April 2012 Archives

Nudibranchs in Sharm - Rob writes for easyJet

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Rob Atherton recently went diving with Emperor Sharm and wrote this great blog for easyJet, which we’d like to share with you here...

When I left for a week’s diving in Sharm el Sheikh with Emperor Divers, I wasn't really sure what to write about so I decided to let Egypt surprise and inspire me. I've dived in Sharm many times over the last eight years and I'd always felt that for anyone in search of smaller 'macro' subjects to photograph, the resorts of Taba and Nuweiba further up the Sinai were a better option. However, this was a week that the dive sites of Sharm really delivered for me and my trusty underwater camera.

I could write about the Manta Rays we saw at the local dive sites of Tower and Middle Garden or perhaps the encounter with the beautiful white Rissos dolphins. I even found the elusive Longnose Hawkfish, which hides in the Gorgonian Fans, not once but twice. This shy little fish is normally skittish and hard to photograph but the one I saw on Thomas Reef in the Straits of Tiran was virtually posing for photos.

While these experiences were all part of a wonderful week with Emperor Divers, the most amazing thing for me was the variety of nudibranchs, flatworms and the like I discovered.

0512 rob atherton yelloblueblack nudi.JPGThe most common of these colourful little slugs I've found in the past is the Pyjama Slug (or Chromodoris Quadcolour). It is a colourful creature with yellow, white, black and blue stripes and can be found on all the dive sites in Sharm. If my memory serves me correctly, I've only ever seen two or possibly three different varieties of nudibranchs but in just five day’s diving, I found 14 different varieties.

As a diver who takes a lot of photos, I think Nudis are great. They are colourful, so look great in pictures, they are , making them much easier to take pictures of than fish and a lot of divers don't always see them making my pictures look a bit more impressive. Last October, I had my first diving trip out to the Far East where Nudis are plentiful so on this trip to Sharm, I was determined to seek out more.0512 rob atherton nudi2.JPG

Over the course of the week, the dive boats took me to the Straits of Tiran, Ras Mohammed National Park and the local dive sites close to Na'ama Bay. Many people ignore the local sites but I've always found them to be excellent places to see marine life. My first day was in Tiran and although I had a good couple of dives, I didn't find any nudibranchs. The next day in Ras Mohammed, the Nudis were out in force.

The first nudi I saw was a Chromodoris Africana. It looks similar to a Pyjama Slug but after looking at photos that evening, I realised it was in fact a different species. I've probably made the same mistake a number of times in the past but never noticed. From this point on, I was seeing nudibranchs on most dives, many of which I'd never seen before.

A big advantage of taking pictures of the nudibranchs is that the colours are much more striking than seeing them at 20m on a dive site. Of the 14 varieties I found, my favourite was the Big Horn Nembrotha, which was the most beautifully coloured of them all that I've seen in Egypt and elsewhere. Even though, I've dived in Sharm many times over the years, it has once again turned up plenty of new discoveries and surprises. I'm already looking forward to my next trip.

Rob Atherton

0512 rob atherton nudi.jpg

PS And a big thank you to Emperor Divers’ Facebook friends who helped me ID this nudi that had me flummoxed! Yvette Tucker spotted the Hallaxa indecora. Not easy from this pic!

Steve Prior goes Platinum...again!

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steve prior platinum.jpgWonderful news for Emperor Divers in Sharm! Our Instructor Trainer, Steve Prior, has just been awarded the level of "Platinum Course Director for 2012".

This year only 57 Course Directors in the whole world have reached this level. Steve has been awarded the "Platinum" award every year since it started in 2006.

Great news for Emperor, but what does this mean for you? It means that if you are thinking about becoming a PADI instructor with Emperor Divers, you will be trained by a Course Director who is "Match Fit" and you'll know that you will be getting the very best training that can be found anywhere in the world. Steve is very popular, and you don't need to look far to find excellent, successful instructors who have been taught by him.

Steve is pictured here with Janet his IDC Staff Instructor wife, together they make "Prior Knowledge".

