Expedition: Wetpixel Indonesia 2011 (Flores to Komodo) Photo

Expedition: Wetpixel Indonesia 2011 (Flores to Komodo)

Join Eric Cheng and Wetpixel aboard the Damai II in Indonesia this coming Oct/Nov 2011! We’ll be diving Komodo, Flores, Alor, Beangabang, Adonara, and Wetar. With only 4 singles and 2 suites, the Damai II is one of the most comfortable live-aboard dive vessels in Indonesia.

We’ll start in Flores and make our way to Beangabang, one of our favorite muck sites in the world. When we’ve had enough muck, we’ll head to Komodo for more strange critters combined with incredibly-lush reefs. Unlike normal trips, which are on a fixed schedule, we plan to sit on the best sites until we get tired of them. Continue reading for full details.

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Gates announces DEEP EPIC housing Photo

Gates announces DEEP EPIC housing

Gates Underwater Products has announced the release of the DEEP EPIC housing for the RED EPIC camera. It is based around the existing DEEP RED design, but is 25% smaller in size. It features full access to the REDMOTE camera remote control, which allows complete control of camera functions, and has lens compatibility with all DEEP RED verified lenses.

The housing will be priced at under $20,000 for DEEP EPIC housing, external monitor shell, Seal Check, REDMOTE support and travel case, and it will be available from late summer 2011.

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Washington State passes anti-finning legislation Photo

Washington State passes anti-finning legislation

Sharksavers reports on their Facebook page that Washington State House of Representatives has passed legislation (SB 5688) banning the illegal trade of shark fins; following the lead of the Washington State Senate that previously passed the Bill unanimously. The bill passed the House almost unanimously at 95-1 and now awaits the signature of the Governor. This is the first such bill to pass through in the continental United States although a similar ban is already in place in Hawaii. Similar legislation is currently pending in both Oregon and California.

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First review of the GoPro HERO HD 3D system Photo

First review of the GoPro HERO HD 3D system

Over on Noodletron, Eric Cheng has published an early review of the GoPro HERO HD 3D system, complete with 3D footage captured by it. The expansion kit was only released last Monday, so this is likely to be the first user review available. He has not managed to use it underwater yet, but has found time to experiment with the camera attached to a remote control car.

Initial impressions are favourable, with the GoPro Cineform 3D editing software that is bundled with the expansion kit pretty slick too. Eric finds:

“The video quality isn’t bad for a $99 housing that accepts two cameras I already have. I can’t wait to stick one in a shark’s mouth!”

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UnderWater Camera Stuff releases 5” dome ports Photo

UnderWater Camera Stuff releases 5” dome ports

UnderWater Camera Stuff has announced the release of two 5” dome ports compatible with Ikelite housings. One of the domes is tuned for use with the Tokina 10-17mm or Nikon 16mm fisheye, the other is suitable for the Canon or Sigma 15mm lenses. It is claimed that as the domes are fitted to a specific lens, this will give true edge-to-edge sharpness. the small physical sizes of the domes allows for close focus wide-angle and wide-angle macro techniques, as well as easing the burden for travel.

Both domes are available now for $350 with a deluxe dome shade, or $300 with a standard one.

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To the depths with Virgin Oceanic Photo

To the depths with Virgin Oceanic

cnet news reports that Richard Branson, owner of Virgin, has announced plans to visit the deepest places in the oceans. In a press conference in Newport Beach, CA. Branson announced his Virgin Oceanic and Five Dives initiatives, which could send a Virgin-branded DeepFlight Challenger, a submersible built by Hawkes Ocean Technologies, to the deepest spots in each of the planet’s five oceans. The dives are: The Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, the Atlantic Ocean’s Puerto Rico Trench, the Indian Ocean’s Diamantina Trench, the Southern Ocean’s South Sandwich Trench and the Arctic Ocean’s Molloy Deep.

Explorer Chris Welch will be behind the controls of the DeepFlight Challenger for the dive to the Mariana Trench, while Branson himself will pilot the submersible to the Puerto Rico Trench.

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Study reports increased damage to Antarctic ecosystem Photo

Study reports increased damage to Antarctic ecosystem

In a paper entitled Anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems in Antarctica, the authors have cataloged the human effects on a broad sample of Antarctic ecosystems. The team of US and UK scientists has drawn conclusions based on an extensive review of the impacts of a wide range of human activities. The Antarctic Treaty system, which includes environmental and fisheries management, provides an effective framework for the management and protection of the continent, but some of the threats are not currently being fully addressed.

Some of the impacts they list, such as pollution, can be relatively localized. However, global climate change caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases has the potential to affect the entire Antarctic region for decades to come. The researchers point out that rising sea temperatures are already affecting marine creatures adapted to living within a particular temperature range.

A second major consequence of carbon dioxide emission from human activities, ocean acidification, is also likely to take its toll.

“The Southern Ocean is the canary in the coal mine with respect to ocean acidification. This vulnerability is caused by a combination of ocean mixing patterns and low temperature enhancing the solubility of carbon dioxide,” noted co-author Dr. James McClintock of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA.

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