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Reef Hook

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Everything posted by Reef Hook

  1. This short film includes some of the highlights from a 11 day livaboard trip to Raja Ampat on the Dewi Nusantara followed by 6 days on Siladen Island in the Bunaken National Marine Park, both in stunning Indonesia. From never ending coral encrusted walls to undersea mounts, from fringing reefs to volcanic sand plains the variety of marine life is probably unsurpassed anywhere else in the Pacific. Video cameras Panasonic HDC 800 & Panasonic TZ30 Housings SeaPro custom SP7 & Panasonic MCTZ30 Lens/Port SeaPro Optolite (Ivanoff) port zero to infinity Original film 1080p 50fps Edit Pinnacle Studio 14 Ultimate https://vimeo.com/77986120 To watch in HD you need to click on HD and be switched directly to Vimeo.
  2. Thank you Admin for embedding the video. For some reason I was unable to do so (which is why I edited the post twice). I must be missing a trick in how to do it with the new site format.
  3. To get a break from the wet , snowy, freezing U.K. early spring we booked a trip to Grand Turk in the hope of sun and some warm up diving in advance of a Raja Ampat trip later this year. Ten of the eleven days diving was a typical mix of Caribbean underwater life with a profusion of soft corals and a wide range of tropical Atlantic fish life. However day three was to prove one of those "one off" experiences the memory will not forget, especially as I was able to record to video all four frantic minutes. We had completed a long wall dive and were returning to our moored boat at some 15m over the sandy slope above the drop off. With an advance warning of multitudes of clicks two big Atlantic bottle nosed dolphins burst into our dive group and proceeded to give us a very personal series of lessons in advanced diving skills. First show off your supreme agility and speed followed by a master course in getting a garden eel dinner then more showing off until tired of our pedestrian attempts at copying you depart as swiftly as you came. https://vimeo.com/62005100
  4. [vimeo]51227972[/vimeo] This short film includes some of the highlights from a livaboard trip through the Visayas followed by a shore based week in Dauin outside Dumaguete, Negros Island, Philippines. The dive sites varied from coral walls to pristine reefs, from bare deeply shelving volcanic sand prairies to shallow sea grass meadows. There was little large pelagic action presumably due to intensive fishing however a diversion to Oslob, Cebu Island gave us the opportunity to snorkel with whale sharks that the local fishing community feed to attract them into shore. I understand that when this first started some years ago it was something of a circus but it certainly seems to have now become very well organised and gave our group of 7 an uninterrupted hour with six to eight of these magnificent fish.. The range of small to macro size creatures was varied and provided some excellent photographic opportunities especially on dives around Apo Island categorised as a marine sanctuary. Coastal dives out of Dauin were predominantly over volcanic sand, some with escaping hot gas and alive with unusual livestock. We encountered many frogfish varying in both size and colour but missed out on the sought after hairy version! Although arguably lacking in pelagics as stated above this area of the Philippines makes for a great dive trip if you like macro and the climate, ease of travel and above all the friendly outgoing people. Video camera Panasonic HDC-SD800 Housing Seapro custom SP5 Port Optolite (Ivanoff) lens port Original footage 1080p 50fps Vimeo footage Mpeg4 25fps Edit Pinnacle Studio 14 Ultimate
  5. Our group of four divers are now back in the U.K. after three weeks in the Philippines. Our first week was spent on a livaboard out to the Tubbataha Reef atolls in the Sulu Sea. We love our big pelagics but this was not to be this trip and most of the week was spent diving the sheer walls of the two atolls with just a sprinkling of shark action to keep us going. Things livened up on the fith day when, at 6.30am the boat struck and grounded on the reef close to the ranger station. Cue an emergency evacuation of the leaning boat and a much longer visit to the ranger station than anticipated as we waited for high tide to float the boat off. In hindsight it was a good job the livaboard was steel and not wood as I reckon if it had been the later she would have sunk! On to the island of Negros and to a dive resort outside the city of Dumaguete were we spent eight days muck diving and several dives off Apo Island. Now I am as stated a "big fish" fellow and did not think a full week of muck diving would be my "cup of tea", however the sheer range and number of rare and odd creatures on every dive so impressed all of us we will be back for another trip later this year. I apologise in advance for the schoolboy errors in the imbedded video. My only excuse is all the kit was brand new and this was its shakedown trip. Record light not turned off giving reflection in the port. External wet red filter (now "binned") that gave vignetting and colour inconsistency problems. [vimeohd]42264369[/vimeohd] Panasonic HDC 800 1080p @ 50fps Seapro custom built case Optolite (Ivanoff) port
  6. We were on the Indo Siren the second week of September last year. Unfortunatly weather prevented us from getting furthur soth than Tigadara were water temp had fallen to 20c. Still that allowed us furthur dives at both castle and crystal rocks that ranked as the best of the trip. Great boat, great crew and wonderfull video opportunities.
