Monday, September 23, 2013

My New Camera

My wonderful wife bought me a new camera, housing, and associated accessories as part of her wedding gift to me.  So, I recently acquired a Nikon D7100, Nauticam NA-D7100 housing, Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes, and Reefnet Subsee wet diopters.

I’ve had a chance to take the new system out on a couple of short trips to Tioman Island now, and I can say unequivocally that this is a huge upgrade from my previous system.  There are lots of improvements but the ones that I’ve found that made a real difference to my underwater photography are the improved autofocus system, internal motor for non-AF-S lenses, 1.3x crop mode, and U1 and U2 recall modes.

With this system, I now have several options for supermacro photography: 1.3x crop mode, teleconverters, and wet diopters (or some combination of this).  The best thing about it is that I can choose at any point in the dive whether to use 1.3x crop mode and/or the wet diopters.

The YS-D1 strobes are great.  They are tiny, powerful, and user friendly.

I am reserving my judgment on the Nauticam housing until I’ve spent more time with it.  In general, I love the ergonomics and smart design, but I’ve been having a few issues with the housing.  Nothing huge, but annoying enough to make a difference. 

Tioman Island 

I spent 2 weekends in Tioman using the new camera system.  Having not been there for a few years, I was pleasantly surprised by the vibrant marine life.  I saw lots of clownfish and anemonefish, a few interesting nudibranches, lots of gobies and blennies, and millions of marble shrimp (which are very rare except in Tioman, apparently!).  Definitely enough to keep a macro photographer busy.  Conditions were generally benign except for some surge, which made supermacro photography challenging at times.

I tried the 60 mm & 1.4x teleconverter combination for the first time and it was great.  I didn’t really notice any deterioration in autofocus capabilities, which is really a testament to the camera’s good autofocus.

The things I don’t like about Tioman are the accommodations and the journey.  The accommodations are very basic and I didn’t have any hot water on both trips.  The journey involves a long van ride, going through Singapore and Malaysian immigration, and a long ferry ride.  The part I like the least is the long waiting time in between stops and the unpredictability of the ferry.

Salang panorama.  iPhone 5
 

Pink anemonefish.  105 mm, 1/320s, f/10, ISO 200

Striped triplefin.  105mm, 1/320s, f/7.1, ISO 200


Triplespot blenny.  105mm, 1/320s, f/14, ISO 200
 
Tiny Flabellina Rubrolineata, about 1cm long!  105mm & Subsee +5 diopter, 1/320s, f/29, ISO 200
 

Yawning tomato anemonefish.  60mm & 1.4x teleconverter, 1/320s, f/18, ISO 200
 

Chromodoris Reticulata.  60mm & 1.4x teleconverter in 1.3x crop mode, 1/320s, f/16, ISO 200
 

False clown anemonefish in balled up anemone.  60mm & 1.4x teleconverter, 1/320s, f/16, ISO 400
 

Pink anemonefish.  60mm & 1.4x teleconverter, 1/320s, f/14, ISO 400

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Cabilao Photos December 2011

Here are some highlights of my Cabilao trip. Full set of photos is here.

