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Everything posted by anthp

  1. Bonnie - you lucky thing! Fancy having a D300 AND heading for the Galapagos. Good luck with your modifications. And looking forward to seeing your shots and hearing the tales.
  2. Hi Joakim - my understanding is that the SB104/5 don't have the capacity to deliver the quick succession of pre-flashes required under the i-TTL protocol. So it is not so much that a converter cannot provide an appropriate signal for them, but that the strobes can't 'implement' the provided as required - if that makes sense. So no converter will give you i-TTL with those strobes as I understand it. I actually had the SB105s when I first switched to digital, but have since moved to DS125s which I can recommend. That is not to say that you can't continue to use the SB 105/4 strobes in manual flash mode. Many people here actually prefer manual mode, particularly for wide angle photos see TTL Anonymous for more discussion. In fact, I still use manual for wide angle shots. Alternatively, you could look at one of the Ikelite converters and their strobes...which will work with your housing. http://ikelite.com/web_two/ittl_adapter.html Perhaps speak to Ryan at Reef Photo Video - see link in the ads on the RHS of the screen - about suggested options?
  3. Very disappointing. It sounds like it was bycatch in a trawl net targeting squid. Given that it was still alive when hauled onboard, I imagine the fisherman had some significant personal safety concerns. Clearly it would have been preferable to set the shark free, but with some trawl setups, this could be an insurmountable challenge. I would obviously have preferred the fisherman to let the shark go, but once dead, it makes sense to sell if for food, rather than discarding the carcass at sea. Although, I certainly wouldn't want to eat it with half-a-ton of mercury and other heavy metal laden flesh absorbed over aeons. CITES being a political instrument can be a good thing and it means that it can still play a roll here. My suggestion is that a heads up for some UK-based environmental campaigners of the CITES listing and this recent catch and some publicity may have some positive spinoffs. It may encourage future fishers to let such a shark go if their nets provide for the option. Also, letters to newspaper editors may encourage an editorial or feature story and politicians don't to be embarrassed by being seen to flout international treaties. These treaties aren't binding in the same sense of local laws (Trials in international courts are extremely challenging to get up and more likely for very series matters like war crimes), but even publicity for matters of international concern can spur action...
  4. Thanks Eric. I think you have made the correct decision. I sincerely hope that he can adjust his behaviour after the suspension, but my optimism is thin.
  5. Have fun Herb - I haven't been there yet, but it is supposed to be a wicked dive! If you are heading further south - let me know?...
  6. Thanks Jing, diggy, serge, pakman and Lasse for your most recent posts - all very helpful. Thank you so much also to EVERYONE who has helped us out in this thread! There is a wealth of information here. As it happens, a fantastic airfare sale on flights to Fiji last night was too good to pass up. Given that airfares to the Maldives from Australia were looking like eating half our budget, the Fiji sale fares (which were around a quarter of those for the Maldives) were very hard to ignore. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, we were looking for luxury accommodation combined with diving. The Maldives certainly fulfils both these criteria beautifully. Unfortunately, the prices of food, water, accom and diving, combined with the relatively very pricey airfare from Australia, really made the Maldives an expensive proposition for us. In the end, the choice was to spend all our money on 5 days in the Maldives or go to Fiji for 3 WEEKS for less money. We are still very keen to visit the Maldives on a future vacation and now have a very good idea of where to go - thanks to all of you. I'm sure other readers of this thread will also find a ton of useful information here as well. In future trips we will be more flexible with accommodation (we really want luxury for our honeymoon, but were struggling to afford what we wanted in the Maldives). So that flexibility, combined with some long-term $ saving, should see us visiting the Mantas in the Maldives some time in the future. Michaela and I genuinely appreciate the time you have all spent answering our many questions and hope you all have a wonderful dive next time you head out. You never know, we might meet up with you in the Maldives shooting a manta school (50-60 together?? - crikey Jing!) some time soon. Now if everyone could cross their fingers for us, for some good weather and diving in Fiji... :-) Thanks again folks.
