Features by our regulars

Southern New Britain: The Secret Place in Papua New Guinea

June 01, 2020 - 11:47
The story is found: 
on page 15

The southern coast of the large island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea is a truly remote location isolated from the northern coast by high, rugged mountain ranges with no real roads through them. There are no commercial airports here—only landing strips and old WWII airfields used for small-scale charter flights. Practically, the only way to get to the southern coast is by boat from Rabaul, on the eastern tip of New Britain.

It involves a long and usually overnight journey, which will take you down through the St George’s Channel, in-between New Britain and nearby New Ireland. The channel needs to be navigated with respect, as there are some fierce and complex currents flowing through it.

St Helena

April 26, 2020 - 11:51
The story is found: 
on page 42

Outside my window, the South Atlantic lay unbroken—an azure expanse of ocean below and sky above. Three hours after passing the Namibian coast, a lone patch of clouds appeared on the horizon. As we approached, I could just discern patches of green peering through. Atop a narrow ridge, a tiny strip of runway appeared, the sheer drops at each end plummeting to the sea.

Sitting in the South Atlantic 1,200 miles west of Southern Africa and 1,800 miles east of South America, St Helena is the dictionary definition of isolated. A mere speck 10 miles long and six miles wide, the island ascends 4,000m from the ocean floor to its highest point at 820m above sea level.

Samoa: Polynesian Diving in Upolu

April 06, 2020 - 10:03
The story is found: 
on page 22

Located in the Polynesian region of the South Pacific Ocean, the idyllic paradise of Samoa, which comprises the two main islands of Savai'i and Upolu and several smaller islands, is part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Brandi Mueller managed to venture to Upolu Island before the coronavirus pandemic forced countries to close borders and stay-at-home orders came into effect.

The small, nine-passenger, turboprop airplane violently shook us up and down like an amusement park ride. Out of the windows, all I could see were the gray clouds of the seemingly endless succession of storms that had been ravaging the area.

Philippines: Wrecks of Coron

August 13, 2019 - 13:32
The story is found: 
on page 36

Being an avid wreck diver, Coron in the Philippines has been on my bucket list for ages. Having followed the underwater remains of the Pacific Theater World War II battles, I have found myself in some of the most beautiful places on earth, from the Solomon Islands to Truk Lagoon and many others. Coron is no exception.

Admiring my surroundings, I lost my breath for a moment when the walls of mangroves on either side seemed to open like a curtain to reveal a wide-open expanse of blue water and many green islands rising up from the water at different heights as far as I could see.

Isla Mujeres: Swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico

July 24, 2019 - 11:43
The story is found: 
on page 31

Every year, as the summer heat descends on the Yucatan peninsula, an amazing phenom­enon takes place in the waters to the northeast of the small holiday island of Isla Mujeres. Local fishermen call it the Afuera (Mexican for “outside”), in reference to those deeper waters offshore from the tip of the Yucatan where, come July and August, the largest known gathering of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) takes place.

Long considered as solitary giants roaming the open oceans, aggregations of whale sharks seemed quite rare and, prior to the discovery of the Afuera, a large gathering was thought to comprise 15 to 20 whale sharks.

Gran Canaria: Angelsharks & Huge Schools of Fish

May 21, 2019 - 16:29
The story is found: 
on page 43

Gran Canaria is one of the most visited destinations in Europe, but far too many leave their dive gear at home! You should definitely bring it, because the island offers great diving with huge schools of fish, angelsharks, stingrays and great volcanic seascapes.

Most divers, and especially underwater photographers, seem to think it is necessary to fly halfway around the globe to get a good dive or some great underwater images. Not so! Great diving is much closer to home, at least if you are based in Europe, or plan a stop-over in Madrid.

Alphonse Atoll: Pristine Diving in the Seychelles' Outer Islands

May 13, 2019 - 13:55
The story is found: 
on page 21

There is just something that always feels right about getting on a small airplane for the final leg of travel to begin a dive trip. In my mind, it almost guarantees the destination is somewhere amazing—a place that is so special that the large jets used in mass transit cannot even get to it.

As we flew away from Mahé, a beautiful granitic island in its own right, it took about an hour to fly 400km (250 miles) southwest over blue seas before we began to descend on a small coral atoll, just a speck of palm trees and sand that steadily got larger as we approached.

The Bahamas’ Tiger Beach: Petting Zoo or the Real Deal?

May 12, 2019 - 14:46
The story is found: 
on page 36

Tiger Beach in the Bahamas is firmly established as one of those global dive destinations of which almost everybody has heard. Its fame is largely derived from the many published images of its most celebrated visitor—Galeocerdo cuvier, the tiger shark.

Tiger sharks are considered one of the “big three” most dangerous sharks, and along with the great white and bull sharks, are believed to be responsible for the vast majority of unprovoked attacks on humans.

Shipworm: The Scourge of Wooden Wrecks is Really a Mussel

April 14, 2019 - 16:02
The story is found: 
on page 0

Have you ever wondered why some bodies of water, such as the Baltic, have so many wooden wrecks in great condition while other areas have almost no wooden wrecks at all? It has something to do with salinity; however, it is not the salt in seawater that consumes the wrecks but a mussel, which somewhat confusingly is called a worm—and it only lives in saltwater.

In fact, shipworms are not worms at all, but rather a group of unusual saltwater clams with long, soft, naked bodies.

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.