Dwarf hawkfish. 105mm, 1/250s, f/10, ISO 200

Bubble coral shrimp. 105mm & +7 diopter, 1/250s, f/25, ISO 200

Ornate ghost pipefish. 105mm, 1/250s, f/22, ISO 200

Spotted porcelain crab. 105mm, 1/250s, f/18, ISO 200

Network pipefish. 105mm, 1/250s, f/10, ISO 200

Halgerda Batangas. 105mm, 1/250s, f/18, ISO 200

Backlit leaf scorpionfish. 105mm, 1/250s, f/18, ISO 200

Rock's pygmy octopus. 60mm & +7 diopter, 1/250s, f/16, ISO 200

Monday, January 02, 2012

Dyron Double Macro M77 Lens

My recent Cabilao trip was the first time I tried supermacro photography with my new Dyron Double Macro M77 Lens. It is a wet diopter that gives 1.3x magnification with a 60mm lens and 1.7x magnification with a 105mm lens. It lives in my thigh pocket and I screw it on the front of my flat port when necessary. In line with what others have reported, it is very difficult to use, especially with a 105mm lens, due to the close working distance and very small field of view. I had a lot of fun with it, though, and was happy to come home with several usable shots. After quite some time of macro shooting, I really appreciated the ability to get greater than 1:1 shots. I think it will be very interesting to stack it with a teleconverter – it will give me a lot of flexibility with various supermacro combinations.

By the way, Underwater Photography Guide's review of the lens is here.

Sola 600 Aiming Light



I used my new Sola 600 aiming light for the first time on my recent Cabilao trip. People have been raving about it for ages and I am glad that I finally got one for myself. It was a pleasure to use, with a wide and strong beam that had enough coverage for my needs. The best thing about the light, though, is the red mode. I found that the critters were significantly less bothered by the red light, which enabled me to get a lot closer than I have gotten in the past – a real boon for supermacro photography. My only gripe with it is the short battery life. It lasted about 60 minutes on full power, which is only one dive.

Cabilao Trip Report, December 2011

I just got back from 4 days in Cabilao Island in the Visayas, the Philippines. We were in Cebu for a friend’s wedding and decided to hop over to Cabilao for some diving. I chose Cabilao because it is a secluded island with pristine reefs and is relatively undeveloped. It has a population of 4,000 people and there are only 3 small resorts on the island. We got picked up from Cebu City and a 2 hour car and 1.5 hour boat ride took us directly to Cabilao Beach Club. All diving was with Sea Explorers, which made all the arrangements for us.

The diving topography in Cabilao consists primarily of walls and sloping reefs. The reefs are quite healthy and there are no signs of fishing damage. However, it seems that trash on the island is not well disposed of and it is not uncommon to find discarded food wrappers underwater. The marine life is exclusively macro. It is hard to generalize about the marine life as it is quite varied, but during the course of our stay, we saw frogfish, various pipefish, various shrimp and crabs, various gobies and blennies, octopus, squid, anemonefish, and nudibranchs (only a few). The life was good but not as prolific as say, Anilao. I wish there were more sandy areas that were not covered in corals, which would make conditions more favorable for macro photography.

Unfortunately, our few days on the island were plagued with bad weather – strong winds, intermittent rain, and unpredictable conditions. We made the most of it and dove when we could. I found Cambaquiz I to be the standout dive site. It is a shallow sandy slope with coral outcroppings, which is perfect for macro photography. It is located about 200m from the Cabilao Beach Club dive shop and can accessed either by boat or from shore. It is quite sheltered from the elements, making it an ideal site in bad weather. It is also the default night dive spot for Cabilao Beach Club, which suited me well.

This was my first trip using both the Sola 600 and Dyron Double Macro M77 Lens and both proved to be good purchases.

The resort is secluded and located on a beautifully landscaped plot of land with a private beach. The dive shop and a few chalets are located on the beach, and the restaurant and a few more chalets are on a cliff 52 steps above the beach. The resort is small and personal, with something like 13 rooms. The guests are primarily European. It is very quiet and there is no entertainment other than diving. The employees are very warm and service is good. The food, however, is quite uninteresting.

Overall, I was quite happy with the resort. The macro diving is somewhere between good and great. Perhaps I have been spoiled after diving Anilao several times, but all things considered, I would go to Anilao in the future over Cabilao.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Diving Tai Mei Tuk

Today, I finally had a chance to dive Tai Mei Tuk. We met bright and early and loaded the boat and headed for Wong Nai Chau, a tiny rock outcropping. We anchored off the island in about 16m of water and my buddy and I were one of the first in the water.

