From cool blue wilderness of the Canadian high Arctic to the red hot deserts of Jordan - from Beluga whales close to magnificent wrecks. Also in this issue lots of Ocean Art including Chihulys Seaforms. Vi have a talk with photographer Kurt Amsler and AP Valves Martin Parker. Dives: 200m on CCR in Thailand and explore caves in Bosnia. Technique: Leigh Cunningham tells why we should watch our partial pressure and Jason Heller and Dan Beecham explains how we can rig your photogear.
Lots of other news and new gear too - as always.
Main features in this issue include:
What? Animals in the sea armed with missiles? And thousands of them? Yes, you’ve read correctly. No, sea lions or dolphins have not been stealing Tomahawk missiles from any of the American navy bases. But did you know that jellyfishes, sea anemones and corals contain thousands of “miniature missiles” to kill prey and sting intruders? We will look at bit closer at this missile battery mechanism here.
The stinging cells – the cnidae contain each an reversible hollow tube arranged in a spiral, with a harpoon like end (see b/w photo above and drawing net page). They are placed in the surface of the tentacles and the oral disk of the Cnidarians.
Effortlessly I glide through a sapphire sea, admiring sparkles on the underside of slick, moving wavelets rimmed with light, gently cupping an ephemeral bit of living jelly in my hand, then turning to glimpse a dazzling sight: corals, sponges, anemones, in a riot of soft pinks, blazing reds, luminous oranges, all marked with the disciplined wildness that I love in nature—and in the Seaforms.
Known for his organic forms and environmentally sensitive creations, Chihuly has also created glass installations for various environments beyond the conventional gallery including bridges, glass houses and botanical gardens in the US, the Royal Gardens in London, the canals and piazzes of Venice
How the corals get their algae. In the previous issue of X-ray Mag the problem of coral bleaching was discussed. Mechanisms were described which might provide resistance and protection to increased temperature and light intensities. It was stated that, due to rising sea-temperatures, the symbiotic algae that help supply nutrients to the polyps of the corals were dying off.
The sea ice is about two metres thick above frigid Arctic waters over 300 metres deep—and we are camping on it! It’s a strange sensation, knowing that there is nothing but frozen water between you, and water so cold it kills in less than four minutes. This clearly had an effect on Martin, a Swedish photographer, who had a nightmare on his first night out on the ice.
Leaving Ottawa in the throes of a sultry 28 degree heat wave, our next landing is at Iqualuit, some four hours later, where a quick foray outside into freezing temperatures for a cigarette, confirms our arrival in the high arctic.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is just soaked in this special ambience that dreams and adventures are made of—the air scented with traces of spices, desert flowers, charcoal and tobacco smoke from the water pipes and where the past and the present seamlessly weave together. It’s a mystic place that seems to exist in a time and dimension of its own.
This first impression has stayed with us ever since. With great topside adventures and sights to balance easy and wonderful diving, Jordan is clearly one of the most under-appreciated dive destinations around.
The entrance of the Sra Keow cave, north of Krabi, Thailand, is dark and quiet. All the local kids who use the pond as a playground are now back home for dinner. The only three people still there, closely watching the motionless pond, trying to see any bubble or glow that could reach the surface now start to worry. The divers were supposed to complete their dive within four and a half hours...
Still nothing after six long hours.
The entrance of the Sra Keow cave, north of Krabi, Thailand, is dark and quiet. All the local kids who use the pond as a playground are now back home for dinner.
Kurt Amsler, winner of over 100 awards at international photo competitions and a world champion title, turns 60 this year, but you would never know it watching him mountain bike up a steep pass with his black Labrador running at his heels in the hills behind his house, a lovely home that sits overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean and a small picturesque village in the south of France.
Kurt explains the humble beginnings of his love for the sea and underwater photography, which began in, of all places, land-locked Switzerland, where he was born and raised near Lake Zurich. At the time, no one dived in Switzerland. There were no dive shops or divers.
Underwater photography requires more than your basic dive gear and cameras. Sometimes it’s the often overlooked accessories and customized set ups that help you safely and conveniently capture the shot in difficult or unexpected conditions. Some accessories simply make your life a little easier, while others help you avoid ditching your camera in an emergency.
The third dimension, a Bosnian experience
Cave divers are like rock-face climbers; their purpose is the same, only in the opposite direction, with one difference. Cave-diving is about as extreme as it gets.
It’s a very Zen experience and the next thing to absolute oblivion. You are quite literally in a parallel universe, totally removed from reality. If its peace and quiet and isolation you’re looking for, this is the place to be.