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Everything posted by thatporchdawg

  1. Sorry, but the Aquatica housing is not for sale. Its has a happy home with me.
  2. That's terrible. I know children that can do a better job.
  3. The strobe has been sold! I've got a used Sea & Sea YS09 Auto strobe. Runs like a scalded dog. Never flooded. Comes with instruction manuals and fixing bolt. $350 (incl shipping and ins) within the US. Will consider shipping internationally depending on rates. PM if interested.
  4. Awesome gallery. I love the leaf fish. Best example of mimcry I've ever seen!
  5. On my first dive trip in Grand Cayman I had the privilege of diving with Ms. Wilma. She was in her mid seventies at the time and she was puttering around the reef with the divemasters a third of her age and having a grand ole time. Should we all be so lucky to be so vibrant and well aged!
  6. Its always about the small critters. But that's just me. Greate shots.
  7. I'll second James' recommendation of Scuba Seraya. The site is an awesome muck dive, and their divemasters are intimately familiar with their house reef. Scuba Seraya wasn't overrun with folks when I was there two weeks ago, and the few guests that were there got exceptional attention from the dive staff. They have boats available so you can make boat dives instead of shore dives.
  8. I'm sure I'll get corrected, but I'm pretty sure that Magic Filters are intended to be used without the flash. The filter removes the blue cast when your flash doesn't fire. Assuming your subject gets plenty of ambient light and isn't hiding in the shadows, you shouldn't have to fire the flash with the Magic Filters. If the subject is in the shadows, you need to light it up using the strobe, which in your case is internal. A problem with macro mode and internal flashes in most point-and-shoot cameras is that the lens barrell on the housing tends stick out a lot and casts a shadow when the internal flash fires. I have seen folks use their hand as a makeshift reflector to help eliminate this shadow. They'll take their hand and place it in the water in front and above the housing. With the palm facing the camera they'll angle their hand so when the flash fires, some light will bounce off the pale skin of their hand and be redirected down to the subject more evenly. This is supposed to help eliminate the shadow caused by the protruding lens barrell.
  9. Well one small advantage of a fiber optic cable is that you can't flood a fiber optic cable/strobe/housing since all the connections are external.
  10. I was wondering the same thing. Will Aquatica be able to retrofit other/older housings with this new grandview eyepiece?
  11. I'm leaving for Bali on Friday, and I'm packing my housing/ports in a Pelican 1550 as a carry-on. The case will hold enitre kit sans camera: Aquatica housing, macro port, dome port, two S&S YS90 strobes, zoon/focus gears, synch chords, handles, strobe arms, and a set of magic filters tucked behind the lid. The loaded case is heavy, but its close to carry on size. The camera and lenses all fit in the bottom half of a Lowepro Orion backpack that passes as a "personal item". So far no problems.
  12. Depending on where you do your shopping a Dive Rite Transpac harness and Travel wings could be had for a little more than $400. My only bad comment on back inflate BCDs is that they tend to roll you onto your face when at the surface waiting to climb back on the boat or when waiting for the diver tender to come pick you up. Its easy to fight for a few minutes, but after waiting on the surface for 20 mins in Cozumel while our boat picked up another group, it got to be a bit much. Just my $.02.
  13. Great review. Reminds me of the week I spent there in 03 at Las Rocas down near West Bay Beach. There's something to be said about spending the day diving then getting out of the resort and into West End Village for dinner and a cold Port Royal.
  14. I've managed to get away with using a 1550 as a carry on and a Lowepro Orion Trekker for my camera and lenses as the personal item on several trips. I haven't been hassled about it, yet. They key word being "yet".
  15. those are some really dramatic shots. great work.
  16. So at what point does a "dive boat" become an "aircraft carrier"?
  17. Need two choppers? This is still the boat for you! If you look closely, there's room for two. In fact one of the pics has a chopper on the bow, and another pic has one across the back deck/basketball court.
  18. Depending on when you'll be in the Miami area, you might not have the best chances of finding manatee. Most of the manatee diving/snorkeling takes place north of Tampa around Crystal River area. The manatees are inland in the rivers and springs during the winter months when the waters are warmer than the sea water. During the summer, they move out into the bays into the warmer salt water where they're harder to find. I'm not sure about the Miami area though, but you may be able to find a dive op that can help you out with manatee trips.