We quickly discovered that the deeper water was surprisingly cold and eerily dark, so we started heading for Wong Nai Chau island. Above 10m was a lot brighter and the vis improved. We spent most of the dive around 5-6m on the rocky slope poking around looking for marine life.

Vis was pretty decent at 3-4m. On our first dive, we saw lots of small crabs, anemones with baby clownfish and anemone shrimp, and we ended our dive accompanied by a small school of curious yellowtail amberjacks. This was one of the fishiest dives I've done in Hong Kong and the amberjacks were the largest fish I've seen locally.

After a break for lunch, we splashed in again at the same site. The highlight of the dive was my buddy spotting a tiny (less than 2cm long) free swimming persian carpet flatworm (pseudobiceros bedfordi). I put my hand out and it landed on my open palm. I spent a good minute or two staring at it and admiring its beauty before placing it on the bottom. As we were ending our dive, I spotted a cute shorthead fangblenny perched on top of a large rock. It was just hanging out, with its dorsal fin out on display.

All in all, an excellent day of diving in Hong Kong. Days like these make me wish I had brought my camera.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Anilao Shootout Winners 2011

On the recent Underwater Photography Guide Photo Workshop in Anilao, the trip leaders organized an informal competition among course participants. There were 3 categories each for DSLR and compact - macro, behavior, and portrait. My shot of a yawning pink anemonefish won the DSLR behavior category.


There were 2 physical prizes that were randomly allocated to 2 of the 6 category winners - one Light & Motion Sola 600 light and one return stay to Crystal Blue Resort. Both great prizes, which unfortunately I did not win! Still, I had tons of fun and it is nice to have your photos appreciated! The winning shots are here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fatality in the WKP

It is with a heavy heart that I report of a fatality in the Woodville Karst Plain. Jim Miller, WKPP exploration diver, passed away on June 11, 2011. My condolences to all his loved ones and friends. Tragically, his death was caused by human error. I never knew Jim, but I had seen him a few times in and around Extreme Exposure in High Springs, and his name and face were familiar from years of reading WKPP exploration updates. His death is a big loss for the WKPP, GUE community, cave diving community, and greater diving public. It is a reminder that no-one is infallible, not even those at the peak of competence and experience.

I copy below a forum post from WKPP member Todd Leonard. The post explains the circumstances behind the accident and what went wrong.

[quote]
I have some additional info to relay now, some of which has been described in fragmentary form on other forums, but for greatest clarity, I'll just try to present a chronological summary of the dive:

Jim was diving with two buddies Saturday, each using an RB80 rebreather. They entered at a site in the WKP (Woodville Karst Plain) called Whiskey Still Sink. From Whiskey, the conduit proceeds at a shallow depth to Innisfree Sink, and beyond Innisfree it drops deeper to a max depth around 220ft and continues. Thus, their decompression was to be done on the other side of Innisfree. Their bottom mix was 240 gas. They carried deco gas to be used at 120, 70, and oxygen at 20. Given the offset profile, they did their own deco setup.

They began the dive on their 120 bottles, which are suitable for the shallow cave between Whiskey and Innisfree. Passing Innisfree they dropped deco bottles at their respective depths. The first error occurred at the 70ft stop, where Jim dropped one of his 240 bottles -- he should have dropped his 70ft bottle, and it should not have been carried any further into the cave.

After proceeding down to the 120ft stop, the team stopped for their switch to 240 gas (their bottom gas). At this point the second and most serious error occurred -- Jim switched onto his 70 bottle. Part of our standard procedure and a very critical step in each and every bottle switch is to check the MOD sticker on the side of the bottle, which would have made very clear that he was about to switch to the wrong bottle; we don't know why, but this check was missed. We also want buddies to watch each others' switches carefully enough to confirm the correct bottle is in play, but this secondary check was not performed and the error was not caught. Following the switch the team dropped their 120 bottles, and proceeded into the cave.

