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Oyster Diving | PADI Scuba Diving Blog

All the latest news about scuba diving, travel and PADI training courses from Oyster Diving.

The final blog of the Maldives Trip 2018

Dive Day 6, trip day 8 (Saturday)

Dive 1 the last dive (Embudhoo Express) Sadly this was it, our final dive was about to happen. We were woken as always with a lovely fresh brew of tea in our cabins, a little later than usual as we had all (apparently) been very good all week! 0645 came the rat tat tat at the cabin door and our friendly crew man was standing there with his usual big grin on his face. Briefing next where Albert gave his usual spin on the briefing with his wit, banter but great information. We always knew exactly what to expect and do once we left the lounge heading for the Dhoni. Cameras all in our grasp we headed out and began kitting up. Once we hit the spot it was all go go go and we all jumped into the clear blue waters for the last time this trip. What amazing things were we about to see and witness? This was a channel dive so we all ascended quickly to ensure we all hit the right spot at the right time. As we approached the rocky bed we prepared our hooks to hook in and I grabbed my camera. There were amazing sights to see with the passing shark life, eagle rays, grouper and barracudas drifting past merrily as their days began. I was snapping away content in the thought that I would surely capture yet more great memories. To my left was Hayley with her ‘Eeyore’ Donkey which she had been determined to take on her final dive, accompanying Roger on his last until Silfra. All was going so great until…………dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuun! The true horror of the rookie mistake dawned on me. Looking at the back of my camera I saw the horrific scene we all dread to see when we are in the midst of capturing these memories on film. NO SD CARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How could this happen? I’m a professional! This DOESN’T happen to a professional, DOES IT? Luckily my amazing friends in Chris, Ian and Alison offered up their shots once we surfaced and I came clean. I had already shown Hayley mid-dive what I’d done to be met with a huge chuckle at 25m which even I could hear through her regs! The dive passed without further incident and we drew the safety stop out as long as we possibly could, none of us really wanted to surface. Another awesome dive spotting all manner of creatures.

A list of just some of what we saw on this dive: Grey reef, turtle, school of eagle rays, school of barracudas, grouper, octopus etc etc

                                                                                                                    

There were some incredible photographers on this trip that have produced some real works of art. I hope that non-one feels left out as I couldn't possibly put them all in to this blog but I have put a couple of my faves here, I hope you don't mind. Sophie and Albert are both incredibly talented photographers and I could have flooded this series of blogs just with their work however I'm sure that if you google both Sophie Grisard and Albert Saiz Tezanos you will easily find some of their incredible shots. Tony Felstead, you're an awesome talent too and also amazingly clever at fixing other peoples cameras too when some heavy handed Scuba Instructor messes around with his SD card ;-).

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Dive Day 5, Trip day 7 - Barby night and Dolphin pod!

Dive Day 5, Trip day 7 (Friday)

Dive 14 of the trip (Devana Kandu) First dive of the day and another nice little relaxing drop down to around 24m straight onto the rocky bed and a reef hook dive. Pretty uneventful and not a lot to report to be honest, just very nice to start the day like this. Hovering gently above the rocky bed, suspended by a thin rope, hooked into the rock we just lay there watching the fish and small sharks drift by at the start of their day. As with every dive you are surrounded by little macro life too so it is always worth a stare at the surrounding topography there are always some fascinating little critters to admire including nudis and all sorts!

Species spotted: Grey reef sharks, white tip, eagle rays, giant moray, octopus

          

 

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Dive Day 4, Trip day 6 Night Nurse!

Dive Day 4, trip day 6 (Thursday)

Breakfast roll call at 6.15am meant another interesting time listening to the dive brief for the pre-breakfast dive (Dive 11 for the week Rangali Madivaru), looking forward to this one as it appears to be a nice relaxing start to the day. Off we trot to the Dhoni and begin heading out to the open ocean alongside what can only be described as a true tropical paradise. As we descended it would appear that the visibility has gotten even better over night since the brief storm we had earlier in the week had now long passed. The sun is shining constantly now and the waters are so lovely and warm, some are even diving with no neoprene at all these days. Soon we were drifting gently along the reef walls, complete with rocky overhangs hiding all sorts of interesting soft coral hangings and fish life hiding from the sun as it streams down through the water. No dramas on this one and lots to see too including white tips, white mouth moray, baby clown trigger fish, banded pipefish to name just a few. Roger had another outing today dropping down to his deepest dive yet, certainly no deeper than 30m though......obviously!

