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Don Silcock

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Everything posted by Don Silcock

  1. Here is the LINK to the story I did on the Orotoaba village homestay - interesting experience and I have since done a few more of them and it really helped me get a better understanding of day to day life for the most PNG people. Don
  2. Bali is a great place and I am sure you will love it. I have done several location pages on my site that cover the places that you are looking at visiting - here is the LINK to the main page and just follow the links to the subsequent pages. Don
  3. Hi John, yes I certainly did.... like you say there are some great opportunities at Tufi to interact with the local villages. The Puri Puri story is actually the second one I did for Our Way on my experiences in the local villages - the first one was about a "homestay" I did at a village called Orotoaba. I'll post it when I get a chance. BTW, Simon Tewson has moved on from Tufi. Don
  4. Hi Nigel, thanks for the comment - not quite the cover of Diver though....but we live in hope! Don Steve, thanks! Don
  5. I had an interesting experience with the Puri Puri men when I was last at Tufi in PNG. Puri Puri is variously described as traditional medicine, PNG's version of voodoo or just plain BS - depending on who you talk to... But there is no doubt that the local villagers believe in it, but are usually unwilling to talk about it, which made me experience visiting the Puri Puri people particularly special - especially as I was allowed to visit the "secret place" in the rainforest and photograph how they make the special potions. I am assured that very few locals are allowed there and I was the first "white fella" to go there. The article was published in the APNG in-flight magazine Our Way and I have just uploaded it onto my site. Don
  6. Thanks! The visibility was variable to be honest - some days were down to a couple of metres and other days 15-20m. I went in November as I had heard that was the best all round time to go. Don
  7. Actually, not that big.... the Tofo area is rich in plankton all year round, apparently because of a counter current to the south that draws up nutient rich waters from a deep basin, so there is a constant supply of plankton. Research in the area indicates that it is an important feeding area for relatively maturing whale sharks in the 5-10m range. The one in the image was about 5m but was very close and the fish-eye lens and the passing Norwegian surgeon/snorkeler make it look a lot bigger. Don
  8. Yes, Mozambique is an intriguing place.... I will definitely go back there as there appears to be a LOT of good diving! Don
  9. Last November I spent two weeks in Tofo, Mozambique - my first trip to SE Africa, but not my last I suspect... Tofo's reputation for mantas & whale sharks was the main attraction, but there was a lot more to see as well and I really enjoyed the whole trip. I have finally completed editing all the images and have put a new image gallery up on my site. Here's the best whale shark image. Don
  10. Thanks for the responses - never thought of trying set-ups out in the bath tub before! The large 230mm dome is not really an option for me right now as I understand it's has a larger bayonet and my housing takes the smaller size (Type 3?) ports plus an adapter would negate using the 15mm Sigma. I called Subal in Austria last night and confirmed that they do recommend a 90mm EXR with the 16-35 & FE3 dome. I leave for Bali on the 23rd and will be doing some diving around Tulamben & Ahmed over the next 3 weeks, so I will try it out there and will take +2 and +4 diopters with me. Still interested to hear if anybody is using the FE3 dome with the 16-35 though? Thanks, Don
  11. I moved to FX a few months ago with the D700 and a Subal housing - I already had the D700 for land use and stumbled on a half price housing, which proved irresistible... I had also bought the Nikon 16-35 for land use and was keen to use it underwater. I am using a Subal FE3 dome and the consensus on WP seemed to be that a 65mm EXR was the way to go and no diopter required. This seemed about right as Subal recommend a 60mm EXR for the 17-35 (the 16-35 is not listed...). I came back from Mozambique three weeks ago where I used the 16-35 a lot, but was quite disappointed with the corner sharpness. I tried 60, 65 & 70mm EXR's with & without a +2 diopter, but did not see much difference although the 70mm seemed the best. Then I heard from the Australian rep that Subal recommend a 90mm EXR and +2 diopter.... I was down at Edithburg in SA last weekend for the leafy seadragons and tried the 16-35 with an 85mm EXR and +2, which was better but still not what I would expect from such an excellent lens. The lens performs excellently above water, so the corner issues seems to be related solely to using it behind the dome. Don
  12. Hi Hugh, thanks - when the conditions are good, there are some really great dives in the Bootless Bay area, but the Pacific Gas is definitely my favorite! Don
