Pharaoh Dive Club – Deptheraphy – Project AWARE: what a winning combination!

At the end of June 2016 a ‘very special team’ took part to a Dive Against Debris Specialty as part of their training; let’s read how did it go directly from Steve Rattle, owner at Pharaoh Dive Club in El Quseir:

For the past few years, Pharaoh Dive Club have been a very active supporter of the amazing work of the Deptherapy charity. The provision of PADI training programs to the injured troops has proven extremely beneficial in many ways to the recipients, however, due to the temperate waters in the UK it is not possible to complete the training for many amputees. There are physical complications in bodily functions in maintaining core temperatures which inhibit diving in cooler climates.

pharahos depthIt is here that Roots Red Sea and Pharaoh Dive Club stepped up and provided free diving and accommodation to the participants of the Deptherapy programme. The charity simply has to fund the transfers from the UK, something they work tirelessly to achieve and for every £500 raised they are able to send 1 more injured soldier on the programme.

AMission PossibleWith the programme now running on a regular basis, there are now returning participants completing continued PADI education training. On this trip we have 3 PADI Advanced Open Water candidates, 2 completing PADI Deep Diver specialty and 4 PADI Open Water candidates.

In addition we had PADI Rescue Diver Chris Middleton, a double amputee undergoing PADI Divemaster training and taking on very successfully [under direct supervision of the instructor], all the skill demonstrations for the full PADI Open Water training of Criag Wood a triple amputee!

It was also decided that it would be a fantastic opportunity for all the candidates to add the Project Aware – Dive Against Debris Specialty. It emphasizes the crucial dive skills of peak performance buoyancy, re-enforces safe diving practices and of course provides a full background of environmental awareness.

After dinner on the 4th evening with the PADI Open Water and Advance Open Water course complete, the new qualified candidates and the instructional team attended and evening presentation of the Project Aware Dive Against Debris programme. Local issues were highlighted to the group and there was intense interest in how they could help to get the message out to the wider world.

The following morning the group assembled and prepared the specialist equipment and formulated a plan on how to tackle the task of cleaning above and below the waves at Gasus Bay north of Roots. Buddy teams were resolved, specific tasks assigned and logistics finalised before 3 buses and 2 pick up trucks set off on the 30 minute drive north. The choice of location was directed by the obvious accessibility issues of the disadvantaged divers, Gasus being a very short walk to the waters edge.

DAD 41As the Deptherapy divers set out to do the DAD primarily with fishing line collection as a goal, but with the intent of not letting single piece of bottom dwelling debris to escape notice, the land support crew swept the beaches collecting all kinds of waste blow ashore over the past months.

DAD 42All divers were given a bag, some pieces of wood for wrapping fishing line around and line cutters. Buddy teams had been arranged to compensate for their injuries, allowing every team to make a contribution to the effort without compromising their safety.

Those left on shore watched slightly jealously as the divers entered the water, the temperature was already soaring despite it still being the morning. As they submerged below the water then the beach clean-up began in sweltering heat under the sun. The debris from the beach was kept separate from that retrieved from the dive site as to be reported correctly on the DAD website.

On return to Roots in the afternoon the team helped with the weighing, categorising and counting of the marine debris. A total of 72 items excluding fishing line, were found weighing in at approximately 7kg. There was also 91 metres of fishing line collected.

However the true success of the event was to be seen over the next days when the Deptherapy divers returned from their following recreational dives all bearing gifts of debris and fishing lines that they had not noticed prior to taking part in the Project Aware Dive Against Debris, great job by all!

On behalf of PADI and Project AWARE congratulations and special thanks to Steve, Clare, Pharaoh’ staff and Deptherapy: keep up the good work!