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Sunday, 30 September 2018

Living after midnight

Now I like a good dive as much as the next fish, but night diving is always great as it adds an extra dimension to the possible things you get to see that you wouldn't normally see during the day time.



We fell in the water just before dusk and scoured the hard pan for the little critters and see what we could see. On the travel out, it pays to pay attention to the sea fans in the shallows as they are an excellent place for sea hares and especially tritonia hamnerorum and their accompanying egg ribbons. The only down side is getting a steady enough shot in the shallows whilst being buffeted by the surge. Good times.



 And not only did the sea fans provide a veritable macro bounty, but there was an abundance of bristle worms out and about as well. I love these things. They're so fluffy!!!!


 Cruising out to the mini wall and scrutinising the barrel sponges gave us some more wonderful surprises with a nice selection of long eared favorinus. Which of course were in the most difficult position imaginable to get a camera rig and human body into. I should get some part time work as a circus contortionist........


Also managed to find the smallest flamingo tongue known to man kind. Well certainly the smallest I've ever seen. If anyone has seen one smaller, then let me know. I would say this one was about 3mm long, maybe 4mm at a push. This was a really lucky find. 


  With the night drawing in, the reef was starting to take on a different tone and noticeable colour palates with hard corals coming to life and feather stars out for a stroll. 

In among the hard coral under strobe light, the secretary blenny makes a contrasting subject against the radiant surrounding glow.


And whilst i was busy taking a shot of the blenny, I completely missed a channel crab that was feeding beneath me although if you know how big these things get, you'd wonder how I managed to miss it. I do get rather focused on a subject some times.Couldn't get it all in frame either.


A little ways of, Jill was busy focusing her light  up to the surface and it took me a good few attempts to figure out what she was watching as all I was catching was the odd bit of movement here and there in the water column. Once i got the modelling light trained on it, it looked like some sort of jelly. It doesn't match up with anything in the Reef Creature bible, so if anyone out there has a clue, let me know.


 And of course by this time the blood worms started to make an appearance and they tend to get annoying and in the way of things when your shooting macro. Being attracted to the light, it's fun shining it on the hard coral and watching them exploding in little puffs of viscera. Cruel, but fun. That'll teach the little blighters. They don't like it up 'em Captain Mainwaring!

Swiftly moving on to avoid the following clouds of worms I found a really nice example of a christmas tree worm and I don't often see ones of this particular colouring, so it made a pleasant change from the norm. The pink/red fringes really popped against the white main body.


 Heading back to the shallows and over the hard pan gave me one last shot during the safety stop with a nice little star eyed hermit crab shimmying up some fire coral. Say cheese!



Night diving is always entertaining on so many levels and we don't do nearly enough of it (it's not everyone's cup of tea) but hopefully we'll get out in a few weeks and see if we can drag Miss Leslie with us to. She loves a good old fashioned night dive. 

Till the next time, safe diving!

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The world is not enough

Here's a little something something for you all. If you are looking for an excellent source of dive related articles, news, tips, reviews and just plain wholesome watery goodness, then show some love and support and save this website in your browser. 

Go on, you know you want to....... 

scubaguideworldwide


Sunday, 9 September 2018

Caballo diablo

"Wild as a coastal barranca,
Swift as the wind blowing free,
With two eyes like fire brands that glow in the night,
Somewhere up there he's waiting for me"


And that pretty much sums up the weather conditions again but with two out of three hurricanes in the vicinity, things were never going to be pretty up top. Just as well they were pretty amazing down below. 

Turtles were first on the list for the morning and we had one that was more than happy to cruise along with us out the the main wall with occasional stops for a nosh on the odd bit of sponge.



No angel fish in tow with this beauty but they did make an appearance once we got down at depth to one of my favourite little sponge formations.


And of course Spot turned up as well to hang out with us for a little bit whilst we fought against a stiff current to maintain position for some shots. Not easy, whether your behind or in front of the lens, it really takes it out of you.


We got a few more in on the wall before we headed back into the shallows. Lovely rope sponge formations as always, still healthy and intact crowded with fusiliers and basslets. Spectacular.


We made one final pass over the sand patch and garden eels before a stop at Amphitrite for another one with Spot, then we got down to the serious business of hunting for the small stuff.


Dusky jawfish are always interesting to shoot and patience is priceless when it comes to taking shots with these little guys. Very low and very slow is the order of the day. And then wait. And wait some more. And then some more till it gets used to you being there. Then have at it.


Pretty much same technique for orange saddled blennies as they can prove to be a bit flighty at times, so you really do need to wait till they settle down.


A good backdrop of colours and textures will also help add a little something something to the subject as well.


And if you're really lucky you can capture some sweetlips having a shouting match as you're passing by. Go on my son! Get in there and give it some!


But the real star of the show needs no introduction. Not often found but sometimes if you look hard enough, you might just find what you need. Hiding in the usual spot as all the others I've found previously, but the wife lead me to this one so props to her.






