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Found 12 results

  1. I have the good fortune to be the partner of someone who has been seconded to work on the island of St Maarten in the Caribbean. Much though I loved our Amsterdam home, the thought of tropical sunshine in the Caribbean with a COVID winter approaching was a blessing. We’ve been here three months now. I’ve logged almost 2000 dives all over the world: UK to Australia, Philippines, Indonesia (including running a dive operation in the Lembeh Straits), lots of Caribbean islands, the Red Sea, the US, Bonaire loads of times. St Maarten, or St Martin on the French side, is turning out to be a delightful dive surprise. Diving here is boat-based. If you are staying on the south (Dutch) side of the island dive sites are usually about a 15 minute fast ride. Conditions can be slightly choppy but nothing that would bother the majority of Wetpixelers. Current and surge are occasional but not common. Site depths are usually in the 14-20m (45’-60’) range so perfect photo depths. Many sites have fish in abundance. Reef sharks and stingrays are on most dives; turtles on many. Water temperature so far is usually about 28-29C (82-84F); air temperature about 30-32C (86-90F). Slightly colder in December I'm told. Dive sites drop nicely into either the macro or wide-angle category. For macro, sandy/gravelly bottoms and low coral outcrops with Pedersen and Spotted cleaner shrimp, Flamingo tongues, jawfish, yellowline arrow crabs (brilliant snoot country). Wide-angle with many small wrecks, coral encrusted with schools of hanging fish and colourful hard corals. Some very interesting and varied reef topography with swim-throughs, passageways and gullies. Reef cracks with life in them. A very broad range of Caribbean reef species. It is way better than many of the island I have visited including, gasp, Bonaire. As for dive operators, I’ve been diving with Ocean Explorers [https://stmaartendiving.com]. Long established on the island, run by a husband and wife (Jef and Lu). Hugely friendly, accommodating and, with Jef a photographer himself, definitely photographer-friendly. He’ll do his best to pick the site for your lens choice and will critter-spot. He will also let you do your own thing on the sites without chivvying or chasing. Nitrox is available. 6 divers on the boat for a morning 2-tank dive. In the busier seasons, afternoon too. Take your time, take your pics, relax and enjoy. I can recommend Jef and Lu heartily - two of the nicest dive owners I have met. As for the non-diver on the island: given that it’s half-French and half-Dutch, there is really nice cultural diversity complete with historical sites of interest. Great beaches, easy on-island travel with rental cars, friendly, helpful people. Cheap gas. If you want baguettes, French cuisine, great wines, pain au chocolat, it’s on the French side; if you want bitterballen and drop (Dutch liquorice), Heineken, you can get that too on the Dutch side which arguably caters more to American tastes. Don’t get me going on local rums. Excellent supermarkets (Carrefour and Super U). Loads of restaurants are open - very many with outdoor seating - and are very good at a huge price range. So lots for the diver and non-diver. On the Dutch half everyone speaks English and the US Dollar is king. On the French side, on parle français, English is widely understood, and it’s the Euro. Power is 110v on the Dutch side with US-style plug sockets. Social distancing is practised and, there is a relatively low level of CV19 cases. Everyone wears a mask in shops and indoor settings. Hand shakes are a thing of the past. But other than that, and a PCR test before you board the aircraft (which you need to upload to a St Maarten government website before arrival), life is relatively normal or maybe better than what now passes for new normal. Although you will see plenty of evidence of the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma in 2017 especially on the French side, If you feel in need of a dive break, “escape” from COVID, some warm sunshine and you can get on Air France, KLM, American Airlines, Jet Blue, United, Spirit or Delta, St Maarten is open for business and I can heartily recommend it. And no, I’m not getting paid or anything to promote St Martin. But I am deeply grateful to my lovely partner for bringing me here. And for modelling on my wide-angle shots :-)
  2. Hi, Some clips of diving around Tobago, visibility wasn't that great but still some nice dives including turtles, eagle rays, stingrays and a wreck https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zL1QlbH0DsA. Enjoy.
