SCUBA News 257
(ISSN 1476-8011)

SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 257 - November 2021

Welcome to SCUBA News - I hope you find it useful. This month we interview Paul Flandinette, one of the authors of Secret Seas, about his book and the unusual diving around Oman.

What's New at SCUBA Travel?

The Kimon M wreck with soft corals by Tim Nicholson

Get Wrecked in the Red Sea

So many shipwrecks in the Red Sea which are home to masses of sea life.

Tobago Cays, the Grenadines

Diving St Vincent & the Grenadines

32 islands are waiting to be dived in this Caribbean archipelago.

Featured Liveaboard: Mini Safaris to Red Sea Wrecks

Egypt liveaboard

Snefro Pearl is great if you want to combine a liveaboard with a shore-based trip. It visits wrecks like the Thistlegorm & Dunraven + reefs.


Meet the Author: Paul Flandinette

Secret Seas - - Discover Oman's unique underwater world

Secret Seas

Paul Flandinette wrote Secret Seas - a beautiful book which not only has gorgeous pictures but is awash with information on Oman, its seas and underwater life. We talk to Paul about his book and life in Oman.

1. What prompted you to produce the book?

I've been diving for many years and doing underwater photography for about 20 years. I have many underwater photography coffee table books and have long been enthralled by the photographers' art. I've wanted to produce a professional quality underwater photographic book for as long as I can remember, although I didn't think it was a realistic ambition. But that changed in 2014 when I received my first underwater photography commission from Oman's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth (as it was then known). Spread over six months this project gave me a detailed insight into the beauty and biodiversity of Oman's underwater world. It didn't take me long to learn there was no photographic book on Oman's underwater world. It's rare to find any project that's never been done before so, always up for a challenge, I began this journey which was to last over 7 years.

Whale shark
Whale shark

2. In the seven years it took to complete, was there any time when you thought it might never happen?

After investing so much time and energy in the photography and several years of knocking on a lot of doors looking for a sponsor there were quite a few times when it would have been easier to give up. There were several occasions when I thought I'd clinched it, but finding support for a book, especially in difficult economic times, was quite a challenge. It wasn't until late 2020 when the OMRAN Group agreed to sponsor the publication of Secret Seas that I realised it was going to become a reality.

Octocoral polyps in Oman
The polyps of octocorals (soft corals and gorgonians) have 8 tentacles, each bearing numerous pinnules that help the polyp to capture its planktonic preys. Ras-Abu-Dawood, PF (f25,1/200).

3. What is the main thing that you hope your book will achieve?

Oman really isn't on most divers' radars even though it is within easier reach for European travellers than most Indo-Pacific dive locations (current Covid travel restrictions notwithstanding!). For my co-author Michel and me it's not just about creating a beautiful and informative book. We hope that being part of the effort to promote Oman's underwater world Secret Seas will help increase awareness of the need to conserve and protect this very special marine environment.

A tale of two futures for oceans
A double-page spread from the book

4. You called your book "Secret Seas" - why did you decide on that title?

Oman has long been something of a mysterious country. It is the Arab world's oldest independent state and has a proud history going back over 5,000 years. Yet, few people have heard about this fascinating nation. Its seas are unique and hold more than their fair share of surprises. Nowhere else in the world will you find temperate species such as seaweeds and kelps living alongside tropical species. This seasonal occurrence in the Arabian Sea is brought on by the southwest monsoon which is one of the world's most powerful weather systems. Oman is one of the world's most important sanctuaries for Green turtle nesting; in fact 4 of the 7 species of sea turtles nest in Oman. Whale sharks are regular seasonal visitors and 20 species of cetaceans are known to reside or visit. On top of that there are over 1,600 species of fish, nearly 200 species of corals and new marine species are still being discovered. Mysteries run deep here and our book reveals the secrets of Oman's amazing marine bio-diversity.

Daymaniyat Islands
Daymaniyat Islands

5. What do you like to do when you are not working or diving?

Watch movies and create digital art of marine subjects.

Clarke's anenomefish in Bubble Coral
Clarke's anenomefish in Bubble Coral

Paul Flandinette is an award-winning film maker, professional underwater photographer, author and artist. He is passionate about the underwater world and has dived extensively in the in the Far East, Red Sea, Caribbean and the UK. He has been living in Oman since 2013 and has spent the last seven years photographing Oman's underwater world.

