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Three Sisters Spring Manatees protected Photo

Three Sisters Spring Manatees protected

An agreement has been reached protecting 57.8 acres of critical habitat for the endangered West Indian (Florida) manatee. This took over two years, and involved many different individuals as well as private and government bodies. More than 150 manatees assemble within the warm springs of the area, known as Three Sisters Springs, for calving and feeding during the winter months and during critical cold weather periods.

The protected area will be owned by the city of Crystal River and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will manage the site as part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.

David Houghton, the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s Vice President of Conservation Programs said:

“Today, the future of the West Indian manatee is more secure and the economic future of Crystal River brighter because a diverse group of individuals and organizations rallied around a common vision.”

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Panasonic releases 3D interchangeable lens for LUMIX G series Photo

Panasonic releases 3D interchangeable lens for LUMIX G series

Panasonic has announced the imminent release of a 3D interchangeable lens for the LUMIX G series micro four thirds system. Previously, 3D shooting has only been possible by either using a panorama system or a combination of two lenses and two CCDs. The new lens features two optical systems installed within the diameter of the lens mount, creating stereo images from the left and right lenses, which can be processed by a 3D image processing system. This claims to allow easier handling and produces 3D images without distortion or time lag between left and right images, even for moving objects.

Panasonic plans to have the lens available for sale before the end of 2010.

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Wetpixel Cenotes and Whale Sharks 2010 trip journal Photo

Wetpixel Cenotes and Whale Sharks 2010 trip journal

Eric Cheng is currently in Playa del Carmen, Mexico with the Wetpixel Cenotes and Whale Sharks trip. He has started the customary thread in the forum, where he (and others) will be reporting back and posting pictures and video from the field. Eric has a new housed 3D camcorder set up with him, so be sure to grab your 3D spectacles!

Eric and the team are exploring the Cenotes of the Riviera Maya, before moving on to Isla Mujeres on Friday for some whale shark aggregation action.

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Mini Review - Leak Insure Photo

Mini Review - Leak Insure

Wetpixel’s Alex Mustard reviews Leak Insure, a product designed to help protect our cameras at times of peril and shares his experience of the dreaded f-word: FLOOD!

Leak Insure sachets look similar to standard silica gel packets, but combine both the properties of a desiccant with that of a sponge, soaking up minor leaks (up to 400 times their weight in water), buying us more time to save delicate electronics.

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Issue 5 of Underxmag available for download Photo

Issue 5 of Underxmag available for download

Issue number five of the Portuguese language diving magazine Underxmag is now available for download. This issue of the Brazilian magazine has articles about diving with sharks in the Bahamas, a portfolio of photographer Marcelo Krauser, and some amazing images of the Amazon Dolphin (Inia geoffrensis).

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“Shot on Gates” underwater video showcase Photo

“Shot on Gates” underwater video showcase

As part of a re-launch of their on-line presence, Gates Underwater Housings has introduced “Shot on Gates”, a showcase for beautiful and innovative material shot by Gates users. Gates is actively seeking additional submissions for possible inclusion, the only criteria being that the material must have been taken using Gates product(s.) Films currently being showcased include “Circle of Life” by Simon Spear and “Windows of Life” by Danny Van Belle.

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Disneynature Oceans for release on DVD, Blu-Ray and download Photo

Disneynature Oceans for release on DVD, Blu-Ray and download

Disneynature has announced a date of October 19 2010 for the release of their film Oceans as a DVD, Blu-ray and download. The feature film was released to cinemas on Earth Day, April 22 2010, and was a box office success, grossing $2,466,530 in its first days showing. The film, shot at over 50 different sites, took four years and $66,000,000 to make and is narrated by actor Pierce Brosnan.

“Oceans allows the audience to be a part of marine life—to share all the emotions engendered by the exploration of the last great wild expanse: wonder, fear, calm, tenderness, violence, vitality, power. We took the time to allow the animals to invite us in. We waited to become a fish among fish.”

Jacques Cluzaud, Director.

“The secrets of the ocean have always fascinated explorers. Man first ventured into the sea gradually, unaware of its infinite richness and diversity. Over the centuries, there have been so many discoveries, but the sea is still an immense and wild territory.”

Jacques Perrin, Director.

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Cave diver and underwater cinematographer Wes Skiles dies Photo

Cave diver and underwater cinematographer Wes Skiles dies

Wes Skiles, a renowned explorer and underwater photographer / cinematographer, died yesterday while diving off of Boynton Beach, Florida. According to local papers, Wes signaled to other divers that he was ascending. Details are spotty, but he was later found at the bottom of the reef, motionless.

Wes’ photography and work is featured in this month’s National Geographic article on Bahamas Blue Holes. His beautiful cover shot shows two divers exploring a beautifully-lit limestone cave.

If you have something you’d like to share to memorialize Wes Skiles, please leave it in the comments here, or send it to us via email and we’ll add it to this post.

UPDATE: NPR did a story about Wes this morning. It’s a nice piece and includes a slideshow of the photos from the current issue of National Geographic.

There is also a notice of a memorial celebration and service.

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