Winter is finally done with!!! It’s all hands on deck going forward from here with Ben back from his travels and another hugely successful dive trip to the Coral sea. Looking back at the last few months, we’re so glad that all our dive trips got away as planned – Christmas Island, Fiji, The Galapagos, Peru and the Coral Sea and that with these trips being able to run, it sort of feels like life is nearly back to normal.
Looking back at the month of August, we’re very happy with what we’ve been able to achieve and the opportunities that we’ve been able to provide our divers:
Being the first and the ONLY dive club to secure Dr. Richard Harris “Harry” as our guest speaker for a club event with a record attendance and a contribution of $1590 to “Harry’s” chosen charity (Operation Flinders) as a result of the ticket sales (thanks to everyone who bought a ticket and contributed to this sensational event).
Scuba Culture enjoys giving back to the community, whether it’s fundraising for Kangaroo Island bushfire victims, men’s health through Movember, Blood and Breast cancer research, sponsoring a local junior football team in the Ashy Redbacks or a junior Water Polo team with the NYP Dragons.
From speaking with people following the event and seeing the social media flow-on that was generated at and post the event, the presentation certainly exceeded all expectations and clearly showed that Harry isn’t just a brilliant presenter, cave diver, anaesthetist, but also an incredible human with a passion for helping others. Harry’s generosity with his time for our divers was incredible, taking the time to sign books, pose for the obligatory selfie, engage with divers and non-divers alike treating absolutely everyone with the same kindness is the mark of a very special person to whom we’re forever in appreciation of.
One thing is for sure, we (as a small dive business) we continue to learn and evolve as time goes by, and there are several things that we’ve learnt from this event.
One is the importance of keeping old friendships alive – demonstrated by having an array of special guests who helped to lay down the foundations for the safety and development of the sport and pastime we all enjoy so much today. Many will not recognise names such as Stan Bugg, David Bird, John Della-Zuanna, John McCormick, etc… but any cave diver worth their salt will know that the reason why they can access the vast array of cave systems around the Mt Gambier region today are as a result of the years of work and hundreds of dives that these guys put in. Barry Andrewartha is also a name some may not recognise but Barry set up and ran Australia’s main communication and media piece back in the early 80’s when DIVE LOG magazine first hit the counters of dive shops all over Australia and until recently when the advent of the internet simply made magazine publishing a distant thing of the past, but more people will know the name Dr. John Lippmann. John is the former CEO of Divers Alert Network Asia Pacific and was awarded an Order of Australia for his services to the dive industry. A few years ago, the US headquarters of DAN decided to disband the Australian office that looks after the S.E. Pacific region and divert operations back to the US, and on the back end of that, John set up the ADSF – Australian Diver Safety Foundation which nowadays funds everything from medical studies through to safety and life saving equipment grants for the diving industry. And, as a diver, Harry knew every single one of them and has knowledge of the contribution these people made to diving! (so don’t be surprised if you see any of the above names creep in again sometimes down the track as a guest speaker at a Scuba Culture club night).
Scheduling more travel opportunities overseas to cater for you.
In August we finalised a live-aboard trip to Komodo, a trip to the Gili Islands, and a trip to Vanuatu in addition to our 2024 trip to Fiji. In the mix, we’re catering to all divers with some varying price points to provide you with incredible value for money holidays and experiences. Information and booking forms for these trips can be found here: https://www.scubaculture.com.au/dive-travel/upcoming-dive-club-travel/
Our guided club dives
These have also managed to run consistently with divers taking part on all dives offered during the month, yes, admittedly the numbers have been down on warmer months but some great dives have been had at local dive sites.
Following the return of our divers from the Mike Ball trip to the Coral Sea, once again, Ben has put together an awesome trip report. The trip was a resounding success encountering postcard perfect conditions at sea, amazing dives, all run by a highly professional crew of people passionate about all aspects of their jobs, whether from the hospitality, diving, or conservational aspect, the crew from Mike Ball ticked all the boxes. If you missed his trip report you can read it at: https://www.scubaculture.com.au/2022/09/02/coral-sea-liveaboard-trip-review/
Thorough dive briefs preceded every single dive with particular attention to safety, observing maximum operational depths, buddy contact and run times. With the vessel “Spoil Sport” making it to the very top of the outer reef at “North Horn” divers were treated to and enjoyed some of the very best diving not only available in Australia but also our “Blue Planet”, one aspect of the trip that divers found particularly interesting was the talk given to divers prior to the shark dive explaining the issues, cruelty and damage done by regularly run shark feeds such as the ones in the Bahamas and Fiji, with the concept of changing the behaviour of a natural predator to come in and “perform” on a daily basis at the same time as regularly as clockwork.