  3. I am looking to organize a special trip to swim and photograph some of the most majestic creatures on the planet, the humpback whale. I am looking to go in 2017 during the peak of the humpback migration where thousands of Southern Hemisphere Humpbacks migrate from Antarctica to the warmer waters of Tonga. The sheltered bays and inlets around Tonga provide the perfect nursery for mothers to teach their calves all about being a whale! Ive personally observed many humpbacks around Oahu and off the coast of Maui and Im completely blown away by their size! Its a magical experience to be in their presence. Tonga is one of the few places in the World that allows people to legally get in the water with these gentle giants. Swimming with humpbacks is a privilege and we must not forget that heavy regulations and laws have allowed people this amazing opportunity. We must respect the laws and obey them. Spaces will be very limited, and only a small group will be allowed in order to maximize everyones water time. Who would like to join me on this once in a life time adventure? For dates and prices please email me (photographybyleighton@yahoo.com) or message if you are interested! Spots are very limited! Once in a life time opportunity!
  4. Hi everyone, I have put together a new Facebook page to display some of my images from the past year, above and below the waves, sometimes in between. I include topics on conservation and promoting awareness of issues affecting the future of our planet. Check it out below and your critique is more than welcome! www.facebook.com/GrantThomasPhotos Thanks, Grant
  5. Helping a friend sell (2) Sola 1200 and (1) Sola 2000 video lights, all in great condition. $300 each, $550 for 2, $800 for all 3
  6. We have a room with a double bed available for our upcoming adventure along the Halmahera coast and into the best of Northern and central Raja Ampat on our Long Tales & Tall Shadows dive trip. Only these two spaces left: READ ABOUT IT HERE Join the Tim Rock & Simon Pridmore 2014 Trip to INDO, “Long Tales, Tall Shadows”!!! Aboard the beautiful Tambora!! Great Macro, Exploration, Wrecks, Amazing Reefs Halmahera has incredible biodiversity, is hard to get to and get around and is only NOW being discovered. This trip combines guaranteed world-class diving with visits to islands and dive sites that few people have ever seen. Raja Ampat, at the end of this adventure, is very much on the diving map and what lies below promises to be exciting. We got a glimpse of some great Halmahera diving last year and immediately resolved to come back one day and see more. Then when we started uncovering more and more information on the unexplored WW2 wrecks of North Halmahera, we knew this would be our destination for 2014. All we needed was a top live-aboard manned by folks who know their way around the region and would help us design the itineraries. Step forward Uwe and the Tambora, who delivered a perfect route and made the ship available at the absolute perfect time of the year to dive Halmahera. TRIP: Long Tales and Tall Shadows – Ternate to Sorong, via north and east Halmahera and north and central Raja Ampat 13 nights, 23 September to 6 October, 2014 US$4995, sharing twin ROUTE MAP HERE Contact: Tim Rock - timrock@doubleblue.com Simon Pridmore - simonpridmore@scubaconfidential.com
  7. This was one of many great night dives in Curacao and we found it particularly rewarding due to the amount of octopus out on the reef most of which were sporting a fabulous array of colours, all pictures were taken with an OM-D E-M5 in Nauticam housing. This colourful guy seemed to be trying to stare down the christmas tree worm: Another octopus happy to pose: And: We also stumbled across this little guy doing his best to hide: Gary.
