Andrea Zuccari and Freediving World join the PADI Freediving Family!

PADI is happy to announce the registration of the first PADI Freediving Center in Sharm El Sheikh, Freediving World Apnea Center!

We are also particularly proud to have the center’s owner Andrea Zuccari, multiple Freediving Record Holder and PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer on-board the PADI freediving family.

Let’s start with Freediving World Apnea Center

Freediving World meets PADI Freedivers needs at all levels all the way from beginner to instructor level. The center is equipped with a 25m swimming pool, platforms which are fitted with counterweight systems as well as several buoys/lines reaching different depths, a perfect set-up for freediving courses, group training sessions and workshops.

…and now, let’s talk about Andrea

  • 3 Italian National Records in Variable Weight (VWT) and No Limit (NLT)
  • 10 Swiss National Records in CWT, CNF and FIM
  • 2 No-Limits Tandem Word Records
  • In 2014 Andrea becomes the deepest man in the world using a Freediving Mask with 175m in No Limits



Andrea is currently training to reach the “no packing” target in “TheDeepDiveProject”. Stay tuned and follow Andrea on Social Media for the latest news and information about “TheDeepDiveProject”.


2007                                                                                                                                      51m: Constant Weight Without Fins (CNF) – Swiss Record

2008                                                                                                                                      71m: Free Immersion (FIM) – Swiss Record
71m: Constant Weight (CWT) – Swiss Record

Constant Weight Without Fins (CNF) – Swiss Record
75m: Free Immersion (FIM) – Swiss Record
77m: Constant Weight (CWT) – Swiss Record
120m: No Limit (NLT) – Swiss Record

No Limit (NLT) Tandem with Anna Von Boetticher  –  World Record

2012                                                                                                                                      131m: No Limit (NLT) – Swiss Record

No Limit (NLT) Tandem with con Stavrow Kastrinakis – World Record
135m: Variable Weight (VWT) – Italian Record
155m: No Limit (NLT) – Italian Record

No Limit (NLT) – Italian Record (second deepest man in the world)



My Top 3 EMEA Dives – Part 1: Million Hope Wreck (Guest blog by Alexandra Dimitriou-Engeler)

“So what’s your favorite dive site?” asked a freshly scuba addicted student yesterday.
“Ummm… That’s a really hard question!” I’d replied.
He looked puzzled, “Why?”

Why indeed. I am a PADI Instructor, as are many of you. I am sure you get asked about your favorite dive site all of the time too – don’t you? What is your answer? How do you choose? How is it possible to remember every amazing experience underwater and then pick only one? It is almost always impossible. Diving is incredible in so many ways. You can enjoy a wreck dive as much as a wildlife dive, but we love them each for very different reasons.

So I thought I would write about my top 3 dive sites in this three-part blog series. Surely I can narrow it down to 3!

Dive Site 1: Million Hope Wreck

Location: Nabq Sharm El Sheikh
Description: Wreck
Length: 130 meters
Depth: 0-30 meters

Million Hope

This wreck has it all. It’s huge, it’s in shallow water, it’s covered in coral and teeming with life. This wreck is rarely dived due to its proximity to the shore line, and notoriously choppy waters make it hard to get there. However, if you are lucky enough to dive it you will be in for a real treat. It took me three trips to Egypt and many attempts by RIB before we had the right conditions to dive the Million Hope Wreck!

Why I love it…

Some of the ship is still visible above the surface but the majority is underwater. The shallow depth makes this wreck one of the most colourful and vibrant wrecks that I have ever seen. The traffic of fish was thick and the nudibranch were out in force. Beautiful.

It’s a big wreck! It is possible to get round it in one dive, although the use of nitrox to extend bottom time will make it a lot easier. This wreck sank in 1996 whilst heading for Cyprus. It was carrying fertilizer high in phosphates; the cargo had to be removed following an algae bloom, but there is still lots to see. The cranes that lie on the bottom create overhangs and there is even a Caterpillar crane at 22 meters; a bizarre addition to the dive that’s covered in colourful soft corals. The rotten seat and flooded controls are contrasted by the many scorpion, lion and glassfish that have made their home there.

Million Hope Wreck

White broccoli coral hangs from the ship’s stern but unfortunately the prop and rudder have been removed, leaving a void that the coral struggles to fill. It is one of the places on this ship that makes you feel very, very small! The hull is covered by enormous fire sponges and pajama slugs, as well as there being numerous starfish and pipefish clinging to it. There is a rotary telephone and a toilet seat in the sand surrounded by raspberry coral. There are penetration points everywhere; crew quarters, illuminated by various portholes; a work room complete with spanners on wall hooks, and where a piece of cloth still tied around an old radiator reminds us that this was a working ship.