You can ask Steve any questions on idc@emperordivers.com

Watch this! Dive Marsa Alam video

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Join the team as they head out from Marsa Alam to dive on the wreck of Hamada as well as dive sites Marsa Mubarak, Ras el Torfa and Shouni Kebir. Great diving in the Red Sea...


Emperor supports HEPCA Earth Day

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0412 hepca earth day.jpgIn support of HEPCA Earth Day and Beach Clean up on Sunday 22 April, each of our dive centres will be organising its own clean up for guests who want to take part.

Details of how you can get involved will be provided by your dive centre locally - so do ask and help to make a difference.

Diving - good fun AND you lose weight!

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By Mat Cotton, Manager, Emperor El Gouna

It comes to that time of the year after Christmas, New Year and Easter eggs, following an over-indulgence of too much booze and rich food, that I’ve noticed that I may have gained a pound or two. The only reason I actually noticed this was because my drysuit no longer fits me. We all know that drysuits will shrink after being left for an extended period without use (don’t they?) but mine has ‘shrunk’ to an extent that I can’t even get it on, never mind zip it up!

mat with weights 0312.JPGSo, rather than spend loads of hard-earned (!) cash on a new one, I’ve decided that I need to lose some weight. As I used to have the body of a diamond-cut Adonis (my wife is laughing over my shoulder as I write this, it must have been before we met!), I’ve finally realised that it’s time I got back down to a size 32 waist. I headed down to my local gym to see what they can offer but it turns out the best thing I could do to lose weight at the gym was to lighten my pockets by a few hundred quid. Being from up t’north, and therefore rather ‘careful’ with money, this was immediately kyboshed in favour of me exercising at home – which is free. 

After a bit of research on the web, and some distractions of rather fitter bodies than mine, it turns out that one of the best ways to burn calories is to do something that we all love – diving! Great, that’ll save me money on having to buy some new trainers as well then.

According to glamour.com – which I was looking at as research, honest – diving is one of the best sports to keep fit whilst having fun at the same time. Looking back on it, I can’t see why this has never occurred to me before. I have always put on a bit of weight over Christmas (my ‘winter stores’ as I call it) when I am not in the water as much, then always lost this over summer when I diving daily, with no change in diet, or importantly, drinking habits. It turns out that during an average hour-long dive, you can burn up to 650 calories! 650 calories! That’s the same as using a cycling machine in the gym for an hour!

Of course, in order to lose weight, it means I also have to cut out the post-pub Burger King on a Saturday evening but after some quick calculations, I can lose weight by eating a little more healthily and just diving! Whilst this remains to be seen, it is a fact that diving is a great workout for your body. It won’t help you build body mass, but to tone and trim, diving is ideal. Diving helps you tone the muscles in your thighs and calves (as anyone who has had to swim against anything other than a mild current will attest to) as well as your gluteus maximus (that’s your bottom). Diving is also a great cardiovascular workout and studies have shown that divers in general have a larger lung volume and vital capacity than non-divers.  

And it’s not just me. It’s a new fitness trend that our celebrity friends are doing too. Jessica Alba, Katie Holmes, Sandra Bullock, that woman from ‘The Vampire Diaries’, Martin Clunes; they’re all doing it. "Scuba diving provides a full body workout that combines cardio and strength training to burn calories, tone muscles and even improve breathing," says Theresa Kaplan, director of communications for The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). "Although your body is buoyant underwater and you feel virtually weightless while scuba diving, manoeuvring through water requires constant motion by your entire body, thus toning and strengthening muscles in your thighs, shoulders and your core.

" Just remember though, like any sport, it’s important to warm up, stretch and stay hydrated, especially if you come out to dive with Emperor in the Egyptian heat.  "Although you may not feel it underwater, you are actually sweating and exerting energy while scuba diving, so it’s important to stay hydrated during your diving excursion," Kaplan says. "Getting plenty of rest and stretching beforehand will also help prevent any cramping underwater and will allow you to swim through the waters with ease."

So, next time you’re out diving in the Red Sea and you see some idiot swimming against the current during your drift dive, don’t worry, that’s probably just me burning off those extra Sakaras. All I have to do now is convince Jessica Alba to join me.

Of course, if you would care to join me then please do so. There's more about diving El Gouna right here...




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This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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