Dive 2 (Maamigil) proved to be a fascinating drift dive once again with only a gentle current gliding us along all eagerly looking out for the whale sharks which are occasionally in the area. Great excitement was apparent just before we entered the Dhoni when Ian shouted ‘Shark’ at the back of the main boat. I think that maybe his own keen anticipation may have been playing tricks on his mind but who knows, they say Loch Ness doesn’t exist either yet many have seen it! I have decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he did he see one as sadly we didn’t spot any others on the dive. Even at the end of the dive whilst doing a perfectly executed safety stop with Ian, Hayley and Jen we were all still gazing about us willing just a brief encounter – it just wasn’t meant to be I suppose. However highlights of the dive were seeing a turtle feeding, another one sleeping and many other fascinating sightings of rare and amazing creatures including white tip sharks, marble rays, bird wrass, parrot fish, morays and many varieties of sea cucumbers.

 

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Feeding time - Dives 8, 9 and 10 Maldives 2018

Dive Day 3, trip day 5 (Wednesday)

The morning again began with a freshly brewed cup of tea being brought to our cabins at the ungodly hour of 6.15, however if we are to have time to experience these amazing times then ‘the early bird catches the worm’. How right they are!

Again we were in for an extraordinary batch of treats in the sea. Briefing 1 of the day revealed that we were going to head off ‘for a day of cleaning’. The first dive (Himendhoo Rock) of the day was to head toward a Manta cleaning station. Briefing over we jumped in with keen anticipation, dropping down to a comfortable 15-20m we were positioned in a circle, just as we had done the night before, but this time surrounding a huge piece of rock. On this rock were hundreds of tiny fish all positioned ready and waiting from the Mantas to slowly glide in, not like the feeding frenzy we had seen the previous night, but more a graceful flight in to allow the cleaners to indulge themselves  on whatever they could glean from the skin of the Mantas. Again and again they swooped in and then disappeared into the blue. We sat and watched this peaceful operation for over 40 minutes until slowly fellow divers had to retire from their positions in search of the surface as air depleted.

                          

Dive 2 (Moofushi Manta point) briefing was a little more in depth as we were given a strict set of rules to adhere to. Mainly due to the human nature of us divers ‘fighting’ for a view as the 2nd dive spot we were heading to was an alternative but evidently much busier cleaning station. We were not left disappointed! There wasn’t too much jostling for a position either which I was particularly pleased about. Immediately we arrived at the station we were greeted but a stunning display of huge Manta Rays swooping in for their ‘wash’n’brush up’. Amusingly we were also told to look out for the baby eagle rays who seemed to have an identity issue (they think they are Mantas too!). They looked so cute swooping in, just like the Mantas, yet they were a 10th their size. Equally beautiful and agile just a little more cute. As air began running low we headed away from the station to begin our safety stops and ascents, the journey out was simply stunning as we were met by hundreds of bright yellow snappers and many other varieties of fish, nudis, barracudas and even a lone Spanish dancer jigging her way around Hayleys BCD eagerly exploring to see what this strange bubble blowing creature was! What an awesome way to celebrate your 100th Dive Kirsten, well done and many congratulations.

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Dive day 2, trip Day 4 Surprise!

Dive day 2, trip Day 4 Surprise!

Dive Day 2, trip day 4 (Tuesday):

The morning began at 6.15am with a lovely brew being brought to the cabin before the 6.30 1st dive briefing (Rasdhdo Madivaru repeated). What a day they had in store for us today. The briefing gave us all a quick lesson on ‘reef hooks’ and how to use them. A particularly handy class for those that were a bit rusty on their use and there were also a lot that hadn’t used them before. Focus being on safety but also respect for where they were to be hooked onto. Dropping down we were soon onto the edge of the channel, hooking on it was supposed to be a waiting game but it certainly didn’t prove to be a long wait. It was like a shark super highway! Right in front of us there were silver tip sharks, white tip sharks, grey sharks amongst many thousands of variety of fish and fauna. All going about their regular business completely oblivious to the 20 or so sets of eyes gazing at them in complete awe. We spent nearly 40 minutes just watching them drift along then gradually as air began getting low our fellow divers began to depart heading to the surface for the safety stops and excited discussions to be had once surfaced. Roger had his first dive of the cruise watching out for his former friends and foes! Luckily he managed to avoid any potential dangers and had great fun with Paul and the rest of us. He even got his picture snapped with Thithi the dive guide! Then came a delicious breakfast of omelettes, sausages and beans plus loads of fruit! More fruit than I have seen in an awfully long time anyway!

