Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Extinction is NOT an option

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. 2013 sees the 40th anniversary of this convention and the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES will be held in Bangkok, Thailand (3-14 March 2013).

Project AWARE will be on the ground representing the voice of divers worldwide and ensure the world’s most vulnerable sharks and rays have a voice too. This is an historic opportunity to protect a record number of sharks and rays –including oceanic whitetip sharks, hammerheads and manta rays. More than 150,000 divers have stood by sharks on the CITES campaign trail since 2010 – signing petitions, making donations and rallying local communities. Now is the time to amplify our global call. Sharks can’t afford to wait for another shot at this.

#CITES4SHARKS - Your questions answered

Extinction is NOT an option - Sign the Petition

Learn more about the Project AWARE Foundation, a growing movement of scuba divers protecting the ocean planet – one dive at a time.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Galapagos - New Itineraries in 2013

New in 2013, the Galapagos liveaboard permits have been improved to offer you more dive time and explore the islands during your liveaboard trips. Of course, it's still possible to extend your stay to discover the islands or head to mainland Ecuador where there's plenty to discover!

Aggressor Fleet
Starting February 2013, the new itinerary includes Wolf and Darwin, Baltra, Punta Carrion, Bartolome, Cabo Marshall, Cousins Rocks and a brand new addition, Cabo Douglas where guests will have the opportunity to interact with marine iguanas as they feed in the water.

Up to 4 dives per day are available including Wolf and Darwin. Land hikes are part of the trip on Bartolome and Santa Cruz Highlands and night dives will be offered.

SPECIAL OFFER - Save £600 on all trips from 28 Feb - 04 Jul 2013.
Book by 06 March. Offer applies to boat only.

Humboldt Explorer
More of Wolf and Darwin. Up to 4 dives are now offered at these famous dive sites. It's here that the dives can be more challenging but definitely more rewarding! 

SPECIAL OFFER - Save £600 and get free Nitrox on selected trips in April 2013. Book NOW. Offer applies to boat only.

Galapagos Sky
New in 2013: Isla Pinzon has been described as providing opportunities for encounters with a variety of species of sharks, sea lions, mantas, eagle rays, and moray eels. Many Species of fish and tropicals including yellow tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, moorish idols, steel pompanos, snappers, grunts, creole fish, and barracuda.

This dive is then followed by a transit to Puerto Ayora and then a land visit to the Highlands of Santa Cruz to see the Galapagos tortoises in their natural environment.

When should I go?
Trips run throughout the year and marine life is prolific, especially if you want to encounter schools of hammerhead sharks, playful sea lions and plenty of other species. The top diving sites are at Wolf and Darwin. What most people like to know is, what is where and when, which is outlined below.

Dec-May: warmer water - manta rays
Jun-Nov: cooler water - whale sharks

Enquire Now
Call: 0845 130 6980                                 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Socorro, Mexico

Here's a little of why this is such a popular trip for our clients...

Thank you for organising yet another fab holiday for us! I can thoroughly recommend Socorro - what an amazing place - but definitely NOT for anyone with any hint of seasickness!

The journey out there was fab on board the Nautilus Explorer. Travelling through Dallas rather than Los Angeles - completely stress free. Boat was fab, crew fab, food fab and constant and the diving was amazing - we dived with giant pacific mantas on just about every dive (and they are as friendly as they say, staying with us all of the dives in some cases - and as we did our safety stops!), oodles of sharks (Galapagos, silver tip, white tip, silky, hammerheads - pretty much on every dive and the occasional tiger shark too) and we got to see, swim with and dive with humpback whales - WOW!

We are thinking of going again maybe in 2015... can't believe we saw all that we did!!!
Jane G, Jan 2012

Dive Worldwide: It's not too late to get there this season. The spring season at Socorro is one of those 'diving secrets' and Apr-Jun is when the water is a little warmer and still teeming with life. Expect to encounter giant manta rays, wild dolphin, schooling silky sharks and the occasional whale shark. Head to our Special Offers page to see if you can take advantage of savings in 2013.