They continued into the cave for a little less than an hour (with Jim breathing his 70 bottle), and turned the dive as planned. Not long after the turn, Jim experienced a seizure. His buddies tried unsuccessfully to help him recover from the seizure, and Jim drowned.

After a prolonged exit the team was able to bring Jim back to the basin at Innisfree, and shortly thereafter a pair of our support divers brought him back to the surface.

So, that's the crux of it. There was a significant error, a critical error, plus missed opportunities to catch and correct those errors.

Jim was a very experienced and responsible diver, and known among his friends for his exceptional meticulousness. We're profoundly shocked and saddened to lose him, and he'd be one of the last people we'd ever imagine might die this way. This dive was well within his skill and experience levels, and the site was very familiar to him.

- Todd Leonard
[end quote]

Monday, June 13, 2011

Muck Diving Tips

Steve Fish and the team at Lembeh Resort have released an excellent short video highlighting good muck diving practices on Youtube. I'd say that these diving practices are relevant for all types of diving, not just muck diving and not just for photographers/videographers. Most divers I know or have observed would benefit from following these tips! Since observing various bad behaviors on my two recent Anilao trips, I had been thinking about how to raise awareness of the importance of better diving practices. This video is the perfect instructional tool for that purpose. But awareness is just the beginning. It needs to be followed by concerted action.

Please share this video with your friends, favorite dive shop and/or resort, and anyone you think might benefit from watching it. Let's work together to minimize our impact on the wonderful underwater world so that we can preserve it for the future.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Underwater Photography Guide Photo Workshop Trip Report, May 2011

I just got back from an excellent weeklong trip to Anilao to attend Underwater Photography Guide's photo workshop with Scott Gietler and Mike Bartick. It was tons of fun and I feel like my photography skills improved markedly throughout the week.

I saw many firsts on this trip: saron shrimp, stargazer (3 of them), ocellated octopus, thecacera picta nudibranch (commonly called the "pikachu"), sawblade shrimp, pygmy cuttlefish, and lots and lots of interesting nudis and flatworms. Other notable sightings include jorunna funebris laying eggs (2 of them), 2 giant frogfish, 2 bobbit worms capturing prey, mating nembrotha chamberlaini, 2 napoleon snake eels, a trumpetfish eating a damselfish, cavorting risbecia tryoni, clownfish eggs, and more than 40 distinct sea slug species. There were several dives where we saw 8 or more species of nudibranch on one dive. Other divers saw flamboyant cuttlefish, boxer crab, xenia mimic nudibranch, rhinopias, mimic octopus, and wonderpus, but I missed these. Anilao is well known for great macro life but the wide angle opportunities were fantastic as well, with some participants getting some excellent reef and fish shots.

Anilao's many dive sites offer a great diversity of seascapes. There are black sandy bottoms (Secret Bay, Mainit Bubbles), white sandy bottoms (Anilao Pier), wall dives (Kirby's Rock), sloping reefs (Twin Rocks, Aphol Reef), sandy slopes (Mato Point), rubble patches (Bethlehem), hard coral forests (Cathedral), and everything in between. I've always enjoyed diving Anilao and the more I see, the more special I realize it is.

Each day would start early with 2 dives before lunch. We would break for lunch at the resort, do a lecture, and then do 2 more dives in the afternoon/evening. Lecture topics included local marine life and how to best photograph it, wide angle photography, taking your photography to the next level, and basic photoshop skills.

Boat and buddy assignments were flexible, and took into account site preferences and diving styles. There were generally anywhere from 1 to 4 divers per guide/boat. Scott and Mike rotated so that they got to spend time with everyone. Dives averaged 60-80 minutes and were never rushed. We often sucked our tanks dry in the shallows, right beneath the boat.

Crystal Blue is a nice and cozy resort. It is located right in the middle of the channel in what is probably the best location in all of Anilao for easy access to the best dive sites. The service from the dive guides, boat crew, restaurant, and resort staff was top notch.