                                        

Following nap time came dive 2 (Gangehi Pass) briefing and back into the Dhoni. A short ride out to the reef and we were soon plunging into the warm blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Dropping down to around 25m we were met by a beautiful coral face with quite literally thousands of sea creatures, some swimming, some crawling and some doing, I don’t know what! A huge sea cucumber was spotted, square in profile, about 20cm across and thick and it must have been 3 feet long! There was a rather unfortunate happening on this dive at the start when Ian’s high pressure hose literally exploded just as he dropped in off the Dhoni, very unfortunate as he had to sit  out the dive, even more unfortunate for his hose though (RIP HP hose, you will be fondly remembered for all your faithful service over the years – a quote from Ian!) I really went with a huge bang under the water, we all thought it was when Richard had done his giant stride entry! (hee hee only joking Mr Dennis 😉).

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Trip day 3 Dive Day 1 Maldives 2018 Manta Ray first sighting

Trip day 3 Dive Day 1 Maldives 2018 Manta Ray first sighting

Monday 5th February

6am call with a cup of tea at the cabin door. What new experience were in store for us this fine day? Safety and dive briefing over we headed over to the Dhoni for dive 1 (Kurumba). A check dive they called it, what a check dive! During this 40 minute submersion into the beautiful warm blue waters we saw Hawksbill turtles, Black tip sharks, White tip Sharks and thousands of other varieties of coral dwellers. If this was a taste of what we had to come then bring it on. What could dive 2 possibly have in store…………………………………………………       

                

Following a hearty breakfast and time for a little R&R catch up the bells rang calling us for briefing no.2 (Rasfari). A few minutes later we were all back on the Dhoni gearing up for dive 2. None of us could ever have anticipated what this dive had in store for us. We were separated into the groups Albert had suggested and we dropped off the boat into the warm water. Negative entry, so we were quickly descending into the unknown. The reef was soon in sight and we all gathered for our swim along, keeping the reef on our right and just 7 or 8 minutes into the dive we heard the clacker from the guide. Coming in from ‘the blue’ was my first ever open water sighting of a Manta Ray! Majestically she glided toward us, like an undersea angel, followed by 2 more of these spectacular creatures. So aware of us yet seemingly inquisitive of us. What must they be thinking when they see us strange ‘’bubble blowing’’ blobs floundering about in their world? They glided in and around our group as if to try to work it out, then they were off, effortlessly, just as quickly and gracefully as they had entered, our lives they left it.  My first Manta Ray experience was over. We then continued on, dumbstruck by what had just happened. There was just so much to see down there and enveloped in the warm tropical ocean I never wanted to leave. Air getting low, it was time to think about surfacing when all of a sudden another Manta came to say goodbye. Gliding in and out of our group, in what looked like slow motion, she came and then went. It was now time to begin our ascent. The buzz on the Dhoni was extraordinary, the spirit was so alive with the excitement of what we had all just encountered. Some people I had never met before, yet in just 24 hours, had now shared such a magical experience with. Discussion over pizza in the mess was filled with excitement and anticipation  on what this week was to hold for us all.

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Maldives 2018 Dive trip day 1

Saturday 3rd February / Sunday 4th February

Heading out from Brighton on Rogers first foreign assignment, this time to the Maldives. Who knows where his adventures will take him next. Chris and Kirsten have already messaged to offer their assistance with the extra kit so I already knew this was going to be a great trip. Train journey went great and the first to join the group was Kirsten waiting on the platform. Chris was there somewhere too but there are 3 exits and we were at different ones! Anyway Chris soon found us at the end of the travellator. We then all took a walk toward the terminal when we were then met by Jennifer. The group was slowly taking shape……….once Chris had had his last ciggie for a few hours we went toward the check in. We were soon joined by Richard, Ian, Fiona, Alison and Natalie. There was only one left to join us now……………………..WHERE’S HAYLEY? No dramas actually she was just a few minutes behind the rest of us so while Hayley was having her last minute battle with the M23 traffic Ian, Fiona and a few others went off to get us a nice area in the lounge. Hayley was soon there and we headed through security, everything was going so smoothly. The entire group had arrived and we were all heading toward our rendezvous in the No1 lounge, North terminal.