Friday, February 8, 2013

FIN - Help end the HORROR

Set to a haunting soundtrack, the 45 second black and white commercial, developed by the London advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, has been created to lift the lid on the cruel and barbaric practice that contributes to the death of more than 36 million sharks every year.
Deemed ‘too graphic’ for television the film has been given an 18-certificate cinema rating. Taken from Bite-Back's website, we'd like to share it with you.

The boom in demand for shark fin soup is blamed for the rapid rise in the numbers of sharks being hunted. Once the reserve of Chinese Emperors, shark fin soup is now consumed around the world.

With a market value of around £200 per kilo, shark fins have become one of the most lucrative seafood items in the world. As a result, unscrupulous fishermen are motivated to systematically slice fins off living sharks before dumping carcasses overboard. Unable to swim, the sharks endure a slow death on the sea floor.The bodies, worth less at market than fins, are discarded because they can contaminate other catches and take up valuable space in the hold.

Already Bite-Back knows of 80 restaurants in the UK currently selling shark fin soup. It is now calling on the British public to help report every restaurants profiting from this horrific practice, so the charity can encourage them to stop.

It is estimated that 90% of the world’s big sharks have been wiped out in the past 60 years and that 20 species of sharks could become extinct by 2017. The relentless removal of an apex predator from the ocean has been described as and elaborate and giant game of Jenga. According to the charity, if enough sharks are removed the whole marine food web could collapse.
So far the campaigning group has succeeded in halting the sale of shark fin soup in more than 20 UK restaurants including the country’s only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, Hakkasan.

Help Bite-Back: not only with donations to raise vital funds, but we encourage you to share this video (also on YouTube), raise awareness and help ban shark fin soup from the UK's restaurants.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rare sighting on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Rare Weedy Scorpionfish sighted by divers on the Great Barrier Reef

A rare fish, the Weedy Scorpionfish, has been sighted on several occasions this week at a dive site on the Great Barrier Reef.  The marine creature was spotted by divers on the Pavona reef site, exclusively accessed by dive boat Silversonic.  Pavona, located at the front side of the outer Agincourt reef, is a site only used in light northerly winds.  Due to the ideal weather conditions this past week, divers have been visiting the site and catching a glimpse of the rare fish.

Weedy Scorpionfish - Pavona Reef
Dougie Baird, Environmental and Compliance Manager, Quicksilver Group said: 

“This Scorpionfish is a beautiful rare fish species and was first described in 1973.  This species is a master at camouflage and blends in well with its background and can be seen hiding under plate corals or on coral ledges. It has a distinctive head shape, large upturned mouth, dangly tentacles on the snout and varies in colour to blend into the environment.  The 3 dorsal spines are venomous.   They are ambush predators and feed on other fish.  They are known to “ambush” other fish by walking on their pectoral fins instead of swimming and can grow up to 30cms. This is a special experience for the Silversonic divers who came up close and personnel to this marine life wonder.”
(Queensland 6 February 2013)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

SAVE 13% on our Favourite Five - OFFER EXTENDED!

2013 has been keeping us busy so far, especially with the generous offer of saving 13% on some of our favourite destinations.

It continues to be lucky for some and this includes you.
We've extended our offer to include all bookings made until 13 Feb 2013!

What makes a 'favourite 5' destination?
Not only are they popular with our regular travellers, our dive team enjoy sending people to the destinations and have one or two on their bucket list! We've kept it brief and outlined a few reasons below for you.

Undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations for the UK diver at the moment. The vast archipelago sits at the heart of the Coral Triangle, where the biodiversity of marine life is second to none.

There's something for everyone here and if you're into underwater photography, it will be hard to choose your subject; there are so many! The destination offers everything from muck-diving to whale shark encounters, resorts and liveaboards, culture and wildlife. A tropical paradise.

Our Autumn newsletter features a handy map covering the best dive spots.

