From our regular columnists

Cephalopods - Jet-powered Masters of Disguise

October 13, 2011 - 23:33
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The story is found: 
on page 64

Most cephalopods—the group in which scientists classify octopuses, squid, cuttlefish and nautiluses—can change color faster than a chameleon. They can also change texture and body shape, and if those camouflage techniques don’t work, they can still “disappear” in a cloud of ink, which they use as a smoke-screen or decoy.

Cephalopods have inspired legends and stories throughout history and are thought to be the most intelligent of the invertebrates. Some can squeeze through the tiniest of cracks. They have eyes and other senses that rival those of humans.

Field Work

October 13, 2011 - 23:33
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The story is found: 
on page 85

Now, we have our camera and all of its ancillary added on bits. We have checked that everything works. We have our chosen format decided. We have our laptop and portable hard drive all packed up and ready to go on location, but where are we going and why go there in the first place?

Getting to know your subject is perhaps easier than you think, however, we really do not have a whole lot of spare time underwater collecting knowledge on our subject matter.

Why Digital?

October 13, 2011 - 23:33
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The story is found: 
on page 91

Before we get into the picture-taking business, let us look at some of the jargon and explain what everyone else gets so excited about. Yep! Which format should I use to take my underwater photograph?

● There is no film to buy.
● No film to process.
● No storage issues with slides or scratching of the image through constant use.
● No copies of slides to be made or the same problems as above.
● Digital photography is instant.

Journey to Bikini Atoll

October 13, 2011 - 23:25
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The story is found: 
on page 37

In contrast to the Bikini report by the expert Dutch expedition, X-RAY MAG’s Barb Roy shares her perspectives as a recreational diver and wreck junkie on the history and culture of Bikini Atoll.

Although I am the only female in the group, and a travel journalist, I am accepted because I create these escapes and weave a recipe of pleasing surprises, challenging dives and always add a twist of exploration to the mix.

The virtues remain the same

October 13, 2011 - 23:25
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The story is found: 
on page 78

Underwater photography has been around well over 150 years and has accompanied humans as they have ventured beneath the seas to chronicle the water wilderness in all its glory, with the earliest underwater photographs being taken on large plate cameras in underwater housings of some sort or another.

In fact, virtually every photograph taken since then had to use Silver Halide crystals in recording the image.

Bali: The Island of Gods

October 13, 2011 - 23:23
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The story is found: 
on page 24

Bali. It’s a name synonymous with a tropical island paradise, conjuring up images of emerald rice terraces, an exotic, vibrant culture and friendly people. This jewel of the Indonesian Archipelago is also a magnet for scuba divers, drawn by a bevy of attractions ranging from to tiny jewel-like nudibranchs to enormous mola molas. Once you’ve been, you’re hooked!

Twenty hours and several stopovers after leaving snowy Toronto, I finally arrived in Bali on a sultry tropical evening. The heavy rains that delayed our departure in Singapore had given way to a vibrant sunset, and I was feeling cautiously optimistic about the weather.

Bali’s East Coast

October 13, 2011 - 23:23
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The story is found: 
on page 39

When India’s Prime Minister Pandit Nehru visited Bali in 1950 to attend celebrations marking the newly established independence of Indonesia, he famously called the island “the morning of the world”. His simple but eloquent description really does encapsulate the uniqueness of this special island.

Introduced in the 6th century, by Hindu traders from India, the religion spread rapidly across this huge archipelago of over 17,000 islands, peaking in the 14th century with the Majapahit Empire. The rise of Islam from the 14th century slowly but surely eclipsed the Hindu kingdoms, and Hinduism itself, and ultimately forced what was left of the Hindu elite to take refuge, consolidating in Bali around the end of the 15th century.

Scapa Flow - The Wrecks of Scotland’s Orkney Islands

October 13, 2011 - 23:23
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The story is found: 
on page 79

Situated 25 km (15 miles) north of the Scottish mainland, the Orkney Islands are located on the same latitude as southern Greenland, Alaska and Leningrad, however Orkney is bathed in the warm waters of the North Atlantic Drift that first started out as the Gulf Stream in the Caribbean.

More recently, the sheltered bay of Scapa Flow was the base of the British Naval Fleet over several generations and indeed has served the nation well during the Napoleonic War and the American War of Independence.

Jewels of Tanzania: African Safari & Pemba Island Diving

October 13, 2011 - 23:23
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The story is found: 
on page 20

Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti... boasting a wealth of natural beauty that reads like a lexicon of African icons, Tanzania is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream destination. However, this rich bounty isn’t limited to just the land, as the warm waters fringing its coast are home to some of the most spectacular reefs in all of East Africa.

While perusing the exhibitor list at last year’s DEMA show, the exotic name of “Swahili Divers” virtually leapt up to grab my attention. Sauntering over for a look, I met owners Farhat and Francisca Jah.

Fabulous Fiji

October 13, 2011 - 23:21
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The story is found: 
on page 19

Scott Bennett writes: I’d like to introduce you to some of our friends, enthused our guide Manasa, a.k.a Papa, as he held aloft a well-worn loose-leaf binder. The photographs within produced nervous laughter and a couple of anxious glances amongst a few of the divers. Then again, with names like Scarface, Hook and Big Mama, these were no ordinary friends. They were sharks, and we would soon be making their acquaintance.

Two flights and 15 hours after leaving my home in Toronto, I arrived at Nadi’s international airport on the island of Vitu Levu. Stumbling bleary-eyed into the arrival hall, I was greeted by an energetic group of local musicians performing traditional Fijian music.

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