Bali revisited - a comprehensive followup by Scott Bennett, Lawson Woods, Andrea Ferrari and Don Silcock. Cedric Verdier explains the Seven Sins for rebreather divers. Andrey Bizyukin takes us to see the White Whales in the Russian Artic while Kurt Amsler shows us to photograph without flash. Mathias Carvalho interviews diving legends and eco-warriors Ron and Valerie Taylor. Are the Puget Sound Orcas starving, why are sharks capable of swimming so fast and where do the jellyfish invasions come from? If you are out of ideas for presents take a look in the Shopping section. Pierre Sentjens is this months featured artists.
Main features in this issue include:
Two of the resident orca families from Puget sound —L and K pods—have been seen in recent years feeding off the California coast in the winter. That was unheard of before early this decade, leading scientists to speculate they are driven to swim hundreds of miles just to meet their minimum nutritional requirements.
Experts believe the population of the J, K and L pods that frequent the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound probably originally numbered between 100 and 200.
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.
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.
New Sea Farm Raises White Whales in the White Sea.
In 2006, marine biologists from St Petersburg’s department of Utrishsky Dolphins’ Aquarium decided to initiate a scientific project to build a natural farm, or nursery, for the breeding of white whales—or beluhas, as they are called in Russia—on the White Sea.
Taking photos underwater without a flash is not common, but it actually is easier than using a flash. I have a few tips and advice for getting good results.
Not only is light diffused by the water but also absorbed by particles and scattered everywhere. These are reasons good enough to invest and bring your own sunshine with you, in the form of a strobe. However, a good strobe often costs much more than a digital camera. On the other hand, if you have clear water and adequate natural light, you can produce nice images as well.
Pierre Sentjens is an artist and painter living in Brussels, Belgium. X-RAY MAG caught up with him to find out the secrets behind his luminous paintings of the sea.
"I hope my art can contribute to ocean conservation, as all my paintings express the same message, namely, 'Wondering is the first step towards respect.'"
— Pierre Sentjens
Valerie Taylor, along with her husband Ron, are two of the true pioneers of underwater photo and video, since their debut in the 1960s.
XRM: I am sure that you have both heard this question before, but for our readers’ benefit, how did you two begin diving with sharks? And, why sharks, specifically?
Except if you spent a few years in a catholic church or a few hours enjoying the movie with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, the seven deadly sins are often considered a notion of the past.