Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown of Frogfish Photography, along with Adam Hanlon of Wetpixel, have been selected as Diving Ambassadors for the Islands of The Bahamas.
When authors and photojournalists, Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown, first visited The Bahamas as dive instructors in 2002, they did not expect that experience to come full circle. The couple from Manchester, England have been appointed Diving Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas. The historic announcement was made by Ellison Thompson, Deputy Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (BMOTA), in light of the couple’s outstanding works in shark and marine conservation, diving, travel, photography, journalism and their unwavering love for The Bahamas.
“This is a very special appointment for us,” said Thompson. “It signals our dual belief and commitment to sharing, protecting, preserving and promoting our beautiful environment and natural resources, which for us, are our pristine, crystal-clear waters and rich marine life.”
“Astronauts recently captured the waters of The Bahamas from outer space, and declared it to be the prettiest place on earth. Now, the world will also know of its astonishing underwater beauty, through Nick and Caroline’s appointment and work,” said Mr. Thompson.
The couple, who are both PADI and SSI Master dive instructors, have each conducted over 5,000 dives globally, but it is their dive on Tiger Beach in Grand Bahama that is their most memorable experience.
“We had been dreaming of diving with Tiger sharks for years and had tried at a number of different locations, globally. While in Grand Bahama, on the only single day we had to make this dream a reality, we got into the water, despite inclement weather conditions and substantial current.
We descended to the sandy seabed with twice our normal weighting and within a few seconds were approached, up-close, by three large female Tiger sharks, who swam in front of our cameras and over our heads. We watched with amazement, as these magnificent predators entertained us,” said Caroline.
“There is so much to love about The Bahamas, but the thing that really stands out for us is that the waters surrounding the islands are a shark sanctuary. There are so few places in the world where shark protection has been taken so seriously and they are fully safeguarded. Just this alone, is part of what makes The Bahamas an exceptional place to dive. Sharks make for healthy eco-systems and coral reefs and it is amazing to be able to encounter so many different species in clear, blue, warm water. To be able to island hop, dive reefs and wrecks as well as relax on pristine white and pink beaches makes The Bahamas a truly magical place,” said Nick.
Over the years, Nick and Caroline have conducted many dive and underwater photography trips to The Bahamas and have provided news coverage of their experiences in Sport Diver, Wildlife Photography World, Scubaverse, and Dive Travel Adventures and have photographed all of the shark dives, reefs, and wrecks in The Bahamas, including in Grand Bahama, Bimini, Nassau, Abaco, Andros, Cat Island, Exuma and Harbour Island.
The multiple award-winning photographers and published authors have also won the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Photojournalist of the Year Award for their features on Shark Diving in The Bahamas.
“We are passionate about sharing our diving experiences in The Bahamas and already include it in all of our talks at dive shows, photo and dive clubs and in our talks to groups about marine conservation. Our articles about diving in The Bahamas have won numerous awards because our love for the islands shines through in our writing. We have featured The Bahamas in each of our diving books, and so this Dive Ambassador appointment is a perfect, natural progression for us to continue to promote diving in The Bahamas.”
The couple is currently writing a book on the history of diving in The Bahamas, and as Dive Ambassadors, they will work alongside officials of the BMOTA in promoting The Bahamas’ dive product, at tradeshows and on fam trips.
The Bahamas remains an unspoiled destination offering pristine, crystal clear turquoise waters, with visibility in some places exceeding 200 ft. in depth. The country’s diverse dive experiences, ranging from reef to wreck and exploration of underwater caves to big animal encounters, are well known and have, over consecutive years, won top awards and recognition including Scuba Diving Magazine Readers Choice Awards for Best Big Animals, Best Overall Destination, Best Cave Diving, Best Snorkeling, Best Value, Best Wreck Diving, Best Wall Diving, Best Advanced Diving, Best Photography, Best Shore Diving, Best Macro Life and Best Health of Marine Life.
Now open for business, visitors can enjoy the peace, serenity and security provided in The Bahamas’ 700- island chain.
For further information and visitor entry requirements, visit www.bahamas.com/travelupdates.
Seahorse National Park announced on Eleuthera in The Bahamas
This week has seen the announcement of the designation of Seahorse National Park at Hatchet Bay Cave and Sweetings Pond on Eleuthera. This monumental announcement comes after years of efforts from the BNT and its partners in advocating for the protection of Sweetings Pond and its surrounding areas as an official national park under the BNT’s management.
