleven,I experienced my first underwater encounter with a wild dolphin in Norway. Not even cold water at 4°C could stop me spending many hours, several days in a row, together with my new friend! Later the same year, I joined my father in Norway, to see my first Orcas from above the surface. This is when my fascinationwith whales began. From this moment on, I was totally hooked by these impressive animals, and I knew that one day, I would be back realizing my dream to swim with the giants of the sea.

Ten years later, I was writing down my dream into a manuscript. We were about to start a sailing expedition to search for whales in the North-East Atlantic. Starting in Northern Norway, we sailed south towards the deep, blue waters of the Azores. An Atlantic sailing adventure including extraordinary underwater meetings with both Orcas, Fin whales, Sperm whales and the biggest of them all, the giantic Blue whale. It was hard to believe that the dream of swimming with the giants had finally come true! But there was still something waiting for me that soon would give me the nick name ”Whale Kisser”. A very close  encounter with a curious juvenile Sperm whale that would stay in my heart and memory forever. More about this big whale kiss, you can read about in my blog ”Film Photo Adventure”.

Scuba Diving

Even though I didn´t rush with it, I always knew I wanted to become a scuba diver. So far, I had been happy discovering the underwater world equipped with only mask, snorkel, fins, suit and camera. In 2006, I earned my PADI Open Water certification, followed by further PADI certification. I was now able to  explore the cold, dark and exiting depths in the waters of Scandinavia, and I truly got addicted!

In 2007, we started two new film projects with the aim of finding the sharks and corals living in our Nordic waters. An expedition that required lots of hard work and dedication, resulting in encounters with up to 10 meters long sharks, and amazing dives at the shallowest deepwater coral reef (Lophelia pertusa) known in the world.

In summer 2012, I finally found the right time for my PADI Divemaster training and have since then, in addition to film- projects and assignments, been working as divemaster and snorkel guide at many different destinations around the globe. During the last four years, I have been travelling for most of my time, to places such as South Pacific, Antarctica, the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Atlantic and High Arctic. Warm tropical seas or cold icy waters, I love it all!

Birgitta Antarctica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Hope to Inspire

I always consider myself as nature’s guest and as having great respect for whatever I see through my lens. Above or underwater. I feel very lucky to be able to find myself in these environments and I feel an important need to share this unique life that many of us might never get to experience. My aim is to inspire others to take a keen interest for the spectacular but so fragile life evolving in the Ocean.

Films and still photography is a great way to spread knowledge and understanding of the incredible wild world that we are surrounded by. As much as I love to be out in the field with just my camera, I thrive on being out on expeditions with like-minded persons. The best way to inspire each other and get pure joy out of an experience in nature is to share it with someone. In addition to my film profession, I love my work as divemaster and guide which gives me another possibility to share my huge passion for the aquatic world.

To become a PADI AmbassaDiver feels like a great opportunity for me, to spread the love and understanding for our unique world hiding beneath the surface, even further. On my blog ”Film Photo Adventure”, and Fb-page ”Birgitta Mueck”,I share my life´s many different adventures from various destinations and environments. Film projects, photo assignments, guide adventures and my many personal travels, are all found on my pages. Adventures for inspiriting life, raising awareness and inspiring others!

Lots of preparation is needed now for our upcoming voyage in the Norwegian Fjords, and I am truly looking forward to sharing my adventure with you! Who knows, maybe I will meet my curious Orca friend again, who seemed to be liking my very talented singing effort, when we last met in February.

Stay tuned… and hopefully see you out there, somewhere on this wonderful planet!

Explore Italy

email-header-italy

 

 

 

 

 

Clear, warm azure water, endless coastline plus a wealth of cultural experiences make scuba diving in Italy a must!

Italy’s dramatic past lends itself to tales of adventure, escapades and exploits. As does Italy’s relationship with the sea. Exploring this vast and varied underwater terrain will see you uncovering part of this layered history. From shipwrecks to intentionally submerged military vessels, the world’s deepest sinkhole or the sunken city of Bala, Italy has something for everyone.

The Italian Riviera is an unmissable portion of coast, not just for topside beauty, but also for the marvels below the surface. Explore Portofino, and uncover the original Christ of the Abyss sculpture, or visit the Marine Park, where the concentration of marine life is truly astonishing.

The islands of Sardinia and Sicily offer divers the chance to find unique rock formations from extensive cave systems and grottoes to caverns. Remarkable colour, pelagic visitors and warmer water make Italy an alluring dive attraction.

Top Italian Dive Experiences. Start ticking these off!

  • You might not be able to find the lost city of Atlantis, but you will be able to find Parco Sommerso di Baia, with its mosaic floors and statues.
  • Check out the colourful basalt and dark, volcanic rocks of Ciclopi, which, according to legend, Polyphemus threw at Ulysses.
  • Head to Pozzo del Merro, the world’s deepest sinkhole, to find what lies beneath
  • Investigate Lake Garda, between Venice and Milan, which promises shoals of freshwater fish
  • Search the grassed seabed’s of Punta di Fetovaia in Elba to see lobsters, sponges and schools of grouper

MSD Challenge

MSD-Challenge-E_emailHader-560x200

 

 

 

 

 

Do you want to be part of the elite of recreational diving? Do you want to live the diving lifestyle, explore the underwater world and to have new underwater experiences? Join the best of the recreational diving and master your diving techniques by becoming a PADI Master Scuba Diver.

The PADI Master Scuba Diver certification places you in an elite group of respected divers who have earned this rating through both significant experience and scuba training. It will open your doors to an endless amount of adventures and diving opportunities.

The PADI Master Scuba Diver rating is not a course in itself, but a set of requirements that need to be met before you can apply:

  • 12 years old
  • PADI Rescue Diver or Junior Rescue Diver
  • Minimum of five PADI Specialty Diver courses
  • Minimum of 50 logged dives

Do you want to be ready to continue your diving adventures in cold, deep or warm waters? Do you want to develop your diving skills before your next diving holiday? Contact your local PADI Dive Center and get certified as a Master Scuba Diver before 31st December.