So close, yet so far away...from everyday life! Oman is easily accessible from the UK and offers three distinct regions to dive in. Ranging from the fjords of the Musandam in the north to the unexplored Hallaniyat Islands in the south.

A recent visit (trip report to follow) to Salalah and Muscat was enjoyed by Sarah who spent a week on the Saman Explorer. The fish life is prolific and there's always a chance to see manta rays, dolphins and whales. Another highlight? The City of Winchester wreck!

Muscat is a great base for those looking to do some diving and other land-based adventure by heading into the desert. Dive sites here include Bandar Khayran and the Munnasir wreck as well as the Daymaniyat Islands. Turtles are very popular in this area.

Looking for some fun and affordable winter sun?

A destination where you're almost guaranteed whale sharks, manta rays or even both! We offer a range of liveaboards who all venture out to the atolls where they know the diving experience will be one to remember! The latest craze is to head further south, in search of sharks, but these trips are seasonal.

If you're looking for a resort, we feature plenty of favourites where diving is the priority. However, it's great in most places, so if you're after a particular island or resort, just let us know. We have access to them all (almost!).

A year round destination and a place to sit back and relax!

Galapagos Islands
Really, do we have to explain this one?! On most people's bucket list, don't miss the chance to save some money here! We feature a number of liveaboards who all offer slightly different itineraries (all include Wolf and Darwin). We can arrange some land based activities before/after in the Galapagos or over in Ecuador, no problem. Maybe all you need to know is that whale shark season is Jun-Nov and manta ray season is Dec-May when the water is a little warmer. You'll see sharks all year round.

SAVE 13% - you'd be silly to miss this rare opportunity!

An island built for divers! This tiny Caribbean island has little rainfall, over 80 dive sites and drive-thru tank filling stations. Dive whenever you like! Take your friends and family, there's plenty of snorkelling, you can windsurf, kayak, wake board, go moutain biking and that is just a little of what you can do here.

Shore diving at its best. Suitable for learners, photographers and technical divers.

Micronesia and Palau

What a fantastic honeymoon!

We just wanted to say a very very big thank you for organising our honeymoon to Micronesia and Palau. It all worked out like a well oiled machine and it was great to feel confident that someone would be there to sort us out at every stage of our journey, thanks to you. You obviously thought about putting the destinations into the best order and it was the perfect sequence to go to Chuuk (Truk Lagoon) first, followed by Yap and finally Palau. A perfect tailor-made trip!

The wreck diving broke us in quite gently as my fiancee wasn't that experienced a diver and needed some 'easy' dives until he felt 100% confident again, not having dived for two years. There were so many options in Chuuk it was just right. Also the resort was just beautiful and we spent a couple of days just chilling out under the palm trees.

Yap was again a beautiful resort, the hotel was just great and we had a fantastic time diving with the giant manta rays at the feeding station and the sharks at dive sites like vertigo! Everyone at the resorts were just as helpful and friendly as they could have been and the level of sevice was extremely high, which made our honeymoon just the best it could have been.

Palau was just the icing on the cake, we loved it and it cemented our determination to go diving in Papua New Guinea in the next couple of years and not be put off by the horribly long long haul flights.

We loved jellyfish lake and again the diving was just incredible, the coral was beautiful and the fish were just unbelievable. One day we dived with SEVEN giant manta rays all just playing in the sea over our heads. I honestly don't think you could have done anything to make our honeymoon more perfect Charlie and we're both extremely grateful for everything you did, you were well well worth every penny!!!!

The only down sides were the food in Chuuk, which was pretty rubbish but as it's all imported, there was very little anyone could do about it. The endless taxes in Palau seemed to go up on a daily basis; we were expecting to get charged for having two legs by the time we left! Again nothing could be done about that and it didn't detract from our enjoyment in any way.

So, a final thanks, keep sending us your newsletter for more inspiration and holiday advice. We'll definitely be in touch when we next want a diving holiday arranging, you're a star!
Val F, Dec '12