Read our review of Secret Seas. To order To order contact Paul Flandinette - or telephone +968 9138 2281.

More book reviews are at, plus the ten bestselling diving books are here.

Diving news from around the World

Whale fluke

Whale poo saves the world
Restoring whale numbers would mean more iron in the water from their poo, which would mean more phytoplankton and more carbon dioxide taken up from the atmosphere. Whales once contributed to as much carbon removal as forests of entire continents.

Seal by the Thames

Seahorses, sharks and seals found in River Thames
Sharks, seahorses, eels and seals have been found living in the River Thames, a study has found.

Tiger Shark

Fishing for Tiger Sharks to be banned in Bermuda
Whale sharks are currently the only shark species that have protection in Bermuda. Other sharks besides tiger sharks could also be added.

Dolphins collaborate to catch fish by disturbing sediment

How dolphins use tools, teamwork, and trickery to get their dinner
There's no question dolphins are incredibly smart. But how they use their intelligence to survive continues to astound marine biologists, who discover new and fascinating behaviours every year.

Oil - nodding donkey

Planned fossil fuel output 'vastly exceeds' climate limits, says UN
Despite pledges of action from many nations, almost none have policies to wind down production, report says

Crab face

Mesmerised crabs' breeding habits inhibited by lure of undersea power cables
Underwater power cables linked to offshore renewable energy facilities are disrupting the behaviour of brown crabs who can't resist their electromagnetic pull, marine scientists have found.

Goliath Grouper

Overruling scientists, Florida commission authorizes fishing of the vulnerable goliath grouper
For the first time in 3 decades, Florida is planning to allow recreational fishing of one of the world's largest and most embattled gamefish. But many fisheries researchers object to the plan, arguing that state officials have offered no scientific basis for allowing anglers to legally kill the Atlantic goliath grouper, which has seen its populations battered by decades of overfishing and habitat destruction.

River run off

Agricultural runoff contributes to climate change
Scientists have discovered how rivers, bearing increased loads of nitrogen, emit greenhouse gases.

Plastic in the Sea

Ships could clean up the ocean by turning marine plastic into fuel
Clearing up marine plastic pollution is energy intensive - but ships could convert the plastic they collect into fuel and create a self-sustaining clean-up operation.

Banarcles on a whale fluke

What Whale Barnacles Know
For generations, these hitchhikers have been recording details about their hosts and their ocean home.

Village fishing

Global launch of the Great Blue Wall
Movement launched to conserve and restore marine and coastal biodiversity while unlocking the development of a regenerative sustainable blue economy

Mediterranean fish

Due to the warming of the Mediterranean Sea, marine species are migrating 55 metres deeper into cooler waters to survive
Due to the temperature difference across the Mediterranean Sea, fish, crustaceans and molluscs like squid are moving deeper.

SCUBA News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. This means we are happy for you to reuse our material for both commercial and non-commercial use as long as you: credit the name of the author, link back to the SCUBA Travel website and say if you have made any changes. Some of the photos though, might be copyright the photographer. If in doubt please get in touch.

Photo credits: Tim Nicholson, Jill Studholme, Kristin Riser, Jianye Sui

Previous editions of SCUBA News are archived at

Visit [UNSUBSCRIBE] and add or remove your e-mail address. To change whether your receive the newsletter in text or HTML (with pictures) format visit [PREFERENCES]

Should you wish to advertise in SCUBA News, please see the special offers at
Other advertising opportunities are at

Please send your letters or press releases to:
Jill Studholme
The Cliff
Upper Mayfield

SCUBA Travel Ltd, 5 Loxford Court, Hulme, Manchester, M15 6AF, UK

Subscribe To SCUBA News

Our newsletter, SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011), is absolutely free. It is a monthly publication, delivered by e-mail. To receive your copy fill in your details below. We will never pass your e-mail address to any third parties, or send you unsolicited e-mail.

You will receive an e-mail confirming your subscription. If you don't receive this you may have entered your e-mail address incorrectly - revisit this page and re-subscribe.

Write to SCUBA News

If you would like to write to SCUBA News, please fill in the form below. You can as well post on our Facebook page and