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Simon Mills on Expedition Britannic

I must have followed countless technical dives to the Britannic over the years, from Kevin Gurr’s trailblazing IANTD expedition in 1997, to Nick Hope’s Starfish Enterprise team in 1998 and Jarrod Jablonski’s Global Underwater Explorers the following year.

Between them these three groups were pivotal in formulating the early procedures and protocols for accessing deep wrecks, and at 119 metres there can be no doubt that the Britannic is worthy of her reputation as the Mount Everest of technical diving.

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Praise for Treasures, Shipwrecks and the Dawn of Red Sea Diving

printed hard cover and jacket product photos 9781909455535

A selection of advance reviews of Howard Rosenstein’s stunning memoir, Treasures, Shipwrecks and the Dawn of Red Sea Diving: A pioneer’s journey. Published July 2024.

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‘Once in a great while a book comes along that combines masterful storytelling, riveting adventure, charismatic characters, and meaningful messages that will continue to haunt you long after the last page is turned. For me, Treasures, Shipwrecks and the Dawn of Red Sea Diving is that book… I urge readers to dive into this book for vicarious adventure, for insight into a life well lived, for reasons why you, too, should succumb to the urge to submerge, and for unbelievable stories that are most wonderful because they are true.’

Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer, Founder of Mission Blue (from the Foreword)

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‘A rollicking fun tale… scuba divers worldwide are indebted to them.’

Kathy Sullivan, history-making astronaut and oceanographer

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‘A fascinating story. Howard’s diving life took him from ancient history, to being among the first to see sharks mate in the wild, to world politics as his pioneering efforts helped make the wonders of the Red Sea available to divers from around the world.’

Marty Snyderman, underwater photographer, author and photojournalist

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‘A captivating voyage through the exotic wonders of the Middle East, above in the Sinai desert and beneath the cobalt blue waters of the fabled Red Sea. His ability to traverse cultures and disciplines while remaining true to his vision is inspiring. This book records one man’s adventures pioneering scuba diving during high politics in the Middle East and is a testament to the transformative power of curiosity, determination, love for the ocean and the desert, and respect for the world around us. I urge you to pick up a copy and embark on this thrilling journey’.

Amos Nachoum, award winning nature photographer and diving travel pioneer, BigAnimals.com

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‘Howard Rosenstein had a dream that he made a reality – he built, and they came.’

David Doubilet (from the Foreword)

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‘A fascinating story that, if it was not the real-life of Howard Rosenstein, it would make a first-class adventure novel. The book details Howard’s work with the top underwater photographers and marine scientists in the world as they dived, photographed and researched some of the most pristine marine environments in the world. Howard’s love for the marine environment went well beyond science and involved bringing the world and all its varied and sometimes contentions partners together for the sake of tourism and conservation. This is not only a story worth reading, it’s a story worthy of sharing with everyone who loves the sport of scuba diving and the underwater world.’

 Dan Orr, Diving Industry Consultant

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‘If you are like most divers, you’ve probably dreamed of that once-in-a-lifetime dive trip, exploring some far-off, exotic ocean on reefs that have never been dived before, walking on deserted, white sand beaches where there is no sign of another human being and of sailing, day after day, never seeing another vessel…

In 1993, a small group of us – photographers, writers and film-makers – had this rare opportunity, in an utterly audacious venture that only the most confident and competent leader, Howard Rosenstein, and his crew, could accomplish. We explored and dived a virgin area spread out over 650 miles of the western Indian Ocean between Mahe, Seychelles and the near-mythical Aldabra Atoll, in what was thought to be the first large-scale diving expedition in this area since Cousteau’s famous discovery-voyage in 1954.

We were to quickly discover why Howard had emerged as one of the pioneers of live-aboard and Red Sea diving. Having participated in this near-unimaginable dive voyage with him, and others to follow, there simply seemed to be no realistic limits to the dive adventures that he and his crews could envision, organize and safely produce.

Howard’s personal dive story, as chronicled in his new book, “Treasures, Shipwrecks and the Dawn of Red Sea Diving,” is the amazing recapture of dive-stuff that seems only possible through fantasy, as if he and his boats had fully known just where they were headed, and the incredible dive experiences they would bring to so many.

Al Hornsby, Executive VP for International Affairs, PADI

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‘Howard Rosenstein’s book is a beacon of inspiration, a testament to the power of passion and perseverance. His narrative is not just a collection of memories but a compass that guides us through the rich tapestry of his life’s adventures. As a friend and confidant, I have witnessed Howard’s unwavering dedication to his craft, and this book encapsulates that journey beautifully. It’s an honor to endorse a work that will ignite the explorer in all of us, beckoning us to dive into the pages and emerge with a renewed sense of wonder and ambition. Howard Rosenstein’s story is a must-read for anyone who dares to dream big and explore the vastness of our world and beyond.’

Rick Tegeler, Oceanographer, photojournalist, author

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“Pioneer: a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area.”

‘Howard Rosenstein is a true pioneer in every sense of the word. Not only did he introduce the exquisite Red Sea underwater paradise to thousands of people worldwide, he also became a true fellow explorer and lifelong friend to me personally–bonds forged underwater are unbreakable! The adventures we shared in the early days of Red Sea diving set a high bar for my professional life and are chronicled in his highly anticipated memoir.’

