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Anna’s Favourite Warm Water Dive Destination #9 – Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, Belize

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GLOVER’S REEF MARINE RESERVE, BELIZE   Where is Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve? As divers, we all appreciate the importance of marine reserves, and the privilege we have to be permitted to dive in them. Glover’s Reef is not only a Marine Reserve but is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What does this mean? Protection from fishing, overfishing, trawling, people in general, and a sense of remoteness that will definitely give you that “desert island’ vibe. Glover’s Reef Atoll is…

Anna’s Favourite Warm Water Dive Destination #8 – Raja Ampat, Indonesia

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RAJA AMPAT – WEST PAPUA – INDONESIA   Where is Raja Ampat and what’s so special about it?   Technically you wouldn’t be wrong to say that Raja Ampat is situated roughly halfway between Madagascar and Mexico, and is an archipelago made up of the four (Ampat) Kings (Raja) islands (pulau) of Misool, Batanta, Salawati and Waigeo. In reality, however, there are more than 1500 islands here, with a total population roughly the same as the British town of Salisbury. You…

Anna’s Favourite Warm Water Dive Destination #7 – The Elbow, Belize

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The Elbow – Turneffe Atoll – Belize – Caribbean Sea   Where is Turneffe Atoll and what’s so special about it? Turneffe is one of the only four atolls in the Western Hemisphere, three of which are in Belize (sandwiched between Mexico and Honduras). Almost every diver will be familiar with the Maldivian atolls of the Pacific– typically a ring-shaped coral rim, a chain of islands surrounding an extinct volcano that has eroded leaving a central lagoon. Turneffe Atoll is…

Anna’s Favourite Warm Water Dive Destination #6 – Lembeh Strait, Indonesia

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LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH EAST SULAWESI, INDONESIA   Where is the Lembeh Strait and what’s so special about it?   Following on from last week’s colourful wall dive site of Efrata, the Lembeh Strait lies within sight of Pulisan Resort on the mainland, just to the East and the “strait” runs for around 15 km between the two. The dive sites are typified by shallow, generally rather murky visibility on seemingly quite barren, black sand slopes. It’s so very special because of…

Water in the Blood

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  I was only 11 when my Grandad, Bertie Wilfrid Chalk, died in 1985.  I knew him pretty well, and heard much about his amazing travels as part of the RAF during the Second World War and afterwards.  He was a camera man, filming extraordinary events such as the famous 1943 Barnes Wallis bouncing bomb trials at Chesil in Dorset which went on to achieve the strategically important Dam Buster raids. Post-war he filmed daring world land speed records –…

Anna’s Favourite Warm Water Dive Destination #5 – Efrata, Indonesia

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EFRATA, NORTH EAST SULAWESI, INDONESIA   Where is Efrata and what’s so special about it?   Efrata, rather than being an area, or a village, or a resort, is the name of a specific dive site that sits off a beach, at the far end of the very tip of the immense peninsula that is Minahasa, North Sulawesi. It looks out on the shore of the little island of Bangka, home to big currents mixing the Celebes with the Molucca Seas…

Anna’s Favourite Warm Water Dive Destination #4 – Saparua Island, Indonesia

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SAPARUA ISLAND – BANDA SEA – INDONESIA   Where is Saparua and what’s so special about it?   Saparua is such a tiny island that a Google Map search probably won’t leave you much the wiser as to its location. Where many avid divers have heard of Raja Ampat (an area, not a single location), a few of those now consider Raja to be dived out, and favour a longer but ultimately more rewarding trip further south to the Lease Islands….

