X-Ray Mag #113

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Feature articles in this issue with stand-alone pdfs

Simon Pridmore   Michael Rothschild
Photo by Michael Rothschild

A term that has crept into discussions of scuba diving safety comparatively recently is “situational awareness,” a concept that originally arose in the field of aviation but has now been extended to a wide range of human activities, from medicine and motoring to personal security and law enforcement. Simon Pridmore offers insights and advice on safe diving with a scuba sixth sense.

Susanne Lundvall   Will Appleyard , Jessica Olofsson
Diver at port side of the wooden figurehead wreck Osborn and Elisabeth in Hanko, Finland. Photo by Will Appleyard

To help promote dive tourism in the Baltic Sea, the European Union’s Project Baltacar, a collaboration between Sweden, Finland and Estonia, has developed underwater heritage trails for visiting a selection of unique wreck sites in the three countries. In Finland, the project has established buoys and created dive site maps for a group of five wrecks from the 17th to the 19th centuries, located just outside Hanko. Susanne Lundvall reports.

Sabine Kerkau   Sabine Kerkau
A ghost net at the stern of the Elbing IX floats 20m above the wreck, trapping and killing marine life. Photo by Sabine Kerkau

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of tons of ghost nets lie at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, often caught on shipwrecks, many of which are historical in significance. The Baltic Sea Heritage Rescue Project brings together volunteers from all over the world with the drive to locate, document and remove such ghost nets from wrecks in the Baltic Sea, thus saving marine life, protecting the wrecks and keeping their stories alive. Sabine Kerkau, one of the co-founders of the project, reports.

Interview by G. Symes   Lorenzo Moscia
Screenshot from Lorenzo Moscia’s video "Underwater World"

Looking at his body of work, Lorenzo Moscia appears to be a “triple-threat”—he is a photographer / videographer, composer and video editor. He is also a photojournalist and investigative reporter with a law degree, and a technical diver. X-Ray Mag interviewed him to learn more about his recent video, Underwater World, his creative process and his perspectives.

Ila France Porcher   Illustrations by Ila France Porcher
Merlin, the sea turtle, illustration by Ila France Porcher

Sighting a sea turtle on a dive is always a pleasure. However, few know much about what they are like as animals. Being reptiles, it is assumed that they are essentially on automatic—emotionless and thoughtless. But we changed our minds about that when Merlin came. Ila France Porcher relays the tale of rehabilitating a sick sea turtle in Tahiti, at a time when turtles were often hunted for food.

X-Ray Mag Contributors   X-Ray Mag Contributors
Giant Pacific manta ray in Revillagigedo Islands (Socorro), Mexico. Photo by Olga Torrey

We asked our contributors what their favorite underwater photos taken with their camera angled upward were, and they returned with a variety of subjects captured while looking up... from delicate macro marine life to floating jellyfish, from majestic manta rays to divers and even birds.

The mast of the Kronprinz Wilhelm wreck, rendered in 3D photogrammetry by professors Chris Rowland and Kari Hyttinen of 3DVisLab at the University of Dundee in Scotland, United Kingdom

Scapa Flow, located in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, is the site of the scuttling of the High Seas Fleet of the Imperial German Navy in June 1919 at the end of World War I. While many of the wrecks were salvaged following the war, the remaining wrecks have become popular dive sites. In recent times, efforts to learn more about these wrecks through multibeam sonar surveys and 3D photogrammetry have taken place. Rosemary E. Lunn interviewed key figures involved in these developments to gain further insight.

Interview edited by G. Symes   Setsuo Hamanaka
and Catherine GS Lim   Setsuo Hamanaka
Bigeyes, 65.2 x 90.1cm, oil on canvas oil on canvas by Setsuo Hamanaka

Self-taught Japanese artist Setsuo Hamanaka creates beautiful, detailed and dynamic paintings of aquatic life in a variety of settings from the open ocean and mangroves to freshwater ponds and cityscapes. X-Ray Mag interviewed the artist to learn more about his creative process and what inspires him about the underwater realm.

Larry Cohen   Larry Cohen , Olga Torrey
Olga Torrey   Larry Cohen , Olga Torrey
Diver Olga Torrey exploring the USS San Diego. Photo by Larry Cohen

The waters running north to south from the Long Island coast to northern New Jersey are nicknamed “Wreck Valley” by local divers. Larry Cohen and Olga Torrey share the stories of some of the war shipwrecks found in these waters, located off the US northeastern coast.

Larry Cohen   Gregory Borodiansky , Larry Cohen , Olga Torrey
Gregory Borodiansky diving his Generic Breathing Machine (GBM), a front-mounted rebreather he invented. Photo by Olga Torrey

Technical diving instructor and inventor Gregory Borodiansky is qualified to dive 20 different rebreathers. He is also a rebreather instructor on many units and a rebreather instructor trainer. Since Borodiansky has a background in electronic engineering and computer science, he took the features he liked on each unit and designed a front-mounted rebreather. Larry Cohen reports.

Angelique Brathwaite   Beth Watson
Diver at porthole on The Wit. Photo by Beth Watson

Belize is a country blessed with an abundance of fabulous coral reefs, to which its newest underwater attraction—the sunken ship "The Wit"—adds another dimension. Angelique Brathwaite has the story.

Kate Jonker   Kate Jonker
I used long strobe arms to light this huge sea fan. Photo by Kate Jonker

One of the biggest challenges to using strobes in underwater photography is positioning. In this article, Kate Jonker offers six simple steps to better strobe positioning for wide-angle underwater photography.


Other articles and news in this edition

Other species also think and feel to some degree, even small critters

Biologists have discovered in Hong Kong waters three new species of hard coral which have never been identified anywhere else in the world. The findings come shortly after their discovery of one new coral and two new nudibranch species.

Fin whale feeding aggregation.

Scientists have seen fin whales in massive numbers feeding near their ancestral hunting grounds of Elephant Island in the Antarctic.

Sphinx og Giza pyramiderne

Egypt's tourism ministry has announced that amateur photography in the country’s public spaces is now allowed.

Swimming and diving at Hon Mun Island in Nha Trang, Vietnam

Vietnam has banned swimming and scuba diving off Hon Mun Island in an attempt to revive its damaged coral reef.

Sea otters bounce back but fall prey to great whites

Decades of conservation work have boosted sea otter populations from near extinction in many parts of the North Pacific, but the animals are now being killed by great white sharks.

The great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) is the largest species of hammerhead shark

Petition to Protect Great Hammerhead Sharks Under Endangered Species Act submitted to the US Secretary of Commerce.

Ribbon weed, Posidonia australis, meadow in Shark Bay, Western Australia

Seagrass meadow stemming from a single hybrid plant has extended its reach across more than 180 kilometres. This makes it the world’s largest known plant.

Spain's San Jose galleon was loaded with a vast cargo of treasure when it was sunk by British navy ships in 1708 during the War of the Spanish Succession

Colombia's Navy has shared unprecedented images of the legendary San Jose galleon shipwreck, thought to be carrying 200 tons of gold, silver and precious stones.

The 12cm (4.72inch) fossil that caught the eye of palaeontologist Christopher Whalen.

A study of the fossil has extended the fossil records of the vampyropod by nearly 82 million years.

MIDE 2022

The 16th Malaysia International Dive Expo was attended by more than 11,000 visitors attending the show, of which 20 percent were international, which was better than expected.