  19. My thoughts on Dominica: Dominica is very undeveloped compared to many Caribbean destinations, and that's part of its charm. The only white faces we saw all week were at the airport and on the dive boats. There were no cruise ships the week we were there and there are only a handful of hotels in Roseau. This was the greenest place I have ever visited. Lush is a understatement. Its like an undiscovered gem. The diving is exceptional. Last July, water temp was in the high 70s. Vis was in the 60-70 foot range due to the daily rainstorms and the number of rivers in Dominica. Because Dominica's geology is volcanic rock and not soft limestone, there are very few deep nooks and crannies for the critters to hide completely in. Everything is just sticks out enough to see it all. Its one of the few places in the Caribbean where the crinoid are out with arms fully extended during the day. Truly a macro heaven. We dove Scott's Head - Sourfriere marine park and never really felt a need to get below 70ft. Be sure not to miss Champagne. Its a shallow dive site where volcanic gasses bubble up from the sea floor resembling a glass of champagne. Too cool. On surface intervals we'd often encounter dolphins and pilot whales. The dive crew from Castle Comfort were exceptional in handling our gear and were always ready with a quick smile and little jokes. The dive briefings were complete and thorough and the divemasters would always point out some of the more rare critters Dominica seems to have in abundance. There's not much nightlife in Dominica compared to other islands, but there are plenty of daytime topsides diversions. The farmer's market in Roseau was pretty cool. All the fruits and veggies are locally grown. There's also a history museum downtown; its small but its pretty interesting. There's a lot of hikes, most of which have waterfalls as their destinations. Emerald Pool is a short easy hike, but tends to be one of the more crowded waterfalls. Trafalgar falls is also an easy hike, and you get two falls for the price of one. But for the best falls, you have to be a bit more adventurous, and be willing to hike to more remote locations. We made the hour hike to Middleham falls (Dominica's tallest) where I proposed to my then fiancee. We also made the hour or so hike up the riverbed to Sari Sari falls. We had both of these falls to ourselves. It was almost magical. The one must do is to visit Titou Gorge. There's a 5 minute walk to the gorge opening and then a short swim up the gorge where it looks like the water shoots out from a solid wall. We booked our tours through KHATTS. Their guides a professional and knowledgeable, but their tours can be a bit pricey for only two people. We hired a local taxi to take us across the island to Rosalie Bay Beach and we got to walk on the finest black sand beach I had ever seen. The good folks at ROSTI post nightly lookouts on this beach during the summer to watch for nesting sea turtles. We stayed at Castle Comfort Dive Lodge. The accomodations were basic, but comfortable. Water pressure can be hit or miss depending on how many people are showering at the same time, but we always had hot water. There's a small pool and a hot tub and a little bar overlooking the water. The on site restaurant had pretty good breakfast, but dinner and lunch were nothing to write home about, though I did enjoy the soups and the desserts. The Fort Young Hotel in Roseau had excellent food, though a bit pricey. There's also a little restaurant across from the duty free shops called La Robe Creole which was also pretty good. Yeah, I guess you could say I'd go back!
  20. I don't think I'm being overly generous. Most of us can get to destinations like Cayman, Indonesia, or the Galapagos, but I can guarantee very few of us will ever end up taking photographs from inside an aquaculture farm. The closest I'll ever get to that much tuna is the rows of little tins at the grocery store!
  21. That is so cool! Those are some shots 99% of us will never have in our portfolios! Great job!
  22. Back when I was a volunteer naturalist for the Aquarium of the Americas, we were told to call the rather large groupers "goliath groupers" instead of "jewfish." We were also given a little history on the origins of the term "jewfish" and it has nothing to do with the Jewish faith. So the story goes a little like this: Back in the day, when the fisherman would catch these magnificent animals and haul them from the water, they would talk about how their scales shone in the sunlight like jewels. Soon dubbed "jewelfish" the name eventually was shortened to "jewfish" in the sailor's/fishermen's vernacular. The name stuck until someone who didn't know the history got offended. You just have to love "political correctness".
  23. In that case, you should have an excellent time since very little beats riding the currents in Coz. But if you're expecting world class diving, you'll probably be disappointed. Not to hijack the Cozumel thread, but the coral spawn for the FGNMS is in August. Its somehow correlated to the lunar cycle. It happens 8 nights after the August full moon. Those trips are usually fill up pretty early. I haven't been to the Flower Gardens yet, but I'm going to make another attempt at going this September. I'll send you a PM with the details if you're interested. Ken
  24. One of our HUPS members just returned from Coz and he makes regular trips to the area. He said all the shallow reefs were trashed and the deeper reefs were hit pretty hard. Basically he said it wasn't what it was pre-Wilma. He reported seeing lots of little stuff, but nothing big. Sounds like you should temper your expectations just in case. I believe what the guy was telling us, but I don't know what his expectation level is, so its hard to judge. Just my $.02.
  25. I was walking past some cubicles in our building here at work today. When I glanced over, I saw Eric's screaming turtle staring back at me. It just seems the strangest place to find that image. The person didn't have anything else dive or UWP related in her cube. I think it shows how popular and unique that image is and how far its been spread around.
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