Just one word on conservation: Anilao has done a pretty good job of protecting its marine resources by restricting commercial fishing in the area. However, there are a lot of improvements that can still be made. The boats often drop anchor at dive sites, when it would be much better to have permanent mooring buoys installed. It is still common to see trash from nearby villages and resorts floating in the water. And dive resorts and guides need to do a lot more to raise the standard of diving in the area in order to protect the marine life.

It was really beneficial to spend time with 2 experienced photographers as they gave tips and critiques and were open to our questions. It was also great to dive with like minded folk and to share our passion with others. I'll be back for future trips, that's for sure.

Anilao Photos May 2011

Just got back from an excellent trip to Anilao with Underwater Photography Guide. Here's a quick selection of photos. Full set of photos here.

Saron shrimp at Cathedral. 60mm, 1/250s, f/22, ISO 200

Giant frogfish at Secret Bay. 60mm, 1/250s, f/16, ISO 200

Stargazer at Anilao Pier. 60mm, 1/250s, f/22, ISO 200

Noumea Alboannulata at Bethlehem. 105mm, 1/250s, f/22, ISO 200

Xeno crab at Secret Bay. 105mm, 1/250s, f/20, ISO 200

Sawblade shrimp at Secret Bay. 60mm, 1/250s, f/20, ISO 200

Yawning pink anemonefish at Kirby's Rock. 105mm, 1/250s, f/13, ISO 200

Cavorting risbecia tryoni at Arthur's Rock. 60mm, 1/250s, f/18, ISO 200

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Underwater Photography Guide Photo Workshop

I am very excited that I will be joining Scott Gietler and Mike Bartick from Underwater Photography Guide on a photo workshop trip to Anilao in late May. I just got back from a short trip to Anilao over Easter and the diving was fantastic as usual. This will be my third trip to the area. I have been studying Scott's website to improve my photography skills for some time, so when he announced this trip several months ago, I jumped at the opportunity. Scott does underwater photographers a great service by publishing his free website that is full of instruction, tips, information, and great pictures. It is also a good source of inspiration as the photos on his site are from a number of world class photographers.

The entire trip is 10 days but I will be going for 7. We will be staying at Crystal Blue Resort.


For some info on Anilao and great photos from Scott and Mike, check out:

Diving Anilao (Scott)
Anilao Underwater Photo Essay (Mike)

Here is a snippet from Scott about the Anilao trip:

[Quote]
Experience more photo subjects than you have ever dreamed of.

Anilao boasts some of the richest reefs in the world. Whether at 100ft or 10ft depth, you will be inundated with photo subjects that will fill up your memory card before the day is over. Almost all species on our critter list can be found in Anilao - such as rhinopia, blue-ring octopus, hairy frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish & bobbit worms, along with huge schools of jacks, great barracuda, sharks and beautiful soft corals. Anilao is also the nudibranch capital of the world.

Your hosts are Anilao experts Scott Gietler and Mike Bartick. Mike and Scott know the Anilao reefs inside and out, and will show you where to take that perfect wide-angle, macro or critter behavior shot.

  • $1750 includes an amazing 36 dives, including all meals, nitrox, and transport to/from Manila. This is an awesome deal! You just need to purchase airfare to Manila
  • 10 nights, 11 days, 4 dives a day
  • Deluxe accommodation in sealed rooms with air-con
  • Small dive guide to diver ratios, long dives
  • Nightly photo clinics and workshops to help you improve your photography
  • We will visit the best dive sites early and often! Most sites are just 10-20 minutes from the resort
  • May is the best time to dive Anilao, with warm water and great visibility
  • Prizes for photographing the most critters, the most nudibranch species, best video, and the best macro, wide-angle, and behavior shots
  • 1 week stays may also be available, inquire for prices
  • Photographers with even the smallest point and shoot camera will feel very welcome here, and will come home with some great shots
  • we will have several boats, so you can dive the type of sites you like
[End Quote]

