Juli/August 2018, 69 Seiten
News Travel & Events
Parting Shot by Peter Rowlands
For over a year, I had been looking forward to a very special expedition that was planned for May 2014. But as you know, life does not always go the way you plan. The expedition was postponed, and once again, I had to find an alternative, at relatively short notice.
After getting some interesting offers in March 2014, I met a rebreather diver from Gran Canaria at the Dive and Travel Show in Madrid. He suggested that I come to Gran Canaria for wreck diving.
People like color. Is any photographer not familiar with the delighted exclamation of the viewer: "Oh, this is so colorful"? This point also applies to underwater photography; the task of creating colorful underwater pictures is the goal (and passion, in some cases) of many. But then there is also good ol' black and white photography. Yes, even underwater!
Some readers may surely be shaking their heads now, wondering what is the point of depicting a colorful underwater scene, or a sea creature, in black and white?
So here we are. Five divers and I, hanging at a depth of 18m, about 80m from the reef edge over an unfathomably deep drop off, looking at each other. Did that just happen? Did we just have a rather intimate close encounter with the largest fish in the world? Apparently so.
We were alerted to this gentle giant’s approach by our dive guide Hama, who, hanging out in the blue, spotted the gentle giant approaching and alerted us with a crazy rattling of his tank-banger.
Dumaguete sits down close to the southern tip of Negros Island in the middle of Visayas Island group in the Philippines, approximately 500km south of Manila. A coastal province, it is bounded on the east by the Bohol Sea and the Tañon Strait, which serve as a natural border to the neighboring provinces of Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor.
Dumaguete seems to follow only two seasonal changes: dry and wet. June through September is the Philippines’ monsoon season, and as you might expect, conditions are warm and humid. April and May are actually the hottest time period, with average maximum temperatures that can reach 34.3°C.
An avid scuba and free diver, American self-taught artist Frank Walsh has captured his intense fascination of the sea and its creatures in brilliant, dynamic marine life paintings and sculptures for over 30 years. X-Ray Mag interviewed the artist to gain insight into his art and creative process, and how the underwater world inspires his creations.
"I strive for accuracy and want to know all there is about the subject I paint. The best way to do that is to dive into that world."
— Frank Walsh
X-RAY MAG: Tell us about yourself, your background and how you became an artist.
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.
There’s a cartoon that pops up on social media every now and again of a diver photographing a tiny starfish on a rock as a beautiful shark glides above him. The diver continues to concentrate on the critter as his buddies try, without success, to catch his attention. Such is the life of a macro photographer, and such was my recent experience in Mozambique.
I have been diving in Ponta do Ouro, a small Mozambican coastal village 10km from the South African border, since 2002 and love its laid-back atmosphere, rustic village life, long sandy beaches and warm blue ocean, just waiting to be explored.
Researchers took a close look at PFO and arterial bubbles and reached some quite startling conclusions. Most divers know that many people have a PFO and that having a PFO makes you more susceptible to decompression sickness (DCS), but that is far from being the “hole” story, (forgive the pun).
The Scuba Confidential column in this issue is again adapted from my book, Scuba Physiological: Think you know all about Scuba Medicine?
The entrance to the Firth of Forth, an estuary in southeast Scotland, is guarded by a number of islands, the two largest and most popular for diving being the Isle of May or May Isle, 7km (4.5 miles) from Crail in Fife and the Bass Rock, or The Bass, located 2km (1.2 miles) offshore and 5km (3.1 miles) northeast of North Berwick in East Lothian.
Although May Isle is only 57 hectares, it has been a National Nature Reserve since 1956 and is internationally important for its seabird and seal colonies. This small island has over 200,000 breading seabirds, as well as over 90,000 puffins; the island is honeycombed with their burrows.
St. Croix is known for nesting leatherback sea turtles but has recently become known as one of the islands through which Hurricane Maria passed. However, life on this US Virgin Island reaches beyond the tales of these two stories.
St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix comprise the US Virgin Islands on the northeastern side of the Caribbean Sea. St. Croix is isolated from the other two islands.
“Plan the dive and dive the plan” has long been the mantra employed in all areas of diving. Technical divers in particular spend more time planning their dives than many recreational divers. This is due to a number of factors, including increased risks, greater depths, high gas usage at depth, increased decompression obligations, increased oxygen toxicity loading and a host of other reasons.
In the early days of technical diving, there were no PC planning tools or dive computers suitable for technical dive planning. The only option for planning a dive was to look up a decompression schedule using pre-generated tables.
