It is an expensive hobby but worth it. Can’t wait for my next expedition.

ChromaticSoul :: The Blog

Photopreneur has a good article on underwater photography. If you’ve contemplated the idea, check out the article. There are some expenses involved and certainly a lot of patience. However, the payoff in photos is awesome. You really should check out some of the photos posted and the links Photopreneur suggests.

Here are a few other good sites to check out.

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You can see the fishing line trailing form the sharks mouth. Most likely from long liners

Absolutely fantastic news for sharks around the world. CNN in their report, mentioned that Air Pacific, Asiana and Korean Air vow to halt shark fin shipments. This in the light of the shark finning crisis where is it estimated that approximately 72 million sharks are killed each year and 10,000 tons of fins are traded through Hong Kong. The impact of large corporations taking a stand is huge.

The article goes on to mention other players that are actively banning shark fins in their industries. Lets hope this has some effect on the global shark crisis.

For the full article… More airlines ban shark fin cargo – CNN.com http://ow.ly/moow6

This has to be one of my top underwater experiences. We had over 30 blacktip reef sharks circling us as any point in time during the 60 minute dive. These creatures are incredible and yet in South Africa they are still feared. Shark finning is a serious problem but with as much attention as its getting, nothing is being done about it. They say “save the rhinos”, I say “save the sharks”.

Video  —  Posted: June 3, 2013 in SCUBA Diving, Sharks, South Africa, Underwater Photography
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Saturday night was a chilled night at camp with only myself, Tess and Nicola. We decided to head to one of the beaches on the west side of the island to watch the sunset and have a couple of sundowners. We were blessed with and incredible sunset. We spent the night on a mattress watching Ice Age and eating fruit salad.

On Sunday I decided to go exploring the island a bit. We saw a beautiful bay from the boat on one of our double tank dives, so this is where I decided to make a mission to. The only problem is that there are no paths and I didn’t exactly know how far it was. I ended up taking 3 hours to get to the beach, with my legs full of scratches, but it was totally worth it. I would go as far as saying it is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen and nobody goes there. It only took me an hour and a half to walk back once I knew where I was going.

The week was full of diving and surveying, with a lot of double tankers. I’ve got to know some of the sites really well and can find sharks on almost every dive at St. Pierre. We also got to survey a new site called Booby, which is a small island with just a bit of granite sticking out with a few trees and bushes. The island was probably named after the Bird but it really does look like a giant breast. It took us almost an hour to get there with the boat fully loaded with tanks and people. When we got there and almost done kitting up we saw a pod of dolphins right next to the boat. If we didn’t have our kit on Calum would have let us snorkel with them. Hopefully we’ll get another chance. I actually didn’t get to explore the reef much after doing my survey as Steve (my buddy at the time) had chewed his air quickly because of the rough conditions. The other saw 2 sharks and bumpheads. On second survey was a shallow survey in less than 5 meters. With the sea being quite rough it was impossible to lay a belt and we abandoned our dive after 9 mins. The others followed soon after us. Steve managed to fall off the boat because of the rough seas. I had such bad pain in my elbows, probably the onset of decompression sickness or an air embolism.

With so many double tankers there is times of the day when we have a lot of time to chill. Some of us decided to snorkel just in front of camp. We ended up swimming about 2 kms to one of our dive sites called Caiman Point and saw 6 turtles and 3 whitetip sharks along the way. We had to hike back to camp because there was no way we would be able to swim all the way back against the current.

Bridget, one of the five weekers had just got the go-ahead to start doing inverts surveys and was paired up with me for her first survey. We did a shallow dive so the surge was quite bad and the line went over quite a hectic patch of reef. Bridget was not having a great time with the SMB and kept lassoing me with the line. She also ended up getting washed into an urchin and was so hardcore about it. She just pulled the spines out of her knee and finished her survey. One hard-core chick!

We got told there we no snakes or scorpions on the island but only few weeks ago one of the staff saw a snake. This week we saw the first scorpion, a lizard had caught it and was busy trying to swallow it. On our dive to Booby, Carly was busy pulling out her tape underwater when a scorpion came out and stung her, then floated off. Luckily it wasn’t that bad and caused just a bit of swelling.

It was off to Mahe for the weekend to do our Rescue Diver course. We initially got quoted 3180 rupee for the course which includes 2 nights accommodation and then 280 for a return ferry to Mahe. But it ended up costing us a lot more because the rate Dan used for converting Euro to Rupee was wrong. The course ended up costing us 5108 rupee. A spanner also got thrown in the works when the ferry company refused to give us local rates and we ended up paying 1380 rupee for a return ticket.

The course was worth it. We got put up at an apartment that was beautiful. It even had a washing machine, a microwave and wifi (small luxuries). Tony the DM that headed up our course at the underwater centre was an excellent trainer. We did most of our skills on the Saturday which included the various tows, in-water mouth to mouth and pocket mask rescue breathing, surfacing with an unconscious diver and the infamous panicked diver rescue. For the panicked diver we each had a go at subduing the DMs who were the panicked divers. We had to get behind them and inflate their BC while they were in a complete state of panic. They would thrash around wildly, attempting to climb on top of you while knocking out your regulator and pulling off your mask. I had to take on Tony who at that point had managed to half drown a few divers in earlier attempts. I got really close and almost had his inflator when he spun around a proceeded to attempt to drown me. I came off with a grazed forehead, bruises and cuts all over my body and almost throwing up from all the salt water I had inhaled.

I was paired up with Vero who even though she was a tiny girl, managed to carry my dead weight up onto the beach.

