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Everything posted by ColinZylka

  1. Just got this in e-mail today... © 2007 Tabata USA Inc./Sea & Sea *****IMPORTANT DX-5D SLR HOUSING RETROFIT ***** January 17th, 2007. SEA&SEA produces the most advanced and rugged SLR housings and underwater photography equipment on the market. However, our Service Division has become aware of an issue with the DX-5D housing. To be precise, the multi-selector assembly components of the DX-5D housing might fixate or possibly allow minor flooding of the housing through the component o-ring seals. If you have purchased, sold or are in possession of DX-5D housing(s) in the following serial number range, discontinue use and please follow the steps for return of the housing immediately to the Sea&Sea Service Center-SAC. Product: DX-5D Housing for Canon 5D (SS-06119) Serial Number Range: 055000002 �€“ 055000174 Part for Replacement: Multi selector assembly Return Procedure: Have available the following: 1) Your name, shipping address, daytime telephone 2) Serial number(s) of housing(s) for retrofit 3) Completed Service Form (attached) for each housing 4) Please contact Sea&Sea at 562-498-3708 ext. 223 or seaandsea@tusa.com for issuance of a shipping call tag. When valid information is received a shipment call tag will be issued for pickup and outbound shipment of the housing to the Sea&Sea Service Center. Please prepare your housing and the include the completed service form (attached) for shipment with proper packing materials. The retrofit procedure and pressure testing will be expedited and completed at no charge within 3-5 business days upon receipt at the Service Center and be returned to you via overnight shipment. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above mentioned procedures, please contact Sea&Sea at 562-498-3708 or seaandsea@tusa.com. We appreciate your cooperation and continued patronage. Thank you, Sea & Sea Underwater Imaging ******END***** Colin. DX_5D_US_ANNOUNCEMENT.pdf
  2. I had a small stress crack in my D70 housing this past winter after coming back from a liveaboard trip. My housing was inside the hard Pelican case, but even so, it developed a small crack near the shutter control shaft. I found the crack exactly one week before leaving for a trip to Roatan in January, 2006. I called Ikelite, they asked me to send the housing to them, and within three days I had a brand new housing from them. This is another story of the legendary customer service for which Ikelite is famous. Rest assured, they will do everything they can to get you back in the water ASAP that is both fair to you and fair to them. That's all any of us could ask for. Best, Colin.
  3. Productivity at work? What's that??? Colin.
  4. Kasawari-Lembeh Resort Trip Report Kasawari-Lembeh Resort We spent the past week diving with the new Kasawari-Lembeh resort, located in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. After landing in Manado, one of the gateway cities for SilkAir, the regional carrier of Singapore Airlines, we were met by a representative of the resort. We got our bags claimed and loaded into vans, and were off for the one hour drive to the marina where the resort’s dive boats were waiting for the final transfer to the resort. This part of the transfer only took about 15 minutes, and was a welcome relief from the potholed and curvy road from Manado’s airport. As a side note, while we were at the airport in Manado, we met Kung, the owner, who also owns the Thai-based liveaboard vessel AquaOne. The resort has been open about a month, and still shows some minor growing pains, none of which was evident, unless one was really looking for them. As an example, there were no cushions on the chairs near the pool…not a big deal for us, since we came to dive and photograph the marine life, not sit by the pool. Anyway, the resort holds a maximum of 20 people, and has eight “Villasâ€, which are small houses surrounding a small central area, and two “Kasawari Villas†with a balcony overlooking the water. The villas were very comfortable and spacious, with tile flooring throughout, and a huge bathroom. Each had either a queen bed or two twin beds. There was plenty of storage space in the main area of the villa, with a mini-bar/fridge along with air conditioning and a ceiling fan. The bathrooms had both an indoor and an outdoor shower, with soap and shampoo supplied in dispensers. The beds each have a large and thick comforter, which upon arrival seemed incongruous considering the climate, but after the diving days, were quite welcome. There are photos of the grounds and villas on our website. The dive operation is quite organized, considering it’s new. When we arrived, we were issued large baskets in which we placed all our dive gear. The crew then picked up all the baskets from the front porch of our villa, and set up our gear on the dive boats. We also got a smaller basket for our cameras. For the entire time we were there we never changed a tank, as the crew did all that for us, along with rinsing our gear every evening. After the diving day was finished, all we had to do was walk up to the large gear storage area, and doff our wetsuits and hang them up. There were large rinse tanks for both suits and cameras. The dive crews would bring up our cameras in the small baskets and place them into the designated rinse tanks for cameras. See the website for the photos of the rinse tanks. Here is a rundown of the days’ schedule: 6am: a light breakfast consisting of cereals, toast, juices and fruit was available for the early risers. 7:30am: Fist dive briefing, with a 7:45 departure for the first dive. After the first dive, there was a full breakfast available, with various hot foods, like eggs, fried rice, bacon/sausage, noodles etc. along with all the same items from the early first breakfast. 10:30: Second dive briefing and dive followed by lunch. 