  8. Incredible reefs at Eastpoint. It has been a Caribbean island's best kept secret for years - maybe you've heard some stories but not too many people have found a way to actually get there. Curaçao 's incredible east point diving has been talked about for years - no, call it: bragged about for years as the best diving site of the region. An area the size of St. Martin (St. Maarten) on the south-east tip of this island has been in private hand by the Maal family for centuries. Despite the fact that they would like to develop it for tourism purposes they have continuously been blocked doing so by the Curaçao government. What stayed is a huge wilderness area and supposedly almost unspoiled coral reefs, a rarity in this part of the world. Since the area is private property and outside access is rarely allowed by the family, the only way to get here is by boat. Niels Jorissen from DiveCharterCuracao has been the first to do so on a commercial basis, bringing small groups of 7-8 divers by Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB). Since conditions have to be good for diving the east (rough seas are the main spoiler) he also does trips to more common destinations like the famous Mushroom Forest and Wata Mula, always in small groups in order to maintain a good diving experience. But as he says "the best is east". It's mid-December as I join Niels from Caracasbaai, a famous and very popular area among tourists and permanent residents. Dark clouds gather in the distance, but according to Niels we'll be floating in sunshine in less than an hour; "what falls now, won't fall later at open sea". Once his RIB is in the water, we check our belongings, gear up and set everything up at the boat. With 7 divers things are tight but comfortable. The power handle is opened, the warm breeze floats across my face and I close my eyes in anticipation and excitement. After plenty times of diving with Niels the past years I finally make it to the Eastpoint, on a glorious day as well! Roughly half an hour later we are ready to go, it turns out there is hardly any current, a bit of a rarity. Good for us! The dive plan is simple: Love Cave to Tarpon Bridge, the first aptly named after a couple of mating Nurse sharks found here a few years ago, the latter after a massive underwater bridge frequented by schools of Tarpon. "Take it easy if you see them, let them come to you and you'll be almost within touching distance if lucky" Niels says before we finally enter the water. Unfortunately there are no Nurse sharks to be found in the cave, but it is still a wonderful sight to see, nicely overgrown with soft corals in the front. Just lying still to enjoy the view is the best way to experience it, even when diving with 7 others. Once the group has left I just silently enjoy it a little more. 24 hours ago I was stuck in an airplane for eleven hours, now I am totally zoned out on beauty. The Love Cave. Corals in abundance. Tarpon Bridge without the tarpons. Because of rougher conditions, hard corals are much rarer to find here, but soft corals are plentiful. Since nobody has the means of killing off Lionfish in this area they seem to be around in huge numbers. Funny enough: so seem the schools of small fish. I guess they mostly prey on the species that are close to the corals, the huge number of Damselfish seem to be able to escape the slaughter taking place all over the Caribbean. After arriving at the Tarpon bridge it turns out to be an amazing sight as well. However, lucking out again: no Tarpons to be seen. I guess they're out with the Nurse sharks. Time to end the dive and relax a little. Relaxation is literally around the corner where a very shallow lagoon protects us from the (small) waves, it's time for lunch and drinks and to enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the East. The Maal family may call it rubbish-bush in need of development, we kind of think the opposite. Perhaps it is a good idea to leave it like it is, there are plenty of hotels already and the pristine nature and reefs could do with the current low-key attention. Underneath our boat some huge Starfish seem to have gathered "it's the only place on the island where you find these in numbers" we are told. It certainly makes for a great photo-opp and our surface interval turns out mostly submerged. Surface interval. Loads of big starfish. Since there are only so much sandwiches you can eat, it is time to head out "we've kept the best till last, that's why we named it Best Reef" Niels tries to add to our excitement. And as soon as we enter the water we understand why. "Shark!" is called before we're even ready to descent. A massive 7 feet Nurse shark is lying at 30 feet, totally relaxed and we all manage to take a photo turn by turn without the animal even raising a fin. I've never been able to get close to one that was full out in the water so this one makes up for all the times I've tried and failed miserably. I'm literally lying next to it, dwarfed at least by a full foot. What a stunning creature. The reef itself is even more mind-blowing: row after row of soft corals in perfect condition. It seems to be a never ending field of softly waving jungle out here. No matter how far we try to look ahead: it's just corals, corals and more corals. With the light coming in from the right angle it is hard not to burst out in tears or shout your enjoyment. This is what you dive for, this is what want to see. This is truly Curacao at its best! Hello Nurse shark! Corals, and more corals. Best reef diving on the island, no doubt about it! © 2012 Rudgr.com (Facebook, Instagram) Equipment used: Canon 5D (mkI) Canon 15mm f2.8 fish-eye lens UK-Germany housing 2x Inon Z240 Strobes
