Women who Scuba Dive – my diving adventures

Learning how to scuba dive was always a bucket list event, and my bucket list location to do this was in Thailand. So in January of 2016, I flew from Sydney to Thailand, and made my way to the island of Koh Tao. What was supposed to be a one week stay ended up a three week scuba diving pilgrimage, where I fell in love with scuba diving, attaining both my PADI Open Water and my Advanced Open Water qualifications at Master Divers.

So in honour of PADI Women’s Dive Day on July 18th, here is a reflection of my experience of when I first learned to scuba dive, and my scuba diving adventures ever since.

MASTER DIVERS on Koh Tao, Thailand is one of the longest operating PADI dive centres, first opening in 1992. I initially booked onto the Open Water qualification, but ended up progressing onto the Advanced Open Water, and adding night diving, wreck diving and peak buoyancy training to my scuba diving repertoire.

My experience with Master Divers as a training centre was excellent. Communication prior to my arrival was frequent, my dive instructor David was professional, patient and friendly, and the staff helpful and welcoming.

CORAL CAY CONSERVATION is a marine conservation and scuba diving expedition organisation based in the United Kingdom. Keen to further develop my passion and love for both scuba diving and marine conservation, I lived on the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat in the Caribbean for one month in May of 2016. For six days a week, and two dives a day, I honed my buoyancy while learning about fish, invertebrates, impacts, and substrates. With a slate in one hand, our team counted and documented the marine life, in order to map the marine habitat that was damaged during the island’s volcanic eruptions in the mid 1990’s.

DIVE AGAINST DEBRIS is a Project AWARE campaign where marine debris is collected from the seafloor, and the data reported and documented to drive change and create solutions to stopping more of it in our oceans. While on Montserrat, our conservation team joined Charley and her dive team on their monthly dive for debris at Carr’s Bay. In an hour, we collected 16kg of debris, including 13 bags of plastic, 31 pieces of different plastic disposable cutlery, 32 pieces of other plastic fragments, 152 aluminum cans and 29 cans (food, juice or other).

ARABIAN SEAS are not just for sailing, but some of the best diving is found on the East Coast of the United Arab Emirates. While visiting my friend who lives in Ras Al Khaimah, I booked three recreational dives with Al Boom Diving in Fujairah, to Martini Rock, Sharm Rocks and the hole in the wall. The average water temperature in the month of May is 26 degrees celcius. As a diver with Al Boom, you get a discounted meal voucher to Le Meridien Al Aqah Resort next door, making this a perfect dive day out.

DIVE BUCKET LISTS will be my next travel and scuba diving venture, once the world recovers from Covid-19. I’ve only dived in Thailand, the Caribbean, the United Arab Emirates, on Santorini in Greece, and the United Kingdom. But there are so many more underwater places and things I want to experience including the Phillippines, especially Palawan and Boracay, the Canary Island of El Hierro, the Silfra Fissure in Iceland, the Blue Hole in Belize, and Hammerhead and Whale Sharks. Where are your favourite diving destinations and why?

Happy PADI Women’s Dive Day this July 18 to all the women and girls out there who have experienced the wonderful world below the water’s surface.

Stunning Sunsets and historic castles – Camping at Kinloch Campsite

The sunsets are stunning here on Kinloch Campsite. As we stood looking out on Dunvegan Loch, with a local gin and tonic in one hand, the sky transformed from a golden yellow, to orange, then purple and pink.

Kinloch Campsite is a small, friendly, family run campsite located in the north west area of the Isle of Skye, Scotland. We stayed here for 3 nights in August of 2019.

The natural views of Dunvegan Loch and the surrounding hills of MacLeod’s Tables are two of my favourite features of this campsite. It’s also very spacious, with many places to choose from to pitch a tent, with unhindered views and space, away from your fellow campers.

The campsite also caters to campervans, with hard standing electric hook-up pitches, clean toilet block with free, hot showers, laundry and dish washing areas and free Wi-Fi.

Dunvegan’s Bakery, the oldest on Skye is a short walk from the campsite, and a great place to buy a variety of fresh baked bread, rolls, pasties, pies and cakes. We stopped here on several occasions, for breakfast or to grab some snacks on our road trips around the Isle of Skye.

Kinloch Campsite is the perfect base to explore the rest of the Isle. Our road trips took us up to Trumpan Church with it’s historical and violent past, the historic Dunvegan Castle, the natural beauty of the Fairy Pools, and the endless seafood options at Portree.

As the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions begin to lift, a trip back to Kinloch is planned, once safe to do so. With so much more of the Isle of Skye to see, including a meal at The Three Chimneys, I highly recommend Kinloch Campsite as a relaxing and beautiful place to stay.