X-Ray Mag #118

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Feature articles in this issue with stand-alone pdfs

Raf Jah   Raf Jah
Giant manta ray at cleaning station in Addu Atoll. Photo by Raf Jah

In the southern end of the Maldives lies the Addu Atoll, which hosts beautiful reefs, plentiful marine life, giant manta rays, sea turtles and crystal-clear waters. Raf Jah takes us on a journey to this diving haven, with a stop along the way to dive with tiger sharks at Fuvahmulah Island.

Wesley Oosthuizen   Wesley Oosthuizen
An angry blue-ringed octopus flashes its bright blue rings as a warning. Photo by Wesley Oosthuizen

Say hello to one of the most venomous marine animals—the blue-ringed octopus. Underwater photographer Wesley Oosthuizen takes a closer look at this small but lethal cephalopod.

X-Ray Mag Contributors   X-Ray Mag Contributors
Photo by Brandi Mueller

We asked our contrib­utors what their favorite epic underwater images were and they returned with a diverse selection of photos capturing epic adventures and interactions with marine life in the underwater world. Here, X-Ray Mag contributors share their favorite images from the tropical waters of French Polynesia, Pulau, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, the Egyptian Red Sea, Mozambique, Bonaire, Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Mexico and Hawaii, to the temperate waters of South Africa and the US East Coast.

René B. Andersen   René B. Andersen
The Oldenberg wreck in Sognefjorden, Norway. Photo by René B. Andersen

The Oldenburg, which was originally named Pungo, was built in 1914 to carry bananas between Cameron and Germany. It was drawn into World War I in 1915, put into German service and rebuilt as a raider ship. René B. Andersen shares the story of the ship and takes us on a dive to the wreck.

Simon Pridmore   Kyo Liu , Willy Hsieh
Badai Bay Wreck, Orchid Island, Taiwan. Photo by Kyo Liu

Known only to few divers, a hidden treasure in Taiwan is Orchid Island, a remote and rugged outpost of volcanic origins located far from the tourist crowd, offering sublime diving for the curious adventurer who is not afraid to go off the beaten path. Simon Pridmore has the story.

Interview by G. Symes   Paul Fearn
Three Colours Blue I and II Diptych by Paul Fearn. Copper sheet painting with patinas, two 40 x 30cm panels

British artist and avid diver Paul Fearn paints beautiful underwater scenes and marine life on copper metal plates, using unique patinas that evoke the ambiance and watery depths of the underwater realm. X-Ray Mag interviewed the artist, who is based in West Sussex, to learn more about his unique artistic process as well as his perspectives on diving and saving the fragile ecosystems of our oceans.

Simon Pridmore  
Cave diver with rebreather. Photo by Olga Torrey

How did some of the advanced technologies we use as divers today come to be? Simon Pridmore takes an intriguing look into the early days of rebreathers with an excerpt from his new book, Technically Speaking—Talks on Technical Diving, Volume 1: Genesis and Exodus.

Peter Symes   Peter Symes

Rebreather Forum 4 was held on Malta on 20-22 April 2023 in University of Malta's old campus in downtown Valletta. The event was attended by prominent dive industry entrepreneurs and manufacturers and hyperbaric researchers, many of which presented the latest findings in their fields.

Steve Rosenberg   Steve Rosenberg
Splendid toadfish. Photo by Steve Rosenberg

The wide and flat-faced, striped critter known as the splendid toadfish is just that—splendid! Underwater photographer and author Steve Rosenberg takes a closer look at what makes this lovable fish so special.

Anita George-Ares, PhD and John A. Ares   Anita George-Ares, PhD and John A. Ares
Comparison: Circular — Corallimorph and Lotus Flower Pod. Photos by Anita George-Ares

Have you ever noticed how an underwater sea anemone or coral form might resemble a flower or plant found on land? Photographers Anita George-Ares and John A. Ares take a colorful dive into the realm of botanical comparisons, with side-by-side shots of flora and fauna above and below the waves.

Andrea Murdock Alpini   Andrea Murdock Alpini
Exploring a side tunnel on the third level of the mine at Komati Springs. Image by Andrea Murdock Alpini

If you have ever wondered how dark the earth was before humans discovered fire, then spend some time in the forest. The night arrives shortly after 6 p.m. and the sun rises around 5 a.m. In this period of time, you may feel enveloped by the darkness in this part of South Africa. Andrea Murdock Alpini shares his adventure diving the Komati Springs.


Other articles and news in this edition

Cleaner fish (Labroides dimidiatus) likely recognise their own mirror image using a mental image of the self-face, comparable to humans.

Coiba National Park, Panama (Source: Alex Proimos/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0)

At the eighth annual Our Ocean Conference, which took place in Panama March 2-3, participating countries and organizations made 341 commitments totaling ca. $20 billion, including funds for the expansion and improvement of marine protected areas and biodiversity corridors.

Map of the Mediterranean Sea (Source: O H 237/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

In order to comply with EU targets on the protection of the sea and biodiversity, Italy’s environment minister said that an agreement is in the works to establish a large marine protected area (MPA) in the Mediterranean.

Humpbacks in the South Pacific (Source: montereydiver / flickr / CC BY 2.0)

After nearly two decades of talks, UN member states finally agreed in March 2023 on a legal framework to protect the high seas beyond national boundaries.

Rui Matsumoto taking an ultrasound reading on a whale shark. Photo by Dr Simon Pierce

In a world-first, underwater ultrasound and blood sampling have been used successfully on wild free-swimming whale sharks in the Galapagos to observe their reproductive states. Don Silcock interviews Dr Simon Pierce of the Marine Megafauna Foundation to learn more about this ground-breaking research.

Drones have become an important research tool for studies of cetaceans and a popular among many dive travellers who are keen photographers. However, drones can also be a disturbance to cetaceans, particularly when flown at low altitudes.

White sharks shed genetic material (skin and feces) into their environment which can be traced in water samples.

In the Mediterranean Sea, where white shark catches and sightings are limited and unpredictable, the analysis of genetic material shed from white sharks as they move through the water provides novel insights into their distribution and abundance.

Great Hammerhead Shark - Lawson Wood

DNA analysis reveals that great hammerheads have low genetic variation, which makes them less resilient to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

Reconstruction of a megalodon's jaws

The megalodon (Otodus megalodon), the largest shark ever to live, could grow up to 20 meters or 60 feet long. This magnificent shark was the apex predator of the sea, until it went extinct about 2.6 million years ago.