Ian and Fiona had got us a cracking position right next to the bar so I could see what kind of trip this was going to be……………………😉 Especially when the bar tender offered a Champagne lager blend which was complimentary with the pass! Boarding not until 1925 so food and bar time resumed.

First group shot followed our exit from the lounge and we headed to the most enormous plane I have ever seen. We really were on our way to the Maldives. Flight arrived early at Dubai, our short stop, resulting in the longest transfer from one aircraft to another in living history……………………a 1 hour bus journey (well it felt that way!). Plus a 20minute hike through the terminal to our gate for the 2nd flight of the day. No dramas though plus they sold square doughnuts which is always a bonus! Roger had his fill of them and we were then called through for the next leg of our journey. All was going so well, what could possibly go wrong…………………….erm……………………nothing until we got to our final descent into Male! Looking at the screen our arrival time into Male all of a sudden changed from 10 minutes to 45 minutes, strange. Then came the announcement……………..”This is your Captain speaking, you may have noticed our arrival time has changed. Unfortunately the runway needs repairing before we can land as other aircraft have reported damage. Your safety is our most important consideration so we have enough fuel to stay airborne until the repairs have been completed’. In summary we circled for almost 2 hours!!!! This did mean that I could watch the end of the Muppet movie though so every cloud eh!?!?

On arrival at Male we were greeted by a very friendly Albert and his team who took us on the incredibly long transfer from terminal to port……………..literally a 200m walk across a car park and onto the Dohni. The Dohni is our dive boat or tender for the whole week. We had a short crossing of about 20 minutes until we arrived home, the MY Voyager, our luxury cruising floating hotel for a week.

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What are the top 10 most deadly sharks on the planet?

The top 10 most deadly sharks 

This is a question we are constantly asked when we take our customers on holiday on our shark diving trips. If you look at the statistics sharks do have an undeserved reputation that plays on our primal fears - such as more people get killed in america by vending machines than sharks. If you read articles about shark attacks then these are often agreed as being to 10 top most deadly:

 

1.       Great White Shark

The beast of a shark is the ultimate predator. The apex fish has been hunting in our oceans for at least 34 million years and until man came along had few natural animals that prey on it (although killer whales sometimes do target them). They can reach 14 feet and their favourite food is seals. They are one of the few sharks that are warm blooded which means they can hunt in cold seas.

2.       Tiger Shark

These camouflaged beauty’s generally stick to warm water. They are very curious and are often referred to the garbage trucks of the ocean, due to the strange contents found in dead shark’s stomachs. They are believed to be able to only taste their food once they swallow it. Most other sharks tend to take a test bite and if you’re not a natural food for them then they spit it out.

3.       The Mako

These are the Ferrari’s of the shark world. Slender and sleek they are the fastest shark in the sea with recorded speeds up over 40mph (try and run in the shallow end of the pool to see how difficult it is to move fast in water). Due to their great hunting techniques they are a endangered species due to shark finning by man.

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Swimming Pools Wanted for Private Hire

We are looking for swimming pools to rent

 

We are looking for new swimming pools that are available for private hire to teach our PADI scuba diving courses. Renting out your pool can provide a welcome income source to help pay for the expensive upkeep of a swimming pool.

The pool should have a shallow end and a deep end of 2m or greater. Ideally the pool will be heated to at least 29 degrees and kept in good, clean working order. There needs to be changing rooms and easy access for our scuba equipment.

Your pool doesn’t have to be massive as much of the time training our divers is kneeling down on the bottom. If you have a large pool such as those found in schools then we would be happy to share with another club. We are flexible on days and times but evenings and weekends would be a preference. 

The places we are currently looking for pools to hire are in Manchester, Birmingham, North London, East London, Portsmouth and Brighton, but we are open to looking at other locations too. Our instructors are caring and will ensure that your pool is properly cared for. All of our equipment is clean and our tanks all have rubber bottoms to protect your pool tiles.

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Support the London Dive Chamber

This is an e-mail that we received from our friends at the London Dive Chamber who are potentially facing closure....