  7. The Layang Layang trip in April gave us all the big pelagic encounters we had hoped for. But like so many of us I still cannot pass by a cheeky Anemonie fish peering out from the waving arms of its host. Camera Panasonic NV-GS400 Case SeaPro SF7 Lens Optimised Optolite port Edit Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 14 [vimeo]23595053[/vimeo]
  8. Layang Layang April 2011 A taxi to Terminal 4 for the four of us kicked off the spring trip to Layang Layang, an atoll off the coast of Malaysian Borneo. Suitably fed and watered at the Prunier seafood bar we boarded the Malaysia Airlines 747 and settled down for a comfortable night flight to Kuala Lumpur followed by an immediate onward flight to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah province Borneo. Following an overnight stay at the superb Shangri-La Tanjung Aru hotel it was back to the airport and a twin otter flight of one and a half hours over the South China Sea to land late morning on the tarmac landing strip of Layang Layang. The atoll only boasts this one small inhabited island shared by the Malaysian Navy and the Layang Layang Island Resort. The resort utilises buildings originally built for the navy officers and all rooms including the central restaurant are built from dark hardwood. Bedrooms are in two blocks and due to the wood construction are somewhat dark. However we are there to dive, not lounge about in the room so down to the dive centre to meet our female Chinese Malaysian guide for the 9 days-the lovely and apply named Luvy. Lunch over and our gear unpacked and suitably kitted out it was off to the high speed skiff we would have for the duration and meet up with Jon, the boat master. Once onboard our kit remained for the whole trip with cylinder changes done by Jon. Straight off to Wreck Point for our first dive and straight down to a group of eight Mobula rays at 28m. I never take the video rig on the first dive of a trip so just had to hope we would run into them again later in the trip. Rather than go through all 26 dives we did in 9 days I list the sites visited (some several times) with the highlights of each. There were three dives a day, two in the morning and one in the afternoon. The first would be at 08.30 in the water with a swim at 30-35m out into the blue to spot hammerheads with a maximum depth of 40m, back to the reef and a slow multilevel dive over the reef. Typical dive time was 55minutes on single 12 litre aluminium cylinders with water temperatures varying either side of the many thermo clines between 23c and 28c. Second dive was 11.30 with a suggested maximum depth of 35m and the third afternoon dive at 15.30 in the water was usually run no deeper than 25m.There are no mixed gas facilities on Layang Layang so all dives are on air. With the restricted bottom time, especially by the third afternoon dive it could be very easy to run into deco, not the best idea on single 12’s! However the top of the reefs averaged 8-10m and gave plenty of time to dump the nitrogen. Wreck Point. 2 dives. Mobula rays, many Morays and Nudi’s. This reef is badly infested with Crown of Thorns and considerable damage has been wrought on the hard corals by these fine looking but destructive pests. Dogtooth Lair. 3 dives. Large Dogtooth Tuna, multiple White Tip reef sharks, large school of Chevron Barracuda, massive spinning shoal of Silver Jacks, Bumphead Parrotfish, large Groupers. In all a great reef to dive and film. Wrasse Reef. 3 dives. Manta Ray, Bluespot Ray, White Tips, Barracuda, large congregations of reef fish. In all a very good reef dive. Shark Caves 1 & 2. 6 dives. From the giant white Frogfish 35m down in a cave overhang ceiling to giant Trevallies, Dogtooth Tuna and Bluefin Jacks hunting the reef fish this is another great pair of adjoining sites. The highlight must be the White Tip cleaning station an the drop off. Anything up to a dozen large sharks resting and being cleaned in a shallow sandy bowl amongst the corals. With care one can get to within a few feet for excellent close up filming. Cracked Reef. 2 dives. Hammerhead sharks at distance at 40m in the blue. Good wall with many soft corals however the top of the reef is badly Crown of Thorns damaged. The Point. 3 dives. Probably the best known site at Layang Layang it did not disapoint. Hammerheads in the blue down at 35/40m each time. More wary than our experience of them in the Galapagos they always kept their distance. Return of the Mobulas, Turtles, Trevallies, Barracuda, and Groupers made this site a pelagic delight. Coral Café. 1 dive. One of only 2 dives not exceeding 25m this proved a pleasant and photogenic reef with an abundance of the more usual reef fish. Valley. 1 dive. Many unusual and very obliging Anemone Fish together with their multicoloured hosts. Very prolific hard and soft corals. Middle Reef. 2 dives. Very nice reef. Magnificent “fly by” of a massive school of Mackerels. Largest single group of Bluefin Jacks hunting I have ever seen (several hundred fish). Hammerheads in the blue and eagle ray on the drop off. Gorgonian Forest. 