Downloadbar als PDF (ca. 36 MB / 93 Seiten)
Der Hergiswiler Franz Hattan (65) ist Berufstaucher und verdient damit seinen Lebensunterhalt. Doch jetzt möchte er sich mit U-Boot-Fahrten ein zweites Standbein aufbauen. Im vergangenen Jahr hat er sich dafür ein passendes Gefährt gekauft: ein U-Boot, das 6,8 Tonnen schwer, 5,8 Meter lang und 2,3 Meter breit ist. «Es gibt in der ganzen Schweiz kein zweites immatrikuliertes U-Boot», sagt er stolz.
Ab August soll das U-Boot in den Vierwaldstättersee abtauchen. Es bietet Platz für vier Personen und soll ein einmaliges Erlebnis werden, schreibt die «Luzerner Zeitung». Auf der einstündigen Rundfahrt sind drei Passagiere an Bord. In einem Radius von 300 Metern möchte Hattan seinen Gästen die Unterwasserwelt näherbringen. Er wird bis auf den Grund abtauchen, dieser liegt an der tiefsten Stelle rund 215 Meter unter der Wasseroberfläche. «Bei guten Sichtverhältnissen sieht man alles bis zu einer Distanz von etwa 15 Metern, Wracks, Fische, aber auch interessante Felslandschaften», verspricht der Berufstaucher.
Die Fahrten will er in den Monaten August und Oktober anbieten. «Dann ist die Sicht sehr gut und ich kann es beruflich einrichten», sagt er. Im Siebentagerhythmus können so zwölf Personen in die Unterwasserwelt eingeführt werden. Die einstündige Fahrt kostet 200 Franken. Die ersten Buchungen über seine Homepage sollen schon bald möglich sein.
Das U-Boot hat Hattan für einen sechsstelligen Betrag gekauft. Eingesetzt wurde es auf dem Bodensee und für Staudammkontrollen. Damit das Unterwasserboot auch für Passagierfahrten fahrtauglich ist, müssen noch mehrere Arbeiten ausgeführt werden. Es werden neue Batterien eingebaut sowie eine leistungsstarke LED-Beleuchtung und ein Positionierungssystem, das das Boot genau orten kann.
Hattan ist schon vor einigen Jahren mit einem kleinen U-Boot auf dem Vierwaldstättersee abgetaucht. «Die Passagiere stiegen jeweils begeistert aus, waren fasziniert von der Technik und überwältigt vom Anblick unter Wasser», erinnert er sich. Darum ist er überzeugt, dass das Angebot auf rege Nachfrage stossen wird.
Die Sicherheit stehte an erster Stelle: Ein Schiffsführer überwacht mit einem Boot oben die Fahrt des U-Boots. Ein Kommunikator bleibt mit dem U-Boot-Führer in Verbindung. Für den Fall einer Panne ist auch vorgesorgt. «Wir können auf verschiedene Systeme zurückgreifen, um im Notfall mit einem schnellen Auftrieb das U-Boot an die Oberfläche zu bringen», erklärt Franz Hattan. Sollte dies nicht klappen, so sind im U-Boot Lebensmittelvorräte eingelagert und reichlich Sauerstoff ist ebenfalls vorhanden. Um ein U-Boot zu steuern benötigt es eine spezielle Bootsprüfung.
Quelle: 20 Minuten, 11.6.2018
Mai/Juni 2018, 63 Seiten.
News Travel & Events
Hurricane damage by Jean Michel Machefert
In the first article in this series, we discussed the importance of building the diver’s comfort zone and how the comfort level of the newly trained diver affects his or her long-term participation in the sport. This begs the questions: how much impact does drop-out actually have on the sport; and what can the instructor do to correct the problem?
The impact of diver drop-out is very difficult thing to assess due to a lack of data. The findings discussed in the first article in this series only tracked divers who completed an open water diver course.
Beaked whales—now honestly, who has ever heard of Cuvier beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) or Blainville beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris), or even knows what they look like? Anybody? No? It’s no wonder—they are shy animals, they can be seen at the water surface only for a very short time and they are usually not very noticeable.
The whales also do not ride on the bow waves of boats, but rather avoid noise and are extremely quiet representatives of their kind—a species that lives quite inconspicuously in our world’s seas and hunts at great depths.
Italian artist, designer and architect, Davide Angheleddu, creates bronze and nylon sculptures inspired by the forms of zooplankton, marine microorganisms. X-Ray Mag interviewed the artist to find out more about his artwork, creative process and perspectives on art, technology and the underwater world.
