Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Christmas in Seychelles

Christmas in Seychelles; you would think palm trees, the ocean, a cool drink?   NO WAY!Everywhere  you go people are wearing red hats, there are christmas trees, and more shiney tinsel than you can shake a stick at, just like home back in UK.

Instructor Sabrina, Interns- Gary, Annika, Ross, Kayla and sally

Here at The Underwater Centre it's very festive, everyone has their xmas hats, flashing earings and raindeer hair ties!, someone even went diving this morning dressed as the Xmas Fairy, so hopefully we will have photos to share later.  and ofcourse we have our own Christmas tree so that santa can find his way.

Our current Divemaster Interns are hard at work, finishing up their 2nd week of theory, the great news is all have past all their exams with just the physics exam to complete next Thursday, then it's serious diving!

Everyone hard at work

So to all our wonderful clients past, present and future, please, have a fabulous Christmas, may all your wishes come true.  And best wishes for a peaceful happy 2010 with lots of georgous diving, and we hope to see you all very soon.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our New Divemaster Interns

Furthering your Dive education is something that we at the Underwater Centre strongly encourage.  At the begining of this week we have had 5 friends commence their Divemaster Internships.

Getting instruction for the morning program from PADI Dive Instructor Sabrina

A Divemaster Internship is a great fun way to learn how to be a Divemaster, and get valuable experiance participating in the day to day operations of a busy dive resort centre. 

It's important to start the day with a briefing.

So this morning Gary, Ross, Kayla and Annika were working on the fundamentals of Navigation, a bit of a dry run on the beach is always a great way to identify any possible issues before trying it all out underwater.
Our internships are made up of both practical and dive theory, with huge experiance gained, most day's these interns will spend at least half of it in the water, learning all the time.

Ross, Annika, Sabrina (PADI Dive Instructor) Kayla, Gary

With the end of week one our interns have already completed a couple of exams, and the emergency assist plan, and after today's navigation exercises and stamina swimming tests,  are looking forward to a relaxing weekend in one of the most beautiful places in the world- Seychelles.

We will keep you updated on their weekly progress, if you have any questions regarding enrolling in a Divemaster Internship or any other PADI Diving program please either drop us an email or give us a call-

Ph: +248 247 165- Shop
Ph: +248 345 445- Office

we would love to help you further your dive education, and assist you in possibly starting a new and exciting career in diving.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Beautiful Seychelles

It is always difficult to decided just where to holiday each year.  We all work so very hard, and our holiday time is so very precious.  This year a friend of mine is living in Seychelles and suggested I come for a visit. You have to understand New Zealand is about as far away from Seychelles as you can get!

I think the deciding factor was the idea of gorgeous crystal clear blue waters, stunning diving, with the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen.  I have dived through out the South Pacific, and love islands, but coming to Seychelles was an experiance I will never forget.

The first thing that hit me when stepping off the plane is how blue the sea was and the mountains are so green.  And yes they do have mountains; made up of these most incredible ganitic rocks.  The shapes are amazing, it looks like someone has carved them out of the stone!

The other thing that really hit me was the most stunning sunsets.  Every evening was different, and the light is so very clear.  It was the most relaxing and enjoyable hour, sitting with an ice cold "Seybrew" beer watching the sun going down, and looking forward to the cooling of the night air.  we watched the sun set all over the island and below are just a couple of the most perfect sunsets ever.

I was diving with the Underwater Centre, Tony was my Guide/Instructor.  He was amazing and showed me so much; the fish life in Seychelles is very special, and such a huge range of fish, there are so many different species, we dived on Aquirium, and Tony mentioned that there are over 450 different kinds of fish living there, it was just a riot of moving colour!

The diving was fun, and at times a little challanging with small currents, but every dive site was different, my favourites include, Brissare, and Dragons Teeth- beautiful corals, and large numbers of rays, sharks and all the other good big stuff.  L'llot- a stunning sight with an enormus varity of soft corals, and you got to look out for those Nudi Branches, and Aquirium and the Marine Park at Baie Turney- the varity of reef fish life/spicies is just amazing.

Tony really went all out to find the critters I really wanted to see, and I'm into the small stuff, it's the perfect place to go and poke around looking for those rare and shy guys who hide away during daylight hours... I could have spent days underwater.... You have to bring your underwater camera!!
This is a country of contrasts, the people are friendly; it's very much island life, lived in, on and around the sea.  Everyone is linked to the ocean in some way, and I think that that is a very special way of life, one I can relate to a little from New Zealand, but on a much larger scale.

So to everyone at the Underwater Centre, a huge thankyou for all your advice about where to go and what to see, your hospitality is second to none, and the most fabulous diving I have had in a long time, look after your environment, and it really is unique to the rest of the world; I hope to come back soon.  Andrea

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wreck Diving in Seychelles- The Aldaberon

There's such a varity of diving oppertunities here in Seychelles.  Yes we are well known for the HUGE varity of reef fish corals and the bigger stuff; we also are able to offer you a wide range of Wreck dives.  Most of these wrecks have been sunk on purpose, creating a ranges of artifical reefs, and every one is different, these include: Twin barges, Dredger, Ennerdale, and now The Aldaberon.