URGENT: POTENTIAL CLOSURE OF HYPERBARIC CHAMBERS

NHS England’s public consultations for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) opened recently - see https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation_finder/?keyword=hyperbaric and below for the specific policy on decompression illness:

https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/comm-pol-hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy-decompression

They include a proposal to reduce the number of current chamber facilities from 10 to 8, with the closure of one London chamber and one in the South. The link to this consultation is here:

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Easy Guide to Egyptian Liveaboard Itineries

Here is the Laymans Guide to Itineraries in the Egyptian Red Sea

Having lived, worked and dived all over Egypt during the last 16 years I thought I'd make it easy for you work out which is the best Red Sea itinerary for you:

Wrecks and Reefs – this a trip where you dive some great reefs but also a number of wrecks including the SS Thistlegorm. This is one of the most famous dive’able wrecks in the world as it was discovered by Jacques Cousteux. The British supply ship was on its way to supply munitions to the allied forces in Africa when it was bombed by the Germans. It now lies in 30m of water and you can still see the motorbikes, trucks, steam engines and plane wings in the ship. Ideally you need to be Advanced with 20 dives to do this trip.

Best of wrecks – this is for true heavy metal fans and as the name suggests involves diving lots of wrecks. Some of the wrecks are on reefs and act as artificial reefs but if you want to see lots of marine life and coral then this is probably not for you. Ideally you need to be Advanced with about 35 dives for this trip (the Deep specialty certification is also useful as one of the wrecks is around 40m)

Simply the Best – This is one of my favourite itineries if you like adrenalin fuelled dives. The trip focuses on reefs hundreds of miles out to see. Due to the rich nutrients this means the coral life is excellent and it attracts large pelagics such as sharks, tuna etc. There is also an option to do a ‘Project Shark’ version of the trip where you are accompanied by a member of the Red Sea Shark Trust (aka the Shark Lady). She does really interesting presentations about sharks and the future conservation. I’ve done about 5 trips with her and never get bored – if there are sharks in the water she knows where to find them! There can be some exciting drift dives here so for this trip you need to be ideally Advanced open water with 50 dives+

Deep South – This takes you to some of the more remote and pristine reefs in the Red Sea. It’s great if you want to see lots of corals and aquarium like dive sites. It is much more relaxed then Simply the Best and can be enjoyed by anyone who is Advanced or more

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Summer Holiday preparation

Who is now completely fed up with this rotten weather?

Who is already regularly drooling over the web pages showing beautiful white sandy beaches, crystal clear blue waters and images of coral and fish life that blows your mind?

The answer to both questions above is probably that the majority of us have looked and we will all soon be planning our trips to sunnier climes. Every year we have a plethora of people going to an amazing destination with everything planned and with the absolute ideal of going scuba diving yet they do nothing about it until about 3 weeks (or less!) before they are due to leave! Yup, those that did it to me last year know who they are 😉. They had enormous fun getting their qualifications but under un-necessary pressure. So, this year, those of you that are planning your holidays to an exotic dive destination with the intention of going diving drop us a line now. We can get the ball rolling and get you qualified way in advance. If you learn early then you can even get a few more practise dives in before you depart for your holiday destination.

Why would you want to waste 4 days of your holiday learning to dive when you can get certified way in advance of your trip?

In order to clarify what is involved with learning to dive you should first compare it to learning to dRive as no-one would call a driving school telling them that they had to learn to drive in two weeks because they had organised a fly drive across America in two weeks time, would they?

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How often should I get my Diving Equipment Serviced

Why Servicing Your Diving Equipment is so Important

 

Well it’s that time of year again when the weather is showing a few signs of breaking and the thought of jumping into some water adorning your scuba kit becomes slightly more appealing.

Have you considered when you last had your equipment serviced? Most regulators require a service every 12 months or 100 dives, but how many of you actually consider this every year. If you don’t service your car regularly it can become a real inconvenience, stuck on the side of a rainy, windy road waiting for a mechanic or tow truck to come and rescue you. What a pain! However, as you all know, there is no ‘hard shoulder’ at 20m below the surface and there sure is no tow truck that is going to come and rescue you. In fact if you have suffered equipment failure at depth at any time it is not the most pleasant of experiences and not only that can become VERY dangerous. Maintaining your Scuba equipment is vital and even forms part of your Open Water course when you are told how to look after it. Looking at your regulators, in particular, they are designed to be ‘fail safe’ but there is no guarantee if they haven’t been maintained properly. We very often see equipment pass through our workshop turning the sonic cleaner fluid black in one hit, or high pressure hoses that could burst at any time. All that dirt is a potential cause of failure and as a service maintenance provider of scuba equipment we feel it is our responsibility to warn you of the dangers of ill maintained equipment.