  9. Hi Everyone, Just wanted to let you all know about our new business focussed on snorkelling with Basking Sharks from Oban in Scotland. We are gearing up to start in May and are using a brand new vessel which has just arrived (this weekend) on the west coast. We are offering single, two and three day trips where we will explore all round the Argyll coastline looking for the sharks. The boat we are using is a brand new 12m cabin RIB, 760hp and has 14 suspension seats. Although this isn't a dive boat, it's a very comfortable way to travel by sea having a nice toilet and galley, combining a cruising speed of 28knots. The benefits of travelling to Scotland to see the sharks is that the seasonal population has been shown to be one of the most consistent in terms of sightings and also numbers. In addition to the sharks we have an abundance of marine life such as seal colonies which you will also be able to snorkel with. Along with whales & dolphins, eagles, puffins and now good consistant sightings of otters. Not to mention the stunning Scottish scenery, historic landscape and options for island exploration. On our longer tours we will be stopping in Tobermory and Iona which are awesome places to explore along with sampling our friendly island hospitality. Our start base in Oban makes travel far easier for everyone, with direct train links not far from the boat and only being a few hours drive from the central belt and the major Scottish airports. It also makes the car journey from further south in the UK a bit more bearable too. We would be happy to arrange for transport for larger groups. You may notice that this makes a longer journey to the known shark 'hotspot' but what sets us apart is that as soon as your are on the boat in Oban we are looking for sharks and other wildlife straight away! With an unpredictable animal this means we have the best chance of seeing them by covering the most ground! Although we are not a dive boat, we can cater for a small amount of divers and as underwater photographers and videographers i'm sure you will be keen to take advantage of our wonderful Scottish marine life. We can arrange custom dive trips for you, please see this link as a sample of some of the image opportunities open to you. http://baskingsharkscotland.co.uk/scuba-diving/ My own background is that I was born and grew up in Scotland and starting diving in 1996. I qualified as a commercial and scientific diver in 2001 and completed my marine biology degree in 2003. I am a BSAC First Class Diver and Advanced Instructor, along having technical and rebreather qualifications and my own underwater photography is well published. Just to give you some comfort as to our professionalism and understanding of both the animals, our area and you as specialised customers. We would welcome enquires from groups and can offer discount on these types of bookings however we can equally accommodate individuals booking on trips. Please visit our website at www.baskingsharkscotland.co.uk and follow our news on facebook at www.facebook.com/baskingsharkscotland and please feel free to contact us with any query. We look forward to giving you amazing experiences at Basking Shark Scotland. Safe Diving Shane
  10. HI, for sale is my complete ikelite/ cannon g12 setup. Has been on only 1 free dive and one dive. THIS SETUP HAS BEEN BABIED. IT IS STILL UNDER WARRANTY. I AM WILLING TO SEPARATE. MESSAGE ME FOR SEPARATE PRICES OR IF YOUR INTERESTED. WANT TO SELL ASAP I am selling the following for $1,650 OBO. Cannon G12 Cannon g12 charger Ikelite ds51 sub-strobe Ikelite housing Ikelite ttl sync cord
  11. Been a while since I have done an edit and while avoiding my revision I have put together some footage from the summer, it has all been done on a GoPro 2 hence the less than clear footage at times, comments and criticism welcome. [vimeohd]54957975[/vimeohd]
  12. I posted a short video from a series of 3 dives I did last Friday Oct 19th at the Coronado Islands in Baja California very close to San Diego. It's just footage from that one day, but it features a number of sea lions in very good viz (for this area). Additionally there's a whitetail major at 1:36 which is an unusual fish to be found in this area (usually occurs quite a ways south of here). Footage was shot with a Sony HDR-XR520v camcorder in a Bluefin Pro Housing from Light and Motion, using Light and Motion Sunray 2000x video lights (with lithium batteries). -Roger Uzun The video can be seen on youtube here (up to 1080p) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxhj1mQb7-c or on Vimeo here (720p) - https://vimeo.com/51975063
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