Maisie’s Scuba Story

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My name is Maisie, I am now eleven years old and earlier in the year I passed my Junior PADI open water and dry suit diver qualification in February 2020 when I was ten years old. I saved all my money I got from my family for Christmas to be able to pay for the course. The course was tough and being in February very cold; but the Ocean Turtle Team were incredibly supportive. I got inspiration for diving when I…

Anna’s Favourite Warm Water Dive Destination #3 – Siladen & Bunaken Islands, Indonesia

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Siladen & Bunaken Islands, North Sulawesi, Indonesia   Where are Siladen & Bunaken Islands and what’s so special about them?   Siladen is a tiny speck of an island to the east of its larger, busier sister island of Bunaken, a stone’s throw from the bustling city of Manado at the very north eastern tip of Sulawesi, Indonesia.  Both islands are within the 5 island cluster comprising Bunaken National Marine Park, one of the first marine parks in Indonesia, established in…

Anna’s Favourite Warm Water Dive Destination #2 – Belize’s Great Blue Hole

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The Great Blue Hole – Lighthouse Reef Atoll – Belize – Caribbean Sea   Where is the Great Blue Hole and what’s so special about it?  Imagine this…it’s 1971, you’re scoping out the shallow reefs and coral heads, singing “Just my Imagination” by the Temptations. You’re 60 miles from the Belize mainland, south of Mexico, North of Honduras, west of Cuba, but it’s not a pleasure dive, you’re helping navigate a channel guiding Captain Jacques Cousteau’s huge wood hulled exploration…

Anna’s Favourite Warm Water Dive Destination #1 – Mexico Cenotes

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The Caribbean Sea – Mexico – the Cenotes – TULUM Photo credit: Tom St George /www.bestcenotedives.com    What are Cenotes? Cenotes are limestone sinkholes, allowing access to flooded underground caves, linked by water filled passages. The surface layer is freshwater, and doesn’t mix with the lower, saltwater layer, causing a halocline. The water is typically absolutely crystal clear with amazing visibility.    Who can dive them? Many guided dives require only an Open Water certificate – but to really enjoy…

Stephanie’s Scuba Story

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Blog by Stephanie Hodnett   One cloudy 2019 June afternoon, I was driving back from Bournemouth with my mum and stress levels were running high. We had visited Bournemouth University that day as part of the grand search for where I was going to live and study for the next 3 years of my life, and frankly I was letting the pressure of making such a big decision in a short space of time get to me. After only just…

How To Make Any Destination a Dream Diving Destination

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You’re thinking powder white sand snaking to a turquoise horizon, crystal ripples lapping your toes, the distant ting-ting of your tank being swapped out for the next dive. You’re dreaming schools of mantas photo bombing your perfect turtle shot and you’re seeing a comfortable dive boat barely quarter full of a friendly crowd of your best mates looking like they stepped out of a PADI video … The reality could be this idyllic, but sometimes we just don’t ask ourselves…

New Operating Procedures

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We wanted to let you know that we have worked very hard to create a safer environment for you and for our staff.  We have strict cleaning processes, kit disinfecting processes and training processes in place.  All current staff have attended four training sessions to ensure that we are all aware of the new way of working.  Below are our new operating procedures, if you would like to read in more detail.  OCEAN TURTLE DIVING  CORONAVIRUS UPDATED OPERATING PROCEDURES –…

Looking After Yourself

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Diving is apparently a sport, which still amuses me every time that I hear it as by default, that makes me a professional sports person which I’m both fully on board with and find utterly hilarious in equal measure! For many people, diving is so much more than that, it’s a way of conquering fears, pushing personal boundaries and making new friends as well as giving people a reason to explore new corners of the globe that many can’t even…

Turtle Island – A Truly Wonderful Experience

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After being accepted onto the Course Director training course in Kota Kinabalu in 2019 I started looking into all the mundane tasks like hotels and transport and realised that if I were flying all the way to Borneo, it would be completely ridiculous not to tag a trip, no matter how small, onto the end of it. Ocean Turtle’s regional manager, Emma, suggested a place called Turtle Island which instantly appealed, and the trip was booked! The trip began with…

Choosing Pro Courses

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We all love diving and enjoying the underwater world and quite often find ourselves day dreaming at our desks or talking animatedly to friends and family about the things we have seen, the experiences that we have had and generally trying to share the love and enjoyment with people that we care about. For some however, this love and enjoyment becomes a desire to share our knowledge with others and the most obvious way to do this is by becoming…

