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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The lion sleeps tonight

Check out Captain Nige's newly comissioned web site, Lionfish Hunting (link below). Everything you need to know about how to hunt, what to use, how to eat them and much, much more.

If this man can't tell you what you want to know about lionfish, then you don't need to know it!

Link: HERE

You'll also find him on Facebook: HERE

Monday, 30 March 2015

Best of both worlds

Sharks and turtles. The perfect combination. Like Morcombe and Wise, Eddie and Alec and Cider and Cheese, we got the perfect pairing on the first dive this morning. The cold front and ensuing high winds were due to hit us early morning but it actually held off till the afternoon although it was still lumpy at the surface which can be attested to by numerous people feeding the fish over the side of the boat any time they weren't underwater.

Rope off, chocks away!
With a strong NE wind, Captain Nat headed us South with Captain Nige deciding to do the Maze as there was a good chance to see the ladies in grey. And what do you know, it was a damn fine choice. As soon as we touched down, we had one, then another, then another until we had four sharks cruising past and checking us out.

Shark number one was notable as is had some fish line hooked up on it, and yes I would have tried to remove it if I could swim fast enough and get close enough to it, but after a few minutes it disappeared to be replaced by all of it's relatives.

And they were all more than happy enough to get up close and personal for the entire duration of the dive, which was find with us as we were more than happy just to sit and shark watch. Part way through, Jill did get my attention to see a massive loggerhead turtle cruise by which I decided to try and catch it up for a couple of shots. It was a big old boy and I haven't seen one of these for a few years so it was a welcome sight.

And I managed to remember to get a little bit of video as well.

After a brisk swim back to the wall, the party was in full swing with sharks weaving in and out of the cuts to check us out and smile for the camera.

And we had a fly by of another turtle towards the end as pointed out by Captain NIge, although I thing he was a bit pre-occupied by what the sharks were getting up to.

Captain Nige on the lookout as his turtle companion scuds past
To be honest, there was almost no point getting in the water to do a second dive as there wasn't anything that was going to top dive number one and we would have been more than happy to stay moored up and jump right back in with our fine finned friends. But given that people where chumming topside again, it was decided to motor on to somewhere a little flatter, in this case the Old House dive site.

It turned out to be ok, nothing particularly special, some nice swimthroughs. They did have some nice blennies though so that sort of made things interesting.

And a nice little red legged hermit made a brief scuttle past the camera for a shot as well.

Briefly followed by a juvenile lettuce leaf slug in a really awkward place, as is fairly typical for nudibranch, the inconsiderate little buggers.

The ride back to the dock was highly entertaining and I wish I had taken a picture as we had people hanging of both sides of the boat doing their best to empty their stomachs  which is always entertaining when it's someone else!

Friday, 20 March 2015


So just back from a few days in Havana. Some great scenery and great people there. Caymankind could learn thing or two from the Cubans........ I think I enjoyed the Dos Hermanos bar the best given that it was the watering hole of Brando, Flynn and Hemingway amongst others, and they had an awesome Dos Hermanos club sandwich which was epic.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Ghost of the navigator

Ok, so I don't have any spectacular underwater shots today as I was teaching again, this time the underwater navigator specialty. And again, like last week, there was a ripping current. However, seeing as we were in the sandpit we weren't too deep or too far off shore but it did make me burn through my air laying out all the nav markers on both dives. Hard work.

Scuba cat was on hand to log the divers in and out of the water and standing alert to provide surface support at a moments notice. Well, laying alert. Ok, just laying.

Suffice to say, all students passed the course with flying colours.

Closer to home,  and on a completely unrelated subject, here's a small gecko eating a spider in the back garden this afternoon.........just because.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Hungry eyes

This is why you never look a cuttlefish in the eye when you're diving........

Just like another animal we know....

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Under the microscope

I don't get too excited by new lenses, but by 'eck, if there's one lens the Sony E/FE mounts needed was a good macro lens and the new 90mm comes with unique super ED (extra-low dispersion) glass and direct drive SSM super fast focusing.

And it shall be officially announced tomorrow. And yes, I have preordered it already. It's a thing of beauty. All we need now is an NEX 7 or A7s replacement. Soon..........

"It will come again in glory to judge the living and the macro, and it's kingdom will have infinity focus.... "

Deep Water

After a few false starts first thing in the morning, not to mention a dose of malicious weather, we ended up at LHP to complete Tanja and Jonatans deep diver spec and start them on their way to obtaining their MSD qualification.

The current on the main wall proved to be a definate factor, something that required real consideration as to whether to continue or call the dive for another day. After weighing up all the options, we carried on to complete the dive. Had I been in any doubt for anyones safety and their abilites, that would have been a different matter but they aquitted themselves admirably with calm level heads, the mark of a good diver in challenging conditions. The kids all done good.

After a warming hot chocolate and a debrief, the second dive was made far less taxing by the appearance of turtles (like the first dive) and an added bonus of a very large mature eagle ray gliding past us over the sand. Things like that make worth getting out of bed some days. Of course, as I was teaching, there was no camera being carried to record said marine life but three other witnesses will back me up!

P.S. There was only a camera made availbile for the shots here after all the performance criteria and dives had been completed, before anyone gets up in arms about a breach in PADI standards.

The final dive was a doddle as it's effectively just a tour of the loacl area but conditions were taking a turn for the worse both at the surface and underwater as well so we didn't push our limits and just drifted back to the dock with the current before a final debrief and congratulatory handshake all round.

One thing I will admit is that up until this point, I'd been an old fashioned kind of MI with filling in paper PICs but now I've used the PIC online for the first time, I must admit it is a quick and relatively painless way of getting PICs done. I'm shocked and surprised! PADI have come a long way since I started teaching.

Next week will be the nav spec, weather/conditions permitting, so who knows what we'll see then?