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Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas was better in the 80's

Whatever your belief system at this time of year, whatever you're doing, have fun and dive safe. To all our family, friends and everyone in our extended dive family here and around the world, all the very best!!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Whale Song

The latest release in the humpback whale’s haunting sound collection is a track so unusual that scientists hardly know what to make of it. The mysterious new noise has such a low beat it’s scarcely audible.

Whether it's males or females that make the deep beats isn’t yet known, raising the intriguing possibility that supposedly quiet females use them to be heard among the loudly musical males.

Pulse trains almost always occur when adult females are in the company of males. Perhaps, this haunting beat is the sound of whales in love. Check out he video clip below or at the link and prepare to be amazed.

Link: HERE

Sunday, 6 December 2015

I don't sleep, I dream

Well this is a hell of thing if they can make it (and without messing up the environment). Fancing sleeping with the fishes? (and not in the mafia sense I may add).

"The Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel will offer luxury suites for guests who want to sleep with the fishes. Though it may sound like an ecological disaster in the making, the hotel’s mission is “to help fund and implement a worldwide proven coral reef restoration.”

Link: HERE

"We want to help save planet Earth’s oceans from the on-going daily destruction taking place,” said managing director Tony Webb."

"The Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel will offer 12 guest rooms, a lounge and dining area and an elevator to transport visitors from sea level to 28 feet below the surface. Each luxury suite will feature a “King Neptune” bed, an Italian leather sofa, HDTV, room service, and even WiFi. But the big draw, of course, is the stunning panoramic view of the sea life and the ocean floor."

And check this next bit out. "The company is also offering a single suite with elevator that can be installed at existing resorts, the first of which will appear in Cuba, Grand Cayman and The Lesser Antilles."

We're supposed to get this happening on the island. We'll await this with baited breath however give the current disagreement over the building of the new port. Time will tell. Still looks coold though.


Well the "the best laid schemes o' mice an' men, gang aft agley" as my fellow country man  Rabbie Burns once wrote. Not on only were they running a marathon around the island which screwed up most of the roads around us, Lighthouse Point was re-enacting the perfect storm over the docks, so plan G was to fight back through the marathon hordes to our back up site.

A little current, a little drop in viz but at least we made it in the water. Success! Now I finally got to try out the new wide angle port and overall I pretty pleased although the conditions and fine tuning the strobe setup made things a little bit more of a pain in the arse than I would have liked but slow and steady wins the race and other such metaphors.........

We got a couple of laps in around the statue of Amphitrite before heading out to the Nicholson for a look see. As always our faithful pet snapper, Spot, joined us as soon as we hit the water, not to mention we had a little burrfish come and check us out on the wreck as well for a look-see.

We still had bags of air and bottom time, so we dropped of the edge of the world into the inky abyss for a mooch around and to enjoy the barrel and rope sponges as we merged with the swarms of fusiliers and triggerfish, not to mention the odd grunt and sweetlips.

And we picked up a nice turtle escort on the way back in from the depths as well. She was happy enough to swim with us for a while before leaving us for a nosh on some sponge.

Later on we picked up another escort, this time in the form of a pair of squid, who were extremely happy to play with us for a good 20 minutes or so and weren't put off by the camera, obviously there were used to hogging the lens for some star treatment.

Anemones are something that you don't see whole lot of on the island and when you do, don't expect to see clownfish clustering around them because your not in Egypt or Indonesia, although if you look long and hard enough you might just see some other things to catch your attention, like squat anemone shrimp for example.

And right beside this little beauty was a goldentail moray eel popping out to say hello. A great morning's diving, despite the setbacks. As they say,  it's always better down where it's wetter.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Rusty cage

"Dolphins are beautiful and amazing creatures in their natural habitat," says the former trainer, who requested anonymity because he still works in the Caribbean hotel industry. "But stick them in a cage, and you watch them change."

"To the tourist who is still thinking about swimming with dolphins, she says bluntly:

Your desire to be with them — is killing them."

Link: HERE

So many reasons why dolphins and other marine creatures should not be held in captivity. We've had this problem in the Cayman for years, but the local mindset on this issue here is four centuries behind the rest of civilisation, but we keep trying. Read the article on the link above and make your own mind up.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Milk and alcohol

Four years ago, divers in the Baltic discovered 5 bottles of 170-year-old beer on the bottom of the sea floor. Now, a Canadian diver has made a similar find in North American waters: a bottle of beer nearly as old as Canada itself.

 Link: HERE

This isn’t a bottle of Viking beer that was left behind by Leif Eirikssen when he journeyed to North America back in the 11th century. The bottle is about 120 years old, which means it was brewed and bottled about 18 years after Canada was formally confederated.

 It bears the mark of one of Canada’s oldest and most storied breweries, too. This particular bottle of beer was brewed in Halifax by Alexander Keith’s, which was founded in 1820.

