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Diving with… Diane Martino, Lumbadive PADI 5 Star Resort, Carriacou, Grenada

Caribbean DTA Team

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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?

Diane Martino

What is the name of your business?

Lumbadive PADI 5 Star Resort

What is your role within the business?

Owner, Public relation, Accountant, Instructor, Tour operator.

How long has the business operated for?

Lumbadive has existed since 2000, we purchased it in 2009. We extended it from a 8X10ft office to over 25 x 45ft and added showers, equipment rinsing area and a balcony facing the bay.

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

PADI MSDT Instructor, diving since 1986 with more than 6000 dives.

What is your favorite type of diving?

All of them as long as I can take pictures!

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

Lumbadive is a very friendly dive operation.  We like to go beyond expectations by offering more than dive services. We take care of everything from the moment your plane lands in Grenada.  Lumbadive staff will take care of you equipment, set up your gear before you arrive in the morning, bring it to the boat, help you to gear up when the dive site is reached and sit on the edge for your roll back or pass it on to you in the water.

On your return, you will be served fresh water or hot chicken broth (night dive) and homemade cookies or cake between the dives. When the boat reaches the dock, we will carry your equipment back to the dive center, rinse it and hang it to dry till your next dive. The water is clear, reefs healthy and there is an array of fish where ever you jump in the water.  Very often we organise pot luck beach BBQs, picnics on a virgin island or mud baths for our guests.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

Sister Rocks is beautiful and brings a lot of pelagics. You will found large gorgonians, sea fans, azur sponge vases, to name a few. Look below, look above your head, check the in blue, you will always see something to amaze you. I also like Tropical Hill, a pinnacle that provides the possibility of doing a lot of marvellous pictures day and night.  The coral offers lots of bioluminescence.  Decorative crabs,  Spanish sleeper lobsters, giant basket stars: these are some of my favourite to shoot out during night dive.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Reef, Wreck, Wall, Drift, Deep, Shallow, macro photo sites.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Introducing someone to the underwater world is an incredible reward. Even a snorkeler doesn’t have the same feeling of this world. I love to see the sparkles in the eyes of people after a dive.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

I’m excited when I found a frogfish as they are so difficult to find. I like to search for small creatures like nudibranch or shrimps, but always amazed by the majestic swim of eagle rays.

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

Every year we invest in our dive resort. Soon we will open another terrace with a bar so divers can sit and talk about their dives at the end of the day.  Another project is an association with a hotel in construction where we can have a second office to serve their clientele. We have developed many PADI distinctive specialties such as: Introduction to Marine Biology, Aquanaut diver, Sealab Technician and Reef Restoration diver as we believe that many divers are interested to understand how it works down there and do action to keep reefs alive.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

Carriacou is a 13 square mile island, part of the three state islands of Grenada. Reaching Carriacou is not always easy. How to get divers to Carriacou is one of the biggest problems. Many of our divers mentioned that reefs surrounding Carriacou are the most healthy of the Caribbean.  Promoting Carriacou as a special diving destination where reefs are still in excellent condition is difficult as most travel agents think about Grenada without mentioning Carriacou or refer it as a ‘hopping island’ during a trip. Carriacou has is own niche; travel agents need to sell it as is.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Beach and shore clean ups are done a minimum twice a year.  Dive site cleanup on every dive. We encourage divers to use the mesh bag we insert in the BCD we rent.  We created coral grow trees in order to transplant coral on reefs who need it. On every dive we bring a pole spear with us in order to control the Lionfish population; we offer our divers the chance to earn their PADI Lionfish tracker c-card. We displace sea urchins in order to keep the coral reef clean and get necessary light to grow again. We sank seven  artificial reef wrecks within the last 3 years.

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

More and more divers have all their gear, many sailors own compressors on their sail boat and could dive anywhere without the need for a dive resort. Divers revenue increase and they could afford more remote locations with smaller groups.  Of the 40 dive sites we have, many of them are suitable for snorkeling. Plenty of our non-diver guests opt for two snorkel sites (half day). Sister rocks offers a lovely wall where Free Diving can be practiced. Our on call Free Diving instructor can introduce you to this sport during your holiday. Let us know and we will organise it for you. Our doors are open to anyone who is interested in activity in water, from free Saturday swim classes to local kids and adults to more technical dive courses. LUMBADIVE will be please to meet your satisfaction and go beyond.

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

Carriacou is a destination that is still off the beaten path.  Although you can find all services it is not yet known as touristic island. No huge all inclusive hotels but lovely laidback cottages, apartments, villas and small hotels (25 rooms and less) in our paradise that can fill your requirements. Many of them are a few steps away from our office. Enjoy pure diving in Carriacou! Reefs, wrecks, drift, wall, macro photo, pelagic, we have it all. Only three dive centers on the Island, so you will see more fish than divers. Although LUMBADIVE PADI 5 STAR can deal with large groups we prefer small groups to which we can provide more personal attention. Carriacou has a very welcoming population. Lime & Dive, Carriacou is the place to be!

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

www.lumbadive.com

FacebookTwitter, Instagram

Skype: lumbadive

Email: dive@lumbadive.com

WhatsApp: 473-457-4539

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Cayman Bogue swim fundraiser adds sister island event for 2023

Caribbean DTA Team

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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.

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

Caribbean DTA Team

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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

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