Aldaberon bow with divers

She sits at 40 mt's on sand, and has become home to an amazing vairity of creatures, and it seems everything down there is just that little bit larger.

Schools of huge batfish  circle the wreck

Aldaberon has only been down for just over a year, yet there are more Moray Eels here on one place than anywhere I have seen before, they tend to pop out a surprise you when you least expect it! esspecially the Peppered Morey, these are big guys!

Stern of Aldaberon, surrounded by a huge school of Yellow Stripped Snapper

A fabulous dive, it can be a bit challenging, as there is always a little current, but everyone always comes back smiling

Blowing bubbles on the way up

Safety stop, time for a little reflection

Halloween comes to Seychelles

Well it's better late than never!
With the end of the Whale Shark season, and all the volunteers heading to new places in the world, we at the Underwater center felt it was time to celebrate... and it just happened to be Halloween.

The Under Water Centre Crew, and volunteers
A fun night had by all, with a huge barbeque, and some very dangerous cocktails.
Everyone got dressed up; some pretty inventive costumes to say the least, Thanks David and Glynis

Flying Instructor??        Cat lady, Lillian, and Kiera      Mervin the skipper...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mantas, Mantas... Everywhere!!!- by Tara from USA

What a day!!!!

Don't you just love this time of year here in Seychelles!! with the changing of the monsoons, you never quite know what's going to show up.
We started our morning with an early dive brief, heading out to complete twin tank dives.  First site was Sth Conception... a very busy morning there, with a number of White Tip Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays gliding through and the awesome Giant Trevalies just hanging out up in the rock wash.  Very peaceful, and amazing vis!

Then we were off to Bay Ternay to complete out interval stop and it was onto Grouper Point, and check it out!!!

We dropped in , and were all ohhhing and ahhhing over a couple of White Tip Reef Sharks having a wee snooze, when the dive master looked up and there they were... Mantas.
We all just hung at 20 metres watching in amazement as these most beautiful creatures swum around and around our heads.  Estimates are that there were over 100 Mantas! and so very close

So what was meant to be a 50 min drift dive around the point ended up with us all settling on the sand for nearly 20 minutes just watching the antics and acrobatics of the Mantas.
Thanks everyone for making this a most memorable day, I will be talking about this for years to come, and I hope you enjoy the photos.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our Fabulous German Couple

Another very busy week passes, and we had lots of couples out on holiday from Germany!
It seems it's the time to learn something new and Billie here certainly took advantage of the warm calm waters.

Billie, all decked out and ready to take her "PADI Open Water" exams 

Billie and her lovely partner, had a great week and both completed their Openwater PADI certification.  Tamara their instructor also spent some time teaching them about underwater conservation, and reef cleanup.

Thanks guys for diving with us, the photos are great, and we hope to see you again sometime soon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's all about the diving... Well done Sue 200 dives!!!!!

Thanks Sue, we too had a great week diving with you.

A fabulous logbook@ 200 dives!

It's great to share a major milestone and 200 hundred dives is a real feat!  And what a place to complete that magic 200th dive "Shark Bank"

Dan, Dive master Sabrina, Sue and fab instructor Tony!

Shark Bank is always full of surprises, but it's extra special to come across the odd Whale shark on the way back to the beach, making for an extra special dive trip!

So many thanks Sue, keep up the diving, though I must say it's a little warmer here reather than Scotland!!, and we really look forward to seeing you out here again soon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dan's back in Seychelles after Seven years!!!!!

It's always lovely to catchup with old friends!!!.
Dan who worked with us on "Indian Ocean Explorer" as a Dive Instuctor/ Dive Leader, is back! 

Currently Dan is a Traffic Officer with the Surry Police in the UK, but is here to shoot photos of fish and turtles rather than the odd speeding baddy on the very busy roads back home, a much more peaceful pass time for all concerned!!
With a week of his holiday to go Dan says " So much has changed, but the diving is still just as fantastic as before!"

He really has enjoyed spending time with the Dive Seychelles dive team, some of which he used to work with, and revisiting some of his most stunning favourite dive sites in the world. Grouper Point never fails to please with a large resident reef shark population come to check out the divers... wow!!!
Baie Turnay Marine Park, lived up to it's reputation of the wide varities of stunning hard and soft corals, and a real surprise was a long swim with a very friendly Green Turtle. It's nice to know you can still find these special guys still around the main island.

Shark Bank Was amazing, crystal clear waters at 30 mts, a huge school of Barracuda, circling above the resident school of Yellow Stripped Snapper doing their thing, and of course sharks!!!, with a couple of rather large White Tip Reef Sharks having a sleep under a large granite ledge, and four Fantail Rays, just cruising around chilling out! 

And to top it off we almost ran over a Whale Shark on the way back to the beach, so it was time to get back in the water and snorkel with a young 3.5mt female shark.... what a morning!!!