You can also see the two boilers and twin six-cylinder engines before going up to make your safety stop. My “safety stop” lasted for more than 15 minutes! It was so beautiful between 3 and 5 meters that I could have stayed there forever.  The Million hope is a photographer’s dream – so full of natural light. The contrast of this huge rusty beast next to the multi-colored coral is one of the most breathtaking things I have ever seen.

Million Hope Wreck

If you’ve enjoyed this article, watch this space for Part 2 next week!

Alexandra DimitriouAlexandra Dimitriou-Engeler is a PADI Dive Center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner of Scuba Monkey Ltd and is writing a series of guest blogs for PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Women’s Dive Day – Interviews with Leading Women in Diving (Alessandra Sicilia)

padi-womens-scuba-dive-day-2015-1024x316PADI is proud to present the inaugural PADI Women’s Dive Day on 18 July 2015, a special day to get women together, in the water and involved in diving. With numerous events being hosted around the world, the goal is to get as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day in order to build awareness and interest for the sport.

PADI Regional Manager Jonas Samuelsson decided to interview five leading women in the dive industry during the month leading up to the Women’s Dive Day.First up is Alessandra Sicilia, Manager TGI Diving, with three PADI Divecenters in Egypt and a total of 12 around the world.

Let’s start…

io e lolloThank you very much for taking the time to share your experiences in the diving industry. When and how did you get involved in diving?

I always felt attracted by the diving world, but because of an earlier surgery, I was told I would never be able to equalize. However in 2001 thanks to the passion of a PADI Instructor and a second opinion from a MD who was specialized in diving I was good to go. I had no problems to equalize and I was feeling more free than with my feet on the ground. I never stopped since that day. PAD Open Water Diver led to Advanced Open Water Diver and within 5 months I was a PADI DIvemaster. Diving became my life, part of my soul. That first confined dive was truly life changing for me.

Current position in diving?

I am the Area, Technical and Training Manager for TGI Diving Red Sea. My professional diving level is PADI Master Instructor.

Tips to someone who is thinking about a career in diving?

Well knowing how to dive is not enough to be successful. You need to have many other trades like a good understanding of logistics, accounting, customer care, updated and a great understanding of the importance of protecting our environment and its ecosystem.

Favourite part of working in diving?

io e la mia IDMFrom my point of view is to see colleagues and students grow under my management. To be able to be in charge of a company that touches the heart of so many people. To see previous Open Water Divers grow and become employed in the same shop as a diving instructor where they learned how to dive – its priceless.

Any dream dive you aspire to?

A lot actually! From the South-African Sardine Run, to the Malaysian Borneo, but my biggest dream is to bump into humpback whale passing by during a dive…

What would the next course in diving be?

For several years I have been dreaming about becoming a PADI Course Director, but due to work commitments and daily management I did not have a chance yet, but 2016 is my year! To be able to change someone’s life by teaching them to become a diving instructor and give the person a career in the most amazing industry on the planet is my next goal.

Attributes that makes you more successful in diving?

miaIn addition of being blonde, Italian and pretty cool you mean? I had to be very committed to my career to be successful. Keep yourself updated, take new courses and be pretty firm. Attitude is the most important part of an instructors attributes however. You need to remember how it was the first time you went SCUBA and to show empathy and patience during each course. Make sure that each course you teach is the best one you ever taught and build a rapport with your student during the training.

What is the next step in your career?

PADI CDTC, Course Director Training Course, during 2016 and to establish Pro courses in both our shop in Marsa Alam and in El Gouna. I am dreaming of making TGI into a PADI CDC Center. This is an ambitious goal but with the team I work with all around the Red Sea area I certain we will reach there in the near future.

Best moment in diving?

mia 2My best moments in diving is when I go diving with my husband Lollo. Lollo and I work together and we share the love for diving. Each chance we get we go for a dive together. How many people can say that when they go with their family on a holiday they do exactly the same thing during their holidays as when they work. I consider myself so lucky to choose this path. Choose to work with something you love and you never work another day in your life.

Thank you Alessandra for taking the time by answering a few questions. You are an inspiration for divers all around the world. I am looking forward to see you in August for the DSD Pool Party that we organized between PADI EMEA and TGI EL Gouna.

Thank you Jonas and see you in August.

PADI Dive Days – 04 February 2015.

PADI Dive Days conducted in Hurghada, Egypt turned out to be a great success. Together with HEPCA/PADI/Project Aware, the PADI Dive Centers and the PADI Members, this event was supported by individuals concerned about the environment and wanting to make a difference.  We had the pleasure and honor of meeting the Governor of the Red Sea, Governor Ahmed Abdullah, who personally handed over the presitigious Red Sea Governorate Recognition & Appreciation Award to PADI during the course of the event.

