Earlier this month, my image of whaleshark under a fishing platform, which I took in Indonesia last year won 3rd place in the colour prints category of the FESTIVAL MONDIAL DE L’IMAGE SOUS-MARINE. This festival is hotly contested, drawing in entries from around the world, so it’s a particularly pleasing result. Fortunately the fishermen that live on the platforms embrace the sharks company during their long lonely stints at sea, but the image does draw attention to how vulnerable these harmless giants are – their docile trusting nature makes them an easy target for shark finners, and they are listed as threatened on the the IUCN red list of endangered species.
This weekend I am delighted to be speaking at the Nelos Festival in Belgium.
I’ll be giving 2 talks, one on the Antarctic, and the other on deep wreck photography in the North Atlantic
I’ve just returned from a mammoth 5 week trip to Indonesia, which turned into a real epic. I started with a few chilled out days at Siladen Resort, diving in the wonderful Bunaken National Park on the west coast of North Sulawesi.
Following this I was a guest speaker at the 2011 Celebrate the Sea festival. The Sunday was a particularly special day with talks by Michael AW followed by legends Howard and Michele Hall and rounded off by the indomitable Emory Kristof of National Geographic. I then headed off the beaten track on assignment to Gorontalo, courtesy of a 10 hour 4×4 journey. Rantje Allen’s team at Miguel’s diving showed me some truly special dive sites that you can read about in a future issue of Ocean Geographic.
I then headed back to North Sulawesi for a few days diving with Eco Divers in Lembeh Straight. Their resort has a different set up to your standard fayre, as they have modern luxury cottages located a little inland and all the diving is done from a permanently moored liveaboard anchored right next to some of the best diving in Lembeh straight, to which we were efficiently transported to every morning. I found the operation to be particularly suited to the needs of underwater photographers, and I spent no more time hauling gear around than I do on liveaboard boats ie. none! The whole thing ran like clockwork and I’ll be going back for sure. The final part of the trip saw me head into Papua to lead the Ocean Geographic whaleshark expedition to Cenderawasih Bay. We used the MSY Seahorse to get us there, and she is a truly excellent ship with a fantastic crew. The sharks were on good form and after 5 days of diving under the bagans (traditional Indonesian fishing platforms) we were sorry to leave. The 2 day journey back to port however, enabled us to enjoy some fabulous diving on untouched reefs. Accounts of the trip were published by the Telegraph and the Daily Mail in the UK, as well as MSN and AOL.
Late summer and early autumn enabled me to get some great diving in here in the UK. Diving from Channel Diver with Steve Johnson, we headed to the The mid channel wreck of the Warilda and it proved to be one of the finest dives I’ve done in the UK (I say that often :o).
Lying at 50 metres this 7700 ton hospital ship was sunk during World War 1 by torpedo.
I then headed off to Lundy to dive with some of my BSoUP buddies with the seals from the great boat Obsession – I highly recommend them. Those three days turned into the best grey seal encounters I’ve ever had – re-enforcing that Lundy is a truly world class dive destination.
Early September saw me visit North Cornwall to dive some of the deep wrecks there with Atlantic Diver. This area has some of the clearest waters in the UK – with 15-20 metres visibility not uncommon. The wrecks are rarely dived. Who said British diving is no good? Get it right and it’s up there with the best in the world……
I’m over the moon to have got another Elysium cover, this time of the Canadian based Diver magazine. The image features David Doubilet in brash ice so thick it was like swimming in a Gin and Tonic. The image was taken near Danco Island in Antarctica
This months (December issue) of DIVE magazine features an article I’ve written about the deeper wrecks of the South Coast of England. The wrecks featured are the Salsette, Molina, Duke of Buccleuch, Moldavia and the Battleship “Empress of India”. The issue also features a great cover shot taken in Bali by Shannon Conway
After several previous attempts, I managed to finally dive the fabulous clipper ship Smyrna in August. Once a beautful ship she now lies in 53-57 metres of water 20 miles south of the Isle of Wight in England. I dived with Dave Wendes of Wight Spirit Charters. As you can see the great viz found in the channel this year has continued.