So we look forward to hearing more from Dan before he heads back to chilly UK.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

june 3rd..... lucky visit for the Canadians

Things were just getting a little quieter, and the South Easterly winds were just beginning to blow when the Canadian Navy vessel Winnipeg called into Port Victoria for three days R&R in Seychelles.

Louis Beaubet had been in touch with us for several days and had organised three days of diving and snorkelling activities for his crewmates and so we were keen to impress him on his first day!

And impress we did, as on the way out to Grouper Point a whale shark was spotted swimming lazily on the surface... a great way to start the day!

Everyone got to see the shark and Louis who had the camera was keen to get some photos for the Photo ID project and so was quickly into the water to meet this big spotty shark....

After a few minutes the shark tired of his new friends and went back to the business of hunting lunch in the form of plankton and so the delighted team carried on for their dive.
A great dive was had by one and all and just to cap things off as they were heading back another whale shark was seen... Instructor Lillian was sure it wasn't the same one, but it didn't matter if it was, everyone was keen to get in with it anyway. And Louis had to get the photo IDs just in case it was a different shark.

One of the HMCS Winnipeg team gets an up-close and personal look at one of our 2007 returning sharks

It didn't take long for the MCSS team to hear about the sightings and soon the images were with them for analysis and sure enough there were indeed two sharks and both had been seen previously: one on the 11th and 21st of October 2006 and the other was seen only once on the 15th of October 2007; both sharks were juvenile males of around 4 metres in length.

So welcome back to our two young visitors, its nice to see you both again and

Bonne Voyage

to Louis and all the crew of HMCS Winnipeg, we hope to see you back again soon as well!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

may 15th.... Kerstins first whale shark

After more than a year in Seychelles Kerstin Gillray, a Divemaster Intern at Underwater Centre / Dive Seychelles, has finally seen her first whale shark!

All through the 2008 whale shark season Kerstin was on tender-hooks with each dive, hoping to see one of these big spotty fish, but she consistently managed to avoid them... even on the monitoring programme it seemed that where Kerstin was the sharks were not!

But all this came to an end on Friday the 15th of May... Kerstin and instructor Theirry Vandamme had just finished a great dive at Brissare Rocks and Dragons Teeth having seen a school of 35 eagle rays, white tip sharks, groupers and more fusiliers than she could think about counting.

Everyone was back on the boat chatting enthusiastically about the dive when the boat captain Nigel sighted the whale shark.
All discussion stopped and Kerstin barely had time to repeat the whale shark code of conduct before an excited group of divers had donned masks, snorkels and fins and were back in the water for a very special treat!

Even though it was her first ever whale shark, Kerstin did a good job of getting both left and right side photographs for the MCSS photo ID programme and less than two hours later they confirmed that this was a 'new' shark and in fact is the 1240th identified whale shark in the regional database!

But Kerstin didn't care... it was Number One for her!!!

may 5th.... status of Seychelles coral reefs

The 'Status of Coral Reefs of the World, 2008' has just been released by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring network and has some interesting facts and figures about Seychelles coral reefs:

"The Seychelles islands have an estimated 1690 km2 of coral reef, which is about 13.1% of the total coral reef area of the Eastern Africa and the South West Indian Ocean islands."

"In the Seychelles inner islands, corals at the north of Mahé Island and in the Curieuse Marine National Park indicate rapid recovery..... Coral recruitment on the granite based reefs of the inner islands is much better than on the carbonate reefs".

So good news for us here in Seychelles.

A healthy coral reef in Seychelles, photo Andre Nekrasov

may 1st.... specialty ratings for Tony

Instructor Tony Marie-Jeanne has just completed a total of seven PADI specialty instructor qualifications and in addition to the full range of standard PADI courses he is now able to teach:
  • Digital Underwater Photography
  • Search and Recovery
  • Surface Marker Buoy Diver
  • Boat Diver
  • Deep Diver
  • Underwater Navigation
  • Emergency Oxygen Provider

And it wasn't long before he got the opportunity to test his skills with Jan Steinvik (the Big Man from Afghanistan!) who has to be one of the tallest men we have ever had diving with us! However, Tony was pleased to teach him the skills need for the Search and Recovery specialty.

Tony and Jan off on a search and recovery dive

april 28th... Dagmar our new divemaster intern

Dagmar Ehlert became the latest Divemaster Intern at Underwater Centre / Dive Seychelles; Dagmar has been resident in Seychelles for many years diving and doing all of her dive-training with us. Not content with just enjoying her dives she was looking for something a little more challenging and so the Divemaster Course seemed an excellent opportunity.

Dagmar and instructor Theirry Vandamme preparing for a dive

Friday, May 15, 2009

april 2009.... returning divers... new buddies

Both Horst and Wolfgang are frequent visitors to Seychelles from Germany, although they had never met before; this month they were introduced and became firm 'buddies' diving with us over several weeks. They were treated to some lovely diving conditions, with blue skies, calm seas and great visibility and managed to notch up some impressive sightings including a whale shark on their first dive to Shark Bank.
Horst and Wolfgang, confirmed dive-buddies during April.