Anne Doubilet, Underwater Explorer, Writer, Photographer

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Treasures Shipwrecks Dawn Red Sea Diving - Rosenstein - cover

Treasures, Shipwrecks and the Dawn of Red Sea Diving

A Pioneer’s Journey

by Howard Rosenstein

Forewords by Sylvia Earle and David Doubilet

Find out more

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Interview with Claudio Gino Ferreri

Claudio Gino Ferreri - now and during military days

Clockwise from top left: Gino Ferreri entering a hyperbaric chamber, now, and dressed in diving gear during his days in the forces; rebreather diver preparing for training.

Thanks to our friends at Scubaportal.it for this interview with Claudio Gino Ferreri, author of Scuba Diving Operational Risk Management.

How did you start your diving career?

In the 1960s, as a teenager, I did quite a bit of apnoea spearfishing on the south coast of the state of Victoria, Australia.  I also dived scuba using the double hose regulator (La Spirotechnique Royal Mistral) and in Mount Gambier, Australia dove in caves as deep as 76 metres on air. Back then in Australia diving was not as well organised as it is today. Perception of safety and acceptance of risk was very loose.  Diving equipment was very basic, and no one wore lifejackets or buoyancy compensators.

How did you start with SAS and how has your military experience influenced your approach to diving?

I joined the Army at 19, completed recruit training, infantry school and then was posted to an infantry battalion. From there I applied for the SAS selection course which then lasted six weeks. I successfully completed the course, which was physically and mentally very hard. I was then posted to the SAS Regiment in Perth, Western Australia. The SAS at the time had two operational Sabre Squadrons. Each Squadron had four Troops of about twenty operators. The Troops were Air Operations, Water Operations, Mountain Operations and Vehicle Operations. I was posted to the Water Operations Troop. One element of water operations was diving. It is used by SAS as a method of incursion behind enemy lines in order to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance, or raids.

SAS diving courses are very challenging physically and mentally. You need to have a very positive, can-do attitude.  You must be very organised and patient in order to achieve the military objective. Over the time I was in SAS, I saw one or two deaths per year which roughly equates to about a one in two hundred chance of dying. Deaths varied from diving accidents, parachuting accidents, climbing accidents and vehicle accidents. With these statistics in mind you grow up very quickly. You soon realise the importance of situational analysis and planning in order to complete the mission and stay alive. Statistically more SAS have died in training than in combat. The principle being train hard and fight easy.

Which were the main experiences and activities you had in SAS?

The main area of operation for SAS during my time was South East Asia and the Pacific region. SAS spent much time fostering good relations with neighbouring countries by providing training and mentoring in special operations.  In addition we trained with US Special Forces and US Navy SEALs and US Airforce SOS and CCT units. Also we trained with the British SBS, British 22 SAS and the New Zealand SAS. In the 1980s the most challenging experience was in developing a capability to operate on the surface and underwater in BASS Strait which is part of the Southern Ocean. The objective to reclaim an oil rig that may be taken by terrorists. Bass Strait is a treacherous cold sea with waves up to 10 metres tall and inhabited by great white sharks and large aggressive seals.

Which are the most important skills during professional technical diving?

While personal physical diving skills are essential, good planning skills and good situational awareness are the most critical. If you do not have good planning skills and not aware of your current situation, you are gambling with your life.

How and why did you decide to author this book?

I studied risk management at university as part of my BSc degree and have worked as a government security manager which involves assessing risks and threats. I consequently have researched literature by way of books and the internet in relation to diving risk management. To my surprise I discovered that the information available to the diver is incomplete and, in many cases, confusing.

Subsequently, I decided to author a book that covers the diving risk management process from A to Z and which aligns with the ISO 31000 risk management standard.  Incidentally, the ISO 31000 risk management process also aligns with the SAS operational process which is used as the template.

How can your book be of help to the recreational diver, technical diver, and professional diver?

The process outlined in the book enables all categories divers and diving applications to achieve the following objectives.

  • Logically identify problems that pose a risk to the outcome and safety of the dive.
  • Accurately determine the level of risk the diver is exposed to.
  • Confidently develop risk mitigation measures that accurately target the real cause and effect of the risk.
  • Develop the risk awareness mindset during the execution of dives.
  • Develop the template for monitoring and reviewing emerging problems and subsequent risks.

Have you ever had, in your past any experiences with the Italian Navy?

Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to work with the Italian Navy however I have read several books about the legendary Decima Flottiglia MAS of WW2 and have read many internet articles and viewed many YouTube videos about COMSUBIN and the Incursori Teseo Tesei. As Italian born and raised, I am very proud of their achievements.


Scuba Diving Operational Risk Management by Claudio Gino Ferreri

OUT NOW:

Scuba Diving Operational Risk Management:
An SAS approach to principles, techniques and application
by Claudio Gino Ferreri


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Gift Guide for Underwater Explorers #3: Destinations

Dive Destinations

One of the prime motivations in learning to dive is all the interesting travel it opens up. Then picking where to go and how to get the best out of your trips becomes your new pleasant problem. So here are some guides to some of our favourite places to dive.

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