Connect with us
background

News

Diving with… Brendal Stevens, Brendal’s Dive Center & Adventure Tours, Abaco, Bahamas

Caribbean DTA Team

Published

on

In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Brendal Stevens

What is the name of your business?

Brendal’s Dive Center & Adventure Tours

What is your role within the business?

Owner/Instructor/Capt/Guide

How long has the business operated for?

35 years – we are the oldest continually-owned dive operation in the Abacos-Bahamas

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I have been diving since I was a very young man, now over 45 years. I am a SSI Instructor, SSI ADV Specialty Instructor, ReAct Rite Instructor CPR/First Aid/AED….also taught prior with SDI & Universal Referral Programs for NAUI/SDI/IDEA/SSI/NASDS

What is your favourite type of diving?

I love the reefs & enjoy wrecks, night dives & seeing marine life like sharks, turtles, rays and macro life too.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

We are a small, owner-operated family business with great dive staff & crew. We have invested in 4 tour vessels + 1 sailing vessel to accommodate both group & private charters. We are now doing 3 generations of families for certifications and guided tours.

About 85% of our guests are repeat clients & families we are able to share are underwater world and great Abaco-Bahamas wildlife with.

What is your favourite dive in your location and why?

The Coral Caverns are wonderful swim throughs with great coral formations and sun filtered lighting wonderful for photo work. Lots of sea life BIG and small. This area we have 4 dive sites we can offer all different but wonderful. Lots of bottom time and nice natural light.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Reef shallow – 70 feet (20m) great corals, grouper, tropicals, sharks, turtles & rays.

Wrecks – Historic San Jacinto 50-60 feet (18m) great fish and colors & Wreck Sail just recently put down 50-60 feet nice for photos & fish.

Great mini walls shallow to 55 feet (18m) with corals, sharks, grouper, fish, turtles & eagle rays.

Grouper Alley 50-60 feet (18m) with friendly grouper wonderful !

Deeper Ledge 70-85 feet (26m) with sponges, fish life, turtles & sharks

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

A passion for diving and sharing the underwater world and I love to teach and guide.

What is your favourite underwater creature?

Love more than one! Groupers are GREAT – very smart and nice to interact with. Sharks …black tip, reef, nurse, bull and hammerheads.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

We are offering NEW all day dive tours to new locations with our new custom tour vessel. We are also offering NEW Wild Turtle Encounters for snorkelers, families and turtle lovers!

We are located off main island of Abaco on Green Turtle Cay so we offer:

Daily free pick up for our guests staying on main island Abaco with our vessel. Because of location we are closer to GREAT dive locations and can reach more locations from the dive base.

Is your centre involved in any environmental work?

Yes, we do wild turtle rescue and help. We started the 1st Lionfish Derby ever in 2009 here. It was developed to be copied and used anywhere in the world to help with lionfish.

We are hoping to do more work with Wild Turtle foundation this next season. We are also wishing to start the coral re-growing program.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkelling industry overall? What changes would you make?

¾ of the Bahamas is underwater so we hope many people can SEE and experience this wonderful world young & old. We offer many snorkel tours/experiences here and feel it is important that snorkelers are given information for doing snorkeling since this segment has not been through a dedicated course as divers do when doing scuba classes.

We would like to see better education for use of divers down flags for all people doing snorkelling & free diving.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

Come and experience our sea life & great wildlife above the water with the menu of tours we offer. The Bahamas turtles, sharks & tropical fish are protected here. The Groupers & Lobsters also have protected seasons.

We are located in a non-urban area with wildlife and natural beauty surrounding both in and out of the water. We offer great dive & activity packages and custom packages based on what is best for clients and their vacation dates. Both group & private are available.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business? 

www.brendal.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BDCBM/

Bahamas Cacique Award Winner for Tourism Finest & Bahamas and National GEO Tourism Award

News

Cayman Bogue swim fundraiser adds sister island event for 2023

Caribbean DTA Team

Published

on

Swimmers from around the world invited to traverse ‘The Bogue’ in this 10K swim from Cayman Brac to Little Cayman for CCMI.

In September 2021, 16 local swimmers took on the challenge of swimming from Cayman Brac to Little Cayman, an open water swim of approximately 10 kilometres, to raise money for local non-profit the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI). After a very successful and fun initial experience, the organisers plan to make this an annual event to help bring endurance swimming events to the Sister Islands.

With such interest after the inaugural event, the 2023 Cayman Bogue Swim has increased the number of available registrations to 50 swimmers, has opened registration to swimmers both locally and abroad, will include several categories of registration, and will feature an expanded weekend of fun and activity in Little Cayman. Participants and their supporters can plan to join other Bogue swimmers for a welcome drinks/packet pick up event on the Friday evening, Bogue Bash: Band and BBQ celebration dinner on the Saturday evening, a tour of CCMI, and more. The weekend will begin Friday, 28th April 2023, with the actual swim starting at 8 am on Saturday, 29th April. The swim starts at Scott’s Dock, Cayman Brac and finishes at Point of Sand on Little Cayman.

Swimmers can choose to register in the competitive ‘race’ category, open water swim category, or as a relay team of two or four persons. No matter the race registration category, the Cayman Bogue Swim is an opportunity for swimmers of all ages, backgrounds, and mixed ability to share in a unique physical and mental challenge that has only been completed by a small number of swimming enthusiasts.

