Main features in this issue include:
Czech artist Darina Denali, now based in New Zealand, creates glorious, vibrant and dynamic paintings of marine life, capturing the curious behaviors of animals and sublime nature of the underwater realm. X-Ray Mag interviewed the artist to gain insights into her artistry and creative process.
"I intend to depict the true beauty and richness of the ocean through my art, and I hope that it will lead people to respect and converse about marine life."
Having dived in the northern Red Sea almost every year since 2005, I had come to Marsa Alam to join a liveaboard safari that would take me to the Deep South of the Egyptian Red Sea to explore St John’s reef and the Fury Shoal, just above the Sudanese border.
The hot, dry desert air took my breath away and the merciless desert wind whipped my hair about my face as I stepped out onto the tarmac. After a one-hour flight from Cairo, I had arrived in Marsa Alam, and it felt good to be back in Egypt.
Situated east of the more widely recognized Society Islands such as Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, the Tuamotu Archipelago comprises around 80 islands and atolls stretching northwest to southeast across the South Pacific Ocean, creating the longest chain of atolls in the world.
After two days of waiting and several failed attempts, Mother Nature finally rewarded divers on the liveaboard with an incoming current at the famed Tiputa Pass on Rangiroa Atoll.
Like a fashion model up on the catwalk, great hammerhead sharks sashay into one’s field of vision, and, if they were human, you would probably say they have just “made an entrance”. Their strange mallet-like head, robust body girth and tall sickle-shaped dorsal fin make them well-nigh instantly recognisable, and most other sharks in the immediate area spot that too and give them a wide berth.
The great hammerhead shark has a unique and distinguished presence in the water, cautious but confident, and seemingly in control of its environment. As it approaches, its distinctive head sweeps from side to side, causing the rest of its body to move in an almost snake-like manner.
Many would look across the ocean at night and feel a tinge of fear. I guess that is normal—fear of the unknown, fear of the dark, fear that something out there is coming to get you. But for those that have embarked on diving in the open ocean at night, it can bring on a feeling of curiosity, excitement and discovery.
Jumping off a boat and into the black ocean at night, far away from any landmass, is not for everyone, but more and more divers are quenching their fears and venturing out to experience this “not-so-new” form of black water diving first hand.
In the Bay of Vlora (Valona), Albania, resting at a depth of 35m, lies one of the largest and most impressive wrecks in the whole Adriatic, that of the Italian hospital ship Po, sunk by British torpedo bombers on 14 March 1941. In the darkness of the night, the pilots were not aware that the ship was a hospital ship.
I am on the coast of the Bay of Valona, together with Massimiliano Canossa, Michele Favaron, Edoardo Pavia, Mauro Pazzi and Igli Pustina for the third IANTD Expedition in Albanian waters.
Ever since the release of the Lord of the Rings, New Zealand has been synonymous with Middle-earth—a South Pacific wonderland of forests, mountains, volcanoes and geysers featured in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Although revered for its topside beauty, New Zealand remains somewhat obscure as a diving destination.
Situated off the Tutukaka Coast, a three-hour drive north of Auckland, the islands have long been on my radar. Featured in documentaries, including BBC’s original Planet Earth series, they have captivated me from the get-go.
Most years, Southern California on the US west coast is the site of a special marine life aggregation, treating locals to one of the most unique dives in the world. Hundreds of thousands of market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens) swim into recreational dive depths to mate and lay an expansive canvas of egg baskets (collections of eggs) across the sandy substrate.
The squid run is hard to predict but usually occurs in December. Avid divers surveying the canyons will see indicators of a pending squid run: a lone squid or two during a night dive, solitary egg cases attached to the substrate here and there, and moon phase clues.
Failure points is a very important concept in the technical diving world, which is highly relevant to every form and level of scuba diving, but it is rarely addressed and often neglected.
Let me begin, as I often do, with a short story.
“Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.” It is an old and well-worn phrase, but is it true?
One of the most popular battles for armchair divers and Internet warriors is that of training versus experience. You hear it all the time: “I don't need a certification card for that dive. I've been doing dives like that for years.”
I was sent recently a new small compact camera by Olympus to test on home grounds as opposed to taking it away to perfectly warm, perfectly clear, overseas destinations. Considering that most new compact cameras are aimed at a local market, it made sense to try this one out at home. The new little compact is the Olympus Tough TG-5.
This review is NOT a scientific test, nor is it a blow-by-blow account of how every setting works. This is a user review written after taking the camera into the water for the first time and exploring its capabilities as I went along on the dive.