X-Ray Mag #31
East Africa: Botswana, Tanzania and Mozambique; Salmon Swim in Paris again; Marine Protected Areas in the Pacific, Scandinavia, Brazil and elsewhere; Record Diver Pascal Bernabés anatomy of a deep exploration; Scapa Flow by Lawson Wood; Sharks are also teenagers; Skokumchuuk rapids; Seeing wrecks with sound; Photographing caves; Japanese Brazilian artist Marcelo Tatsuyoshi Kato; Plus news and discoveries, equipment news, books and media, wrecks, whales, sharks, sea turtles and more...
Main features in this issue include:
Diving the Delta: Botswana’s Okavango River
Carrying all we would need for the next five days, our expedition team travelled some 65 kilometres through shallow, meandering channels in small power boats. We eventually reached Jugu Juga, the small island which was to be our home for the next two days.
The Okavango Delta in Northern Botswana is described as the “Jewel of the Kalahari Desert”. Covering some 15,000 square kilometers, it is a labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels. It is the biggest inland fresh water delta in the world.
Extreme Exploration Dives
How to master the complexities of extensive explorations of underwater caves and other overhead environments. Distance of 700 meters from the entrance to the end point. The depth of 164 meters at the beginning of the actual exploration and 186 meters at the end. Duration of the dive, which including deco stops, required a run time 9 hours and 46 minutes submersed.
Our case story will be a recent actual exploration where the dive profile posed a few challenges:
Jewels of Tanzania: African Safari & Pemba Island Diving
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.
Marcelo Tatsuyoshi Kato Portfolio
Do water and paper mix? Yes, they do in the Marcelost World created by the Japanese Brazilian artist, Marcelo Tatsuyoshi Kato, who makes magic in paper sculptures and papercuts with themes related to the underwater world. X-RAY MAG’s Gunild Symes interviewed the artist to find out how he developed his unique craft and what inspires him about the sea.
"I believe that art can move people’s hearts by overcoming culture and the language barrier. If people can be moved by getting a message from the art, the world will follow, too."
-- Marcelo Tatsuyoshi Kato
Protecting our oceans
At the moment there are approximately 5000 marine protected areas (MPAs), located around the world. Still only 0.7 % of the world’s oceans are protected this way. They all share a common goal, to protect the sea and land within and everyone who lives within their boundaries. How they actually function, the scope of protection they enjoy, or how research is done, however, differs greatly.
Whilst the largest marine park, The Phoenix Islands Protected Area is backed by institutions such as New England Aquarium and Conservation International, to protect some of the last pristine coral reefs on the planet, the tiny Brazilian state marine park Laje de Santos, relies mostly on volunteer
Scapa Flow - The Wrecks of Scotland’s Orkney Islands
Situated 25 km (15 miles) north of the Scottish mainland, the Orkney Islands are located on the same latitude as southern Greenland, Alaska and Leningrad, however Orkney is bathed in the warm waters of the North Atlantic Drift that first started out as the Gulf Stream in the Caribbean.
More recently, the sheltered bay of Scapa Flow was the base of the British Naval Fleet over several generations and indeed has served the nation well during the Napoleonic War and the American War of Independence.
Four hundred and fifty kilometres north of Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, and half an hour from the historic Portuguese trading town of Inhambane and its airport, Tofo is a laid-back village popular for its endless pristine beaches and, of course, scuba diving.
The warm waters of the Indian Ocean provide sustenance for an abundance of marine life here, but the mantas and the whale sharks are the stars of the show.
“Three, two, one go!” Rolling backwards off the pontoon of the RIB, I delighted in the slow-motion freefall from a negative entry, going straight down with Carlos, our Dive Master.
Zanzibar: Diving Unguja & Pemba Island
The spacious, purpose-built dhow slid through the calm Indian Ocean. We were briefed sitting under the shade area of the deck, then kitted up and went through our buddy checks before a giant stride took us into the 30°C sea. Looking down, I could just make out the dive site, an old British lighter, 27 metres below me. It was 9:30 a.m. and the day was going fantastically.
I’d started the morning in Dar-es-Salaam and caught a Coastal Airways Cessna 182 for the 20-minute 07:30 flight to Stone Town on the west coast of Unguja, more commonly known as Zanzibar, for some low-level sunrise shots of the outlying reefs.