DiveOz/OzTek for the very first time comes to Melbourne! October 1 & 2 will see a gathering of the Australian dive industry under the one roof at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition centre showcasing the best operators, the best dive gear and gathering some of the best credentialled speakers around. You’ll find our stand very neatly sandwiched between our biggest gear partner on one side – SCUBAPRO and our charter boat partner on the other SCUBABO’ / Dive Victoria, on your left hand side when you enter at stand #3. From all reports provided by the event organisers, the pre-sale of attendance and guest speaker tickets is going along very nicely with particular attention being focussed on the photography sessions (look out for our own Matt Krummins) and presentations on diver safety and dive medicine, none more than the presentation given by Dr Simon Mitchell who always draws a crowd. You can grab your ticket here simply by scanning this code:
DIVE PROFESSIONAL TRAINING IN 2023
We will soon publish our training calendar for the first half of 2023 where we will be bringing back for the first time in a few years PROFESSIONAL TRAINING kicking off with SSI DIVE GUIDE and SSI DIVE MASTER. We hope to have enough numbers of people looking to take their diving to the next level to run an SSI ASSISTANT INSTRUCTOR and SSI OPEN WATER INSTRUCTOR course in the later part of 2023. To start on this professional path, divers need to have the MASTER DIVER status, this is achieved by having logged a minimum of 50 dives, being an SSI Advanced Open Water diver with SSI Stress & Rescue, Oxygen Provider for diving accidents (taught as an add-on to STRESS & RESCUE at Scuba Culture) and an accredited Level 2 First Aid qualification (St Johns, Red Cross, Life Saving Victoria). Globally, SSI has a drastic shortage of suitably qualified dive professionals. Covid has exposed weaknesses in staffing levels across the world, and the diving industry hasn’t been immune to the issue with staff becoming unavailable at short notice making replacements difficult to find and although to a large extent, we’ve managed OK, we have on occasion been stretched.
So why should you consider becoming a dive professional? You could be considering a tree change to your own Coconut tree on a tropical island fringed by coral reef teaching or guiding for an established dive resort or operation, you could be looking to supplement your income with doing something you love to do whilst being able to deduct your dive gear and associated diving expenses from your taxes, or you could be looking to a career change in becoming an owner or part owner of an established diving business needing to gain qualifications that make you an integral part of a working team, or you simply love sharing your passion with other people, enriching their lives and growing their enjoyment, skills and safety underwater. So, if you fit into any of the above, please have a chat with our Instructor Trainer and Certifier, Xavier and have a pathway designed to suit your ambitions, timeframe and budget.
INTERNATIONAL DIVE TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES
Dive the Gili Islands – 02-11 JUNE 2023.
9 days, 8 nights, 10 boat dives, air fares, transfers, accommodation, breakfasts, air, tanks, weights, guides, Wifi, welcome dinner on arrival & farewell BBQ dinner the last evening and an underwater photographer accompanying the group on our dives. With over 25 dive sites awaiting us following a short boat ride to our underwater destinations, a myriad of underwater critters await our visit, everything from macro life through to Mantas and Spotted Eagle rays as well as more turtles than you can imagine!
Including return flights Melbourne – Denpasar– Lombok, staying for 1 night at the Lombok Astoria Hotel in a Deluxe Twin Share with breakfast and Wifi and airport transfers before making our way to the Lutwala Dive Resort on the sunset side of Gili Trawangan. You will have the opportunity to do another 5 boat dives if you wish for only $250 (to be pre-booked with your trip).
Priced at a very affordable $2825 (diver) and $2350 (non diver) – this dive trip always delivers unique experiences in bucketloads.
The sunrise side of Gili T is packed with beachfront bars, restaurants, street side stalls and dive operators, an easy stroll from our resort or even quicker by horse and cart, yes…. You read it correctly, horse and cart as there are no cars or motor bikes on Gili T!
Visit the shop and check out the slide show playing on the shop TV to see what and where!