Buoyancy Control Devices (BCD’s) have O’rings which require regular checks and replacements as air leakage in a BCD can be a real nuisance especially when you have surfaced and you are awaiting collection by a dive boat following a long and fun drift dive that may have taken you a kilometre or more from the boat itself. A 20 minute wait with a faulty BCD is going to be no fun at all, trying to keep buoyant while orally inflating your BCD would be an accident waiting to happen, and all because you failed to have a service of the BCD before you travelled. 13.5% of fatal accidents are caused through regulator or BCD failure; an extremely high percentage considering these issues are wholly preventable.

 

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Are Liveaboards the Best Way to Dive on Holiday?

Why Liveaboards Are the Best Way to Dive on Holiday

 

For some divers the thought of a liveaboard can be a little bit daunting. Spending a whole week (or possibly longer) on a boat with complete strangers can sound a little claustrophobic. What if you don’t like the food, can you relax and is the diving too intense? These are just some of the questions we get asked by customers who have never ventured on a liveaboard before.

The main advantage and the real reason why liveaboards exist is that they can get to the best dive sites. Many resorts around the world only let you access the dive sites near them. A liveaboard can literally move hundreds of miles during a trip. Many of the worlds dive sites are only accessible by liveaboard, such as Darwin & Wolf Islands in the Galapagos and Brother Islands in the Red Sea. So by venturing on a liveaboard you will see the best of what is on offer in that region. An example of this is in the Maldives, you can spend one or two days looking at giant Manta’s then the boat will move to the next Atoll where you can see whale sharks and then finally move to where you can get some exhilarating drift dives and dozens of reef sharks.

Most people who tend to go on liveaboards are good fun. Just like any walk of life you may occasionally find one or two people are a pain. As most liveaboards with several decks, seating areas and places to go, it is easy to avoid them.

Liveaboards are diving made simple – your kit is generally already assembled and more often than not it is a case of putting it on, taking a few steps and a hop straight in to the ocean. At the end of the dive the crew normally take your kit off you before you’ve even finished climbing back on board. Not are the staff generally very attentive to making your life much easier they are also good fun and very friendly – they rely on tips.

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Become an Oyster Ambassador

OYSTER SCUBA DIVING AMBASSADORS WANTED

 

As one of the UK’s leading dive schools we have introduced 1000’s of people in the to the joys of scuba diving. We teach in 5 prestigious locations in the South East of England including London, Surrey & Berkshire, Brighton, S.E. London & Kent and Oxfordshire.

If you’re a blogger or influencer and would like to learn to dive, or dive already and would help us to spread the word, then join us as an Oyster Diving Ambassador.

Whether you are interested in dive travel, doing diving courses or UK trips then we’d love to hear from you. For many learning to dive is a real life changing experience and as well as offering a fascinating leisure pursuit can help improve fitness, social skills, knowledge development and have lots of fun at the same time.

 

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The Amazing Adventures of Roger the Turtle - Part 2

My Second Week at Oyster Diving

 

Well it’s been another fantastic week being part of the team at Oyster Diving. Monday was a little boring as they had me answering the phone and doing admin. I think they are just trying to get me out of my shell a little.

On Tuesday I decided to stick my neck out and start the PADI open water course at the pool in Soho, Central London. The pool based at Marshall Street Leisure Centre is brilliant and couldn’t be more central and accessible to London’s tube system. It’s even older than my cousin Lonesome George but they have recently spent around £15 million bringing it up to date but keeping the same architecture. It has a 10 foot depend where I was able to practice my buoyancy skills and swimming correctly. Unfortunately, the pool has no tasty broccoli corals I could eat, as diving can make you hungry. I must also remember that the no.1 rule of scuba diving is to never hold your breath! I am really looking forward to my next open water session in London next week!

  

On Wednesday we went to Uckfield College and did a PADI Discover Scuba for 15 of their students and one of their teachers. They were really quick learners and the smiles on their faces put a big grin on my face. Afterwards I helped to unload the equipment from the van and I even sustained a small injury. After the 20 stitches were placed in my head by our physician Alison I was replaced in the recovery ward and was able to return to work the next day.