After graduating with a degree in architecture from the Politecnico di Milano, Angheleddu specialized in interior design at an architecture studio, where he amassed a great deal of knowledge and experience in 3D digital modeling.
Is underwater photography difficult? Actually, no—at least, not to any significant degree when compared with any other discipline of photography. Each single stage of creating an underwater photograph, if seen in isolation from the rest, is not so tricky. It is the sum of all its parts, as well as mastering the whole, which can appear confusing at times.
In terms of underwater photography, we can say that the mindset is the systematic approach to staying organized and getting the best out of our photo dives.
Crinoids, or "feather stars" as they are commonly known to the scuba diving community, are echinoderms, members of the phylum Echinodermata, meaning "spiny skin," which includes many well-known species like sea stars, sea urchins and brittle stars. Their highest concentrations are found around Indonesia, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Many divers who have traveled to the Indo-Pacific are familiar with feather stars and admire them for their bright colors and interesting shapes. Feather stars are also well known to divers because of their propensity to attach to the wetsuits of careless divers.
The words “dive trip” are enough to make most divers start daydreaming of warm water, great visibility, thin wetsuits and talented guides who can find critter after critter. Change those words to “dive adventure” and you will find a small group of divers who immediately think of kayak diving.
Scuba diving from a kayak is the perfect way to access reefs that are not otherwise accessible from land. The sites may be situated under steep cliffs or too far offshore for a surface swim.
I was recently given this picture, signed by David Prowse—the original actor who played Darth Vader—by one of my students. It's awesome. Why? Well, I am a bit of a Star Wars fan and a lot of a geek anyway, but also, there is a little sub-culture in technical diving, especially cave and rebreather diving, in which divers like to refer to themselves as members of the dark side! It's kind of cool—well, for us anyway, and we like the T-shirts.
But let's look at this seriously for a minute. Why do these things appeal to us? Why do we like to be recognised and to have a group identity? Well, we could fall back on the “that-is-human-nature” argument, and certainly, there are cogent points to be made for this idea.
This column is adapted from a chapter in my book, Scuba Physiological – Think you know all about Scuba Medicine? Think Again! The chapters in this book were originally written by scientists in the field of decompression research as part of a three-year project called PHYPODE (Physiology of Decompression). My (self-appointed) task was to rewrite their sometimes-complex research in a form accessible to all divers.
One interesting aspect they addressed was the concept of preconditioning as it may apply to scuba diving safety.
My dive guide finned quickly down the sandy slope and I kicked hard to keep up with him, my heavy camera and strobes creating quite a drag, slowing me down. By the time I reached the sea fan, in front of which he had stopped, I felt a thrill of excitement. I knew what he had found! Peering through my viewfinder and trying to stay calm, I followed his pointer downwards, and right there, at its tip, was my first ever pygmy seahorse.
I had reached a stage in my underwater photography journey in which I wanted to do more than just take photos—I wanted to create works of art!
My journey to the Solomon Islands began with an exciting dive experience and an unforgettable taste of history. Passing 100ft (30m) on my way down to 170ft (52m), I began to question the intelligence of this decision. I was in a very remote corner of the globe, with minimal surface support, dropping to a very deep depth and all on a single tank of air.
The plan was simple, descend down the sloping coral reef until we hit the seabed, spend six to seven minutes on the bottom and then begin the slow ascent back to the surface, punctuated by 25 plus minutes of decompression stops.
The remote island of St Helena has been an enigma in the South Atlantic Ocean. Historically, the only way to visit the British territory was by Royal Mail ship or yacht. With limited yet lengthy sailings and even more limited and very expensive cabins, the island was effectively out of reach for most people.
Much has been made of the new airport on St Helena Island. And much has been made of the dramatic landings on St Helena. Our reality was simple: a three-hour-and-15-minute flight from our last refuelling stop over the azure Atlantic Ocean.
Plentiful nurse sharks attended the sessions I held during my shark study in Tahiti. They are heavily-built animals with large, graceful fins, a long, pennant tail, and small eyes. They forage on the sea floor for a variety of foods at night and sleep in grottos in the coral during the days. Though these unusual sharks typically lie around on the sea floor, they are also capable of clambering.
As darkness fell, a small nurse shark would appear, attach itself to a scrap, and rest there, its wide fins stirring, as it adjusted its position to feed. Soon, more would materialize from the dim surroundings and drift in uneven circles.
There are many advantages to diving closed circuit for the underwater image creator such as better interaction with wildlife or longer dives. However, there are also a number of disadvantages to consider such as added complexity and task loading.
Downloadbar als PDF (ca. 41 MB / 91 Seiten)