His plans are on hold for the time being, however, as the Nova Scotia government considers his find to be of historical significance. Sean Wesley McKeane of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage told the CBC that “the Special Places Protection Act protects all archaeological sites, known and unknown, both on land in Nova Scotia and in the water.”

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Forgotten Sons

Yes, I know what you may be thinking, but I haven't forgotten about you. The last four weeks have been busy with work but more than this I've been busy teaching. Teaching myself that is. When you're used to using the same camera and strobe setup constantly for the last 5 years, your fingers and hands work automatically and know where every switch and dial is subconsciously in any conditions. Your eyes never leave the viewfinder or the subject.

Now, with a brand new bleeding edge camera and housing, you've got more controls, new button/dial layout and throw new strobes and lenses into the mix and your almost starting from scratch again. You're retraining your hands, learning the limits of the lenses and strobes and constantly looking to the housing to see you pressed the right button or dial.

Challenging to say the least and every foray into the water has been yielding better results with every dive. Slowly but surely it is coming together but I think it will take a little more time to get to a point where I'm happy with the shots I'm taking.

Also coupled with this is the fact that I'm only currently shooting in macro just now. Turns out my beloved Ikelite DS160s couldn't be powered by the flash trigger supplied by Nauticam. This meant I had to pick up a couple of Inon Z240s which in turn blew my budget I had set aside for the dome port and collars.

So if anyone wants to donate to a worthy charity (i.e. getting me a dome port) then all donations will be gratefully received. Every sponsor will receive regular updates from my dome port, a colouring book and a signed christmas card from the dome port every year.

P.S. If anyone wants to make an offer on a much loved Sony NEX5n, Nauticam housing, ports, lenses, arms and Ikelite strobes you know where to get hold of me.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

All day and all of the night

There's something special about doing a night dive as things are never quite the same at night as they are in the day time and you know you're guaranteed to see something special. 

And you know we saw lots of something specials, talk about reef creature overload. Lighthouse Point continues to be our go to dive site day or night for all creatures great and small. 

Right from the off we nearly landed on a stone fish sitting right under the dock and he was pretty well camouflaged sitting right under a sea fan that I was about to get up close and personal with to look at some nudis. 

We spent a good while scouring the hard pan, with Roland using the UV light and me with the white lights, checking all the usual haunts and hangouts. Some sponges and coral heads proved to a good spot for some great hermit crab action.

The top of the mini wall provided some more surprises like multiple moray eels although I couldn't get them both in the same shot at the same time, the tricky little devils but they were happy to smile for the camera.

 Another little something that I found was something I hadn't seen before so I was pleased about it, was an Aphelodoris antillensis and it was a tiny little thing, perfectly blending in with the background.

Continuing on the nudibranch theme, the elysia crispata were out in force, in singles as well as pairs.

As well as some really nice juvenile flamingo tongue cowries not to mention some juvenile octopus scuttling around the area.

Prize find for the evening was on the way back in to do our safety stop, just coasting along in the shallows and I finally found one of the notorious, elusive seahorses that had been lurking around in the area for some time. it was also pretty much in the same place where I saw my first ever seahorse at LHP. What goes around, comes around. 

Prepare for seahorse picture overload in 3...........2..........1................

And a little bit of video as well...........

We were only a couple of minutes shy of the two hour mark but the need to pee and some particularly bad leg cramp on my part forced us out of the water at the end of the night but it was a pretty spectacular night dive and one of the best I've had in a while.

P.S. And Roland found a nice example of a slipper lobster on the way out as well. I don't know who was more surprised, Roland or the lobster......

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Blinded by the light

It's good to have some time off work. It's even better to spend that time underwater doing the thing you love the most. No, not eating pizza (although that's close second) but taking photos.

Another good thing is getting to the dive sites early as not only do you have the whole place to yourself but you also have the perfect lighting to maximise the impact of your shots.

We had some some fun today with a first dive taking us passed the statue of Amphitrite, out to the wreck of the Nicholson then onto the main wall for a nice deep long dive to enjoy the scenery and play with snappers, groupers, turtles and triggerfish of which there where many.

Roland proved a most accommodating model, a bit high maintenance as most models are, but proved quite photogenic once he manged to keep his legs shut. And that's not something you'll commonly hear about him, let me tell you!

Our constant companion, Spot the snapper was with us all throughout both dives and proved to a faithful companion and additional photographers aid when required with no complaints.

Lovers of the deep.
There were some really nice macro opportunities down there as well, not just the big scenic stuff, but you really had to work for it. We had some fine examples of gobies and blennies as always.

 There was also a great example of a mantis shrimp which I think is a dark mantis going by the book, but I'm sure someone will be quick enough to correct me if I am wrong. It was quite happy to sit in the open and wasn't overly bothered by me getting in a couple of shots.

We also had quite a few squat anemone shrimp hiding in the crevices as well which I don't personally find that often here, but maybe that's just me.

 Over three hours in the water with great scenery and marine life not to mention the perfect lighting. This is why we dive.