  7. Well thank you so much to everyone who has helped us out in this decision! We genuinely appreciate the time you have all spent answering the many questions. And I'm certain (judging by the number of people who've read this thread) that the responses will help many more couples who are facing similar dilemmas. In the end, it was an airfare sale that tipped our hand. We have decided to go to Fiji. The Fiji sale airfares were around a quarter of those for pretty much every other destination we were considering which was a pretty compelling argument. That will mean we have plenty of money for luxury accom, diving, food and perhaps even some cash for a house deposit down the track. I adore soft corals, which are apparently common in Fiji and Michaela is fascinated by wall/reef diving, so Fiji seemed interesting. From what we have read, even in Fiji low season (when we are going) vis is still 10-15m, which for us is heaps. Also, Michaela is very fond of warm water and Fiji hovers around 30C which is toasty. We are looking at going to Wananaru and trying to dive the Bligh Waters as recommended by a number of people on WP. We are certainly very interested in other suggestions of locations. In total, we will be away for nearly three weeks which should leave some time for looking around. We have considered Taveuni, but some reports on here have been disparaging. Finally, thank you to all those who made such interesting suggestions including the most recent of St Vincent, Tahiti and the Philippines. We have by no means forgotten those ideas. We have them high on our wish list for future trips. The criteria for this trip was luxury accom and reasonable diving, but on future trips, we will be more flexible on accom and may be able to afford the more expensive destinations such as Tahiti. Thanks to all and we'll look forward to sharing our experiences from Fiji when we return. Now, if you could all cross your fingers for some good weather for us...
  8. Congratulations Ken! Hope you enjoyed your honeymoon and like James, I'm really looking forward to the pics. We just booked our flights to Fiji last night for our honeymoon in Jan. We were thinking of organising a Wananaru/Kai Viti package too. Would love to have a bit of a chat to you. Do you have skype? I'll drop you a PM?
  9. Thanks Serge, Diggy and Paul - all that information is very handy and the kind of stuff you can't get without people like you posting on here. I think Michaela is having second thoughts about the Maldives. Our dollar just won't take us very far there, particularly when we factor in the price of the airfare from Australia. There are obviously some spectacular locations and places to stay and Diggy has shown some great pics. But I'm afraid it might be something we have to put off for future trip when we strike it rich. We haven't discounted it entirely yet... Thanks again for all your help everyone.
  10. Drew - as always - you have presented a compelling argument! Michaela really loved the look of the Mandala and combining it with something in Palau/Yap could really cover off the diving side of things. I'm not sure what a Watsu is, but will look into it... And that video is just plain wierd btw!! We are still seriously considering Fiji as you also suggested Drew. Michaela remains a little concerned about the weather - although it sounds like even 'bad' visibility in Fiji is something like 15 m which doesn't sound too bad to me. It also sounds like the rain showers are intermittent and interspersed with sunny skies. Chris - thanks for your Tahiti recommendation. It really does look like an idyllic location. Only thing is, I want to factor in Michaela's love of luxury. We stayed at Waka Namya in Ubud last which has set the benchmark pretty high and I don't want her feeling like we're not in a beautiful, luxurious and special place on our honeymoon. Also, we were only able to afford Waka because they discounted the price very generously for us. In Tahiti, the nice overwater bungalows in pretty places like Bora Bora and Moorea seem to start at around $6-700/night min and then food sounds really expensive, plus one or two dives, would mean we could prob only afford 3-4 nights before we'd have to go home. We've got the time to stay away for around two weeks, so that would be a bit of a shame. I'd be absolutely delighted to learn that there are ways around our conundrum re Tahiti, but I can't see it yet. Drew's Mandala suggestion looks superb and if we can swing something in Micronesia as well that would also be sensational... Drew, any airline/route recommendations?
  11. Thanks again for all the replies folks and no probs about the supplementary question pakman You've all been incredibly helpful. Will let you know how we go with bookings etc.
  12. I agree Carol - thanks for sharing a really beautiful image - altho James is probably right!
  13. Wow - North Island looks incredible! Ohh for having the cash to splash on that!
  14. Thanks for the tips Simon. I was thinking Komandoo, but wondering whether it might be too far east for mantas?
  15. Ajay is on the right track I think with the hiring a car. That way you can stop whenever you want to take photos. I also agree with his sentiments that the south is different from the north. Everyone goes north, but there is plenty of interest to see down south too.