  13. I have updated the location pages on my site with a new page on the Pacific Gas wreck near Port Moresby. I first dived the wreck several years ago while staying at Loloata for a few days prior to joining a liveaboard in Kimbe Bay and was really impressed with just how good it was. I have since dived it several times more and managed to find a lot of background info about it. Here is the LINK to the new page. Don
  14. Late last year I got to dive a newly discovered aircraft wreck in Collingwood Bay, near Wanigela in Oro Province, PNG - the plane is apparently a B25C Mitchell Bomber and specifically the "Pistoff", that crashed on the 8th January 1943. The wreck is about 200m off the beach and in about 17m of water, but not easy to find as the visibility was about 2m on the day we went there - I was diving with Tufi Dive Resort and on the way back from diving the Black Jack wreck at Cape Vogel, down at the southern end of Collingwood Bay. The wreck is in quite good condition given the amount of time it has been underwater, but photography on the day was quite challenging to say the least... Here is the LINK to the images I took. I am updating all the PNG location pages on my site and want to document a bit more about the wreck's history. I have been in touch with Justin Taylan of Pacific Wrecks who has documented what he knows about the wreck on this LINK but I wanted to see if anybody out there knows anything more about the "Pistoff" or can point me in the right direction? Don
  15. Thanks for the comments - yes the alpha male cuttlefish certainly exude personality & charisma. Nice frogfish shot and I saw your whale shark image also - I am going to Tofo in Mozambique next month for 2 weeks and hope to get some images of them myself! Don
  16. Interesting thread.... just sent off my 10-17 to get "shaved" so that I can try this out on my D700
  17. Hi, the images were taken at various times of the day - the "sunburst" ones were mid-morning on the first day and I assumed it must be like that all the time....but obviously it wasn't. The thing is that the cuttlefish are just "there" - infact they are everywhere... and with a ratio of 11:1 of males to females, and the females being very choosy, the males are totally fixated on getting their piece of the action. The big alpha males dominate, so the smaller males try all sorts to sneak in, including pretending to be a female to slip under the radar. So with care it's possible to get really close. It all reminded me of a bar in Thailand I used to fequent, but that's another story! Don
  18. I did a weeks diving in South Lombok earlier this year and have finally got round to updating my site (www.indopacificimages.com) with the image gallery and location pages. Here is the LINK to the intro page that explains a bit about Lombok and it's culture etc. This is the LINK to the page describing the diving in Sekotong Bay, Belongas Bay & Kuta. Belongas Bay is where the "power sites" of the Magnet & Cathedral are located, plus I got to dive a new site called The Zone which was quite something... Interestingly, I just heard from Dave Harasti today who just returned from Sekotong Bay having found a fantasic new critter site called Will's Beach (named after his new son...) which he raved about. So I have updated the page with a link to Dave's galleries. Here is the LINK to the logistics page.... Finally, here is the LINK to my South Lombok image gallery. Don
  19. The housing did not sell first time round on EBay, so I have listed it again: http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi...=STRK:MESELX:IT
  20. Thanks for the feedback - I was really lucky with the weather and the light on the first morning at Whyalla and got the cathedral light effect. It was quite surreal actually becuase I had never dived there before and the combination of great lighting, the general dream-like area and the total focus on mating of the cuttlefish was unlike anything I had experienced previously... When I went back in the afternoon it was quite different and none of the subsequent dives had the same lighting, but the cuttlefish did not seem to notice! Don
  21. In May I spent four days down at Whyalla in South Australia to dive with the Giant Australian Cuttlefish (Sepia Apama) during the annual mating aggregation. It was quite something - sex is indeed a powerful thing as the male cuttlefish were so intent on finding & keeping a mating partner that they were almost oblivious to my presence. I finally finished editing the hundreds of images and have posted a gallery on my site www.indopacificimages.com and will complete the location pages soon as I get time. Virtually all of the images in the gallery were taken with the Tokina 10-17, mainly set at 10mm... Here is the LINK to the image gallery. Don
  22. It's the Aussie non-scientific name for Carcharias taurus....
  23. Alex, sorry - should have stated that I was talking about the 16-35.... so again, which EXR are you using, do you use a diopter & what brand it is? Don
  24. Alex, I have just moved to FX after I found a D700 Subal housing on Ebay in Germany at a great price.... I already had the camera for land use, so it tipped the scales and I have sold my D200 & D300 cameras etc. I intend to test it out here in Sydney, but the first big trip will be Mozambique in November, so I wanted to check which EXR you are using, if you use a diopter & what brand it is? Thanks, Don
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