2:30: Third dive briefing and dive, with a snack available. For later dives, we had a choice of either doing a Mandarin Fish dive at 5pm, or the night dive at 6pm. Dinner followed the night dive, or was at 7pm if there wasn’t a night dive. All the meals were served buffet style, and the bar has limited selection of beer and wine, sine they are waiting for their liquor license. As far as the diving goes…well, let’s say it is certainly a joy to only have a maximum of six divers on the boat, with two divemasters guiding every dive. We were limited to a maximum of 60 minutes bottom time, but if we were finding lots of critters, the DMs generally led the dive into 70-80 minutes duration. They run the dives just like being on a liveaboard. Water temperature was a consistent 81 degrees, so we were both warm enough in our 3mm Henderson Insta-Dry suits, but there were some on the trip who wore 5mm suits with hooded vests. It’s not that the water is cold; quite the opposite for those of us used to diving in drysuits. It’s the fact that you move very slowly so your body core temperature tends to fall after a few days diving. Hence the need for the big bed comforters. It was truly amazing how the DMs found things….from generally featureless sand and rubble bottoms came finds such as mimic octopus, wunderpus, hairy frogfish, ghost pipefish, banded pipefish, pipehorse, pygmy seahorses, and more. Once the dive was over, and before heading back to the resort, the boat crews would offer fresh water, fruits, and hot towels! Each of the boats was equipped with emergency oxygen kits. The dive gear was kept on the boat, and the tanks were filled right on the dock in between dives. Visibility ranged from 30 feet to well over 80 feet on some of the outer dive sites. There were some folks at the resort who had been to this area before and they all said the accommodations and food were much better than other places at which they stayed on previous trips. Would I go back? Absolutely, for many reasons, including the limited size of resort itself, the limited number of divers per boat per Divemaster, and especially the marine life!
  5. Anyone have recommendations on suit thickness for Lembeh in September? 3mm? 5mm? more? What can I expect in water temperatures? Thanks, Colin.
  6. Another dive adventure under the belt….this time to Curacao, located off the coast of Venezuela. We stayed at the Sunset Waters Resort and dove with Sunset Divers. We flew from Chicago to Montego Bay to Curacao on Air Jamaica. About the resort: 70 rooms most of which are built on a high cliff so they have great views of the ocean. Tile floors so no problem with wet swimsuits and easy to keep clean. The resort features many activities for both the diver and non-diver, including daily snorkeling tours on the house reef (we’ll get to that later!), beach volleyball, complimentary shuttle to Willenstad, the capital, etc. etc. So even if there is a non-diver, they would have plenty to do, while you’re out diving. In fact we met one family from Finland and one from Russia, where only the Dad dove and the rest of the family had a good time. The resort is basically all-inclusive, with alcohol as part of the package. The only extra charges were if someone wanted a call brand liquor or beer….then it was an extra dollar, or on some of the dinner menus there was a surcharge a three or four dollars for certain entrees. The food was fabulous….just order off the menu. Every day for breakfast there was a buffet line of fruit, cheeses, different breads and bagels, as well as hot entrees like bacon, sausage, pancakes, french toast. Lunch and dinner was ordered off the menu, with a nice mix of poultry, beef or fish from which to choose. A lot of our group found the fish selections the best. There was one evening after diving all day where I commented to the wait staff how hungry I was, and a couple from New York we met told us we could order two entrees if we wished. So, I ordered two entrees for dinner that night, without any problem. Monday night was a seafood buffet (my favorite!!!) and Thursday night was a beach barbeque….the ribs were excellent along with the music. We had just finished our night dive off the boat, and coming back in we could smell the grills going…..man talk about getting ravenous!!! Ok, let’s talk about the diving. If you’ve been to Bonaire (and I’ve been there 7 times now), you will find the diving similar, but yet different. I thought there were more large schools of fish than Bonaire, along with some better dives sites that had healthier coral formations. We saw at least 6 large bait balls with tuna circlingand hunting. Depths ranged from 30 to 70 feet, since after 70-90 feet there wasn’t much to see. During the week, we encountered spotted eagle rays, turtles, and the usual suspects in terms of fish, but the best part was the amount of seahorses we found. In fact on the house reef, there are two seahorses….one black and white, and the other red/orange, in less than 15 feet of water, both of which are now blind from all the photos shot. Glad I brought the macro lenses. Sunset Divers runs a nice operation. You are issued a dive number, and when you’d like to be on the boat dives, you simply write your dive number on the board the day before, and they will put your BCD/Reg on the boat and assemble it. You also get a laundry basket in which to put your other gear, like fins, mask, etc. You just grab your basket every morning, along with your wetsuit from the locked gear storage area, and find your BCD on the boat. The baskets worked great because you didn’t have everyone’s stuff mixed up with yours on the boat. After the dives are completed, the staff breaks down your gear, rinses it for you and hangs it up in the locker area for your shore dive access. Tanks are always kept outside for 24 hour diving, and you’re also given to combo to the lock on the gear locker in case the diving bug hits at 2am. Tanks were consistently filled to 3000-3200 psi all week. Our boat dive plans were typically a first dive of 70-80 feet, followed by 45 minute SI, then another dve to 50-60 feet. Each dive was thoroughly briefed including information on the site, expected marine life, and safety procedures. We did have a maximum time of one hour underwater for every boat dive, to keep the schedule. Shore diving, however was different. Run times of well over 60 minutes were the norm. The house reef is a short swim out, and for those that have been to Bonaire…it’s the same idea. Pick a depth and direction and every time you go out there is something new to see. I would highly reccommend the Sunset Waters Resort for families and for non-divers. The staff was some of the friendliest I’ve encountered in the Caribbean, the service was great, the resort manager Jim Hunter is on site to meet you, and of course the food was top notch. We’ll definitely go back. Photos located at subsurfacephoto.com Comments always welcome! Colin.
