X-Ray Mag #73

Feature articles in this issue with stand-alone pdfs

Barb Roy   Barb Roy

For the local diving community, it is hard to imagine a full year has already passed since the sinking of the HMCS Annapolis in Halkett Bay, off Gambier Island in British Columbia, Canada. It only seemed like yesterday when crowds of onlookers gathered to watch the sinking on 4 April 2015. In little over two minutes, the ship was on the bottom, and Howe Sound had its first substantial wreck at 371ft (113m) in length! Divers joined in from around the northwest to be one of the first to dive the new underwater reef of steel, keeping local dive charter operators busy for months to follow.

Barb Roy   Barb Roy
Frosted nudibranch. Photo by Barb Roy

With over 53 miles (86km) of scenic picturesque coastline along Highway 101 and less than 40 inches (104cm) of rainfall per year, it’s no wonder the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia in Canada is a popular getaway for travelers from around the world. Both the upper and the lower sections offer an array of great dive sites and a myriad of other fun activities on a year-round basis.

Don Silcock   Don Silcock

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. Look closely into the dark waters ahead of those swirl pools and you will see the large and unmistakable sausage-like shape of the Florida manatee.

Don Silcock   Don Silcock

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. Look closely into the dark waters ahead of those swirl pools and you will see the large and unmistakable sausage-like shape of the Florida manatee.

Franklin H. Price   St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum , Sara Brockmann, Florida Department of State

In 2009, underwater archaeologists from the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum discovered a site dubbed the "Storm Wreck"""" in the murky waters off St. Augustine, Florida. Analysis of the artifacts revealed that the Storm Wreck dates back to the end of the American Revolutionary War. The vessel was apparently one of 16 Loyalist refugee vessels that left Charleston in December 1782, bound for British-controlled Florida, only to wreck off the coast of St. Augustine. """

Sabine Kerkau   Severine Bar and Sabine Kerkau

There are places in the world where time seems to stand still, where you will find contemporary witnesses of events that can take your breath away. I visited just such a place more than 100 meters deep in a French lake—Lac du Bourget. Here, for more than 70 years, rests a Focke-Wulf Fw 58C—a German WWII airplane. This particular aircraft is one of the last of its kind that exist in the world.

Photo by Rico Besserdich

Today’s underwater photography is pretty much subject-oriented. Let’s take it as a fact—and there is nothing bad about this fact. Those who dive without an underwater camera like to describe what they have seen underwater, and those with a camera do exactly the same, but with the added advantage of providing visual proof: an underwater photograph.

A once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn from the world-renowned underwater photographer, David Doubilet, brought US diver Jennifer Idol to the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman where an immersive workshop for underwater photographers offered rare insights into how to capture on camera the beautiful underwater realm of this fabled oasis.

A once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn from the world-renowned underwater photographer, David Doubilet, brought US diver Jennifer Idol to the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman where an immersive workshop for underwater photographers offered rare insights into how to capture on camera the beautiful underwater realm of this fabled oasis.

Florida manatees are an endangered species found in the rivers, springs and ocean around the state of Florida in the United States. By far, one of the best places to encounter these gentle giants is at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, a state park filled with crystal clear blue water, perfect for capturing imagery of this sometimes curious and playful species.

Marco Daturi   Marco Daturi
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Peter Symes   Marco Daturi

It was early morning and our dive team was in the process of loading our gear into the car when my friendly neighbour, Walter, greeted me, asking where we were heading so early.

Edited by Gunild Symes   Margaret Juul

American artist Margaret Juul creates vibrant and dynamic paintings inspired by the ever-kinetic, tumultuous states of water, as it may be experienced above and below the waves.  X-RAY MAG interviewed the artist to find out more about her artistry and her perspectives on the watery world we inhabit.

On one of my recent dive trips, a post-dive dinner conversation turned to the topic of capturing epic shark photographs. A magazine photo editor was in our group, and I wanted to know how photographers got those perfectly lit, very close shots of sharks, which are typically quite shy around divers. He told me shark feeds, or using bait to lure the sharks, is one of the only ways to get sharks close enough for those types of photos. There are limitations of light in underwater photography, and strobes and video lights only go so far, so getting them to come close is necessary.

Nick Shallcross   Nick Shallcross

Singapore is not usually the first place that comes to mind when you think about diving in Southeast Asia. And no wonder—we are so spoilt for choice in this part of the world, with Thailand and Malaysia to our north and Indonesia to our south. Well, these places are great if you have some vacation time or a long weekend, but what if you are too busy to get away for so long, or just want a reason to get your gear wet? When I heard about a little island off Singapore’s southern shore, I had to check it out.

As our dive boat glided through Papeete Channel off the northern coast of Tahiti, two distinct spouts appeared on the horizon. We were carefully making our way toward them when suddenly two tails emerged out of the water and then majestically disappeared again. Benoit, our guide, carefully got into the water. He quietly swam in the wake of the whales until finally, he lifted his fist into the air to indicate their presence. Excited about the idea of locking eyes with a 40-ton whale, we divers in the boat donned our masks, snorkels and fins and slid into the Polynesian blue for a unique encounter.

Simon Pridmore   Peter Symes

Francis was an instructor working at a dive centre in French Polynesia. One day, he picked up a couple from a nearby hotel to go diving. They had asked to do a drift dive through a pass in the reef, a site notorious for fast currents and scores of reef sharks. As always, on the way to the dive centre, Francis asked them about their diving experience and formed the impression that, although they both had a few dozen dives logged, the wife sounded confident and relaxed but the husband did not sound so sure of himself. Francis made a mental note to stay close to the husband and watch him carefully, especially during the drift dive.

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