Swimmers can register for the event at https://donate.reefresearch.org/BogueSwim2023. Registration is US $325/person, and it includes event registration, welcome pack, event shirt, event swim cap, entry to welcome drink event/packet pick-up, locally made finisher medal, entry to the Bogue Bash: Band & BBQ event, tour of CCMI, transport via boat to the start line from Little Cayman, in-water support, and include a donation to CCMI in support of their work. Flights, lodging, all other meals, and incidentals are not included in the registration fee and are the responsibility of the participant.

The organisers of The Cayman Bogue Swim once again selected CCMI as the beneficiary of event proceeds, and unlike last year, swimmers will not have to engage in significant fundraising as part of their commitment to swimming in the event. However, anyone wishing to support the participants and their efforts to swim across the Bogue are welcome to donate to the online fundraising page: https://tinyurl.com/Bogue2023.

All donations support CCMI and their work to protect and restore coral reefs in the Cayman Islands through impactful research and innovative marine education experience for students.

For more information about the swim, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/caymanbogue.

Continue Reading

News

Halloween Special Part 2: PADI’s top 7 wrecks to dive in Bermuda

Caribbean DTA Team

Published

on

Just in time for Halloween, we’re back with Part 2 of our deep dive with PADI into spooky Bermuda… 

  1. The Mary Celestia

Also known as the Mary Celeste, this Civil War-era paddle steamer hit a coral reef and sank to her watery grave 1884. She’s known as one of the oldest wrecks in the area and is well-preserved considering: divers can view both her intact paddlewheel and engine, plus her bow, stern, boilers, and anchor. Resting at 55 feet below the surface, a little piece of Mary Celestia made its way above water in 2015 after a few bottles of 150-year-old wine were discovered and delivered to sommeliers for sampling in Charleston, South Carolina.

  1. The Cristóbal Colón

This enormous ship is the largest wreck in all of Bermuda. Coming in at a whopping 499 feet long, the Cristóbal Colón was a Spanish luxury liner that crashed into a coral reef off the north shore in 1936. With an abundance of marine life that’s settled in and around the wreckage strewn across 100,000 square feet of the sea floor, she’s visited by snorkelers and divers alike. Today she can be found at depths of 15 to 60 feet, but she used to peek out the surface of the water when she first sank, up until she was used for target practice in World War II.

  1. The Iristo

Only a year after the Cristóbal Colón went down, the Iristo (also known as the Aristo) followed in 1937. The captain of the Norwegian freighter is said to have been startled by the Cristóbal Colón’s wreckage, which ultimately led to the Iristo’s own untimely fate. He ordered the crew to change course but the Iristo struck a submerged reef and went down too! Her wreckage remains to this day with engine, boilers, and propeller visible amongst spectacular coral.

  1. The North Carolina

Looking for an extra spooky dive? Check out the North Carolina’s ghostly “deadeyes” in rows along her deck railings – the uncanny sailing riggings look just like cartoon skulls. At depths between 25 and 45 feet, she makes for an eerie visit whether taking a shallow dive as a beginner or diving into the deep. Hailing from Liverpool, this 250-foot English iron hull sank on New Year’s Day in 1880 when she ran aground southwest of Bermuda. Despite attempts to raise her, she remains in the depths of the sea sitting upright with a collapsed mid-section.

  1. The Montana and the Constellation

Get a two-for-one dive in when you visit the Montana and the Constellation, uniquely stacked on top of each other to the northwest of Bermuda. The Montana wreck dates back to 1863 – the Civil War era blockade runner hit a shallow reef and down she went. The Constellation followed eighty years later in 1943 and some reports state that the Montana’s bow took her down! The American cargo ship was carrying building materials and scotch when she went down, so divers can view stacks of cement bags and glassware when they explore these shallow waters.

  1. The Hermes

Explore the outside or inside of Hermes, a freighter that experienced engine trouble and was abandoned by her crew. Built in 1943, the lonely ship was deserted until 1984 when she was acquired by the Bermuda Dive Association and turned into a sunken artificial reef. She’s known as a highly photogenic beauty with fantastic visibility. Fully intact with her mast pointing to the surface, Hermes has come a long way from desertion as one of Bermuda’s most popular dive sites.

  1. The King George

Another lonely and ghostly ship left to sink to the bottom of the sea, the King George is a large dredger that was built for the Bermuda Government. After arriving on the island in 1911, she served a few years before being towed out to sea and left to sink in 1930 when she was no longer needed for harbor operations. Fully intact and upright, divers can circle her from end to end on the quiet ocean floor.

Ready for a Spooky Dive in Bermuda?

If you want to dive into the spooky depths of Bermuda’s water, there are several different types of PADI certification to get you there.

Formal training for wreck diving is especially important for your safety as it involves special procedures, techniques, and equipment. The PADI Wreck Diver Specialty Course covers all the fundamentals and includes four scuba dives to give you practice in the open water.

Enrolling is simple: you must be at least 15 years old and have earned your PADI Adventure Diver certification or higher. PADI’s wreck dive certification covers the basics, from navigating the inside and outside of a wreck to the appropriate gear you’ll need for wreck diving. You’ll also learn how to plan and map a wreck site along with special techniques to protect the site’s integrity.

You complete your certification after four wreck dives with an instructor, and away you go! The eerie deep blue of Bermuda awaits…

Images: DIVE BERMUDA

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Trending