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

In the Name of Conservation

On my most recent trip to Anilao over Easter, we shared a number of dive sites with other groups of divers from other resorts. I couldn’t help noticing the general poor standard of in-water finesse, situational awareness, and conservation-mindedness. We observed lots of instances of divers crashing into the bottom and kicking up corals, sand, and marine life. All open water divers should have the basics such as buoyancy, trim, body positioning, situational awareness, and buddy skills. Dive resorts and guides need to take responsibility for the actions of their clients. If their clients are unaware, apathetic, unsafe, or lacking in skill, something needs to be done. At the very least, they need to speak up and demand better behavior from their clients. If their behavior does not improve, the divers should not be allowed in the water, lest they cause further damage. It is very short-sighted for resorts and guides to turn a blind eye as the reefs and marine life will undoubtedly suffer and this will impact all of us.

I was so excited to see my first bobbit worm on a night dive at Anilao Pier. I settled down on a sandy patch next to it and was waiting patiently, camera in hand, to try to capture the "peak of the action". Suddenly, a group of divers charged by, like a herd of raging bulls, completely unaware that they were stirring up the bottom and causing a huge sandstorm. I looked over to my guide and we shared a moment of disappointment before being engulfed by the dust cloud. Visibility literally went to zero.
When the silt settled (only partially settled; Anilao Pier has a sandy bottom and no current so suspended particles can take hours to fully settle), the bobbit worm was covered in sand and the photo opportunity ruined. I can only imagine the impact on the bobbit worm and other marine life affected.

This is not directed at anyone in particular but I would like to make a general statement. If you don't have the skills (whether motor skills, experience, or situational awareness) to dive in delicate environments, please have enough respect and care for the environment to refrain. It is advisable to dive in more benign environments and gain experience before moving on to fragile sites. Even better - please seek appropriate training to improve your buoyancy, trim, body positioning, fin kicks, situational awareness, and buddy skills. I suggest GUE Fundamentals and there are lots of other classes out there that emphasize these basic skills.

To those who observe this type of unacceptable behavior: please, please, please say or do something. Today, I pledged to myself that I will not observe silently anymore. If you care about conservation of the marine environment, please do something. The reefs will thank you and so will I.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Anilao Photos April 2011

Full set of pics here.

Coconut octopus at Anilao Pier. 60mm, 1/250s, f/20, ISO 200

Phyllodesmium opalescens at Secret Bay. 60mm, 1/250s, f/25, ISO 200

Gymnodoris ceylonica at Mato Point. 60mm, 1/250s, f/32, ISO 200

Wire coral goby at Mato Point. 60mm, 1/250s, f/25, ISO 200

Pygmy seahorse at Sunview. 105mm, 1/250s, f/25, ISO 200

Wire coral shrimp at Sunview. 105mm, 1/250s, f/29, ISO 200

Xeno crab at Sunview. 105mm, 1/250s, f/25, ISO 200

Sea cucumber crab at Dive 7000. 105mm, 1/250s, f/22, ISO 200

Anilao Trip Report, April 2011

I just got back from 4 days at Acacia Resort in Anilao. It was my second trip there, the first being in April 2010, and it was equally good - maybe it should become an annual tradition? The trip started out a bit slow on the first day but that changed quickly and I found the macro life to be as plentiful and diverse as ever. Highlights of the trip were coconut octopus, lots of wire coral gobies and shrimp, pygmy seahorse, xeno crab, ornate ghost pipefish, bobbit worm, squat lobster, coleman shrimp, and lots and lots of nudis. It was a great trip for macro photography.

