X-Ray Mag #93
Main features in this issue include:
Alphonse Atoll: Pristine Diving in the Seychelles' Outer Islands
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.
Choosing a Camera and Underwater Housing
With the abundance of choices available on the market today, choosing the right camera and underwater housing that fits your needs can be a daunting and bewildering task. Larry Cohen offers advice, insights and tips to help underwater photographers make the best selection.
Clearing Mines in the Sava River of Bosnia
Landmines. They are some of the most insidious weapons mankind has ever created. Invisible, hard to destroy and waiting years for their opportunity to kill. Tens of millions are scattered around the world. In fact, Czech police divers and bomb disposal experts returned from another mission in Bosnia, where they were looking for war ammunition, especially landmines, in the rivers.
Mine-explosion victim statistics are appalling. According to last year’s report by a coalition of organizations known as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), landmines have killed more than 2,000 people in 2016 alone, injuring or crippling another 6.5 thousand.
How Big is Tech Really?
How big is the technical diving market? What trends can we see? How many technical divers are out there? What are their typical careers? And what do we know about them and their purchasing behavior? Three studies in brief shed light on these questions.
Know your customer
Humpback Whale Migration
Since 2011, scientists in South Africa have observed an unusual event: large groups of humpback whales seen from mid-October to mid-December off the western coast of South Africa, between Cape Town and St. Helena Bay. During this time period, depending on weather and wind conditions, the Benguela Current brings krill, upon which the whales feed, northward from Antarctica.
Up until recently, permits to observe the humpback migration had not been provided by the researchers of the University of Cape Town. In early 2017, however, they were willing to give permits to a few filmmakers and photographers, so that the humpback whale migration could be reported worldwide.
Lembeh & Bangka: Expect the Unexpected
Ting-ting-ting-ting-ting-ting-ting! Someone, somewhere, had found something really exciting! One of the dive guides was tapping frantically on the side of his cylinder with his metal pointer. Ting-ting-ting replied my dive guide Opo, only to receive more frantic tapping in response. My pulse rate upped a few more levels in anticipation of yet another exciting find.
As we watched, the cuttlefish disappeared under a discarded coconut shell and reappeared. Opo motioned to me that it was laying eggs. We watched in awe and fascination but eventually left the cuttlefish to its maternal duties in search of other exotic creatures.
Mark Adlington Portfolio
British artist, painter and sculptor Mark Adlington has travelled to the wild and remote corners of the world, studying and sketching wild animals in their natural habitats, and from these impressions, created large, vivid, spellbinding paintings and fluid drawings featuring the dynamic movement and magnificent presence of some of the earth’s most threatened species. His underwater paintings feature polar bears, otters and seals.
"I am endlessly amazed by wild animals, and have infinite patience when it comes to looking for or observing them . . . I suppose that what I am trying to communicate is my own complete passion, respect and wonder in the presence of these miraculous creatures."
— Mark Adlington
It was day seven of the liveaboard trip and the twentieth dive of Darren’s holiday. He joined his team in the tender boat and they sped off to the dive site. He donned his gear and ran through his usual pre-dive checks, while the guide dropped in to do a current check. It was only when the countdown began for all the divers to roll into the water together that Darren reached for the mask hanging around his neck… and it was not there.
He raised a hand to stop the countdown and searched around to see if he might have inadvertently taken it off and put it down on the bench next to him, but he could not see it. He had left it back on the liveaboard. When the countdown resumed, all his fellow divers went in without him.
Scapa 100: Centenary Anniversary Event
Friday, 21 June 2019. Dawn broke on the longest day of the year in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. In reality, at this latitude, the summer evenings are almost endless as nights do not exactly get as black as pitch this time of the year. As the islands and inhabitants slept, the charcoal smudge of dusk had gradually darkened during the wee small hours. Twilight broke early, with first light at 2:32 a.m.
I grabbed my travel mug of tea and headed out the door as the 7:00 a.m.
Scapa Flow: WWI Wreck Legacy & Recent Discoveries
Separated from the northern coast of mainland Scotland by only the six-mile-wide channel of the Pentland Firth, Orkney has some 90 islands, only 18 of which are inhabited. In the southern region of the archipelago is the large area of sheltered water known as Scapa Flow. Scapa Flow was the base chosen by the British Admiralty as the home of the Grand Naval Fleet.
Graeme Spence, maritime surveyor to the Admiralty, said in 1812: “… the art of Man, aided by all the Dykes, Sea Walls or Break-Waters that could possibly be built could not have contained a better Roadstead than the peculiar situation and extent of the South Isles of Orkney have made Scapa Flow .
Sudan Safari: Shark Diving in the Red Sea
From all over the world, more and more divers are coming to the Red Sea to discover its underwater paradise. The vast majority choose the Egyptian Red Sea as their main destination because it offers a wide variety of dive sites, suitable for all levels of diving; it is where one can travel all year round at a great price.
When travelling to a place full of history, who hasn’t stopped to think about what it might have been like many years ago—trying to imagine each age, every change and interaction, and their effects on the present day? This is what I describe when someone asks me about Sudan.
When it comes to final editing of your digital underwater images, the white balance should be the first step of your digital post-production workflow. Always.