  16. Thank you to all of you who have provided extremely valuable help to my Honeymoon thread. We have probably narrowed down the choices to the Maldives, Fiji, Vanuatu and possibly the Phillipines. I've started this thread to ask for some more specific Maldives advice. Serge, who is fortunate enough to live in the Maldives, has suggested that manta encournters in January/February are most likely on the western side of islands, particularly off Ari Atoll. He wisely nominated the following atolls as good locations: madoogali, meerofenfushi, athuruga, Moofushi, Thundufushi, Mirihi, Hilton, Angaga, Nika. Only trouble is, I can't find resorts on some of these islands, and others are just beyond budget. I realise accomodation in the Maldives isn't cheap, particularly if you are after water villas like we are. But I've searched for resorts with a westerly aspect and I think I've narrowed it down to some islands we might be able to afford - at least for a week. They also seem to be at least close to those Serge nominated as good for mantas and diving at that time of year. I would appreciate comments from folks who have visited any of the following locations, especially if you went in Jan/Feb. I've broken them into two groups. First group could be good, but I can't find enough reports from divers who have been there. Group 2, I'm pretty sure are in a good location, but either we can't afford them or they don't look nearly as nice as the others in Group 1 for the same amount of money. Group 1: could be good? Filitheyo - on North Nilandhoo. Can't find a website, but it looks pretty nice. Komandoo - water villas look superb. But perhaps too far east for mantas? Kuramathi Cottage - water villas look nice, but again - may not be in the best location? Velidhu - near Nika which Serge nominated but on the east of the atoll. Group 2: Good location, but either don't look that nice or too $$$. Angaga - water villas don't really look like they are worth the money, but it appears to be ain a good manta location. Kuredu - water villas look a bit drab on the website. Kandholudoo - looks like it has a superb house reef, but I can't find anywhere to book it for less than $900 per night. Hilton - could only really afford 3-4 nights here and not in a water villa. Might not be worth it flying all the way from Aus Mirihi - bit like the Hilton - probably can't afford this. If you've stayed in either Angaga or Kuredu as well as perhaps some of the others on my list and can provide a comparison, I'd be delighted to hear that they are nice too. Just remember that my fiance has an eye for beauty and I'd really like to make this special being a honeymoon and all. I've attached some basic maps I found in case people need a reminder of locations. The north_ari.gif shows Velidhu and Kuramathi. The komandoo.gif shows Komandoo and Kuredu on Lhaviyani atoll which is north east of Ari. If I had to pick without any assistance - I'd probably go for Kuramathi Cottage and Spa Resort. It also sounds like it fits one of our other peculiarities - good vegetarian food! OK - let it rip folks! Thanks. I should also say to those of you who replied to the honeymoon thread that the list has certainly been voraciously devoured by Michaela who is busy making plans for future years based on all the wonderful suggestions we received. Thanks to all of you we won't be without ideas for great romantic getaways for some time to come!!
  17. Thanks Simon for the Keredu, Malapascua and Andaman suggestions. I'll look into them. Wow Stu! Those Aman resorts look incredible. I think that would be up to the standard Michaela is hoping for. Also thanks for the tip about Martin. He could come in very handy on this or even future trips
  18. Sounds like a great opportunity Eric! We spent nearly four months travelling around India in 2001. It is an extraordinary country and I’m sure you’ll have a great time no matter where you go. India is a photographer’s paradise. Every state is like a different country with new food, culture, people, architecture and experiences. The suggestions you have already received regarding Rajasthan are excellent – it is a fascinating part of the country and I would tentatively endorse all the ideas so far. I’ll provide a couple more below. I tend to agree with Bryce that travelling to the furthest part of the country (Rajasthan) from where you are may not be the easiest thing for you. Weather India has three distinct seasons - the hot, the wet and the cool. You will be there smack in the middle of the hot. In central India including Rajasthan, temperatures of around 45 C (~113 F) won’t be uncommon. Unless you are of sterner constitution than most, this can make it a bit of a challenge to get motivated to do much at all. My suggestions below try to take this into account. I have three ideas: Travel a similar distance to that suggested by others to go to Rajasthan, but go somewhere cooler. Stay relatively local around Chennai, but check out some smaller towns like Pondy or the Nilgiri hills. Make a short hop to Kerala (1 hour flight) for some really special experiences. Rajasthan alternative Rajasthan is in the middle of the arid desert and for the most part will be one of the hottest parts of the country in April. If you are prepared to travel that sort of distance but would like to avoid the withering heat, my suggestion would be to check out some of the hill stations (to which the British Raj used to retreat during summer). They will be much more pleasant at that time of year. Himalayan foothills You will be in India during one of the few times when it is possible to get into Sikkim. This is an opportunity not to be missed. It is like stepping back in time. This flickr stream should give you a sense of it: http://flickr.com/search/?q=sikkim&s=int It is very similar to Bhutan and parts of Tibet – stark rugged landscape, amazing gompas and really stuck in a time warp (which is a good thing in this case). The bold Buddhist colours of red, white and yellow make it a photographic goldmine, not to mention a fascinating cultural experience. Alternatively, places like Dharamasala (where the Dalai Lama makes his home) near the Tibetan border or Darjeeling in the east of the country are really beautiful. Chennai and surrounds Suggestion two