Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Goodbye Seven Skies

Goodbye 7 skies
It is like losing a friend. it is with a heavy heart that we say 7 skies wreck is gone. just like that, illegal salvagers destroyed a wreck that given many divers wonderful memories. #RIP7SKIES
Posted by DiveRACE on Monday, June 1, 2015

I am outraged and terribly saddened. Illegal salvagers destroyed the Seven Skies, one of the best known shipwrecks in the South China Sea. She went down in 1969 in a mysterious explosion that killed several sailors. I first dove her in 2004 and had the opportunity to dive her again many times over the years. She was one of the reasons I first learned how to technical dive. Our "Wrecks of the South China Sea" trips always featured the Seven Skies heavily. I once saw a whale shark and another time saw a beautiful black manta on her. She was home to many many animals and plants. She was sometimes an easy, calm dive and other times a challenge (where we had to climb hand over hand down the downline) due to screaming currents. But she was always a treasure and it was always a treat to dive her. Endangered species, historical monuments, and shipwrecks at the bottom of the ocean - once they are gone, they are gone forever.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Diving Bintan Island, March 2015

I went to Bintan Island again last weekend, staying at Sahid Bintan Resort and diving with Tasik Divers Bintan again.  The diving was good but the shooting conditions were quite tough with current or strong surge on most dives.  Vis was somewhere between 5-8m on average but there was a lot of floating crap in the water.  On Sunday it thunderstormed for most of the day, making surface conditions very rough and soggy, but the diving was good.  The trip reminded me that shooting with a 105mm lens in surge is very very frustrating.

Highlights for me were bornella stellifer (3), phyllodesmium opalescens, and several small shrimp and nudis that I didn't photograph like nembrotha, tambja, and doto.

 Feeding bornella stellifer.  105 mm, 1/320s, f/25, ISO 100

Rosy spindle cowrie (phenacovolva rosea).  60mm & Subsee +5 diopter, 1/320s, f/22, ISO 100

A pair of large whip gobies (bryaninops amplus).  60mm & Subsee +5 diopter, 1/320s, f/22, ISO 100

Phyllodesmium opalescens with eggs.  60mm & Subsee +5 diopter, 1/320s, f/22, ISO 100