Don Silcock

Aircraft Wrecks of Papua New Guinea

June 08, 2017 - 15:29
The story is found: 
on page 6

World War II came to the Australian territory of Papua New Guinea in January 1942 when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Rabaul in New Britain, followed shortly after by the taking of Kavieng in New Ireland. The invasion turned Papua New Guinea into a major theatre of war in the battle for the Pacific, and there were many brutal encounters between the invading Japanese and the defending Allied forces.

Conditions were often appalling and the fighting was incredibly fierce, with many young lives lost on both sides. To this day, relics of those battles are part of the fabric of Papua New Guinea.

Diving the Azores

May 18, 2017 - 14:06
The story is found: 
on page 43

Like the tips of icebergs, the islands of the Azores archipelago are just the visible peaks of a remarkable chain of underwater mountains that rank among some of the highest in the world.

The Azores Platform is some 2,000m below the ocean surface, but the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is grounded on to the seabed another 2,000m below that, while the tip of Pico (the tallest island of the archipelago) is 2,350m above sea level, making the mountain that is Pico about 6,500m high in total eleva

Papua New Guinea: Manta Rays

February 01, 2016 - 17:44
The story is found: 
on page 72

From a distance, there is little to distinguish the small island of Gonu Bara Bara from the myriad of others in this part of southern Milne Bay Province; and few would guess that just off its northern beach is the best place in the whole of Papua New Guinea to see the magnificent reef manta ray—Manta alfredi.

Reef mantas had been known to patrol that beach for many years, but all attempts to try and interact with them were random at best—maybe you would see one or more, maybe you wouldn’t. Then, back in 2002, almost by accident, Craig de Wit discovered why the mantas were there.

Ghosts of the Machines: Kavieng’s WWII Wrecks

April 29, 2015 - 13:37
The story is found: 
on page 8

The 21st of January in 1942 was a really bad day to be a resident of Kavieng, in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. On that fateful day, the full might of the Imperial Japanese Navy was unleashed on this small town on the remote eastern edge of the Bismarck Archipelago, as it prepared to seize the main prize of Rabaul in nearby New Britain.

Rabaul’s Simpson Harbour was the Australian Army’s key base in the archipelago, and had to be taken by the Japanese, as they rolled out their plan to seize the main island of Papua New Guinea and isolate Australia to the south.

Florida Manatees: Sirenians of Crystal River

January 06, 2015 - 13:51
The story is found: 
on page 16

A winter’s dawn is a special time to be on Kings Bay, for as the first rays of the Florida sun appear over the horizon, they light up the soft mist on the warm waters of the bay and create an ethereal, almost mystical, feeling. Listen carefully and you will hear the gentle ripples from the swirl pools formed by the paddle-like tails of the sirenians, as they make their way towards the freshwater springs that are the source of Crystal River.

The arrival of the manatees usually coincides with a rising tide and heralds their return from feeding on the sea grass of Kings Bay and Crystal River.

Tonga's Humpback Whales

January 06, 2015 - 13:48
The story is found: 
on page 51

Our skipper, Ali, carefully maneuvered the boat into position and cut the engine, shouting, “Go, go, go!” at the top of his lungs. And go we did—straight into the deep blue water, with cameras held in vice-like death-grips and onto the path of over a dozen mature and rather excited humpback whales.

Humpback whales average around 14m long and about 35 tons in weight―that’s a lot of mass coming at you―but there was no time to feel scared or even count these huge submarine-like mammals, because we were finally witnessing one of their famed heat runs, when a female humpback has signaled

Kimbe Bay

August 31, 2014 - 12:56
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The story is found: 
on page 35

There is a line of thought in the scientific community that this is where it all began and the first corals originated… a large sheltered bay, roughly one third along the north coast of the island now called New Britain.

There can be no doubt regarding the profound fecundity of Kimbe Bay because the numbers, as they say, cannot lie and surveys by some of the best known names in marine biology, such as Professor Charles Veron and Dr Jerry Allen, and respected organizations like The Nature Conservancy, have helped

Mirrorless Cameras & Wide-Angle

February 17, 2014 - 19:01
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The story is found: 
on page 87

In this article, the final one in the series, I will explain my personal experience with wide-angle underwater photography using the Olympus OM-D EM-5 camera.

With macro photography, the dynamic range is rarely very wide, as there are typically no extreme highlights if an image has been properly exposed, so virtually all modern digital cameras are eminently capable of doing a good job of macro with the right lenses and in the right hands.

Solomon Islands: Diving New Georgia

January 02, 2014 - 15:55
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The story is found: 
on page 50

Like a series of random punctuation marks, the many islands of the Solomons archipelago lay along the southern section of the Pacific Ring of Fire, in between the countries of Papua New Guinea to the north, and Vanuatu to the south.

Underwater, there are rich reef systems and an amazing variety of marine life together with one of the highest concentrations of WWII wrecks in the Pacific.

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