Travel to and from Acacia was surprisingly easy despite it being Easter weekend. It's actually a pretty good time to visit, with calm seas and mild currents. The water was a little colder than expected and I needed at 5mm full suit and hooded vest to keep warm. Acacia was nice and homey as usual. The resort was a little more crowded than usual due to the holiday weekend but it was still quite manageable. I dove off a private boat with Marlou as my guide again - he was a good eye and is a really nice guy. Acacia is currently building a new wing to accommodate more rooms. I hope it never loses its small resort feel.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Anilao, Here I Come

Ever since I first went to Anilao in April 2010, I have been dying to go back. The abundance and diversity of macro life just blew me away. The reefs are also very healthy and it is great to see beautiful, colorful soft corals and the critters that make their homes there. I am going to Anilao again for a short trip over Easter break. I will only be diving for 3 days (max 12 dives) but the life is so prolific that I expect to shoot a number of good subjects. On my list for this trip:

Halimeda ghost pipefish
Coconut octopus
Coleman shrimp
Blue ringed octopus
Bobbit worm
Wire coral goby
Wire coral shrimp
Xeno crab
Stargazer
And lots and lots of nudis and flatworms

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Winter Diving, Brrr

Today, we dove off Sai Kung. We started bright and early and headed for Basalt Island. Ben and I were one of the first to jump in. We were told the bottom was around 15m and began to descend. Vis was pretty murky and dark as we were descending and then all of a sudden I crash landed on top of Ben (!?). The bottom was in fact at 6m and the vis was so terrible that Ben had hit the bottom and I had landed on top of him. Not a good sign. After a few minutes of trying to see the bottom and each other, we decided to call the dive. I didn't see any point in continuing as vis was barely 0.5m and we were struggling to see the rocky bottom.

It turns out that 2 other teams had also called their dives and so we headed for sheltered Bluff Island instead. Ling joined our team for the next dive. Surprisingly, vis was around 5m - by far the best I have seen in my limited experience in HK. The macro life was quite good and with the help of Ling's very sharp eyes, we saw a baby cuttlefish, baby crocodilefish, baby scorpionfish, one nudibranch, 2 crabs hiding in one hole, peppermint shrimp, and lots of anemones with clownfish and anemone shrimp. Good thing too, as everyone enjoyed the dive and it made up for the blowout first dive.

Water temps were around 17C. I dove with Xerotherm and 300G undergarments and was comfortable, but my hands got cold. Lots of people were diving wet - they are a lot tougher than I am!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Manta - Ray of Hope

I recently came across Manta - Ray of Hope. It is a short, well produced documentary highlighting the plight of the manta rays, which have been heavily fished for their gills. The gills are used in "traditional Chinese medicine" and are in high and increasing demand in China and East Asia. Manta ray fishing is less high profile than shark finning but no less destructive and unsustainable. If nothing is done to protect the mantas, their time on this earth may be limited.

Having had the opportunity to dive with and interact with manta rays close up in Bali and Kona, I can say that these experiences were indeed very special and magical. I feel very fortunate to have been able to observe these giant and majestic creatures in their natural habitat, and the memories will stay with me forever.

Please watch the video and help educate the public on this important issue. Only by reducing demand for manta products, will the future of the mantas be secure.

Ocean Sky Diving, You Suck

I have been very keen to play with the Nauticam D7000 housing as I have been seriously considering upgrading to the D7000. Nauticam's local dealer is Ocean Sky Diving. I called them a couple of weeks ago and they told me that the housing would be available today. I called them again today and the lady who answered the phone said that they had them in stock. When I walked in, the lady took me to the camera area and promptly directed me to a D700 housing. D700, not D7000. No shit you have the D700 housing in stock, it was released more than a year ago. And of course, they did not have a D7000 housing in stock. All she could do was shrug her shoulders sheepishly in admission that she got the model numbers mixed up. She didn't even say sorry!

Note to Ocean Sky Diving: if u can't count your zeros and can't tell one camera model from another, maybe you should be in a different business. Is it so much to expect the authorized dealer for Nauticam housings to be familiar with the FREAKING MODEL NUMBER of the housings? Thanks for wasting an hour of my time and I am glad that the walk in the rain was worth it. Customers have options and I sure as hell am not going back to Ocean Sky Diving.