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Last year I spent 10 days in Crystal River, Florida swimming and snorkeling with the manatees. It was a great experience and one I have wanted to do for a number of years, but Florida is so far from my part of the world that I just never was able to do it before. It's also pretty confusing from a distance to understand what is actually required to swim with and photograph the manatees... There seemed to be a lot of rules, but exactly how they apply to underwater photographers was not clear till I got some great help from Bill Oestreich and Marty Senetra at Birds Underwater and Gregory Sweeney - who freely offered advice despite the fact that my dates could not work with his guided trips. It looks like (for once in my life...) my timing was superb as I had a great time and had some real quality moments with these wonderful creatures, plus I was able to understand a lot more about them and their overall, somewhat troubled, relationship with the terrestrial residents of Crystal River - a very interesting situation! My timing was good because access to the manatees is changing and some of the new rules were being put in to place when I went back to the Crystal River in January after a shark trip to the Bahamas. I have written a pretty comprehensive location seven-page guide to Crystal River and the Florida manatees on my site to help others who are interested in experiencing these interesting and photogenic animals. Just follow the links at the bottom of each page or click on the relevant page you are interested in on the sidebar. I also had a 18-page article on the Manatees of the Crystal River published in Anima Mundi magazine, with my favorite photograph from the trip getting the front cover! I will update my site when the ramifications of the proposed changes at the Crystal River go in to place. Don
Last year I went back to Timor Leste after a 4 year gap to spend 10 days diving Atauro Island in the Ombai Strait, about 30kms north of the capital Dili. I had some great dives and have finally gotten round to finishing the editing of my images from that trip and putting together a location guide to diving Atauro Island which consists of an overview of the island itself, why the diving is good there, dive sites on the east coast and west coast plus where to stay if you go there. Here is the link to the overview page and just follow the links at the bottom of each page, or the top menu bar to go to the other pages. Don
I have just completed revising and updating the location guide to Milne Bay in PNG on my site. I have updated all the pages and added new ones based on my most recent trips. Included is an overview of Milne Bay province, an overview of diving Milne Bay, Tawali dive resort, overview of the north coast dive sites, Dinah's Beach and Deacon's Reef at Lauadi, the famous Milne Bay manta cleaning station Giants@Home and what is probably the best aircraft wreck in PNG the B17F Black Jack plus links to the various articles I have written over the years. I have been visiting PNG regularly for over 15 years now, so this has kind of become a labor of love.... Don