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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Yesterday's Papers

It went from a full page spread down to a footnote, such is life. On page 69 in Sport Diver December 2016 issue, you'll find Jill in front of the camera and me behind it at Hepps Pipeline in a feature on Secret dive spots around the world. I've put the page below with the original shot in it's full glory.

Lets see if I can get a bigger spread in the World's Best Diving, Resorts and Liveaboards special issue that Sport Diver are doing. They're supposed to be using some of my Babylon shots. We shall see.......

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The happiest days of our lives

Devastatingly spectacular. That's all I can say. I haven't seen conditions like this for a long time. No wind, no current, no surge, the perfect lightning and clear blue ocean that just keeps going and going. It was literally a wet dream for a photographer.

I might also add that Miss Leslie did an admirable job as stand in model whilst Jill was off galavanting around the place. The Nicholson and the wreck were prime spots for some nice scenic shots. The fish action was a little lacking this morning so we were missing some of the usual suspects like Lumpy and Spot but still, with conditions like this, I wasn't going to quibble.

And one final scenic shot to round off the perfect first dive.

The second dive was a bit of a departure from the norm as we went far left, way past the oil silos and found it to be very pleasant, not only scenery wise but also had some very nice critters to play around with, like some very nice pistol shrimp hiding under a small rock in the middle of a sea of sand. It pays to check under every nook and cranny.

And as usual, lets bring on the blennies!

Miss Leslie also happend to spot a nice burrfish hiding under one coral head which also had a nice cow fish hiding round the otherside with moray jammed in there for good measure. No shots of the moray unfortunately, that was well hidden in the back.

 Right at the end of the dive on the safety stop, Miss Leslie was busy playing with a pair of juvenile peacock flounders that were chasing each silly in circles. These things were tiny and they obviously had their caffeine this morning to have that much energy.

Spectacular first dive and an excellent second dive into the unknown made for a superb day out. Hopefully once we get the tail ends of hurricaine Matthew pass us by then the conditions will settle down a little bit and we'll get in the water again on Sunday. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Sail on sailor

Researchers from Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station have developed a two-lensed camera that sticks to the backs of filter-feeding whales with suction cups. The new device has been used to capture unprecedented footage of whales in action, and it’s offering new insights into the feeding and swimming behaviors of these aquatic beasts.

Link: HERE

" data suggest that rorquals modulate the coordination of acceleration and engulfment to optimize foraging efficiency by minimizing locomotor costs and maximizing prey capture."

"On the surface of it, filter-feeding sounds like a painstakingly straightforward process: whale opens mouth, whale gobbles-up copious amounts of krill, whale closes mouth. Those may be the broad strokes, but it’s actually more complicated. Because we rarely have an opportunity to observe whales in their undersea habitat, researchers have struggled to understand the finer details of the process, such as the speeds at which whales approach their tiny prey, how quickly they can change direction, and how they adjust in the presence of fish."

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Someone has to die

A new and exciting discovery found on the ancient wreck of the Antikythera, 65 B.C.

Link: HERE

"The remains, found just three weeks ago, were discovered by researchers from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Working at a depth of 165 feet (50 meters), the archaeologists found the partial human skeleton buried under two feet (0.5 meters) of sand and busted bits of ancient pottery. The excavation yielded a human skull (including a jaw and teeth) legs, ribs, and the long arm bones." 

" The researchers will now see if they can extract DNA from the 2,000-year-old remains. Should they succeed, it will be the first time that scientists have pulled DNA from such an old underwater sample. The remains are surprisingly well preserved, and experts are encouraged that genetic material still exists within the bones."

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Pound Cake

Interesting new fact but mammals are no longer the only creatures who chew their food in a new discovery featured on Nat Geo.

Link: HERE

"Plenty of animals bite, but mammals were once thought to be the only ones to chew, at least as it’s usually defined: moving our toothy jaws up, down, and side to side to tear through tough food. But chew on this: the ocellate river stingray, a beautiful spotted fish from the Amazon River, also chews its food."

"The discovery not only demonstrates that chewing isn’t special to mammals, but explains how rays, whose skeletons are made of soft cartilage rather than bone, can eat tough prey like shellfish"

The video is pretty incredible to watch.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Wo bist du

Now this is a what I call diving. Minimal wind, not surge, no swell, no current, so what time is it? It's macro time!! It would be rude not to after all. Lets start off with a laughing secretary blenny. I took this shot right after I told him a joke........

Then I found a nice blue arrow crab hiding under a rock which I didn't tell a joke to but he did allow me to get up really close and personal. We should have exchanged numbers......

And we had some nice Pederson shrimps show their true colours. Or not as the case may be as they were mostly transparent. You can't lie to me, I can see right through you.......

Oh, and we had plenty more blennies to take pictures of again, very accomodating.

And coming back in to the shallows, there was a squat anemone shrimp that really didn't want it's photograph taken as it went upside down and tried to scuttle into a little overhang but I still got a shot of it anyway. That showed it.

A great morning out in ideal conditions gave me some quality time to dial in the CMC in conjunction with the macro lens. Getting better every time and maybe with a little more time I might get good with the new setup. :-)

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Stay with me

It's been a few months since the last time at the East End but we now have a little bit of free time, we decided to make the most of it despite a little 10 knot Easterly but that's never stopped us before. And given this time of year, you would think that it would be a relatively quiet boat, but not this time, it was jam packed. Luckily we had our own little corner to plot and scheme in.

"Sardines ahoy!"
Captain Nige and/or Captain Sarah (they're interchangeable now) took us South to a little place we like to call the Maze for a modicum of shark action and right on time, without fail, as soon as we splashed down, the boys and girls came right out to play with us.

"It's behind you!"

The sharks were the main draw but the scenery is just a little bland side (in comparison to Northern Lights, Babylon, etc. in my opinion) but you could still get a nice shot or two with a little effort and some luck.

The surface interval was immensely entertaining as we got down to business attacking cans of pop and homemade biscuits while a few of the individuals around us were hanging over the gunwhales chumming the water and going various colours of the rainbow. Great half time show!

Second dive took us onto the Big House which we haven't done for a while but proved to be almost as exciting as the Maze with several nurse sharks cruising around. Not quite what you want when you have a macro lens on, but I'm up for a challenge. Bring it on!!

As well as the big stuff there were a ton of red lipped blennies out, despite the surge in the shallows. Love these things.

Not forgetting the other liitle star attractions like the damselfish, the roughead and secretary blennies.

And some slightly bigger stuff like Caribbean lobsters, groupers and dogfish with the occasional grunt and snapper thrown into the mix making for a very eclectic dive.

Thanks to the lovely boys and girls at Tortuga divers for providing a perfectly good boat to jump off, hopefully we'll be out again sooner rather than later.

And if you haven't already seen it, Miss Leslie posted some very nice video footage of the dive on facebook which I've reposted on my facebook too if you want to see some nice shark action.