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My first week at Oyster Diving

My first week at Oyster Diving

Straight in to the Pool

 

So my first week on the job as the new Head of PR and Environmental Manager has certainly been a busy one. It all started on Saturday when I travelled up to Oxford with Paul and Mark to get prepared for the huge task of seeing 120 young scouts and cubs doing their PADI Discover Scuba sessions. We all stayed in a lovely hotel to get ready for the Sundays event. We woke early and headed down to the pool and Paul, Mark, Nick and little Alex all started getting the equipment ready on the side of the pool. They call him ‘Little Alex’ because he has been diving with Oyster for over 10 years since he was 12 when he completed his Open Water course, he’s now a Divemaster! Anyway, the first group of 12 excited scouts arrived at 8.45 in the morning and following a safety talk by Mark they were all ready to get in the water. Nick and Paul had a group each of 6 highly energised student divers each with little Alex acting as a support to them. I was very impressed with how they handled the groups as they kept talking about being safe, keeping their regulators in their mouths and how to inflate and deflate their BCD’s (buoyancy control devices). It’s all very different to me and my ‘freediving’ but looks great fun. I can’t wait for my first Scuba lesson which should be soon as my kit is currently being  ‘specially made’’. Not many scuba manufacturers make stuff for Turtles, not even Aqualung who we are partners with! The day passed by so quickly, I had a few rides on the back of Nick and Pauls scuba tanks which was great fun too and also had a play around with the scouts in the water. They were all very excited to see me there. We eventually got packed away by 6.30 in the evening, long day but real fun day. 

Monday was an office day as there was so much paperwork that had to be finished off from Sundays scout day it was all hands (and flippers!) to get all the equipment washed and rinsed off and the tanks filled with air ready for Tuesday.

Tuesday…………………………wow………………………Soho pool night with all courses back open. Apparently it was a lot quieter than normal but it still seemed pretty busy. I was really impressed how Nick and the team got everything together and by the end of the night there were lots of happy people again. Reactivates, Discover Scuba Diving and Open Water divers all had a great time in the enormous marble lined swimming pool, very fancy! I had a little go but joined in with the freedivers, they were pretty impressed when I didn’t actually have to come up for air the entire time! They could only manage 2 or 3 minutes! Paul had to go to a meeting somewhere else about other diving clubs which all seemed very interesting.

Wednesday saw Mark, Paul and myself going for a big secret meeting! There were lots of people all standing around in a beautiful room listening to Paul and Mark talk to them about diving and all things Oyster. They all said how much they had enjoyed what Paul and Mark had said and had found it very interesting. That’s about as much as I’m allowed to say…………………very secret! I had great fun riding the ‘tube’ which is like a train but it’s underground.

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Oyster Diving, the health of our oceans and the environment

Oyster Diving are committed members of PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors), Project Aware and a number of other Environmental Associations and with this commitment comes an ongoing dedication to ensure that a message of respect for our oceans and the planet is passed on to each and every student we teach to dive.

As part of this drive toward eco-education Oyster Diving use every course and opportunity to introduce our students to ocean awareness, the health risks it faces and what we all need to do to try and right some of the wrongs we have done. We do this by taking scuba diving not only to pools with the general public but also to schools, youth associations, scouts, large corporate clients and summer camps.

We also try to demonstrate to people the beauties of the oceans, some of which are not always so obvious. We do this by educating people on the basics of the life and eco systems that exist within our oceans such as the incredible reliance that the oceans have on creatures such as sharks and their place in the food chain, coral and how they and the phytoplankton produce over 85% of the planets Oxygen. When you consider that the amount of phytoplankton has declined by over 40% since 1950 we really need to act now before we run out of Oxygen! Sharks, being at the top of the food chain are absolutely essential in maintaining the equilibrium and balance. If they don’t exist then other predators will overpopulate the oceans depleting smaller fish and sealife to such an extent that the food chain will break down and the larger remaining predators will starve. Without sharks the oceans will die. Currently over 11000 (yes eleven thousand!) sharks PER HOUR (that’s around 100,000,000 per year!) are being killed by humans simply for their fins. This CANNOT be sustained. The Great Barrier reef although over 250,000,000 years old has been absolutely devastated, some say to the point of complete destruction (it is known to be more than 95% dead) through the process which has been called ‘Bleaching’. Bleaching is caused from rising sea temperatures caused by us through polluting the planet and causing global warming – there is no other way to put it. When you consider this has happened in a period beginning probably not much further back than the late 1700’s. So, in just over 200 years, we have killed 250,000,000 years of evolution (that equates to less than 0.0000008% of the lifespan of the reef itself!). How frightening is this?

