Features by our regulars

Journey to Bikini Atoll

October 13, 2011 - 23:25
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The story is found: 
on page 37

In contrast to the Bikini report by the expert Dutch expedition, X-RAY MAG’s Barb Roy shares her perspectives as a recreational diver and wreck junkie on the history and culture of Bikini Atoll.

Although I am the only female in the group, and a travel journalist, I am accepted because I create these escapes and weave a recipe of pleasing surprises, challenging dives and always add a twist of exploration to the mix.

Bali: The Island of Gods

October 13, 2011 - 23:23
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The story is found: 
on page 24

Bali. It’s a name synonymous with a tropical island paradise, conjuring up images of emerald rice terraces, an exotic, vibrant culture and friendly people. This jewel of the Indonesian Archipelago is also a magnet for scuba divers, drawn by a bevy of attractions ranging from to tiny jewel-like nudibranchs to enormous mola molas. Once you’ve been, you’re hooked!

Twenty hours and several stopovers after leaving snowy Toronto, I finally arrived in Bali on a sultry tropical evening. The heavy rains that delayed our departure in Singapore had given way to a vibrant sunset, and I was feeling cautiously optimistic about the weather.

Bali’s East Coast

October 13, 2011 - 23:23
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The story is found: 
on page 39

When India’s Prime Minister Pandit Nehru visited Bali in 1950 to attend celebrations marking the newly established independence of Indonesia, he famously called the island “the morning of the world”. His simple but eloquent description really does encapsulate the uniqueness of this special island.

Introduced in the 6th century, by Hindu traders from India, the religion spread rapidly across this huge archipelago of over 17,000 islands, peaking in the 14th century with the Majapahit Empire. The rise of Islam from the 14th century slowly but surely eclipsed the Hindu kingdoms, and Hinduism itself, and ultimately forced what was left of the Hindu elite to take refuge, consolidating in Bali around the end of the 15th century.

Jewels of Tanzania: African Safari & Pemba Island Diving

October 13, 2011 - 23:23
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The story is found: 
on page 20

Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti... boasting a wealth of natural beauty that reads like a lexicon of African icons, Tanzania is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream destination. However, this rich bounty isn’t limited to just the land, as the warm waters fringing its coast are home to some of the most spectacular reefs in all of East Africa.

While perusing the exhibitor list at last year’s DEMA show, the exotic name of “Swahili Divers” virtually leapt up to grab my attention. Sauntering over for a look, I met owners Farhat and Francisca Jah.

Fabulous Fiji

October 13, 2011 - 23:21
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The story is found: 
on page 19

Scott Bennett writes: I’d like to introduce you to some of our friends, enthused our guide Manasa, a.k.a Papa, as he held aloft a well-worn loose-leaf binder. The photographs within produced nervous laughter and a couple of anxious glances amongst a few of the divers. Then again, with names like Scarface, Hook and Big Mama, these were no ordinary friends. They were sharks, and we would soon be making their acquaintance.

Two flights and 15 hours after leaving my home in Toronto, I arrived at Nadi’s international airport on the island of Vitu Levu. Stumbling bleary-eyed into the arrival hall, I was greeted by an energetic group of local musicians performing traditional Fijian music.

Rea Sea: Southern Egypt to Sudan

October 13, 2011 - 23:21
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The story is found: 
on page 24

There is something special about it, the Red Sea, that I have not found anywhere else on the planet.

Despite its relative proximity to Europe and the ever increasing convenience and affordability of cheap direct flights, once you head out of the resort areas, you can still wander off and turn around the next corner, or anchor behind the next reef and see no other people or boats in the horizon—n

Thetis Island

October 13, 2011 - 23:21
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The story is found: 
on page 61

Tallen, my youngest daughter and part-time dive buddy entered the cool emerald coloured water with me as the current slowed to a stop to change direction (slack). Full of anticipation, Tallen and I descended down the southwest side of Virago Rock within Porlier Pass, a .65 km (.4 mile) wide channel between the islands of Valdez and Galiano.

The rocky reef below wore a blanket of light pink coralline algae, dotted with tiny white and orange anemones. Before long the area opened up, revealing our prize—the wreckage of the 32-meter (105-foot) steamer tug, Point Grey, built in 1911.

Hawaii

October 13, 2011 - 23:18
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The story is found: 
on page 87

Like most divers who live in the northern parts of the world, I enjoy the occasional getaway to warmer climates, especially during November. To satisfy my tropical needs, I selected Maui, Molokai and Lanai of the Hawaiian Island Archipelago for my escape. Within six hours of leaving the Seattle area, Continental Airlines had me on the garden isle of Maui.

Polynesian settlement of Hawaii occurred over 1000 years ago after crossing 4000 miles (6437km) of open ocean from the South Pacific. Captain Cook arrived in 1778 and was later killed on a return journey.

New Zealand

October 13, 2011 - 23:18
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The story is found: 
on page 75

The Maori warrior cautiously moved towards us. His face was painted and body adorned in traditional combatant attire. He yelled words I did not understand and pounded the ground with his spear-like weapon to challenge us. More warriors appeared out of the darkness behind him, each taking defensive positions with wide eyes and tongues out to intimidate. Like the other visitors around me, I froze with excitement, waiting for their next move.

Our guide spoke their language and understood their ways as he coached the leader we selected on what to say and do.

Skookumchuck - Challenging the Rapids

September 13, 2009 - 23:33
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The story is found: 
on page 97

Viewing a torrent of flowing liquid turmoil while safe and dry on shore is enough to make anybody hesitate about signing up for a dive charter in the Skookumchuck Narrows. This is also the place where rushing tidal currents commonly reach impressive speeds of 14-16 knots (30 km/hr)!

The word Skookumchuck comes from the Chinook language with the word skookum meaning “strong” or “powerful”, and the word chuck meaning “water”.

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