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Scubaverse’s Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown appointed Bahamas Dive Ambassadors

Caribbean DTA Team

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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.

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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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