Being only 9 months away, this is a “No Brainer” that can be easily set up on a payment plan with Allways Dive Expeditions. The trip flyer is here: https://www.scubaculture.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/GILI-ISLANDS-FLYER-2023.pdf and booking form is available here: https://www.scubaculture.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/BOOKING-FORM-SC-GILI-ISLANDS-JUNE-2023.pdf
SOLOMON ISLANDS – Uepi Resort – 26 August to 2 September 2023 (Booked out)
FIJI – Voli Voli Beach resort – 06 to 14 June 2024
(1 vacancy in a Male Twin share Oceanview Room)
Fully inclusive of air fares, transfers, all meals, 10 boat dives, tanks, weights, air fills, guides, at the most stunning of dive resorts on the Northern most tip of the mainland, diving the soft coral capital of the planet in the Bligh Waters, this trip delivers ticks all the boxes. This last place is priced at $4675 and able to be set up on a payment plan.
VANUATU – 18 to 25 July 2024
Staying and diving from the ever popular Hideaway Island resort. With return air fares ex Melbourne direct to Port Villa, including transfers, all taxes and fuel surcharges, staying in a One Bedroom – Twin share Oceanfront Bungalow with continental breakfasts, 10 boat dives, tanks, weights, air fills, guides, a cultural walk and Kava tasting through Mele village, a one hour cruise over the shallow reef of the island in a glass bottom boat, free use of Kayaks and SUP’s and boat diving local protected reefs and wrecks only minutes away from the island, the fish life and ease of diving will amaze you.
This is the perfect trip for divers of all levels and ideal for the non diver looking for a lazy time on the beach in a banana lounge sipping cocktails from the beachfront bar, punctuated by a dip or snorkel in the warm waters of the Pacific ocean.
Priced perfectly at $3195 (Diver) and $2585 (non diver)
A 20 minute ride will put you in the centre of Vanuatu’s capital city, Port Villa where you’ll enjoy some shopping, a stroll through the local produce market finishing off with lunch at one of the many harbour waterfront restaurants or café’s, or perhaps you’ll prefer to have a flutter at the casino, only a 2 minute ferry transfer to the Irririki Island resort sitting in the middle of the harbour.
This trip has always been a popular destination for those looking for a “No fuss – quick fix” type of a break due to the ease of getting there and back with one single flight each way.
You can read more about it here: https://www.scubaculture.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Flyer-Hideaway-2024.pdf and should you be keen, you can access the booking form here: https://www.scubaculture.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/BOOKING-FORM-HIDEAWAY-2024.pdf
DIVE KOMODO – INDONESIA (Liveaboard) – 10 to 19 August 2024
This dive trip is one that’s booking up fast.
Flying Garuda return ex-Melbourne to Labuan Bajo via Denpasar, inclusive of all taxes and fuel surcharges, staying 1 night at the Hilton Garden Inn – Denpasar in a standard room twin share with breakfast and Wifi, return transfers to the airport.
You’ll spend your time aboard the MV Sea Safari VII Liveaboard on their 7 night Komodo National Park itinerary with all meals, up to 4 dives per day, tanks, weights air fills, and guides, visiting the world famous PINK BEACH and the KOMODO DRAGONS…. But you’re mainly here for the diving and the diving here will elevate you into a new world of amazement – Turning it on for you, the Pygmy sea horses (only the size of a grain of rice!) are there, hiding and camouflaged on coral fans only to be spotted by your professional guides, the Napoleon Wrasses also call these waters home, along with huge schools of sweetlip and bat fish…. Ho wait!!! LOOK!!! There goes yet another green turtle! But wait…. There’s more…. You’ll just have to get on this trip to see the rest, and you’ll get plenty of opportunity to do so with a total of 28 dives over 7 days on offer!!!
Priced at $6250 for a Lower Deck cabin (with ensuite) twin share, this trip rates amongst the “Bucket List” destinations sought after by the discerning diver looking for something very special.
Excludes: Marine Park Fee $245 USD – paid locally and any staff gratuities
You can read all about it here: https://www.scubaculture.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Komodo-2024-Flyer.pdf and in order not to miss out, you can book here: https://www.scubaculture.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/BOOKING-FORM-SC-KOMODO-AUG-2024.pdf
NOTE: We have a full ship booking for 16 divers – 11 of these places have already been snapped up. There is only one bed left in a Femaile twin share “Mid deck cabin” (these are the premium level cabins) Again, this trip is available on a payment plan if you wish to use that facility