Monthly Archives: January 2017

Ibiza’s Underwater Nightlife

ibiza-night-dive

The small Balearic island of Ibiza is world famous for its sunset and thousands flock daily to the west side of the island to see the sun disappear behind the sea horizon. When day gives way to night, the underwater world also dramatically changes. Much like their human counterparts, the organisms that swim around by day disperse and the creatures of the night come out to play!


For the adventure seeker, night diving in Ibiza has to be up there on the list of things to do. The calm waters and almost flawless visibility lend themselves perfectly to creating ideal conditions for a night dive. Some PADI® Dive Centers prefer to do a beach dive, slowly wading in getting deeper and deeper, whereas others prefer to dive from the boat. Both are equally as exciting and the build-ups are filled with anticipation and adrenaline. As you approach the black, mirror-like water, the moonlight bounces across its ripples and the fluorescent lights that fill the beaches become just colourful specs in the distance.

moray-night
Expect to see the Mediterranean waters alive with squid, cuttlefish and octopus at night, but be prepared to be investigated by them too. As you shine your touch around, the naturally inquisitive marine life will undoubtedly show you some attention. Keep your eyes trained on sandy bottoms for stingrays, too.

A great spot for an Ibizan summer night dive is the Lighthouse. The shallow, rocky reef surrounded by drop-offs lends itself perfectly to the night crawlers! Find out more on Ibiza dive sites here.

If you remember from your PADI Open Water Diver training, we lose the colour red first when descending, leaving us with the infamous ‘blue wash’. Your torch beam will bring back those colours, giving you vibrant reds that otherwise go unnoticed in the day. Although be aware of highlighting small fish – there are stories of hunting barracuda taking advantage of a lit up meal ticket.

octopus-ibiza-night

Get Your PADI Night Diver

To become a certified PADI Night Diver, you’ll do three dives allowing you to master entry and exit techniques and become a navigation maestro! Finding your way around a dive site in the middle of a sunny day can be a head-scratcher at times, so imagine the skills you’ll want to master to make your way around at night. You will learn new hand signals and ways of communicating alongside honing your buoyancy skills.

Find your local PADI Dive Center and Resort to enroll in the course, and learn more about diving in Spain here.

Top 5 Winter Diving Hotspots

While warm-water divers pack up their kit and hibernate for the winter, dry suit-certified divers enjoy great diving and fewer crowds. Here are five destinations for your (insulated) bucket list.

White Sea

Regarded as one of the top diving destinations in the world, The White Sea in Russia offers equal parts challenge and reward for divers with the right training. Water temps under the ice average -2 °C / 28 °F and there won’t be a post-dive drink in a coconut waiting for you when the dive is done.

But if you fancy dog-sledding, sleeping under the aurora borealis and exchanging smiles with a Beluga whale, clear your calendar for March. During summer months, you could see an orca whale, beluga whale, or Greenland shark.

Beluga Whale - White Sea Winter Diving
Read more about the incredible and friendly stars on ice, the beluga whales.

Drew Richardson in Antarctica - Winter DivingAntarctica

Winter in the northern hemisphere is summertime in Antarctica. Set a course for the least-visited continent and you’ll be treated to sites few divers ever experience. In addition to the unique landscape (both topside and underwater), you’ll may encounter a curious leopard seal, or get dive-bombed by a penguin.

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal in Russia is full of hyperbole. It’s the world’s oldest and deepest lake, and one of the clearest lakes in the world. Visibility can be 38 meters / 125 feet or more. The lake contains approximately 20% of the world’s (unfrozen) fresh water and is home to more than 1,900 different plants and animals, including freshwater seals.

Norway

With eco-rich waters and hundreds of wrecks, Norway has a lot on offer for divers willing to brave cold water. January visitors have a chance to see orca whales following the herring migration and visibility of 30 meters / 100 feet or more.

Off the coast of Bergen, wreck enthusiasts can dive two WWII wrecks two feet apart (the 116 meter / 381 foot M/V Ferndale freighter and the 30 meter / 98 foot rescue steamer Parat. There’s also Lyngstolsvatnet, known as Norway’s Atlantis.

The Arctic

Narwhals, Bowhead Whales, Ribbon Seals, and Belugas await you in The Arctic. Visit from Canada, Greenland or Alaska, but don’t forget your camera. Visibility often exceeds 40 meters / 131 feet, and the underwater ice formations are incredible.

If you’re ready to visit any of these winter diving hotspots, be sure you’re properly equipped. Ask your local PADI dive shop about:

Learn more about earning a PADI Ice Diver certification, or peruse some of our previous posts on cold water diving.

Cold Water Scuba Destinations Divers Adore
Cold Water Diving Hotspots

Freediving with AmbassaDiver Akim Adhari

manta_freediving

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about you?

