Features by our regulars

Lake Malawi

January 06, 2015 - 23:53
The story is found: 
on page 36

“I’ve heard of Malawi… Isn’t that where Madonna adopted one of her babies from?” queried one of my clients before my departure for Africa. I winced, but at least she had heard of it. Up to that point, all responses to my intent of visiting the small African nation consisted of confused looks or furrowed brows.

For some reason, many people attach an unwarranted stigma to Africa. Whenever there is trouble somewhere, be it political strife or Ebola, many assume the entire continent is hazardous by geographic association. However, as African nations go, Malawi remains refreshingly innocuous.

Pavillion Lake

January 06, 2015 - 18:50
The story is found: 
on page 83

I first learned about this unusual lake, nestled in Marble Canyon Provincial Park of British Columbia (BC), Canada, when some friends living in Kamloops asked me to join them for a dive at a local, clear freshwater lake. Since it was only a few hours from Vancouver, I decided to take them up on their offer and headed for the interior parts of BC.

I have always wanted to explore this area and was thrilled even more when they told me of the strange coral-type of life living in the lake.

Florida Manatees: Sirenians of Crystal River

January 06, 2015 - 13:51
The story is found: 
on page 16

A winter’s dawn is a special time to be on Kings Bay, for as the first rays of the Florida sun appear over the horizon, they light up the soft mist on the warm waters of the bay and create an ethereal, almost mystical, feeling. Listen carefully and you will hear the gentle ripples from the swirl pools formed by the paddle-like tails of the sirenians, as they make their way towards the freshwater springs that are the source of Crystal River.

The arrival of the manatees usually coincides with a rising tide and heralds their return from feeding on the sea grass of Kings Bay and Crystal River.

Tonga's Humpback Whales

January 06, 2015 - 13:48
The story is found: 
on page 51

Our skipper, Ali, carefully maneuvered the boat into position and cut the engine, shouting, “Go, go, go!” at the top of his lungs. And go we did—straight into the deep blue water, with cameras held in vice-like death-grips and onto the path of over a dozen mature and rather excited humpback whales.

Humpback whales average around 14m long and about 35 tons in weight―that’s a lot of mass coming at you―but there was no time to feel scared or even count these huge submarine-like mammals, because we were finally witnessing one of their famed heat runs, when a female humpback has signaled

Kimbe Bay

August 31, 2014 - 12:56
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The story is found: 
on page 35

There is a line of thought in the scientific community that this is where it all began and the first corals originated… a large sheltered bay, roughly one third along the north coast of the island now called New Britain.

There can be no doubt regarding the profound fecundity of Kimbe Bay because the numbers, as they say, cannot lie and surveys by some of the best known names in marine biology, such as Professor Charles Veron and Dr Jerry Allen, and respected organizations like The Nature Conservancy, have helped

Ron Akeson (1957-2014) - Mission Well Done

June 30, 2014 - 12:35
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The story is found: 
on page 38

I don’t think a week ever went by where I didn’t hear Ron tell someone at his Bellingham dive store, “My motto in life follows the saying: growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” If you ever had the pleasure of knowing or meeting Ron Akeson, you probably understood how he viewed life, because he truly believed in trying to squeeze in every little bit of living into each and every day!

A cascade of grief seemed to grip the local dive community in a domino effect as more and more heard of his passing. Multitudes continue to call in, shocked to hear their mentor, past dive instructor and friend would no longer be around.

Mirrorless Cameras & Wide-Angle

February 17, 2014 - 19:01
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The story is found: 
on page 87

In this article, the final one in the series, I will explain my personal experience with wide-angle underwater photography using the Olympus OM-D EM-5 camera.

With macro photography, the dynamic range is rarely very wide, as there are typically no extreme highlights if an image has been properly exposed, so virtually all modern digital cameras are eminently capable of doing a good job of macro with the right lenses and in the right hands.

Washington State's Hood Canal

February 17, 2014 - 17:30
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The story is found: 
on page 60

Over ten years have past since my last dive in Hood Canal. I’m not sure why, probably because I’ve been so focused on exploring the pristine waters of British Columbia that the extra effort of driving so far south has always deterred me. But when Adventures Down Under, a dive shop in Bellingham, invited me to join their group for a Hood Canal dive charter, I was too curious to say anything but yes.

But for this trip our group of seven met up with Don Coleman, owner and operator of Pacific Adventure at the Pleasant Harbor Marina on the west side of Hood Canal, off Highway 101. It was a typical chilly January day where air temperatures may have climbed to a balmy 30°F (-1°C).

South Africa: Sardine Run & Cage Diving

February 17, 2014 - 17:20
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The story is found: 
on page 16

The world in one country is an oft-used quote to describe South Africa and is not unwarranted. Along with dramatic scenery and a rich cultural heritage, it is a nation renowned for its diversity of ecosystems and wildlife.

However, its undersea environs rival the terrestrial abundance. From northern subtropical reefs to the chilly waters of the cape, South Africa offers a wealth of marine life few nations can rival.

I had a brief introduction several years earlier, visiting Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks in KwaZulu-Natal and the Kruger National Park [see X-RAY MAG issue –ed].

Solomon Islands: Diving New Georgia

January 02, 2014 - 15:55
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The story is found: 
on page 50

Like a series of random punctuation marks, the many islands of the Solomons archipelago lay along the southern section of the Pacific Ring of Fire, in between the countries of Papua New Guinea to the north, and Vanuatu to the south.

Underwater, there are rich reef systems and an amazing variety of marine life together with one of the highest concentrations of WWII wrecks in the Pacific.

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