  7. Thanks everyone for your input. Now for the big question: For those who have travelled to the Philippines recently, how would you classify the "political climate" in the country? I'm starting to talk this trip up, but some of my clients bring up this issue. Any ideas? Thanks again. Colin.
  8. On 30 January, SeaLife added some extra updates for the DC500 camera and Digital Strobe here: Digital Camera Updates I've had some folks who had issues with their camera/strobe, and after reading these updates solved their own problems. Colin.
  9. Looking at a possible group trip there in eary 2007. Any thoughts as to weather, dive conditions, food, etc. would be greatly appreciated. My travel agent raves about the Atlantis Resort in Puerto Galera, but I'd like to get a non-biased opinion from someone who's been there. Many thanks, Colin.
  10. Well, my housing came back today......happy happy joy joy...... I would like to be the latest to jump on the Ikelite bandwagon for their excellent customer service. The front of my housing was replaced, controls adjusted, water pressure tested and shipped back to me in four days. When Stephen said they were a service-oriented company, this is truly what was meant! Ok, let's all warm up our voices for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya now..... Colin.
  11. Getting ready for another group trip soon, and I discovered my D70 housing has developed a crack running from the shutter release lever to the power control rod at the top right corner of the housing. Anyone else have this issue? When I got back from my last trip, I checked everything after the air flight and all was well, with the housing kept in the Pelican case since then. I've sent it back to ikelite for evaluation this morning. Colin.
  12. I've just been perusing all the great shots and galleries on the site, and I've come to the realization (duh!) that there are a lot of very talented, creative folks here at wetpixel. Being a relative newcomer to the world of digital, I'm always looking for inspiration as to composition, use of color, shooting angle, etc when I'm ready to depart on a trip. Looking at the image galleries always gives me that pre-trip inspiration. So...with that in mind, I'd like start the discussion by saying that this by no means is a popularity contest, but I'd like to mention a few folks who have inspired me on the past few trips I've done.....namely, Alex Mustard, Rocha, duikees, Mike Veitch, Eric Cheng, among others. As far as other inspirations, I guess just the idea of being able to bring back pictures and images of the underwater world with all it's colors, textures, and sights is what drives me to photograph underwater. Of course, being inspired doesn't always turn out fantastic photos, but it sure helps! Anybody care to chime in? Colin.
  13. Yes, there was a lot of bleaching on the hard corals.....we were told due to the unusually high water temperatures all year. They were definitely worried about whether the corals would come back once the winter season sets in with cooler water. We had consistent temperatures of 86F all week long. Colin.
  14. Just returned from a week aboard the Caribbean Explorer II liveaboard, sailing from St. Maarten, through Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Kitts. Some of the photos may be found here: Subsurfacephoto.com Comments and constructive criticism always welcomed! Colin.
  15. Thanks for the kind words....I migrated two of my film camera lenses to the D70...the Nikon 60mm macro and the 20mm wide angle for these shots. I'm now thinking of going to a longer focal length lens (say a 90mm) for even more dramatic macro work. The trouble is, my fiancee is now using my film camera and housing, so we obviously need to duplicate all the lens assortment so both can shoot the same lens. We switched off on this past trip, I would shoot macro while she used the wide angle, etc. alternating on each dive series. Not very convenient, especially on the night dives. Colin.
  16. Hi, Just back from Bonaire, and wanted to share some of the pix from my inital efforts with my new D70/Ikelite housing/DS-125 strobe. Comments are always appreciated, as along as they are constructive. Thanks, Colin. Subsurfacephoto.com p.s. the rest of the photos on my site are all film, not digital.
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