Features by our regulars

Timor-Leste: Off the Beaten Path

January 28, 2019 - 14:31
The story is found: 
on page 0

Admittedly, I knew almost nothing about Timor-Leste until I started seeing a lot of great images of the diving there on Instagram. I became curious and started following a local dive operator’s Instagram feed, watching them post daily photos of cuttlefish, nudibranchs, peacock mantis shrimp and beautiful reefscapes. Where was this place and how did I not know about it?

Other research on the internet did not give Timor-Leste’s dive secrets away. Located within the Coral Triangle, which contains the most marine biodiversity on the planet, it was boasted to be some of the most biodiverse and pristine diving left on earth—an untouched area and mostly not dived.

Sand Tiger Sharks of North Carolina

December 10, 2018 - 18:21
The story is found: 
on page 41

There I was, off the coast of North Carolina at a depth of about 20m (60ft) when the shadowy shape of the WWII wreck Caribsea came into view—but it looked almost as if it was moving! Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a cloud of tiny bait fish completely covering the wreck. As they moved, the ship seemed to move with them; and then, out of the swarm, a massive, tank-like, gray silhouette emerged.

Sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) look mean but in reality, they are quite docile. As I watched, at least 12 sharks crisscrossed the Caribsea wreck; they almost seemed to be in a perfect state of Zen.

Graveyard of the Atlantic: Wrecks of North Carolina's Outer Banks

August 14, 2018 - 14:48
The story is found: 
on page 34

One of the problems with the proverbial bucket list is that whenever you tick a dive trip off the list, it seems that you add at least three more destinations to it. This is exactly what happened to me. I had never considered North Carolina as a dive destination, much less one of the top wreck diving locations in the world.

Wreck diving is one of my favorite types of diving because I love the history of how the wrecks came to be underwater, and North Carolina has plenty of that.

Fluoroscent Photography Underwater

July 25, 2018 - 12:32
The story is found: 
on page 53

On a night dive in the Philippines several years ago, I had an opportunity to do a "fluoro" night dive. Atlantis Dive Resort rented blue underwater flashlights and yellow filter shields that went over divers' masks. Geared up, I set off into the night. The blue light was very dim and the dive was much darker than a normal night dive.

I suddenly felt like I was in a neon video game with the underwater world transforming into vibrant greens, reds and yellows. A bright, glowing light snaked across the sand, and on closer inspection, it was an eel that was vivid green.

Saba: Pristine Gem in the Caribbean

July 25, 2018 - 12:06
The story is found: 
on page 33

I loved Saba before I arrived. Throughout my dive travels, I had occasionally heard about this mythical island of which not many knew. Tales of a small dormant volcanic island with healthy reefs, hiking trails crisscrossing its eight square kilometers, and excellent food.

Being in the general vicinity of Saba and having a little free time, I decided to finally make my way to this island, which has lingered in my diving dreams. Officially a special municipality of the Netherlands, Saba is part of the Leeward Islands and Lesser Antilles with St.

Japanese Giant Salamanders

April 07, 2018 - 11:42
The story is found: 
on page 86

The Japanese giant salamander is a quite unique, if rather mysterious, creature that lives in rivers across western and southwestern Japan.

As both its common and Latin names (Andrias japonicus) suggest, it is an endemic species of Japan that is both protected under federal legislation and formally nominated as a special natural monument because of its cultural and educational significance.

The Ogasawara Islands: Japan's Galapagos

April 07, 2018 - 11:42
The story is found: 
on page 24

Often referred to as the Oriental Galapagos, the Ogasawara Archipelago is located in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, about 1,000km south of Tokyo and is one of the most isolated and remote parts of Japan. The isolation of the archipelago, combined with the fact that the islands have never been connected to a continent, is said to have produced a “Galapagos effect” with flora and fauna that is unique to the islands.

Volcanic in nature, visually the islands are quite remarkable and rise spectacularly out of the surrounding deep waters and oceanic trenches.

Sharks of the Protea Banks in South Africa

April 07, 2018 - 11:40
The story is found: 
on page 79

The Protea Banks enjoys a reputation as one of the best places in South Africa to dive with sharks, and depending on the time of year, you can see up to seven different varieties, including ragged-tooth sharks, oceanic blacktip sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks and three varieties of hammerhead sharks—scalloped, smooth and great hammerhead sharks. Often, these varieties are in large, if not astonishing, numbers.

There is a reason for the abundant life in the region.

Drones & Underwater Photography

April 07, 2018 - 11:40
The story is found: 
on page 91

One of the things I learned quickly when first writing for X-Ray Mag was that it is often the images there were not taken underwater that can make an article about a specific location really stand out. As was pointed out to me, one ornate ghost pipefish looks pretty much the same as another. As proud as you may be of the images from your last trip, are they that much different from those of the one before?

Maybe yes, maybe no… does it even matter? Well, I think it really does if you are trying to get your stuff published or even just “liked” on social media. People enjoy context around the images they like. Building that up by showing more about the destination is a great way to engage.

Grenada: Spice Isle of the Caribbean

January 17, 2018 - 18:17
The story is found: 
on page 17

Anchored at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southern Caribbean, Grenada, known as the "Island of Spice" due to its nutmeg and mace production, has long been on my radar. Being tropical and scenic with good diving and a short flight from home, how could one NOT be enticed?

Although Air Canada offers non-stop flights from Toronto on Mondays, the flight was nearly full and expensive. Instead, I opted to fly Caribbean Airlines via Trinidad, which offers daily connecting flights to Grenada's Maurice Bishop International Airport.

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