South Africa's Sardine Run & Cage Diving; Honduras' Miskito Cays; Mars the Magnificent 16th century wreck in Sweden; Richard Lundgren interview; Washington State's Hood Canal; Namibian Sinkholes; Gary Gentile profile; Ghost Fishing; Basking Sharks; Wide-Angle with Mirrorless Cameras; Scuba Confidential on Breaking the Chain; Tech Talk: Listerners, Watchers and Doers; Michael Frank portfolio; Plus news and discoveries, equipment and training news, books and media, underwater photo and video equipment, turtle news, shark tales, whale tales and much more...
Pacific reef thrives in acidic water; Palau bans commercial fishing within its waters; Mystery disease wipes out scores of sea stars along America's Pacific coast; Bald reef gets seaweed transplant; The battle of the comb jellies; New species of red coral discovered; Coral reef found off Greenland, a first; Success: First species listed as threathened to go off the list; Alabama's ancient underwater forest could become marine sanctuary; The SeaOrbiter; Coral bleaching turns juvenile fish reckless; Salmon use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate. Wreck Rap: Scapa Flow anniversary; Proving the Obvious: How Hard Can It Be? Travel News: Taiwan launches free WiFi for tourists; Über, flight car and Airbrb controversies; European Union strengthens air passengers’ rights; Beware of your soap, shampoo and cosmetics; They may kill the reef; Japanese whaling a threat to Kaikoura tourism; Shark cull in Western Australia will put off tourists, Richard Branson says; Roddenberry Dive Team and X-Ray Mag go to Fiji — Join Us!
Main features in this issue include:
Last year I was invited to deliver a lecture at the Oztek show in Sydney, Australia. I spoke on the topic “What Makes a Good Technical Diver”, and one particular point I covered on accident avoidance drew a very positive response and provoked a number of questions from the audience.
Every diving accident has a chain of events that lead up to it, but often the chain is only visible afterwards when you reflect on what happened.
Gary Gentile not only helped pioneer deep wreck diving, but also documented its art and craft, in addition to his finds so that others may follow in his footsteps.
His latest book, NOAA’s Ark: the Rise of the Fourth Reich, which was released in May 2013, details the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations efforts to expand and restrict access to divers and sportsman to the U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries.
There are certain images of marine life that consistently conjure up a predicted response from the general public, whether they are scuba divers or not.
These common, daily occurrences are a direct result of the commercial fishing industry and actually pose a greater threat to our oceans than the aforementioned “sensationalized” activities.
Barely beaten tracks are an increasingly rare find for travellers in this ever more accessible world. Yet on the shores of Tomini Bay on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi, one such place still exists.
Gorontalo Province lies on a peninsula extending from the northeast of the flower-shaped island of Sulawesi, reaching out towards the Philippines.
Is it the agency or the instructor that’s important?
I told her the answer is simple. “But,” I said, “Do you mind if I ask you a really important question before I answer yours? How do you learn? What type of “student” are you?”
The Swedish warship Mars, otherwise known as Makalös (peerless), sank in a sea battle during the Northern Seven Years War in 1564.
The discovery of Mars has not only lifted the city of Västervik to prominence as the base of an internationally reknown dive team but has also contributed a very exciting and important part to the history of the region—a history that the state is now in a position to research and highlight. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Västervik had one of the most significant naval and commercial shipyards in which many of the great ships of the era were built and launched.
Inspired by the magical ambience in the works of early American artists painting scenes with great attention to detail, color and dramatic light, Michael Frank works layer upon layer on canvas to produce brilliant underwater scenes echoing the sumptuous yet mysterious nature of marine life on reefs and in rivers and streams.
"I hope my paintings make people aware of the beauty and importance of undersea life—not just the popular large whales and sharks but the smaller less known delicate wildlife of the deep."
-- Michael Frank
In this article, the final one in the series, I will explain my personal experience with wide-angle underwater photography using the Olympus OM-D EM-5 camera.
With macro photography, the dynamic range is rarely very wide, as there are typically no extreme highlights if an image has been properly exposed, so virtually all modern digital cameras are eminently capable of doing a good job of macro with the right lenses and in the right hands.
Following six flights, two nights and a 30-hour boat trip, I found myself approaching a relatively uncharted group of small coral cays about 60km off the northeast coast of Honduras, not far from the Nicaraguan border.
Embarking on the Caribbean Pearl II from Utila, one of the Bay Islands a few miles off the north coast of Honduras, we made our way along the coast to an area unknown to the region’s tourist diving operations.
Who could imagine for a minute that Namibia is a diving destination?
In the old days of the German colony (1890-1915), the farmers of the north-east would draw water from these sinkholes, with electric pumps, for their cattle and in order to irrigate their farms.
Ask any photographer the one thing they would like to improve in their underwater images and most will likely say, “The lighting.” Lighting in photography is everything and shooting underwater often requires the photographer to read the ambient light and to create durable images on the fly.
Snoots are an effective tool for underwater photography that gives the user precision control of light quality and direction that can be used for creating interesting compositions in macro photography.
You could say that Richard Lundgren’s destiny was cast when his parents took the precocious, then eight-year-old Swedish schoolboy to visit the Vasa Museum in Stockholm.
True to his word, and remarkably, more than 30 years later Lundgren and his team from Ocean Discovery, Lundgren’s not-for-profit organization, discovered the shipwreck in May 2011, 447 years to the month from its sinking.
The world in one country is an oft-used quote to describe South Africa and is not unwarranted. Along with dramatic scenery and a rich cultural heritage, it is a nation renowned for its diversity of ecosystems and wildlife.
However, its undersea environs rival the terrestrial abundance. From northern subtropical reefs to the chilly waters of the cape, South Africa offers a wealth of marine life few nations can rival.
I had a brief introduction several years earlier, visiting Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks in KwaZulu-Natal and the Kruger National Park [see X-RAY MAG issue #46 –ed].
First scientifically described by Gunnerus in 1765 from a specimen in Norway, there is an earlier published reference to the shark in 1739 in Ireland.
Unlike the scientific findings that there are now recognized several different species of killer whale (orca) there is only one distinct species of basking shark, despite their wide ranging distribution.
Over ten years have past since my last dive in Hood Canal. I’m not sure why, probably because I’ve been so focused on exploring the pristine waters of British Columbia that the extra effort of driving so far south has always deterred me. But when Adventures Down Under, a dive shop in Bellingham, invited me to join their group for a Hood Canal dive charter, I was too curious to say anything but yes.
But for this trip our group of seven met up with Don Coleman, owner and operator of Pacific Adventure at the Pleasant Harbor Marina on the west side of Hood Canal, off Highway 101. It was a typical chilly January day where air temperatures may have climbed to a balmy 30°F (-1°C).
Being swept along on this technical diving thing, has been a long, somewhat twisted, but definitely entertaining journey. If you and I had met when the whole affair started, we could not possibly have envisioned how directly and pervasively, what were then radical activities, like cave diving, trimix diving and rebreather diving, would influence the mainstream dive community.
But perhaps, evolution is too soft a word to describe what’s happened. So many things have changed. Gear, training, the places we visit to dive, how we exchange information, even what form dive magazines and textbooks take: case in point with X-RAY MAG for example.