Sweetings Pond is a large, land-locked saltwater pond in Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera. It has many unique natural features, but the most notable of them all is its incredible seahorse population, which is believed to be the densest population of seahorses in the world. The new 548-acre national park protects the entire one-mile-long pond and the surrounding terrestrial area. The land surrounding Sweetings Pond is a blend of intact coppice, mangroves, and farmlands. In addition, the new national park includes the extensive Hatchet Bay Caves system. This historic cave system is a popular attraction and contains a number of impressive geological features. It is one of the longest dry cave systems in The Bahamas.
Since 2014, the BNT has been leading efforts to have the area declared as a national park. This included years of public outreach and stakeholder consultations in communities across Eleuthera; education presentations in local schools; science and research efforts; and engaging consecutive government administrations. In 2018, the BNT submitted the “20 by 20 Marine Protection Plan” to the government, which included the recommendation to declare Sweetings Pond and other areas in The Bahamas as protected areas.
During the lease signing ceremony for Seahorse National Park, Minister Clay Sweeting, said, “This lease agreement for Sweetings Pond has been a long time coming. It represents a milestone in our journey towards sustainable development. It symbolises our collective responsibility to safeguard our natural heritage and create a harmonious relationship between economic progress and environmental preservation.
“I would like to express my gratitude to all stakeholders in this process of drafting and finalising this lease agreement. Their dedication, expertise, and commitment has been crucial in ensuring that this agreement falls in line with our vision of creating a thriving ecosystem while promoting responsible usage. Let us continue to preserve the jewel that is Sweetings Pond for many generations to come.”
The BNT invites the public to stay tuned for more news about its plan for the country’s newest national park: Seahorse National Park at Hatchet Bay Cave and Sweetings Pond!
To learn more about the role the BNT plays in managing terrestrial and marine national parks, conserving wildlife, and informing environmental policy, please visit its website: www.bnt.bs
Banner Image: A lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus), female, clining to algae in an alkaline pond in The Bahamas by Shane Gross
PADI Club invites Ocean Lovers on exclusive dive trip to Bonaire this September
Following the popularity of the PADI Club trip to Belize at the end of July, a second “dive trip of a lifetime” has just been announced by PADI Club to Bonaire this September 23-30, 2023.
Offered exclusively for PADI Club members as part of their yearly benefits, attendees will get to seek adventure while staying at the all-inclusive Buddy Dive Resort, one of PADI’s premier members on the island. Other PADI Members in Bonaire – including Toucan Divers, Divi Flamingo, Wanna Dive, Dive Friends and Scuba Do – will also be hosting various dive experiences throughout the week.
“Bonaire is a unique and beautiful gem in the Dutch Caribbean and we want to show our Club Members this little island looms large as a dive destination,” says Zach Pavkov, PADI Club Operations Manager. “This trip offers participants a chance to not only explore a world-class diving destination but do so through some of the very best PADI Operators.”
PADI Club members will receive a generous discount for this seven-day diving adventure, with packages starting at $1,739 per diver for double occupancy.
Included in the package are:
- social events that include hosted dinners, cocktail parties and live music
- transportation in Buddy Dive Resort’s famous pick-up truck
- daily shore diving and boat diving
- accommodation, with the option to share a room with another solo diver or rent out one, two and three-bedroom apartments to host larger groups of divers
- surface interval activities that include PADI Seminars and island excursions like hiking and bird-watching.
“Because the water surrounding Bonaire has been an established marine park for 44 years, Bonaire is now a top-ranked destination with abundant marine life that includes scorpionfish, flounder and frogfish, moray eels, hawksbill turtles and eagle rays, ” continues Pavkov.
With limited spots available, the list of participants will be decided on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who are not yet PADI Club Members but are interested in joining the trip can sign-up, which will also give them access to:
- 20% of PADI eLearning® programs and PADI Gear™
- a free ReActivate® online refresher
- a free DAN® Prepared Diver course
- a subscription to Scuba Diving® magazine
- access to the PADI Club Celebrity Speaker Series webinars
- brand partner benefits from GoPro, Uber, Salt Life and more
To further support ocean lovers to create positive ocean change, five percent of the PADI Club membership fee will go towards supporting conservation efforts around the globe.
“PADI Club benefits are designed not just to empower divers to explore the ocean, but also enable them to play a pivotal role in saving the ocean too,” says Pavkov. “This year’s additional expedition to Bonaire gives our community the chance to come together and explore our shared blue planet in a truly meaningful and connected way.”