is to stay closer to your base in Chennai. There is quite a bit of interesting stuff to see locally, although the city itself is probably not the highlight of the state. You may find you are lucky enough to visit in the middle of the Chithirai festival when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi to Sundareswarer is celebrated. Like all things in India, it will be extremely colourful, loud and interesting. You aren’t far from Pondicherry as someone has already recommended. We spent a little while in Pondy, as it is affectionately known. It is a little seaside town with lovely French influences. Alternatively, you could pop up to the hills around Ooty which will provide a welcome relief from the heat. There are wildlife reserves where you might see elephants and other critters – although I’ve got better suggestions below. You can also hike around the Nilgiri forests which are relatively cool. Kerala I’ve saved my favoured suggestion for last and I really think it is the pick of the bunch given the time you are there and your Chennai starting point. Kerala was one of the highlights of our trip to India and it is very close to where you are. We also enjoyed Rajasthan, but Kerala was easily as interesting. You can jump on a cheap domestic flight and be there in less than an hour, or if you are feeling more energetic (or lacking cash as we were) you can catch an overnight train which takes around 14 hours. As suggested by others, you could probably find a place to dump your gear in Chennai to leave you a little less encumbered. Why? Kerala is blessed with a maze of meandering coastal lagoons, lakes, canals and rivers known as the ‘backwaters.’ I think it is one of those things worth doing in your life - do yourself a favour and check out this amazing part of the world. From Alappuzha or Kollam you can pick up one of the thatched house boats (kettuvallum) and cruise around these rivers in which thousands of islands are buzzing with life. You can have a chef on board whipping you up superb southern Indian cuisine and wash it down with fresh succulent fruit – all the while watching life on the river banks pass you by. You won't even need to get out of your bed to take photos! Check out this flickr stream for inspiration: http://flickr.com/search/?s=int&w=all&...ters&m=text Cruising the backwaters was definitely one of the highlights of our India trip. Also in Kerala are the delightful coastal town of Kochi with Portuguese and Dutch influences and the cooler hill areas of western ghats where you could visit Periyar wildlife sanctuary where you should be able to find elephants, tigers and other critters. If you wanted to do a bit of diving, Kerala would make a great base from which to pop out to Lakshadweep for a quick look around. I highly recommend you grab the Lonely Planet for India - not just because some of my pics are in it It really is the best guide for the country. Wherever you go, I’m sure you’ll have a great time and I’m really looking forward to seeing the pics. India is an extraordinary country and WELL worth a visit!!
  19. Thanks Leander - we'll definitely look in to that. Had a look at the Breakas as well - beautiful. And yes, we'll try to quit stalking you! Thanks Rick - Gannga looks like a great spot! We are actually already planning a trip to Bunaken later in the year and will certainly consider your recommendations then. Thanks Stew - we still haven't given up on the Maldives. It was just that our initial research indicated we were in for some hefty bills if we decided to go there. We're still investigating packages to the Maldives with a couple of different agents at the moment. Unlike just about everywhere else we have been in the world, it appears that for once it is cheaper/better value to go on a package trip. Wherever we decide, I'll keep you all posted and then hopefully have some pics to show for it when we return. Thanks again and don't hold back if you still have comments to make. This ain't over yet!
  20. What a great find Leander! And what fantastic executition. It really is dramatic! How big was this little dude?
  21. Ok, so I might ahve found some fancy accomodation in Palawan. Has anybody stayed and or dived at Palawan in Jan/Feb? I was thinking that this looked like a pretty nice place to treat my new wife to: http://www.elnidoresorts.com/accommodation.htm Any experiences or other recommendations would be extremely useful. What is the visibility like? Thanks everyone.
  22. Fantastic Steve! You really captured what it must be like to dive with all those jacks.
  23. Hey Nigel - thanks for the Philippines idea. We hadn't really considered that option. Critters and diving look great, but I'm also hoping to lavish my wife with luxury. I had a look at the resorts suggested and I think I may have set the standard for accommodation with the water bungalows at Kapalai which she fell in love with. For the honeymoon, I really think I need to top that and I'm not sure either of the places you suggested (although very nice) would do the trick. Are there any super luxury acccommodation places in the Philippines that people can suggest? Thanks again.
  24. Hi All and thanks for the congratulations! Chris - Peter Island looks like a lovely place. I checked their website and unfortunately the only rooms they have available during the time we are planning are $1000/night which is over our budget really. Still - thanks for the suggestion. Mexell - BC probably doesn't fit our criteria for warm water as you pointed out yourself, but thanks for the suggestion. Leander - it seems like we are following you around the world. Vanuatu would normally have been one of our top picks, but I was worried about the level of rain which apparently falls at that time of year. I wonder what the visibility would be like? This quote from another website also raised a few eyebrows... Cyclones average about one per year, occurring generally between December and March, with the peak month being January. What time of year did you go? I'm not saying we are averse to going, just looking for experiences from folks who have gone in Jan/Feb. Keep the comments on Maldives, Rangiroa, Fiji, Yap or Palau in Jan/Feb? Other suggestions welcome too!
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