Sunday, 26 January 2014

Diving the Similan Islands

A few days have passed since we came back from our home away from home, Thailand. Loads of pics to go through, some of them will soon find their way to the blog.

As I brought my underwater housing all the way, I just had to try it out in open water (for the first time). I booked a 1-day trip to Koh Bon at the Similan Islands, where Mette and I had been diving with a dozen of manta rays in 2008 (same time of the year). So I hoped to capture the scene!

Unfortunately, the mantas have not really been seen at Koh Bon in recent time, and nobody knows why they have disappeared. We jumped into the water and enjoyed the life at the reef - however, we were a bit surprised how crowded this dive place has become. As in OVER CROWDED! Divers everywhere, many of them not paying attention to where they kick their fins. 

It was saddening to see how much the corals have been damaged within a few years - by ignorant divers grabbing onto this and that. Well, what a surprise that the mantas were all gone...

Anyway, as we swam around I had time to play a bit with my camera and shoot this video:

The video was shot with a Canon 7D + Sigma 10-20mm in Hugyfot underwater housing, at 1920x1080p with 30fps at F/4.0-5.6 at 1/60 sek and ISO 320. Post production in Adobe Premiere Pro.

I was so obsessed by shooting video that I totally neglected taking photos. Only a few frames made it to the memory card:

Curious moray eel peeking out from its hide, F/9.0 at 1/50 sek.

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School of yellowfin goatfish, F/9.0 at 1/80 sek.

As you saw in the video, the reef was absolutely packed with fry, F/16 at 1/25 sek.

Giant puffer hovering over the reef, F/10 at 1/60 sek.

All together, a great day under the surface even though we did´nt get to see the mantas :-( So I´ll post a few pics from our 2008 trip to the exact same spot... Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Manta photos shot with Canon s70 in Canon underwater housing

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Phi Phi Paradise

I´ve written another article about diving and coral reef conservation issues in Habitat, the e-magazine of the Danish Zoological Society. This time it about the paradise of the Phi Phi islands, where I have spent quite some hours underwater working as a Dive Master in 2008.

A paradise like Phi Phi attracts gazillions of backpackers, party animals not to mention divers. Locals are able to make money on their small businesses, new hotels and guesthouses are shooting up everywhere and dive-operators want a bite of the cake as well. However, it all comes at a price, and the absence of governmental intervention in protecting the ecosystem is detrimental for the fragile coral reef and its inhabitants
Find the article on page 40 - Sorry to all you who do not speak Danish! (but there are some nice pics ;)