Mark Caney - Vice President Training, Customer Services
Mark Caney – Vice President Training, Customer Services

Hepca – Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (formally known as HEPCA) is a Non Governmental Organization that was established in 1992 and works primarily with land conservation and marine protection. They have managed to protect fragile eco-systems in the Red Sea and have engaged in caring for the sensitive land ecosystems, resource monitoring, public awareness campaigning, solid waste management research and community development. Through their engagement they have ensured for positive developments in the Red Sea. HEPCA works closely with a number of Egyptian governmental departments including; the Red Sea Governorate (RSG); the National Conservation Sector; and the National Parks of Egypt.DSC_6967

The PADI Dive Day boats launched from various points and met up at Magawish island. The day was filled with activities and keen volunteers were sitting on the boats waiting to jump into the water and others were getting ready to on land. The participating dive centers ensured their boats and their crew were available for the dive and for the beach clean up. Hepca took care of the refreshments, the transportation to and from the diving boats.

Astrid -
Astrid –

For the PADI selfie contest, the participant had to take a fun picture wearing the yellow PADI sunglasses, which ran throughout the day. The winners were chosen at the closing ceremony and had the opportunity to win great prizes. The sponsors AquaLung, Suunto Egypt and Scuba Online, supported with super prizes such as the Suunto D6i Computer, AquaLung Apeks DIN ATX40 Regulator Scuba Online Diving Bag. Jonas Samuelsson, PADI EMEA Regional Manager worked together with the participating dive centers and especially with Hepca to ensure that the logistics were in place. The coordination of the boats, the rubbish disposal after the event and schedules were managed by the team and a considerable amount of rubbish was removed from the  underwater clean up  during the dive and on the Magawish island itself.


A highlight was the visit by Governor Ahmed Abdullah who personally handed over to Mark Caney- PADI EMEA Vice President, Training and Customer Services, the prestigious Red Sea Governorate Recognition & Appreciation Award. The importance of diving training and high standards that are implemented by PADI professionals working in Egypt have helped to bring about more awareness and to support the local Diving Industry – It is however only due to your efforts (our valued Members) that we could accept this honorary award and we thank you all for your support.

General Ahmed Abdullah
Left: Mark Caney & The Governor of the Red Sea. Ahmed Abdullah

A special thank you to HEPCA/PADI/Project Aware, Dive Pro Academy, Panorama Divers, Blue Paradise, Euro-Divers, Dive-Point, Colona, Scuba World Divers, Dive Connection, Aquarius, Suunto Egypt, Aqua-Lung Egypt, Scuba Online, the Governor of the Red Sea, Ahmed Abdullah and all our Members, Colleagues, Partners for all your support in making this day such a success. Let us work together to protect the environment and make a difference in protecting our fragile eco-systems all around the World!

Beach Clean Up on Magawish Island
Beach Clean Up on Magawish Island
PADI & Project Aware team

PADI Sidemount Tec Xplorer Days

Dahab Divers & Team Blue Immersion Presents:

PADI Sidemount Tec Xplorer Days

The popularity of sidemount diving can be seen at long dive sites, coverage through most major diving magazines and the abundance of specialized equipment now designed specifically for sidemount.  The benefits far exceed those of just cave divers, with aspects of safety (extra gas supply and redundancy systems), logistics (travel and accessibility to dive sites), comfort and enjoyment!

Team Blue Immersion and Dahab Divers Technical are proud to be on the forefront of sidemount education teaching both the new PADI Recreational and Technical Sidemount courses.  Now is your chance to learn all the basics from equipment configuration to gas management, while preparing yourself for more advanced skills following some of leading sidemount divers around.   Team Blue Immersion is proud to work together with PADI on such a project and will be sponsored by Hollis Gear ( and the DIR Tech Shop (

Presentations will include

  • advanced equipment configurations
  • sidemount for photographers
  • sidemount for videographers
  • tips and tricks for instructors
  • deep technical sidemount diving

              ……..and many more

Join us for the entire week or choose from a list of courses available.  

DISCOUNTED prices in effect for Tec Explorer week ONLY:

PADI Sidemount Diver – 300 Euro

PADI Sidemount Instructor – 320 Euro

PADI Technical Sidemount – 400 Euro

PADI Technical Sidemount Instructor – 420 Euro

Packages available: 10% off, for those taking 2 course or more

This can also be combined with the many other courses available through Team Blue Immersion (PADI Tech Deep, PADI Trimix, Advanced Underwater Videographer, PADI Gas Blending, and a specialized  PADI Technical Rescue course for example).

….Or simply add days of fun diving to the many world renowned dive sites we have available here in Dahab: all perfect for sidemount diving!

Accommodation is available at the attached resort ( only few meters from the beach in central lighthouse.

For more details: