Christopher Bartlett

Mozambique's Ponta do Ouro

August 07, 2016 - 13:48
The story is found: 
on page 27

When I lived in South Africa for two years a decade ago, Ponta do Ouro in neighboring Mozambique was a place of legend in the wilds beyond the KwaZaulu Natal border just a five-hour drive north of Durban. Tales told of a rustic village in the dunes with great diving, yet the village was swamped by South African fishermen off-roaders and quad-bikers during the school holidays.

The drive up from Durban was uneventful until the border, where the excellent tar road stopped and a massive squiggle of sand tracks started. All roads lead to Ponta, we were told.

South Africa's Rocktail Beach

June 11, 2016 - 21:18
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on page 41

South Africa’s dive scene is well-known for its shark diving. Yet, there is a great deal more to see underwater off the coast of the old continent, towards the border with Mozambique, at Rocktail Bay.

In South Africa, there are year-round opportunities to see oceanic blacktip sharks, bull sharks, scalloped and great hammerheads, black and whitetip reef sharks, and ragged-tooth sharks (aka sand tiger sharks in the US or grey nurse sharks in Australia).

Bahamas' San Salvador Island

January 10, 2015 - 15:55
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on page 25

A fifty-minute flight southeast from the bustle, cruise ships and tourist-centric Nassau, lies the sleepy island of San Salvador. Twelve miles long and five miles wide, she is the tip of an underwater mountain rising from 5,000 metres below (15,000 feet) surrounded by picture-postcard, crystal-clear, blue seas.

Now home to 1,200 Bahamians, "San Sal" has a past as colourful as her long sandy beaches are white. The native Lucayan Indians who had settled there around the 6th century AD called her "Guanahani".

Bahamas shark feeder course

January 06, 2015 - 14:13
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on page 29

Many people are scared witless by sharks, but I love them. I scuba dive and freedive with them whenever I can.

Ever since I started diving, I’ve been an elasmobranch fan. On my open water qualifying dives, I saw sand tiger sharks on every dive. On the deep dive for my advanced open water, I apparently shared it with 12 mantas and swam with a whale shark on the way back.

Galápagos - Where the Big Things Are

November 07, 2012 - 21:36
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on page 17

Unlike Max in the children’s book by Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are, I hadn’t worn my wolf suit, or made mischief of one kind or another. I hadn’t been sent to my room before it transformed into an island of magical monsters only reachable after a year of sailing.

I wouldn’t want to spend that long on a boat, so I behaved(ish) and looked forward to being on Galápagos and spending my nights tucked up on dry land.

My dive buddy Simon’s left arm shot out, index finger extended, and he clenched his right fist and stuck it on the side of his head. I quickly scanned left and right, peering through my mask into the milky blue water. “Where?! Where?!” my brain implored. “There!!!” my eyes answered.

Tufi, New Ireland & Milne Bay

September 22, 2012 - 13:29
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Is there another country anywhere with so much diversity? The six million inhabitants of this nation of mountains and islands are spread over 463,000km2 of mountainous tropical forests and speak over 800 different languages (12 percent of the world total). Papua New Guinea occupies half of the third largest island in the world as well as 160 other islands and 500 named cays.

Located just south of the Equator and to the north of Australia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a diver’s paradise with the fourth largest surface area of coral reef ecosystem in the world (40,000km2 of reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves in 250,000km2 of seas), and underwater diversity with 2,500 spec

Brothers Islands: Red Sea Liveaboard

April 21, 2012 - 21:21
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on page 17

Forty-two miles off the Egyptian coast, the Brothers Islands rise up from the floor of the Red Sea 800 metres below, forming two small, flat tabletops surrounded by steeply sloping fringing reefs.

After six years of almost only diving from RIBs and spreading my clothes around my house, villa or hotel room, I decided it was time to see if I would enjoy a week on a boat with a bunch of strangers.

Tantalizing Tofo

October 13, 2011 - 23:23
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on page 41

Four hundred and fifty kilometres north of Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, and half an hour from the historic Portuguese trading town of Inhambane and its airport, Tofo is a laid-back village popular for its endless pristine beaches and, of course, scuba diving.

The warm waters of the Indian Ocean provide sustenance for an abundance of marine life here, but the mantas and the whale sharks are the stars of the show.

“Three, two, one go!” Rolling backwards off the pontoon of the RIB, I delighted in the slow-motion freefall from a negative entry, going straight down with Carlos, our Dive Master.

Zanzibar: Diving Unguja & Pemba Island

October 13, 2011 - 23:23
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on page 33

The spacious, purpose-built dhow slid through the calm Indian Ocean. We were briefed sitting under the shade area of the deck, then kitted up and went through our buddy checks before a giant stride took us into the 30°C sea. Looking down, I could just make out the dive site, an old British lighter, 27 metres below me. It was 9:30 a.m. and the day was going fantastically.

I’d started the morning in Dar-es-Salaam and caught a Coastal Airways Cessna 182 for the 20-minute 07:30 flight to Stone Town on the west coast of Unguja, more commonly known as Zanzibar, for some low-level sunrise shots of the outlying reefs. Ten minutes in a taxi, and