Helping Raise AWAREness For The Dive Campers

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This summer (2018) Ocean Turtle Diving organised a Dive Camp for young people to attend to learn to dive over an intensive week of training. After three tough days completing their theory, exams and in the water, we gave them the option of learning about projectAWARE and they were all really enthusiastic about doing this. I have previously run several instances of the project AWARE course but never for young people so it was a case of stepping into the…

Wrecks Of The UK

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MULBERRY DOCKS: Location- Selsey Depth: Maximum 10m Size: Length=60m   Width=17m Sank: 1944 What is it ? The Brits realised that they needed some more docks in France for them to off load cargo. They created the Mulberry docks as a portable dock to use until the allies were able to capture a French port. Pre-fabricated in the UK, the concrete blocks were transported across to Normandy and then sunk. On June 6th 1944 over 400 towed component parts (weighing 1.5…

Girl Power

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As a new Course Director, and especially a female one, I was full of enthusiasm to fulfil my role and provide all of my candidates with a unique and positive experience during their professional training to make them the best possible PADI Pros that they can be. However, when I was contacted by Emma Hewitt from PADI about conducing an OWSI course for an out of status Course Director, my attention was instantly grabbed and I wanted to know more…

New ways of training at home and abroad

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As a new instructor full of enthusiasm, I was keen from the very beginning to look at new and innovative ideas that I could implement whilst delivering training to keep things interesting, not just for the students, but for me too. As I qualified in December, the first thing that I wanted to do was escape the cold weather so I proposed the idea to Ocean Turtle Diving of providing students with all of their confined water training in the…

Great News – We’re now an approved youth training centre!

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We are delighted to be able to share the fantastic news that we have been awarded by PADI the status of PADI Approved Youth Training Centre. To attain this accolade we had to meet rigorous criteria such as a large range of children’s dive equipment from wetsuits to regulators and BCDs, and also a large number of our Instructors and Divemasters have successfully passed DBS checks and are therefore approved to work with children.  This, coupled with our vast experience…

A Trukking Good Time

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Blog by Becks Henze I was offered the amazing opportunity to travel to Truk Lagoon and dive the WWII wrecks.  I would have been crazy to say no so I said “yes” and flew out to Chuuk at the end of April.  Before I went I read a bit about Truk Lagoon so I thought I knew what to expect but the articles and photos don’t do it justice.  It was an amazing trip and the wrecks were stunning!  I…

Tec Diving

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Blog by Stefan Taylor I would like to share my story of my journey into the world of Tec Diving. The interest for me started not long after completing my advanced open water diver course. As I started to dive more, I noticed other divers with different equipment than me. So, me being the person that I am, started to chat to the other divers to find out a little bit more about it. The result of these discussions made…

First Time Freediver

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Blog by Lucy Crow When I was first given the opportunity to go free diving I was quite nervous that I wouldn’t be very good at it because it was just so different from scuba diving. I didn’t know how I felt about going underwater with no air and no diving equipment on to use as my life support. Anyway, I was up for the challenge and thought that I would give it a go. Turns out that it was…

Diving in the South China Sea – a Metal Head’s Dream come true

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Created: 25 Apr 2017 Courtesy of Tourism Malaysia I was extremely lucky to be invited on a familiarisation trip to dive from Labuan Island in the South China sea, at the end of my recent course in Malaysia.  I learnt that Malaysia is split in two – the bit we all know on the Kuala Lumpur side, and another blob further East, on the west coast of the Island of Borneo, surround the Kingdom of Brunei. At 5am, after some…

Becoming a Course Director

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On a cold, dark, rainy October night in the dive centre, I finally hit send on the email that could change my life – my Course Director application.  It had taken me months to compile (business plan for myself and OTD, Diving CV, Project Aware portfolio, credits from IDCs I had staffed, webinars and forums attended, letters of recommendation from existing CDs, summary of certifications and last but not least, evidence of passing the theory and standards exams at a…

From DSD to Staff Instructor and beyond?

