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Nicool

Coelacanth being photographed and filmed underwater

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Hi there,

 

I believe there is no post on wetpixel about that great video, showing Laurent Ballesta, french underwater photographer, taking pictures of live coelacanths (-115m, South Africa).

You can see an amazing movie here: http://videos.tf1.fr/ushuaia-nature/aventu...ue-6197545.html (it's between 15min and 30min I believe). I hope there is no problem with me sharing this link on wetpixel, it's the official webpage of the TV program.

 

I guess we'll see Laurent's picture among the winners of some photo contests in 2011 :)

Edited by Nicool

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WOW!!

 

You don't have to understand French to enjoy that film.

 

I was amazed at the coelacanth footage, though. I was under the impression that they lived far deeper than even tech diving could reach. Could anyone advise the depths they were reaching?

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Posted on front page. Incredible!

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Posted on front page. Incredible!

 

The video is also available here: http://vimeo.com/18348025 (not official that is)

 

[vimeohd]18348025[/vimeohd]

(embedded by moderator)

 

@allison: Laurent mentions in the movie they went to a series of caves that are at 105 and also 115m to look for it, he mentions that he could spend about 25-30min at this depth and they had to do 4h30 of deco stop.

From the comments (and of course the footage) they did many dives here during a duration of 4 weeks, some unsuccessful one where they spent all their time looking and in particular the one where he saw the coelecanth outside the cave right after they went over the drop off. During this period they apparently saw 4 different coelacanths here.

 

Source from one of the team member in rebreatherworld mentioned back in september:

Expedition took place in Sodwana begining 2010 (with Peter Timm). Team of 4 rebreather divers. Diving 4-5h / 100-120m almost every day during 4 weeks. We have seen the coelacanthe only 6 times during 25 to 35' each successful dive.

Difficult dives with a lot of current, drift more than 8km during deco sometimes.

This fish can be over 1.80m. It is very peaceful and his way of getting around is really unique.

Edited by echeng

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More details: they've been searching for coelacanth in this particular place (along the cost of Sodwana) because a diver (the skipper of the boat) saw a coelacanth when exploring these caves at -115m, on 2001 or so.

In the following years, 3 divers tried to go and see the coelacanths, but they died in the process.

Then, Laurent set up his successful project, I believe it was in 2010.

 

FYI, Laurent Ballesta is an experienced deep diver, who also shot the deepest SCUBA underwater picture in 2008, it was -192m in Nice, France.

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The Ushuaia series are really outstanding It's worth watching even for the kite-surfing!

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Yes there have been previous expeditions to look for those ugly fish. Night dives will find them at a much more manageable depth (around 55-70m) and save a lot of time. Just have to get lucky with a calm sea and nice moonlight or dawn dives!

I have to say that I wish I had a video/mp3 player when I did my deco stops!

 

I have to say that those guys were INSIDE the caves where the raggies were, which is against SOP for Sodwana raggie diving. In fact, I almost thought they were at Cathedral on Aliwhal in one of those shots. Anyone else think so?

 

If anyone wants to go, the operator is Peter Timm of Triton Lodge,Sodwana.

 

http://www.tritondiving.co.za

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More details: they've been searching for coelacanth in this particular place (along the cost of Sodwana) because a diver (the skipper of the boat) saw a coelacanth when exploring these caves at -115m, on 2001 or so.

In the following years, 3 divers tried to go and see the coelacanths, but they died in the process.

 

The following article gives probably a more complete picture:

 

The South African Coelacanth Discovery

Story based on text received from Pieter Venter and edited by Garth Cambray.

http://www.redshift.com/~bcbelknap/powell/..._coeldiscov.htm

 

Articles also suggest that the team will get back there in May 2011 to spend more time studying the fish.

http://www.lematin.ch/loisirs/culture/suis...lacanthe-365758

(translated by google)

If the coelacanth is the animal best known anatomically, following the dissection of specimens caught, nothing is known of his lifestyle. We must find out whether such joint skull - an upper face which is built around the middle of the skull - that is the only one who allows it to improve the extraction of fish which they feed. For this, we will offer him food to break his movements with a specific camera. We must also determine if its unique tail, composed of three lobes, allows it to melt faster on its prey. The questions do not lack...

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Positively mind-blowing! Spectacular encounter, and great footage. Can't wait to see the stills.

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Awesome, thanks for posting, really enjoyed the film, i am sure 4 hours+ of deco must be a bummer but worth it for some shots :P

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Hi there,

 

I believe there is no post on wetpixel about that great video, showing Laurent Ballesta, french underwater photographer, taking pictures of live coelacanths (-115m, South Africa).

You can see an amazing movie here: http://videos.tf1.fr/ushuaia-nature/aventu...ue-6197545.html (it's between 15min and 30min I believe). I hope there is no problem with me sharing this link on wetpixel, it's the official webpage of the TV program.

 

I guess we'll see Laurent's picture among the winners of some photo contests in 2011 :P

 

 

Just so cool. Always been fascinated by coelacanths since I read the first extinct/not really accounts.

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If they had done the dive at night, they might have found all kinds of pelagic critters to film while doing the deco stops. A missed opportunity.....

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