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jtresfon

Member Since 21 Jul 2004
Offline Last Active Jul 12 2013 01:46 PM
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Topics I've Started

Going for a spilt-level with a difference!

13 September 2012 - 11:17 PM

A group of divers from South Africa and Belgium have just returned from a week long diving safari in the Okavango Delta. The focus of the trip was to dive with and photograph the Nile Crocodiles, but in this wild place you never know what might turn up.

After spotting a wild African bull elephant feeding on the river bank, we made a cursory check of the river for crocs and hippos then slid quietly into the water. We stood on a small ledge against the bank that gave us the option of simply stepping off into deep water and letting the current take us away if the elephant became upset. For 20 minutes the elephant fed quietly within just 30 feet of us. We kept low down in the water so as not to overly advertise our presence. Then he walked directly towards us and started to climb into the water, just 15 feet from fellow diver Steve Benjamin. Steve had his underwater housing and was keen to try for a split level. Doubilet and others have split levels of elephants in water, but in all cases these have been trained or tame animals and to the best of my knowledge nobody has done this with a wild African elephant for very good reason! The elephant filled his trunk with water, turned suddenly and gave Steve a thorough hosing as a warning to keep his distance, then plunged into the water and swam across the river. The water was slightly too dirty and the distance just too great with a fish-eye lens to get a split-level showing the elephant's legs under the water but still an incredible experience nonetheless.

This is my view from immediately behind Steve...
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and here is the picture he took...
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Regards
Jean.

A Day in De Hoop...

10 April 2012 - 11:28 AM

Absolutely incredible day's diving & exploring in the De Hoop MPA yesterday! Up at 04h30, depart 05h30, drive 300km up the coast, on the sea inside the MPA by 10h00, back on shore by 18h00 after nearly 5 hours underwater and home by 23h00, totally knackered... Found 2 new dive sites, had bronzies chasing juvenile yellowfin tuna, shoals of big yellowtail, massive rays, schooling hammerheads, feeding raggies and even a batfish! I have a really bad case of POG (Post Oceanic Glow)...

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Regards
Jean.

Posturing Pinnipeds...

28 March 2012 - 04:00 AM

The Cape Fur Seals of Duiker Island near Hout Bay in Cape Town are suddenly on hyper active duty... Steve Benjamin called yesterday to let me know that for some reason the seals are incredibly bold at the moment and even the smallest pups are unafraid to approach really close to divers. I immediately ditched work for the day and by 09h00 was sitting in the boat anchored in the channel off Duiker Island. What followed was the best seal interaction I've yet had... only it wasn't an interaction, more like a mugging with me as the victim! One seal biting each fin, one mouthing my head, two trying to bite my strobes and my actual subject gaping at the dome port!!! Countless times I had to reset my strobe arms after they were knocked out of position by the curious seals. Once I carelessly let my hand flap around and instantly there was a pup giving it a bite. At one stage I thought it might get out of hand, some of the pups don't seem to know where to draw the line and some bites are painful, but after moving position a bit things calmed down. Altogether an amazing morning...


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Regards
Jean.