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I started diving in 2012 as a birthday present to myself. People often ask me why I wanted to do it and it’s still something that I struggle to articulate. It’s just something I’d always wanted to try but never thought I could as I’ve never been the strongest swimmer or that confident in the water. I began with a Discover Scuba Diving experience and from the moment I went under, I felt completely at home in the water and…

Turtles work hard to become AWARE of the marine environment

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Throughout the winter months, a lot of divers choose to stay out of the cool waters of the UK and instead spend their time planning for holidays and adventures for the warmer months. However, a small group of students at Ocean Turtle Diving decided that they wanted to use one of these cooler days to learn about the marine environment and start to learn how they can begin to make a difference to the world around us. The students, guided…

Searching For Manta Rays & Whale Sharks

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On a cold January day in the dive centre I received an email that led to me sitting where I am typing this – balancing my laptop on my knees on a beanbag on the sun deck of the quite glorious Blue Voyager liveaboard, whilst she sails around the idyllic paradise atolls of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. The email was from Blue O Two – the best dive holiday company in the world, in my opinion.  They were…

Turtles Against Trash – A Sunny Sunday in Swanage

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One of the best things about diving is the freedom and serenity that you get when underwater and also the joy of finding new places to explore that most of your friends and family will never see and being one of the privileged few that gets to see marine life in its natural habitat. One of the worst things however is having to get up at the crack of dawn as the sun is starting to rise and pretending to…

Monkey Business

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There was once a young, amazing, DiveMaster (Trainee) who was required to complete the PADI Deep specialty to achieve her most desired certification of being a full DM. Despite having completed numerous dives, she was a little worried about going to 40m but was booked on to do the course in a beautiful part of Spain and was determined to not let her fears overcome her. Her subconscious however had other ideas which presented themselves in the form of a…

Stef’s Story

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After completing a few try dives on holidays throughout the years I decided to take the plunge and complete my open water but I decided to do it in the UK rather than doing it on holiday. I thought then I can go diving when I was on holiday once a year. So in August I 2014 completed my Open Water Diver course. After completing my course, I went on holiday to Lanzarote and did my first sea dives and…

From the ‘Stoke to Scapa – an epic journey

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It was a cool and early morning in July. Instructor Kerrie and DiveMaster Bethan decided to meet early to travel from Basingstoke to Stromness in the Orkney Isle travelling in their trusty steed Tullulah the Transit, Ocean Turtle’s ever reliable van. Tullulah was loaded with dive gear, cylinders and other supplies for the week and most importantly a handsome stock of “healthy” van snacks. Without too much fuss and delay (mainly due to severe tiredness) the girls were on their…

A Spanish Adventure – A Dive Monkey went travelling

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I have been diving for 4 years and became a PADI Divemaster in December 2015. Although being in the UK I am always available to help assist on any courses or other tasks where needed, real life does have rather a bad habit of getting in the way so I was keen and eager to get as much hands on experience as I possibly could. I spoke to my Instructor, Kerrie, at Ocean Turtle Diving and she told me about…

From Riches To Rollers To Regs

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Many people have asked me (Kerrie) how on earth I ended up leaving sunny Spain to buy a UK dive centre and totally convert into a cooler water diver…. The answer begins a long time ago. When I was at uni back in cough, cough, splutter, (Leeds, BA joint honours Business and Spanish) I wanted money. Money, money, money, money (I had a lot less than none!) – so I applied for the best summer paid job I could find,…

Scuba Up Snowdon

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On Saturday 7th May 2016, Bethan (me), one of the PADI Divemasters at Ocean Turtle Diving set off on a brave endeavour with the assistance of Kerrie Eade, owner and PADI Staff Instructor, Stefan Taylor, one of the other PADI Divemasters and Douglas the dog to walk up Snowdon (1085m) in full Scuba Gear raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. The challenge was set to be a tough one with both the weight and size of the kit and also…