At Oyster Diving we are passionate about the sport and all that it brings to us. For example did you know that 71% of our planet is covered by water, You are missing out on almost ¾ of the planet if you can’t dive. Of the remaining 29% of the planet only 0.03% of the earths land mass is actually occupied by humans. Sadly we are an egocentric species overstating our own importance. It is time that we recognised that we NEED the planet, the planet certainly DOES NOT need us. By becoming involved in Scuba Diving you will very soon come to realise just how much real beauty there is out there and it doesn’t start with the human race.

Many corporate companies are now coming to us as part of their recognition to encompass environmental awareness and to inform their team members of how they can look at changing the way they behave with regard to the use and disposal of plastics both at home and at the workplace. In the end everyone is saving money and the planet is being given half a chance of becoming a healthier one. The recovery of some of the species currently endangered is still possible if we act now. It is sadly too late for many (Pictured below is Lonesome George who was the last of his species he has now passed away leaving his species of Giant Tortoise extinct). Scuba Diving is a fun way to discover the beauty that surrounds us and also to understand the beauty of the planet we are borrowing from our future generations.

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Our new Turtle Friend

Hey Guys,

Thanks for dropping in on my blog, I reckon I’ll be doing one of these every few weeks so keep an eye out for it. I’m going to be telling you all about my latest adventures!

Well, what a turn my life has taken! I have no idea how I came to be stuck on the beach in Brighton, that was some wrong turn I guess! Now I feel I am the only Turtle ever to have won the lottery! These lovely guys at Oyster have really taken me under their wing and now I even have a job! They have put me in charge of the Marketing and PR (if only I knew what PR mean’t……………….I think it means ‘Please Remain’ as they keep telling me to stay here, as if I’m going anywhere 😉). Mark and Paul have asked me to put a ‘Blog’ (that’s a funny word eh!) together every so often to tell you all about me, my adventures and some other lesser known facts about Turtles so I hope you enjoy reading all about ME!

Most of you probably already know that I was found on Brighton beach just a few days before this time you call Christmas, what fun that has been too! Is every day like Christmas? It has certainly felt that way so far. Certainly a far cry from what my fellow Turtleonians are currently going through. Did you know that Turtles have roamed this planet for over 220 millions years? My Uncle ‘Lonesome George’ (A Pinta Giant Tortoise) is the only one of his kind left. He lives in Gallapagos which is nice although a little lonely. The Guys at Oyster went out last year and actually met him, what a coincidence that is eh?! Little did they know Georges nephew was winging his way towards them – LOST! Then there is my Uncles Zhang, Yang and Huang who live in China with my Auntie Ying. They are the only 4 of their kind left (Red River Giant Softshell Turtle) so sad that we have been around for so long and now we are disappearing. I’m so happy that these guys found me when they did otherwise who knows what may have happened to me. They are going back out to see my ‘Uncle George’ again in 2021 so I hope I will be allowed to go and see him too. You can come as well just click on the following link here to check it out https://www.oysterdiving.com/galapagos-islands-scuba-diving-holiday-2021

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Love the January Blue

Love the January Blue

Why scuba diving is the best sport to take up in the new year

 

Come ten past twelve on January 1st, loads of us will start breaking our New Years resolutions. We probably won’t bother going to the gym, the diet won’t last more than a few days and you’ll be straight back in to the rat race before you know it!

 

Well, learning to scuba dive could change all of that. Learning to Dive is a great way to explore our amazing earth and gives you a real sense of adventure, excitement and appreciation of natural beauty. You can feel what’s like to breath underwater and experience weightlessness, just like an astronaut. 

 

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PADI SCUBA DIVING AND HOLIDAY CENTRE

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Oyster Luxury Travel and Diving: S.E. London & Kent, Soho Central London, Brighton & Hove, Surrey & Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Our main facility is at Marshall Street Leisure Centre, 15 Marshall St, Soho, London W1F 7EL

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