My name is Akim Adhari, I am French and grew up in the south of Paris. However, I used to spend about three months each year visiting where my parents are from on the coast of Tunisia. I have spent most of my life around the sports industry.

At 6 years old, I started with traditional Japanese Martial arts such as jujitsu and judo. I actively competed from 12 to 18 years old and this passion led me to Asia where I started a career as a professional Thai boxer in Thailand.

After 4 years of training and competition, I decided to retire and I started my professional diving career in Koh Tao. This allowed me to found a freediving centre, which has since become one of the most successful in the world, massively influencing the freediving industry and education.

I also started a freediving sail live aboard in the Mediterranean, The Seaquest, and I am in the process of developing the PADI Freediver Instructor Development Center.

How did you discover freediving?

freedive_akim_adhari

I first discovered freediving when I was I kid during the school holidays when we used to go to Tunisia. Many of my family over there live from diving as it is a traditional activity along with fishing. In the village where my parents are from, the sea provides the main source of income, and as such, many of the inhabitants know how to freedive.

I took a break from my sea activities when I was boxing in Thailand. But when I retired and went to Koh Tao for a holiday, I made new friends and all of them were scuba divers, so naturally this has led me to follow their path. It was a natural next step for me as I was already passionate about the ocean.

Scuba diving came really easy to me and I aimed straight away to be a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. However, during my PADI Divemaster course I heard about freediving and a freediving school in Koh Tao, “Apnea Total”.

I was totally hooked with the freediving and from the very first moment I knew I had found the challenge that I was looking for. This is what had been missing in my everyday life after I stopped boxing competitively.

What is your most incredible freediving story?

Within my first year of freediver training I reached a depth of 103 meters! I am still very proud of this achievement.

When I started freediving I did not feel I had a particular talent for it, so the concept of going that deep seemed impossible. That’s when I decided I wanted to do my own type of training. To use my knowledge in sport and discipline and build from my previous experience, which I knew worked for me. So my approach was a bit different and I developed my own style of training.

I was quite young and new to the discipline, so to achieve that milestone made me feel great and gave me a lot of confidence. Back then only 6 or 7 freedivers went passed the 100 meter mark in constant weight apnea, so from that moment, I knew I would stick to this sport for a long time, if not forever and make a professional career out of it.

Do you feel it’s a real competition and work on yourself when you try to reach new personal limits?

Freediving is like no other sport. It opens endless opportunities: you can be a photographer, a competitor in pool or depth or just discover the ocean and be part of it with no heavy equipment.

Freediving is one of the rare sports or activities that allow a person to really see progress within themselves. That progress can be measured by feeling more comfortable holding one’s breath, more comfortable in the water, be a better swimmer or be a better diver but for most I believe it’s the challenge of depth.

On the flipside, depth can also induce fear, phobia even, or make you lose your confidence. But the idea of going deeper and deeper in the ocean has always awoken fantasies and sparked people’s imagination.

I can see my students, before they start a course, not believing that they will be able to go 15, 20 meters or more on one single breath. They have strong doubts about it or even about themselves.

However after just a 2 day course, they experience true happiness and they finally believe everything is possible and they gain strong confidence about themselves not just in freediving but really about them as an individual. It’s something quite rare for our generation and we need something like this I think.

It goes the same for me. Every meter I gain is the result of a lot of work and preparation to know myself better mentally and physically.

What would you advise to someone who is looking into starting freediving?

Keep it easy! Have fun! Choose your instructor carefully, dream as big as possible and don’t lose sight of it! If your dream is to become a PADI Freediving Instructor then you can! If it is to open a freediving center on a paradise island then you can! Or maybe you dream to become a champion? Then you can! I have seen it in people who started freediving with no sporting background and become world champion within a couple of years. I have built a freediving center from nothing and I have done my Freediving Instructor course with very poor English 8 years ago.

And this is what it can offer! It’s a sport with endless possibilities. It’s just a matter of will and confidence.

freediving_with_manta

What makes the PADI Freediving course unique?

I am definitely the right person to answer this! I have worked with all the main agencies actively, and not small agencies either, but agencies certifying hundreds or thousands of freedivers.

All the agencies offer decent quality knowledge, but of course that is not enough when we talk about an agency. We can easily compare an agency to a school or to an institution.

No matter who the instructor is, or the materials you use, what separates a school from another is the quality of service that is provided to teachers or instructors to allow them to give a comfortable, enjoyable and safe course.

I have never met in the freediving industry anyone who comes close to the team at PADI. I have always got all the support I need quickly and I am always met with professionalism. It really makes a difference when the PADI staff themselves are so very passionate about the ocean, the diving and when it comes to educating my students.

What are you up to at the moment and what’s next for you?

