X-Ray Mag #91

Feature articles in this issue with stand-alone pdfs

Micke Tilja  

The waters of Bjurälven flows from Norway’s mountains and into the Swedish province of Jämtland where the river meanders its way past the peaks and through the valley of Bjurälv where it is engulfed by the earth and disappears underground. In a thunderous roar, the great mass of water is swallowed by what is known as the Bjurälven Grotto, only to reappear more than one and a half kilometres away.

Simon Pridmore   Simon Pridmore

In 2014, off the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand, a diver on a discover scuba experience died when she became separated from her group and ran out of air. She was discovered on the surface, floating face down. The inquest found that the dive operation involved was to blame because they had failed to supervise her properly. They were also criticised for having given her a BCD that was too large and that made it “difficult for her to lift her head and breathe”, as the verdict read.

Scott Bennett   Scott Bennett

“You’re crazy; I don’t get in the water with bitey things!” The announcement of my impending great white shark trip drew a variety of such responses from horrified friends. The undisputed bad boys of the shark world, great whites are the largest of all predatory sharks, reaching lengths of up to 6m and weighing in at over 2,000kg. The concept of seeing them up close, even from within a cage, invoked a variety of additional gems including “Oh my God,” “I hope you come back with all your limbs” and “Come back alive.”

Rico Besserdich   Rico Besserdich
Photo by Rico Besserdich

What makes an image a really good one is certainly a question, that, at some point, troubles the mind of every image maker. Is it about the subject, or is it about that specific moment captured? Is it about color, or about techniques used?

Nathalie Lasselin   Nathalie Lasselin

Award-winning underwater cinematographer and documentary producer Nathalie Lasselin reflects upon her dive expeditions in the Arctic and her epic project to raise awareness about the state of fresh water in the St Lawrence River, closer to home in Montreal.

Artist Masayo Fukuda of Tokyo is a master of kirie, the Japanese art of paper cutting. Her beautiful, delicate creations and intricate designs of marine life, cut by hand from a single sheet of paper, have been exhibited in Tokyo, Osaka and Paris, and featured in print, television and social media. <i>X-Ray Mag</i> interviewed the artist to learn more about her artwork and her creative process.

Andrey Gorodissky   Andrey Gorodissky

A huge ramified system of freshwater-filled sinkholes in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico comprise what is known as the Maya Cenotes. The ancient Maya people sometimes used them for sacred offerings and sacrifices. The term “cenot” comes from the language of the Maya, who called these sinkholes “ts’onot” or “dzonot,” which means “sacred well” or “something very deep and terri­ble.” The Maya also called the sinkholes “gates into the kingdom of the dead” or “gods’ lips.”

Kate Jonker   Kate Jonker

How many times, whilst diving, have you seen the most exciting, unusual or incredible critter and wanted to show it to your buddies? You have finally managed to grab their attention and pointed at the critter, only for them to look in the direction of your pointed finger and then stare blankly back at you. You point closer, you waggle your hand and still they don’t see it, by which time, the critter has disappeared, your buddies have given up the search, shrugged their shoulders and swum off.

Why numbers don’t mean much when it comes to your behaviours!

Gareth Lock writes the first of a series of articles, which are extracts from his recently published book <i>Under Pressure: Diving Deeper with Human Factors</i>. In this piece, he looks at risk management in diving and shows that most of the risks we manage are not actively managed at all. They are subject to emotions, biases and mental shortcuts, and we are actually managing uncertainty.

Rod Macdonald   Rod Macdonald and Bob Anderson

One hundred years ago this year, on 21 June 1919, 74 warships of the Imperial German Navy High Seas Fleet were scuttled en masse at Scapa Flow, the deep natural harbour set in the Orkney Islands of northern Scotland that was the WWI base for the Royal Navy Grand Fleet. The scuttle was the greatest single act of maritime suicide the world has ever seen.

The first time I met a shark, I was struck by silence. Having observed the wildlife of the Canadian mountains all my life, my knowledge of sharks was limited to the information gained from watching the movie <i>Jaws</i> many years before. All that remained from that brief education was that they bit and badly. Very badly. Essentially, if you met one, you died.

Christian Skauge   Christian Skauge

Have you ever wondered why some bodies of water, such as the Baltic, have so many wooden wrecks in great condition while other areas have almost no wooden wrecks at all? It has something to do with salinity; however, it is not the salt in seawater that consumes the wrecks but a mussel, which somewhat confusingly is called a worm—and it only lives in saltwater.

Brandi Mueller   Brandi Mueller

Admittedly, I knew almost nothing about Timor-Leste until I started seeing a lot of great images of the diving there on Instagram. I became curious and started following a local dive operator’s Instagram feed, watching them post daily photos of cuttlefish, nudibranchs, peacock mantis shrimp and beautiful reefscapes. Where was this place and how did I not know about it?

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