I had also decided to leave my wetsuit behind because it was still wet on Friday. This ended up being a very bad call as the water was full of stinging plankton. I ended up looking like I had chicken pox again.

On Sunday we wrote the theory exam. I smashed it with a score of 98%. We then finished off our missing diver skills and played out a few rescue scenarios, before we were rewarded with our PADI Rescue Diver certification. The ferry trip back to Praslin was very quiet with all of us completely exhausted from an intensive but amazing weekend.

On Sunday we hiked across to Badamier. I took my whole underwater set up to hopefully get pictures of the sharks we saw the last time. Unfortunately this time I didn’t see a single shark and the visibility had reduced drastically. This time of the year the plankton start coming in and with it the visibility drops to about 6-7 meters. All our dives this week were the same. Instead of sharks I saw a Hawksbill turtle who didn’t mind my taking a few pictures of her before she swam off. Also encountered more bumphead parrotfish, it just amazing me at how big these fish are.

This week was a big birthday week, with Sven, Calum and Bridget all having birthdays. It also meant that we had a lot of cake 🙂

We are starting to get into fitness mode more and more each week. This week we made a makeshift barbell out of a pole and two milk tins filled with cement. Lindsay decided she was going to go for an early morning run the one day and ended up only making it a few km’s before she fell and grazed most of her leg. She had now taken over the title of “gammy” leg from Zoe.

The guys are planning a stay at Mango lodge this weekend. I wasn’t keen on spending more cash, and I felt I haven’t really explored most of our own island and so decided not to join the others this time. I did make a day trip on Saturday to Praslin and went and saw Anse Lazio beach. It is definitely one of the top beaches I have seen while I’ve been here.

Week 6 in the Seychelles

Posted: May 14, 2011 in GVI, Seychelles

Had to say our goodbyes to Estee and Emma. There were a lot of tears shed by all the girls, I even thought Harry might have shed a couple. It is really sad to see them go but hopefully we’ll meet up again sometime in the future.

On the more positive side we got to meet the new 5 weekers, Bridget, Lindsay and Nik. A very eager bunch, getting stuck right into the work.

This week we got to put our training to the test and actually start with the real deal. We surveyed APC in one day with one of the dives being a double tanker. April said she might reward us with a fun dive if we get all the sites done in time.

Finished the book I was reading, “1984”. I expected a heroic ending but it was actually quite depressing. To make the day even worse, we watched Shark Waters, a documentary on the illegal finning of sharks.

Between dives we had a bit of spare time on our hands and got involved in livening up the camp a bit. The girls made signs for all the houses and areas, like “The Drop-off” for the toilets and “Blow-hole” for the shower. Us guys fixed up the volley ball net, so we can hopefully get some games in the future.

On Friday I had the best dive of my life. We were supposed to do a double tanker survey but one of the tapes broke, so we ended up doing our second dive as a fun dive. We dove “Fish City” which is a part of the reef called “Coral Gardens” and only some of the DM’s know how to get there. As soon as you reach Fish City you are surrounded by literally millions of Oriental Snappers. We came across an eagle ray in the first 2 minutes, then swam over a massive green turtle. Soon after than I spotted a Hawksbill turtle. Calum went in for a close look and as he did the turtle started swimming directly towards him, almost knocking into his mask. Would have made an amasing picture. While Calum was playing with the turtle I then spotted a Whitetip shark under one of the boulders and it swam straight out at Calum. Would have made for another perfect shot if I had my camera. I ended off the dive seeing a Rock Lobster (first one I’ve seen in the seychelles). Overall, the most insane dive EVER!!!!

Also on Friday we had a reporter come and taking footage of our camp, the staff and us. Doing interviews and filming us kitting up and rolling off the boat. He’s doing this while on assignment for the Royal Honeymoon. So hopefully you might see our faces on TV some day.

Tuesday -Thursday

Posted: May 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Things have been hectic in preparation for the 5 weekers leaving. I’ve spent most of my evenings putting together the photo CD and slideshow rather than writing my blog (hence the combined entry).

Tuesday was spent doing a lot of diving. We had a double dive which meant being inverted for over an hour and doing the LIT line survey.

Wednesday was a fun dive day and very chilled. The guys were all on the same dive at the end of the day. Every other dive was Point Rouge but we put in a special request to go to St. Pierre instead. Turned out to be the right choice with us seeing 2 whitetip sharks and an eagle ray. I got to take my camera on the dive but unfortunately couldn’t get any really good shots of the sharks.

Wednesday evening was the 5 week barbeque. We made burger from Buffalo mince that were amazing. I was pretty exhausted for the party afterwards but managed to get a second-wind and ended up in the tree house with some of the survivors of the evening. Got to bed at about 4am.

Thursday was planned taking in account the awful hangover we all had. Zoe in particular could not even move she was feeling so ill. All we had to endure was a 2 hours camp clean then the rest of the days was ours. We all decided to endure a painful walk across the island to Bladimir. Harry and I spent a good 2 hours snorkelling. The reef surprisingly had very little coral and was mostly just huge granite boulders. This did however make it a prime area to go looking for sharks. We found a 1.4m nurse shark hiding in a cave. While we were looking at it 2 whitetip sharks came swimming past us. I manage to swim with one of these majestic creatures for a couple of seconds. We saw another 4 whitetips and finished off with seeing a 1.5m Lemon shark.

The sharks were not the only megafauna we saw while snorkelling. We also saw a school of 5 massive Bumphead Parrot fish (very rare) and an eagle ray.