Sunday, 26 August 2018

Diver Down

And if you didn't already pick up a copy of August edition of Diver magazine (shame on you if you didn't), the article, minus a good few of the photos missing, is now on the Diver website.

Link: HERE

And just in case you can't be arsed clicking over to Divernet then here's the whole thing below with all the lovely pictures intact. You're welcome. 

P.S. Go and buy a copy or take out a subscription, it's the best dive mag out there.





 

Black Rain

It was a full on weather front when we jumped in, surf, surge, current, rain, thunder, lightning, we just needed snow and we would have had the complete set. Despite all that (or even because of it), it was still an enjoyable 100 minutes or so in the water with pretty reasonable viz despite everything else.


We headed for the deep first to see what we could see and try and find this alleged hammerhead that gets reported every now and then but no one has actually provided any photographic evidence of it. You know the rules, if there's no pictures, it didn't happen. 

With vibrant rope and barrel sponges topped of with swirling clouds of fusiliers, surgeon and triggerfish, there was plenty of colours, like boxful of monkeys got loose in a paint shop. Throw in a few hinds and groupers and you've got an eclectic mix of marine life and that's your starter for ten.


Almost forgot to mention the Southern stingrays that were hiding out in the sand, waiting to pounce for the camera, those sneaky devils........


From the deepest of the deep to the beautiful ugly of the shallows, for your horror and delight, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the peacock flounder in all its glory. I love these things as they are so interesting to photograph, they have some lovely detail and colours, they always make great subjects if you can catch one sitting still for more than five seconds.



Another one of my favourites was also hanging around. This banded jawfish has been at the same spot for some time now and he's got very accustomed to me turning up for a shot or two. Or three.


 And if you're willing to look hard enough and have some patience, the little stuff will come to you. Throw some mantis shrimp in there, spiny, rough head, secretary, triple fin, orange saddled blennies and much more besides, you've got a recipe for a thoroughly entertaining dive.









 

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Lust for life

We see this all the time here in the accident reports involving snorkeling and diving. In nearly all instances it involves people of "age". They either have pre existing medical conditions, their unfit, overweight , unskilled or all of the above. If you're not fit to be in the water, don't put yourself and others at risk.

Link: HERE

“Cardiac issues are now a leading factor in diving fatalities,” said study author and diver Dr Peter Buzzacott, of the University of Western Australia. Divers who learned to dive years ago and who are now old and overweight, with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are at increased risk of dying.”

Cardiac events now come second only to drowning as a cause of death among divers.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Taking care of business

Here's a very thoughtful insight in cave diving by one safety diver and what the experience must have been like during the recent rescue of the Thai boys football team, not only for the boys but for the rescuers themselves.

I've done a fair bit of tight diving over the years in caves and wrecks but that's absolutely nothing to what these people did. You have to hand it to these guys, they really did themselves and fellow divers everywhere proud.

Link: HERE


"Last week, the world was riveted by the successful rescue of a youth soccer team as they and their coach were pulled out of a flooded cave in Thailand. The team had been stranded on a narrow rock shelf in the dark for two weeks, the way out blocked by turbid stormwater. The rescue involved far more than a few divers putting on gear and heading into the cave—it required a tremendous amount of technical skill and posed extreme danger."

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Turn the page

If you ever wanted to know what liveaboard diving is like on the left coast of Mexico, have a look at my thoughts in the latest edition of Diver magazine (August 2018) for a better insight. 

Epic diving and even better marine life encounters, I highly recommend diving in the region if you get the opportunity to do so.


Thursday, 12 July 2018

Better sorry than safe

Think that the sunscreen you are using is good for the environment because it says "reef safe" on it? Think again. Check the article link below.

Link: HERE
 


"If you think you’re in the clear as long as you buy a sunscreen labeled “reef safe,” think again, says Downs. The federal government requires sunscreen claims to be “truthful and not misleading,” but the term “reef safe” doesn’t have an agreed-upon definition, and therefore isn’t strictly regulated by government. This means sunscreen manufacturers aren’t required to test and demonstrate that such products won’t harm aquatic life, says Downs. And even if they did and found a sunscreen that passed this test, says Downs, it might still be harmful if concentrations in the water got high enough."
 

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Come a little bit closer

A quick one today. We had a little bit of time to kill in the morning, so we managed to get a quick dive in at LHP. The conditions and viz weren't great but a dive is a dive and water is always wet. Most of it was up and down on the mini wall hunting for all things for all things great and small. We had some good finds with plenty of cleaner stations offering so photo ops.




 We also had plenty of reef squid ready to play with us and they were more than happy to hang out with us.


There's always a good selection of gobies and blennies to find here and it would have been rude not to get some pictures with them.
 




Large shoals of grunts, sweetlips, groupers, tangs and squirrelfish are in abundance here and always offer a magical experience when swimming among them.


There were a few rays cruising out over the sandy transition to the main wall but not worth chasing, especially with a macro lens fitted. I'll be getting some wide angle done this weekend anyway, so no big loss.