X-Ray Mag #69

Feature articles in this issue with stand-alone pdfs

Edited by Ila France Porcher  

Although born in the landlocked country of Hungary in Budapest, Dr Csilla Ari fell in love with the sea as a child and has never looked back. Today, she is a research associate at the University of South Florida, where she strives to better understand the biology and behavior of manta rays. She has also set up the Manta Memories project, which aims to help end illegal manta ray fishing.

Claudia Weber-Gebert   Claudia Weber-Gebert

The karst area of the Vercors mountain range is located in the foothills of the French Alps, bordered on the east by Grenoble and on the west by Valence in the Rhone Valley.

Richard Taylor  

As divers, we all learn very quickly that staying too long underwater can often bring about an urgent call of nature. A rush back to shore or back on to the boat is one of the first experiences for many new Open Water Divers, if not that ignominious feeling of having no choice but to make our wet suit slightly warmer for a short time.

Diver training agencies are in the business of selling scuba classes and would like you to believe that the only way to develop your knowledge and skills is to sign up for one of their vast array of courses. While time spent with an instructor is indeed a very good way to improve your technique, you do have other options, a number of which I was reminded of recently.

The subtle knock on the door roused me from my slumber. It was 2 a.m. and the wake-up call could only mean one thing. A whale shark had finally appeared to feed on the large aggregation of plankton attracted to the light set out behind the boat. I scrambled out of bed and raced upstairs to get my camera.

Edited by Gunild Symes   Nicolas Pain

British artist, Nicolas Pain, creates sinuous and sublime bronze sculptures of marine life, full of movement and evoking an atmosphere of water, inspired by his own adventures under the waves as an avid scuba diver. X-RAY MAG interviewed the artist to find out more about the self-taught artist’s graceful sculptures and what excites him about the underwater world.

Vanessa Belz, Program Manager   Pilar Barrera, Andreas Hagberg , Jarrod Jablonski , Global Underwater Explorers
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Dr Todd Kincaid, Director of Project Baseline   Pilar Barrera, Andreas Hagberg , Jarrod Jablonski , Global Underwater Explorers

Project Baseline works by organizing and mobilizing a global network of highly skilled and passionate divers to create a lasting visual legacy of underwater environmental conditions one photo and one video at a time. Their images, descriptions, and data are moved into an online database designed to render their observations accessible to the world. Their images create a baseline for environmental quality. When stitched together, those images create a time lapse revealing how that quality is changing.

Christophe Mason-Parker   Christophe Mason-Parker

Sea Cucumbers are a group of marine species belonging to the Class Holothuroidea. They are characterised by fleshy, elongated bodies, covered in numerous projections known as papillae. When disturbed, many species eject an effluvium of sticky, white threads designed to distract predators, and if removed from the marine environment, they quickly become foul smelling—not your ideal culinary ingredient, one might think. Yet the market for sea cucumber is booming, so much so that several species have seen significant population crashes.

Beth Watson   Beth Watson

Raja Ampat in Indonesia is a vast archipelago that incorporates over 2,500 islands. The coral reefs here host one of the highest concentrations of endemic fishes in the Pacific Ocean and the visual impact is stunning.

Gregory Lecoeur   Gregory Lecoeur

From a point on the horizon, frantic sounds of gannet birds became louder and their dives from the air seemed to accelerate as they shot straight down, piercing the surface of the sea. Before our party of divers got into the water, I could not imagine the incredible spectacle that would be found under the surface.

Andrey Bizyukin   Andrey Bizyukin

Cebu Island is one of over seven thousand islands located in the Philippines. It may be best known as the place where the early 16th century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan met his unfortunate end. There is a 20-meter tall monument at Punta Engaño on Cebu erected in honor of the native chieftan, Lapu Lapu, who in the 1521 Battle of Mactan, proved victorious over Spanish forces led by Magellan. Among divers, though, Cebu is more commonly known for its wide variety of dive sites.

Joel Silverstein   Michael Menduno

Rarely in life do we encounter someone who was as impressive yet unassuming, humble, and gracious as R.W. “Bill” Hamilton, Ph.D. On September 16, 2011, Bill died surrounded by his family and close friends. Within hours, e-mail and telephones reached thousands of people and the news of his passing went viral. Nearly four hundred scurried to make plans for attending his memorial service. So what made this particular man so special?

Svetlana Murashkina   Sergey Bychkov , Svetlana Murashkina , Eugene Tomashov
Triton submarine over Britannic. Photo by Eugene Tomashov.

Through the centuries in Greece, Kea Island’s renowned statue, the Lion of Kea (one cannot see him from the shore, but I know he is there), continues to smile and look askance upon human vanity—exactly the same way he did in 1916, when during World War I, hospital ships were hit by mines and tragically sank in the Kea Channel. These ships, now wrecks, include HMHS Britannic and SS Burdigala.

Brian Chamberlain   Friends of the Hunley

Let me just come right out and say it: Everything about the H.L. Hunley is cool. And it is completely awesome to see in person. Among the crown jewels of Charleston, South Carolina, the historical and archaeological treasure of the Hunley submarine stands out.

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