2 dives. Another great site where the sheer scale of fish life makes for difficult filming decisions. From the spinning shoals of both Silver Jacks and Chevron Barracuda to the relentless passing of large Tuna, Giant Trevallie and on to the more gentle school of large Batfish. Sleeping White Tips on the sandy patches and the occasional Grey Reef out on the drop off. “D” Wall. 1 dive. A long deep wall well covered in both hard and soft corals together with sponges. Plenty of fish life including a concentrated feeding frenzy by a group of Bluefin Jacks. Overall Layang Layang fulfilled its promise and gave us the pelagic action we were looking for. Maybe not as concentrated as Palau and certainly not as up close as the Galapagos but for the price and relative ease of getting there it certainly comes third, beating the Maldives by a whisker. Accomodation is acceptable, the food was less imaginative than expected (visions of hot Malay curries, Nasi Goreng, and peanut satey remained a fantasy) and alcoholic drink prices much the same as U.K. The diver mix was particularly diverse with individuals and groups from Australia, China, Korea, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and U.K. A significant number of Malaysian divers were present. It must be great to have such a site only 2 hours away! Weather was sunny and hot (30C plus) except for arrival and departure days when it rained all day. Back to Kota Kinabalu and the Tanjung Aru for a days rest before flying back to the U.K. next morning. If you love your food and a touch of sheer luxury then this hotel will not disappoint! Now it is just the matter of editing my 2 hours of video down to an acceptable 20 minutes, hours and hours of fun until Pinnacle throws the usual “wobbly“.
  9. A group of four of us had 7 days diving off the Celebes Explorer in April of last year. The boat is certainly no luxury cruise ship (Agressor/Dancer she is not) but we were there to dive and for that she is an excellent choice. Food was very good with plenty of local dishes (the prawn curry......Mmmm) and the crew helpfull in every respect. We had 4 full days diving on Sipadan with 3/4 dives each day as the Explorer has a "special way" to ensure their guests do not have to play the "lucky dip" allocation available to divers staying on Mabul/Kapali. Each evening the Explorer would steam back to Mabul since no overnight stay/night diving is allowed at Sipadan. The remaining 3 days were spent muck diving Mabul and Kapali. I would go back to Borneo tomorrow...........well actually April again this year including Layang Layang.
  10. As per the last 2 posts Both my wife and I recently purchased Mares Morphos semi wings with the Airtrim system to get rid of the hose.We both got used to them after 6 or so dives and find the absence of any chest clutter an absolute boon.
  11. Bang on right,I use a SeaPro housing, effectivly an 8" alluminium tube with 1/2" perspex each end.The interior of the case is therefore allmost as well lit as exterior.I did confirm that I had allso reached the conclusion that permanent use (excluding night diving with lights) of a red filter does seem to give the best results, especially when combined with WB balance.Obviously us video users,who seem to all sing the praises of such filters are very different from our stills bretheren who seem to dislike them intensly.Why???
  12. Reading the thread on HD and the poor performance of cc filters,and with a current thread on another forum allso coming down against there use (with still cameras) what is the overall view today? I use a Panasonic 3 chip NV-400 and utilize both Urpro filter and WB at all depths (to 40mtrs).I have tried both filter only and WB only but my results have allways been best using both at the same time.My film does not suffer loss of brightness and even low light/overhangs do not seem compromised.I do admit the Pany does have a trick up it's sleeve in the shape of a seperate WB sensor (ie. it does not set WB through the lens).This allows me to fit a piece of pure white card inside my housing and infront of the sensor.Setting the cam on automatic WB then means the balance is corrected every time I power up and allways in reference to the card, and irrespective of depth. So, are cc filters worthwhile or "The spawn of the Devil"?
  13. Hello All, I have logged on to this site for some weeks and having now joined must contribute to this particular thread.A diver of over 10 years and an avid videographer for the last 6 I was first inroduced to the reef hook in the Maldives and have carried my own custom made version ever since.Last used 4 weeks ago on many of the dives in Palau when two handed operation of a large video rig would otherwise be imposable or a liability to the corals on the reefs. Us 4 Brit's were very much the minority onboard the Palau Aggressor but yes, we had the yellow flags bungied to our wings and were very impressed at the detailed breifing our fellow divers (reef hook virgins) received from the Captain.On Blue Corner later that day another 14 converts to reef hooks were made!! For the record my hook is made from .5cm marine stainless conected to 2mtrs of .7cm yellow terrylene knotted every 50cm for grip.The attachment end combines a snap link ( onto central placed "D" ring of wing ) with a nylock quick release buckle for emergency jetison.I carry it on all dives,you never know when such a valuable aid to steady,safe and non damaging photography will be needed.
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