Don Silcock

Islas Mujeres: Swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico

July 24, 2019 - 11:43
The story is found: 
on page 31

Every year, as the summer heat descends on the Yucatan peninsula, an amazing phenom­enon takes place in the waters to the northeast of the small holiday island of Isla Mujeres. Local fishermen call it the Afuera (Mexican for “outside”), in reference to those deeper waters offshore from the tip of the Yucatan where, come July and August, the largest known gathering of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) takes place.

Long considered as solitary giants roaming the open oceans, aggregations of whale sharks seemed quite rare and, prior to the discovery of the Afuera, a large gathering was thought to comprise 15 to 20 whale sharks.

Japanese Giant Salamanders

April 07, 2018 - 11:42
The story is found: 
on page 86

The Japanese giant salamander is a quite unique, if rather mysterious, creature that lives in rivers across western and southwestern Japan.

As both its common and Latin names (Andrias japonicus) suggest, it is an endemic species of Japan that is both protected under federal legislation and formally nominated as a special natural monument because of its cultural and educational significance.

The Ogasawara Islands: Japan's Galapagos

April 07, 2018 - 11:42
The story is found: 
on page 24

Often referred to as the Oriental Galapagos, the Ogasawara Archipelago is located in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, about 1,000km south of Tokyo and is one of the most isolated and remote parts of Japan. The isolation of the archipelago, combined with the fact that the islands have never been connected to a continent, is said to have produced a “Galapagos effect” with flora and fauna that is unique to the islands.

Volcanic in nature, visually the islands are quite remarkable and rise spectacularly out of the surrounding deep waters and oceanic trenches.

Sharks of the Protea Banks in South Africa

April 07, 2018 - 11:40
The story is found: 
on page 79

The Protea Banks enjoys a reputation as one of the best places in South Africa to dive with sharks, and depending on the time of year, you can see up to seven different varieties, including ragged-tooth sharks, oceanic blacktip sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks and three varieties of hammerhead sharks—scalloped, smooth and great hammerhead sharks. Often, these varieties are in large, if not astonishing, numbers.

There is a reason for the abundant life in the region.

Drones & Underwater Photography

April 07, 2018 - 11:40
The story is found: 
on page 91

One of the things I learned quickly when first writing for X-Ray Mag was that it is often the images there were not taken underwater that can make an article about a specific location really stand out. As was pointed out to me, one ornate ghost pipefish looks pretty much the same as another. As proud as you may be of the images from your last trip, are they that much different from those of the one before?

Maybe yes, maybe no… does it even matter? Well, I think it really does if you are trying to get your stuff published or even just “liked” on social media. People enjoy context around the images they like. Building that up by showing more about the destination is a great way to engage.

The Incredible Australian Leafy Seadragon

September 08, 2017 - 12:24
The story is found: 
on page 57

Australia, the great brown land down under, is home to many iconic and often strange-looking creatures, both above and below the water. But few are as unique and visually spectacular as the leafy seadragon!

Known colloquially as “leafies”, they are also known by the common name Glauert's seadragon. Leafy seadragons are endemic to the southern and western coasts of Australia, but are particularly synonymous with South Australia, where they have been adopted as the state’s marine emblem.

Mexico: American Crocodiles in Banco Chinchorro

July 18, 2017 - 13:33
The story is found: 
on page 47

The pursuit of unusual and compelling photo opportunities has led me on some interesting journeys over the last few years, but few come close to the raw excitement of photographing the American crocodiles of Mexico’s Banco Chinchorro!

Being an Australian citizen, my thoughts were immediately drawn to the saltwater crocodiles of the Northern Territory, an animal that hits the headlines quite regularly because of its deadly attacks on humans.

Oceanic Whitetip Sharks of Cat Island

July 18, 2017 - 13:29
The story is found: 
on page 33

Until quite recently, the Red Sea was generally considered as the best place to see and photograph oceanic whitetip sharks—typically in remote locations such as the Brother Islands and Elphinstone Reef in Egypt or the isolated reefs of southern Sudan.

Oceanic whitetip sharks are formidable animals that can reach almost 4m in length when fully mature and have a reputation to match their size, with Jacques Cousteau once describing them as "the most dangerous of all sharks." That said, they do not feature highly on the common shark-attack registe

Great Hammerhead Sharks of South Bimini

July 18, 2017 - 13:27
The story is found: 
on page 61

Like a fashion model up on the catwalk, great hammerhead sharks sashay into one’s field of vision, and, if they were human, you would probably say they have just “made an entrance”. Their strange mallet-like head, robust body girth and tall sickle-shaped dorsal fin make them well-nigh instantly recognisable, and most other sharks in the immediate area spot that too and give them a wide berth.

The great hammerhead shark has a unique and distinguished presence in the water, cautious but confident, and seemingly in control of its environment. As it approaches, its distinctive head sweeps from side to side, causing the rest of its body to move in an almost snake-like manner.

Aircraft Wrecks of Papua New Guinea

June 08, 2017 - 15:29
The story is found: 
on page 6

World War II came to the Australian territory of Papua New Guinea in January 1942 when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Rabaul in New Britain, followed shortly after by the taking of Kavieng in New Ireland. The invasion turned Papua New Guinea into a major theatre of war in the battle for the Pacific, and there were many brutal encounters between the invading Japanese and the defending Allied forces.

Conditions were often appalling and the fighting was incredibly fierce, with many young lives lost on both sides. To this day, relics of those battles are part of the fabric of Papua New Guinea.

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