I am now mainly focusing on helping to develop more PADI Freediver Centers and more PADI Freediver Instructors. I also do a lot of one on one coaching. Alongside this, I am of course continuing with my personal training.

Inspired by Akim? Learn more about the PADI Freediver course here.

Your Diving Calendar for the Year Ahead

Looking to plan your next dive trip? We’ve got you covered with some amazing diving destinations for every month of the year!

January:

Maldives – diving in the Maldives is great year round, however visiting in January allows you to skip the monsoon season as you explore the sandy beaches and beautiful reefs.

diving calendar

February:

Bahamas – if sharks are your thing then you’ll be delighted by the bull and tiger sharks that can be found in the Bahamas in February.

March:

Dominica – called the Nature Isle for good reason, diving here feels like it’s been preserved for you to enjoy!

Dominica resized

April:

Egypt – a spectacular diving destination year-round, visiting Egypt in April allows you to enjoy the country above and below the water before the heat really sets in.

Egypt underwater

May:

Great Barrier Reef, Australia – it may not be summer in Australia, but diving is great year round and May is a great time to explore the Great Barrier Reef with water temperature around 25C and humidity is low.

Great Barrier Reef - diving calendar

June:

South Africa – perhaps the ultimate adventure, the Sardine run in South Africa, happens in South Africa between May and July.

diving calendar

July:

Gozo – spot moray eels and squid amongst the limestone caves and craggy nooks of the Mediterranean. Summer time is also seahorse time in Malta so keep an eye out for these masters of camouflage.

Gozo

August:

Sipidan, Malaysia – enjoy calm surface conditions and witness many green and hawksbill turtles come to ashore to nest.

September:

Bonaire – a reliable diving destination year-round Bonaire is a diver’s paradise during August. Dive during a full moon and you will get to experience the magic that is coral spawning.

diving calendar

October:

Omanyou may not have heard much about it, but Oman is a beautiful place to explore both above and under the water and October is one of the best months to do that. It’s even likely that you’ll get to see some whale sharks on your trip.

Canary Islands – with year round warm sunny weather, anytime is really a great time to go to the Canary Islands, but October is noted as having the best weather and visibility as well as easy entries and exits.

Canary Islands

November:

Norway – if you ever dreamed of seeing orcas, plan your dive trip to Norway in November. This unique experience could just be the trip of a lifetime.

Curious Male Orca - diving calendarPhoto by PADI AmbassaDiver Birgitta Mueck

December:

Silfra, Iceland – dive between tectonic plates with stunning scenery and incredible visibility. Technically, there’s no best time to dive Silfra, but during the summer there are more snorkelers and divers. This means you’ll enjoy the company of less people during colder months like December.

Silfra_resized

Get in touch with a PADI Dive Shop in any of these destinations to book your next dive vacation.

Indonesia

Indonesia

Indonesia is an epicenter of biodiversity, hosting a greater variety of marine life than anywhere else on earth. The South China Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean converge here on the world’s largest archipelago of more than 18,000 islands. Thriving off Indonesia’s coastline are more than 600 coral and 3000 fish species. The scuba diving is nothing short of outstanding. There’s exhilarating drift diving, extensive reef diving, fantastic night diving, unique muck diving and breathtaking steep walls. Tec divers probe the deep trenches and wreck divers love the many World War II relics. Bali is a hot spot for giant sunfish encounters and has some stunning drop-offs. East of Bali is Komodo where nutrient rich currents underpin a vibrant ecosystem. Off Lombok, the Gili Islands are casual, beautiful and tranquil, with marine life to delight every diver. To the north, Sulawesi features fabulous diving at Lembeh Strait, Bunaken and Manado. Wakatobi’s world-class drop-off is famed for its action and color, with everything from blue ringed octopus and ghost pipefish to resident sea turtles Raja Ampat is liveaboard country with waters that boast more than 1200 marine life species. With more dive sites yet to be discovered, Indonesia has something for divers of all levels.

Great Dives

  • USAT Liberty, Bali – This 119-metre/390-foot US Army transport ship, was torpedoed in the Lombok Strait during WWII and lies just 30 metres/100 feet from shore off Bali’s northeast coast. The deepest point is about 30 metres/100 feet. The structure attracts great barracuda, napoleon fish and scribbled file fish among myriad other marine denizens.
  • Crystal Bay, Bali – This is one of the best sites to encounter the shy mola-mola oceanic sunfish. The sheltered bay opens into a deep channel between islands. Due to the usual current, big pelagic species such as manta ray, sharks, tunas and trevallies often cruise by. The shallow reef offers great macro photography opportunities of frogfish, seahorses and nudibranchs.
  • German Flag, Komodo – Upwelling in the area brings nutrient rich water that feeds plankton that attract manta rays, usually from September to January. Often done as a drift dive, you soar past large boulders along the shore that shelter grouper, potato cod, Napoleon wrasse, surgeonfish and snappers.
  • Cannibal Rock, Komodo – This lush seamount lies just below the surface and is a hotbed of biodiversity. Look for pygmy seahorses, frogfish, dozens of nudibranchs and abundant Coleman shrimp. Bursting with color, you’ll see green and blue anemones, purple gorgonian fans, lime green whip coral ferns, blue tunicates and multihued feather stars.
  • Shark Point, Gili Islands– At this site, reef sharks and turtles are spotted on a regular basis. Usually done as a drift dive, you can choose your depth and cruise by coral formations hiding bannerfish, Moorish idols and other colorful reef fish. Look for cuttlefish and blue-spotted stingrays as well as mantas cruising by.
  • The Magnet, Belongas Bay, Lombok – This underwater pinnacle is exposed to the open sea, which is why it attracts pelagics. It’s one of the few places in the world where you have the chance to see scalloped hammerhead and giant hammerhead sharks in the same place. As you descend down the pinnacle, you may also encounter tuna, barracuda, white-tip and black-tip reef sharks.
  • Molas, Manado – This is a steel hulled Dutch merchant ship that sank during WWII and is now covered with corals. The bottom starts at 38 metres/125 feet and you can work your way shallower towards the bow, then explore the nearby reef.
  • Jahir, Lembeh – This site has black volcanic sand that typifies diving in Lembeh. As you cruise over the dark bottom, look for purple heart urchins that shelter zebra crabs. You may also see mimic octopus, frogfish, long horn cowfish and ornate ghost pipefish.
  • Hotsprings, Sumatra – At this shallow site, hot gas and water bubble up from the sandy bottom. The cracks and vents change shape and size regularly making for interesting displays. A fun and quirky dive – you don’t do it to see lots of fish. However, you’ll run into a lot of pufferfish and a few bannerfish and yellow snapper.
  • Teluk Mauy, Wakatobi – Situated on a sandy slope the reef starts just below the surface and coral gardens cascade into the deep blue. Overhangs provides shelter for reef fish and the occasional turtle. Look for pygmy pipehorses, rare Pegasus sea moths, frogfish and the occasional blue ring octopus.
  • Boo Rock, Raja Ampat – Round swim-throughs pierce this rock from the surface down to about 5 metres/15 feet. The reef here is magnificent with abundant soft corals and lots of fish. This dive site is a favorite of underwater photographers because the dramatic underwater structure offers endless angles and the wide variety of marine life make great foreground subjects.

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

Komodo_Underwater

Dive Summary

Visibility – Depending on the area and time of year, you may be able to see 6 metres/20 feet to more than 50 metres/160 feet.

Water Temperature – Temperatures range from 20-28°C/71-85°F throughout the year, depending upon the dive site and island.

Weather – Indonesia is tropical with a consistently warm, humid climate. Air temperatures range from 23-30°C/73-86°F in coastal areas throughout the year. The dry season runs from June to October while December and January can be very wet during the monsoon season.

Featured Creatures – More than 3500 marine species live in Indonesian waters. From pygmy seahorses and schooling hammerhead sharks to manta rays and sunfish (mola mola), the marine animals are spectacular. Octopus, moray eels, cuttlefish, turtles, sharks, jackfish, dolphins, emperor angelfish, groupers, goatfish, sweetlips, frogfish, pipefish, lionfish, scorpion fish and leaf fish abound. Invertebrates also flourish here as well as sea fans, sponges, soft corals, feather stars, hard corals, hydroids, whip corals and colorful nudibranchs.

Recommended Training – Take the PADI Deep Diver and Drift Diver courses to be prepared to explore seamounts and pinnacles, and deal with the currents around them. Take the PADI Wreck Diver course if you plan on diving the wrecks of Indonesia. The AWARE – Fish Identification course is a must to appreciate the diversity on the reefs.

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 Indonesia is the official language, however, more than 700 indigenous languages are spoken throughout Indonesia.

Currency – Indonesian Rupiah. Credit cards are accepted in larger cities, but not commonly accepted in more remote areas.

Major Airports – Entry into the country will most likely be through one of these airports – Bali’s Denpasar Airport, Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport or Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, Borneo’s Sepinggan International Airport  or Sumatra’s Polonia International Airport.

Electricity – 220 volts, 50 Hz. Internet is available in larger cities.

Topside Attractions – Indonesia is such a spread out country, you’ll find different attractions in each area. You can white water raft in Sulawesi, West Java and Sumatra. Surf in Bali. Visit Komodo National Park to see Komodo Dragons. Trek through the jungle or explore ancient temples. Stop by Jakarta’s Central Museum to see the extensive collection of artifacts showcasing the region’s art, culture and history.

Information links:
Indonesia.travel
Indonesia-Tourism.com

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